It was an honour for Parkinson’s Queensland to host the 12th Annual Meeting of the Genetic Epidemiology of Parkinson’s Disease (GEoPD 2017) Consortium in Cairns. It formed the platform for a four-day ‘Science Conquering Parkinson’s’ event during October. The consortium of researchers and scientists, dedicated to promoting education, scientific research and further development in Parkinson’s disease arrived in Cairns from six continents and Australia. International delegates came from Luxembourg, Germany, France, Italy, South Africa, Norway, United States of America, Canada, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
The opening reception and ‘Welcome to Country’ was presented by Professor Henrietta Marrie, traditional owner, to Gimuy Walubara Yidinji. Along with a didgeridoo performance guests were entertained by local indigenous dancers, Minjil Dance Group and Orchid String Quartet. The delegates from around the world also enjoyed indigenous cuisine including Kangaroo, Crocodile and a variety of seafood.
GEoPD enables scientists to share their research findings with each other. The additional days provided opportunities to impart this knowledge to health professionals and to people living with Parkinson’s.
Many researchers and PhD candidates showcased their work through ‘poster presentations’ and during breaks, were able to speak to other researchers, scientists and health professionals about their studies.
A full day Health Professionals Symposium was held on the Friday for leading specialists, nurses, allied health professionals and pharmaceutical suppliers. Speakers included Prof. Christine Klein (University of Leubeck), Prof. Reijko Krueger (University of Luxembourg), Prof. Colin Masters MD (Florey Institute), Prof. Ashley Bush (Florey Institute), Prof. Peter Silburn AM (University of Queensland), Assoc. Prof. Antony Cooper (Garvan Institute), Assoc. Prof. Rohan Teasdale (University of Queensland), Dr Jake Gratten (University of Queensland), and Dr Richard Wyse (Cure Parkinson’s Trust).
A special feature to the program was the James Parkinson Bicentenary Oration, which was presented by Prof. Matthew Farrer, PhD (University of British Columbia). To have such an eminent scientist presenting was a great compliment to scientific researchers in our country.
A half day Forum program specifically for members, Support Groups and people affected by Parkinson’s followed. Parkinson’s Queensland believes its members are the soul of our organisation and this program offered an opportunity for them to hear directly from some of the world’s leading scientists and health professionals.
We enjoyed hosting these scientists and health professionals at GEOPD 2017 and look forward to other such events in the future.