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February 2020 | Published by RCPA

Issue #099

Pathology Update speaker spotlight

Pathology Update speaker spotlight

Pathology Update is the key educational annual scientific meeting for the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA). This year, Pathology Update 2020 is proud to be hosting 139 Australasian speakers and ten international speakers, all experts in their field. In this article we shine a spotlight on Professor Bobbi Pritt attending the conference from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA, and Professor Edwin Kirk, one of the three co-leads of the Mackenzie’s Mission project.

All the way from Minnesota, USA, Prof Bobbi Pritt will present in the Innovations Plenary and in the Anatomical Pathology and Microbiology scientific streams. Prof Pritt is Professor of Clinical Microbiology within the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA, and holds a joint appointment in the Division of the Infectious Diseases. Her primary areas of interest are clinical parasitology, vector-borne diseases, infectious diseases pathology, and medical education. Prof Pritt is also the author of the popular international parasitology case blog Creepy Dreadful Wonderful Parasites.

Prof Pritt’s research focuses on the development and use of novel molecular amplification and sequencing assays for diagnosis of human parasitic and vector- borne diseases, and she has published more than 130 articles, including descriptions of two new tick-borne human pathogens in the United States, and has authored four books and 14 book chapters. During her presentations, Prof Pritt will cover a variety of common parasites and mimics, including those encountered in Australia and other resource-rich countries. Prof Pritt will also review the key diagnostic features of worms and their mimics, and how they can be recognised by anatomic pathologists and microbiologists alike.

Closer to home, UNSW’s Professor Edwin Kirk will join delegates at the conference to provide an update on the unprecedented Mackenzie’s Mission project. The project was announced as part of the May 2018 Budget when the Australian Government allocated $20 million to a research study of reproductive genetic carrier screening for severe and life-limiting genetic conditions including SMA, fragile X syndrome and cystic fibrosis.

Prof Kirk is part of a team of UNSW researchers which are playing a leading role in the project which will screen 10,000 couples for 1,300 genes associated with >700 conditions. The project will study uptake, proportion of couples found to be at high risk, reproductive decisions made by those couples and psychosocial, health economic, ethics and implementation research related to carrier screening. At the launch of the project, it was expected that couples in Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales would be able to take part in the study from early 2020. Prof Kirk’s presentation will describe the origins and structure of the project, with a focus on the process of selecting the genes included in the screen and lessons learned from the first three months of screening.

Pathology Update 2020 will be held Friday 20 – Sunday 22 March at the International Convention Centre, Sydney. The final Program is now live at https://www.rcpa.edu.au/Events/Pathology-Update/Final-Program

The Pathology Update 2020 app will go live on Monday 16 March, helping delegates to stay on top of everything across our huge three-day event. In the app you’ll find the full scientific program by discipline, speaker profiles, workshop info, venue maps, as well as the full social event calendar.







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