Meet the expert: Dr Neil Vargesson
I am a developmental biologist with a particular interest in how the limbs of the body form and grow out from the sides of the embryo.
I am also interested in understanding why sometimes this process is different in some people resulting in a limb dysmelia. I have been studying limb development and differences for nearly 20 years. One of my main areas of research in recent years has been investigating how thalidomide acts in the forming embryo and what developmental pathways it acts upon. I am now based at the University of Aberdeen in the beautiful north east of Scotland.
Yet, for the next week I will be swapping Scotland for Canada to attend the 12th International Limb Development and Regeneration Conference. This conference is held biannually, and allows limb developmental biologists the opportunity to come together to discuss new findings and forge new collaborations and help further understand the amazing process of how limbs form and grow.
This year's conference is additionally special as a special mini-Symposia on Thalidomide is being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the original withdrawal of the drug from the world's medical market. I will be discussing my work alongside three other speakers (Trent Stephens, Robert Seegmiller and Mercedes Benegbi) who will be discussing the history and other perspectives/work on the drug.
This mini-Symposia has been organised by Trent Stephens in collaboration with the organiser of the Limb Conference, Jacque Drouin, and it promises to be a wonderful (and rare) opportunity to discuss thalidomide and the latest views on how it acts with the limb developmental biology community.
More information about Dr Vargesson can be found here
Tags: limb difference dysmelia dysnet thalidomide