For only the second time in its history, the International Association for Aerobiology held its conference in the Southern Hemisphere.
The University of Western Sydney Campbelltown Medical School was the venue for the 10th International Congress on Aerobiology September 22-26 2014. This was organised by Prof Connie Katelaris as Congress Chair and Mrs Pamela Burton as Secretary-General.
World experts from a number of scientific disciplines including botany, meteorology, mycology, microbiology, immunology, public health and medicine, gathered to exchange knowledge and expertise in the field of aerobiology. Climate change and its impacts were strong themes throughout the conference with the need for measurement, standardisation and automation strong recommendations. The last day of the conference was devoted to clinical problems associated with pollen exposure and a number of experts spoke on allergic rhinitis and asthma and how aerobiology may be applied to clinical practice.
There were representatives from Canada, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, UK, Japan, India and Australia in attendance. The four keynote addresses were delivered by Prof Guiseppe Frenguelli ( President), Dr Bernard Clot (incoming President),Prof Carmen Galan (editor, Aerobiologia) and Dr Dorota Myszkowska (executive member).
The congress coincided with the 40th Birthday of ICA. A highlight of the week for overseas delegates was a visit to the Australian Botanical Gardens and Plant Bank at Mt Annan.
An important outcome from the Congress is the admission to ICA membership of the newly formed Australasian Aerobiology Association with its first president and vice president Connie Katelaris and Ed Newbigin respectively – both have been involved with aerobiological research in Australia for many years.
Pollen is an important substance produced by plants, but it can also cause problems for those of us who have allergies. Dr Ed Newbigin is a botanist from The University of Melbourne and he steps through the process of establishing a daily pollen count.