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In early 2022, EURIDOL proposed to its PhD students to co-finance a talk, which would be initiated by the student. I had the idea of a symposium related to sex differences, whose organisation turned out to be one of the biggest projects of my PhD!

The name that naturally came to my mind was Jeffrey Mogil (Montreal, Canada) who works on sex differences in the pain field. EURIDOL endorsed my proposal, so I launched the (long) process! When I contacted Jeffrey, he was immediately very interested to give a talk in our beautiful city, so we rapidly secured a date: October 24th, 2022. At this moment, we were by the end of March, sufficiently far away from the big date.

Then, I had the crazy idea to create something even bigger by inviting other people working in this field.

Few months later and thanks to the financial support of ITI-Neurostra, HaPpY, Neurex and USIAS, I was able to complete the list of amazing speakers with Anne Murphy (Atlanta, USA), Mike Salter (Toronto, Canada), Serge Marchand (Sherbrooke, Canada) and our local representative Yannick Goumon (Strasbourg, France). In addition, an important aspect of this project was to give the opportunity to local PhD students to present their work: we thus included two dedicated sessions in our programme. Four EURIDOL PhD students were selected to present their results in front of pioneers of the domain: Anne-Sophie AUBRY (LNCA), Etienne Clauss—Creusot (INCI), Juliette Kaeffer (BSC) and Lucien Ruelle-Le Glaunec (INCI).

Prior to the meeting, we organised a dinner with the invited speakers which allowed us to chat around good Alsatian food and wine in a relaxed atmosphere. This was especially beneficial for me who had never organised an event like that or met such important scientists.

On D-Day, the meeting started with Jeffrey who presented exciting data about the involvement of telomeres in the cellular senescence in a chronic pain context in animals. After this talk, we welcomed Serge, working on humans, an important aspect that I wanted to include in the meeting. He presented data about endogenous pain modulation in healthy subjects and patients. The third speaker was Anne who highlighted the importance of considering age in addition to sex as a biological variable in our pre-clinical research. She presented data on the signalling of the mu opioid receptor within the periaqueductal grey matter after a treatment with morphine. After a long lunch, Mike awakened us with outstanding data generated from transcriptional and computanional studies done in an animal model of peripheral nerve injury. This proof of concept aimed to find molecules that inhibit the transcription of some genes highly upregulated in such a model. Finally, our local speaker Yannick showed us the importance of pharmacokinetics when studying the effect of a molecule, in his case morphine. His data pointed out the importance of considering peripheral and central metabolism of this molecule in its sex-specific anti-nociceptive effects after peripheral administration.

In conclusion, organising this event required many long meetings and I had to surround myself with caring and understanding people to guide me through the procedures. For this reason, I would like to thank again Alexandre Charlet and Domitille Boudard for their incredible support at every step of this project!

Good luck for the next students who wish to organise a scientific event, EURIDOL’s annual call was just sent out, so do not miss your chance guys!