World Congress of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (WCP-2014) | “My experience at Cape Town” | Dr.Natesh Prabhu

WCP: World Cup for Pharmacologists, that’s how they called it as it happens once in four years. I was so happy when I received the mail mentioning the acceptance of my bursary application. This time I was even happier than when I received the abstract acceptance mail.

Happy moment

Happy moment

I was too excited to attend the conference after receiving my visa just a day before the departure date. It was a race and with God’s grace I was all aboard. I met the representatives of Indian Pharmacological Society (IPS) at Mumbai airport. As IPS is the member society of IUPHAR, it gets to participate in voting bid to select the next organizers for subsequent two congresses. And it happened to be Japan for WCP-2018 and Scotland for WCP-2022.

So I was all set for a night long flight. I couldn’t control my excitement. It was like a dream moment. I was the youngest among my pharmacology team, 27 years old then, single and travelling to Cape Town 😉 I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with Dr.Y.K Gupta, Dr. Bikash Medhi, Dr.Surender Singh, Dr.Arunabha Ray, Dr.Kavita Gulati, Dr.Dinesh Kumar, Dr.Dinesh Badyal, Dr.Chetna desai, Dr.Anil Gulati and many others. We landed in Johannesburg and during my transit form Johannesburg to Cape Town, I befriended a Chinese co-passenger, Maggie Yiqun He, whose mom was an attendee of the conference and came to know about the Chinese working culture. We are still in touch through Facebook.

Maggie Yiqun He

Maggie Yiqun He

Touchdown Cape Town and I had already started my City Tour which was briefed by a cabbie who was too cool to tell about few secrets of downtown!


Cool Cabbie

Day O-Sunday, event kick started by evening with traditional opening ceremonial dances and inaugural speeches which ended with a gala dinner. The next five days were filled with lectures from various eminent speakers among them I had a chance to interact with a guest speaker from Sydney as we were walking from our hotel to the Convention Centre where the conference was held. I learned about the role of pharmacologists in health services in Australia.

Day 1, I was recording the beautiful streets of Cape Town as I walked to the Convention Centre. I got my bursary of Zar 3,000 from the registration desk along with conference goodies and ID. I was behaving too mature among those experienced attendees. Sometime later I got to meet people of my age from other countries, both Indians and foreigners.

During the five day event, I got to listen to few brilliant lectures. Also few presentations were so pathetic that the speakers were just reading from the slides and one among them couldn’t even read the contents properly. Then I was told that few “influential” guest speakers somehow “convince” the organizers to include them as a speaker-Lee side of an International Event.

Day 2, I did two poster presentations on diabetes and during the presenting period I had a chance to meet various researchers from USA, Malaysia, Kenya, South Africa and Japan which gave me a good perspective about the research culture over there. IPS team was invited by IUPHAR for a cocktail dinner with other member societies. I too got the invite from IPS to attend the dinner for which I am thankful to them. I had a great opportunity to talk to the presidents of various societies in other countries which gave me an inspiration to start Indian Medical Pharmacologists Association (IMPA).

Day 3, I attended the conference till noon and shared a cab with two others for the peninsular tour of Cape Town. The chauffeur was too cool to converse with and guided me to the nightlife of Cape Town and I must say it’s a Maverick world out there! 😉

Day 4, usual type of presentations among which two lectures on Pharmacogenetics impressed me. Later that night, I was invited for the dinner hosted by Dr.Y.K.Gupta and Dr. Anil Gulati at Hotel Hilton. We all had a scrumptious meal and nice chat which ended with a photo session.

Day 5, I was already experiencing the blues of leaving Cape Town. As it was a half-day session, I started my vagabond journey by foot to explore the city only to return to my room by night and had Gnocchi, an Italian delicacy which was introduced to me by a Pakistani whom I befriended at the hotel. We used to meet at the lobby and have a chat over a beer by night.


Pakistani Pal

Next day early in the morning, I left Cape Town with happy memories and wonderful experiences from my first international conference. Deep in my mind I had this thought of bringing a change to the stagnant pharmacology scene in India and till now I am trying my level best to make a mark!

And about the tips on tapping the bursaries: “Motivation Letter”

  • Express your true intention in the bursary application.
  • The area of your research should preferably be of social importance.
  • Project that you are in financial needs for attending the conference.
  • Convince them that attending the conference will bring a change in your future endeavors.
  • And don’t fail to repeatedly write to them, even if they deny your application on first attempt.
  • Being a student and also an Indian will give you an extra edge over the other applicants.
  • A good English knowledge will be helpful to write the “Motivation Letter” for the bursary application within the given word limit.
    My Motivation Letter for Bursary Application

    My Motivation Letter for Bursary Application

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impas Natesh Prabhu Administrator & Chief Editor | Clinical Pharmacologist | Diabetic-Sexual Medicine-Regenerative Therapy Consultant | President, Indian Medical Pharmacologists Association