Today started relatively early with a talk on alpha-synuclein, followed by some Starbucks, then more talks in the intrinsically disorded proteins platform. In the afternoon I had my poster presentation, which I found a bit intimidating at first but soon realized that there was nothing to be stressed about. It was actually kindof fun and exciting (although incredibly exhausting). As a member of the minority undergrad population at this conference, it can be easy to feel like I don’t know as much as everyone else so people won’t take me seriously. And while I’m certainly not remotely as experienced or knowledgeable as everyone around me, I now recognize that I am still able to contribute. I had never gotten to talk to such a diverse group of people about my research (or really anything science-y, for that matter). Not many people there seemed to be familiar with our use of IR spectroscopy to probe the local dynamics of proteins, so it was interesting to see other people’s take on it. As is to be expected, I learned some things from the people I talked to, especially in terms of how it connects to the methods they used. So overall, I’d say it was a success and definitely something I’m glad I got to experience.
I unfortunately missed most of Steven Chu’s talk because I was at my poster, but I hear I missed some great info about the average size of refrigerators….? Yeah, I’m not really sure how he fit that one in, but I’m sure the other bloggers who were there can fill you in. I did get to see the talk by David Eliezer on alpha-synulclein which was definitely informative. I was previously aware of the different types of helix structures that the protein can adopt upon membrane association, but I learned some new stuff about the potential roles that these different structures play in biological membranes.
We finished the night with dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant, which was a new experience for many of us and totally delicious! It was a good end to a busy day, and I’m excited to start again tomorrow.