Conferences within a conference

This is the first large conference that I have ever attended.  My impression of this conference is that it is a series of smaller, but related, conferences and symposia.  I can find so many talks and posters just on my research topic, amyloid protein misfolding and aggregation, in one day at several different rooms.  This has sure kept me busy during my time here, which is a good, as everyone involved is getting their money’s worth.

Some highlights of the conference for me were the two IDP platform sessions.  I got a lot out of these platform sessions for my own research.  My poster session also went well, although the traffic to my poster was uneven at times, with most people coming within the last minute.  I almost forgot my handouts, so I had to walk back to my hotel room in the rain.  I came back in time for my presentation, as well as viewing other posters of interest to me.  I found a collaborator’s poster, who currently has a student visiting my lab back in Omaha while I am here at the conference.

There were many platform sessions, but my favorites dealt with force spectroscopy and prion diseases.  I had discussions with some of the presenters after their talks.

On Monday, I did much of the same as on Sunday, while also attending the career workshops, particularly the graduate student breakfast and the postdoc transition panel.  The career breakfast had someone discuss their experience in industry, which is similar to career panels that I have been to at smaller conferences.  The postdoc transition panel showed me that there are many ways to transition to a postdoctoral position, and that there is no single correct way to do this.  Everyone’s experience was different during the transition, but they gave advice to keep in mind while doing this search.

I stopped by the vendors, and I got my free ACS flash drive.  All you need to do is to stop by their booth and fill out a survey if you have not already.  Last night was also the National Lecture, and this was a great talk because it showed the story of how chaperonins were discovered, and the human element behind this great discovery.  After that, there was the reception and dance.  My group first went to the dance for some desserts and a first round of drinks.  The room was quite crowded, so we went to the other room that had a string trio, and this provided a more intimate atmosphere for socializing.  Nonetheless, the night went by too fast, and at the end we were all dead tired.  I slept in this morning and I am looking over my notes from the past two days.

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