Hello Biophysics World!

So is everyone looking forward to San Diego as much as I am?  I’m hoping to be able to survive temperatures ranging from about 18 – 12ºC … oh yeah, I’m also going back to the US, so that’s about 68 – 50ºF.  Good ole Fahrenheit, I’ve missed you so, along with inches, miles, PSI, horsepower and gallons of soda.  Ah, and all that awesome science we’re going to see!

I’m Jason, a US biophysics grad student originally from Salt Lake City and currently part of the Harvard Biophysics program.  So, logically enough, I’m working in Groningen, Netherlands, hence the duality of my temperature appreciations.  I’m going to be blogging about the conference while I’m there and I’ve been asked to give a brief introduction blog.  Well, I like beaches, but long walks upon them hurt my ankles.  This is also my first time blogging, so if anyone reads this and likes something, let me know.  If you don’t like it, constructive criticism is also welcome.  I plan to post about some of the talks and posters I visit, giving my impression of how well the point was driven home and highlighting any techniques that I really enjoyed.  I believe myself a fairly positive person, though snarky satire is right up my alley.  I am not going to attack anyone for a bad performance because these things just happen … frequently to me …  So, we’ll just have to see how it goes.

Right now I’m putting together my itinerary for the conference.  It’s a long task of filtering through more 7-syllable buzz-words than I knew could be created, but without it I know I’d be lost.  My work focuses on the membrane fusion of influenza virus, so I’m excited to see so many sessions dedicated to my area!  I use single-particle fluorescence microscopy for my measurements, so naturally I check out all the microscopy relevant sessions and I get anxious thinking about all the great images I’m going to see.  This is one thing I really love about being a biophysicist – all the pretty pictures we get paid to make.
Sitting in my lab, getting every last appealing abstract read,
gives me visions of GFP and mCherry-labeled sugar plums dancing in my head.
Whoa, red-green Christmas flashback.  Props to Josef Lazar and Alexey Bondar who are giving poster 1017-Pos for the sweet abstract image that gave me that little limerick.

While on this note, I have to say I’m pretty shocked that many of the talks with a cool sounding title have NO ABSTRACT.  What?!  Come on man, they’re not that hard to put together.  Take some pride in your presentation and get me interested!  I often won’t go to a talk without an abstract unless I specifically know that they will talk about something useful to me.  If it’s on the edge, with my first thought being “sounds interesting, but what is it now…?” and then no abstract, nope, not getting on the itinerary.  Maybe that’s the point, or not, I’m not going to judge, just putting my 2 cents out there.  Also, seeing the long super-technical titles surprises me, still.  Makes the talk sound about as fun as going to a meeting of people who are all close friends among each other, trading inside jokes, while I’m just introducing myself.  I’m sure they enjoy themselves, but I’d just be out of my element.

Good luck to all of you getting ready, see you in sunny San Diego!

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