Building a New Biophysics Network in Wisconsin

IMG_2421The BPS-supported Wisconsin Networking Event, which took place on March 23, was the first student organized biophysics conference held at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). The conference had about 45 attendees, including professionals, graduate students and undergrads from MSOE and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). The organizers of the event wrapped it up for our blog readers below!

We wanted to host this conference to help build our network in biophysics and enhance the new biomolecular engineering program at MSOE (proudly graduating our first class of seniors this spring!). The program is somewhat unique as we include a few courses that are not offered nationwide including mathematical biology, mammalian cell culture, molecular IMG_2419nanotechnology and biophysics. These courses emphasize the broad spectrum of opportunities and paths that us as students can pursue post-graduation, and the variety can be seen in the senior design projects done during our last year at MSOE. The field of biophysics is of particular interest because it combines the well-known principles of physics to the rapidly developing world of biology, making it ever important when it comes to industrial, medical and agricultural problems that we as a society are facing today. In fact, one speaker specifically talked about identifying and modifying the structure of a specific type of virus. As mutating viruses and antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria become a prominent and pressing issue in the medical field, the study of unique topics such as biophysics become more and more promising.

We were pleased with the amount of interest and continued interest now that the event has passed was a very exciting result. You can never be quite certain about the turnout or feedback when it is a first time event! We would like to hold a biophysics conference next spring, and continue to host an event annually. The event was very helpful in creating a network between the UWM and MSOE biophysics communities and we are looking to extend this network next year to include Marquette and other south eastern Wisconsin institutions, such as University of Wisconsin-Madison. A suggestion that we are also looking forward to completing is the involvement of surrounding industry people who work in the biophysics field.

IMG_2406Organizing this event was a learning process for all involved. We were not quite sure how to approach some things, but are very happy with how it turned out. Our main conference goal was to begin a network of resources in biophysics in the Milwaukee area, in an effort to help enhance research and promote progress in local researchers’ work. Being a young academic program there is nothing more important than exposure and building a strong network, and we are excited that the UWM biophysics program feels the same way! We look forward to hosting events like this for years to come and foster a strong biophysics research community in the Milwaukee and south eastern Wisconsin area.

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