Introducing the 2014 Guest Bloggers!

We have assembled a diverse group of guest bloggers to share their experiences during the 58th Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Meet them below and check back to read their updates starting later this week!

Jason Socrates Bardi is the Director of Media Services at the American Institute of Physics, located outside Washington, D.C. His group specializes in promoting meetings and journal articles for university researchers and organizations like the Biophysical Society — they are sort of like a small, nonprofit PR firm. This year Jason is working with the bardi2Biophysical Society to promote research at the 2014 meeting. Fittingly, Jason’s own background is in structural biology, and he has graduate degrees in molecular biophysics and science journalism from Johns Hopkins University. A science writer since 1998, Jason is the author of two books and has worked as a senior press officer and science writer at NASA, The Scripps Research Institute, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a component of the NIH and (most recently) the University of California, San Francisco — where he covered biophysics along with topics like cancer, AIDS, diabetes, vulnerable populations, global health and neuroscience. Having relocated to D.C. from northern California last year, this meeting will be a double homecoming for Jason– back in his beloved city by the bay and back again at a Biophysical Society meeting. The last time he attended one, Jason was still in graduate school and most people still surfed the Web using Netscape Navigator.

Susan Chen is a third year graduate student at UCSF studying cellular signaling in S. cerevisiae. In general, she is fascinated with how cells make decisions and process the plethora of information thrown their way. She is excited to attend her first Annual Meeting and to attend the scientific and poster sessions to learn about the innovative and novel research that students at other schools are doing. Particularly, she looks forward to SusanYChen_Picattending the scientific session on the biophysics of genetic switches and the fluorescence subgroup talks about probing cell signaling with fluorescence microscopy. Susan is also eager to explore the career center workshops to learn about the multitude of career options for PhD students. As a Bay Area native, there are too many things that she loves about San Francisco. She is constantly amazed by the diversity of the city landscape. One neighborhood flows seamlessly into another, and nature sits never too far away. Land’s End has some good trails and great views. Outside of the lab, Susan is usually chasing a plastic disc around the city, playing the great sport of ultimate frisbee.

Satchal Erramilli is a 5th year PhD student in Cynthia Stauffacher’s lab at Purdue University, where he studies the structural biology of ABC transporters. He is excited to be attending his first Annual BPS Meeting, and is looking forward to the symposium on “Permeation and Transport” as well as the workshop, “Distance Measurements by Double 20131002-Satchal_Erramilli-001Electron-Electron Resonance”. Get up bright and early at 8:45 AM on Monday morning to catch his platform talk (a first for him!), “Asymmetry and Conformational Changes of the E. coli Ribose ABC Transporter” during the “Membrane Pumps, Transporters, and Exchangers I” session in room 305. Satchal has visited San Francisco several times and, rather than doing the usual touristy things, is looking forward to sampling local South and Southeast Asian cuisine. When he’s not reading or writing about science, Satchal loves watching and playing sports, particularly football and basketball. Check out some of his work on his personal blog (satchal.blogspot.com) as well as his guest post in the Scientific American blog network on 100 years of X-ray crystallography (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/scicurious-brain/2012/12/19/scicurious-guest-writer-x-ray-crystallography-100-years-at-the-intersection-of-physics-chemistry-and-biology/).

Darwin Fu is a second year graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and CenterDarwinFu for Structural Biology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. His research interests are in computational modelling of protein functions, particularly those involved in small molecule binding. This is his first trip to the Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, and he can’t wait to meet new researchers and see old colleagues along with all the exciting research. Darwin grew up not far from San Francisco in Fremont, which some might know as one of the destinations you will end up at if you fall asleep on the BART train system. He always ends up a few pounds heavier after going back home to the Bay thanks to the multitude of multi-cultural restaurants, especially Ethiopian, Vietnamese, and Mexican food. Outside of school, Darwin is an avid football, basketball, tennis, and trivia player/watcher. You can read his random musings on his blog at http://equationforlife.wordpress.com/

Gilson_2014Amy Gilson will be heading to San Francisco from Harvard University where she is a PhD student in Chemical Physics. There, she develops multi-scale models of evolution and uses bioinformatics to understand protein evolution. A first-time attendee of the BPS Annual meeting, she’s looking forward to discussing with scientists in all areas of biophysics and to learning from experts in her field. She’ll be presenting her poster, “Can a protein’s evolutionary fate be predicted from its structure?” on poster board B51, Wednesday from 10:30-11:30AM and hopes anyone following her blog posts will stop by to say, “Hi.” For the past two years, Amy has been Co-Director of Science in the News <http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/>, an organization run by graduate students at Harvard that brings together research scientists and the interested public through public lectures, science cafes, and science articles while training graduate students to be effective science communicators. Amy enjoys singing music from the Renaissance and hopes she’ll have the chance to jog to SF’s rocky, beautiful Lincoln Park during the meeting.

Archana Madhavan is a third-year Immunology PhD student at Stanford University ArchanaMadhavanwhere she studies molecular mechanisms of calcium signaling through store-operated calcium channels.  She is excited to be attending her very first Annual Meeting and hopes to convey a fresh, new perspective on biophysics from an outsider’s point of view.  She is most looking forward to learning more about ion channel regulation, finding out about interesting imaging techniques, discovering career opportunities beyond the bench, and of course, finding an excuse to visit beautiful San Francisco.  (One of her favorite things to do in San Francisco is eating okonomiyaki in Japantown).  In her spare time, Archana writes for and manages social media for the science podcast Goggles Optional (http://www.gogglesoptional.com) and enjoys learning foreign languages. Check out her personal blog on learning Korean and Japanese at http://panjjakpanjjak.wordpress.com.

Rheanna Sand, a post-doctoral associate in molecular pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College, is looking forward to escaping the polar vortex swirling in New York City R_Sand_photoin favor of warm, colorful San Francisco. She’s been trying to untangle the complex mode of action of the anesthetic gas isoflurane on voltage-gated sodium channels, and will be looking for helpful input at her poster presentation on Sunday afternoon (board B433). Rheanna is also a freelance science writer and video producer for Science in Seconds (http://scienceinseconds.com), and will be taking a critical look at academia versus alternative careers at this year’s meeting. Rheanna thoroughly enjoys Biophysics conferences – not least because she found her current position using the BPS job board in 2011! When she’s not in the lab or making science videos, Rheanna can be found skateboarding around Brooklyn, snapping photos, or training at the kickboxing dojo.

Hi everyone! My name is Joshua Yoon and I am currently a 1st year Applied Physics graduate student at Stanford University. As of now, I am a rotating student in the Moerner Lab, focusing most of my efforts on tracking single molecules and writing new programs that accomplish this task more accurately and quickly. As an undergraduate, I was interested in pursuing graduate studies on quantum information/computation, but once I JoshuaYooncame to Stanford, my passion started gravitating towards biophysics while working on heart cells and neurons during the fall quarter. Due to the inherent interdisciplinary nature of this massive field, I am still exploring different areas and finding the one that matches best with my interests and skills. This will be the first time I’ve ever attended the Biophysical Society Annual Meeting and I am excited to be a part of this event. I’m looking forward to the sessions where current members of the Moerner Lab will be giving presentations and/or posters. Although I am not presenting during this event, it’ll give me a good taste for what I might be up for if given that opportunity in the near future. I am currently a member of Stanford Taiko and that’s been a blast so far. The group is a Japanese drumming ensemble that has performed not only for the Stanford community but also in China, Thailand, and other places as well. Going to practice and giving performances has allowed me to take a break from research and express myself in ways I had never thought of doing before.

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