Tales of Organizing A Symposium

(Looks like I’m not the only Hitchhiker’s Guide fan in this space. I suspect Phillip and I are far from the only ones at this conference.)

A couple of months ago, I learned that I had received a Networking Grant from the Biophysical Society to help fund and support a symposium on biophysical research and protein science at Purdue University. This was an idea that a team of graduate students, which I am part of (as is fellow-BPS attendee Brendan Sullivan), had conceived months earlier and was slowly making a reality. This grant, and the accompanying promotional support from BPS, went a long way to making that reality come true.

The symposium, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Protein Galaxy, will bring together researchers (faculty members, postdocs, and grad students) on campus at Purdue for two days to talk science, network, and hopefully learn some new things. We are inviting anyone who is interested to register and join us (May 13 & 14 on campus at Purdue). Thanks to the tremendous support we have received, both from Purdue and all of our sponsors, the event is completely free for all attendees. You can learn more about it on our website (purdueproteins.wordpress.com).

It’s been a lot of fun putting this symposium together. It has been a tremendously enriching experience learning how to get in touch with sponsors, how to write a grant that stands out and fulfills the scope of the sponsoring program, and how to actually design a symposium that potential attendees will find interesting and want to attend. Our theme has helped us a great deal (everyone loves The Hitchhiker’s Guide series). Our faculty advisor, Dr. Carol Post, has been tremendously supportive and dedicated to making this a great event. We’ve also sought advice from many folks at Purdue, who have vetted our ideas, managed our expectations, and provided valuable connections. We’ve still got plenty left to do in the next few months, but I can now certainly imagine everything the BPS organizers go through to put together such fantastic events from year to year.

We have currently planned for five scientific sessions, all of which have Hitchhiker’s Guide-based themes (you’ll have to join us in May to find out everything we have in store). We’ll have presentations from several new faculty members, postdocs, and senior grad students from a variety of Purdue departments. We’ve also got a great keynote speaker – Dr. Tony Kossiakoff from the University of Chicago. There will also be a poster session, a networking reception, and prizes for presenters (made possible by all of the support we’ve received). We’d be happy to have you join us, especially if you are in the area. Registration and abstract submission information is on our website.

If you’d like to hear more about our adventures organizing this event, please stop by my poster today (2/8/15, B503), where I’ll be at least from 1:45-2:45. While you’re there, I’d also be happy to share my research on ABC Transporters with you.