One last thought as we come to the close of this year’s Biophysical society meeting. Not to be too negative but how many of us have been a bit bummed by not being the person asking the presenters that crucial “quick question” in the few minutes after a talk? It’s difficult, when there’s so much good science to balance speaker’s time with time for responses from the audience. I’d also say we should give a round of applause to all of the symposium organizers for doing an excellent job putting together the programs for this year. I wonder though if there’s a benefit to changing the culture of the talk schedule a bit.
Often times the Subgroups will organize dinners in order to allow people to get to know the presents and the people in that field a little bit better. I’m thinking it might be interesting to have a short 15-30 minute meeting after each symposium in order to allow people time to speak to the presenters one-on-one and to exchange contact information. If you aren’t reaching out to people already I encourage you to do so but attending Subgroup dinners and by trying to catch people after their talks. It might just lower the energy barrier a little bit, however, to be able to have a quick refreshment session to encourage a cultural change from everyone rushing out of the session after all of the talks are finished. Though I will say, the poster sessions are a great time for this as well!
Overall I hope you had a good time at Biophys! I hope we all consider how to spread the news about Biophysics and try to answer as many “quick questions” as we get throughout the next year!
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not an expert in the areas of Diffuse X-ray Scattering Crystallography, Single Molecule Imaging, or He-Ion Scanning Microscopy. That, however, is the exact reason I love to go to symposium like the one this after noon: the Future of Biophysics. Even without being an expert I can learn about the interesting work of Dr. Ando with her Lysozyme “Deathstars” and how it highlights the value of diffuse vs Bragg scatting methods. I can see how Dr. Gahlmann’s double helix point density functions are important for explaining single molecules diffusion within bacterial cells. Furthermore I can see the images Dr. Iachina creates using He-Ion Scanning to understand the structure-property relationships in spider silk. I know many of you feel the same way: we love to learn about new things that are outside of our area of expertise.
This got me thinking too: people outside of the conference would probably love to hear about cutting-edge Biophysical research as well. Why don’t we become like proud parents of our work; sharing pictures of our data from our wallets with anyone who’s interested? Just as I’m not an expert in any of the fields I mentioned above, yet can still make connections to what I understand, so too can people in the general public. If you’re reading this I’d ask you to please take some time today, tomorrow, and in the future, to join me in bringing our field out of the confines of convention centers and to everyone. Spend some time spinning a yarn about spider silk at a cafe perhaps!
Whether or not you know it you, right now, might be standing next to your next collaborator. I attended at talk this morning about work that came from a brief conversation I had at the BPS meeting in 2014. The talk was: “Effects of Lipid composition, peptide charge, and molecularity on the structure of antimicrobial peptide transmembrane pores”, presented by Almudena Pino Angeles in the group of Themis Lazaridis. I met members of their group back in 2014 and discussed simulations of various Melittin-based MAPs at a poster I was presenting. I was happy to see that they’ve done some fantastic work simulating pore stability! It just goes to show that you should never take any conversation for granted!
I thought I’d stat off blogging with a little lighthearted information about New Orleans. I was fortunate enough to spend some time working in Bill Wimley’s lab at Tulane a few years ago and I got used to how to orient myself in NOLA. For those people visiting for the first time please note that it’s a little funny to describe directions as: North, South, East, and West. Local directions are as such:
Downtown (where you are likely currently)
Uptown (Where the beautiful Audobon Park is located among many other sights)
Lakeside (Towards Lake Pontchartrain and, in my opinion, very good seafood restaurants)
Riverside (Towards the Mississippi, scenic views, riverboat tours and outdoor places to relax)
Hopefully this provides you with a little bit of orientation and ability to interact with the residents of NOLA to determine where you want to go!