2013 National Lecture Now Available on YouTube!

One of the highlights of the Biophysical Society’s Annual Meeting is the National Lecture, the highest award given each year. National Lecturers, who are selected by the Society’s President, have the opportunity to talk about their science to the Society at-large, which means giving a talk that is interesting and comprehensible to scientists working in a wide variety of sub-disciplines. In surveys, attendees say that the National Lecture is one of their favorite events at the meeting, and this year was no different. Karolin Luger, Colorado State University, delivered a great talk on “The Making and Breaking of Nucleosomes,” February 4 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Society is pleased to be able to share a video recording of that talk with you, as well as past Annual Meeting National Lectures. We encourage individuals unable to attend the meeting to watch the video. We also encourage you to use the lecture as a teaching tool in your classes. Since the talk is more general in nature than most meeting presentations, it is a great resource to introduce a new topic, as well as a successful scientist to students!
We would love to hear how you have used the National Lecture recordings. Please share in the comments below!


Post-Meeting Reflection

Another conference over, another presentation conquered. This being my first Biophysical Society Conference, it was quite an overwhelming experience, the scale of which was unexpected.

Reflecting on whether I achieved my goals when I came to the conference, or whether I find myself in a better position, smarter, faster, etc, I think the answer is unequivocally yes. As I sit in the O’Hare airport at Goose Island (highly recommended if you ever have to kill an hour or two at ORD), I can attest that I made connections, learned about the next step I want to take in my project & career, and most importantly, survived my first big conference talk without becoming physically ill.

As a sixth year graduate student, I think the strides made in determining my next step are the most important. I gained insight about how to approach professors for overseas post-docs, what the funding situations are like in various countries, and how to deal with cultural differences with respect and humility. I think this last bit is especially important for us Americans to realize while still in our own country, as we can often feel impatient with second English speakers when they may be having difficulties expressing themselves. Learning a second language is hard, and at least they are trying, and in a new country, which is a lot more than what a lot of us can say.

So with the passing of this most annual of meetings, I hope we can all reflect a little on what we learn, the goals we achieved, and how we can approach meetings in the coming year to get the most out of it, especially when it comes to moving out of our comfort zones.

Until next year!


Hi everyone! Last day at the meeting!!! Time to go back home and start working on all the exciting ideas you have gotten in this conference? I think so 🙂

I hope everyone coming to the national lecture enjoyed the talk of Dr. Karolin Luger about her work on the structure and function of nucleosomes. Besides all the amazing sciences, I appreciated Dr. Luger’s point on mentorship. As a graduate student that has a chance to mentor a number of undergraduate students, I do feel the importance of my job in nurturing and inspiring the new generation of scientists. As a researcher-in-training, I appreciate all the encouragements and supports from all my graduate fellows, postdocs and most importantly, my supervisors. To me, this is the important momentum to push science forward. So if you are a graduate student reading this blog, don’t forget that your job is not to only do good science, but also to encourage and mentor undergraduate students 🙂 !!

As for my schedule today, I will swing by the ROCKY STEPS and Philadelphia Museum of Arts before flying back to Canada. I want to thank the Biophysical Society for bringing us such a great conference with a lot of learning and fun. I enjoyed watching all the biophysicists getting crazy on the dance floor at the reception! I am looking forward to the next meeting in San Francisco with a lot more exciting events!!

If you ever visit Ontario, Canada, please do not hesitate to contact me! If you ever feel interested in mitochondrial transport or membrane protein work, please contact our lab!!


How to do it like a Biophysicist?

With my limited experience of attending the BPS annual meeting, I made certain observations of how biophysicists do things. Please feel free to let me know if my observations are inaccurate!

How to attend talks/poster sessions like a biophysicist?

Run! Just run across the halls, rooms and the ballrooms to make the most of the meeting while going through the schedule to see where to run next!

How to eat like a Biophysicist?

Spend time browsing through all the available food choices (for this meeting: at the Reading terminal market/Chinatown) and then quickly pack your lunch and run to the next talk. Alternatively you can find a nice place to sit and eat while going through the schedule book to figure out what events to attend.

How to walk like a Biophysicist?

Look cool while trying to juggle carrying your backpack, the BPS tote, assorted free stuff and a poster. And don’t forget your badge!

How to dance like a Biophysicist?

Get funky on the dance floor.


Reception and Dance, next year with the BPS Pun Band!

The last time that I was at the BPS Annual Meeting, I was an undergraduate and I was not present for all of the sessions. That being said, I still knew the first thing I wanted to do when I got to grad school was go back. One session I did not get to go to last time was the reception and dance. This year I was able to go and get down and boogie. That was my kind of party and if you see me walking a little stiff today just know that it’s because my calves are sore from last night. What could have made the night even better? How about a band composed entirely of Biophysical Society Members!

Working on SNARE? Now you’re a drum player!

Enjoy Single Molecule FRET? Lead guitarist!

Do you probe the intricacies of life using SAXS? Now you lead the horn section!

Advancing science with Photo-acoustics? Now you’re our singer!

After getting up at 6:30 for the past couple of days to make (amazing) morning lectures and staying late into the night for just as great night workshops, it was definitely fun to have a drink, dance to a great band, and lead a conga line or two. Hope you all enjoyed the party as much as I, and if my goal was to sweat out all my calories consumed in Philadelphia then I am sure I succeeded.


Pre-Presentation DANCING!

Well, here we are, we’ve made it to the final day of the conference! And for me, that means the day of reckoning has arrived… I give my presentation today!

My general tactic is going to be to stay hydrated (don’t want that dry mouth feeling), and most important, try to get excited. This is a tactic I developed earlier in graduate school to try to mimic the feeling I would get before tests: I would get excited and was overwhelmed with feelings of being totally prepared and ready to take this test on, so give it to me! Needless to say, this is a somewhat harder feeling to force, but the brain is quite a pliable object, and so I can believe it can be done. Instead of letting the nervous energy dissipate in jitters and shaking hands, etc, why not smile and dance!

Of course, it isn’t recommended to try this tactic In the actual presentation room, but I think you get the point. I’ll let you know how it all goes down afterwards, but for now, I’m going to come on, smile, get happy, do a little dance, and practice my slides another 50 times! See ya on the other side!


Into the Dome!

For some brief respite from the onslaught of awesome science, I took the opportunity to visit the Biomolecular Discovery Dome (Hall C) – a portable exhibit, sponsored by the Public Affairs Committee. The dome, which resembles a black Styrofoam igloo, is designed to be taken into schools and teach high school students about a variety of difficult-to-grasp topics, from HIV replication to ribosomes.

In the UK we are seeing a rapid increase in demand from the public for science outreach. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Network brings experts from various disciplines into the public eye with school workshops, public lectures and events. Organisations such as these, as well as the week-long Cambridge Science Festival, are both significant demonstrations of the public’s thirst for knowledge. This demand places the scientists willing to communicate their research at a critical interface between the lab and the lecture hall.

The discovery dome is a well executed example of how public engagement can inspire the next generation of bioscientists and galvanise other members of the public to learn more about the world around them. The dome will be going on the road later this year so go and have a look!