Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Overview of the Biophysical Society Meeting: Boston, 2009

This is my second science conference ever with my first coming last year at the same meeting but in Long Beach, California (LBC). Last year was immensely fun both conference wise and extracurricularly. Outside the conference I had many adventures, and during there were so many talks I wanted to go to and posters I wanted to see that I couldn't keep my head on straight. I really had no chance of seeing it all.

This year I expected nothing less. I made no plans as far as venturing the city and left it all to chance. I tend to be that way. I like to go with the flow and make it up as I go. Don't think that I'm not organized or have any motivations, because that is just not true. I just don't like to make plans unless I have to and I like to keep my schedule free. As far as talks and posters go I have some experience under my belt so it shouldn't have been as tough as last year. I also know a great deal about my own research and the overall focus of the lab so I can pick appropriate talks and posters easier.

My feelings this year is that nothing really blew me away. I remember learning so much last year, but this year I am not walking away with that same feeling. There were some talks that I was really looking forward to just to find out that the research being presented had very little to do with what I expected (from the title). I was also a little disappointed in the quality of some of the posters I looked at.

With that said, it wasn't a total bust and there were some very noteworthy things as can be found here.

Some highlights:
The Block Lab showed why they are the best at what they do yet again. This year they cleverly attached DNA handles to kinesin motor heads to study the mechanics of the step. By using DNA fragments shorter than the persistence length of DNA they were able to use the DNA to manipulate the heads to gather force intel and other information about the stroke.

There was a beautiful talk detailing the truth about S-phase DNA. The group used specifically binding proteins and fluorescent labels to attach to dsDNA and ssDNA to distinguish melted DNA from the mythical s-phase.

The Wang poster was pretty good (about RNA Polymerase unzipping) and actually gave me hope for my project. We can also use their data as fuel to the fire for my own proposed experiments.

Meeting Micah and viewing the Williams Lab was awesome. We had a great night and learned a lot about aligning tweezers and setting them up from him. I look forward to meeting him again in the future.

Being in a city with a great public transportation system and plenty of things to do was amazing. The food was great and everything will be greatly missed when I return to boring old ABQ.

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