Blog post 2: Society for Developmental Biology 74th Annual Meeting

In the middle of a summer full of lab work, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to present my research at the Society for Developmental Biology conference in July. This year was the 74th annual meeting, and it took place in Snowbird, Utah.  This was my first ever conference, and I was excited to have the chance to present my research to fellow scientists (and also to travel to Utah)! In the weeks before the conference, I spent a good amount of time working on the poster that I would be presenting. This work included imaging all of the fixed embryos from my experiments, processing the images in Photoshop, and organizing them in a comprehensible way.  After putting so much work into formatting my poster, it was great to see it finally printed out. Since the conference is over now, my poster is hanging outside of Dr. Saha’s lab on the third floor of ISC if you want to take a look at it!

The conference started out on a stressful note – the day that I was supposed to leave, I found out my flight had been canceled! As soon as I got the call, I rescheduled my flight to one leaving in a couple of hours. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough time to drive to Richmond and make the flight on time, so I had to reschedule again for the next morning. Once I was finally on my way though, everything went smoothly.

I arrived in Snowbird early on Thursday, and presented my poster that evening (the first day of the conference). The different poster sessions were split up by topic, so I presented alongside other people investigating “cell fate specification.” After setting up my poster, I had to stand by it for an hour and a half and talk to people who came by and asked me questions. This was my first conference so I was a bit nervous, but before long I started having fun explaining my project to people. Since most people at this conference were developmental biologists, a lot of them had interesting ideas for new techniques I could try or different questions I could pursue. After that period of standing by my poster, I was able to walk around and look at other posters.

In addition to the poster sessions, there were many talks scheduled throughout the day. The talks usually ranged from 15-30 minutes long, and were organized into different topics depending on the day. Several presentations happened concurrently, so I couldn’t go to all of them. I prioritized talks that looked interesting to me or that seemed relevant to my project. One of the most interesting talks I attended discussed research on Xenoups laevis tail regeneration. The researchers amputated Xenopus tadpole tails different amounts and were investigating the genes involved in the healing process. I’m interested in applying some of the techniques they used to my own research!

Overall, this conference was an amazing experience to present my research and learn about a lot of fascinating developmental biology. I can’t wait for next year!