In March my lab bench gathered a lot of dust, it was a busy month between teaching 2 brilliant club placements, demonstrating for an undergraduate unit, moving house and attending the Society for General Microbiology’s (SGM) annual conference. With my lab bench gathering dust it’s also meant my blog has gathered a little dust, it’s just how PhD life can be sometimes. I took on a lot in March, and it was all valuable, skill building, fulfilling work, but now April is the time to settle back down to my lab bench and get some experiments done.
I do however want to tell you a little about the SGM conference. It was held in Birmingham which was really convenient, rather than having to stay over I could just hop on the train every morning (in the opposite direction to normal) and arrive in Birmingham ready for the 9am start. The conference ran for 4 days, although I only attended for the first 3. There were a lot of different sessions running but I choose to attend:
- Antimicrobial resistance
- Microbiome in health and disease
- Sensory perception in microbes
- Prokaryotic microbial infection forum
With regular breaks for tea and coffee it’s easy to flit between sessions, cherry picking the talks you’re most interested in. In addition to listening to all the talks on offer I submitted an abstract for a poster to the Prokaryotic microbial infection forum. My abstract was accepted and I presented my poster on the Monday evening. 🙂
To help explain my research on a complicated genetic system that can randomly re-arrange I added an interactive element (and I have to give full credit for the initial idea to my supervisor, I think he was sick of me waving my arms around when explaining the system to anyone new). In the week before, when I was in full paper construction mode, the jury was out on how my interactive poster would go down. The term Blue Peter was thrown around, and not in a good way, but after the response I received at the conference (“you’re the one with the interactive poster!”) it’s most definitely interactive poster 1, doubters 0, and it will be making future appearances at other conferences.
I tweeted a little throughout the conference, about talks I found particularly interesting, although definitely not as much as some others did. Conferences often encourage tweeting and printed in the programme booklet was the conference hashtag #sgmbham, so anyone interested could follow the hashtag or tweet using it. Conference tweeting is fun and I managed to gain a few new followers in the process.
Attending SGM 2015 was a brilliant experience and I would like to thank the SGM for accepting my abstract and also for supporting my attendance with a conference grant. Many societies support PhD students and I fully recommend joining those relevant to your work (I’m a member of the SGM, the Society of Biology and the Genetics Society).