Poster season

After giving my first talk at a conference, it’s now poster season. And despite some poster-making and presenting experience, it turns out that both posters that I have been working on have in some aspects been a first.

Poster number one is already printed and presented, at a brief meeting organised for/by the collaborative research center 870. (Aside: The German term  is ‘Sonderforschunsbereich’ – long and cryptic.) I presented an experiment that I find very exciting, mostly because there is a lot of context which I can build on, and we have very clear expectations. However, it is also the most technically demanding experiment I have ever done, and it shows – it mostly fails. That’s why the data on my poster came from one animal (i.e. n = 1). Well, it’s better than n = 0, right? But of course it is only preliminary data, and I need to come up with better ways to test our expectations (i.e. easier experiments leading to higher success rate). In fact, the discussions at the meeting gave me some new ideas, which I will test very soon. On the other hand, the failures had the added benefit that I was in no way tempted to put an overwhelming amount of data and/or text on the poster – there was a satisfying amount of white space, making the poster at least well readable.

The second poster I am working on right now is not for a brief and small meeting; instead it is for the biggest meeting in my field, the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, which will be in Chicago and is starting in less than two weeks. This is a first because I am presenting a project that is a collaboration with people outside my lab. In fact, my collaborators come from two other continents! That of course comes with a set of challenges – not least when to talk to or communicate with them due to the inconvenient time difference! Nevertheless I’m finally managing to fill the gaping holes on the poster draft, and am starting to believe that the story behind it makes sense. So see you at the SfN! Or if you’re not going and nevertheless want to follow what it is like to attend a meeting with more than 30’000 attendants, stay tuned to this blog: I will be (officially) blogging from the SfN!

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