Monday, May 11, 2015

#expbio ASPET Blogging: Late Wrap-up

It's been over a month since Experimental Biology and I haven't posted my wrap-up yet! Eek! But, to be fair, I have been a little busy becoming a Dr. and all. ;-)

This was my third year blogging for ASPET and I enjoyed it even more than last year. It may have helped that I didn't present a poster this year so I could focus just on attending sessions I wanted to write about and, well, writing. The press room is always such a haven for writing away from the busyness of the conference so I always appreciate that bloggers can use it!

Experimental Biology was held about 3 weeks prior to my defense. What better way to prepare for my defense than to blog about research related to my dissertation? Without giving away my exact area of research, let's just say that I study a specific G-protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR) and its effects on adult neurogenesis and mood. One of the areas I was a little rusty on was regulation of GPCRs themselves so I wrote two posts on Regulators of G-protein Signaling (RGS). I killed two birds with one stone when writing about RGS4 and antidepressant behavior. The other was on RGS6 and ischemic heart injury, not my area so I got to learn about it!

Studying the neurobiology of mental illnesses is my passion and what got me into research. To that end, I wrote two posts related to mental illnesses. Both presentations were by undergraduate researchers and their work was impressive! One examined behavior in adult offspring whose mothers had been stressed while pregnant. The other used modified version of a common over-the-counter drug as a potential antidepressant

This year marked the second time I attended the ASPET Business Meeting and and Awards Ceremony. The first time I was an undergraduate student and I found that my perspective had really changed. ASPET is doing such great things and I found myself thinking how neat it would be to be a part of that. Wanting to be on committees? Who am I? 
One of my other interests is the US research system: funding, the number of trainees and the careers available to them, and how the future looks. Dr. Michael Teitelbaum gave a great talk about the history and the factors which, theoretically, balance the system in the US. I missed his talk because I woke up very sick that morning, but luckily I had interviewed him prior to EB and he was kind enough to send me his slides. Fascinating stuff and I can't wait to read his book "Falling Behind?: Boom, Bust, and the Global Race for Scientific Talent". 

My most popular post from this year's meeting was about who owns the data generated in the lab and how to transition from student to postdoc or postdoc to independent scientist. Great information from Dr. Lynn Wecker, who I interviewed for one of my most popular posts from last year's EB on IDPs. 

In case you missed them, Elizabeth Sandquist also blogged for ASPET at Everyday Biochemistry. Her posts covered cancer, obesity, optogenetics (too good to be true?), and treatments for amphetamine addiction. She also did some highlights of undergraduate researchers and wrote about a couple "alternative" career paths!

All in all, it was a great meeting! I love catching up with colleagues and friends and being able to see and write about science. Thanks to ASPET for having me as a blogger again this year!

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