Part I: Prepping for the ASBMB annual meeting

11/5/2018 1:33:09 PM

The ASBMB annual meeting will be held April 6–9, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. There are so many reasons this meeting is for early-career scientists and students like you. Obviously, you can learn about the latest and greatest research developments across the biochemistry and molecular biology fields at a wide range of scientific sessions and annual award lectures. But, perhaps equally important, you'll get career-advancement opportunities and access to a supportive network of peer scientists.

In case you didn’t know, this meeting is held in conjunction with Experimental Biology, which is like getting a five-for-one deal with open access to programming from five science societies. Plus, Experimental Biology features a career center with professional-development workshops, individual career-coaching sessions and lots more. 

So, are you thinking about attending the 2019 ASBMB Annual Meeting but not sure where to start? This week, in a two-part series, we provide you with helpful tips on what to do now to prepare for the meeting. Stay tuned for more tips later this week on travel funding, planning logistics and other conference prep.

Tip 1: Make sure you're a member of the ASBMB for 2019.  

You don’t have to be an ASBMB member to attend the meeting or present your work, but there are many perks for society members, including reduced registration rates and eligibility for travel awards. Check out the membership page for more information on how to join or log in to your existing account to renew. (FYI, applications for 2019 renewals/membership must be processed two business days prior to the ASBMB travel award deadline of Nov. 27 in order to be eligible.)  

Tip 2: Submit an abstract for a poster or oral presentation.  

If you are interested in presenting your latest research at the meeting, you must submit an abstract by Wednesday, Nov. 14. In addition to traditional posters and presentations, the meeting will once again feature spotlight talks and an undergraduate poster competition. Here are some of the nitty-gritty details on abstract submission to keep in mind and a few tips for writing abstracts. Also, be sure to read the fine print in the abstract-submission instructions.  

  • There is a $75 processing fee for submitting an abstract, which has to be paid with a credit card at the time of submission. Check with your research adviser or other sponsor about covering that fee. If you submit your abstract by this Wednesday, Nov. 7, you will be entered in a $50 giveaway that can help defray the cost.    
  • ASBMB student and affiliate members and nonmembers are required to have sponsors for their abstracts. The sponsors must be regular members of the ASBMB or regular member of another Experimental Biology host or guest society. (Postdoc/early-career members are exempt from this requirement but cannot sponsor someone else’s abstract.) If you need a sponsor, check the ASBMB member directory to find eligible regular members. If you still can’t find an appropriate sponsor, send a message to the ASBMB for assistance.  
  • Before submitting an abstract, get the contact information for and permission of each co-author. Also, check to see which ASBMB topic category best matches your research. (If you need help with this, send a message to the ASBMB.) Note that there is an education and professional development category related to biochemistry and molecular biology teaching activities and pedagogy.  
  • One of the best ways to learn how to write an abstract is to look at examples (e.g., ask peers for samples, read last year’s EB abstracts). If you need some extra guidance on writing an abstract, check out these tips from the Journal of Biological Chemistry’s technical editor, Martin Spiering, and this abstract advice from the ASBMB Meetings Committee. Also, recruit fellow scientists to peer review your drafts.  
  • You must submit an abstract as the first/presenting author by the Nov. 14 deadline to be eligible for ASBMB travel awards. (As noted above, you also have to be an ASBMB member.) The travel awards require a separate application with a deadline of 5 p.m. Eastern on Nov. 27. More information about travel awards and funding sources will be covered here on the blog later this week.  
  • Note: If you have some new research in the pipeline and need time to determine if you will have results to present, late-breaking abstract submissions will be accepted starting around Nov. 21. At this time, there also is an option to submit an abstract for an Experimental Biology Science Outreach poster, which are non-scientific abstracts specifically focused on promoting STEM-themed outreach activities.  

Tip 3: Convince your PI (and maybe yourself) to take time off to go.  

It’s a no-brainer that going to meetings will grow your professional network and your career, but it may be difficult to justify taking time away from the lab bench or to sell your PI on the idea, especially if you are not presenting on any lab-related research. Previously, I have written an article on how to maximize your conference spend. That article explains how to get the most bang for your buck at a conference, which might help you justify attending (or even paying your way).  

Some of these ideas include but are not limited to:  

  • bringing info back to the lab on a specific topic or technique to train fellow lab members;
  • assisting team members with conference prep and set-up;
  • working at your institution’s or company’s booth in the exhibit hall.  

And, if need be, it may be worth the investment to take annual leave to attend the conference on your own time or pursue an option to work remotely while there.  

Editor’s note  

If you’re looking for a way to get even more involved with the ASBMB, the society is hiring for several positions right now. This includes a peer-review coordinator and web content manager. See the FASEB job board for full descriptions and instructions on how to apply. If you have any questions about the positions, the hiring manager’s title is listed in each job announcement, and you can reference the contact list for ASBMB staff members to find the appropriate email address. No application deadlines are provided.

Donna Kridelbaugh is a contributor to the ASBMB Careers Blog. She holds an advanced degree in microbiology and is a former lab manager.   

Stay updated on new posts by following the ASBMB on social media  or click “follow” on this blog (must be a member and signed in). Also, be sure to check out the   ASBMB Job Board  for even more job listings