Promoting lifelong learning

Published November 01 2016

Science involves a dedication to learning new things about the world and ourselves. The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will be hosting a variety of workshops that promote learning about cutting-edge techniques and improving professional skills at the 2017 annual meeting.


Academic drug discovery:charting a roadmap for movingbasic ideas into the clinic

So you have identified a biological target or a pathway. Now what? This workshop is designed to teach academic investigators how to navigate the challenging but highly rewarding process of small-molecule drug discovery. The workshop will cover major techniques and steps in drug discovery and present specific examples of moving targets and molecules through the drug-discovery process. The workshop leaders, Zhong-Yin Zhang from Purdue University and Shaomeng Wang from the University of Michigan, also will share their best practices and lessons learned.

Beyond DNA methylation and histone modifications

Epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation and histone modifications, can change gene expression and cause diseases without changing the underlying DNA sequence. Next-generation sequencing has been transforming the field of epigenetics, generating large datasets of BS-seq, ChIP-seq and RNA-seq information. This poses great challenges for data analysis, requiring knowledge of best ways to distill high-dimensional information into comprehensible conclusions. In this workshop, Wei Li from Baylor College of Medicine and Kai Tan from the University of Pennsylvania will present several cutting-edge analytical frameworks for epigenomic data analysis and demonstrate how to integrate multidimensional epigenomic datasets to construct condition-specific transcriptional regulatory networks.

CRISPR-based versatile tools and their major application areas

This workshop, led by Mazhar Adli at the University Virginia School of Medicine and Jacob Corn at the University of California, Berkeley, will present leading-edge CRISPR/Cas9-based technologies and their applications. The wide range of versatile CRISPR-based tools will be covered, with focus given to the design of experiments, downstream analysis and major pitfalls. Specific applications of CRISPR to genome-scale knockout screening and locus-specific epigenetic editing approaches will also be presented.

High-performance mass spectrometry for proteomics

The improvements in performance metrics of mass spectrometers, coupled with the development of new MS/MS methods and new strategies for quantitation, have significantly accelerated the field of proteomics, to the point where nearly every protein in a human cell can be quantified. This workshop, led by Jenny Brodbelt from the University of Texas at Austin, and Josh Coon from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, will showcase some of the latest mass spectrometry technologies for identifying proteins and their post-translational modifications, as well as forefront applications of bottom-up and top-down proteomic approaches to untangling the multifaceted networks that regulate complex organisms and their diseases.

Lipidic cubic phase crystallography

Lipidic cubic phase crystallography and related methods have transformed membrane-protein structural biology. They have led us to most of the known structures of G-protein–coupled receptors, as well as structures of many other membrane proteins, enzymes and transporters. This workshop, led by Andrew Kruse of Harvard Medical School and Aashish Manglik of Stanford University, will focus on how to crystallize membrane proteins by the lipidic cubic phase method and will include a live hands-on demonstration of the technique.

Principles and applications of modern kinetic and equilibrium analysis

This workshop will teach attendees how to answer important questions about enzyme mechanisms by designing the right experiments and interpreting them quantitatively. The workshop will be taught by Kenneth Johnson at the University of Texas at Austin and founder of KinTek Corporation, a leader in precision stepped-flow and quench-flow instruments for rapid transient reaction kinetics. It will present basic foundations and applications of kinetic analysis and then cover topics ranging from chemical kinetics and enzymology to pharmacokinetics and cell biology. It will demonstrate the use of KinTek computer simulation software to fit multiple data sets simultaneously, including kinetic and equilibrium measurements. Attendees will learn how to perform a wide range of experiments and interpret them rigorously, without simplifying approximations and making errors inherent to fitting data using equations.


Grant success demystified

The ASBMB grantwriting workshop hosted by the ASBMB Minority Affairs Committee will provide participants with an effective set of tools to enhance their grantsmanship and demystify the grant submission and review process. The workshop presenters are Sonia Flores at the University of Colorado, Boulder and Suzanne Barbour from the University of Georgia, Athens. They have extensive knowledge of all aspects of the process for National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation submissions, and will focus on practical methods that have been used with great success in the more extensive two-day program for Interactive Mentoring Activities for Grantsmanship Enhancement.

How to get a life in the life sciences

Every scientist can benefit from helpful and entertaining tips on how to navigate graduate school, postdoctoral positions, job hunts and steady funding while finding personal fulfillment. Two self-proclaimed “chronologically gifted” biochemists, William Wickner of Dartmouth University and Nobel laureate Randy Schekman at the University of California, Berkeley, will share how lifelong friendships grown in the lab and bold and feasible directions for your science can lead to long, fulfilling scientific careers.

Publishing in the JBC 101: advice from the experts

Interested in publishing your research in the Journal of Biological Chemistry? Make sure you are presenting your research rigorously, clearly and compellingly! The JBC editors will discuss important aspects authors need to consider when preparing their manuscripts for submission. Topics to be covered include clarity of the text, including title and abstract, data presentation, database compliance and transparency.


Advocacy town hall

You’ve got questions about policy? Join the ASBMB’s public affairs staff and leaders from the ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee, who will be hosting a town-hall style meeting. You will have your questions answered about almost anything happening in the policy world. Your questions can range from funding levels to the influence of the 2016 elections on science. We’ll help you connect how policy decisions in Washington, D.C., affect your science.

Constructing your elevator pitch

Being able to describe your research efficiently is a skill that all scientists should have. In this interactive workshop led by members of the ASBMB Public Outreach Committee, you will learn how to construct an elevator pitch, which is a brief, engaging description of your research. We will discuss tips and real-life examples of approaches to communication that work (and don’t work) and provide plenty of opportunities for practice and feedback. This workshop will be part of the Graduate and Postdoc Career-Development Event.

Identifying transferable skills

Scientists build many different skills — from techniques to communication to personnel management — throughout their careers. However, communicating these skills outside the academic research environment can be challenging. Zach Marks, co-founder and chief operating officer of Oystir, an online jobs marketplace that matches candidates and employers based on skills, will lead graduate student and postdoctoral fellows in learning how best to present their skills to potential employers. This workshop will be part of the Graduate and Postdoc Career-Development Event.

Networking 101

Whether you are an early-career scientist or an established member of your scientific community, developing and maintaining a network of professional contacts will help grow your career. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows interested in learning how to cultivate professional relationships will develop a personal action plan during this workshop, which will be led by the ASBMB Education and Professional Development Committee.This workshop will be part of the Graduate and Postdoc Career-Development Event.

Why do science outreach?

Participating in science outreach usually is not seen as essential for a successful scientific career. However, a growing body of research has begun to point to several benefits of getting involved with outreach. During this workshop, representatives from the ASBMB Public Outreach Committee and Northwestern University’s Science in Society research center will discuss how taking part in science outreach activities can have both short- and long-term positive impacts on scientists, focusing in particular on skill development, professional advancement and establishment of strong community relationships. This workshop will be part of the Graduate and Postdoc Career-Development Event.