Beyond the big talks

A preview of offerings at the ASBMB annual meeting

Published December 01 2017

It’s more than four months away, but the committees and staff of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology are already planning programs and activities for the 2018 annual meeting in San Diego. Just in case you need a nudge to hit that Feb. 27 early registration deadline, here’s a general preview of all the great stuff we have on tap. We’ll provide time and place details in an issue closer to the meeting dates of April 21-25.


Pitches, posters and presentation
Since 2013, the Public Outreach Committee has been encouraging ASBMB members to reach out of their comfort zone and engage with the public. We are continuing this tradition by offering several exciting sessions at this year’s annual meeting.

Do you run a science outreach or communication program at your university? If so, please submit an abstract to present your work at the Science Outreach Poster Session, which will be held during the Experimental Biology welcome reception. This event allows you to share your public engagement activities and programs with the entire EB community. If you’re not involved with outreach, this poster session is a great way to learn more about developing informal education experiences in your area.

Attendees mingle and gain valuable experience presenting their research at the undergraduate poster competition during the 2017 ASBMB annual meeting in Chicago. The 2018 competition will be held April 21 in San Diego. For the 2017 results and information about next year’s contest, click here.courtesy of ACTIONFOTO CONVENTION PHOTOGRAPHY

In collaboration with local outreach organizations, we are hosting a Transforming Science Research into Science Outreach Workshop. Our panelists will share how their outreach programs were inspired by current research and give advice on how to expand, improve or even just start your own public engagement activity. Armed with this knowledge, you can create an outreach event inspired by your research and aimed at your audience of choice.

You don’t need to host an event to do outreach, though. Outreach can be as simple as sharing your research with a friend or neighbor.

However, it’s hard to create a brief, exciting narrative that will encourage laypeople to learn more. The interactive Constructing Your Elevator Pitch Workshop will guide you through the process of creating and delivering an effective statement. Presenters will discuss real-life approaches to communication that work (and don’t work) and offer plenty of opportunities for practice and feedback. The skills you’ll gain are not just valuable for communicating with the lay public but with other academics, government officials and potential employers as well.

Every day, professional communicators like journalists use storytelling strategies to capture their audience. So why not tell a story in your scientific presentations? Storytelling and the Art of Giving a Good Presentation is an interactive session that will help you create a compelling narrative with your research. You’ll get presentation tips from professional storytellers, plus the opportunity to put your new skills to work.
— Danielle Snowflack


New insights, voices and opportunities
April is our favorite month in the publications department, because the ASBMB annual meeting gives us a chance to meet the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of Lipid Research, and Molecular & Cellular Proteomics authors we’ve been working with all year and learn about their latest research.

We’re delighted that Gerald Hart, associate editor of MCP and JBC (and incoming ASBMB president), has won the Herbert Tabor Research Award; he will give his award lecture on nutrient regulation of signaling and transcription. At his lecture, JBC will also unveil the winners of the revamped JBC/Herbert Tabor Young Investigator Awards, which honor the first authors of the very best papers published in JBC. These rising stars will have a chance to address the crowd during their Spotlight Talks. At JBC, we look forward to a redesigned publishing workshop, where we’ll help authors prepare compelling titles and abstracts, make sure their data are unassailable and spread the word about their research. In addition, we’ll seek feedback about other ways JBC can support the biological chemistry community and about potential changes in journal policy and upcoming initiatives. Also, the April meeting is JBC’s yearly reunion with its editorial board members and gives us a chance to discuss best practices in peer review to ensure consistency and fairness.

The annual meeting will have a symposium on lipid signaling and metabolism, at which JLR Associate Editor Michael Wakelam of the Babraham Institute will give a talk on using lipidomics pathway analysis to identify therapeutic targets. Dennis Voelker, winner of the Avanti Award in Lipids, will give a lecture about phospholipid regulation of inflammatory processes and viral infection. The editors of JLR will pay close attention to the Spotlight Talks, as the journal is just wrapping up an eight-review series on the major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, apolipoprotein E, and it’s time to get inspired for the next one.

MCP is proud to sponsor a symposium on systems biology and proteomics. Deputy Editor Steven Carr of The Broad Institute will talk about new approaches for subcellular localization of proteins and their interaction partners with high spatial resolution. The other speakers include MCP editorial board members Ileana Cristea of Princeton University and Heng Zhu of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Additionally, the MCP team will be looking for feedback on the journal’s implementation of new guidelines and requirements for targeted mass spectrometry papers.
— Catherine Goodman & Angela Hopp

Student chapters

Opportunities for undergrads
The ASBMB Student Chapters is a program for undergraduate students and faculty members that provides networking and career-development opportunities and resources for research and science outreach. Each year, the Student Chapters Steering Committee hosts two networking events at the ASBMB annual meeting.

At the first event, Organizing a Successful ASBMB Student Chapter, members of Student Chapters share tips and ideas for organizing chapter activities, scientific meetings and outreach events. Student and faculty members of the ASBMB Student Chapters program and those interested in starting a chapter are encouraged to attend. During the ASBMB Student Chapters advisers’ networking reception, chapter advisers have the opportunity to network with members of the Student Chapters Steering Committee and other advisers. Faculty members interested in starting a chapter also are encouraged to attend.
— Nadine Gombakomba

Minority affairs

An in-depth look at RNA
The ASBMB Minority Affairs Committee is excited to bring cutting-edge scientific talks, networking opportunities and professional development opportunities for trainees to the 2018 ASBMB annual meeting.

The MAC is bringing together leading scientists to present on recent work in the field of RNA biology. Join them for sessions on RNA Form and Function, RNA in Human Disease, and RNA-mediated Epigenetics as a part of the MAC-presented Issues in Depth symposia series, Gilded Strands: RNA Form, Function, and Role in Human Diseases. Each year, the MAC Issues in Depth symposia series offers presentations on recent scientific advances and the societal implications of these advances, especially on minority populations.

Join the MAC at the ASBMB welcome and networking reception. Learn about MAC programs, including the Interactive Mentoring Activities for Granstmanship Enhancement grant-writing workshop, held every spring, and the Marion B. Sewer Distinguished Undergraduate Scholarship, awarded annually. See the work of travel awardees in the reception’s poster session, and mingle with fellow scientists interested in supporting diversity and inclusion in BMB.

Are you an underrepresented minority graduate student, or do you know any? The MAC encourages URM graduate students to apply for the Graduate Student Travel Award supported by the committee. In addition to receiving travel funding, recipients of this award will have the opportunity to participate in ASBMB professional development programming, present a poster of their work at the ASBMB welcome reception and be paired with an individual mentor to meet with at the annual meeting. This is a fantastic opportunity for students to engage with meeting programming and receive travel funding.
— Allison Goldberg

Public affairs

Advocacy initiatives
Following on last year’s success, the Public Affairs Advisory Committee again will host an advocacy town hall for ASBMB members. Join PAAC Chair Matt Gentry (from the University of Kentucky) and Public Affairs Director Benjamin Corb as they discuss the PAAC’s activities on behalf of the community in the previous year, describe exciting new initiatives being offered to ASBMB members to get involved in advocacy, and answer your questions about the latest science policy news and information. The PAAC also will bring guest speakers to discuss relevant and timely science policy issues. Lunches will be made available.
— Benjamin Corb

Education and professional development

Science meets marketing
The ASBMB Education and Professional Development Committee has organized a program of annual meeting sessions and workshops around the theme Science Meets Marketing: The Key to a Successful Career.

Najijah Aziz, a research technician at Massachusetts General Hospital, presents her work at the 2017 Experimental Biology conference at McCormick Place in Chicago. The yearly conference includes the ASBMB annual meeting.courtesy of ACTIONFOTO CONVENTION PHOTOGRAPHY

With the diverse career options available for scientists and a rapid increase in the use of online profiles, it’s important to prepare a professional profile that helps promote specific career objectives. In a session on Strategically Building Your CV at Every Career Stage, speakers from academia and industry will present strategies that students, trainees, faculty and industrial scientists can use to ensure that their experiences are leading to their desired career path and they are marketing themselves to achieve their career goals.

This program will be followed by a hands-on workshop where attendees can discuss how experiences link to a specific career path, along with tools for marketing themselves. Participants will be divided into groups based on their interests and career level, and session speakers will facilitate discussions within each group.

While all career stages can benefit from this workshop, students, postdocs and early-career scientists are urged to attend. Your next job could depend on it.

Have you ever been the expert in the room trying to explain your science and your audience just does not get your message? Effectively telling your scientific story is vital to a successful career. A session on Communicating Scientific Ideas to Novice Audiences will bring together speakers from diverse backgrounds to discuss communicating science effectively to nonexpert groups. Even experienced communicators will benefit from the cross-disciplinary interactions in this session.

A workshop on Molecular Visualization will present practical knowledge for how to communicate molecular structure/function using low-cost but powerful methods. Techniques for using molecular visualization software to effectively convey structural features will be demonstrated. Included will be a sample of virtual reality technology that has been shown to enhance understanding of molecular structures.
— Rachell Booth & Marvin Payne

Check the meetings page and upcoming issues of ASBMB Today for more details and highlights of the annual meeting. We look forward to seeing you in San Diego.