Editor’s picks: what to do
at the annual meeting

Published April 01 2018

The Experimental Biology meeting is a big deal. And by that I mean there are thousands of attendees and hundreds of sessions by five scientific societies from dawn to beyond dusk. It’s a lot to take in, and it’s often hard to choose what to do when there are multiple sessions and events of interest happening at the same time. So, if you get stuck and need someone to make a decision for you, here are my picks. Take ‘em or leave ‘em.


Pithy pitches and pro tips for presenters
Wherever | Wherever
The ASBMB scientific sessions don’t begin until Sunday. So on Saturday you still have time to think about which ones best align with your interests and schedule. We asked the organizers for their pithiest pitches for their symposia, including what their theme songs would be (if they had theme songs, that is). The veteran presenters also offered advice for attendees giving their first talks. Read what they had to say.

Advice for presenters and audience members
Wherever | Wherever
Having to answer an off-putting question after your talk is never fun. And sometimes it’s hard to know whether a question you have in mind is appropriate to ask. Use this guide from the ASBMB to learn how, if you’re presenting, to handle rude or irrelevant questions (and those pesky nonquestions) and how, if you’re in the audience, to determine if you should ask your question or just keep quiet. See the advice (plus an infographic).

Get your CRISPR-loving self in a seat
6 p.m. | Ballroom 20, San Diego Convention Center
On Saturday evening, the big show will be the Tang Prize award lecture by Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute. This is a joint event put on by all the host societies for EB 2018, so you should expect a very big crowd and maybe even standing room only. If you can, arrive early to grab a seat.


Weigh in during this science policy town hall – and get a free lunch
12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m. | Room 6A, San Diego Convention Center
Join this timely discussion, organized by the ASBMB, about the impact of the current political climate on the biomedical research enterprise. The town hall will cover: the state of federal investments in life science research, local and national science advocacy, and policy changes affecting the research community. Use the hashtag #SciPolicy to follow along. Complimentary lunch is first come, first served for the first 75 attendees.

Workshop: Success in scientific publishing
5:30 p.m. –7 p.m. | Room 30E, San Diego Convention Center
This 90-minute workshop sponsored by the Journal of Biological Chemistry will offer tips on collecting and presenting data, editing text for clarity and reach, and sharing your work after publication. The scientifically trained presenters will share best practices, challenge your know-how, and answer questions. Get a head start by reading this series of columns by Kaoru Sakabe, ASBMB’s data integrity manager, who will be chairing the session.


Take advantage of daily meet-the-speakers sessions
12:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. | Exhibit hall, San Diego Convention Center
Don’t miss the ASBMB’s “meet-the-speaker” networking opportunities during each midday poster session on the exhibit hall floor. These gatherings connect attendees and poster presenters with invited speakers, award winners and other scientific leaders in the field.

Workshops in a variety of flavors before dinnertime
5 p.m. – 7 p.m. | Check the EB app for locations
Hungry for new knowledge? The ASBMB is offering four concurrent workshops: Optogenetics and Molecular Sensors; Supported Lipid Membranes and Nanodiscs; Molecular Visualization; and Turning Science Research into Science Outreach. Get your fill before heading off for supper.


Wake up! It’s trivia time
7 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. | Room 6B, San Diego Convention Center
Do you have a competitive streak? Or maybe insomnia? Then join fellow early-risers and jump-start your day with some trivia provided by the ASBMB. Space is limited, so arrive on time to get your complimentary cuppa and carbs. No shame in showing off!

Women scientists mentoring and networking event
5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. | Room 6A, San Diego Convention Center
Join the women of the ASBMB in a discussion about career-advancement strategies and self-promotion. Attendees who care about the career trajectories and professional growth of women scientists at all career stages should attend. The organizers plan to discuss the launch of a new advocacy group they’re calling WIBMB (for Women in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology).


Talk: How telomeres solve the chromosome end-protection problem
8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. | Room 6C, San Diego Convention Center
Titia de Lange of The Rockefeller University is the winner of the ASBMB’s Bert and Natalie Vallee Award in Biomedical Science. She identified the protein complex shelterin that binds to telomeres, protective elements at the ends of chromosomes. She also showed how shelterin hides chromosome ends from cellular machinery that detects and repairs DNA damage. Read about her here and put her award lecture on your itinerary!

So much to be said about metals in biology at this symposium
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Room 1B, San Diego Convention Center
Metals touch nearly every aspect of biology. Some 30 percent of proteins require metal co-factors. This ASBMB symposium will highlight cellular pathways and biochemical processes that rely on metal ions, from microbes and mammalian cells to the host–pathogen interface. The organizer, Amy Palmer of the University of Colorado, Boulder, said the session’s theme song is “Titanium” by David Guetta “because metals make proteins and cells bulletproof — or at least stronger than they would be without metals!” Heavy stuff. (See the speaker lineup at the bottom of this page.)

Angela Hopp Angela Hopp is executive editor of ASBMB Today and communications director for the ASBMB.