Winners of the student poster competition at the annual BSDB meeting get an amazing prize: they receive a registration for the annual SDB meeting in North America. And, vice versa, winners of the SDB poster competition get to go to the BSDB meeting in the UK.
Sadly, the winner of last year’s SDB poster competition, Tracy Chong, was unable to make it to the UK for the BSDB meeting last month. She did write a great post on the Node about her work, so you can read that to find out what her poster was about.
In Tracy’s place, Steffen Biechele attended the BSDB meeting. He was a runner-up in the poster competition, and not at all expecting to be attending the BSDB meeting until he was contacted a few weeks beforehand!
As the substitute SDB poster winner, Steffen interviewed this year’s BSDB poster winner. The poster award went to Stephen Fleenor, a PhD student in Jo Begbie’s lab at Oxford University.
Steffen Biechele: You won yesterday’s poster competition. Which lab do you work for?
Stephen Fleenor: I work in Jo Begbie’s lab. I’ve been there as a PhD student for about six months. Prior to that I did a rotation stint for five months, so I’ve been there about a year in total.
SB: Wow, you won a post award after six months – that’s fantastic.
SF: I’m equally surprised!
SB: What was the poster about?
SF: It was largely an introduction to the system that we’re studying, and the phenotype of a knockdown that I did. I knocked down a molecule known to be a catalytic regulator of G-protein signaling, but its regulation in this manner hasn’t been characterized in our system.
SB: What system is that?
SF: Developmental cranial sensory ganglia in the chick embryo. We’re looking at the generation of neuroblasts and migration of those neuroblasts toward the site of the ganglia proper. We’re trying to figure out what’s guiding them, what’s cueing them to begin differentiation and guiding the kinetics of their migration.
SB: Have you presented a poster at a meeting before?
SF: No. This is my first conference, as well. This has all been a whirlwind of excitement!
SB: What’s next?
SF: Well, apparently I’m going to the SDB Meeting in Montreal!
At the SDB meeting, Stephen is, in turn, going to try to interview the SDB poster winner, so we should hear from him again in a few months. The poster winners at the SDB meeting are announced at the very end of the conference, so the logistics are a bit more difficult than at the BSDB, where there is still half a day of talks after the announcements. Consider it an experiment. As it goes with all experiments, we hope it will be successful, but we won’t know if it works until we try!