236: Your research in 12 minutes

To tell the world (well, the conference audience) about what you do in 12 minutes.

I am giving a talk next Tuesday at the American Society for Virology (ASV) annual meeting.  It’s my first time to give a talk to an audience outside of my graduate school.  I have presented a poster before, also at a previous ASV meeting, and it wasn’t too bad.  However, I think that giving a structured, formal talk is a different challenge, especially when you have an audience with diverse backgrounds and expertise.  It’s a lot harder to condense months and months of work and data into a 12-minute talk, but that is precisely what I have to accomplish.  My initial presentation had 22 slides, and my P.I. suggested I make it shorter.  Add to that the “pressure” of giving enough background information to an audience that are more virology-oriented.  I guess I’m lucky enough to be scheduled together with other acquired immunity talks.  I would presume that majority of the audience would know their T cells from their B cells and such.

It’s a little weird looking at my presentation slides – I see my time in graduate school pass by.  The first two years I’ve worked on my thesis project are summarized in two slides that I plan to cover in a minute or so.  Two or so years capsulized into a minute!  The rest of the presentation covers the next three years – most of it filled with failed experiments and countless trial and error attempts at growing T cell lines that will never be acknowledged.  I was only able to generate one T cell line from these experiments, and (lucky me) I got a really interesting T cell line!  Its cross-reactive nature has  relevant and important implications in understanding immune responses to influenza and in improving influenza vaccinations.

That’s my research in a nutshell.  I wish it was as easy as writing this blog post.

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