243rd American Chemical Society Meeting This past weekend I was lucky to present our research at the national ACS Meeting in San Diego! A group of 12 RWU Biology/Chemistry students went with me. I have worked in this project at the Espinosa lab in collaboration with an RWU graduate and fellow Certificate in Biotechnology awardee, Monichan Phay. Our poster, “Iron Binding Affinity of Entamoeba invadens Alcohol Dehydrogenase E (EiADHE) in Two Varieties of E. invadens: VK-1:NS and IP-1” was entered in the Biological Chemistry section alongside other graduate and undergraduate students. I spoke with a few people about my poster—which can be nerve-racking, but overall our discussions were both interesting and helpful. I received some feedback on my computational studies and was able to share, and at times, commiserate, with others familiar with the sensitive nature of iron studies. Sometimes it’s easy for us to forget, at such a small institution, that our research is actually significant—it’s not just what we do on campus in our spare time, it can hold its own at a national conference and provoke great conversation.
Of course, we had plenty of time to attend other poster sessions, lectures, and explore the city (don’t worry, we did eventually make it to the San Diego Zoo). I took advantage of the grad school seminars and breakfast get together, which allowed students to talk with representatives from a number of different universities. As someone who plans on returning to school (though whether for chemistry, biology, or biochemistry, I’m not sure), it was helpful to get an idea of what types of projects professors are working on at different universities; speaking with professors definitely gave me a clearer idea of what qualities I am looking for in a graduate program—for example, some chemistry programs took especially interdisciplinary approaches in combining resources from within various chemistry departments as well as biology departments. Overall, attending the national conference was a great experience and provided the opportunity to share my research and start planning for my future.
If you are interested in research and would like to graduate with a Certificate in Biotechnology, take advantage of the opportunities that working with a faculty mentor (in my case, Dr. Espinosa) and traveling to ACS with support from the RWU Provost’s Fund for Student Research and the commitment of the Departments of Chemistry and Biology!