Hey everyone! Sorry for the delay, but the last two days of the conference were quite hectic! Thursday’s lectures focused around hematopoietic cell differentiation, development, and function, including talks by big wigs such as Irv Weissman! As on tuesday, there was a workshop in the afternoon, although I am not sure how many of us made it to this workshop (we were all pretty tired from our eventful day of skiing on wednesday). As always, the late afternoon talks led to dinner and finally to my poster presentation as well as Carson Wills ’14 poster presentation. We were both pretty nervous, but ended up meeting heaps of wonderful PhD students, post-docs, etc. who were quite impressed to see undergraduates at such a conference and gave many helpful tips on actual experimentation (i.e. “I can never this stain to work..any suggestions?”), interpretation of data (i.e. “I know why you think this, but actually our lab found that this marker means ___”), as well as ideas for future experiments! Overall, despite being pretty nervous, the poster presentation portion of the meeting was probably most helpful for me in allowing me to further discuss the research I am currently doing with people outside of the Punterson realm, imbuing my brain with fresh ideas and perspectives. We left quite early on friday and were only able to catch a few talks in the morning about leukomogensis. The rest of friday was spent on a shuttle bus back to Denver, and on a plane from Denver to Philadelphia.
Overall, I would have to say that I quite enjoyed myself at Keystone. Although a bit overwhelming at first (yes, seeing and hearing some of the HSC celebrity researchers whose papers you read and only dream about meeting does make you feel starstruck. Probably more starstruck than seeing some other celebrities like Oprah or George Clooney. Well, maybe not George…), I would have to say that atleast for me this conference opened my eyes to the diversity and expansiveness of HSC research. Although much of Keystone is primarily focused on cellular and molecular biology, there were strong undertones of clinical application – many of the talks in fact included data from phase I or II clinical trials of new potential cancer therapies – which, by my lights, indicates a beautiful intertwining of medicine and science at it’s finest.
Hopefully you have enjoyed reading this blog as much as I have enjoyed attending and blogging about Keystone!
The Punterson Lab