A beautiful view of the mountains + great science talks = Awesome weekend at the Banff Inflammation Workshop 2015

To kickstart the year of 2015 conferences, I attended the 9th Banff Inflammation Workshop January 29th to February 1st.  This workshop was organized by the Inflammation Research Network at the University of Calgary.  It was an amazing 4-day getaway from the city (and from the lab of course) to be immersed in science with five of my colleagues and supervisor.  This workshop featured speakers across the globe with expertise in different areas of inflammation including mechanisms and consequences of inflammation, intestinal inflammation, neuroinflammation and pain.

Day 1 began with registration, a nice 3 course dinner, and a keynote address by Mauro Perretti that was unique and quite entertaining.  I woke up bright and early the next morning for a buffet breakfast before heading off to a day filled with back to back talks.  It was nice to listen to talks by faculty from the University of Calgary as I have not had the opportunity to hear about their research.  I was particularly looking forward to hearing Dr. Bruce Vallance speak about his work on intestinal epithelial inflammasomes.  It lies closely to what I am studying so it was fascinating to listen to.  I also had the opportunity to discuss my work with him during the poster session.  After a series of talks, there was a trainee session on interviews and preparing the CV which I found very helpful.  I learned more about writing a cover letter that is tailored to the specific position that one is applying for, writing a good CV, and I got a little bit more insight into the interview process for a post-doctorate or a faculty position.  The day ended off with trainee poster sessions and time for networking.  For dinner, we all headed out to a fancy Swiss-Italian restaurant called Ticinos which was reserved for our entire group.  It was my first time having a Swiss cheese fondue and it was definitely the highlight of dinner.

The following day also began with a series of talks and ended with the second trainee poster session which I was scheduled to present.  It was my first poster presentation and I really enjoyed the process of putting together data for a poster.  As most students have the tendency to put a lot of data and text crammed into a poster measured 1.5 m x 1.2 m, it’s not the intent of a scientific poster.  Some of the things that I learned when preparing my poster is to make sure the figures are large and of good quality as they are important in conveying the message.  The figures should really stand on its own.  Furthermore, having a descriptive title that states the findings will allow the readers to easily understand the takeaway points.  I had two judges come by and the instructions they provided me were to talk about the important points of my project in 3 minutes.  I began in a logical order from the introduction to the conclusion as if telling a story and I was able to deliver the key points clearly to them.  At the end, they asked me straight forward questions and provided me with some suggestions on experiments to perform.  Overall, I had a good time at the poster session and I was able to listen to some of the other students’ work as well.  I won 3rd place in the PhD category for the poster presentation so that was a nice bonus.  🙂 I would like to thank HPI NSERC CREATE for the funding to attend this workshop.

Banff 2015
Banff 2015
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