A Meeting-within-the-meeting

I climbed up on a table to get this bird's eye view of last night's TOXI poster session. C. Drahl/C&EN

I've attended ACS national meetings as both a graduate student and a reporter, and though those are two very different meeting experiences overall, there is a common thread-- the ACS meeting is so big you sometimes feel a little overwhelmed. Where do you begin to find the cool science? How can I even attempt to network in a sea of faces? This week I had the pleasure of hanging out with the folks in the Division of Chemical Toxicology. And I think these folks have mastered fostering an intimate environment at a big conference. Here are a few of the highlights of my experiences and the division's programming: The division has only one session running at a time, and it only has programming in the fall. I showed up to three events- their Young Investigators talks, their session on food-drug interactions, and their poster sessions. The sessions were held in small rooms and were well attended. And folks asked plenty of questions after all the talks. Speakers in a session asked each other questions. And there was plenty of interaction between organizers and program chairs for the division- the scientists were from academe and industry, and I also met a few government lab researchers in the division as well. The young investigators talks and the evening poster session were judged by leading researchers in the division. A $500 cash prize was up for grabs. The poster session was in a smaller room, with free food (it arrived late but did eventually got there!). Professors made the rounds and asked questions to poster presenters, who were a mix of postdocs and grad students. (This reminded me of the National Organic Symposium I attended last year). Folks stayed until the end to hear the $500 winner announced, including professors. (I can't find the cocktail napkin where I scribbled the winners' names. But I will contact the division folks for that info and update.) UPDATE 8/27: Here are the winners' names and affiliations (Congrats everyone!): Graduate oral presentation: Winner: Yan Zhong (Advisor: Stephen Hecht; University of Minnesota) Post-doc oral presentation: Winner: Kok-Seong Lim (Advisor: Peter Dedon; Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Graduate posters: First: Sankha Basu (Advisor: Ian Blair; University of Pennsylvania) Second: Anna Urban (Advisor: Lisa Peterson; University of Minnesota) Third: Linlin Zhao (Advisors: James F. Rusling and John B. Schenkman; University of Connecticut) Post-doc posters: First: Plamen Christov (Advisor: Carmelo Rizzo; Vanderbilt UniversityGreg Thatcher; University of Illinois) Second: Janel Warmka (Advisor: Lisa Peterson; University of Minnesota) Third: Wan Chan (Advisor: Peter Dedon; Massachusetts Institute of Technology) I love the excitement of a packed session in a big lecture hall, like the Woodward Memorial Symposium or the First Disclosures Session. But sometimes you just want to see the meeting from a different perspective. UPDATE 9/29: We have updated with the correct advisor information for Dr. Plamen Christov. Apologies for the oversight!

Author: Carmen Drahl

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1 Comment

  1. I concur, Carmen – I really enjoyed being invited to speak at the TOXI session on Food-Drug Interactions and found the session to be quite stimulating and interactive.

    Sorry I couldn’t stay for the poster session but it sounded great. Having that mix of big meeting networking and small meeting poster mixers are an ideal way to approach a monster conference like this.