Experimental Biology Conference

May 07, 2018
Coleman Spence ’18 Biology Major
  • Coleman EB 2018

This past week I was able to attend the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego California. This conference is an annual meeting of 25 different societies, one of which is the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, of which Marymount Manhattan is a member.

Being able to attend EB was an experience unlike any other. It was really fun to be immersed with so many passionate scientists. I was able to present my chemistry research project which I have been working on for the past year with Dr. Leri. My poster was titled “Measurement of Enterococci and Other Water Quality Parameters as an Active Learning Module in Introductory Life Science Courses.”   I had the opportunity to present at the ASBMB undergraduate poster competition. During this competition, all participants were judged by 3 different judges from different attending universities and colleges. At first I was really nervous to be judged, but I found that all of my judges gave me really good and constructive feedback. Many of them were really interested in the community aspect of my research project, and several people asked for Dr. Leri’s and my email addresses! It was really exciting to feel like your work interested someone! This was a great experience because it allowed me to practice presenting scientific research while also allowing me to engage with other undergraduate researchers from around the country. After the competition, we all watched Marymount’s own Tracy Tauro win an honorable mention in the competition. Afterwards, Tracy and I were inducted into the ΧΩΛ Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Honors Society. 

When we were not presenting, we all attended various lectures and talks that were of interest to us. Our group attended the Tang Prize Award lecture. This years’ Tang Prize was awarded to Dr. Feng Zhang for his work in CRISPR-Cas9 technology. CRISPR has made previously impossible genomic manipulations such as gene knockout, gene activation, and large scale screening, a newfound reality.  The applications for this technology have unlimited potential! In addition to being an incredibly gifted and driven scientist, Dr. Zhang gave his lecture in a way that was really easy to understand. It was really cool to see someone be so passionate about their work and make an effort to make sure that all the people in the audience understood what he was talking about. It was really cool to see him too, because I’m sure he will be a common name in the scientific community in the future.

I also had the opportunity to go to several talks which were of interest to me. My favorite was about fatty acid compartmentalization and the biochemical mechanism of Acetyl-CoA synthetase-1. My favorite unit in Biochemistry class was lipids, so I really like learning about current lipid metabolic and biochemical research!  

Being able to attend EB was something I will always be thankful for as it made me even more passionate about scientific research!