Girl Power in New Orleans: Conquering the ASM2015 Meeting

Girl Power in New Orleans: Conquering the ASM2015 Meeting

June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015

It was that time of the year again:  thousands of microbiologists and microbiology enthusiasts packed their suitcases and traveled to the 115th American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Annual Meeting. This year, the destination was NOLA! New Orleans had lots to offer to first-time visitors like us:  from local fresh seafood dishes to swamps with alligators. 

Unlike last year, this year ladies only contingent (Sofia EsquivelDr. Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, and I) represented the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology (SCEB) at the ASM. We arrived shortly before the conference started and after we got our badges, we applied a strategy to get the most out of the conference, commonly known at SCEB as divide and conquer! The second day of the conference, Sofia successfully presented her poster titled: “CO conversion to acetate: History and Biotechnological Promise.”

A famous carbon monoxide metabolism researcher, Dr. Ralph Tanner visited Sofia’s poster and discussed the future directions of carbon monoxide research as well as the valuable products that can be microbially produced from carbon monoxide. My presentation was not until the last day of the conference; so I unintentionally kept my adrenalin running throughout the meeting. In the meantime, we attended many talks on a wide range of topics such as the human microbiome and the cross talk between microbes and the earth.

In between talks, we visited many posters and got to meet many researchers around the world. We had time to visit the shopping mall of the meeting: the vendors! We not only got to know about recent research toys but we also collected enough grocery bags to cover every single member of SCEB. Walking around the conference halls, Dr. Rosy ran into her PhD advisor, Dr. Frank Loffler among many colleagues of hers. We also got to see SCEB alumnus, Dr. Jon Badalamenti as well as ASU alumnae, Dr. Erica Hartmann and Dr. Caitlin Otto. It is a small world after all. 

The last day of the conference, I gave a 15-minute long presentation in the prettiest room of the meeting. My presentation had the title: “Microbiome of Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass and Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band Patients: Insights into Weight Loss Post-Bariatric Surgery.” My presentation went well except the few times that I forgot I was wearing a microphone and became a little bit loud in my enthusiasms. It was an exciting time to share my research with many colleagues. After the day was over, we enjoyed more New Orleans cuisine (poboy, creole, and lots of fish!), the humidity, Bourbon Street with its all craziness, and the alligator-filled swamps before our flight back to Phoenix. 

 

 

Written by: Zehra Ilhan