Next week is 11th annual International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) meeting. This meeting is the largest forum for stem cell and regenerative medicine professionals from around the world. The meeting format consists of over 2000 abstracts and 150 speakers talking about their latest research, along with exhibits and vendors who provide stem cell reagents and tools. While this meeting has gotten bigger over the years, if you are in the world of stem cell research, you should be there. There are three things you should try to do when attending this meeting or any stem cell conference for that matter.
Learn. Spend some time prior to the event looking at the abstracts and make a plan of attack. In many case, a lot of the data presented will either already have been published or be very close to it, so be sure to engage the speaker or presenter with follow-up questions. Even though you are in a public setting, it is still ok to be critical—after all, we are scientists, and that is what we do. In addition to learning about work in your own field, try to expand your mind a bit and read about work that might be outside of what you normally do. Sometimes it gives you great experimental ideas, as many of the approaches might be similar to yours, albeit in different contexts.
Find New Products. One of the most fun things to do is to cruise the conference floor to visit with all the companies selling their products. Not only will you score some cool free stuff, but you may find some of the latest and greatest stem cell research tools out there. Even better, go ask questions about products you already use if something hasn’t been working properly or as advertised. Our company, StemCultures, will be there this year at booth number 506 talking about our StemBead products, like StemBeads FGF2. We like to have fun, so we will be giving away Mardi Gras beads to wear and a chance to win tickets to an open bar Friday night. Please stop by our booth.
Connect. This really is the best part of the meeting. Make sure you try to meet as many people as you can. Go to the events, make new friends and potential collaboration partners, and widen your web of stem cell colleagues. we meet so many people this way, and going to ISSCR every year allows us all the chance to be in the same place talking science and having fun.
Looking forward to seeing you all out there. If you have other recommendations or approaches that you use to get the most out of the stem cell conferences you attend, please reply to this post below.
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