Tuesday, May 19, 2009

ASM General Meeting Blog Diary - Day Two

ASM "officially" opened on Sunday at 5 pm with the opening lecture. There were three presentations, all of which were stellar and revolved around the celebration of Charles Darwin. Unfortunately I didn't bring my notebook with me for the opening lecture, so I have very little notes other than the ones I put into my cellphone. of course all three lecturers have a multitude of publications so finding and reading their work won't be much of an issue.

The first talk was given by Nancy Moran of the University of Arizona. Her talk revolved around microbial obligate symbiosis with their insect hosts. She presented some fascinating research conducted in her lab (visit the link above for a glimpse). Next up was W. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University. His talk was entitled "Microbe Hunting in the 21st Century". Aside from the technical hiccup which meant that the last quarter of the right side of each slide was off the screen, his talk was also fascinating. He spoke about the various techniques his lab has employed for detecting a variety of existing and emerging pathogens. What I found particularly interesting was his mentioning of seasonal effects of schizophrenia and how it ties in with influenza season. Essentially there appears to be a correlation between the immune response and influenza infection in the womb.

The ASM Lecturer for 2009 was A.H. Knoll of Harvard who gave a bio-geo-paleontology lecture examining microbial life throughout the lifespan of the Earth. Simply put, there is evidence of microbial life for roughly 3.5 billion years. Of course, as a fan of astrobiology, this was very intriguing, and he hinted at performing such work. I'm jealous!

Overall, it was a wonderful opening session, the best I've attended.

Food-wise, it was also a great day. Went over to the Reading Terminal Market and visited Carmen's. Had my first cheese steak and it lived up to expectations. Got it with provolone cheese and roasted hot peppers. Good stuff! Prior to the session I took a short tour of Philly and went to the Academy of Sciences Museum. They have some great dinosaur exhibits (I got pictures on my cell phone so they're not the best quality) and the price to get in wasn't bad ($10). Not a bad day at all!


microbiologist xx said...

Although I am jealous, I am really glad you are blogging about the meeting.

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