Monday, July 13, 2009

General Thoughts on the GRC, Part I

Well, since I guess I can't say anything specific about the talks due to the policy, I'll at least talk a bit about the topics that have been discussed so far in general terms.

1) Ken Nealson gave a nice keynote about the history of the study of metal reducing bacteria, being quite fair I thought towards the rival Lovley camp. He also ventured into what he himself called "crazy stuff" about electrobiology which I understand he might not want to be disseminated yet as he hasn't fully worked things through -- not for some secrecy reason. We also had a bit of a scare during the talk as a conference attendee suffered a seizure and paramedics had to be called. But fortunately it wasn't anything life threatening.

2) I was talking about my work on my phylogenetic pipeline APIS to a grad student of Brad Tebo's , and he mentioned "We had a woman from JCVI come up to discuss CMOP and she talked about that". Hmm. Could it be this talk?

3) On Monday morning, the main topics seemed to be Raman-Fish and Nano-SIMS. I hadn't heard of either technology before coming to the conference, but both are technologies used to track the metabolic activity of single cells. As my work in environmental microbiology is in large scale metagenomics, it is easy to forget that studies at the opposite end of the scale are also being revolutionized.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

GRC on Applied and Environmental Microbiology

So here I am at the campus of one of the Seven Sisters, Mt. Holyoke, for the Gordon Research Conference on Applied and Environmental Microbiology. I had intended on blogging this conference, as I do for most conferences I attend, but actually, I'm not sure of the legality in this case: The conference schedule says "All information provided at this GRC (formal talks, poster sessions, discussions) is considered private communication from the individual making the contribution and is presented with the restriction that such information is not for public use". This seems very strange to me. Why would anyone present *anything* at a conference if they want it private? Why have conferences at all? Maybe we can go back to the medieval alchemist model where we write our discoveries in code to prevent rivals from learning of them...