Presenting at the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting

A conversation with two Bioengineering graduate students about their experiences

 

Who: Salvador Flores Torres - Ph.D. student in Biomedical and Biological Engineering, under the supervision of Prof. J. Matt Kinsella.

What: Presentation of his findings on breast cancer research using bioprinting techniques at the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting.

When: October 2017

Where: Phoenix, Arizona

How: Salvador Flores Torres had two methods to prepare for his presentation – doing a literature review and practicing in front of an audience. The first helped get him up to speed on current trends in the field and anticipate possible questions. The second was especially helpful because English was not his first language, and although he has presented several times in Mexico, this would be his first time doing so in the United States. “You could be the best scientist out there” he stated, “but no one might understand you.” His audience – in this case, his lab mates – were essential in providing feedback and helping him build confidence in his communication skills.

Best part: A conference highlight for Flores Torres was meeting and exchanging ideas with peers in his field. Through discussions with other attendees, he was not only able to gain insight into his own research and learn about new techniques and approaches, but also make connections with a number of professors in other Canadian universities. He was also impressed to note the high level of science of his research group in comparison to other institutions: “McGill is doing quite well – we are two-to-three steps ahead of other universities.” His favourite part, in fact, was being asked by other presenters for his advice on their research. “I wasn’t just there to learn” he added, “but to aid as well.”

Going back: Flores Torres is enthusiastic about returning to BMES if the opportunity arises, and he encourages others to attend regardless of where they’re at in their research. “Even if you don’t think you have the research, it’s good to submit the progress you have to get an idea of what others are doing, what you need to do, or what you should keep on doing,” he recommends.

Jaqueline Kort Mascort in front of her poster

 

Who: Jaqueline Kort Mascort – Master’s student in Biomedical and Biological Engineering, under the supervision of Prof. J. Matt Kinsella.

What: Poster presentation of her research on cancers located between head and neck using bioprinting techniques at the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting.

When: October 2017

Where: Phoenix, Arizona

How: This was Jaqueline Kort Mascort’s first time both attending and presenting at a conference. To prepare, she sought guidance from her supervisor, Prof. Matt Kinsella, who offered suggestions on how to edit her poster for display. Kort Mascort also felt confident because the findings were her own: “since I did all the experiments, I was sure of what I was talking about.”

Best Part: “All the networking you can do, since important people from your area are [at the conference].” Kort Mascort loved meeting peers with similar interests, and getting feedback about where she should take her research in the future. She also enjoyed attending presentations of others and becoming inspired about methods and techniques used in other labs across the continent. Since the poster talks are so short, she was able to partake in many of them.

Going Back: Kort Mascort felt her first conference experience was a success, and she hopes to present her new research developments at next year’s BMES.