The second day of the conference has me finally suffering (or moreso meandering) through the entire mirth of what a typical day is going to entail here. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I was thinking it would be, so I definitely need to cut back on the coffee consumption. I thought I would need more; I was sorely mistaken. It’s fairly good coffee, but I just don’t need it!

James Berger led off the morning session with a lovely talk that did not disappoint, much like his publications. I thought he had fancy figures in his papers. It certainly extended towards his presentation of the material in a talk! I have been a bit enamored with his work for a few years now, simply because he’s done a lot to contribute towards understanding of how DnaA setups up the oriC complex to promote initiation of replication in E. coli, with a very structure/function styled approach. Interestingly, he may be the only structural talk I see this meeting, from the looks of it.

I’m shocked at how much real-time microscopy and single-molecule studies are being done in this field, egad! I mean it makes sense…visualization of chromosome partitioning/segregation/migration makes it substantially easier to examine was is defective with mutations in related genes. Some of the results being done with those kind of experiments is just amazing (and kind of beautiful too, when you look at how mitotic spindles pull the chromosomes to the daughter cells during mitosis).

I’m nearly flabbergasted by the similarity of interest of other labs to my own work. When I attended the ASM Conference on DNA Repair & Mutagenesis, I really had very little interest at my poster. In fact, I think I only had one individual come to talk to me about it when I was manning it. So far at this meeting? At least five individuals1 have expressed their desire to come talk to me about my work when I’m presenting my poster on Thursday. On Thursday! They’re excited to hear about it now! What the fuck! Obviously, my work is totally in the right conference this time!

Also, meeting a lot of interesting people with intriguing work! I met a graduate student from Sue Lovett‘s lab2 who (with the exception of the post-doc who also came up with her) is one of the only ones in her lab doing ‘chromosomal dynamics’ related work in the lab (similar to myself in my lab). I also met a post-doc from Elliott Crooke‘s lab, and he and I talked through all of lunch about our work and more. Randomly, I chatted up a post-doc from Antoine van Oijen‘s lab who found that UV-induced damage in E. coli at 23˚C apparently does not induce UmuC/D foci. Blows my mind!!! UmuC/D are the proteins known in E. coli to repair UV-induced DNA damage. Egad!

Also, interestingly, I met a young PI, Wiep Klaas Smits, who is transitioning his post-doctoral work in Alan Grossman‘s lab on Bacillus subtilis to a new model system, Clostridium difficile. It was interesting to learn how proximal oriC in B. subtilis and C. difficile to their dnaA loci (basically adjacent to), whereas in E. coli the oriC has been mapped to ~45kilobases away from the dnaA locus.

Uffda. Okay, I’ve really rambled enough. I need to get my ass to bed so I can indulge in more great talks, and attempt to hike up Mount Snow! Well, at least as far as I can get…


1First one of which was actually the conference chairwoman, Sue Lovett! Wow!
2Sue’s work is highly touted by my own mentor for much of her lab’s work in DNA repair.

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