For my first conference in graduate school, I went international! The European Evolutionary and Developmental Biology Conference 2018 took place in Galway, Ireland, and included a Cnidaria Satellite Meeting before the main conference. It was at this satellite meeting where I would give my first talk. About 50-60 graduate students and lab heads from cnidarian labs all over the world were in attendance, and I was the last talk of the two-day event (of course!). Despite the nerves, I think the talk went well and helped me break the ice with the cnidarian community. My talk, titled “Influences of functional variation on venom expression in hydractiniid hydrozoans,” presented my initial results on the venom composition of the functionally specific polyps of Hydractinia symbiolongicarpususing using RNA-seq (I promise to talk about the project in a future post). I also presented a poster over the same project during the main conference, and received third in the Student Poster Competition! Overall, Galway was a great chance to network as an emerging cnidarian scientist, and learn more about the astounding projects other labs have taken on using novel techniques such as CRISPR and single-cell transcriptomics.
But perhaps as importantly, this trip to Europe (my first in many years) was a chance to reflect on the work I have done in my first year and reinvigorate my excitement for the science to come!