Last April, trainees from over 20 research labs across campus showcased their research as part of the Microbial Early-career Researcher Association (MicroERA) Research Symposium. Participants in the second annual symposium were recognized for their work, with 43 students presenting on topics ranging from the computational modeling of microbes to gut microbiota and the impact of a specific microbe on mice. The symposium, held at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, gave students the opportunity to present posters and lightning talks describing their research and to network with peers and faculty in a highly conductive setting.
The call for abstracts is now open for the 2023 MicroERA Research Symposium!
Established in 2019 by graduate students and postdocs from the Department of Microbiology, the Microbial Early-career Researchers Association serves graduate, undergraduate, and post-doctoral researchers within the microbial sciences by providing professional development and networking opportunities. The organization continues to grow and is recruiting graduate students and postdocs to serve in leadership roles.
The symposium is planned by a group of trainees from departments across campus. “There are so many profound benefits to a student-planned and -led event such as the MicroERA symposium,” says MicroERA President and Symposium Planning Chair, Elizabeth Brandley. “Professional development occurs the whole time, from collaboration with the planning committee members, to hosting the invited speaker, to gaining valuable knowledge and networking opportunities with faculty and presenters. It was such a joy to witness MicroERA members enhance their confidence, capabilities, and self-efficacy as the process of planning and implementing the 2022 MicroERA symposium took place. It is an honor to serve on the executive board of MicroERA and I am so excited for everyone to see what is planned for this year’s symposium.”
“Early-career researchers face a trade-off between focusing on their discipline-specific research and participating in interdisciplinary and extracurricular activities.” said Sara Ressing, Assistant Director for MSI. Part of her role is to offer administrative support to MicroERA and the symposium planning committee. She has been impressed by the hard work of the MicroERA executive board and collaborations of the planning committee. “MicroERA offers transferable skill development,” noted Ressing “This symposium is a good example of that.”
MicroERA strives to offer professional development activities for trainees. Ahead of the research symposium, they have developed two science communication workshops aimed at improving and practicing presentation skills. The first, on Monday, March 6, will feature Professors Shannon Sirk and Asma Hatoum-Aslan presenting practical tips on oral and poster presentations. The second scientific communication workshop on Monday, March 27, will allow trainees the opportunity to practice their presentations and receive peer feedback. Lunch will be provided.
The 3rd Annual MicroERA Research Symposium will be held from 12-6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 10 in rooms 4029 and 4035 at the Campus Instructional Facility. The symposium will feature a keynote from Dr. Arthur Prindle, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at Northwestern University. Trainees are invited to present posters or brief lighting-style oral presentations. Abstract submissions are due March 1. Others wishing to attend the symposium but not present can register here.