À la une

I’ve been neglecting my blogging duties. I say this every month, of course, but a lot has happened over the past few weeks. A lot of blog-worthy things (I will be trying to cover everything in a series of posts over the next few weeks).

I attended the European Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine & Biology’s 30th Annual Congress earlier this month in Toulouse, France. The city of Toulouse is only two hours from Bordeaux by train, and I spent four days there. The congress was an incredible spectacle, held in a huge conference facility in the centre of the city. It brought together clinicians, basic scientists, radiographers and physicists from all over the world and ran several (up to seven) parallel sessions each day. The content of the meeting had something for everyone, from teaching sessions for the less experienced folk (like moi), to complex debates and discussions over controversial issues in MRI.

I had the opportunity to watch and meet some big names in the field of MRI – people whose names I had only before seen (at the ends of authors’ lists, naturally) when someone at my lab recommends that I read a landmark research paper. Going to grab a quick lunch in between sessions at the McDonald’s near the conference centre? End up sitting next to a distinguished professor of neuroradiology from a major institute, discussing everything from the awful weather (it was raining, a lot) to the role of dynamic susceptibility contrast MRI in diagnosing cerebrovascular disease. Sigh, I love conferences.

I presented my research (done in Berlin earlier this year) at the conference. The poster, which was in electronic form, was very convenient – no lugging around bulky paper , worrying about creases or spillages. It was available throughout the three days of the meeting for any of the attendees to view on one of the dedicated poster PCs at the congress venue. Online, I could track how many views my poster got, and could take people’s questions or comments during the half-hour time period where I had to be physically present. Speaking of posters, I was happy to see research done at the University of Edinburgh (and specifically from a department which I’m considering applying to for a PhD position next year, if I do apply for a PhD at all, it’s complicated. I digress, we’ll discuss this at a later date) being presented at the conference.

One of the main ‘controversial topics’ being debated on during the congress was the topic of my upcoming master’s thesis. As I sat there watching six months of my life being lambasted mercilessly before I had even started working on it, I couldn’t help but feel a bit disheartened. It’s not every day that you witness your efforts being prospectively criticized (I joke of course, I’m not that egocentric – I’ll be writing a 50 page report on the topic, it’s not my life’s work). The truth is, I actually enjoyed it – I like dismantling things and critiquing what others accept as-is (including my own work – although sometimes that’s a little counterproductive). In the spirit of critical self-reflection, I realize that this is a somewhat long post. I’ll try to keep my posts short (but frequent) in the future!

I leave you with some pictures from the meeting:

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