I recently completed my first poster presentation. It was at College of Pharmacy Research Day, an annual event with seminars in addition to the poster session.
I spent a lot of time working on my poster, and going over the details with my PI. One of the big challenges was how to represent the concepts and data pertaining to my project clearly using as little text as possible. Even though people may look at your poster, they may not read everything! We discussed effective schematics for showing the cleavage of the MMP substrate peptide. This is something that people have misunderstood in the past. I decided to show the two parts of the peptide with a double-sided arrow, and labeling which part is released from the hydrogel.
Another hard part was using Microsoft Equation Editor, but this was mostly due to my inexperience with it. My poster had several lengthy, complicated looking equations for calculating hydrogel mesh size. I initially wrote all the equations in MS Word, but it took me forever to figure out how to change the font! Plus, I was using a Powerpoint slide as my poster template, and the equations were pasted in as pictures. Later I figured out how to use Equation Editor in Powerpoint, but that meant typing all the equations…again.
Overall, I think the presentation went well, for a first experience. The format was the presenters would stand in front of their poster for two hours. Three judges were assigned to each poster. For each judge, the presenter walks them through the content and answers questions. For anyone else in attendance, same thing, but not scored.
I picked up quickly from the first two judges that there were things I wasn’t explaining. What disease my drug delivery system was for, how is it put in the body. The other big questions I got were what are my next steps, and how would it be tested in animals. Fortunately, one of the other members of my group was presenting on how the system would be implanted in animals, so we had discussed it a bit before the presentation.
I was nervous going in to the presentation, but I didn’t feel nervous while I was doing it, even though I do get nervous when giving a talk. Perhaps it was because it was more of a one on one conversation and not presenting to a group.
One disappointment was despite the time spent working on my peptide cleavage schematic, I talked to three people who misunderstood it. I’ll have to work on a better graphic.