The Carnegie Departments of Plant Biology (DPB) and Global Ecology (DGE) convened a successful one-day symposium on June 5, 2019. Co-organized by Devaki Bhaya and Ken Caldeira, it was designed to bring the two departments together to learn about research developments, create an environment for possible collaborations, and most importantly to brainstorm about the current big questions in both fields. The event kicked off with lunch, and was followed by three one-hour sessions, where 22 postdocs and students from the two departments presented their work in short five-minute talks. Several postdocs and faculty also attended this event and raised questions or made comments after each of the talks.
The symposium provided a useful platform for both postdocs and students to come together and learn about each other’s work. The short talk format allowed everyone to introduce their research interests to a broad audience.
“I think the symposium was a unique opportunity to promote interaction between both departments. The speakers did a great job transmitting the main goals of their research in only five minutes. I was pleased to see most postdocs in both departments willing to participate and I feel inspired to join similar events in the future”, said Manoela Romano, one of the postdocs from DGE, who presented and was also involved in organizing the symposium.
Each session was followed by good discussions, and the speakers received constructive feedback from a very supportive audience.
Renee Weizbauer, a postdoc at DPB, felt participating in this symposium to be exciting and added, “ I really liked how uniquely each speaker utilized their five-minute talks–to either showcase exciting results, to introduce a new research question, or to emphasize on the link between their results to broader biological and ecological questions.”
Overall, the symposium was a success, with most of the participants hoping to have more such meetings.
Kangmei Zhao, one of the DPB postdocs summed it up well: “An event like this helps to embrace the cultural and scientific diversity in our departments. It would be nice to organize it regularly, which can be one of the effective ways to stimulate synergy.”
Live music, dancing, and dinner added to the program’s triumph.