By Nicole Garneau, PhD
Scientists communicate in many ways, some which are far more
entertaining then others.
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Take for example publishing- a way to disseminate information in a
peer-reviewed journal. A clearinghouse for these publications
is run by the government and is called pubmed. While priceless,
publications are not always the most effective or dare I say fun
way to get information out to the world. Enter science meetings-- a
few days once a year where scientists within a discipline descend
on a locale and share their recent findings via presentations
(talks) or by posters.
Here I am about a 2 hours ago, sharing the Museum's
education and scientific objectives with my taste and smell
colleagues. And below you'll find some of my favorite comments of
the night as they pertain to DMNS and our new human genetics study
"Looks like you've got your plate full." (no pun intended?)
"Is this the next step in evolution for museums, perhaps and
hopefully one that all museums will make?"
"In our research we only use male mice, females are complicated.
We see stronger and more robust signals in data from males." This
was in the context of our VERY preliminary data (which you can see
below) which shows a slight shift to a lower percentage of body fat
in men who are tasters vs men who are non-tasters,but no difference
thus far in taster and non-taster females.But please dear and loyal
audience, do not read too deeply into this, as the study has many
more miles to go.
So in additon to ways in which to improve our research... what
else did I learn today?
First, my brain uses loads of glucose to comprehend in-depth
science from 8am to 11pm. Second, the talks and the posters are
chock full of pertinent information. One of my favorite posters, in
fact, was about the standardization of the "Food Liking" survey
that links chemosensation (i.e. taste and flavor perception) with
diet and health (Katryna Minski from Val Duffy's group). Also Hetvi
Desai, from Greg Smutzer's lab, presented work demonstrating a new
way to make edible taster strips- so cool- they dissolve in your
But I digress, what I really want to emphasize is the way in which
science communication just happens when you least expect it, over
lunch, a walk to the next session, or even in the elevator. I may
not have solved the world's problems here today, but I sure did
find some new and interesting ways to conduct our research.
Aw heck, how is it midnight again? 7 am will likely come too