It was that time of the year again when everyone around was talking about it, waiting for it, preparing for it, asking each other about it – the time for the programme advisory committee meeting (PAC). The new entrants were curious to unravel the mystery around the PAC. The actual PAC is always preceded by months of vigorous work at the lab with long hours spent generating, refining and plotting data, which reaches a crescendo in the weeks preceding the meeting itself. Meant to be an annual assessment of the institute as a whole and of the individual scientific programmes in particular, the PAC means a lot to each and every one of the students as well. Apart from the presentations made by individual Principal Investigators, a poster presentation session by the students of RCB adds to its fervour.
A poster session is an important scientific and academic activity which facilitates exchange of ideas and opens up opportunities to collaborate and network. It acts as a “peer–review” before the peer review by journals aiding in processing, analysing, and understanding the implications of data and getting feedback. It provides an ideal opportunity to improve the scientific skills of the presenter while introducing myriad concepts to the interested viewer. This year’s poster session was all this and much more! It was also particularly more exciting since this was the first one after our big move to the new campus earlier this year, a fact that was masked by the quality and content of the data. Like in previous years, this year too witnessed great excitement and anticipation for the poster session. Multiple posters were presented by most of the labs. This gave the audience deeper insight into the research going on there.
On the afternoon of 29th of September 2015, students, faculty and researchers turned up in great numbers with eagerness and inquisitiveness, under the regal blue dome in front of the auditorium, to participate as the audience. The atmosphere was energetic and contagious. With scrumptious biscuits, teas or coffees in hand there were animated discussions about the data, its implications and science in general between the presenters and viewers. Also among the audience were four esteemed judges –PAC members and special invitees, who diligently covered all the posters and came up with three best posters. The awards were presented to graduate students Mary Thomas, Salman Ahmed Mustfa and Harmeet Kaur. Apart from the prestige and honour of being adjudged the best posters among so many fantastic ones, the awardees also received prizes, which provided the icing on the cake. The poster session was a fitting prelude to an insightful and inspiring collquium talk by Dr. GB Nair, Executive Director of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, of his journey of more than three decades in carrying out ground breaking research on cholera, a disease that still is endemic in India. The story of his success and achievement and the passion with which he narrated it influenced and motivated one and all.
The entire session left everyone enthused towards science and making a significant contribution to it and in spite of the long hours already spent in lab during the run up towards the PAC, everyone wanted to get back to their benches with greater passion and intensity.
Smriti Verma & Shachi Saluja