Friday, October 21, 2011

Where I've Been

My posting has been sporadic lately because I have been traveling to two conferences (and then I got sick, but I'm not sharing pictures of that).  First up was a dermatology conference focused on skin of color at Hampton University in Virginia.  It was an interesting opportunity to learn how clinicians think about skin and to speak to a mostly physician crowd about how the evolutionary history of our species has shaped the variation in skin color we see in modern human populations.  One of the organizers said it was not what she expected but that she enjoyed it and the rest of the crowd seemed to be paying close attention.  I'll take that.

Hampton is located near Norfolk and Virginia Beach so I convinced Veronica to fly to DC with me where we met up with Sarah and then all drove down to Hampton.  After the conference, we went for a hike along the bay in Virginia Beach.  We ended up hiking quite a bit further than we meant to, but saw a lot of the coastline, marshes, tiny crabs, weird fungi, barnacles on trash washed up in the relatively recent hurricane, hordes of Spanish moss, and various birds.

I flew from Norfolk (awesomely small airport - car to departure gate within 15 minutes) to Montreal for the International Congress on Human Genetics.  It was held in the Palais de Congres, which is a colorful and modern building close to both the Old City and the financial district.

The conference had an opening ceremony featuring - naturally - French Canadian circus performers and a pasta bar.  I almost knocked over one acrobat wearing a lab coat standing on the shoulders of another acrobat in a lab coat.  I assume that would have gotten me deported.

My favorite part of pretty much any conference is getting to see friends.  I was expecting to see several of my old lab mates from Penn State but was pleasantly surprised to find almost all of us were in attendance.  We took a picture for our adviser who couldn't make it.

I also got to see some of my friends from my undergrad days at KU, including these three who stole my camera and took about five variations of this picture during an anthropological genetics mixer I organized.

The actual purpose of my attendance was to present a poster about my current work on an enzyme related to heart disease.  The poster room was more than a little overwhelming with about 1000 posters presented each day for three days.  This is less than a quarter of the room.

After the conference ended on Saturday, I was able to spend some time walking around Old Montreal and see some of the gorgeous architecture. In addition to all the signs being in French, the juxtaposition of the old and new architecture really makes Montreal seem like a European city.  It is always great to see friends and travel new places, but after ten days gone, I was glad to head home.

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