The opposite of what I’d think:

The opposite of what I’d think:

I’ve been talking to my PI recently about going to a conference in September.  Seeing as I just started in the lab at the beginning of June, and that I’m taking over someone’s project, I don’t have a ton of my own data yet.  But, this conference is one that I am extremely interested in going to.  It’s a graduate student-only immunology conference called IGSIC, and I’ll have the opportunity to network with my immunology peers from all over the world.

It’s set now that I will be going to the conference.  The most recent discussion I had with my PI was whether I should submit for a poster, or for an oral presentation.

I went into the conversation thinking that although I feel comfortable talking about the project, I don’t know that I really will have enough of my own data by September to warrant giving an oral presentation.  A poster, on the other hand, is a bit more conducive to showing preliminary data.

Surprisingly, my PI took exactly the opposite point of view!  From his perspective, an oral presentation is more risky when you have more new data and are closer to publishing a paper, because you’ll want to avoid having too much data “leaked” in advance.  He felt that I would be okay applying for an oral presentation because I don’t have a lot of data over what the lab has already published on this project.

Though I’m happy that I got the green light to apply to give a talk, I was a bit surprised by his take on the situation!  I always think of posters as being more preliminary data, and talks being more for cohesive, later-stage projects.  I’m particularly wondering how other labs handle posters vs talks at conferences, and what the rationale is behind the decision.  Obviously I am doing whatever my PI decides, but I am curious about opinions on this topic in general.

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