As a recipient of the GSA travel award, I went to the Cold Spring Harbor Asia conference in China
on “Epigenetics, Chromatin, and Transcription” from May 5-9, 2014. It was a wonderful experience! The
conference was held in Suzhou, a town about two hours away from Shanghai. The conference facility
was specially built by Cold Spring Harbor for the primary purpose of holding international conferences
and bringing scientists together from all over the world to discuss science with Chinese colleagues.
The main highlight of the conference was, of course, the science. A broad range of topics was
covered including new crystal structures of chromatin modification proteins, dynamics of transcriptional
surveillance, novel methods to assess chromosome organization, and DNA methylation across plants
and animals. Wonderful talks were given by both junior and senior scientists, and there were two poster
sessions. The talks and poster sessions were extremely well-attended; if you arrived “just on time” to
the talks, you would have to find a seat on the auditorium floor. I had the opportunity to share my work
with several professors in my field and find possible opportunities for future collaboration.
Another highlight of the conference was the chance to meet graduate students and post-docs
from all over the world. It was fascinating to learn about the structure of universities, PhD degrees, and
government funding in Europe, Australia, and Asia. It was also fun to commiserate about the challenges
of publishing papers, graduating, or finding a job, all of which are shared struggles among our colleagues