The inaugural Sierra Systems and SynBio Symposium (S^4) took place at the University of Nevada, Reno on August 29-30, 2015 co-organized by the UNR Department of Biochemistry, Synberc and the UCSF Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology. This two-day conference gives primarily undergraduate students and some high school students the opportunity to present their research to their peers in individual or team presentations and poster presentations. This proved to be a fruitful and rewarding experience for the student attendees:
"I really enjoyed the networking aspect of this conference - meeting other undergraduates and UNR professors and gaining exposure to research areas that I know little about. This summer was the first time I have conducted research, and there is a lot that I still want to know about what kind of research is out there - the oral and poster presentations were a great way for me to learn about diverse research topics."
"I really enjoyed talking to my peers about science. I enjoyed sharing our frustrations, nervousness, and excitement. It was great to find out about the environment at other institutions, other programs, other labs. It was also great to get advice from others as well."
"I enjoyed the opportunity to practice talking about my research in a professional setting as well as learning about other students' research topics. I also feel that the graduate student panel was beneficial for us to learn about the different pathways that grad students have taken to get into their PhD programs."
"I became even more effective at conveying the results of my research, viewed thought-provoking research done by others, and was offered an internship at a particular facility of my choice by a supervising researcher."
The program and more details can be found here. Be sure to check back next year as this plans to be an annual symposium!
Additional sponsorship was provided by the UNR College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, the UNR College of Science, and the UC Berkeley RNA Center for Systems Biology. Due to the wonderful support, this conference provided free registration, meals, and lodging to all attendees. Photos courtesy of the UCSF Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology.