Merrie Mosedale, a graduate student in the lab of PDRC faculty member Steven Chessler, was selected by ADA to present a showcase poster at the recent ADA Scientific Sessions conference. In addition to displaying her poster, Merrie presented the poster orally during a special session. In these sessions, the audience walks from one showcased poster to the next and hears the poster presenter review the poster and field questions. We talked with Merrie about what she presented, and the importance of scientific posters in general.
1. Can you explain for the benefit of our readers outside the scientific community the purpose of poster presentations?
Poster presentations allow many scientists to present their most recent work and exchange ideas in a short amount of time and space. It's a great opportunity to get feedback on your work, develop collaborations, and to stay up-to-date on new developments in the field.
2. What was the topic of the showcase poster you presented at ADA Scientific Sessions?
Our lab's research focus is uncovering the role of neuronal proteins in beta-cell function. The poster was about a study our lab did on a family of proteins called Neurexins. We found that Neurexins are in the beta cell and are part of the insulin secretory machinery. Neurexins in the beta cell interact with many other proteins in the beta cell that contribute to getting insulin outside of the cell and into the blood where it can help to maintain normal blood glucose.
We also found that Neurexins interact with a protein on insulin-containing granules called Granuphilin. These interactions are important for "secretory granule docking" at the beta-cell membrane, which puts a break on or inhibits insulin secretion. Glucose stimulation, however, causes levels of Neurexin to decrease, overcoming that break and allowing insulin to be secreted.
3. How will the information you shared at ADA contribute to our understanding of diabetes?
In order to develop new therapies to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, we have to understand more about basic beta-cell biology. This research contributes to our understanding of insulin secretion, a process central to maintaining normal beta-cell function. And although it was not discussed in this poster presentation, we also believe that Neurexins may contribute to beta-cell development as well as serve as a target for beta-cell imaging.
4. How long does it take to put together a poster like this?
The research is the most time consuming part of the process. It could take years to develop a project far enough to present it at a major scientific meeting. The actual poster itself probably takes hours to days to complete. The most important part is displaying your results in a manner that is easily understood by scientists in your specific field as well as scientists in other related diabetes fields too.
Once all is said and done, it takes about 5 minutes to present the poster to an individual or an audience – but the discussions can go on long after the meeting and develop into wonderful ideas and/or collaborations.