Giving a Scientific Talk 1/13/05 Lindberg

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Giving a Scientific Talk 1/13/05 Lindberg
Giving a Scientific Talk
1/13/05 Lindberg
Tips for an Effective Scientific Presentation
• Know your audience
• Give interesting introduction- clinical references great!
• Give appropriate amount of explanation and detail
• “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them,
tell them what you told them.”
• Can use outline, but only if necessary and helpful
• Hit on a few major points- CRUCIAL
• Title every slide with the point you are making! (ie the RESULT,
not the “effect of”)
Tips for an Effective Scientific Presentation
• Use high quality graphs and charts
• few words
• never less than size 18 font – know your room! (this is 22)
• large figures with readable axes and legends (and not more than 3
significant figures for the data)
• avoid “overproduced” effects like fancy PowerPoint backgrounds
and distracting movements
• appropriate use of colors - use color for emphasis or clarity only
• use easily-seen colors such as red, blue and green: and test them on
the screen first (not the computer).
• Consider red/green color-blindness
What is wrong with this slide?
• Owpqjrepowqj
• Oi;her p’o0pjer
• [PEW
• Oiejr poej
• Peowrj poEJR
(never use this type of outline)
Experimental Methods
Future Work
(If you use this generic outline you will waste 45 s going through it and will
aggravate your audience)
Tips for an Effective Scientific Presentation
•NOT “The effect of carrots on night blindness”
•Instead “Carrots prevent night blindness”
• This allows people to get the take-home point even if the
explanation is unclear
Tips for an Effective Scientific Presentation
• Be aware of your actions
• don’t block screen in small room
• don’t move constantly
• don’t speak with your back to audience – look at them, especially
at the key people (like your boss!)
• use a microphone if available – it will always help – if not, talk
loudly and forcefully
• don’t use a laser pointer, unless you can hold it very still: don’t
play with it!
Tips for an Effective Scientific Presentation
• Speak from memory
• DO NOT read from overheads
• DO NOT read from a script
• Use a few notes to remind you of key words and transitions
between slides
• Practice repeatedly out loud; spend time working out the wording
on difficult sections and make sure timing is correct; re-order slides
if another order makes more sense
• Show energy and enthusiasm
• Try to minimize “uhs,” “ums,” and “likes”
Tips for an Effective Scientific Presentation
• Always stay within your allotted time-
wrap up
immediately when the chairman indicates it is time to do so
• Answering questions
• be respectful, regardless of the tone of questioner – “That is a very
good question…”
• admit ignorance; avoid long rebuttals - “maybe we should discuss
this later”
• anticipate questions – have some extra slides for expected
Ask Questions to Create Suspense
• First delineate the problem that arises (from other
people’s work or from your results)
• Then use a question slide: (say, this led us to the
following question (show): what does x do to y?)
• Only then show results (remember to first explain
the method; if complicated, use another slide)
• Then confirmatory results
• Then a conclusion
• Talk should consist of several “story modules”
Always Provide a Rationale for
Your Experiments!
Do not show a “data collection”
7B2 and ProSAAS Are Inhibitors
Co-localized with Prohormone
Maturation Enzymes
-can 7B2 and proSAAS actually
inhibit prohormone maturation within
the neuroendocrine cell?
Analysis of Cellular Prohormone
• We did this
• Then we did this
• I might add a diagram if it makes the
method clearer
• So now you understand the general
approach to solving the question I posed
(Here now are the data- notice the title is the result)
7B2 and proSAAS Control
Prohormone Maturation
1st Qtr
2nd Qtr
3rd Qtr
4th Qtr
• This would be the place to write an
important take-home message
• Remember people’s attention span is VERY
limited and if you put too much here they
will remember nothing
• Therefore, less is more
Furin as a Therapeutic Target
(rationale slide- why should the audience be interested in what I am going to
tell them? Assume they won’t be unless you persuade them!)
• Inhibition should destroy the biological function
of pathogenic substrates which require furin
processing for toxicity
• Inhibition should diminish activation of other
furin-activated enzymes (matrix metalloproteases)
• Inhibitors could therefore be useful therapeutics in
bacterial disease and/or cancer
Testing D6R
(questions I intend to answer)
• Is D6R toxic?
• Is D6R efficiently transported into the cell?
• Can D6R affect furin-mediated processes in
a cellular setting?
– Pseudomonas exotoxin A (PEA) is cleaved by
furin in the endosomal pathway
– Cleavage by furin is required for PEA toxicity
– Can D6R block PEA toxicity?
Why Attempt to Find Other
PC2 Inhibitors?
• PC2 is the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of
• Glucagon acts in functional opposition to insulin
(whose synthesis is not PC2-dependent)
• Animals lacking PC2 have low blood sugar which
is raised by glucagon restoration
• Therefore, PC2-specific inhibitors might assist in
lowering blood sugar in diabetics
Use separating slides if there are
totally different parts to your
Use summary slides both within
the presentation and at the end
Remember, limit the number of points
you make!
Summary, Inhibitor Studies
•Both PC1 and PC2 possess potent
endogenous inhibitors; other convertases such
as furin are also likely to have endogenous
•The function of endogenous inhibitors may be
to control activity during intracellular transport
rather than during prohormone maturation
•Proprotein convertases- and in particular
furin- represent potential therapeutic targets
Add Human Interest
Whenever Possible
•Create suspense by asking questions
•Describe any Eureka or unusual
moments you had while doing the
•Add humorous slides
•Relate your work to human disease
Human PC1 null
Jackson R.S. et al. Nature Genetics 16, 303-6 (1997)
CPE mutation
fat/fat mouse
Naggert J.K. et al Nature Genetics 10, 135-142 (1995)
Local Color Is
Great When
Iris Lindberg
LSU Health Sciences
New Orleans
Future Research
Not too broad and not too specific:
outline for future experimentsremember to convey your curiosity
and enthusiasm! You can hardly wait
to get these results!
The 50 Minute Seminar vs the 10
Minute Meeting Talk
Rule of thumb is 1 min per slide (the
longer the talk, the more you can add
to this)
The Ten Minute Talk
• You must usually oversimplify
• You do not supply detailed information on
• You show only about six pieces of actual
• All the standard elements (rationale, titling
of slides with findings, summary) are
NEVER- EVER!- go beyond 10
min or 50 min!
You will be perceived as 1) a bad
speaker; and 2) arrogant- why is your
time more important than the
How to Present a Research Paper
(Journal Club)
• Picking the paper
– a good paper- one you think will appeal to the majority
of the audience; simple
– Something you have some expertise with
– Current- in last few months
– Interesting results and/or techniques- solid
– Papers that suggest a mechanism work well for diverse
– Photocopies well
How to Present a Research Paper
(Journal Club)
• Prepare for it- read background papers
• Make written notes for yourself so you are
not umming and ahhing
• Give yourself enough time! (1 week)
How to Present a Research Paper
(Journal Club)
• Start with why you picked it
• Summarize rationale- what was the state of
the research before this work started? Why
was this work necessary?
How to Present a Research Paper
(Journal Club)
• Methods- describe briefly
– Bring in your own expertise if you can. Were
these the best methods to attack the particular
problem? Were they sensitive enough, precise
enough? Power analysis done?
How to Present a Research Paper
(Journal Club)
• Results- describe each figure in turn
• Make sure you actually KNOW the figure
– Write down a summary of what shows what- condense
complicated figures into 1 or 2 points
• What is particularly novel about each result?
• What could have been done better or confirmed
another way? Were enough replicates done?
• The idea is that you provide critical input!
How to Present a Research Paper
(Journal Club)
• Conclusions– Describe the take-home points
– Point out flaws or especially novel stuff
• What new directions does the work point
to? (if applicable)
Writing an Abstract
for fun and profit
(assistance from K.C. Breitbach’s website)
• 200-300 words- MUST fit guidelines
• Persuades the reader that you did something
new and worthwhile
• Often the only published record of the work
(meetings) – until the paper appears
• Limit jargon and abbreviations; no citations
• Polished: elegant, clear sentences which are
The title should be short, but descriptive. It
should indicate the relationship or question
you investigated.
– Effect of time spent on homework on student
performance in Physics
– Better - give the result: Increased homework
effort results in increased student performance
Author(s) and address
• Student A. Student, Department of Stuff,
So-and-So Medical Center, Yourcity, ST
Write one sentence describing the general
topic to be investigated and/or why it is
important or what remains to be done
– It has been previously noted that the amount of
study time devoted to a particular subject can
influence student performance. However, the
relationship between student effort and
performance has not been systematically
What you did
Write one or two sentences describing the
specific question you are addressing or
relationship you are investigating with this
– In the work reported here, we examined the
effect of time engaged in homework on overall
student performance (can continue sentence…
by doing etc…)
Write one or two sentences describing how
you did the investigation. Do not attempt to
write a detailed procedure; instead, just give
a general idea of methods.
– Students self-reported the number of minutes
spent doing homework for physics each night
for four weeks. This number was averaged and
plotted against the average grade of the student
for all tests and quizzes during the same period.
• Write one or two sentences explaining what
you found out. Be as specific as possible,
but state only your main point(s). Use the
past tense.
– We found a positive relationship between the
average number of hours/week spent doing
homework and the average grade for each
student. The correlation coefficient for the
entire class was 0.933.
• Summary of everything you found, in different
• What are the implications of the research?
• Usually do NOT say what remains to be done
(unlike a paper)
– Students can increase their performance in school by
increasing the amount of time they spend engaged in
homework. These findings are especially important for
those low-performing students who are on the verge of
Tissue distribution and processing of proSAAS by proprotein convertases. M.
Sayah, Y. Fortenberry, A. Cameron, and I. Lindberg, Department of Biochemistry and
Molecular Biology, LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA
The conversion of inactive precursor proteins into bioactive neuropeptides and peptide
hormones involves the proteolytic enzymes prohormone convertases PC1 and PC2. The
neuroendocrine protein 7B2 represents a specific binding protein for PC2, and the protein
proSAAS, which interacts with PC1, exhibits certain structural and functional homologies
with 7B2. With the intention of better understanding the physiological role of proSAAS and
its derived peptides, we investigated its tissue localization using a new radioimmunoassay
(RIA) to a proSAAS-derived peptide. Immunoreactivity corresponding to this SAAS-derived
peptide was mostly localized to the brain and the gut. Analysis of the brain distribution of
the proSAAS-derived peptides indicates that the hypothalamus and the pituitary are the
two richest areas, consistent with the previously described high expression of PC1 in these
two areas. In order to investigate the cleavages of proSAAS by prohormone convertases,
we incubated recombinant His-tagged proSAAS with recombinant mouse proPC2 or furin,
separated the cleavage products by HPGPC and analyzed the products by RIA. Our
results indicate that either PC2 or furin can accomplish in vitro rapid removal and efficient
internal processing of the carboxyl terminal peptide (CT peptide), exposing the inhibitory
hexapeptide to possible further digestion by carboxypeptidases. Finally, we also studied
proSAAS processing in the brains of wild type and PC2 null mice and found that proSAAS
is efficiently processed in vivo. Whereas the CT peptide is mostly internally cleaved in wild
type mouse brain, it is not processed as efficiently in the brains of PC2 null mice,
suggesting that PC2 is partially responsible for this cleavage in vivo. These data support a
complex functional interrelationship between the two convertases and their inhibitors.
Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes: Establishment of a Model System for
Studying Differentiation of Cardiac Pacemaking Myocytes. Steven M. White. Department of
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, LSUHSC, New Orleans, LA 70112.
Embryonic stem (ES) cell-derived cardiomyocytes provide unique models for studying cardiac
development and differentiation in vitro. Our goal is to use genetic selection as a means to isolate
a pure population of cardiac myocytes that function as specialized pacemaking or conducting cells
from differentiating, genetically-altered murine ES cells. By using a cell-specific promoter
controlling expression of a drug-resistance gene and later applying that drug, we were able to
select a pure population of the cells of interest. By including the promoter/enhancer region of the
cardiac-specific a-myosin heavy chain (a -MHC) gene in a selection vector, we have isolated
pure populations of cardiomyocytes.
Endothelial-derived paracrine signaling molecules have been shown to induce
cardiomyocytes to differentiate into conducting cells. Preliminary results using the HL-1
cardiomyocyte line indicate that treatment of HL-1 cells with the endothelial-derived factors
endothelin-1 and neuregulin-1 induces expression of genes characteristic of conducting
cardiomyocytes. By following the expression of a genetic marker for the murine cardiac
conduction system, the potassium channel b subunit minK, we are currently attempting to isolate
conducting cardiomyocytes. Preliminary studies examining the developmental expression of
minK in differentiating ES cell aggregates (called embryoid bodies) using lacZ under control of the
endogenous minK promoter, show that minK expression begins between days 7 and 8 of
development within discrete regions of the embryoid bodies. The ability to isolate pure
populations of conducting cardiomyocytes will permit the development of model systems to study
cardiomyocyte differentiation, which should lead to new pharmaceutical agents and cellular
therapies to treat heart disease.
The End
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