My second conference under the belt
I’ve just come back from The ASAB Easter meeting and have been recovering ever since it ended on Thursday. It was a great experience and I feel I learned a lot and gained so many good things from going. Not least the opportunity of speaking to other conference goers and presenting my first scientific talk at a conference. The Easter meeting is good for newbies (although I’ve been at one other one. That was UFAW a few years back), because it’s specifically for post graduates, so it’s not as intimidating as some of the other conferences. This doesn’t mean it’s not nerve wrecking to speak in front of all those people. Especially after hearing great plenaries and really well presented scientific talks by other students.
One very concrete thing I got from the conference is this great little modelling program called StarLogo (TNG). It’s brilliant! Not only does it make complex agent based modelling really simple (once you get the hang of it), it’s also fun to play with. I mean, their default “agent” is a ninja turtle!
Something else worth noting is some exciting work done on mouse handling in laboratories, which I hope to see implemented in labs everywhere. This may seem obvious to most of you, but mice don’t like being picked up by the tail. Yet this is common practice in labs everywhere and leads to aggressive mice trying to bite their handlers as well as trying to escape when being caught. The study I’m talking about is by Rebecca West and Jane Hurst and the citation is:
They investigated the effects of two other methods of handling. One where they let the mouse walk into a plastic tube and then move the mouse in tube and all or just cupping the mouse in your palm. Turns out the mice prefer that. They don’t try to run away and they don’t try to bite. Strange, eh? Hopefully, they’ll be able to convince everyone that it’s a good idea to have less stressed mice in experiments, so that they’ll start using other methods than picking them up by the tail 🙂