Dynamic posters: a unique opportunity to showcase our data



At SFN 2017 and 2016, I presented my research as a Dynamic Poster instead of a paper poster.

In addition to blogging about the meeting and leading a professional development workshop, I also presented my dissertation research at SFN 2017. Last year, I was selected for a Dynamic Poster presentation instead of a paper poster and I really enjoyed it. I wrote a blog post on the logistics of making that poster on my own website. Here, I’ll focus on the experience rather than the nuts and bolts.

A dynamic poster gave me the opportunity to use videos and other media to explain my research. For me, I found this very helpful. In my research, I use in vivo calcium imaging, behavior and single cell electrophysiology to assess multisensory processing. These techniques are easier to understand and visualize when I have a video for reference or can click through a series of pictures that zoom in to the details in a logical progression.

I enjoyed presenting my dynamic poster mainly because it gave me a highly visible showcase for my work and a chance to talk to people who would not have normally found my poster. Being on the main poster aisle with eye-catching videos pulls people in. Since I try to regularly practice communicating my research to a variety of audiences, I love the opportunity to talk to neuroscientists outside my sub-field and the many other people who are drawn in by my pretty videos. For people in my sub-field, the dynamic poster gives me the opportunity to dig into the details and show figures that make the progression from raw data to final summary obvious.

One feature of the dynamic poster is that you must stay with your poster for the entire 4 hour session. This makes sense – no one else can operate your poster so you need to be there. However, it means that you cannot realistically visit other posters or sessions during your poster session. This would be fine, except for the one major annoyance with dynamic posters: you are likely to be placed a reasonable walk from the rest of the posters in your session. Since my session contained the majority of the posters most relevant to me and I was several rows away (I was at row O and the rest of the session was at EE), I could not visit those potentially useful posters. However, that annoyance is certainly not enough to outweigh the benefits and fun of having a dynamic poster.

The dynamic poster is a great opportunity to showcase your research, especially when you have videos, image stacks or behavioral assays to show. For example, a dynamic poster I saw by Christopher Bauer (abstract 52.22) used compelling videos to show how their new helmet-based PET scan could be used in a variety of settings with directed or spontaneous movement. On a different poster, Kara Fulton (abstract 654.09) showcased her correlative serial block-face electron microscopy method with image stack videos. In both cases, a two-dimensional still representation on a paper poster would not have captured the concept and dataset to its fullest potential.

I hope I have convinced you to think about the dynamic poster opportunity for next year! I’m happy to pass on what I have learned about the logistics of building the poster.

Further reading:
My post on making a dynamic poster
SFN’s information on dynamic posters

Torrey Truszkowski
Annual Meeting Blogger
Twitter: @TorreyTruszko

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