What is the most direct route from Pennsylvania to South Dakota? I found it’s easiest to cross through Italy and Germany until you reach New Jersey, then go through Minnesota until you arrive in South Dakota. You may think I have a bit of a messed up GPS, however my map is right—Welcome to BIO.
This year the annual BIO International Conference was held in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The floor held over 65 countries and more than 30 country pavilions. Forty-eight states sent representatives to be on the show room floor– as someone on the floor described it, the showroom was “The UN of Biotech.”
Growing up, my parents attended big conferences like this every year, but this year was my first time to experience it for myself. As a Summer Intern sponsored by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, I was able to receive an exhibition pass. My first view of the conference came from above—it was like looking out the plane window at a foreign country before you land for the first time. A little overwhelmed, but still excited, I entered the show floor for the first time. While walking around talking to people, I learned so much about the field of Biotech and the Pharmaceutical industry. The Massachusetts pavilion hosted many different talks over the few days we attended the conference. Governor Patrick addressed the new collaboration between Massachusetts and Israel, and Dr. Geraldine Hamilton of the Wyss Institute at Harvard University talked about her research on an organ on a chip. I learned a substantial amount about everything that’s up and coming in the sciences.
While I was at BIO I experienced a lot of brand new technology, including seeing bioreactors that create proteins that can make vaccines. The first day I thought I was in over my head, but by my third visit I had a grasp on how things at the conference flowed. Over the course of the week I learned a lot, and I hope to attend more conferences in the future.