Week 8: Procedure Piloting and Presentations

Apr 12, 2019

After analyzing the data, we’ve concluded on Friday that I may need to redo some experiments (about 30 of the 68). Now that I’ve learned a bit from my previous mistakes, I’ve realized the importance of properly piloting a procedure. This just means that when we decide on a procedure, we run a few experiments with it to confirm that it’s isolating the effect we want it to. And when we do decide that this procedure will work, we continue to look at the data as it comes in to watch for potential problems.

In keeping with the philosophy of checking as we go, I am running 6 experiments and then the postdoc I work with will graph them (I can’t graph them because I need to be blinded to which mice have which alleles). We’ll assess our graph and see whether it’s worth it to run any more experiments or not. That will be happening next week.


On lab night (March 25, see Week 6), I volunteered to present a paper for this week’s lab meeting Our lab meetings are Wednesdays at 9:30 AM, and each week, we generally go over a recently published paper that is relevant to our research. I presented a paper linked here. I’m not sure if you all can access the full text, but if you really want it, email Megan R. Carey (megan.carey@neuro.fchampalimaud.org), and ask her for it! (I don’t have the right to distribute it, but she does, because it’s her paper; people are really nice about sending you papers in academia.)

I didn’t have a ton of time to prepare for the presentation, but I did manage to understand it pretty well. I got some feedback from a postdoc, mainly concerning the style of my presentation:

  • I tended to put many graphs on the same slide, which meant that the graphs were smaller. Keeping each individual graph on a separate slide would have made it easier to read. And some people with whom I was sharing a screen (through a video call) couldn’t read the smallest text on the slides I was using.
  • In keeping with the previous bullet point, make the smallest text on the slide font size 22.
  • I took all of the figures I had on my slides straight from the paper, but this isn’t necessary. The postdoc pointed out that I didn’t necessarily need to do this; if some figures seem unclear, it’s OK to regraph the same data in a format that I like (it’s not always easy to get access to this kind of data, but not impossible).
  • The kind of long paper I was presenting has figures and “supplemental figures,” which don’t show data critical to the findings, but rather data to corroborate these findings (often they show various controls and eliminate confounding variables). I showed all the main figures, and then all the supplemental figures, which tended to be out of order (Figure 1 usually corresponds to Supplement Figure 1), so it would have been better to show the supplemental figures with their corresponding main figures.
  • Finally, I ended a bit abruptly (just after the last figure); it is good presentation style to give the audience a take-home message at the end.


Thanks for all your encouragement last week following the experiment catastrophe.


One Reply to “Week 8: Procedure Piloting and Presentations”

  1. Harleen D. says:

    This is some great feedback to share! I’m sure it can help all of us.

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