Poster: Discovering protein functional sites with unsupervised techniques


I’m presenting a poster during the Biosciences graduate admissions dinner in a couple days. Even though it only covers a fraction of my thesis work, I of course still had trouble cramming it all into 40×30 inches. The audience is a bit tricky since it’s a general event covering all of biosciences for pre-graduate students, so I wasn’t sure how much detail to include (but it might not have fit anyway). I like the overall style of the poster but it seems a tad wordy…

If you have any suggestions or comments for organization, content, or aesthetics, I’d appreciate it! For example, is it high-level enough that someone with a basic science background could get the gist? Is it interesting enough to get someone excited about bioinformatics? Does it communicate the research clearly?

(Update: Final version here)


6 Responses to Poster: Discovering protein functional sites with unsupervised techniques

  1. akb says:

    Nice work Shwu! I’ve always had difficulty getting into posters when I had little knowledge of the topic, so I thought about what I would do to make it better.

    I agree with your feeling of it being a bit wordy, a common problem with a lot of presentations – especially PowerPoint and posters. So much information to get in there and so little space/time.

    The problem with a lot of posters is that they don’t allow the reader to become easily interested. The reader should be immediately visually attracted to a description of what the problem is and a simple summary of how the research is approaching this problem. If the reader is interested, there will be supporting detail to read as well. If not interested, they probably wouldn’t read it anyway.

    So I think the way to do this is have some short summary section near the top that highlights (bigger size? different color?) how the problem is interesting to them, and what you’re doing about it. Much easier said than done.

    Additionally. Will you be standing by the poster for a bit? If so, and you are still struggling for space, I would consider taking out some of the more detailed information and either talking about it if questions are asked, or having some supporting detail that you can pick up.

  2. Euge says:

    I like the confused little proteins :p

  3. Very nice. I love the design, very clean.

    First the nits:

    1) Should the “k” in “k-means” be italicized?
    2) etc. (needs a period)
    3) Russ B. Altman in title?

    Now some other stuff:

    I would change the last sentence of the abstract to:

    “Thanks to genomics, the number of new proteins being discovered is increasing at a tremendous rate. We therefore need methods to identify new functions in proteins, as opposed to methods that only rediscover known functions.”


    1) I don’t like “however”; Strunk & white rule 15 or somesuch.
    2) Large scale genomics – are there “small scale” genomics? (removed large scale)
    3) “Discovering new organisms”: not necessary in this context (omitted)
    4) Last part of the modification is an explanation of what is new here. Hammering the point in.

    Can you squeeze in a “Conclusions” panel, basically saying what you accomplished? What are the broader implications (i.e. pharma, evolution studies, etc.)?

  4. Steve Koch says:

    Looks great! I personally didn’t think it was too wordy.

  5. shwu says:

    @akb, fun to see you here! I’m personally not a fan of “abstracts” and think a background section that introduces the problem should be enough for someone to gauge their interest. Plus I don’t like repeating things. ;) But I tried to make it a bit more obvious with a different color border and changed the section heading to “Motivations”.

    @Iddo, yes, I got a bit lazy with the italics and punctuation there. I also used your suggestion for the last sentence but what I meant by “large-scale genomics” was areas like metagenomics and structural genomics, going a step or more further from “everything from one organism” to “everything we can get our hands on”. Not sure if there’s a better way to express it that doesn’t seem redundant. But for this audience, simple “genomics” is probably sufficient.

    Still looks wordy, but since the audience is general, I don’t want to add equations or more graphs. At any rate, I must go print this out now so thanks so much everyone for the help!

  6. Pingback: Poster redux « I was lost but now I live here

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