News and Events

Becky Delventhal and students attend 'Fly Meeting’

students at the conference
March 22, 2023
Meghan O’Toole

Assistant Professor of Biology Rebecca Delventhal brought several of her research students to the Genetics Society of America’s Drosophila Research Conference, which is known within the community as the "Fly Meeting," March 1 - 5.

The conference has a unique approach, as its name might suggest. Rather than focusing on a specific subdiscipline of biology, the “Fly Meeting” brings together researchers whose work utilizes Drosophila, or fruit flies, to study a wide variety of topics.

Students Kamden Kuklinski ’23, Hannah Turnage ’23, Majo Orozco Fuentes ’24, Becca Ray ’24, Daniel Tulchinskiy ’25, and Teresa Louro ’25 attended.

“I love Fly Meeting. It's a really unique interdisciplinary conference that gathers people who are part of this model organism community,” Delventhal said. “It's particularly good for undergrads because they are not yet as specialized in their scientific interests as they will be if they go on to graduate school. My students all found the experience very fun, and they got to learn about so many different types of research.”

Delventhal’s lab examines traumatic brain injury and its longterm effects. Several of the students who attended were able to present on the research they’ve assisted on.

“It was really fun to present. People bring their own ideas and research experience when they visit your poster, which can help inform your next studies,” Kuklinski said. “It was cool meeting people who also study traumatic brain injuries in flies whose papers I have read. There are fruit fly heroes, and you can see them walking around among us at the conference. You also get a really good grasp on just how deep these studies go and how much possibility there is for further study.”

“I've been to different conferences that were way smaller than this one,” Orozco Fuentes shared. “It was refreshing to meet people who know about flies, which is a niche group. It’s great to get ideas from people who understand what you are doing with your research, and it was also interesting to see and understand what other people are working on in their fields.”

The experience helped Orozco Fuentes contextualize her future plans and have a more solid understanding of what a future in academia might look like.

“I think I was pretty set on going to grad school before the conference, but it was just an idea and I didn’t fully understand what academia was,” Orozco Fuentes said. “At the conference, I was able to understand how people do this for a living, and the experience showed me that networking can help you understand fields beyond research, like publishing.”

The conference was hosted in Chicago this year, which meant Delventhal was able to bring more students than she would have had the resources to do had flights been involved. Chicago is a popular choice when it comes to hosting large conferences due to its central geographic location and proximity to a major airport.

“Our position near Chicago is valuable and presents a major advantage when it comes to student exposure to research and presentation because we can go to conferences and bring more students when conferences are located in Chicago,” Delventhal said.