Alexander Pendleton Conference Summary

Alexander Pendleton

Ph.D. Candidate

Physiological Sciences



Perinatal Exposures: Intersecting Mechanisms leading to Developmental Outcomes

Aspen Snowmass, CO 

August 24-27, 2019


As a graduate student studying perinatology, I stand on the shoulders of giants. This conference, like many others, allowed researchers and scientists to gather in order to share ideas and perspectives surrounding different aspects of perinatology. However, this meeting was more intimate than most because the field of perinatology is smaller than many others: not only was I able to connect to other graduate students, but I was also able meet the pioneers and current trendsetters as well. Through these interactions with investigators and students, I was able to discuss the current aspects of perinatology and think about the approaches to studying the current questions that dominate the field. More importantly, we, as a lab, were able to establish connections with fellow labs and begin the process of sharing samples/data in a collaborative effort to expand the knowledge of the field.

Conferences are not just for talking about research, they are also for presenting research. Excitedly, I was able to present my research focusing on mitochondrial metabolism in growth restricted fetuses, and I was encouraged to submit the data as a manuscript as-is; although, admittedly, it does need at least one more experiment to solidify a mechanism. Additionally, I was able to gain perspective on how I should approach my final project for my PhD (e.g. learning and applying the techniques will maximize the focus on my hypothesis). 

Beyond advancing my academic pursuits, I was also able to garner career advice from faculty, researchers, and students alike. As I am still “on the fence” as to my decision post-PhD, it was necessary to explore all facets of life beyond graduate school and gain insight into my developing journey. Weighing the pros and cons of the decisions post-graduate school is sobering. However, I now have even more connections on which to turn, in case I have questions or doubts about future endeavors. The Herbert E. Carter Travel Award made this conference possible for me to attend, and I am extremely grateful for that opportunity. 

Last updated 18 Feb 2020