Lunch-and-Learn with us next week in Boston at the American Chemical Society meeting

I'll get to meet one of my heroes. Image courtesy of Pharmagossip.

I’m really excited to be going up to Boston for a few days next week to attend the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Besides presenting some of our collaborative work, the highlight of my time there will be with Carmen Drahl of C&EN and The Haystack blog hosting a panel on chemistry and pharmaceutical blogging. The session will be held 12 noon – 2 pm on Tuesday, August 24 with Derek Lowe (In the Pipeline), Ed Silverman (Pharmalot), Michael Tarselli at Scripps Florida, and your humble correspondent.

Here’s a PDF with more details. Fellow Haystack blogger and C&EN Senior Editor, Lisa Jarvis, will be livetweeting the session. So be sure to follow Lisa @lisamjarvis.

Here’s the description from Carmen:

These folks will each give a short talk, but the real highlight here is the panel. I’d love for people to show up with great questions. Want to talk about how blogs are playing a role in discussing layoffs and employment? How about the trickiness to promoting new drugs on the web? Or what role new media should have in critiquing papers? The panel’s as good a time as any to bring those issues up.

I’ll be moderating the event, which is slated for Tuesday, August 24, from 12 noon till 2PM in the Boston Convention Center, Ballroom West.

It costs $16 to sign up for the session, which includes lunch. You can register for the event at the main ACS meeting registration site here. It is listed as the MEDI Lunch and Learn/Ticket No. SE 19.

Get more information about the event from this promo flyer.

I’ll be honest with you folks – I’m peeing my pants with anticipation.

Derek Lowe is the grand master of pharma blogging. Derek is a medicinal chemist who has somehow managed to write from the standpoint of a pharmaceutical industrial chemist and give us insights that you’ll rarely find elsewhere in the blogosphere. In fact, it was an interview with Derek in The Scientist in August 2005 that led me to start this blog. Derek does us a great service in academia by helping our trainees learn what it’s like to work inside a drug company, a place that about half of my trainees and fellow Ph.D. students now work. The 52 posts in his “Academia vs. Industry” category is a great place to start reading.

Ed Silverman is the go-to writer for coverage of the pharmaceutical industry, at least on this side of the pond (hello, Pharmagossip!). I respect a lot of other pro writers and bloggers on that beat such as Matthew Herper at Forbes and Scott Hensley when he was at the Wall Street Journal Health Blog, but now editor of NPR’s Shots health blog.

But Ed wrote for many years at the newspaper of my childhood, the Newark Star-Ledger, at a time when I dreamed of working for a northern New Jersey pharmaceutical company. With 75% of US pharmaceutical companies having a presence within 150 miles of Newark, Ed was at the heart of the business and told it like it is.  In the new home of Pharmalot with Canon Communications, he continues to provide cutting edge news on the drug industry and current legal actions in the community. Ed’s off on summer break right now but will return in time for our talks and panel discussions.

I haven’t met Michael Tarselli yet but I’m excited to do so and learn about the Scripps presence in Jupiter, Florida, where I have a few old colleagues. I’ve already been fortunate to meet Carmen, a Princeton-trained PhD chemist-turned journalist – Bora Zivkovic has a nice interview with her from ScienceOnline2010.

For those of you who won’t be there, Carmen is asking folks to send in questions for the panel via this survey form.

I want to ask Derek how in the heck he got the okay to blog from the highly risk-averse environment of a pharmaceutical company and how he approached this when a plant closure required that he find another position. Did his blogging help him drum up prospects and did his ultimate employer view his visibility as a blogger as a plus?

And in the wake of the Pepsigate exodus from ScienceBlogs, what is the place for writing about being a scientist in industry without being a pawn of one’s employer? I think that it’s essential for there to be just as much blogging by industry scientists as by academics and professional science writers. In chemistry, it seems to be much more accepted that one will work in a corporation (my data-free impression only). But our fellow scientists trained in pharmacology, genetics, or molecular biology have just as much opportunity to work in industry, large and small. Why aren’t we doing more in the blogosphere to prepare our trainees for these opportunities?

What would you like to see discussed at this panel? Drop a line in the comments or go over to Carmen’s response page.

And if you’re in Boston, please come say hello!

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4 comments

  1. Seriously, I can’t believe this all is coming together as well as it has. I’m psyched. Can’t take the credit for much of it though. Props are also in order for Tom Bannister of Scripps Florida- it was his idea to have this session in the first place. And a lot of folks in the Medicinal Chem Division of ACS have been a great help, like Jeff Zablocki, Danny Lattin, and Don Hertzog. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in Boston.

    1. Carmen, thank you so much for reminding me of the prominent role Tom Bannister has taken as well as folks in the MEDI division at ACS.

      I hope that you’re getting some suggestions for questions from readers.

  2. [...] Lunch-and-Learn with us next week in Boston at the American Chemical Society meeting [...]

  3. [...] grateful to C&EN Online editor, Rachel Pepling for sending me one. I will be wearing it for our panel discussion on [...]

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