Death by PowerPoint

May 13, 2010

I gave a brief talk today at the 22nd annual Seattle Parasitology Conference. I got to the following slide . . .
thermal melt slide
. . . and the image shook from side to side, disappeared, reappeared, shook some more, disappeared again, and so on. It was as if I was falling asleep at my own presentation, except that I wasn’t the one dozing off. The projector was. The slides flickered back and forth and off and on for the rest of the talk. I found myself saying things like, “If you could see the Y axis, what you’d see is…”

Afterwards I received a bunch of sympathetic comments and a few funny ones. One observer summarized the talk as “really exciting,” making it clear that she was not referring to my data.

I guess I’m just glad that the audience found it exciting and the projector found it dull, rather than the other way around.


  1. I'm glad you survived. Giving the lecture/talk with disappearing slides had to be nerve-wracking.

  2. Sorry – just catching up. What does that slide have to do with parasites?

  3. Jay: Thermal melting can be used to screen compound collections against parasite proteins. A compound that increases the melting temperature of a protein probably stabilizes the protein by binding to it. Compounds that bind in this way may inhibit the function of the protein, perhaps causing the death of the parasite. So this work is an attempt to identify new hit compounds that might someday be developed into new drugs.

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