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Genetic Counseling

This is a guide to research in human genetics and other clinical, psychological, and social expertise required in the Genetic Counseling program of study.

What's In This Page

This page in this guide is to give you a few genetic counseling- or at least science-specific pointers on preparing for your oral defense, writing a paper for publication, presenting at a conference, or creating and presenting a poster. 

The Writing and Citing tab of this guide also has advice that would be useful in writing a paper, including dissertations and theses, so this page will focus specifically on the challenges of professional publication.

Brandeis librarians have created a whole guide for Presentations and Poster Sessions.

I am always happy to consult, be it assistance in formatting your citations or working with citation management software, to critiquing a professional paper or presentation.  Get in touch with me through any of the contact methods in my profile box.

Presenting at a Conference

Conferences will often have Guidelines for Presenters, so check out the conference or organization website before anything else.

These links are some of my favorites for presentation advice because they are short, to the point, and as someone who has attended both good and bad presentations, I agree with them.  Pay particular attention to the points that all of them make as those are the ones presenters get wrong the most often. 

For my two cents, HAVE a PLAN B, especially for live demos.  Internet connections, even at national conferences, occasionally go AWOL.  Bring a PowerPoint on a thumb drive, just in case.  Be prepared to give a broad overview without visuals because it beats standing there doing nothing while tech support tries to get you up and running, and more time for Q&A is not a bad thing.

Professional Publication

Each journal has it's own Guidelines for Authors, usually describing the expected format of the article, style to follow for citations, and more.  These guidelines can vary quite a bit: be sure to double-check you specific journal. 

For example, BMC Medical Genetics requires you complete a CARES Guidelines checklist when submitting a case report: European Journal of Human Genetics does not.  EJHG accepts supplemental data and has strict guidelines about size, format, and style: BMC Medical Genetics has guidelines for uploading datasets to external repositories or electronic lab notebooks, obtaining DOIs, and linking the additional information that way.

Poster Sessions

There is a conference-sized poster printer on campus, in the Confocal Imaging Lab.  Their site has info on size, file format, and cost.  It is available to students but the fee is non-negotiable and it's available on a first-come first-served basis.  So if you need it around the time of a big conference, plan ahead.

For small posters, the Presentations and Poster Sessions guide has some useful suggestions.

Double-check your session's guidelines before you start designing your poster.  It will save to time to find out in advance that that proprietary piece of information you'd planned to build your summary around is something you aren't allowed to include, such as in the NIH SBIR/STTR Conference guidelines.  Conferences also usually post details of size and guidelines for layout and content that may be helpful.

Oral Defense

The oral defense of your thesis or dissertation requires preparation, practice, and confidence.  Be sure to have a clear understanding of your department's format:

  • Is your adviser going to introduce you and your research?  Be sure to discuss this so that your presentation doesn't start with repeating what your adviser just said.
  • How much time will you have to present your research?
  • How much time will there be for questions?
  • In addition to your review panel, who will be present?  Are they allowed to ask questions?
  • What equipment will be available for slides or visual supporting data?

Here are a few links with advice on preparing for and presenting your oral defense:

Little Known Aspects of the Oral Defense