by Lisa Sisley on May 21, 2010

(Did you read that with your Ed Sullivan voice? Go on, do it!)

I was in Chicago for the BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization) International Convention May 3-6. Dr. Beth Montelone, interim director of K-State’s Biosecurity Research Institute, asked me to attend as part of the K-State delegation, which I was happy to do. (We’ve done a lot of work for the BRI, and Beth needed help carrying stuff, and she knows I have a really strong back…no, that’s not why. I can talk at a certain level about the amazing things they do at the BRI and at K-State, and I can smile and shake hands with the best of them…THAT’S why. Although there’s nothing wrong with my back, and I did some toting.)

You know how sometimes you go to things labeled “international” and really, the only people there are from places you could drive to in six or seven hours? Well, this thing was TRULY international. Many countries had huge displays. We’re talking a few thousand square feet in some cases: The Canadians had a space that looked like a one-to-one-scale model of the country. Kansas was well represented at a display staffed by KansasBio and the Kansas Bioscience Authority, two groups working hard to maximize our presence in the world of bioscience.

You know what the best part was? So many attendees had ties to K-State! I had a lot of conversations that started with, “Oh, I got my Ph.D. from K-State in 1977! Do you know Dr. So-and-So? He was my major professor.”

I got to help tell the NBAF story, pass out brochures, highlight proximity to K-State and so forth…good stuff. I also talked with some folks who’ve had their eye on Kansas and K-State as potential business or research partners (wind turbines, biotech, animal health), so after we got back, I made follow-up calls and emails. I’m telling you, we really can parlay wind, cows and the Midwestern work ethic into a lot of new opportunities.

Anyway, I’m glad the BRI invited me to go. It was a great week and I learned a lot. Now if I could just get this kink out of my back….