Dynamic Poster SFN 2016

At the Society for Neuroscience meeting in November 2016 I was offered the opportunity to present my research as a Dynamic Poster. This is a really cool format – instead of the usual 3 foot by 4 foot piece of paper, I had a 55 inch TV to display my research on. However, there wasn’t much guidance on how to create a Dynamic Poster, so I hope future Dynamic Poster presenters will find my notes helpful. The research I presented is described in my research summary and recently published in Elife, an open access journal. 

I experimented with a few ideas, and settled on using some of the fancier features of Microsoft PowerPoint 2013.

I created my own Slide Master to create the background of my poster. These are the things I thought should be on every slide, like the title and authors. I included a “home” button that linked back to the first slide of the presentation (my “home” slide) so I could return to the outline from anywhere. This home button was a custom Action Button that I placed a picture into.


My Slide Master

To create the poster, I started with a home slide that is similar to the typical paper poster, but made up mostly of pictures. I also skipped the abstract in favor of visual background information.

A few key points:

  • Keep your font sizes proportional but visible. I used 18 for headings and 10 for captions (on a regular 16:9 ratio slide). Test this early on with a screen that exactly matches the SFN specifications to save yourself the trouble of shortening your captions later.
  • Make your images as large and as simple as possible. I saved the details for the click-through slides.
  • Make your videos into GIFs to save computing power and let them run infinitely. All 8 “videos” of tadpoles are actually GIFs.

My home slide, which is similar to a typical poster. It allows the reader to see the overall story quickly but does not have written detail.

Building off of my home slide and slide master, I created detailed figures for each section of my poster. Below is one example slide. I treated this as my opportunity to discuss the figure in detail with the viewer so I included a more detailed figure legend.


Slide 1. To get here, I clicked on the first results figure. I found it helpful to use white boxes to cover subparts of a figure to help the viewer follow me directly. Note that the information from my Slide Master is still visible.

Once I created my poster, I got to the fun part: presenting! At SFN, Dynamic Poster presenters are required to stay with our posters for the full 4 hour session. It seemed like a lot before I did it, but the time passed quickly and I had many interesting conversations.

A few tips for presenting:

  • Use a remote to advance your slides! But not just any remote – if you use Action Buttons like me, you’ll need a real mouse-style remote to click on the Action Buttons, not a simple forward-and-back advancer. I used the remote from this portable projector system I already had. It is similar to how a Wii-mote works in that you move it around to move around on screen.
  • Don’t feel like every person who stops by needs to see every single figure. I had a few different lengths of my talk in mind to accommodate viewers with different levels of interest. The placement and novelty of the Dynamic Poster invites in people who wouldn’t seek out your poster, so I was very happy to have prepared my talk in several ways.
    • 30 seconds: Using only the home slide, here’s the overview of my project and why we should care. I had 2 or 3 versions in my head based on their answer to my first question: “how much do you know about multisensory processing?”
    • 2 minutes: Using the home slide and the figures, here’s the data that goes with the pictures presented on the home slide and why we should care.
    • 5-10 minutes: for the very interested, I went through each section of the home slide and clicked through to the relevant figures. This was especially useful when people directly in my field and my advisor’s friends stopped by.

IMG_20161113_152225679_HDR Thanks for reading! If you want any other tips or more specific advice on Dynamic Posters, send me a message. You can also see me this year at SFN 2017 with a new Dynamic Poster on Wednesday afternoon, 1-5pm, at DP09.

About Torrey Truszkowski

Torrey is a sixth year PhD candidate in neuroscience at Brown University. Her research investigates the connections between brain cells that process sensory information. She hosts the Providence, Rhode Island Nerd Nite (nerdniteri.com) and teaches science communication. After graduating, she plans to embed science communication into her work. Find me on Twitter @TorreyTruszko
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