Visitor of the Week: Alberto Hidalgo-Bravo

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Meet Alberto Hidalgo-Bravo of the National Institute of Rehabilitation in Mexico City, Mexico. Presently a junior principal investigator in the Department of Genetics and Genomic Medicine, Alberto will be leading his own research group next year. To help him prep for his new position, Alberto is on campus training at the High-Throughput Biology: From Sequence to Networks course and he already has plans to return for the 84th CSHL Symposium: RNA Control & Regulation.

What are your research interests? What are you working on?
My main research area is cancer biology, with a focus on RNA. We are interested in finding transcripts that could be used as biomarkers and looking for new and specific therapeutic targets.

How did you decide to make this the focus of your research?
Cancer cells are complicated. They break a few biological rules in order to survive. We have to understand the underlying mechanism to be able to design new strategies for prevention and treatment.

How did your scientific journey begin?
A high school teacher inspired my interest for genetics. She taught us the principles of genetics and molecular biology, and I became curious about how a gene knows what to do. That moment was when I decided that I wanted to understand what was behind the control of genes.

Was there something specific about the High-Throughput Biology: From Sequence to Networks course that drew you to apply?
Nowadays, everybody recognizes the importance of the “omics” technologies. They have changed the way of doing research. I realize that I had to get involved in this new era and this CSHL course represents an ideal scenario for learning the principles of these techniques.

What and/or how will you apply what you've learned from the course to your work?
Given the nature of my research, tools related to RNA analysis and interaction pathways are the most useful for me. This knowledge will help us to have a better understanding of the molecular mechanism underling biology of cancer.

What is your key takeaway from the course?
The course imparted information about resources that I previously did not know. As a researcher trained in a molecular biology environment, this new information complements my knowledge and empowers me to generate new hypothesis to decipher the missing pieces of my research.

If someone curious in attending this course asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
I would definitely recommend this course. It covers a lot of subject material and the instructors are very capable.

What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
This is a great experience. In addition to the scientific part, I had the chance to enjoy the beautiful campus. But the best thing of this experience is the opportunity to meet and know other people who share a common interest. I am sure that some of my course mates will become a collaborator or, even better, a friend. These parts of attending to the course was a great benefit for me.

Alberto received a scholarship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to cover a portion of his course tuition. On behalf of Alberto, thank you to HHMI for supporting and enabling our young scientists to attend a CSHL course where they expand their skills, knowledge, and network.

Thank you to Alberto for being this course’s featured visitor. To meet other featured scientists - and discover the wide range of science that takes part in a CSHL meeting or course - go here.

Visitor of the Week: Kerry Hilligan

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Meet Kerry Hilligan of the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in Wellington, New Zealand. The postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Franca Ronchese’s Immune Cell Biology Program made her maiden voyage to CSHL this week to attend the inaugural meeting of Systems Immunology. Kerry was among the forty-two speakers of the meeting and she presented her talk, “Dissecting the innate immune networks regulating CD4+ T cell differentiation,” during the Single Cell Analysis of Genomic and Signaling States session.

What are your research interests? What are you working on?
My research is focused on understanding how antigen-presenting cells regulate adaptive immunity in response to a diverse range of pathogenic stimuli and environmental cues. 

How did you decide to make this the focus of your research?
Vaccines have been one of the most important advancements in medical history, but there are still many diseases where no vaccine is available or the available vaccine is ineffective. In order to inform vaccine design, we need to understand the specific signals involved in initiating protective immune responses against a variety of different pathogens.

How did your scientific journey begin? 
I have always been interested in biology and understanding how cells perform specialized functions and interact with one another. During my final year as an undergraduate at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, I took an immunology course and instantly knew that this was the field of study that I wanted to pursue. I was completely captivated by this extraordinary network of cells that could be leveraged in so many ways to improve human health.  

Was there something specific about the Systems Immunology meeting that drew you to attend?
This was the inaugural Systems Immunology meeting at CSHL and offered the perfect platform to meet with other researchers with an interest in systems immunology. There was also an impressive lineup of speakers presenting data on the latest cutting-edge technology. 

What is your key takeaway from the meeting?
Single-cell technologies have helped uncover a remarkable level of heterogeneity and plasticity among immune cells. 

What did you pick up or learn from the meeting that you plan to apply to your work?  
There were many exciting new technologies presented at this meeting. I was particularly interested in a platform that allows you to measure protein and mRNA transcript levels simultaneously in individual cells. 

If someone curious in attending a future iteration of this meeting asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
I would highly recommend this meeting to both “wet lab” and computational immunologists. The program included lots of unpublished findings and integrated experimental, computational, and mathematical approaches to immunology. 

What did you think of your first meeting at CSHL?
I had heard great things about CSHL meetings and was not disappointed! I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at CSHL and will definitely check out future meetings.

What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
The campus is absolutely beautiful and provided the perfect backdrop to a fantastic meeting.

Thank you to Kerry for being this meeting’s featured visitor. To meet other featured scientists - and discover the wide range of science that takes part in a CSHL meeting or course - go here.

Enjoy CSHL Like a Local

Photo: Marie Adomako via Twitter (@blingmarie)

Photo: Marie Adomako via Twitter (@blingmarie)

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) may be the home of almost 600 students, postdocs, principal investigators, technicians, and scientific staff, but it also becomes the temporary home of ~8,000 researchers each year via events that CSHL Meetings & Courses Program organizes and hosts. Many are first-time visitors and they become enthralled by the beauty of our harbor-side campus, returning to their home institutions with immediate plans to come back to CSHL. To assist our first-time visitors and ensure they make the most of their maiden voyage to CSHL, we asked several resident scientists and staff members to share some “insider” tips. Their words of wisdom provide the perfect crash course for all who step foot on campus!

Let us first get a lay of the land. “The parts of campus you will want to visit are accessible by a beautifully manicured staircase. It’s the most scenic way to a lot of CSHL buildings and has the least car traffic,” says Jonathan Ipsaro, a postdoctoral fellow in structural biology who’s been at CSHL since 2010.

If a campus tour is offered while you’re here, definitely sign up for it!” Lisa Kimoto, a scientific administrator for a genomics lab, concurs: “[Campus tours] are very insightful and give you access to see behind-the-scenes.” And third-year graduate student Martyna Sroka enthusiastically agrees: “All CSHL first-timers should attend one of the campus tours! They are a fantastic way to not only familiarize oneself with the practicalities of campus...but also learn about the rich and inspiring history of the lab and the area! Listening to behind-the-scenes trivia about the work done by CSHL Nobel Laureates while walking through the buildings where the work was carried out is guaranteed to inspire anyone.” (Martyna is also one of the official campus tour guides so she might be a little biased!)

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To become acquainted with the Lab, refer to this map.

If you find yourself in search of a respite while on campus, heed Finance & Accounting Supervisor Mary Ellen Goldstein’s advice and “take advantage of the beautiful grounds and go for a stroll.” CSHL offers an abundance of scenic areas perfect for gathering your thoughts and envisioning how to adapt a newly-learned technique into your work. Several of these areas become popular during warmer months, especially the beach at the end of Bungtown Road, the lawn by the volleyball court, and the Hillside Plaza, which provides a “bird’s eye view of the Harbor” according to second-year graduate student Cole Wunderlich. The lawn by the volleyball court is considered by many, including Public Affairs Communication Associate Sara Roncero-Menendez, to be a “nice little spot to take your lunch and catch up with friends.

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During the warmer months, many of our course and meetings social functions are held on the Airslie Lawn located by the CSHL Beach.
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Emilis Bruzas, a graduate student in cancer biology, recommends the beach for a lunchtime break, which also serves as a launch point if you follow fourth-year graduate student Ngoc “Tumi” Tran’s suggestion and borrow CSHL kayaks to experience the Harbor from the water itself. Another option is the quieter, well-maintained Stillman Outback Trail which Cole describes as a “nice retreat into nature.

The Stillman Outback Trailhead is located behind the Cabins.

Whether on a campus tour or a quiet stroll, you will come across CSHL’s impressive collection of science-related art that is sprinkled throughout campus. In addition to outdoor sculptures like the popular Waltz of the Polypeptide, CSHL is home to two Dale Chihuly installations. Many resident scientists and staff members list these glass sculptures as must-see attractions. One hangs in the Marks building entryway while the other can be viewed either from the Dutch Stairs between Axinn Laboratory (Map #20) and Wendt Laboratory (Map #36), or from within Wendt.

The Waltz of the Polypeptide is just one of our several outdoor sculptures. It is located by Dolan Hall.
One of our two Dale Chihuly installations on campus.

For those who want to take an off-campus break, Robert Albinson in Shipping & Receiving notes that “we have some great parks [nearby].The Cold Spring Harbor State Park and Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve are two local areas ideal for hikers. The former is “especially gorgeous in the fall” according to Tumi. Additionally, Robert suggests that “Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge is an ideal spot to view seals.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a historical and breathtaking place many proudly call their home and place of work. If you’re coming onto campus to train at a course, check out our #cshlcourselife series for more tips on preparing for your time with us. For those participating in a meeting, you can find advice on making the most of our meetings here.

We’ll close out this post with a list of fun on- and off-campus tips:

View of Hillside.

View of Hillside.

  1. If you feel energetic and want to get a good work out in, do like Rocky Balboa and run up the steps to upper campus. (Mary Ellen Goldstein, Finance & Accounting Supervisor)

  2. Play pickup beach volleyball from April to September. (Emilis Bruzas, Graduate student in Mikala Egeblad’s lab studying the interplay between the immune system and stem cell behavior in a model of breast cancer dormancy)

  3. Enjoy the view from the Hillside patio, maybe [have] breakfast [there] before the meeting starts. (Lisa Kimoto, Research Operations Scientific Administrator)

  4. The whaling heritage of Cold Spring Harbor can be spotted everywhere on campus if you know where to look (even the address of the lab pays homage to it!). The neighboring Whaling Museum is a fantastic place to spend a free afternoon. (Martyna Sroka, Graduate student in Chris Vakoc’s lab working on pediatric cancer utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 knockout screens to understand differentiation block in muscle cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma)

  5. The Oheka Castle is a gorgeous estate ten minutes from the lab by car. It is where a Jonas brother got married and where Taylor Swift filmed the “Blank Space” music video. (Tumi Tran, Graduate student in Alexei Koulakov’s lab)

  6. Have some drinks and chicken quesadillas at Blackford Bar. (Hanfei Deng, Postdoctoral fellow in Bo Li’s lab working on neural mechanism underlying motivated behaviors through optogenetics and imaging methods)

  7. Have a southwestern salad at Hillside Café. (Emilis Bruzas)

  8. Take a photo in front of the Jones Laboratory (Map #28)—CSHL’s first building! (Hanfei Deng)

  9. Go fishing. The Harbor offers some of the best fishing on Long Island and you don’t need a boat. (Robert Albinson, Shipping & Receiving Clerk)

  10. If you want to take the train into NYC, the Cold Spring Harbor and Syosset train stations are equidistant from the Lab. However, the fare at the Syosset station is cheaper and the Syosset station is part of the CSHL Shuttle’s route. (Jonathan Ipsaro, Postdoctoral fellow with Leemor Joshua-Tor studying structural mechanisms of RNA interference)

Photos: Constance “Connie” Brukin (unless otherwise noted)

Repeat Visitor: Diego Rodriguez Terrones

Photo provided by Ethan Greenblatt

Meet Diego Rodriguez Terrones of Helmholtz Zentrum München (Munich, Germany). The Mexican national is a third-year PhD student supervised by Prof. Dr. Maria-Elena Torres-Padilla from the Helmholtz Zentrum München, and Dr. Juan Manuel Vaquerizas from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Biomedicine. Diego made his CSHL debut this year and did so with quite the “bang”: first presenting a poster at the Transposable Elements meeting then the Advanced Sequencing Technologies & Applications course less than 48 hours later. We reached out to Diego to ask him of his experiences and if there were any other CSHL meetings or courses on his radar (and we may be welcoming him again for the Mouse Development, Stem Cells & Cancer and the Synthetic Biology courses!). We began by talking about his work and how he made it the focus of his research:

In the lab, we aim to understand the molecular basis of mammalian totipotency, which is the capacity of a single cell to give rise to an entire organism. For example, in the mouse, the one cell of the 1-cell embryo and each of the two cells from the 2-cell embryo are the only three totipotent cells that occur during development. What this essentially means is that if you let a 1-cell embryo develop to term you will get one mouse, and if you split up the 2 cells from the 2-cell embryo and let them develop independently, you will get two twin mice. Once the two cells from the 2-cell stage embryo divide once more to form the 4-cell stage embryo, totipotency is lost and it won’t be possible to initiate development from a single cell ever again during this round of development! Our goal is to understand what makes this particular set of three cells stand out from all others; specifically how the unique epigenetic landscape that arises at the beginning of development mediates this unique totipotent capacity.

Overview of mouse pre-impantation development. Image provided by Diego Rodriguez Terrones

Overview of mouse pre-impantation development. Image provided by Diego Rodriguez Terrones

Early on in my career, I realized that my main interests laid within the field of synthetic biology and that my long-term goal was to enable the engineering of biological systems that possess properties or exhibit behaviors not found in nature. However, I also understood at the time that any attempt to engineer life would most certainly fail without a thorough understanding of gene regulation, and all the epigenomic mechanisms that translate one unique genotype into the multitude of cellular phenotypes that exist throughout an organism. Under that logic, what better place to start than the early embryo where the mammalian developmental program and its epigenome are kick-started.

How did your scientific journey begin?

Actually, as far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a scientist! When I was around 5 years old, for some reason, I started watching a lot of astronomy documentaries on TV and became absolutely fascinated by the idea of space exploration. Over the course of the next several years, however, I think I started to understand just how difficult space exploration really was, how little we were doing it, and just how much our biological limitations stood in the way of making space exploration a reality. Mainly because of this, and by the age of 12, I remember having had decided that I wanted to pursue a career in something involving biology or medicine, and was what eventually led me to start a career in genomics during my undergrad.

You recently joined the 200+ alumni of the Advanced Sequencing Technologies & Applications course. What attracted you to the course and what did you take away from it?

Advanced Sequencing Technologies & Applications Class of 2018

Advanced Sequencing Technologies & Applications Class of 2018

I was particularly interested in learning about the new long read sequencing technologies, and about genome assembly and the analysis of structural variants. These two topics were indeed two of the course’s central themes this year, so it was quite productive for me! I think it’s a fantastic course for primarily developing your bioinformatic skills, targeted towards the very latest technologies. I’m happy to have acquired a rather wide collection of new experimental and bioinformatic skills during this course, ranging from variant calling and genome assembly, all the way up to the preparation of single-cell RNA-seq libraries with 10X genomics. I’m in the process of incorporating the training in the analysis of RNA-seq data that I acquired at the course towards my current research project. If anything, I guess my key takeaway from this course -- of this year -- is that long read sequencing technologies are revolutionizing genomics! I think both beginner and intermediate bioinformatic users would benefit from the course equally, which is rather unusual for a course like this and speaks highly about its quality.

This year, you also attended the Transposable Elements meeting. Can you tell us what led you to register for this meeting in particular?

Diego at one of the 2018 Transposable Elements’ poster sessions.

Diego at one of the 2018 Transposable Elements’ poster sessions.

Since I will be finishing my PhD relatively soon, I wanted to see where the field was heading and gather some ideas for my postdoctoral project. As a matter of fact, quite a few of the things that I learnt during the meeting are going to shape what I end up doing during my postdoc. This meeting represents ones of the best opportunities to get a global overview of the transposon field; so if you are working on repetitive elements, I would most definitely recommend it. Another group that I think would greatly benefit from it is anyone working on molecular biology or -omics method development: there are so many crazy molecular mechanisms going on with transposons that I think it would be rather inspiring!

One key takeaway was very neatly put forward by Cedric Feschotte during his keynote when he argued that the genome can only be understood as an ecosystem. I think this concept very elegantly puts together the idea that genomes are teeming with all sorts of selfish genetic entities that range from DNA transposon and endogenous retroviruses, all the way to parasitic repetitive elements that exploit other transposable elements for their own replication. However, the key point here is that while this interplay between host genome and transposable elements can give rise to genetic conflicts, it can also result in selective advantages to the host organism by providing a continuous source of novel regulatory sequences and even of novel regulatory proteins.

Since you’ve now experienced both meeting and course life at CSHL, did you pick up any differences or similarities between the two function types?

Well, long hours are definitely a constant between both!

What did you like most about your time at CSHL?

The course materials are perhaps my favorite general thing. They are of exceptional quality and permit us to come back to them for further reference once we start applying what we learnt! Also, the instructors were great, and it was really easy to approach them to discuss how to best address the specific challenges we are encountering in our own projects.

During the meeting, I really enjoyed the poster session. The quality of the posters were remarkable and there were tons of posters I was extremely interested in visiting! Fortunately, there was also a lot of time to mingle around during the poster session which is definitely not the case at every meeting). Also, the keynotes were spectacular!

Thank you to Diego for sharing with us his experience, and we look forward to having him back at the Laboratory again for the two courses he has his sights set on - Mouse Development, Stem Cells & Cancer and Synthetic Biology. Both annual courses are accepting applications until March 1, 2019 and April 1, 2019, respectively. The Advanced Sequencing Technologies & Applications course will again be offered at CSHL from November 5-17, 2019 (with applications due here by July 15, 2019); and the Transposable Elements meeting will return in October 2020.

Also, we would like to particularly thank Prof. Torres-Padilla, his institutions, HELENA (Helmholtz Graduate School Environmental Health), and Chromatin Dynamics (Integrated Research Training Group IRTG-SFB 1064) for providing Diego with the financial support that enabled him to participate at his CSHL meetings and courses this year.

To meet other featured scientists - and discover the wide range of science that takes part in a CSHL meeting or course - go here and here.

Repeat Visitor: Pau Creixell

Photo provided by Pau Creixell

Photo provided by Pau Creixell

Pau Creixell of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT is the next scientist to be featured in the 2018 edition of our Repeat Visitor series. Pau is a postdoctoral fellow in Michael Yaffe’s lab, which is part of the MIT Center Precision Cancer Medicine. In the thirteen months since October 2017, Pau trained in three of our courses: X-Ray Methods in Structural Biology, Workshop on Leadership in Bioscience, and Scientific Writing Retreat. And with the Network Biology meeting and courses on Cryoelectron Microscopy and Synthetic Biology in his sights, we will likely be seeing Pau again. In the meantime, we reached out to Pau to discuss his experiences so far and learn what keeps him coming back to Cold Spring Harbor.

Talk us through your research interests and how you made them the focus of your work.

Using both computational and experimental quantitative approaches, I am interested in understanding how specific cancer mutations perturb protein function and cause disease. The focus of my work is protein kinases, a subset of proteins highly mutated in cancer and targeted by many therapeutic agents. I find cellular signaling and protein kinases fascinating because even though they have been studied for decades, we are still discovering new molecular functions for them and learning how they are perturbed in cancer. The degree of regulation and functional diversification in protein kinases is very interesting to me, and the amount of sequencing and functional information that we have for them now allows for more systematic studies. It’s a field that has repeatedly shown how fundamental discoveries in molecular biology can lead to effective targeted therapies that benefit patients.

How did your scientific journey begin?

When I was young, a family member was diagnosed with cancer and that had a big impact on me. Since then, I decided that by doing research I could try to contribute to our understanding of the disease which, in turn, could result in better therapies. I was also very fortunate to have a supportive home and school environment, where my curiosity was encouraged by my parents, grandparents, and teachers.

As I was finishing my undergraduate studies in biology, the Human Genome Project was being completed and a number of cancer genome projects were starting. I quickly realized that to address fundamental biological questions, we would need to not only generate quantitative data, but also integrate and decode large and diverse sources of data. This inspired me to pursue a PhD in computational systems biology. Since my ultimate goal is to lead an interdisciplinary lab, I wanted to complement my computational training with expertise in cancer biology. Thus for my postdoc, I purposely transitioned into a lab where I could improve my experimental skills in biochemistry and molecular/cellular cancer biology.

Your most recent course at CSHL was last month’s Scientific Writing Retreat. Can you tell us what attracted you to the retreat?

Scientific Writing Retreat Class of 2018

Scientific Writing Retreat Class of 2018

Given the time scientists invest in writing and the number of versions every manuscript, grant, or application goes through, I always felt that the process of writing could be improved and made more enjoyable. I wanted to learn more about scientific writing in general and how the process may change depending on the purpose of each document. A major takeaway from the retreat is to focus on the audience and how it will interpret your writing. The audience is often broader and more diverse than most of us appreciate; keeping this in mind ensures that key information is presented clearly and your writing is easy to understand.

Since part of the retreat is devoted to practicing on your own work, I returned from it with much-improved versions of abstracts for two manuscripts as well as a research statement. I also learned how to give better feedback on the scientific documents of others, and I increased my understanding of how scientific stories are crafted, submitted, and published. I picked up general writing strategies (e.g., given the limited space in titles, abstracts, and summaries, one has to use the most meaningful words and avoid superfluous ones) and became aware of my major writing weakness (referred to as “your kryptonite” in the retreat). Communicating your science effectively is required to become a successful scientist, and I would like to thank the great instructors, coaches, and my fellow participants for their help.

It’s becoming more common for trainees of the Scientific Writing Retreat to also participate in the Workshop on Leadership in Bioscience. In fact, you are among six recent alums who participated in both the retreat and leadership workshop. Was there something specific about the leadership workshop that led you to apply for it?

I think it is no coincidence that several trainees attend both the leadership workshop and writing retreat as these skills are critical for those transitioning to scientific independence.

I have found there to be little leadership training for scientists, who are supposed to run labs without any formal training on how to successfully manage and lead others. Similar to how I looked for both computational and experimental training opportunities during my PhD and postdoc, I attended the leadership workshop because, in my mind, it was important to be as prepared as possible if I want to effectively lead my own interdisciplinary laboratory in the future.

Workshop on Leadership in Bioscience Class of 2018

Workshop on Leadership in Bioscience Class of 2018

Generally speaking, any starting junior faculty will want to set up an exciting, fun, and creative lab environment but, as covered in the workshop, this will ultimately depend on hiring the right people and setting the right lab environment and expectations. Another important takeaway from the workshop is to recognize that no one is infallible and everyone makes mistakes when running a lab. You have to be open to feedback from everyone and ready to learn from your own mistakes so you can fix them as soon as they are detected. By establishing consistent and objective parameters during the hiring stage and requesting independent feedback from everyone in the lab, one can aim to counteract intrinsic biases and group-thinking, thereby cultivating a diverse and creative lab.

Though I currently have limited opportunities to manage others, I have already implemented some of the aspects I learned and have been working to overcome some of my weaknesses as a leader. The facilitators of the workshop are incredibly knowledgeable and I plan to stay in touch with them as my leadership skills develop. I, along with the facilitators and other workshop participants, have joined a LinkedIn group where we keep in touch and share our ideas.

Finally, the laboratory short course on X-Ray Methods in Structural Biology: Was there something specific that led you to apply for this course?

For my postdoc, I was interested in learning techniques that would allow me to better characterize the molecular effects of mutations in proteins. During a meeting with my PI, he recommended this course, which he himself attended and enjoyed twenty years prior.

From my participation in the course, I took away an appreciation for the physical principles behind x-ray crystallography. It is extremely exciting to be able to learn the fundamentals from those who pioneered the field and developed the technologies and software that are now commonplace. I crystallized many different proteins and learned how to explore different crystallization conditions. I also emerged from the course clearly understanding how diffraction data are interpreted so that structural models can be derived. Being able to transition from raw data to a model and back to the data is an important skill, so that one doesn’t simply take the structural model as the only solution. As I am working on solving structures for protein kinases in complex with specific substrate peptides, this has allowed me to critically evaluate the different research options moving forward. Coming from a computational background, it is also appealing to consider that a research project can now begin by mining millions of cancer somatic mutations, and finish by resolving the molecular differences between mutant and wild-type proteins at atomic resolution.

The overall format of your three courses are different. What differences or similarities did you pick up, and what advice can you share with future participants?

All three of the courses had a direct impact on the way I now look at scientific problems and the scientific process in general. The training was intense but extremely worthwhile, and I learned something new every day. In all cases it also felt like the more effort you put in, the more knowledge you get out, so I would certainly encourage future attendees to complete any assignments that are suggested by the instructors.

An aspect easily overlooked about these courses is that they offer a great opportunity to build community. The topics, formats, duration, location (Banbury versus CSHL main campus), instructors, and attendees were obviously different in the courses I took, but they all had a similar feeling of being part of a community. My memories include laughing and sharing experiences with participants and instructors of diverse origins and backgrounds, going for morning runs together, and relaxing in the basement of Robertson House and on a sailing trip. When one is an early-stage scientist like I am, often competing with peers, it is important to remember that the vast majority of us are driven by shared interests in addressing thought-provoking scientific questions and contributing positively to society.

Pau received financial support from the Convergence Scholars Program, Helen Hay Whitney Foundation, Helmsley Charitable Trust, National Cancer Institute, and National Institute of General Medical Sciences. On behalf of Pau, we would like to thank these organizations and agencies for continuing to support and enable our young scientists to attend a CSHL course where they expand their skills, knowledge, and network.

The three courses Pau took part in - Workshop on Leadership in Bioscience, X-Ray Methods in Structural Biology, and Scientific Writing Retreat - will again be offered at CSHL in 2019. All three courses have already begun to accept applications, and applications for the leadership workshop are due by January 15, 2019 here.

Thank you to Pau for sharing with us his experience, and we look forward to having him back at the Laboratory again. To meet other featured scientists - and discover the wide range of science that takes part in a CSHL meeting or course - go here and here.