Visitor of the Week: Ulrike Boehm

Photo by Constance Brukin

Photo by Constance Brukin

Meet Ulrike Boehm of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Ulrike is a physics-trained postdoctoral research fellow and a member of Daniel Larson's team in the Laboratory of Receptor Biology and Gene Expression. She came onto campus to attend the 2017 Chromatin, Epigenetics & Gene Expression course, which concluded this earlier this week, for an intensive, three-week immersion into the world of gene expression. 

What are your research interests? What are you working on?
My research interests are primarily focused on developing novel imaging tools for application in biological and clinical research. At the NIH, I develop and combine new technologies (super-resolution microscopy, single molecule imaging, genetic engineering, next generation sequencing approaches, mathematical and biophysical modeling) to understand gene expression in eukaryotic cells which requires the understanding of the organization of the genome in time and space.

Was there something specific about the Chromatin, Epigenetics & Gene Expression course that drew you to apply?
I am a trained physicist and specialized in advanced imaging techniques during my PhD studies in Germany. As a result, at the beginning of my postdoctoral studies, I was a newcomer to the field of chromatin, epigenetics, and gene expression. I applied for the GeneX course to get to know the community, and to gain an overview of the fundamental and more recent lab techniques. But this course was much more than just a pure-method course and it exceeded my expectations. I met amazing scientists, spoke about my work and future career plans, and I am now part of a vibrant network.

What is your key takeaway from the course?
During the hands-on sessions, I was exposed to a number of experimental methods (Hi-C, 3C, ChIP-seq, qRT-PCR, etc.) and data analysis strategies that I am able to immediately implement in my current research. Furthermore, I met some amazing women in science. The course instructors Karen Adelman and Geeta Narlikar, and speakers Karolin Luger and Maria Elena Torres Padilla – who are each a successful scientist and an incredible mentor – offered advice on career development, how to lead a successful research group, and how to achieve work-life balance. Also, and most importantly, speaking with them motivated me to keep on striving for a career in science.

How many CSHL courses have you attended? How about CSHL meetings?
This is my first CSHL course and, so far, I have not yet attended a CSHL meeting. However, I plan to attend and present my work at the the 2018 Epigenetics and Chromatin meeting. In addition, there are talks about my joining the 2018 Imaging Structure and Function in the Nervous System course as a teaching assistant; and I intend to build a superresolution microscope for and with that course's trainees.

If someone curious in attending your course asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
It is an amazing but also demanding course with topnotch faculty members who carry out a very comprehensive curriculum. In my opinion, it is the perfect course for anyone in need of a quick and thorough crash course in the field of chromatin, epigenetics, and gene expression. 

What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
I have a long list and to name a few: winning the 2017 Plate Race; getting together and watching the beautiful sunsets at the CSHL Beach; having intense discussions with the instructors, speakers, and my fellow trainees in Blackford Bar; and the lobster banquet on the final day of the course. 

Ulrike was awarded a Helmlsey Fellowship to cover a portion of her course tuition. On behalf of Ulrike, thank you to The Helmsley Charitable Trust for supporting and enabling our young scientists to attend a CSHL course where they expand their skills, knowledge, and network.

Thank you to Ulrike for being this week'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.