Visitor of the Week: Linda Rubenstein


Meet Linda Rubenstein of the NASA Ames Research Center! The NASA Postdoctoral Fellow is a part of the Bone and Signaling Lab headed by Ruth Globus. She is on campus participating in her first CSHL course: Advanced Techniques in Molecular Neuroscience

What are your research interests? What are you working on?
We aim to understand the responses of mammalian tissue to the spaceflight environment with the goal of developing effective countermeasures to maintain crew health during and after space missions. 

My research focuses on the impact of microgravity and radiation on the brain in mice. 
How did you decide to make this the focus of your research? 

During my PhD, my focus was on aging. More specifically, prolonged exposure to the spaceflight environment leads to excess production of ROS and oxidative damage, culminating in an acceleration of tissue degeneration – similar to aging – and I am working to to further explore and understand this link. 

How did your scientific journey begin? 
My father is a chemist, and from young age, he inspired me to pursue scientific questions. I am also very lucky to have had wonderful and supportive mentors while I earned my Masters (Prof. David Lichtstein and Prof. Dvora Rubinger in the Jerusalem Hadassah Medical Center) and PhD degrees (Prof. Martin Kupiec in Tel-Aviv University). They inspired me to continue onto my postdoc. 

Was there something specific about the Advanced Techniques in Molecular Neuroscience course that drew you to apply?
Since I am relatively new to the neurobiology field, I was keen to acquire the newest methods with hands-on laboratory experience and meet with the experts of the field. This course came highly recommended.

What and/or how will you apply what you've learned from the course to your work? 
I will be able to apply the majority of the methods I have learned in the course - such as FISH, TRAP, CLIP techniques – to my work and I also plan to start working on neuronal cell cultures.

What is your key takeaway from the course?
Most importantly, the wonderful people I have met here. There is a vast range of new exciting techniques (both genome wide and single cell) that are relatively accessible and fascinating topics waiting to be explored – we just have to choose the suitable method for our scientific question and per aspera ad astra. And besides the novel techniques, I was also inspired by the lectures given by the guest lectures and our instructors. I return to California with many new ideas and offers for technical support and possible future collaborations.   

Taking a break from the course with a sail trip around the Bay.

Taking a break from the course with a sail trip around the Bay.

If someone curious in attending this course asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
I would warmly recommend this amazing course. In addition to acquiring a palette of amazing techniques, you get the chance to meet and discuss with the top researchers in the field the newest discoveries in a friendly and informal environment.

What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
I have loved the dedication and enthusiasm of our instructors (Cary Lai, Joseph LoTurco and Anne Schaefer) and the teaching assistants in helping us understand the different methods and how they can be applied to our research. I also love the diversity and vibrancy of my fellow course participants, from whom I have also learned a lot and whose company I have enjoyed. I am sure we’ll keep in touch in the future. 

Linda's attendance and travel were funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP), respectively. On behalf of Linda, thank you to HHMI and NPP for supporting and enabling scientists to attend a CSHL course where they expand their skills, knowledge, and network.

Also, thank you to Linda 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.