Ubiquitin Meeting

A Word From: Cynthia Wolberger


This week, we hosted the ninth CSHL meeting on The Ubiquitin Family. This biennial meeting attracts molecular biologists who study a particular family of cellular proteins called ubiquitins. A great number of the meeting participants are junior scientists: In fact, 47% of this year's meeting are graduate students and postdocs, and 77% of them were selected to present a talk or a poster.

We checked in with Cynthia Wolberger, a CSHL meeting veteran and returning Ubiquitin Family meeting organizer, for a casual chat about the meeting and its role in the ubiquitin community.

We have an exciting mix of talks. From the very basic biochemistry and structure that explains the mechanism of how ubiquitin works, through its effects in live organisms, all the way through to drug discovery where people are finding novel ways of targeting these pathways and treating diseases such as autoimmune diseases and cancer. It’s very exciting to see the full range of all of that science presented together.

The other always exciting thing to see is the junior investigators. Graduate students, postdocs, people about to transition to become new assistant professors, presenting their work, doing such a FANTASTIC job. And watching as the next generation of investigators in this field go off and become independent. 

I look at some of them sometimes and marvel at the work they’ve done and I think, “I didn’t do anything close to that important or groundbreaking when I first started out!” But so much more is possible now.

For more on Cynthia and her work, visit her lab's website.

For more conversations with our other meeting organizers and course instructors, go here. Also, to gain a meeting-goer's perspective on this meeting, read our Q&A with Judy Ronau.

Visitor of the Week: Judith Ronau


Meet Judith Ronau of Yale University. Judy is a postdoc in Mark Hochstrasser's lab and a CSHL first-timer. She is on campus for The Ubiquitin Family meeting and shares amazing feedback about the meeting and why you should attend its next iteration in 2019. 

What are you working on?
I am working on a bacterial protein that induces sterility in insects. In particular, I am focused on studying its biochemical and structural properties.

What is your key takeaway from the Meeting?
A lot of spectacular science has been discussed, but in my opinion, one of the most exciting new directions in the ubiquitin research field has to be ubiquitination independent of the E1, E2, E3 enzymes (+ATP) in the canonical pathway. This fascinating work has been discussed so far by Chitta Das and Sagar Bhogaraju, with a third presentation from Ivan Dikic today! I was also thoroughly impressed with the work from Kylie Walters' lab in mapping ubiquitin binding sites at the proteasome!

Was there something specific about The Ubiquitin Family meeting that drew you to attend?
Having recently entered the ubiquitin research field after doing my PhD on a metabolic metalloenzyme, I wanted to come to this meeting to see what everyone is up to and make some solid connections. Also, this is the perfect opportunity to give a talk on my work and catch up with old friends.

If someone curious in attending this meeting asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
COME TO THIS MEETING!! There is a lot of interesting ubiquitin related research in a focused environment. Plus, the setting at CSHL is amazing. Every scientist dreams of coming here.

What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
It is really special just being here to appreciate the history of this place and seeing all of the pictures of legendary scientists in the bar. I have also really enjoyed strolling around the campus.

Thank you to Judy 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.