Lab Scientific Retreat: “Pathways to Impact”

Scientific retreats provide an effective opportunity to connect, get creative, discuss science, foster productive collaborations and solve problems. In the fall of 2018, five years after the Functional Genomics Laboratory hosted its last retreat, our supervisor, Michael Udvardi, Ph.D., decided it was time for another lab retreat with his new team of postdocs and research associates.

There are many stories of how interactions in casual settings are conducive for great scientific ideas. In fact, the Eagle Pub, which Watson and Crick frequented during their work on the DNA double-helix structure, is a must-visit for biology enthusiasts traveling to the University of Cambridge in England.

In anticipation of the next Nobel (read: Noble) Prize, therefore, we followed the “Ten Simple Rules on How to Organize a Scientific Retreat” (Ponomarenko et al., 2017). What worked for us as a group and the takeaway messages for any other lab trying to organize a retreat can be summarized as follows.

Read more here.

Three Important Lessons We Learned From Medicago in 2017

Research using model species leads to fundamental discoveries in biology, and this holds true of our favorite model legume Medicago truncatula as well. Findings made over the past year made particularly significant contributions to what will soon be textbook knowledge. Here’s a roundup of three noteworthy lessons we learned last year from international groups working on Medicago.

Top 5 Resources for Medicago Researchers

Medicago truncatula, or the barrel medic, is a sister species of the forage legume alfalfa (Medicago sativa). M. truncatula is used extensively as a model organism to investigate, amongst other things, interactions with beneficial soil microbes that help plants acquire nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous from the environment.

In an attempt to consolidate the resources available and to introduce these existing tools to those just starting out with research on this model legume, I’ve compiled a list of what I see as the top five resources made by and for the Medicago research community.

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