Harvard Retreat 2010: Lisa Willis




Harvard’s annual Systems Biology Retreat was for me a stimulating and informative experi- ence. There I had the opportunity to discuss briefly my PhD work with eminent professors of biology and applied mathematics, including Prof. Timothy Mitchison and Prof. L. Mahade- van. Their questions, along with questions during the poster session, raised some interesting and leading points for my work. Further, the lectures at the retreat, where each princi- pal investigator in half an hour described the biological themes and technical expertise of their laboratory, were probably a unique opportunity to rapidly assimilate a comprehensive overview of current research in Harvard’s biological sciences, and student participants learned a great deal in a short period of time. Meeting and staying with Harvard PhD students, and observing the differences and similarities in our postgraduate experiences and in our attitudes to developing as scientists, was a major bonus.

My main reason for attending the retreat was to canvass for a postdoc. I did not find a suitable position to apply for; nevertheless, I found it very useful to discuss possible career paths with academics from different departments who live in a different country (I am particularly grateful to Prof. Jagesh Shah): I believe these discussions clarified my own aspirations.



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