ZarLab goes to Catalina Island: 2017 UCLA Bioinformatics IDP Retreat

Several members of our lab recently traveled to Catalina Island for the 2017 UCLA Bioinformatics Interdepartmental Program retreat. Every year, graduate students in the Bioinformatics IDP organize a retreat in southern California for faculty and graduate students to develop research ideas and get to know each other.

This year, Bioinformatics IDP PhD students Kikuye Koyano and Artur Jaroszewicz organized the retreat at the University of Southern California’s Wrigley Marine Science Center in Two Harbors, 20 miles offshore from Los Angeles. The Wrigley Center maintains houses, dormitories, laboratories, waterfront, and conference facilities for environmental scientists and other ventures that support the center’s mission. Situated in Big Fisherman’s Cove, a nearby marine life refuge established in 1989 offers soft clean sediment, kelp forests and a wide diversity of marine life.

During the 3-day retreat, Bioinformatics IDP graduate students presented research papers and held forums on applying for fellowships, writing letters of intent, managing graduate school funding packages, and using campus mental health resources. In addition to science, faculty and students enjoyed hiking the chaparral hills, kayaking in the bay, snorkeling in the kelp forest, and enjoying dinner overlooking the beach in Two Harbors.

Eleazar Eskin joined the retreat as a faculty advisor, along with Jason Ernst, Peipei Ping, Sriram Sankararaman, and Roy Wollman. Rob Brown, a senior graduate student in our lab, helped faculty judge best abstracts and best presentations. Harry Yang, a first-year graduate student in our lab, presented work from one of his first year lab rotations in Kathrin Plath’s lab. Harry’s work addressed developing methods for identifying transcription factors that induce the maturation of neurons. Specifically, his work focused on refining single-cell RNA sequencing methods in a reproducible way and applying the method to neuron-differentiated stem cells and fetal brain samples.

Many thanks to Kikuye and Artur for organizing a very successful and enjoyable retreat!

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About Lana Martin

i write and teach.