What happens when 18 or so scientists from all around the U.S. jam into an MBL lab for the hot summer months — and proceed to tackle a very hard research problem that could take years in an individual lab? An intense collaboration that works “shockingly well,” says Michael Rosen of the University of Texas, one of the investigators leading the HHMI Summer Institute at MBL. Here’s an article about the unusual collaboration in the fall issue of the HHMI Bulletin.


The HHMI Summer Institute in the MBL's Whitman Center in 2014. The group, which is led by three HHMI Investigators (Michael Rosen, Ron Vale, and Jim Wilhelm) is funded to return to the MBL each summer through 2017. Credit: Tom Kleindinst

The HHMI Summer Institute in the MBL’s Whitman Center in 2014. The multi-institutional group is led by Michael Rosen of University of Texas, Ron Vale of UC-San Francisco, and Jim Wilhelm of UC-San Diego. It is funded to return to the MBL each summer through 2017. Credit: Tom Kleindinst

Tom Delmont, a postdoctoral scientist in the Bay Paul Center, traveled on an icebreaker to the Southern Ocean (the recently named ocean that includes the Earth’s southernmost waters) to explore microbial interactions and primary productivity. His trip yielded contributions to a recent paper in PNAS as well as a peaceful video reflecting the beauty of the Austral Summer.

A surge of adrenaline is carrying Rae Nishi of University of Vermont to her new position as the Burroughs Wellcome Director of Education at MBL, effective January 1. She writes:

“Normally, by the time I hit mile 4.0 of my 5.2 mile weekend run, I am feeling my aches and pains and wondering whether I will be able to finish; however, the day after I accepted the offer to be director of education at MBL, I felt different. I was running with my head up and a smile on my face. I maintained speed on the uphill portions and even managed to sprint the last 100 yards. That pretty much embodies my feelings about my new job. I am optimistic, energetic, and willing to push hard. I am very much looking forward to working with all the great people who are at MBL.”

Looking forward to your arrival, Dr. Nishi!


The magnificent research vessel Sorcerer II, owned by the J. Craig Venter Institute, arrived in Woods Hole this morning and picked up two scientists before setting out for the Gulf of Maine. They are Erik Zettler of Sea Education Association (SEA) and Keven Dooley, a SEA Semester alumnus and 2014 summer research intern at the MBL from Colorado College. The two scientists, along with the MBL’s Linda Amaral-Zettler, are collaborators on a project to discover and describe the microbial communities that live on microscopic bits of plastic debris in the ocean (known as the Plastisphere). They will be taking samples from the Gulf as well as conducting experiments during the cruise. The chief scientist on board is Amaral-Zettler’s colleague Chris Dupont, Assistant Professor in the Microbial and Environmental Genomics department at the J. Craig Venter Institute.


In “A Tribute to Oliver Sacks” today on NPR’s “Science Friday” program, MBL Senior Scientist Roger Hanlon will be among the guests sharing memories of the famed neurologist, author, and polymath, who passed away last week. Sacks was a friend of Hanlon’s, a colleague in the study of sensory and behavioral biology, and “a lover of cephalopods (squid, octopus, and cuttlefish),” says Hanlon, whose studies these neurologically complex marine animals. Other of Sacks’ colleagues who will appear on the show include 2000 Nobel Prize Laureate Eric Kandel, University Professor at Columbia University and former MBL visiting investigator and faculty member in several neuroscience courses; and Sue Barry, Professor of Biological Sciences at Mt. Holyoke College and former director of the Grass Laboratory at MBL.

In Woods Hole, “Science Friday” will broadcast at 90.1 FM (WCAI) from 2:25 to 2:55 PM.

MBL Senior Scientist Roger Hanlon, left, and the late Oliver Sacks, also a squid fan, in 2005.

MBL Senior Scientist Roger Hanlon, left, and the late Oliver Sacks, also a squid fan, in 2005.


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