My apologies for the lag in updates from field collections in China. I got a little distracted with submitting a paper and writing a K99/R00 that seem to have consumed the last month of my life. But what better reward than a 3 week trip to Kenya!
Yes, I am a roving postdoc. Boston is starting to grow on me, but as one of my travel companions/colleagues said yesterday “the best thing to do in Boston is leave.” The current trip is an “ambassadorship” sponsored by the department of Genetics at HMS to represent and work for a non-profit organization called “Seeding Labs”. Seeding Labs was started by a former HMS graduate student, Nina Dudnik, and aims to distribute research resources to developing countries to better equalize opportunities. I got involved because in all the travels I’ve done, for work and for play, I’ve met people with that spark in the eye, the passion and drive, but not the essential things they need to do something with all of that energy. By way of example, I met a graduate student at Xinjiang University who saved from her own salary for months to buy an antibody for the protein she was studying because the lab didn’t have the money.
The primary mission of Seeding Labs so far has been to collect surplus (working) laboratory equipment to distribute to universities all over the world, and a particularly close relationship has formed with Kenyatta University in Nairobi. Phase 2 of the project is a personnel exchange. Four fellows from KU spent 2 months this summer working at Novartis in Boston, and now the three of us from Harvard are spending two weeks at KU running workshops on teaching, grant writing, statistics, career development and graduate school applications, presentations skills, etc. We’re also touring labs, meeting faculty and students, and doing everything we can to encourage growth and research development. The first 48 hours has been invigorating and a lot of fun, and we’re squeezing in some trips to see wild animals amongst the work.
I’ll continue posting updates while I’m here, because I would love to bring awareness of this fabulous program to the Node community. If any of you would like to learn more or get involved, check it out at www.seedinglabs.org