MCB at Your Meeting

MCB AT YOUR MEETING: WORKSHOP: THE ROLE OF CROWDFUNDING IN THE STEM ECOSYSTEM

Crowdfunding as a way of raising money to support worthy causes is popular among charities and entrepreneurs, and recently has been gaining traction in scientific communities as a novel way to collect support and financing for research projects. The Georgia Institute of Technology is organizing a workshop in Alexandria, VA, on Oct.10. Titled “The Role of Crowdfunding in the STEM Ecosystem”. The goal of the MCB funded (MCB – 1745230) workshop is to stimulate conversation and provide an exchange of ideas about crowdfunding in the sciences.  Chaired by Dr. Morris Cohen, Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and former AAAS Fellow at NSF, the workshop is open to the public and free to all attendees.

The workshop will feature a wide range of expert speakers giving presentations, panel discussions, audience question-and-answer sessions, and three “fireside chats.” Workshop topics will include:

  • Reflections from scientists who have used crowdfunding;
  • Legal and financial implications for crowdfunding campaigns;
  • Crowdfunding factors that may lead to inclusion or exclusion within the STEM community;
  • Crowdfunding platforms in the academic sector;
  • Crowdfunding platforms in the private sector; and
  • Future directions for crowdfunding in science.

The workshop will also address scientific studies of crowdfunding as a social phenomenon, as well as application of crowdfunding in the STEM environment. Additionally, there will be opportunities to meet fellow scientists interested in crowdfunding and initiate dialogues on topics of concern.

The workshop will take place October 10, 2017 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM at the Holiday Inn Carlyle at 2460 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA. More information can be found at Georgia Tech’s workshop website including an agenda, speakers’ bios, and registration information. Registration is free but space is limited, so if you are interested, sign up today!

 

Questions? Email the organizers at crowdfundingworkshop@gmail.com.

MCB AT YOUR MEETING: GENETIC CODE EXPANSION WORKSHOP

Blog Post

A unique workshop for researchers interested in using emerging technologies in synthetic and chemical biology to create proteins with non-canonical amino acids (unnatural proteins) will be offered July 31 – August 5, 2017 by Dr. Ryan Mehl, Director of the Unnatural Protein Facility at Oregon State University. As part of the broader impacts of research supported by the Molecular Biophysics cluster of the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (#MCB – 1518265), Dr. Mehl created a week-long Genetic Code Expansion (GCE) workshop. Combining lectures, such as “GCE: When things don’t work, ‘the good, the bad, the ugly,’” with hands-on training in GCE techniques in the lab, workshop attendees will receive the best of what the Unnatural Protein Facility resource provides researchers year-round. Dr. Mehl is experienced in using the technology in his own research to design unnatural proteins and in training collaborators for more than ten years.

The workshop is the ideal opportunity for those who want to learn GCE techniques, are having trouble succeeding with GCE, want up-to-date theoretical and practical knowledge about GCE, or are curious about GCE and want to start out on the right foot when using unnatural proteins in their own research. The interactive format of the workshop not only provides technical know-how, but also allows researchers to learn from each other’s successes and failures, spark ideas, and foster relationships that can develop into collaborations.

To get the most out of the experience, a background in biochemistry and a working knowledge of protein expression techniques are necessary. The workshop is designed for professors, post-doctoral researchers, and graduate students, although advanced undergraduate students have previously attended. Participation is limited and spaces are going fast, so if you are interested, apply today. Registration fees increase after July 1. For more details, including how to apply, visit the website here.

MCB AT YOUR MEETING: ‘FINDING YOUR INNER MODELER’ AS A CELL BIOLOGIST

This image shows a blue and yellow flyer with the drawing of a cell beside the title that announces the ‘Finding Your Inner Modeler’ workshop at the University of Illinois on July 13, 2017. The workshop was funded by NSF MCB. Participants can register for free by April 15, 2017 at http://tinyurl.com/NSFmodelingworkshop. Support for travel and lodging expenses are available for a limited number of participants. Graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and under-represented minorities at all career stages are strongly encouraged to apply. For information, contact Dr. David Stone at dstone@uic.edu.

Join us on July 13, 2017 at the University of Illinois at Chicago for a one-day workshop entitled “Finding Your Inner Modeler.” Funded by MCB, this is the first in a series of one-day workshops offered over the next three years and organized by Dr. David Stone, Professor, Department of Biological Sciences at University of Illinois at Chicago.

This workshop series was designed to help cell biologists with no experience in modeling gain confidence and build fruitful collaborations with computational experts. As Dr. Richard Cyr, MCB Program Director in the Cellular Dynamics and Function (CDF) cluster, notes, “With increasing frequency, successful NSF proposals integrate computational models with experimental work. Many researchers want to learn how to apply them to their research in a meaningful way, but are unaware of the new tools that are available and where they can begin their modeling efforts.” Dr. Stone continues, “A primary goal of the year one workshop is to promote new collaborations between cell biologists and experienced computational modelers.” One of the co-organizers of the workshop, Dr. Liz Haswell, an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis says, “One of the unique aspects of this workshop is our match-making website that will help biologists and modelers pair up to solve complex problems in cell biology.” In years two and three of the workshop, participants will be invited to present their collaborative projects to computational and systems biology experts. Dr. Cyr adds, “We want to build a large and robust community of researchers who can help one another with their projects.”

Please register by April 15, 2017   http://tinyurl.com/NSFmodelingworkshop

There is no fee to register. Travel and lodging support for a limited number of eligible participants is available. Registrations received by April 15, 2017 will have full consideration for the limited travel and lodging support.

Graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and under-represented minorities at all career stages are strongly encouraged to apply.

Keynote addresses will be presented by Dr. Wallace Marshall (University of California, San Francisco) and Dr. Rob Philips (California Institute of Technology).

Other presenters and panelists include: Dr. Mary Baylies (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center), Dr. Angela DePace (Harvard University), Dr. Leslie Loew (University of Connecticut), Dr. Carlos Lopez (Vanderbuilt University), Dr. Alex Mogilner (New York University), Drs. Ben Prosser and Vivek Shenoy (University of Pennsylvania), Dr. Max Staller (Washington University in St. Louis), Dr. Marcos Sotomayor (Ohio State University), and Dr. Shelby Wilson (Morehouse College).

For a detailed schedule of events, go to https://pages.wustl.edu/haswell/finding-your-inner-modeler. For additional information, please contact Dr. David Stone at dstone@uic.edu.

To search for an interdisciplinary collaborator, sign up at the workshop’s collaborator-matching website: https://compmodelmatch.github.io/main/ (starting May 1, 2017).

MCB AT YOUR MEETING: OUTREACH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO AT CAROLINA

Image of Dr. Jose Garcia (Investigator at UPRC), Dr. Karilys González Nieves (Investigator at UPRC), Dr. Luis Cubano (Co-Project Director, UPRC Title V), Dr. Reyda González-Nieves (MCB Acting Operations Manager), Dr. Larry Halverson (SSB Program Director), Ms. Raquel Marti (Project Director, UPRC Title V), Dr. Linda Hyman (MCB Division Director), Dr. Wilson Francisco (MB Program Director), Dr. Jose Alvarez (Faculty Development, UPRC Title V), Dr. Moisés Orengo Avilés (UPRC Chancellor), Dr. Awilda Nueñez (Academic Dean at UPRC), and Dr. Jose Santiago (Investigator at UPRC)

Workshop Coordinators and Presenters (from left): Dr. Jose Garcia (Investigator at UPRC), Dr. Karilys González Nieves (Investigator at UPRC), Dr. Luis Cubano (Co-Project Director, UPRC Title V), Dr. Reyda González-Nieves (MCB Acting Operations Manager), Dr. Larry Halverson (SSB Program Director), Ms. Raquel Marti (Project Director, UPRC Title V), Dr. Linda Hyman (MCB Division Director), Dr. Wilson Francisco (MB Program Director), Dr. Jose Alvarez (Faculty Development, UPRC Title V), Dr. Moisés Orengo Avilés (UPRC Chancellor), Dr. Awilda Nueñez (Academic Dean at UPRC), and Dr. Jose Santiago (Investigator at UPRC)

MCB Program Directors and Division leadership regularly attend scientific meetings and workshops to garner input from the scientific community, spread the word about funding opportunities, recruit panelists, and otherwise provide information to encourage the submission of grant proposals. In September, Dr. Linda Hyman (MCB Division Director), Dr. Wilson Francisco (MCB Program Director for Molecular Biophysics (MB)), Dr. Larry Halverson (MCB Program Director for Systems and Synthetic Biology (SSB)), and Dr. Reyda González-Nieves (MCB Acting Operations Manager) traveled to Puerto Rico to support the “How to Write an Excellent Proposal” workshop hosted by the University of Puerto Rico at Carolina (UPRC).

This workshop provided an overview of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and MCB, discussed best practices in NSF grant writing and submission, and highlighted funding opportunities in MCB and across NSF. Prior to the start of the workshop, Drs. Hyman, Francisco, and Halverson met with workshop coordinators at the University of Puerto Rico at Carolina to strategize how best to conduct personalized outreach during the workshop given the larger than expected number of registrants. The workshop was attended by over 60 participants from eight different institutions throughout the island of Puerto Rico. During the morning session of the workshop, MCB representatives gave three presentations: “Overview of NSF and the Directorate for Biological Sciences,” “Cluster Overviews and Opportunities between MCB and other Divisions/Directorates,” and “How to Write an Excellent Proposal.”

Image of MCB Workshop Presenters: (top) Dr. Linda Hyman; (bottom left) Dr. Wilson Francisco; and (bottom right) Dr. Larry Halverson

MCB Workshop Presenters: (top) Dr. Linda Hyman; (bottom left) Dr. Wilson Francisco; and (bottom right) Dr. Larry Halverson

These presentations were followed by individual meetings between MCB representatives and PIs, faculty, and graduate students from the University of Puerto Rico at Carolina to discuss project ideas and their fit for funding opportunities within MCB and NSF. These personalized sessions provided attendees the opportunity to have their questions answered by MCB experts, and to get to know MCB Division Leadership, Program Directors, and staff. In post-workshop feedback, attendees rated their experience “excellent.”

Drs. Hyman, Francisco, Halverson, and González-Nieves felt this workshop was a unique opportunity to encourage new collaborations, cultivate new ideas, discuss funding opportunities, and keep inspiring new and undiscovered talent in the scientific community. The Division of MCB would like to thank the University of Puerto Rico at Carolina for hosting MCB at Your Meeting. To find out about our future travel plans, visit the “MCB at Your Meeting” page on the MCB Blog.

MCB AT YOUR MEETING: COMPUTATIONAL ADVANCES IN MICROBIOME RESEARCH WORKSHOP

Program Directors in MCB regularly attend scientific meetings and workshops in an effort to garner input from the community, spread the word about funding opportunities, recruit panelists, and encourage submissions to our division. Last July, Dr. Pamela Morris and Dr. Susanne von Bodman, Program Directors for Systems and Synthetic Biology (SSB) cluster traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee for the Computational Advances in Microbiome Research (CAMR) Workshop hosted by the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). NIMBioS is an NSF-supported institute that seeks to strengthen interdisciplinary efforts across mathematics and biology fields.

The CAMR workshop focused on identifying state-of-the-art computational approaches and integrating novel bioinformatics techniques from numerous areas of microbiome research. Attendees represented research in the human, soil, plant, and marine microbiomes (just to name a few!). The workshop was co-chaired by Drs. Curtis Huttenhower (Harvard University) and Jill Banfield (University of California-Berkeley) and brought together top leaders in the microbiome community and computational fields to discuss the present state of the science, current techniques across fields, current gaps in capability, and future directions. Dr. Morris was the Program Director managing the NIMBioS supplement that funded the CAMR workshop. The workshop was well attended, with various federal agencies (NIFA/USDA, NIH) and national laboratories (Joint Genome Institute/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), participating either in-person or virtually.

Dr. Morris and Dr. von Bodman felt this workshop was a unique opportunity to showcase research/training opportunities in MCB with the goal of inspiring scientists to integrate strong and novel computational approaches into their research. They both interacted with prospective PIs, University of Tennessee faculty, postdocs, and graduate students about opportunities at NSF. The eight presentations at the workshop have been archived and can be viewed online. After the workshop concluded, Dr. Matthew D. Kane, Program Director for the Ecosystem Science Cluster in the Division of Environmental Biology gave a talk on the breadth of opportunities at NSF available to researchers. Events like this provides a perfect setting to encourage new collaborations, cultivate new ideas, and move the exciting field of microbiome science forward.

MCB at Your Meeting: Annual Biomedical Conference for Minority Scientists (ABRCMS)

By Chloe N. Poston, PhD

Program Directors in MCB regularly attend scientific meetings and workshops in an effort to garner input from the community,  spread the word about funding opportunities, recruit panelists, and encourage submissions to our division. Last November, Dr. Suzanne Barbour, Program Director for the Cellular Dynamics and Function cluster traveled to San Antonio, Texas for the 2014 Annual Biomedical Conference for Minority Scientists (ABRCMS). There, she presented the breadth of opportunities at MCB available to biomedical researchers through a very well attended panel hosted by the MCB-funded American Society of Microbiology LINK program.

As a part of the same session, ASM LINK (Leaders Inspiring Networks and Knowledge) representatives presented data outlining their initiatives to improve mentoring through in-person workshops, webinars, and discussion forums known as “Mentoring Mondays”. ASM LINK seeks to build strong “links” between established research investigators and early-career scientists, undergraduate faculty, and trainees (students and fellows). In addition to these on-going activities, ASM LINK also sponsored travel awards for NSF eligible post-doctoral scientists and research faculty to serve as presentation judges at ABRCMS. Travel awardees were invited to participate in a two-day Mentoring Strategies Workshop before the meeting. This workshop focused on tackling the greatest mentoring challenges, especially as they relate to building interdisciplinary research teams and broadening participation in STEM.

Dr. Barbour views attending ABRCMS “a unique opportunity to showcase research/ training opportunities in MCB, with the goal of inspiring underrepresented bioscientists to work on projects in the MCB mission area”. She is optimistic that her presentation in conjunction with the ASM LINK program will lead to a range of positive outcomes especially with respect to broadening the community of applications to MCB.