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Nov. 2014, Vol. 1, No.

The HSCRB Community Newsletter

The Vampire Blood Journal Club Scenes from the 5th Annual
HSCRB Retreat
rofessor Amy Wagers was only joking about having a vampire club during a sum-
mer 2012 joint meeting of the Scadden, Wagers, and Zon Labs. But by March 2013,
postdocs from the three labs had co-organized the first meeting of an HSCRB-wide
journal club dedicated to blood research. Since then, the Vampire Blood Journal Club,
which normally meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 9 am, has become a popular,
low-pressure environment in which to connect with colleagues over interesting science.

Alessandra Castiglioni, Borja Saez, and The most well attended club meeting
Marlies Rossmannpostdoctoral fellows so far (which drew people from outside
in the Wagers, Scadden, and Zon Labs labs) featured a paper that implied that the
respectivelyco-organize the group. autophagy of hematopoietic stem cells was The retreat began with a morning boat ride
driving renewal. Members at last months to Thompson Island and TED-style Talks from
each of the attending faculty. Here, Professor
The Vampire Blood Journal Club is meeting discussed a publication on reac-
Kevin Eggan discusses his ALS work.
great because its a way for postdocs and tivating silenced globin genes by forced
grad students to present papers by other chromatin looping.
authors and to discuss them informally
with their peers, Rossmann said. The You never know what you can learn from
two presenters selected for each session an article in a different field from your
choose and work on one article together own, Castiglioni said. Its easy to get
and so the speakers get a chance to col- stuck in a narrow way of thinking, and this
laborate in a way that they normally kind of interaction can help one to break
wouldnt. out of that.

Socially, I think the club is one of the Coffee and donuts are provided at each Poster paper, markers, and 15 minutes were
best ways to hang out with other people meeting. The three labs rotate the cost of all presenters were given to prepare concise
from the department as the discussions food, as well as who will speak. and convincing scientific posters. Faculty
migrated between posters to ask questions.
really foster mingling, she added.
Its a very simple format, and it just re-
The Vampire Blood Journal Club also quires some organization on the part of the
doesnt expect its members to have read members, Rossmann said.
the papers ahead of time. Instead, the co-
organizers ask speakers to lead a discus- Perhaps a Zombie Neuroscience Journal
sion about the topic, as well as critically Club, or a Weremouse Metabolism Jour-
assess the paper. nal Club, could be in HSCRBs future?

Professors Doug Melton and Jeff Macklis

won this years Faculty Jeopardy, while post-
doc/grad student duo Marcela Saruco and
James Harris took second place.

Friday ended with the annual faculty vs. stu-

dent volleyball game, recreational time, and
a bonfire. Thanks to Professor John Rinn and
Members of the Vampire Blood Journal Club (both living and undead) Irina Cashen for another successful retreat.
Meet HSCRBs preceptors
SCRB has capable professors, but when it comes to the nitty gritty of put-
ting together problem sets, troubleshooting new educational technology,
and finalizing in-class laboratory protocols, its nice to have some help. In
addition to teaching fellows, HSCRB employs two full-time preceptors to coordinate
the logistics of the departments 24 undergraduate and graduate courses. Susanne
Susi Jakob came to the department in the summer of 2013 and helps run a range of
HSCRB coures, including SCRB 10. Kaitlyn Choi joined last summer and, among
other things, is working with Professors Meissner and Rinn to organize the first se-
mester of SCRB 20, Molecular Genetics and Genomics in Development and Disease. Kailtyn Choi (left) and Susi Jakob

Q. What is a preceptor? a teaching fellow for SCRB 10 and really Choi: Because we spend a lot of time with
liked interacting with students. After doing students, and faculty may be busy writ-
Choi: If professors are the film directors another teaching fellowship for SCRB 90 ing grants and running their own labs, we
of a course, a preceptor would be an as- with Doug Melton I thought that I should can communicate where students in their
sistant director who casts teaching staff, seriously consider teaching as a career. So, classes are having misconceptions or are
works with instructors to shape the course, I graduated from Harvard last May and got getting stuck.
suggests and implements some pedagogi- the HSCRB preceptor position.
cal strategies, and handles daily logistic We are also beginning to explore some
concerns. Jakob: Im originally from Germany. I kinds of education research. Faculty mem-
got my Masters degree at the University bers are becoming interested in comparing
Jakob: Were somewhere in the middle of Heidelberg and my PhD at University different ways of delivering information,
between the professors who teach the College London. Although I liked doing and so weve been helping to file protocols
course, administration, and the students, benchwork and eventually started a post- and conduct surveys.
helping to make communication happen. doc in Catherine Dulacs lab at MCB, I
We also make sure faculty get what they realized that what I enjoy most is teaching Q. Whats something that people dont
need to teach a course, answer student students and conveying the excitement of know about you?
questions, make problem sets, and grade science to someone.
exams. Jakob: A lot of students may not know that
Q. How can HSCRB students and fac- I have a one-year-old daughter. SCRB 10
Q. How did you come to apply for a ulty use you as a resource? is partly developmental biology and going
preceptor position? through being pregnant and having a little
Jakob: Students are welcome to come to baby and seeing her develop just makes
Choi: Im originally from South Korea office hours to ask questions or they can the concepts taught in class so much more
and came to the states to attend Bard Col- always email us. If a student hits a point exciting and mindblowing.
lege in upstate New York. I then went to where they dont understand a concept, he
Harvard for my PhD, where I did research or she can always come to us and ask for Choi: I play in an orchestra and am also
in Susan Mangos lab at MCB. In my third our opinions or advice. on a weekend soccer team. I try to keep a
year of graduate school I began to work as balance between life and work.

HSCRB Journal Club Announcements Upcoming Events

Mouse iPS cells in less than 48 hours Thank you to HSCRB Seminar Series
Professor Konrad Hochedlingers Lab the Scadden (Camargo and Macklis Labs)
at Massachusetts General Hospital has Lab for hosting Friday, November 7, 2014 @ 12 pm
found that adding two small molecules a Halloween Yenching Auditorium, 2 Divinity Ave
to the four classic Yamanaka factors TGIF. The
generates the fastest mouse-induced treats were Rubin Lab TGIF
pluripotent stem cells ever reported. spooktacular! Friday, November 14, 2014 @ 4:30 pm
This simple tweak to the iPS cell recipe Sherman Fairchild 2nd Floor Common
yields colonies in as little as 48 hours of Assistant
factor expressionimproving the 2-4 Professor Kiran Musunuru was named HSCRB Community News
week wait typical of other protocols. one of the winners of this years Nov. 2014,
Fannie Cox Prize for Excellence in Vol. 1, No. 3
Citation: Science Teaching. Congratulations! Editor: Joseph Caputo
Bar-Nur, O., and Brumbaugh, J., et al. (Read: Assistant Editor: Irina Cashen
Small molecules facilitate rapid and HSCRB Dir. of Comm.: B.D. Colen
synchronous iPSC generation. Nature Have an interesting research or per- HSCRB Exec. Director: Willy Lensch
Methods. Published online September sonal story to share with the HSCRB HSCRB Co-chairs:
24, 2014. DOI: 10.1038/NMETH.3142 community? Contact Irina Cashen. Doug Melton and David Scadden