Going to Friday Harbor Labs for a meeting is much like going to summer camp, but with science. The Northwest Developmental Biology Conference always promises lots of awesome cellular, molecular, and developmental biology. Talks throughout the days and poster sessions (aka happy hours complete with snack and drinks) each evening are followed by late night outings to the dock to watch and catch bioluminescent ctenophores. And just like summer camp, meetings at Friday Harbor Labs seem to end all too soon.
This spring, I was invited to give one of the headline talks for an afternoon session (!) and three students accompanied me, presenting posters and soaking up the scientific lifestyle. Our trip to Friday Harbor Labs was anything but uneventful. It included unexpected detours to fix and then exchange our compact rental car (for a Suburban), a time-killing stop at the LaConner Quilt and Textile Museum, and a sunset-timed Ferry ride from Anacortes to San Juan Island.
Scientifically, the highlights of the meeting for our lab included: talking with Andrew Waskiewicz and members of his lab about our mutual interest in gdf6a; listening talks about a variety of topics including stem cell behaviors in fruit fly gonads, ion regulation in plants, and developing the spotted gar as a model organism; catching up with friends and colleagues from a variety of places including Lewis and Clark College, University of Washington, and the University of Idaho. It was great to give a research talk about on-going work in the lab, to receive feedback, and to connect with folks in the Kimelman lab who kindly shared very useful transgenic lines that we’re using in our lab now. It was most exciting when Audrey Williams, one of the thesis students in the Cerveny Lab, won best poster presentation by an undergraduate. As usual, I have memories and copious notes, but no photos to commemorate the meeting…I’m already looking forward to next Spring’s meeting.