By: The Dunn Lab

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It’s that time again when we reflect on the year that’s passed and chart a course for the one that lies ahead. What did we accomplish this past year? What were the experiences we remember most? What were the most gratifying things we learned? And what things enabled us to become better scientists?

In this week’s post, we assemble a “top-10-list” of our most memorable scientific moments from 2018.

A night at One Mind’s 24th Music Festival for Brain Health

A night at One Mind’s 24th Music Festival for Brain Health

1. “A major highlight of 2018 for me was attending the One Mind Music Festival for Brain Health. I wrote about my experience at this event in this previous blog post...and have already marked my calendar to attend again in 2019. The event was nothing short of life-changing.” - Erin

2. “When I joined the Dunn Lab a year ago, I didn’t even know what a CpG site was (and if you don’t know, you can learn more about epigenetic-related concepts here). I have learned so much about epigenetics this past year thanks to many fantastic papers I’ve read and great training opportunities. The other day I realized I could confidently talk about things that used to intimidate me, and that was an empowering moment.” - Yiwen

3. “While I was planning analyses to compare measures of resilience, my lab-mate Karmel shared a really important paper with me. This paper explored a similar question, and the fact that other scientists identified this as important was really validating to me and helped build my confidence in my research question.” - Kristen

4. “Our work with teeth this past year has provided so many opportunities to forge really deep interdisciplinary collaborations. For me, one of the highlights of 2018 was meeting up with our collaborator at the Forsyth Institute in Cambridge and getting a tour of their facilities, including the technology used to perform tooth assays. It was a reminder of how lucky we are at MGH to be able to hop across the river and dive into science with experts in totally different fields.” - Katie

 
The Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, MA

The Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, MA

 

5. “Mendelian randomization (MR), which I have performed for my own thesis, has really bloomed in the past few years. However, given the rapid growth of new MR methods, it’s sometimes hard to determine what is relevant and what is not for a particular research question. This paper, led by Dr. George Davey Smith, was one of my favorites from 2018, as it provides a great summary of the assumptions, important analyses to present and report, and interpretation of MR estimates.” - Meg

6. “It has been really cool applying what I’ve learned in school to a real setting in the lab. Just a few weeks ago, I was in my science class reading an article about gene-environment interplay. It was gratifying to be able to contribute to our class discussion based on my perspective from lab-related experiences.” - Kristina

Cover Artwork for Nature Neuroscience

Cover Artwork for Nature Neuroscience

7. “One of my favorite set of writings from this past year was Nature Neuroscience’s November issue, which highlighted ‘the importance of being social.’ Given the focus of our lab, it was awesome to see a very high profile journal dedicate an entire issue around social factors and how social factors shape biology.” - Janine

8. “During the fall semester of 2018, my school approved a Population Mental Health concentration, so starting now any students at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health can work mental health classes into their degree programs and receive a concentration in population mental health. It is so exciting to have Harvard Chan acknowledge and support mental health in public health!” - Kristen

9. “I was invited to give MGH Psychiatry Grand Rounds for the 2018 Emerson Award. This was a special opportunity to really think through my story as a researcher - from early graduate work on trauma (in the context of clinical interventions) to current work on resilience (in the context of genetics and epidemiology). It was exciting to craft this narrative and share it with a broad audience with good results.” - Karmel

 
Karmel Choi at her MGH Psychiatry Grand Rounds 2018 Emerson Lecture

Karmel Choi at her MGH Psychiatry Grand Rounds 2018 Emerson Lecture

 

10. “Of all the inspiring science moments of 2018, the Thai Cave Rescue might take the cake for me. The rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach after they were trapped for 18 days in a cave in northern Thailand required incredible brainpower, and demonstrated the power of science – including anti-anxiety medication – to save the day.” - Katie

Wishing you all a great 2019. May your telomeres be long, your peer reviews be positive, and your work – science or otherwise – be rewarding.

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