Portland, Maine

June 2019

Our tour of Allagash Brewery.

Our tour of Allagash Brewery.

This year for lab retreat, our team ventured up north to Erin’s hometown of Portland, Maine. With only half of us having been to Portland before, the team was excited to explore, bond, eat, and set short- and long-term goals for our current projects.

Check out this travel blog for a look into what being a Dunn Lab member entails, what makes our lab special, and our favorite Portland memories. 

A special thanks to Erin, Chad, and their community for being fantastic hosts. We all feel extremely grateful to be part of such a wonderful team. Until next year, Portland!

By: Members of the Dunn Lab

Portland…Here We Go!

Portland, Maine. The perfect place for a lab retreat. Amazing food, quiet atmosphere to fuel creativity, fresh air, oh, and Erin’s home! There was no better place than Portland for us to have our annual lab retreat. We arrived ready for some fun, with a packed two days of science and team-building activities on the horizon. 

Throughout our time in Portland, we got to try some of Erin’s favorite restaurants, breweries, and meet her local community. We ate at places like Terlingua, Root Wild Kombuchery, Mami, Tandem, and even had homemade pizza at Erin and Chad’s house.  Over the course of the two days we were there, we worked on setting goals, reflecting on our progress as a lab, and planning for the future.  We toured Allagash Brewery, learned more about their history and goals, and used the inspiration we obtained there to revise the vision for our lab culture.  And we also had fun taking a golf-cart tour of Peaks Island.   

We spent a lot of time during the retreat talking about our lab culture.  What do you think makes our lab culture special?


“Our lab culture strikes the perfect combination between serious, high-level work and really down-to-earth and friendly attitudes.”

- Karmel

“We place a premium on mentorship -- including mentoring more junior folks, peer mentorship, and "managing up" on how we want to be mentored.” -Katie 

“We are a really interdisciplinary team that brings together ideas and passion from different fields.” - Yiwen

“We’re truly team-oriented. And we don’t take ourselves too seriously!” -Janine

“We work on a lot of different things but come together to pursue a larger purpose of preventing mental illness. It’s cool that we can approach that goal from so many different angles.” -Olivia

“We work really collaboratively together, are extremely supportive of each other, and help each other to be more creative and effective in all of our research.” -Becky

“We focus on conducting meaningful and rigorous research while being collaborative and inclusive.” -Kristen

What was your favorite portland memory?


“I really loved the Allagash Brewery tour and how their culture related so well to our lab values – passion, persistence, innovation, collaboration, and maintaining high quality standards of what we put out to the world.”

- Yiwen

“The entire ping pong shenanigans, from me and Yiwen being truly terrible, to Olivia and Alex getting crushed by Erin’s neighbor who happens to be a ping pong master.” - Becky

“Finishing a New York Times crossword puzzle at Tandem and then getting free pastries. Oh, and the many laughing attacks I had with Yiwen.” -Olivia

“Looking back at all of the Portland photos and making memes out of the funny ones. I also enjoyed setting goals with Team CpG (the team in our lab focusing on epigenetic analyses) and thinking big picture.” - Alex

“Having an impromptu sing-along at the Umbrella Cover Museum on Peak’s Island.” - Natalie

Thanks, Portland! We will miss you!

Love, The Dunn Lab