Monday, March 29, 2010

On the road: Cold Spring Harbor (+Boston)

Devout followers of the Blog have probably noted the lack of updates the last week or so. I spent this time traveling. The goal of the trip was to attend the "Systems Biology: Global Regulation of Gene Expression" meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Labs (CSHL). This is one of the best meetings in the field, and I try to attend it when possible. For the last few years it has been scheduled for the week before passover, which meant busy flight schedule.

I started with a stop over in Boston. I landed on a crisp sunny day.

Ollie Rando (AKA "The Dude") a close collaborator and friend picked me up and took me to "The Barking Crab", one of the favorite waterfront places in town, for an afternoon light meal and scientific discussions. Bas van Steensel arrived a bit later (on a flight from Amsterdam) and joined us.

The next morning I took the train to Worcester and visited Ollie's lab. Heard a nice talk by Bas, and gave an informal talk about our lab in Ollie's group meeting. I had a good meeting with Marian Walhout, who uses the Singer RoToR for one-hybrid and two-hybrid screens in her lab. They are very happy with the RoTor and do not have the same issues we have.

The following day I visited Aviv Regev, another close collaborator and friend at the Broad Institute. It was nice to meet old friends in her group, and we also had productive discussions on various on going collaboration. Aviv and me then traveled together to CSHL for the meeting.

It was nice to meet many researchers I know, including ex-students Tommy Kaplan, Gill Bejerano, and Dana Pe'er. In addition I ended spending time with Arend Sidow, who I didn't see for quite a while. I won't list all the people I met, as the list would be long (and exhausting), but it suffices to note that I seem to know many of the attendees, which is a clear sign that I have been attending these meetings for a while (maybe too long?).

I shared a room in a wooden cabin with Tommy.  The room itself is very basic, and the cabin heating was either full blast or non-existent (so we alternated between severe heat shock to a mild chill). Moreover, our cabin was located in the furthest locaiton from the main meeting hall on the top of a hill, which meant that going there was a somewhat of a treck. However, by the nature of the meeting, one spends most of the time at lecture hall or in the pub (which is the main interaction hub).

On the last day of the meeting I learned to my surprise that my flight home is from Newark and not JFK as I thought. So I canceled the shuttle service I ordered to JFK, and instead took the train to Penn Station and then to Newark. I had a bit of time to get outside and get a sense of the feel of the big city.

We took off from Newark at sunset which left an impression.

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