Lab retreat 2019 – A new beginning

Given all the changes and excitement around our lab in the last few months, Bob’s choice of theme for this year’s retreat seems more appropriate than ever!

Our plans to go hiking were dashed by rainy weather, and we still had no trouble filling up the two days with challenging and interesting discussions.
I gave presentations on what were supposed to be two practical topics: 1) on how to write codes that can handle big data in bioinformatics and 2) our “rules of thumb” (aka Moses Lab commandments) for doing science day to day.

Perhaps given the context of the discussions about professional goals and career development that we had earlier in the day, during both of my “practical” presentations, we returned several times to the themes of apparent trade-offs between “productivity/academic success/current practice” and “critical thinking/scientific fulfillment/creativity”. I found myself seeming to fall in the latter camp, perhaps to an irresponsible degree. I believe that this narrative may be playing out more than ever in the minds (and work) of many of our talented young scientists, maybe even to the detriment of scientific progress. In the weeks since the retreat, I have returned to these discussions in my mind, and I have resolved to think and write more on this topic.

An uncontentious highlight of our retreat was our visit to the Wellington Brewery in Guelph. We were treated to a truly behind the scenes look (and taste).

Here we are rapt at the “hot” part, where the actual “brewing” is going on, and

and here we are with the giant tanks of fermenting tasty stuff.
We even got to check out the lab, microscope and yeast plates. Thanks so much to the Wellington folks for the hospitality!
As always, thanks to Bob for organizing the retreat. Here are most of us at the Brewery:

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