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Message from the Chair and Executive Director: Thank You!

Message from the Chair and Executive Director: Thank You!

As the year draws to a close, we would like to express our gratitude to all of you in the MCB community. 2020 has been a uniquely challenging year. Through it all, we have been struck not only by the MCB community’s resilience and resourcefulness but also by the compassion and care that you have shown for each other.

Science takes teamwork and long hours of hands-on effort. Zoom meetings are a poor substitute for how we wanted to work this year, but we persevered and found a way nonetheless. It took herculean efforts from all of you to keep our work moving forward. MCB has a lot to be proud of.

And so, as we pause to reflect on the year, we have a lot of people to thank:

When the campus closed in March, our teaching staff and faculty had to rapidly adapt their lesson plans and find ways to support our students’ learning from a distance. Most of us weren’t trained to teach remotely. And, despite inevitable hiccups and Zoom lags, our teaching staff has done a spectacular job.

So, we celebrate the preceptors, lecturers, concentration advisers, teaching fellows, and, yes, faculty for their dedication, their willingness to experiment, and their compassion.

We also want to share our gratitude to the students, undergraduate and graduate alike for their invaluable energy, motivation, and adaptation to new ways of learning.

On the research side, we also thank the essential workers who kept our lab organisms alive during the campus shutdown. Many of the cell lines and animal lineages we use in experiments are unique and cannot be easily replaced. The handful of people who maintained the labs in the pandemic kept decades-long projects on track and made sure that we’d be able to pick up where we left off.

We are indebted to the lab managers and administrators who had to work out completely new lab schedules and logistics, while also finding ways to troubleshoot without being physically present.

Of course, we need to thank the students, postdocs, staff, and faculty who spent much of this year analyzing data, planning experiments, and writing grant proposals. Your persistence, your curiosity, and your willingness to try (and often code) new computational tools have reminded us why we do science. And your humor and camaraderie during lab meetings and virtual retreats have been bright spots.

And finally, we immensely thank, congratulate, and wish the best to 2020 retiring staff: Andy Banadyga, Chuck Bilikas, Mary Branco, Jack Conlin, Karen Fahrner, Jack Howard, Steven Keirstead, Eileen Snow, Les Takacs, and Lansing Wagner. We are going to miss you!

To all of you, we offer our most heartfelt thanks.

For many in our MCB community, this year has been one of the most trying of their lives. We have suffered some grievous losses. To those who feel like they’re struggling, know that you are far from alone and we are here to help in any way we can.

Next year, we’ll likely continue to face many of the same obstacles, but the way the MCB community has weathered this storm gives us every confidence that next year is a challenge we’re prepared to face. MCB is and will continue to be a tight-knit community of extraordinary people who truly care for each other.

The work that we do together in MCB has never mattered more. Less than a year after the first cases of COVID-19 were reported last December, mass vaccinations have begun. News stories report people breaking into tears as the first vaccine shipments arrive. The speed of the scientific community’s response to this pandemic depended on a foundation of basic biological research knowledge that we helped create. Science is winning.

Wishing you all the best for a well-deserved holiday break and ‘see’ you again in 2021!

Jessica Manning and Sean Eddy