2015 started with a professional challenge for me: I was to do a three-months international internship at UC Davis, in Jonathan Eisen’s lab (https://phylogenomics.wordpress.com/). I found the Eisen lab extremely interesting because of their presence on social media and the variety of their projects. Most of their lab members are twitting, writing blogs, creating awesome scientific board games (http://microbe.net/gutcheck/) and they have many outreach and citizen science projects. As I remember leaving Montreal, I was excited but also stressed for the coming change of routine and environment. BUT with challenges come improvement.
As I aim to be present in the science world for a long time, I am highly conscious that great Science come from collaboration, not only from single researchers doing their own thing. Thus, I planned to take advantage of advance researchers experience and I contacted many different professors related to my field. On my list were:
Thomas Sharpton (http://lab.sharpton.org/)
U. Of Oregon, Oregon:
Jessica Green (http://pages.uoregon.edu/green/)
Brendan Bohannan (http://pages.uoregon.edu/bohannanlab/)
UC Berkeley, California:
Steve Lindow (http://icelab.berkeley.edu/lindow-lab-1)
David Ackerly (http://www.ackerlylab.org/)
Ellen Sims (https://ib.berkeley.edu/people/faculty/simmse)
UC Davis, California
Johan Leveau (http://plantpathology.ucdavis.edu/faculty/Leveau_Johan_HJ/)
Jonathan Eisen (https://phylogenomics.wordpress.com/)
UBC Okanagan Campus, British Colombia
John Klironomos (http://johnklironomos.com/)
This also meant that I would have to cover a lot of ground in a short time. However, the encounters with the PIs and their lab compensated greatly for the traveling length. Meeting great and welcoming human beings all over the west coast of USA and Canada that also happen to do research greatly motivated and inspired me to continue doing my best in my field. There are some crazy inspiring projects out there! It was also reassuring to see that the challenges are mostly the same in every lab, especially when working with Next-Generation Sequencing.
Another of my goals was to help teach two workshops, one given by Titus Brown (http://ged.msu.edu/) at UC Davis on mRNA (http://dib-training.readthedocs.org/en/pub/2015-03-04-mRNAseq-semimodel.html) and a Software Carpentry (http://software-carpentry.org/index.html) workshop at U. of Arkansas. These two workshops were great in the sense that teaching boosted my energy and I got great feedback from our attendees. From the RNA workshop I learned a lot; widened my horizon of knowledge and at the same time met the great Titus Brown while broadcasting my skills (http://ivory.idyll.org/blog/2015-a-first-workshop.html). The great people of Rkansas were absolutely amazing, welcoming and most importantly, truly interested.
So this concludes three months of international internship, visits, workshops, meetings, but more importantly three months of growing my network and creating connections with great people all along the west coast.
I would advise any Ph.D. student to take advantage of the scholarships provided by their University (if there are some) to mix traveling and Science.