West Campus trainees point the way towards collaborative science at Yale

  • Winning scholars pictured with judges for the All Points West symposium at West Campus

Congratulations to Eileen Condon, postdoctoral fellow at Yale School of Nursing, who won first prize at the inaugural All Points West symposium at Yale’s West Campus April 25th.

Her winning talk was titled: Focusing on the positive: Protective factors for toxic stress among low-income families living in New Haven.

Josh Sheetz, graduate student in the Lemmon Lab, Yale Cancer Biology Institute, received second prize, with the audience prize shared between Sarah Schlick, postgraduate associate at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, and Yuan Ren, postdoctoral associate in the Berro Lab at the Nanobiology Institute.

The winning scholars were among 16 to present at the first ever symposium showcasing the diversity of student research taking place on the University’s West Campus.

In front of an audience of over a hundred faculty, students and staff, trainees from all seven of the campus Institutes, along with scholars from Yale School of Nursing, presented dynamic lightning talks on subjects ranging from fluoride resistance and atomic Legos, to transforming pigments in a 16th Century Persian Watercolor.

The All Points West symposium was conceived by Courtney Smith and Becky LaCroix, graduate students in the Cancer Biology Institute and the Systems Biology Institute respectively, with the aim of sharing research and fostering collaboration. The event was organized by fellow trainees of the West Campus Student and Postdoc Committee, which is chaired by LaCroix.

In opening remarks, Scott Strobel, Vice President for West Campus Planning & Program Development, noted that the large student turn-out was only an aspiration just a few years ago when faculty labs were being created in the former Beyer Pharmaceutical facility. Today graduate students, postdocs and associates conduct research in over 40 faculty labs across the West Campus Institutes.

The evolution of the Campus was further highlighted in the final session of the event, where a West Campus Alumni Panel provided thoughtful advice about their careers since leaving Yale. Moderated by Courtney Smith, who also is the Office of Career Strategy Graduate Career Fellow for West Campus, the returning alumni represented the diversity of career opportunities pursued by Yale grad students: A former member of the Rinehart Lab in the Systems Biology Institute, Natasha Pirman is now the Applications Scientist at MilliporeSigma. Christopher Koeningsmann completed his postdoctoral work in the Department of Chemistry and the Energy Sciences Institute under the advisement of Charles Schmuttenmaer, and is now an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, Fordham University. Mike Lacy completed his Ph.D. in Julien Berro’s Lab in the Nanobiology Institute before becoming Associate Scientific Editor at Elsevier.

The symposium was sponsored by West Campus Administration, Biochemical Journal, Yale Office of Career Strategy, and the McDougal Graduate Student Life Office. 

By Jon Atherton