Contact: Alexander Shtifman
Phone: 617-713-8989
alex...@childrens.harvard.edu

The highly successful IDI scientific retreat was held at the Seacrest Resort in North Falmouth from September 23-25. There was consensus at the end of the retreat that the environment fostered valuable interactions among the members of the Scientific Advisory Board, trustees, scientists and administrators and that this was one of the best scientific meetings they had ever attended anywhere! The spectacular science undoubtedly contributed to the retreat's success.

Our SAB, which is comprised of some of the most distinguished scientists in their respective fields and who serve on similar boards around the world, reported that they were remarkably impressed with the quality of the science, the excellence and positive spirit of the scientists, and the high levels of productivity at the IDI.

As was the case last year, our SAB members were at the retreat in full force and worked really hard. They attended all of the presentations, viewed all of the posters, participated in several events and met with our investigators, post-docs, students, management, and trustees. It would be hard to imagine a harder working SAB.

A major task for any SAB member is to attend the poster sessions. These sessions were scheduled slightly differently this year and the post-docs and students really appreciated the lectures-linked-to-posters schedule. It allowed everyone to know when they were expected to be "on." As in the past, the SAB had the very tough job of awarding poster prizes and felt that there were so many outstanding posters that the task was nearly impossible. This led them to increase the number of awards.

They did come up with a set of winners, but also made winning subject to being present at the award ceremony at the end of the retreat (which led to a few alternates being selected). This year's poster contest winners were (in alphabetical order): Amma Agyemang (Carroll Lab), Thorsten Baust (Kirchhausen Lab), Cristian Boboila (Alt Lab), Tobias Goerge (Wagner Lab), Dan Peer (Shimaoka Lab), Sonia Sharma (Rao Lab), To-Ha Thai (Rajewsky Lab), Changchun Xiao (Rajewsky Lab), and Jing Wang (Alt Lab).

Eight trustees (Fred Alt, Steve Berzin, Robert Carpenter, Zsolt Harsanyi, Yumiko Honda, Michael Lytton, Vicki Modell and Joan Pinck) and one overseer (Fred Modell) stayed for the duration of the retreat. Vicki Modell commented, "In our opinion, and that of so many others whom I have spoken with, everything was perfect- the hotel, the beach, the beautiful sunsets, the people, and, of course, the extraordinary science. That was really the highlight. Anyone who missed this fabulous event truly missed something very special. The atmosphere was conducive for getting to know each other and sharing stories."

On the second night of the meeting, the "Cell Mates" preformed. This band, lead by Richard Flavell (SAB), brought investigators, post-docs, students, SAB members, and trustees to the dance floor. There were also some special appearances on the bandstand including the singing duet of Fred Modell and Fred Alt, SAB member Michael Reth who sang incognito, and IT desktop specialist Tim May on the guitar. Catherine McDonald of the Kirchhausen Lab mesmerized everyone with her guitar work and her beautiful voice.

Special thanks go to Zac DiPasquale, Peggy Bradley, Rachelle Rosenbaum and Ryan Dietz who were involved in organizing this great event. Several people helped on site including Tim May, Judy Needham, Kate Banks, Amanda Majewski, Catherine McDonald, and Margaret McDonald. Our sincerest appreciation to our sponsors: Glaxo-SmithKline, Merck, Alnylam, Medimmune, BioMed Realty and our own Drs. Sherwin Kevy and May Jacobson.