The university selected a group of 28 UC doctoral and postdoctoral students for the fourth class of UC President’s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings Fellows last Thursday.
This select group will attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany in late June. The conference will focus on physiology and medicine and feature many Nobel Prize winners and people across different stages of their careers, according to Michael Kosicki, one of the selected fellows and a postdoctoral researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
“These fellows are among the best and brightest of the University’s young ambassadors to the scientific world,” said UC President Michael Drake in a press release. “We are proud of their accomplishments and look forward to supporting them as they grow in their careers.”
Kosicki said this “action-packed” five-day conference features other emerging scientists in addition to the Nobel Prize winners themselves. There will be multiple chances for socialization including small-group lunches and informal walks with Nobel Prize winners, according to Kosicki.
Alexia Crosby, another one of the selected fellows and a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley Lab, said she looks forward to the opening lecture “Directing Evolution: Bringing New Chemistry to Life” by Nobel Laureate professor Frances Arnold. She added she is excited for the panel discussing artificial intelligence and medicine by Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover.
“The program is truly packed with a variety of incredible speakers, science topics, and opportunities to network with top-notch scientists and physicians,” Crosby said in an email. “I could not be more excited!”
Crosby noted, despite the conference’s focus on physiology and medicine, it is a “perfect example” of science as a multidisciplinary field due to the diversity of the expected Nobel Laureate attendees. According to Crosby, the conference will feature inspiring chemists, biologists and physiologists.
Kosicki also shared his excitement for the variety of different topics discussed and said other conferences he has attended have been “insular” in subject matter. He noted this conference will provide him with the opportunity to learn about the multitude of disciplines represented.
“I hope to really kind of reinvigorate my interest in science,” Kosicki said. “It’s very easy to get pigeonholed into your own area, which is exciting (because) you learn to discover new things, but you’re always a little bit alone.”
One highlight will be learning how science is funded on a larger scale, according to Kosicki. He added that this conference will help him understand “what society cares about” and how proper funding is provided to important science.
In addition, Kosicki and other students will present their research and receive feedback, which he hopes will get him “inspired” for his future work. When asked what he looks forward to, Kosicki noted receiving inspiration from others in his field.
“(I’m looking forward to seeing) what kind of original thoughts people come up with when trying to figure out how things work, how the world works (and) how to make it work better,” Kosicki said.
Akanksha Thawani, another one of the selected fellows and a campus postdoctoral researcher, explained that interacting with those who made “big breakthroughs” in areas of science related to her studies around CRISPR genome editing can help her to advance future research.
Thawani added that she is excited to meet role models such as Emmanuelle Charpentier, the Chemistry Nobel Prize winner for CRISPR genome editing, and Stefan Hell, who won the Chemistry Nobel Laureate for his research with fluorescence microscopy.
“This is one of these rare opportunities where you go and get inspired from everybody who’s learning,” Thawani said. “I’m looking forward to being in that environment for a week and having a blast.”