By Shana R. Spindler, PhD
In just a few months, we will be sitting in the beautiful Airlie Conference Center (subject to official review, in process at time of writing) anxiously awaiting the insightful words of the 8th Annual NICHD Fellows Retreat keynote speakers. We will have the honor of hearing from the renowned Director of the Whitehead Institute, Dr. David Page, and the always-entertaining scientist and writer, Dr. John Bohannon. To whet your appetite, here’s a little information about our esteemed guests:
David Page, MD (http://www.wi.mit.edu/research/faculty/page.html)
If you are a male, Dr. David Page may know more about your Y chromosome than anyone else in the world. And don’t worry ladies; Page’s investigations haven’t ignored the X chromosome. In fact, he was the first person to discover that the sex chromosomes are evolutionary products of what were once two autosomes. Page has studied the Y chromosome for nearly his entire medical career. As a young college graduate with the “research bug,” Page joined the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology M.D. program, which allowed him to do research while receiving his medical degree. Through the program, he discovered not only his love for medicine, but also his attraction to laboratory experiments and his fascination with the mysteries of DNA, which would set the stage for the rest of his scientific career. Page is currently the Director of the Whitehead Institute, Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. But perhaps he is best known as the leading expert on Y chromosome sequence, gene composition, evolution, recombinant potential, and relation to disease and infertility.
John Bohannon, PhD (http://www.johnbohannon.org)
In that fantastic place where science meets art and culture, you will find Dr. John Bohannon, otherwise known as the Gonzo Scientist. Bohannon is the creator of Dance Your Ph.D. Contest, co-writer of Green Porno, and mastermind behind the Science Hall of Fame. Bohannon began his adventures in science with his doctoral degree in molecular biology, which on his website he claims is a result of following a girl to Oxford. Bohannon then studied bioethics in Berlin as a Fulbright scholar. He has subsequently become a visiting researcher at Harvard University, where he examines the ethical facets of science and public health policy. After embedding with military forces in Afghanistan, Bohannon organized the first release of civilian casualty data by the military and the United Nations. Throughout Bohannon’s journeys, he has served as a correspondent for Science magazine. There he maintains, among other writings, the Gonzo Scientist, a column that explores—and actively experiments with—the intersection between science and culture. To watch Bohannon use the arts to portray a complex problem, check out his latest TEDxBrussels talk.
Don’t miss your chance to meet Dr. Page and Dr. Bohannon! Mark your calendars now for the NICHD annual fellows retreat on May 7 and 8, 2012!