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I’m writing this letter as we approach winter solstice, the shortest day on the calendar. But this shortest day comes during what might have felt like the longest year. My children finally received their COVID vaccinations in December, and it felt like a monumental sigh of relief. However, this relief is not yet available to our youngest citizens, so the march goes on to identify safe and effective doses of vaccine for them. In the meantime, researchers (like many of you) continue to study the effects of SARS-CoV-2 at the molecular and epidemiological level. For example, during 2021, the Banerjee lab found that specific post-translational modifications on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein enhance its infectivity.

Dr. Robbins Puthenveetil, postdoctoral fellow in the Banerjee lab, presented this work at the recent NICHD 2021 DIR & DIPHR Scientific Retreat. Year after year, I am amazed at the scope of topics encompassed in NICHD intramural research, from viral infectivity to the genetic underpinnings of preterm birth. Learn more about NICHD investigators and their work in the 2021 DIR & DIPHR Scientific Retreat recap by postdoctoral fellow Dr. Elliot Murphy, also from the Banerjee lab.

Enjoy this research-packed issue, including several announcements for upcoming career development activities and events for trainees of all levels. Wishing you a very happy, healthy, and productive year ahead.

Your Editor in Chief,
Shana R. Spindler, PhD

Please send questions, comments, and your wonderful ideas to our editor at shana.spindler@nih.gov.