View a 508-compliant PDF of this issue here: NICHD_Connection_2016_12.pdf

With the warmest wishes, I offer a fond farewell to Brenda Hanning as she retires from 12 years of service with the NICHD. Throughout my time as an undergraduate student, graduate student, and postdoc, I have never met another person who cares more about the wellbeing and success of individuals in the scientific community.

On a personal note, I owe a large part of my own career successes to Brenda. Her willingness to help establish this newsletter allowed me to realize my love of writing and editing in this format. Brenda not only found existing opportunities for fellows to pursue professional activities, she made opportunities available.

The NICHD Office of Education, under the leadership of Brenda, has been paramount in aiding fellows with exposure to today’s varied employment opportunities for scientists. Fellows who have benefited from Brenda’s expertise are now policy makers, school principals, professors, principal investigators, program directors, industry scientists, writers, editors, and more!  

I hope that as we all read the farewell comments from former fellows, we can realize the impact a single person can have on so many lives. Brenda’s actions and thoughtful contributions to the NICHD will carry on in infinite ways. May we all strive to make impressions as impactful and meaningful as Brenda has.

As we say our farewells, we also have a few hellos. We are happy to profile our newest principal investigator, Dr. Katie Drerup, and we welcome several new NICHD Fellows—from the postbaccalaureate to the postdoctoral level of training.

For a special bonus, Jeremy Swan has prepared another how-to article for “The Arts” column. What could be more fitting for an end-of-year issue than a tutorial on making time-lapse movies using your microscopy data? This is a must read article if you are planning to study development over a long period of time.

Looking ahead, be sure to check out the Three-minute-Talk (TmT) announcement for next year’s competition and this month’s announcements and events. And of course, save the date to celebrate Brenda Hanning’s career—please join the party on January 6, from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. in Building 31, room 6C6.

Thank you to all of the fellows who helped make The NICHD Connection a great newsletter throughout 2016. I’ll never tire of saying this publication is for you and by you. I’m looking forward to another year of working with this highly talented group of individuals.  

Your Editor in Chief,
Shana R. Spindler, PhD 

Have ideas for next year? Please send all of your questions, comments, and suggestions to