“This isn’t the year that you signed up for,” said NICHD Director Dr. Diana Bianchi at the all-virtual 2020 Scientific Retreat last month. I echo her sentiments. We have encountered unprecedented challenges in both our work and family lives. But at the same time, there have been new opportunities. “They are not the opportunities you signed up for, but you can make it special and memorable in your own way,” Dr. Bianchi emphasized.   

Rather than dwell on what we didn’t get out of 2020, let’s take a broader look at our accomplishments. The theme for our final issue of the year is Then and Now.

Postbac Paul Elizalde writes about Dr. Vasilisa Aksenova's (Dasso lab) recent publication in Nature Communications for our “Hot Off the Press” column. He focuses on the history of novel technologies that have influenced nuclear pore complex research.

We continue our theme with recognition of Dr. Erin Walsh as our new Acting Director of the NICHD Office of Education. Dr. Walsh first joined the office as a program manager, and she has now taken the helm! We also see a clear example of then and now in our Q&A with clinical fellow Dr. Maziar Rahmani. He describes how his research perspective has evolved throughout his life.

Wrapping up this final 2020 issue, enjoy a peek at the past in several investigator photos taken during their trainee years, a recap of the recent interviewing workshop with Scott Morgan, the “2020 DIR & DIPHR Year in Review,” and our December announcements and events.

Wishing you all the best for a happy and healthy New Year. This was a year to remember, for both its challenges and successes. May 2021 bring continued progress and abundant hope for a better tomorrow.

Your Editor in Chief,
Shana R. Spindler, PhD

Please send questions and comments to our editor at shana.spindler@nih.gov.