Bonnie Bassler (Princeton University) spent her VVP sabbatical in Arturo Zychlinsky’s lab at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin):
“I’m home from my Vallee month. It was magical! Please tell the committee I say again thank you so much for choosing me. I now understand why the month-long time frame is such a spectacular idea. I had a completely immersive experience. As described in the Vallee information packet, I routinely go on science visits lasting 2-3 days. They are fascinating but jam-packed and I am home before I know it. The Vallee timing enabled me to get out of my routine. I had the luxury of time to think, to ponder, to reflect, to read, and to discuss science deeply. Having the freedom of unrestricted time (no meetings and no disturbances), allowed me to consider what science I want to do, redefine my research goals and priorities, and think through the parts of my job and which committees enable me to make valuable contributions. I adored being in someone else’s lab. What was different is that the research problems the group was struggling with were not my problems to solve. Thus, the science was 100% enjoyable to me because I had no stress associated with having to fix technical or intellectual stumbling blocks, I did not need to make sure the graduate students and postdocs were succeeding, I did not have to wonder how we would ever get a publication from the data presented at lab meetings, etc. This “getting off my treadmill” aspect of the fellowship might have been the single most valuable feature of the fellowship. Well, bottom line: it was one of the most fantastic trips of my life.” (Bonnie Bassler, VVP 2015)
Ivan Dikic (Goethe University Medical School, Frankfurt) was hosted for two two-week sessions by Wade Harper in the HMS Department of Molecular Cell Biology.
“All of these meetings were characterized by an extremely friendly and open atmosphere giving room for the discussion of current challenges and technological advances as well as for the exchange of novel data and original ideas. This was indeed very inspiring and in many ways affected my thinking and the conception of new projects. Also, several contacts were initiated that surely will lead to future collaborations. This high degree of intensive intellectual exchange was only possible in this particular setting, and all discussions went far beyond what is usually achieved on scientific meetings or in departmental seminars.” (Ivan Dikic, VVP 2016)
Nicholas Tonks (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to Tiganis lab Monash University).
“When I was first informed that I had been selected as a Vallee Visiting Professor I was both honored and excited, but also concerned that it would be difficult to find the time to use this opportunity effectively. Now that I have completed the visit I can say without reservation that it was a wonderful experience. Melbourne is an outstanding place for biomedical research and it was beneficial to have an extended period of time to experience that environment in some depth. Furthermore, the potential collaborations that have arisen would never have occurred without this visit.” (Nicholas Tonks, VVP 2016)