Hi everyone! Here is a quick introduction to me, since I’ll be guest-blogging a few times this summer. My name is Becky Richards, and I’m a 7th year (eek!) MD/PhD student. To put that in perspective, that means that I will be starting my third year of medical school this summer at the same time as the friends with whom I started medical school begin their third year of residency. I obviously have some catching up to do! I’m originally from Ohio, but have fully converted to a happy Pacific Northwesterner. I spend my non-school time running, mountain biking, skiing – pretty much anything that gets me outside and in the midst of the beautiful scenery we are lucky enough to have here. That or hanging out with my awesome husband, Josh, and my super-cute dog, Charlie.
Three months ago, I was notified that I was selected as one of 500 students from around the world to attend the Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates, in Lindau, Germany. Since that time, I have wrapped up four years of work in the lab by submitting and resubmitting a paper and writing and defending a thesis. Anyone who has pursued a PhD knows that these activities have not left me much time to think about this amazing adventure that lies ahead. As soon as I delivered the final copies of my thesis to the library this week, my attention shifted to the significance of what I will soon experience. On Friday, June 24th, I will fly from Washington, D.C. to Lindau, Germany, with 60 other American students to take part in a conference that will undoubtedly be an opportunity of a lifetime.
Before I leave, I will share what I know about the history and goals of the Lindau meetings.
In 1951, two physicians from Lindau, Germany teamed up with Count Lennart Bernadotte of Mainau to initiate international exchange of ideas between Nobel Laureates and medical specialists. This annual tradition is entering its 61st year, and has transitioned to become a forum for young scientists, mostly graduate students, to interact with Nobel Laureates across all scientific disciplines. Essentially, it is a venue for the future scientists of the world to learn from and be inspired by some of the best scientists of the past and present. For more on the conference and videos of past lectures, click here. This year’s lineup of 25 Laureates who will attend includes scientists who discovered telomerase, interfering RNA, the structure of the ribosome, ubiquitin, and restriction enzymes. These are some of the fundamental building blocks of cellular biology and laboratory techniques, things which scientists take for granted on a daily basis. It will be fascinating to gain some insight into the process of discovery of such important biological concepts. Needless to say, it is an enormous honor to attend, and I plan to soak up every bit of inspiration that I can from these brilliant minds.
My schedule for the next few weeks is full of excitement. I will fly to DC on June 22nd for a pre-meeting orientation session, followed by the week-long conference on the beautiful island of Lindau. After the conference, I am lucky enough to have a few weeks to travel in Germany and Spain before starting the third year of medical school in August, as the final portion of the MD/PhD program. I plan to check in from Lindau a few times next week to share with all of you some of the highlights of this conference, so stay tuned!