Biosciences Area staff recently hosted 40 PhD students from Wageningen University in the Netherlands over two days at Emery Station East (ESE) and the Integrative Genomics Building (IGB). The group launched their two-week California tour in the Bay Area, stopping by local biotechnology companies and prominent academic research institutions. The contingent visited ESE to tour the facility, make presentations, and discuss potential collaborations. At the IGB, the students attended a day-long symposium that included short talks, tours of several user facilities, and a poster reception.
“They were very engaged and asked excellent questions both after the talk and on the tour afterwards,” reported Eric Sundstrom, a senior process engineer at the Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts Process Development Unit (ABPDU) who served as a guide while the Wageningen group visited ESE. “They demonstrated broad interest across a broad spectrum of synthetic biology disciplines – strain engineering, biomass conversion, fermentation science, and C1 biomanufacturing.”
The next day, the group ventured up the Hill to the IGB where they were greeted by their countryman Markus de Raad at the start of the symposium which included short talks by the DOE Joint Genome Institute’s (JGI) Axel Visel, Emiley Eloe-Fadrosh, Rex Malmstrom, Bob Bowers, Trent Northen, Ian Blaby, and Yasuo Yoshikuni, and the DOE Systems Biology Knowledgebase’s (KBase) Ellen Dow.
After lunch, the group divided and was whisked away on the Lab shuttle for tours of the Advanced Light Source (ALS), the Molecular Foundry, and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) to provide them more an expansive impression of Berkeley Lab’s vibrant research ecosystem and workplace. The afternoon proceeded with lightning talks by selected students followed by a poster session in the IGB 3rd Floor Lounge. The event was supported by IGB administrative staff Brooke Goodenough, Lauren Belisario, and Terri Bartolome.
“We must confess that we were not expecting the degree of magnificent hospitality with which you treated our entire group!” wrote Despoina Trasanidou, expressing gratitude on behalf of the Wageningen PhD trip 2022 committee. “We were amazed by the exceptional quality of both your facilities and your research. Our visit will undoubtedly remain one of the highlights of our PhD trip.”