Conference report: A summer camp for science nerds

RNAmed PhD student Charlotte Kamm attended the Synthetic Biology Summer Course at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

“Pursuing a PhD is not only about spending years on a research project to finally graduate, but it is also about figuring out what your interests and skills are and improving them for your personal scientific journey. To get a first idea if I could see myself taking on teaching responsibilities in the future, I took the opportunity and joined this year’s Synthetic Biology (SynBio) Summer Course hosted at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), USA, as a teaching assistant for the CRISPR module.

The SynBio course, organized by top researchers in the field, aims at conveying basic synthetic biology techniques, including DNA assembly, cell-free transcription-translation (TXTL) systems, modeling, and CRISPR technologies to PhD students and postdocs with varying knowledge of synthetic biology.

Indeed, there is no better location for this than the science-loaded CSHL. Situated at the picturesque Oyster Bay on Long Island, New York, the renowned institute provides the perfect atmosphere for decelerating from mundane troubles and diving deep into science.

My experiences during this three-week stay can be best described as a summer camp for enthusiastic science nerds. Long days in the lab filled with intense exploration of various CRISPR techniques, lectures, and seminars. Importantly, we also spent time at campfires over s'mores, on the beach for midnight swims in the Atlantic, boat trips, and lobster banquets.

While the tutorials on designing guide RNAs for CRISPR applications strengthened my confidence in my abilities to convey and teach science, bouncing ideas with fellow researchers helped me validate my identity as a scientist and my connection to the scientific community. Overall, it was a truly memorable and valuable experience!” — Charlotte Kamm, RNAmed PhD student in the Beisel lab (Würzburg)