We love to get people together!

Together with Amy Gladfelter from UNC and Don Fox from Duke, Amy planned an all-day mini-conference: The Triangle SyncytiaFest. This event hosted researchers from Harvard, Baylor, Princeton, and William & Mary, as well as UNC and Duke. We all discovered great synergy as well as dichotomies, since in some syncytia, constituent nuclei are isolated and compete, while in others, syncytial architecture orchestrates cooperation and coordination.

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As part of the Broader Impacts of Amy’s NSF grant, she visited 5 2nd-grade classrooms at a nearby elementary school to lead an activity on scientific thinking and the cell and developmental biology of the chicken life cycle. What a learning experience (for Amy)!

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A Broader Impacts activity sponsored by Amy’s NSF grant is S-connect-TEM, STEM speed dating. In this evening event, biologists briefly meet trainees from “Q” fields including computer science, mathematics, physics and statistics. Fruitful interdisciplinary collaborations have emerged from this event, and it’s good, community-building fun too!

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Amy coordinates an initiative she began in Montreal and continues here in UNC Biology: LunchMatrix. In this activity, randomized groups of participants are notified of their pairings monthly and find a time to meet for lunch or coffee. This has been a popular way to make new connections with colleagues (PIs and trainees) throughout our diverse community. LunchMatrix has been adopted by other departments at UNC, at Duke, and even a local symphony.