Rylie’s thoughts on the program:
I started as an Advanced Microscopy Fellow after I completed my PhD in late summer 2019. Microscopy has always been my favorite part of being a scientist, and it’s been wonderful having the chance to focus on microscopy entirely. I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned (and continue to learn) from Jennifer and her team. I’ve gained a much more thorough understanding of the theoretical and practical foundations of microscopy applications ranging from the basics to advanced techniques. I’m also learning a lot about the day-to-day operations of running a multi-user core facility, like training users in a wide variety of modalities & applications, purchasing equipment, and understanding how to handle booking and finances.
My two particular interests are microscopy education and a super-resolution technique called structured illumination microscopy (SIM). So far, I’ve had the chance to create lectures, design workshop exercises & tutorials, lead discussion groups and help plan and execute an online lecture series. One of my goals for the next year is to design a lecture and accompanying lab exercises for biologists as an introduction to SIM. I know that the skills and tools that I’m building in the NIC with Jennifer will benefit me throughout my career, and it’s really fun and rewarding to get to work with people who are as passionate about microscopy as I am!
Anna’s thoughts on her experience with the fellowship program:
The Microfellows program gave me the opportunity to learn about all aspects of core facility life, from user training and consultation, to microscope maintenance, to grant writing and management. On the technical side, I’ve learned the theory and practice of a wide variety of advanced microscopy techniques, including FRAP, ratiometric imaging, single-molecule imaging, SIM, and STORM. I’ve tested, reinforced, and deepened my understanding by training users in each of these techniques.
I love teaching, so I spent a lot of my time as a fellow working on our microscopy workshop program at HMS. I lectured in our workshops, created new lectures and lab exercises, and coordinated workshop logistics. When I want to learn more about a topic, I develop a lecture about it; there’s always an enthusiastic and appreciative audience for microscopy lectures at HMS. I’m also very much involved in our annual Cold Spring Harbor course, and in the months leading up to the course, I help to write lab exercises, prepare samples, and coordinate equipment.
In addition to teaching, I worked on several other projects as a fellow, including automation of quarterly microscope inspections, methods to measure phototoxicity, and a review on validation and bias in microscopy experiments.
In 2019, I accepted a position as Associate Director of Imaging Education in the NIC@HMS. In my new role, I’ll build on my work as a fellow by continuing to expand our workshop program and develop new microscopy education offerings for HMS and beyond. My time as a fellow was incredibly rewarding and productive, and I’m looking forward to sharing that experience with the next generation of Microfellows.
George’s thoughts on his experience with the fellowship program:
During my Ph.D. research, I used light microscopy and image analysis to answer questions about the cell biology of neurons. Learning about microscopy and helping other researchers with that knowledge were my favorite aspects of the Ph.D. experience.
The Advanced Microscopy Fellowship program allowed me to use my research experience to advise HMS researchers in their diverse light microscopy experiments. By assisting researchers with a variety of experimental setups, the breadth and depth of my understanding expanded beyond what was required of my Ph.D. research. Using theoretical microscopy knowledge to better train, advise, and teach researchers was a wonderful challenge.
In December 2019, I finished the Advanced Microscopy Fellowship program. In January 2020, I took on a new role as a Senior Research Technologist in the Cell & Tissue Imaging Center at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. My experience as a Microfellow with Jennifer has helped me to transition from being an experimental biologist who fancies microscopes to becoming an experimental microscopist who fancies biological experiments.