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1 posts categorized "Eva Wisniewski"

02/10/2014

Welcome!

It has been over 4 months since I arrived to Washington D.C., to spend one year in a top notch research laboratory at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and thereby, hopefully, to  improve my professional skills, broadening my horizons, and of course discovering  the natural beauties and cultural diversity of the United States.

It is amazing how fast the settling down-period passed by, thanks for the supporting network of my colleagues and friends.  Finding an apartment, buying furniture, taking care of the administrative procedures went as smoothly as possible. On my first official starting day, however, the government shut down and I was not able to work or even to enter the NIH campus. Luckily after 2 weeks the facilities were reopened and I could start working and found myself in a vivid and inspiring environment straight away.

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NIH is the primary agency of the United States goverment responsible for health-related research and its intramural program is the largest biomedical research institution on Earth. The government  first started allocating funds for medical research from the late 19th century, and since then NIH is working from the federal government’s operating budget.  Many scientific breakthroughs come from the NIH, including the discovery of fluoride to prevent tooth decay, the use of lithium to manage bipolar disorder, not to mention the creation of widely used vaccines like the ones against Haemophilus influenzae and human papillomavirus. Moreover, the Human Genome Project was also founded and led by NIH. The laboratory I am working with is world leader in the field of phosphoinositide messengers, cellular signaling and membrane trafficking.

I realized that the most important thing I was given at NIH is a wide array of opportunities. Opportunities to learn new techniques which are not widely used in Hungary or just to listen to lectures held by distinguished speakers such as the Nobel laureate Randy Schekman or Bill Gates. And the list goes on and on… As a special volunteer, I am also free to take several courses (for example about writing&publishing scientific papers, workplace dynamics, or designing and delivering successful oral presentations). Attending conferences held at NIH rather frequently seeds professional networks and makes future collaborations much easier. At the moment I work together with 6 postdocs - all from different countries. It cannot be hard to imagine how many new things I have learnt  from them, both on the personal and professional level. On the top of it, working together with my PI (principal investigator), who is never too tired or busy to help me or answer my questions, is just a dream.

While I spend a lot of time in the lab, I try to discover as many things as possible and spend my free time actively. When it comes to sports, new hobbies, cultural activities or just traveling I do my best not to miss anything.

And finally, some pictures of the wonderful places I visited:

Fall in West-Virginia

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Christmas in San Francisco

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Yosemite National Park

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Manhattan Skyline

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