2023 Institute Retreat a Success

Quenton Bubb and his poster, which won 1st place by a vote among retreat attendees.

On September 15-16, over 100 faculty, postdocs, students and staff convened in Santa Cruz at the Chaminade Resort for the 2023 institute retreat. “I think this was super successful, a fun and enlightening day and a half,” said institute director Ravi Majeti at the conclusion of the event. 

The retreat featured 23 scientific talks, ranging from early neural development to translational stem cell approaches for treating difficult diseases disease like pulmonary fibrosis or IPEX (see below). An evening poster session gave students and trainees the chance to talk about their work. People attending the poster session were able to vote on what they considered the best posters. At the end of the retreat, the winners were announced: In 3rd place, Minji Kang from the Newman lab; in 2nd place, Cristabelle De Souza from the Gerlinde Wernig lab, and in 1st place, Quenton Bubb from the Czechowicz lab.

In one session, Majeti presented highlights of the year ahead at the institute, including recruiting a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) leader at the institute, and hosting DEIB activities throughout the year. Other major changes in the coming year include updating the institute faculty membership structure, developing an external advisory committee, and opening a new faculty search, Majeti said. 

Many agreed that the Chaminade resort offered a good middle ground between the much more distant and rustic Asilomar, where many past retreats have taken place, and something nearer to Stanford or on campus, which might not offer the feeling of getting away from the lab or office, which is a primary function of retreats.