On an average day, if you walk through the Mayo’s Gonda Building lobby in Rochester you might see patients enjoying the sunlight and waiting for appointments, or staff bustling to meetings. During the course of the 2016 Young Investigator Research Symposium, however, the space was transformed to host a soiree of researchers from across Mayo’s campuses and beyond.
The meeting is held biennially to showcase the outstanding research achievements of graduate and medical students, residents, clinical and postdoctoral research fellows, and junior faculty.
“The symposium brings together young researchers from across many different disciplines and facilitates opportunities for career development, networking, scholarly exchange and forming research collaborations,” says Bruce Horazdovsky, Ph.D., who serves on the symposium advisory committee.
Bridging Across the Sciences
A key theme of the meeting was to highlight research from all stages of science: basic, translation and clinical. The symposium had 17 invited talks, including from leaders of the Center for Biomedical Discovery, Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Center for Regenerative Medicine. The symposium also featured over 150 posters from trainees and junior faculty across the sciences to foster collaborations.
“This is very characteristic of Mayo Clinic research,” says Peter Amadio, M.D., co-course director for the symposium.
He describes the event as a natural extension of how Mayo Clinic investigators come together to tackle the unmet needs of patients through research.
“So whether young researchers are formally in a basic science or clinical training program, there is cross-over for a better understanding of disciplines, and, ultimately, better results for patients,” says Dr. Amadio.
He also acknowledges that research collaborations can’t be forced. However, meetings like these can cause “particle-like collisions” between people.
“Some will bounce off, and some will stick,” says Dr. Amadio, “And our goal is to have more opportunities for ‘stickiness’.”
“It was very meaningful for me to come back,” says Paige Geiger, Ph.D., associate professor at University of Kansas Medical Center, and alumnae of Mayo Graduate School. “Not only to talk about my research, but also keys to success for investigators, which sometimes we gloss over.”
The planning and organization for the Young Investigator Research Symposium is driven by Mayo Clinic fellows and trainees. In the spirit of the event, the fellows gave back to even younger scientists-in-training.
The symposium organizers invited seven local high school students to present their research projects. The high school students are part of the Integrated Science Education Outreach (InSciEd Out) program and award winners from the regional science fair competition.
March 28, 2016