Our Director's page

Cynthia Friend—Sept 15, 2014

Director Cynthia Friend

 With the start of the new academic year we welcome Rowland Junior Fellows (RJFs) Drew Robson (neuroscience), Jennifer Li (neuroscience) and Robert Brucker (microbial ecology).   Jennifer and Drew completed their graduate work at Harvard.  Their new lab at Rowland is using the latest advances in optogenetics and microscopy to identify and manipulate the neural circuitry that underlies learning in larval zebrafish.  Robert Brucker, from Vanderbilt University, has done ground-breaking work studying the effect of microbial communities in insect guts.  Robert’s research will complement that of 2013 RJF, Alvaro Sanchez, who studies the evolution, ecology and behavior of microbial communities.  

 Energy sciences and neurosciences include aspects from all the traditional sciences - biology, chemistry, physics and engineering. This year's RJF search is especially interested in candidates whose projects include aspects of  either energy science or neuroscience, in the broadest definition of these fields. One of the unique aspects of the Rowland Institute is the superb technical staff who play a critical role in the advancement of the RJFs’ research.  The incredible engineering expertise available through Win Hill (who literally “wrote the book” on laboratory electronics), Chris Stokes (an incredibly versatile engineer and inventor who seems able to solve any problem in the lab),  and our in-house machine shop led by Master Machinist Don Rogers, play a major role in the innovative work and success of our Rowland Fellows.  Staff scientists, Diane Schaack and Linda Turner Stern, bring an understanding of biology to RJFs interested in applications of physical tools in the biomedical arena and provide support for biologists at the Rowland.  Alan Stern is an expert in mathematical modeling and computing that support our research.  This superb technical staff, directed by Michael Burns, Associate Director for Science, facilitates innovation by the Rowland Fellows and sets their work apart from others.

The Rowland Institute is a special place that still embodies the spirit of Dr. Land.  We are looking forward to the new fellowship competition in the fall of 2014 and new research breakthroughs in the coming year.

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