Science in the time of Covid

Luke Wiseman
02 May 2021

I realize it has been quite a while since I’ve posted an update. It turns out it has been for a very good reason. The group has kept me incredibly busy during this pandemic, continuing to perform awesome science in very difficult circumstances. It’s quite rewarding to see those efforts recognized in multiple ways. By my count, we have published and/or posted 8 manuscripts/preprints during the year since the beginning of the pandemic. We’ve graduated two students with PhDs (Mia and Julia), with one more defending in a week (Aparajita). Justine, Julia, and Mia all moved on to fantastic positions in industry, where I understand they are all thriving. We’ve also added new members to the group – Kelsey, Nicole, and Dan (shared with Danielle Grotjahn) – who are starting exciting new projects in the lab. Lastly, we’ve been awarded 3 NIH grants over the past year to continue pursuing our research interests. This is just the outwardly facing evidence of our progress. Trust me when I say that we have some really cool unpublished science that has been accomplished over the previous year, which I’m hoping to begin getting out over the second half of 2021 (keep your eyes on bioRXIV for new work from the Wiseman lab!). Suffice to say, I’m incredibly proud of everyone in the group for managing and ultimately thriving in such challenging times. That all being said, I’m also proud for how my group has handled many of the social challenges that have come to the spotlight over the past year. The challenges with race in both science and societal settings, the difficulties surrounding the election and the associated fallout, the impact of social distancing on mental health, and all of the other injustices that have been brought to light over the past year. I feel that the Wiseman lab has emerged from this crucible with a refocused understanding of the different challenges that we all face in our lives and a further commitment to promote diversity, acceptance, and understanding both in our lab and globally in academic science. This is a testament to the outstanding members of my group and their passion for not just performing fantastic science, but also sharing that science through community outreach, mentorship, and social action. The last year, and I’m sure years to come, weigh heavy on me for many reasons, but I feel that we all have come out of this stronger and more committed to a better, more productive tomorrow. I honestly can’t wait to celebrate this fact, as well as our many accomplishments, with the members of my group (past and present) and collaborators. If any group of people deserves a party, its this one. And I intend to throw a good one (!), once we are able. -RLW-