MDI Biological Laboratory

Chalk Talks Still Going Strong

  • August 13, 2021

For over a century, MDI Biological Laboratory has hosted short research visits and sabbaticals for academic and industry scientists. Throughout the summer and fall, our Visiting Scientist program continues to flourish as we welcome a series of researchers whose work dovetails with our own faculty’s. For many of us, no better moment captured the magic of MDIBL’s collaborations than our long running tradition of the popular summer Chalk Talk series.

The iconic chalkboard got a new coat of paint this year and was ready for action!

One of the many Chalk Talk presenters this year, MDIBL student alum and Duke University Assistant Professor Nishad Jayasundara, Ph.D. was a great illustration of how MDIBL can become a full circle experience.

Nishad’s presentation was particularly poignant. As an undergraduate student at College of the Atlantic, he was one of the first INBRE students in 2003 when he trained with visiting scientist Dr. John Wise and Dr. David Towle. In 2021, Nishad returned as a visiting scientist himself, working alongside Iain Drummond, Ph.D. His presentation, on his research into Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown etiology/Uncertain cause (CKDu) in Sri Lanka, El Salvador, and other Equatorial countries, drew thoughtful questions from nephrologists, immunologists, and biologists, and it made two things readily apparent: first, complex issues like CKDu require a joint approach and benefit from multiple perspectives and second, investing in training the next generation to participate in group problem solving has a tremendous effect on our health, our environment and our communities.