MDI Biological Laboratory

Breaking Through: Finding New Ways to Light Up Biology

Dear Friends,

As we continue to navigate these challenging times, I want to thank you for your ongoing support and engagement. Despite lingering uncertainties, we have made tremendous progress and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with you to ensure the Laboratory’s future success.

Strengthening Our Research Programs.

Over the last year we have recruited excellent scientists, developed new animal models, established new international collaborations and programs and made fascinating discoveries. I am pleased to share the details of some of our recent developments in this issue of Breaking Through.

Expanding our visiting scientist program is another important component of strengthening our research capacity. For more than 100 years, MDI Biological Laboratory has served as an international gathering place for renowned researchers from across the U.S., Canada and Europe. This past year we had the opportunity to welcome back Nishad Jayasundara, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Duke University to the MDIBL campus as a visiting scientist collaborating with Iain Drummond, Ph.D. Nishad is no stranger to MDIBL, having spent several summers working with us as one of our early INBRE fellows while a student at College of the Atlantic. It was a pleasure to see Nishad return to our campus with his own student.

Renovating Our Campus.

Expansion of our research and educational programs requires that we make a major investment in our housing and scientific infrastructure. Over the last three years we renovated seven of our campus cottages, providing adequate housing for our graduate students and visiting scientists. We are now embarking on an effort to restore all of our historic cottages. Presently, we are in the midst of a complete restoration of Bowen Hall, the oldest cottage on our campus, to serve as an Education and Outreach Center (see back cover).

Opportunities and Challenges.

We continue to work to address the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 virus. While variants such as Omicron and Delta continue to cause concern, we remain confident in the ability of vaccines to prevent serious illness. Since the onset of the pandemic, I have found myself in the unexpected position of developing a potential treatment that interferes with the ability of the spike protein to bind to the host cell surface, preventing the systematic complications that occur when the virus enters the bloodstream. Details of this ongoing research project are outlined on page four.

The scientific atmosphere at MDIBL is vibrant and our research and education programs are thriving. None of this would be possible without your ongoing support. I look forward to working with you to ensure we have the resources to meet future challenges head on and secure our continued success.

With appreciation and gratitude,
Hermann Haller, M.D. President

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