Sunday, May 01, 2005

A treat of a retreat

Yesterday was the [first ever] annual CSBi "retreat" [who knew we were under attack ?]. Actually, since this is the first year the CSBi PhD program has been in existence, it was a retreat for folks associated with MIT's Biotechnology training program and we, the red-headed stepchildren of CSBi, were lumped in with them. A retreat, in this case, basically means "show and tell" -- it's intended to give people a chance to showcase their research in a pretty informal atmosphere, allow you to get an idea about the kinds of things other grad students are working on, talk to professors etc.

Getting to know a few more grad students was nice, but the most valuable bit for me was the fact that I had a chance to talk to the keynote speaker, Noubar Afeyan, for a while. He's one of the people running Flagship Ventures, a venture capital company that has a lot of investments in genomics and biotech companies, and was involved in creating the infamous Celera Genomics, the company that was in a race with the publicly-funded Human Genome Project to finish sequencing the human genome. He's a very nice guy, very approachable and down to earth. He was even kind enough to offer me the chance to come talk to him some more if I was interested [because I mentioned that getting into biotech venture capital was something I'd thought about], something I'll probably take him up on, once I figure out what else I want to ask him ;-)

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