The Code Lab visits Tel Aviv!

8 Apr

In February, 10 of us from the Code Lab visited Adi Stern’s lab in Tel Aviv, Israel. It was stressful to organize the trip (filling out so many forms, waiting for permission, finding reasonably priced tickets…), but now that we’ve done it I think it was totally worth it. The trip was really good for the lab and for our research. We are grateful to NSF for funding the trip (as part of a collaborative grant between the two labs), to everyone in Adi Stern’s group for hosting us and to the folks at SFSU who helped us (and are still helping us) with the administrative side of this trip!

Here are the best things from the trip:

1. We bonded as a lab!

Emily: One of the things I enjoyed the most about our trip was getting to know and meet people. There are many different individuals in our lab who I don’t know very well and this trip was a great opportunity to spend time with them!

Anjani: We were mostly together as a group during the trip and it made our bonding stronger than what we had when we left SFO.

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Jasmeen, Anjani, Caroline, Geo, Stuart, Ryan (all SF)

2. We got to know our current and future collaborators from Tel Aviv and learned about their research.

Caroline: One thing I really liked about the trip was how welcoming and organized the Stern lab was even though we arrived sooner than initially planned. I got really excited seeing the HeLa cells and hearing about the different projects revolving around them. Olivia: I really enjoyed talking to Talia about her research on the Tilapia virus. This virus is found in both wild and farmed tilapia. I found the questions she was asking interesting because it affects people all over the world.

Ryan: Everyone was very cool and super nice.  

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Caroline Solis (SF), Talia Kustin (Tel Aviv), Moran Meir (Tel Aviv), Anjani Pradhananga (SF), Jasmeen Kaur (SF).

3. We presented our work and got useful feedback.

Olivia: Sometimes it feels like I haven’t been able to finish or see a product, but I used my old poster that I had created for the COSE showcase (…) and found that I actually accomplished the aims/next steps. It was a nice feeling to learn that I have done something as I was updating my poster.

Kaho: I really enjoyed talking to Adi, Maoz and Sherry about research. The discussion we had was helpful and gave me clearer directions for the next steps of my research, and it was great to find out we have such cool collaborators!

Ryan: I also loved meeting the Tel Aviv lab because it made me see out research, not only from the dry lab perspective, but also from the wet lab side too.

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Oded Kushnir (Tel Aviv) and Ryan Winstead (SF) look at a poster.

4. Visiting new cities and a foreign country

Emily: I was glad to see that Tel Aviv had a vibrant and openly queer community.

Getting to see the historical sites was equally important to me. Though I am not a fan or organized religion, (…), I learned many of the stories from the old and new testament, so seeing the actual places where they occurred was really cool. My grandma would have been so happy to see my pictures and hear about everything, and though she is gone now, she was in my heart the whole time.

Ryan: At first, I was very nervous about traveling so far from home. However, as soon as I was on board the plane, I felt excited about it. Tel Aviv was an amazing city and seeing it and the university was rewarding.

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The Code Lab with our Tel Aviv guides Danielle Miller and Omer Tirosh from the Stern Lab. Clockwise from Anjani (taking the selfie), Caroline, Olivia, Geo, Emily, Danielle Miller, Omer Tirosh, Ryan, Stuart, Jasmeen, Kaho.

5. We enjoyed the food!

Stuart: Trying out new foods and deserts were a blast at dinner.

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Shakshouka is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and garlic, commonly spiced with cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg.

What we didn’t like as much

There were only a few things we didn’t like. Some of the students had never had a jet lag before and they hated it. We also didn’t like when we felt cheated by taxi-drivers or bartenders and we were sad to see and feel the tension between different groups in Jerusalem. One thing that we’ll keep in mind for our next trip is to schedule more time for the posters.

But all in all it was a fun, interesting and memorable trip!

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The Code Lab and the Stern Lab. Front: Pleuni Pennings(SF), Yaara Ben Ari (Tel Aviv), Gal Goldman (Tel Aviv), Jasmeen Kaur (SF), Kaho Tisthammer (SF), Adi Stern (Tel Aviv), Tal Zinger (Tel Aviv), Olivia Pham (SF). Standing: Danielle Miller (Tel Aviv), Sherry Harari (Tel Aviv), Talia Kustin (Tel Aviv), Maoz Gelbart (Tel Aviv), Oded Kushnir (Tel Aviv), Caroline Solis (SF), Ryan Winstead (SF), Stuart Castaneda (SF), Anjani Pradhananga (SF), Geo Pineda (SF), Emily Fryer (SF)

 

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