June 16 – Day 4: Long Island: Laboratory, Hospitality and a Long Ride

ND Fans at Penn Station

Today was another great day of riding – perfect temperature, favorable wind, sunny and very pleasant overall. Last night, waiting at Penn Station for our train out of Manhattan, we ran into two Irish fans. Steve saw our Notre Dame shirts and told us that his son Michael will be a freshman at Notre Dame this fall. He’s interested in medicine, so he’ll be with us in the College of Science. Joe, a Notre Dame alum, came over to tell us about the Notre Dame event in New York City where he was happy to hear Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick speak and to meet Dean Nell Newton, the Dean of the Law School. We always seem to find Irish fans wherever we go.

Great Hors-d'oeuvres

Today I had the opportunity to visit Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) on Long Island. John, one of my advisory council members, has been instrumental in setting up an internship for Notre Dame students at the world-famous Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory each year. The institution’s collaborative approach to research, covering everything from cancer and plant biology to neuroscience, quantitative biology, and bioinformatics and genomics, is a cutting-edge example of how to solve big problems by bringing scientific minds together across disciplines. The research concentrates on basic biological mechanisms, but it is aimed at giving us better tools to diagnose and treat such illnesses as cancer and neurological disorders.

The collaborations include not only the scientists at the laboratory but also thousands of others at hospitals, universities and the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Cold Spring Harbor has a Meetings and Courses program that brings more than 8,000 international scientists a year to participate in the common effort. The environment is a great educational experience for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, and the approach has made the laboratory one of the top 1% of life science institutions whose work is cited in published research. We are very fortunate to have one of our Notre Dame Science students selected each year to work at such a world-renowned laboratory.

I always tell our students that we are seeking to train them to be creators of knowledge, not just absorbers of it. There is no better way to be a creator of knowledge then to work as a researcher at one of the top laboratories in the world. We are proud to send some of our most talented students to Cold Spring Harbor, including the last two Notre Dame valedictorians, Katie and Edward. This year, Paul is representing us. Thank you, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and thank you, John and Roland, for all of your support and dedication to the College of Science that led to such a wonderful opportunity for our students and Notre Dame. We hope to continue expanding this relationship in terms of education and research.

Our Hosts, John and Heidi

After the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory visit, we attended a Notre Dame event, hosted by John and Heidi at their beautiful home on Long Island, with about 30 Notre Dame alumni, parents, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory researchers. It was a wonderful time. We spoke for about 15 minutes to the group about the ride for Niemann-Pick Type C, our partnership with Cold Spring Harbor, and some of our new research and pedagogy programs in Notre Dame Science, such as the Eck Institute for Global Health (http://globalhealth.nd.edu); the Sustainable Energy Initiative (http://energy.nd.edu); the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative (http://environmentalchange.nd.edu); the Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases (www.nd.edu/~crnd/); the Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science & Applications (http://icensa.nd.edu); the Center for Mathematics (http://centerformathematics.nd.edu); SUMR, the Seminar for Undergraduate Mathematical Research (www.nd.edu/~sumr/); the new Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics (http://acms.nd.edu); our new integrated life sciences Ph.D. program; and our master’s degree professional programs, such as the Engineering, Science, and Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Master’s program (http://esteem.nd.edu), the program in global health (http://globalhealth.nd.edu/training), and the two programs soon to come in 2012: financial and computational mathematics and our patent agent program.

ND Student, Paul, at Cold Spring Harbor

Science Advisory Council Members, George and John

Paul, the Notre Dame student at Cold Spring Harbor this summer, joined the event, as well as George, who is on my advisory council, and his wife Susan. Ryan, a current ESTEEM student who is back on Long Island to visit some local companies, also attended. We are truly fortunate to have such wonderful alumni and friends of the University to support everything we do. It was a terrific day, and we want to thank John and Heidi for their hospitality, which made it a night to remember.

2 Comments so far

  1.    Anneke on June 17th, 2011

    Great Job Keep up the gbood spirit You are Great Love Anneke

  2.    Karen Crawford-Williams on June 21st, 2011

    Looks like you’re having a great!!