The 2014 MoGen retreat was held at the Geneva Park YMCA September 17th-19th. This year we saw our highest ever registration, with 49 faculty, 41 rotation students, 105 graduate students, 17 postdocs/research staff and 3 MoGen undergrad specialists signing up on our flashy new webpage (thanks to Evan Moir and Jim Rini).

The retreat began on the evening of the 17th with a dinner for the first year graduate students and faculty, followed by the Power Hour. This event provides a means for faculty to describe their lab’s research in a rapid-fire format. The Power Hour presentations were cut down to 2 minutes each and the Faculty did not know when they would present until their name was called. As in previous years, this created a lively atmosphere. The post-Power Hour cocktail party was buzzing and allowed for an abundance of Student-Faculty interaction.

The scientific presentations were stellar and featured both established and new faculty. The newest faculty member, Mikko Taipale, had only been in the country for 48 hours, slightly more than Olivia Rissland who arrived just the week before! New MoGen arrivals Tae-Hee Kim, Julie Lefebvre, Ran Kafri and Monica Justice also described their exciting research. There were also some seasoned MoGen members (who won’t be named) who admitted to having attended over 20 MoGen retreats. As intended, the active participation of incoming and established students and faculty made for a stimulating retreat.

We had a record number of poster entries and had to recruit almost the entire Faculty for judging (a big thank you!). The research presented was outstanding (see below for the winners). In addition to the much-anticipated departmental awards, GSA entertainment, dancing, and bonfire, we held a student vs. faculty + rotation student football game (thanks to Peter Roy). Without going into the embarrassing details, it was clear that our current MoGen students work very well as a team and know how to catch a football. We also established the annual tradition of the MoGen family photo (thanks to Julie Claycomb and Alex Ensminger).

As always, we are learning how to make the retreat better each year and welcome any feedback. A big thank you goes out to Alex Lin and the GSA as well as the entire retreat organizing committee (led by Michael Wilson and Jim Rini) and support staff who made it a success. We look forward to seeing even more of our vibrant research community in attendance next year (scheduled for September 23rd-25th 2015).

Awards Spotlight

Senior Posters (75 judged): 


First prize: Ashish Deshwar (Scott lab)

Second prize (3-way tie): John Laver (Lipshitz/Smibert labs), Matthieu Quesnel-Vallieres (Blencowe lab), Sihui Guan (Zhen lab)

Junior Poster (28 judged):

First Prize: Anna Roy (Delgado-Olguin lab)

Second prize: Curtis Boswell (Ciruna lab)

MoGen Award recipients:

  • Shixuan Liu – Roman Pakula Award (Kafri lab)
  • Sang Hu Kim – L. W. Macpherson Award (Cowen lab)
  • Amanda Veri – Eric Hani Fellowship (Cowen lab)
  • Olga Zaslaver – Norman Bethune Award (Caudy lab)
  • Matthieu Quesnel-Vallieres – Hannah Farkas-Himsley & Alex Himsley Memorial Prize (Blencowe lab)

T-shirt design winner: 

Alex Lin (B. Pearson lab)

Retreat Organizers:

  • Michael Wilson 
  • Jim Rini