Hello. Before we share updates from May, a bit of housekeeping: We’ve moved our newsletter platform from Buttondown to Substack. If you signed up to receive updates on Buttondown, you’ll continue to receive our emails. In the coming weeks, we plan to send more regular content, especially essays about science and metascience, as well as profiles of people, places, and tools. We’re excited to share those with you.
2022 Summer Fellows
New Science today announced the recipients of our inaugural summer fellowships, which will run from early June to the end of August. We’ve funded five researchers:
Avadhoot Jadhav, Boston Children’s Hospital: Designing nanobody therapeutics.
Diana Leung, Boston Children’s Hospital: Probing how cells share resources in changing environments.
Katherine Xiang, Broad Institute: Mapping protein binding sites using DNA sequencing.
Kian Faizi, Harvard Medical School: Creating a free-living chloroplast.
Riley Stockard, UC Berkeley: Designing cells that engineer other cells with minimal human intervention.
We invest roughly $40,000 per fellow, including stipends, project costs, and computational credits. By program end, fellows will publish “Go/No-Go” proof-of-concept results. Our next program will be a 12-month long fellowship that starts in September. In a few years, we plan to fund entire laboratories outside of academia.
Read the full announcement on our website.
Head of Media
Niko McCarty has joined us as Head of Media. Niko studied synthetic biology at Imperial College London as a Fulbright Scholar and developed tools for CRISPR multiplexing. He started a Ph.D. in bioengineering at Caltech, dropped out with a masters, and then studied science journalism at New York University.
He spent the last year working as a data journalist at the Simons Foundation and edited our recent, 33,000-word NIH report (upon Niko’s first edits to the report, Alexey immediately made a decision to never do any editing whatsoever because of the shame that its quality would bring to his family for the next 3 to 10 generations).
We are looking for essays on science; how it could be better, how it fails (with viable solutions), and why some people and places seem to be exceptionally productive. Send ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fellows arrived in Cambridge last week. They were promptly shuttled to a lake house in Athol, Massachusetts, where they discussed research ideas and planned projects.
Day One: Fellows present slides on their project — plans, concerns, what they need help with. It took three hours to discuss five projects. Synergies quickly appeared across projects; fellows forged collaborations.
After the talks, we grilled sausages and vegetables, then ate our meals on a floating barge (which seemed stable enough, and was propelled by a solar-powered motor).
At night, we roasted marshmallows over an indoor fire. Techniques to attain optimal marshmallow fluffiness were debated (tentative consensus: 10 seconds in the microwave).
Each fellow raised concerns about their project, no matter how small — I haven’t figured out how to design these peptides. Does anyone know of a computational tool? — while others offered advice and shared resources.
Day Two: Fellows ponder how best to share intermediate results. During the program, they will share preliminary data and seek feedback from Twitter and elsewhere.
To receive updates about future New Science programs — such as our summer and one-year fellowships — please register your interest.
Niko & Alexey