Grass Fellowship Program
Alberto Pereda of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Director 2012-2014) and Jade Zee Northeastern University (Associate Director 2010-2013) led the Grass Fellowship Program, which supports investigator-designed, independent research projects by scientists early in their careers. The hallmark program of the Grass Foundation, many Grass Fellows have gone on to become leaders in neuroscience. Current Director is Kamran Khodakhah and Matt Kittelberger serves as Associate Director.
Each summer, nearly 50 commercial vendors loan close to $1M worth of their latest equipment and provide technical support to the Grass Fellowship Program. Fellows have the opportunity to use the spectacular array of leading edge microscopes, cameras, electrophysiology setups, and other specialized instruments before they hit the retail market.
(pictured: Adair Oesterle, Sutter Instrument Company)
Forming Lasting Connections
Grass Fellows function as both an intellectual and social group during their summer at the MBL. Scholarly activities like a weekly private seminar series offer extraordinary opportunities for professional networking with prominent scientists, while social events ranging from an expedition on the MBL’s collecting boat, Gemma, to weekly dinners, to the annual July 4th parade allow fellows to grow not only scientifically, but develop friendships that span a lifetime.
Diversity of Research Animals
Former Grass Fellow Robyn Crook studied learning and memory in the ancient Nautilus as a way of understanding how neural structures underlying memory may have evolved. From the primitive to the complex, Grass fellows have opportunity to work with an exceptional diversity of marine, aquatic, and small mammal model organisms. Whether building on their current work or exploring new areas of neuroscience investigation, fellows enjoy access to research species not commonly available at their home institutions.
Circuitry of Thermal Acclimation
Many cold-blooded animals live in habitats where temperature can change quickly and over a large range, yet their biochemical and biophysical processes remain functional. Grass Fellow Marie Goeritz of Brandeis University is studying this phenomenon in the stomatogastric nervous system of the Atlantic Coast native Jonah Crab, which shows a remarkable robustness of motor activity over a large range of temperatures.
Supporting Young Scientists
Today’s Grass Foundation Trustees are leaders in the field of neuroscience and, like their predecesors, are deeply committed to supporting the independent work of young scientists. Trustees interact with fellows inside and outside of the lab and are among the many outstanding scientists that fellows have the opportunity to connect with and learn from during their stay at the MBL.
Networking Inside & Outside the Lab
Fellows host a traditional New England clambake for Grass Foundation Trustees and the Forbes Lecturer, a high-profile scientist who works alongside fellows in the Grass Lab. The clambake is held at the MBL cottages, where fellows and their families reside along along with other members of the MBL scientific community.