The last six months have caused considerable disruption for all of us, but thanks to the diligence and hard work of our faculty and staff and the steadfast support of all of you, the MBL continues to deliver on its research and education mission despite challenges from the pandemic.
While many at the MBL continue to work remotely, I’m pleased to report that scientists are working in their labs, experiments are moving forward at the bench and in the field, and grants are being awarded. Without a bustling summer of advanced training courses, it was a very different summer at the MBL, but we were able to host some Whitman Center Scientists and reach more than 10,000 people through our virtual programming. This incredible extension of our reach demonstrates tremendous opportunities for engagement and is informing our decisions for future offerings.
Last week the MBL welcomed 12 UChicago undergraduates to Woods Hole for the autumn quarter. These second-, third-, and fourth-year students will be with us until November 21 studying topics from microbiomes, to neuroscience, to biological imaging. Like everyone at the MBL, students are required to follow public health protocols to minimize the spread of COVID-19. In addition, they will be tested weekly during their stay following University of Chicago guidelines. Although their number is small, faculty and staff have done an incredible amount of work to ensure that the program runs successfully and safely.
Although the MBL has hosted UChicago undergraduates in previous years as part of the Semester in Environmental Science, September Courses, and as Metcalf interns, this marks the first time that a UChicago quarter is being hosted at the MBL, an exciting milestone in our continued expansion of undergraduate programming. Our faculty are looking forward to in-person lectures and lab work and providing students with the one-of-a-kind, hands-on educational experience that only the MBL can provide.
We have learned a lot from the planning and implementation of the autumn quarter. Using that knowledge we are now turning our attention to planning for spring and summer 2021 programs to determine the adjustments required given the pandemic impacts will likely continue for some time. We will continue to keep you updated as planning progresses.
I am tremendously grateful to all of you and am privileged to be leading the laboratory as we confront the challenges of today and look with enthusiasm to the opportunities of tomorrow.
Nipam H. Patel