I said it last year and I’ll say it again: This past year brought a lot of change and there is more on the way. But rather than a bat year like 2017, 2018 has been a seed year: light, mobile and ready to germinate.
The biggest news is that I get to start the LeBoeuf Lab of social fluids at the University of Fribourg in 2019. After a two-year marathon on the academic job market, the Swiss National Science Foundation gave me a go-ahead in the form of a five-year PRIMA grant to start my research group. I’m thrilled, and I’m hiring. The folks in Fribourg have been super in setting things up to welcome me. I am hugely thankful to all of those who supported me in my journey of countless practice talks and myriad application materials.
Back to 2018:
Scientifically, I’ve continued my work with Ofer Feinerman at the Weizmann in Israel. I’ve really enjoyed the creativity of the lab there. My project is moving and developing (as do the ant larvae!). If all goes well, I will share the results with the world in 2019. Speaking of finishing things, I’m pleased as punch that the social JH esterase paper has finally come out. This story was a long time in coming to fruition. There are still many open questions, but these are some answers at long last! Regarding the opening of new scientific doors, last year after a talk, I fortuitously crossed paths with researcher working on hornets, leading to a fun collaboration on hornet social fluids. I also started a writing collaboration about trophallaxis evolution that has been a joy to ponder. Looking to the future, I am putting out my tendrils and looking forward to the many collaborations that will come as I start my group.
This year, I’ve had the pleasure to be invited to speak (and consequently travel) to India, the US, France, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Israel, and Switzerland for 12+ conferences, panels and seminars this year. I love speaking and I’m glad I can get others as excited as I am about social fluids and science communication. One of the highlights was the trip to India, involving the trifecta of a great vacation, an excellent scientific visit to NCBS and the opportunity to talk to a passionate audience about the work I do with The Catalyst at the ScienceComm India event.
The Catalyst, the science-entertainment association I founded, has had a great 2018. We finally received official non-profit status this year from the canton of Vaud, drop-in improv classes for scientists continue in Lausanne and Geneva, Exposure has spun off from The Catalyst with great success and its own SNSF Agora grant, and CatCave9 continues to provide science-improv laughs on a monthly basis. Regarding Exposure, I’ve continued in the role of scicomm lead as Robbie has taken the lead of the project overall. It has been rewarding to see a project that I care deeply about flourish as I let go of the reins.
Socially, Sam and I are doing great and happy to have a touch of vacation time together this winter. We’ve just returned to Geneva from the annual pilgrimage to the redwoods. It has been a great pleasure soaking into Geneva and all of our friendships here this year and I’ll be sad to move away in 2019. While I’m excited about the next chapter of Adria, I’m also sad to close the chapter in Israel. I am especially thankful for the sun, the sea and the excellent friendships I developed during my time there.
Looking to 2019, I’m looking forward to germinating! This next period will bring stability and more serious responsibility and I look forward to these new challenges.