On 28 October 2015, we had the pleasure of welcoming Dr Susan Gasser at the Randall. She is director of the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel, a world-renowned biomedical research institute associated to the University of Basel. She has a long and highly successful track record in studying the nuclear organization and its impact on various phenomena such as DNA repair. A group of students and post-docs had the privilege to exchange views on scientific research and aspects related to it with her over lunch at a Turkish restaurant. Her interesting biography paired with her openness to share her experiences made for a stimulating and highly enjoyable conversation. Among other things, she talked about how she accidentally slided into a PhD with Gottfried Schatz at the Biocenter in Basel, though she had only applied for a summer studentship to occupy herself while her husband was attending the military service. As an American who moved to Switzerland after her undergraduate studies, she gave very interesting insight as to the different styles in which science is done in both countries. The fact that over large parts of her career being a female professor in a science faculty of a Swiss university made her a rare exception provided an additional topic of conversation.
Written by: Daniel Gutmans