In Perspective

By David Chao, PhD, President and CEO

The Stowers Institute provides an exceptional environment for scientists to pursue answers to some of the world’s most challenging and compelling research problems. As the Institute’s trainees seek answers today, they are also developing the skills needed to serve as the scientific leaders of tomorrow.

As exciting and enjoyable as it is to see scientific discoveries emerge from the Institute’s laboratories, it is equally inspiring and gratifying to watch predocs, postdocs, and other trainees grow in their scientific thinking, skills, and capabilities. The Institute maintains a strong commitment to research training and offers formal and informal opportunities for researchers at all levels. The cover story in this issue of the Stowers Report describes how these programs and initiatives work and how new trainees often jump-start research by seeing old challenges from new angles.

For many Stowers trainees, their time at the Institute is one stopover in a much longer career path. From Aberdeen, South Dakota, to Aberdeen, Scotland, our trainees come and go from many different places across the world. As a complement to the Institute’s collaborations with colleagues around the globe, our connections with past trainees constitute a valuable worldwide network of relationships with the scientific community.

The Institute is a place where researchers can expect to develop scientific skills with the support and guidance of top-notch mentors and colleagues. What else might researchers gain from their time here? As echoed by several Stowers alumni sharing their subsequent career experiences on a recent return visit, researchers at the Institute also acquire an appreciation for the Institute’s culture—its emphasis on collaboration, collegiality and teamwork and its embrace of unconventional thinking and approaches. Scientists trained at the Stowers Institute carry a piece of our culture with them wherever their scientific paths may take them. Our hope is that the Institute’s training will have an immediate and direct impact on their future scientific productivity as well as a longer term, and perhaps ultimately more profound, impact in shaping the cultural norms of scientific research around the world.

A route map representing connections of the Stowers Institute to US states and countries through predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees. Lines represent trainee paths: red, incoming; blue, outgoing; purple, bidirectional.