Rubbing Shoulders with the Giants
Dennis Zhou, a fifth-year BioEngineering Ph.D. student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been invited to attend the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, June 24-29, in Lindau, Germany.
Zhou will be among the 600 young scientists (undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers) from across the world sharing the unique atmosphere of the annual event, which brings together more than 40 Nobel Laureates to meet and inspire this next generation of researchers.
“Basically, it’s a chance for us to share our excitement in science,” says Zhou, whose home school is the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “I’m pretty overwhelmed and beyond excited about this. I mean, I’ve never met a Nobel Laureate before, so it truly is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
In the lab of Petit Institute researcher Andrés García, Zhou’s research focuses on cell adhesion. Specifically, his studies explore how cells generate forces as they adhere to their environment, “and how these forces are transfused in the signaling pathways within the cell,” he says.
“It’s very basic cell biology, but since adhesion is such an essential process, we hope our results may be applicable in the clinic one day,” Zhou adds. “For example, adhesion is implicated in the disease processes of diseases like cancer and atherosclerosis.”
While the notion of rubbing shoulders with past winners of the Nobel Prize is overwhelming to Zhou, he hasn’t really had time to catch his breath – he’s been busy with research.
“It’ll really sink in over the next few months,” he says. “But Georgia Tech has such a strong history of sending people to this meeting, so I’m going to talk to some of the previous attendees from Tech and learn from their experience.”