If you’re a young scientific researcher looking for motivation, you could do a lot worse than meeting a Nobel Laureate and picking his brain. But what if you could meet a whole bunch of them? That’s exactly what Travis Meyer is going to do this summer when he participates in the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (June 28-July 3) in Lindau, Germany.
“One of the things I really like about science is that you have the ability to use creativity to solve problems, and that is very much stimulated by being in different surroundings,” says Meyer, a third-year Ph.D. student in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. “So it will be interesting to hear and learn about science that that might be completely different from what I’m used to on a given day. And you never know how an experience like this might spur a new idea.”
Every year, Nobel Laureates gather in Lindau to take part in a multitude of lectures, panel discussions, and master classes. This year’s meeting will feature a record number of 70 Nobel Laureates and 672 students (like Meyer), Ph.D. candidates, and post-docs from all over the world, in three natural science Nobel Prize disciplines: medicine and physiology, physics, and chemistry. Meyer says he is just as interested in the honored researchers’ lives away from the lab, away from the science.
“I’m interested in their personal experiences and their philosophies, how they feel about science and academia, and how they view their roles. That should be pretty motivating,” says Meyer, who is co-advised by Gang Bao and Yonggang Ke, both based in the Coulter Department, both Petit Institute faculty members.
So Meyer works in both the Ke Lab for Biomolecular Nanoengineering as well as Bao’s Laboratory of Biomolecular Engineering and Nanomedicine.
“I’m primarily interested in nanotechnology, specifically for drug delivery applications, or biomedical applications in general,” says Meyer, a graduate of Vanderbilt, who received a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship award in March 2013.
“Travis has shown amazing ability in conceptualizing new, creative ideas and has been making significant progress,” says Bao, who welcomed Meyer to his lab in 2012. “He thinks critically and independently and has demonstrated excellent communication skills and exceptional leadership skills in the Georgia Tech community at large.”
Meyer is chair of the Graduate Student Advisory Board in the Coulter Department. He co-chaired the first Biomaterials Day at the Petit Institute last year, and is co-chair of the Social Leadership Committee for the Bioengineering and Bioscience Unified Graduate Students (BBUGS).
The Nobel Laureate program is administered and co-sponsored by Oak Ridge Associated Universities, a 115-member university consortium. Those universities nominate outstanding students and post-docs, and following preliminary reviews, a scientific review panel for the Lindau event selects attendees.
“Travis has outstanding potential as a young leader in biomedical engineering research and education,” Bao says. “Attending the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting will benefit him tremendously.”
Meyer knows it will pay off in the long run in his career, which he figures will be based in academia. “I’d like to run my own lab and direct my own research at some point,” he says. “I know that I’ll like interacting with students. I’ve always enjoyed mentoring and tutoring, so the idea of teaching really appeals to me.”
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Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience