Tucked away in West Gainesville, the Sharma Lab traveled to University of Florida’s facility, TREEO, to host a lab retreat. Our lab retreats comprise of scientific sessions where each lab member gives a presentation. This year, the focus was on considering new techniques, technologies, or methods needed to answer the elusive questions in our work. The retreat resulted in a lively brainstorming session on ways to take our research to the next level. At lunch, lab alumnus, Dr. Shannon Brown, Dr. Shreedevi Kumar, and Dr. Madison Temples, met with current Sharma Lab students over zoom to give professional advice on how to best leverage our skills to secure a job.
Following the scientific discussions, we traversed to Bragging Rights, the new arcade in Gainesville, for some competitive air hockey, pin ball, and Dance Dance Revolution competitions. We also had an intense skee-ball tournament to see who would hold (literal) bragging rights for the next year.
The retreat was a great opportunity to introduce new lab members as well as say good-bye to old lab members. Long-time Sharma lab member, Arjun Panicker, was accepted in to medical school at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine at Auburn. Arjun joined the lab as a chemical engineering undergraduate student in the summer of 2019. In 2020, Arjun seamlessly adjusted to doing research virtually during the pandemic. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Arjun continued her work in the lab as a research technician helping Jessica characterize manganese dioxide nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery in osteoarthritis. Although we will miss Arjun’s constant presence in the lab, we are excited to see what this next chapter holds for him!