Whitehead Culture

For over 30 years, Whitehead Institute has fielded a softball team in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Community Summer Softball league. Created in 1986, just four years after the Institute itself, the Biohazards have helped link past and former Institute personnel and provided a way for people to enjoy themselves outside the lab.

Glasswashing Core Supervisor Uma Tejaswi says that most of her team clocks in long before sunrise. Arriving at Whitehead Institute at 4 A.M. or earlier lets the glasswashing group make sure that the hallway shelves are stocked with sterile glassware by the time that researchers arrive to begin their days. 

Elizabeth Boydston is a postdoc in Whitehead Institute Member Sebastian Lourido’s lab investigating the pathogen Toxoplasmsa gondii. We sat down with Boydston to learn more about her and her experiences in and out of the lab.

The challenges of completing a research project are often compared to a marathon. But it’s not just a metaphor: many biologists are distance runners. Whitehead Institute researchers often look to several miles along the Charles to sort out how to solve a problem—or just to take a break and get out in nature.

Maya Mitalipova, director of the Human Stem Cell Facility, isolated some of the first human embryonic stem cell lines confirmed by the National Institutes of Health in 2001. With 18 years of experience with human embryonic stem cells (HSCs) and having isolated 19 HSC lines at Whitehead Institute, Mitalipova says that her knowledge lets her troubleshoot nearly any hurdle that researchers encounter.