The Sound of Science: Researchers Share their Reflections on the NYSCF Community at Our Annual Retreat


Each year, the NYSCF – Robertson Investigators and NYSCF – Druckenmiller Fellows gather for a retreat to share their latest work and form connections that further groundbreaking science. This gathering is typically held in person in Montauk, New York, but due to the pandemic, it has been conducted virtually for the last two years. 

At the end of the three days, the graduating class of NYSCF – Robertson Investigators (6 each year) gives a toast. However, this year’s class (Drs. Claire Wyart, Maria Barna, Malin Parmar, Maria Lehtinen, Takanori Takebe, and Michael Yartsev) channeled their inner artist for a special poem inspired by their time in the program, from their first call with NYSCF CEO Susan L. Solomon informing them of the award to their final days at the retreat. It goes like this:

NYSCF. It starts with a sound. The voice of Susan over the phone. And like all sounds, it has form. It changes your path and inspires a new voyage. Chance emerges from the depth of one’s dreams.

Dynamical neural and behavioral patterns in flying bats. Dynamics in ribosomes translating. Directional patterns in the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Reassemblance in the shape of organoids. Neural cells being replaced. Liver disease cured. Stem cells re-awakened.

At each retreat, minds come together. The patterns merge and merge more. It isn’t just beautiful music that is made all together, but a new vision. Together, a new scientific tribe woven from laughter, understanding, and trust.

Whatever made the fishes fly. Whatever draws the seed to the sky. Whatever burns in all desire. Whatever keeps the warmth in fire. In the voice of Susan, the call to care is always there. It soothes and inspires. 

Remember pebbles which the waves draw back. We miss Montauk’s blue water. We miss the texture of the sand with our cocktails on the beach. We miss casual chats and daydreaming under the Long Island sky. Yet there will always be in our hearts, something to sing about NYSCF.

Deep inside our brains, where no one yet can see, neurons have changed their morphology. More than one synapse forever formed. The new 2020 investigators and all of you here: the NYSCF community. We wish you a series of patterns, songs, dances, shadows, until the end of time.

Susan, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.






For your trust, inspiration, leadership, and vision. And for the lesson that there is always hope and causes to fight for.

Ms. Solomon was touched by the poem, as well as by the outstanding research that these talented scientists have made possible over the years, often in collaboration with each other. The entire community looks forward to the retreat and is eager to reunite in-person again soon.

“What makes this retreat really special are the new ideas and collaborations that begin here,” she remarked. “Team science is so critical for accelerating meaningful progress for patients. The NYSCF community represents many of the greatest minds in the world, and the particular alchemy of having you all together and learning from each other is a unique and amazing experience. I always leave the retreat very hopeful about the future of science and proud of the community we’ve built.”

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