CHARLES LESSMAN - (Letter to Dr. Lilianna Solnica-Krezel, Department of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN) 

I am completing my Professional Development Assignment report, and as part of it, I wanted to formally thank you for acting as my sabbatical host this past academic term.  I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work and study in your laboratory.  I found the entire experience scientifically invigorating, satisfying, and enriching.  I feel I have more than accomplished the major goals set out in the PDA proposal, including 1) learning zebra fish husbandry, 2) improving my technical abilities with in situ hybridization, 3) development of in vitro motility assays for zebra fish blastomeres, 4) improving my abilities for microinjection in zebra fish embryos and 5) learning techniques involving Green Fluorescent Protein reporter gene constructs.  I also felt that I was able to begin studies of cytoskeletal dynamics in zebra fish cells.  As you know I have changed my research emphasis to the zebra fish model from my previous focus on the amphibian system.  I feel that the experience at your lab has helped me enormously in making this transition.  I plan to continue our collaborations and begin my own work on ovarian physiology in the zebra fish. 

I am also indebted to your laboratory team members, especially Diane Sepich and Jacek Topczewski (postdocs) and Florence Marlow (Ph.D. student).  The time and effort they expended on my behalf is very appreciated; it made my stay there more fruitful and stimulating.  I am quite impressed with the breath of expertise I found in your lab group; it exceeded my expectations.   

I am currently working on the data analysis phase of my work there and hope to have at least one draft of a manuscript on zebra fish blastomere behavior in vitro written by this summer.  I will forward this rough draft for input and suggestions for improvement from you and your group prior to our submission for publication.