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Tweeting a Day in a Life of a CRI Scientist

June 27, 2020

A “normal” day looks a little different to everyone now, including CRI scientists. To shed some light on life in (and out of) the laboratory, the Cancer Research Institute invited CRI Postdoctoral Fellow Timothy Fessenden, Ph.D., at the Koch Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to take over the CRI Twitter account on June 26, 2020. He shared updates on data sets and imaging techniques as well as photos of himself and his loved ones, and created a snapshot of one person behind the science driving cancer immunotherapy forward.

Dr. Fessenden started his day with coffee—like most of us—and checked in on his plants. 

As part of his weekly routine, he downloaded stats for COVID-19 stats for Massachusetts, which show a decline in hospitalizations in the state.

Due to the novel coronavirus, many CRI scientists have pivoted their research in cancer to treat and prevent COVID-19. In this case, Dr. Fessenden shifted his work to a computational project that challenged him to understand “R.”

He also made time for his personal physical, mental, and emotional health.

Then, he rode his bicycle to the Koch Institute in Cambridge.

Dr. Fessenden arrived in the lab and assembled his materials. The tumor cell knockout lines he prepared allow him to test whether dendritic cell sensing is sufficient to modulate anti-tumor immune responses.

While the DNA precipitated, he caught up on other responsibilities.

To better understand the immune ecosystem of the tumor, Dr. Fessenden uses imaging tools to advance his research. With the help of software and an undergraduate at MIT, he picked out the dendritic cells from the rest of the tumor. 

After a short time in the lab, he rode his bike home to enjoy some summer weather with his boyfriend on the porch.

Finally, he bid the CRI community goodbye.

Missed out on this moment? You can find all Dr. Fessenden’s tweets on the Cancer Resarch Institute Twitter account. Explore more Cancer Immunotherapy Month activities on our website this June.

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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.

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