Greetings from Pre-Harvard Cambridge

Hello friends! If we aren’t friends yet and you don’t know who I am already, or if we’re already friends and you’ve just generally forgotten and are too embarrassed to ask at this point, then here’s a reminder: 

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My name is Sam Wattrus. I’m a rising junior at Harvard College studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology (HDRB for the acronym-savvy), which is basically just a complicated way of saying stem cell biology. I’m also a bassist for the River Charles Ensemble at Harvard, which is probably why you’re reading this!

This summer I’ve managed to find myself in Cambridge, UK, working as a visiting researcher in the lab of John Gurdon and pretending to be a student here. 

John Gurdon, for those of you who aren’t overly biologically inclined, is generally regarded as one of the men who pioneered research in the field of stem cell biology as we know it today. I am fortunate enough to be working under him for the next few weeks while I stay here! My project is to use a relatively underutilized protocol to explore activities of certain proteins during cellular reprogramming. The point of this all is that I am having a great time being a huge science nerd.

When I’m not injecting cells or doing western blots, I’m doing my best to explore this fabulous country! Weekdays are pretty much lab-centric here but my weekends have been times for adventures. Already I’ve visited my grandparents, had visits from my good friends Gaby and Santiago, trekked over to Oxford, and ducked into London for museums and concerts! On the note of concerts, I feel it is relevant to alert you all, dear readers-of-an-orchestra-website, that come August 9th I will be attending the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall. While I may end up fainting way up there in the cheap seats, I am nonetheless orch-dorking out hardcore for this experience. 

Come September, I will be gearing up for a new school year and new season with RCE! I can’t wait. Until then, I’ll have to content myself with this other Cambridge (UK) and other orchestra (at the Proms). Bye for now!


Sam Wattrus '16 is a bassist in the River Charles Ensemble. He is also the new executive director of the River Charles Ensemble Student Board of Trustees for 2014-2015.