Courtesy of James Loss

In today's fast-paced, publish-or-peril world of science, it is difficult for a postdoc to focus on anything but work. We can be so focused on research that we fail to take the time to get to know our colleagues. Yet, academia offers a unique setting where intelligent people from all over the world have a chance not only to work together, but to learn from one another as well.

One encounter has developed into a friendship I could never have imagined, for our similarities, despite the cultural differences, are astounding. My wife and I had relocated from the Northeast to the Southeast for our postdoctoral training, and it is in her lab where this story begins. An assistant professor from Brazil was beginning a two-year sabbatical at her lab. My wife expressed her amazement about the similarities between this Brazilian guy and myself.

Our commonalities started...

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