It may be a small facility in Milford, CT, but the Milford Laboratory has an international appeal and reputation. Students, post-docs and scientists from around the world spend time at the lab, from a few days and weeks to several years, conducting research alongside the laboratory's staff of biologists, microbiologists, chemists, ecologists, geneticists, and lab technicians.
Lab director Gary Wikfors, who also heads the Aquaculture Sustainability Branch, has mentored, advised, and collaborated with dozens of international researchers through the years. At the moment, his lab is a temporary home to Darien Mizuta, a post-doc from Brazil; Skye Woodcock, an Australian visiting researcher from the University of Gothenberg, Sweden; and Magali Bazzano, a contract technician from Argentina. Mizuta will be here for three years, Woodcock for three months, and Bazzano for six months.
Recently departed University of Gothenberg visitors were Justine Sauvage, a Belgian post-doc who was working in Wikfors lab for three months, and Swedish faculty member Agneta Persson, who visited with microbiologist Barry Smith for two weeks.
Research Chemist Shannon Meseck is hosting Emilien Pousse, a postdoc from France, for two years. Arriving soon to join them is Antonio Aguera Garci, who currently is finishing a post-doc at the National Institute of Aquatic Resources in Denmark but originally is from Spain. Ecologist Judy May will soon have a postdoc in her lab from China, Yuyuan Xiem, currently at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Strong relationships also exist between the Milford Laboratory and researchers at South Korea's National Institute of Fisheries Science, and with researchers at the French engineering school UniSalle near Paris. For more than a decade, a Unisalle summer student has come to the Milford Laboratory for a four to five-month internship. The research experience is part of a five-year program that takes French high school graduates through a combined undergraduate and graduate experience that culminates in a master's degree.
"In my view, the main value of international collaboration transcends the science that we have in common," Wikfors has said. "Hosting foreign visitors and traveling to other nations broadens our perspective, provides insights into other ways of thinking and acting, and motivates us to step outside of our limitations. We are incredibly welcoming to foreign visitors; I know we have sent many, especially students, home with life experiences that have changed their minds about the United States and our citizens."