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The annual Gail Cassell Microbiology Research Retreat is traditionally a weekend event held in the fall. During this time, faculty, fellows and students affiliated with the department are able to focus on science and establish new collaborations away from the distractions of everyday life.

In 1989, Dr. Gail Cassell, then chair of the microbiology department, established the annual retreat. She wanted the retreat to serve as a learning ground for students and to bring students, postdocs, and faculty together to interact both scientifically and socially.  She believed that the retreat was a safe environment in which students could learn and enhance oral and poster presentation skills.