Martine Dunnwald

Associate Research Professor, The University of Iowa



Working from home – My 100-year-old house does not have a dedicated office for me to work in. And I do not have a desktop computer either. So I wander with my laptop, from a desk on the front porch, to a table in the basement or the kitchen counter, all depending on who else is in the house and where. The front porch has definitely been a fun place to work – lots of windows, lots of birds, a few strangers passing by – enough for distraction.

I’m grateful for – All the time I get to spend with my 17 year old and 15 year old, that we would have never had otherwise. Typically, I would rarely see them because of my work and their school/activities.

Tiring of technology – I am really sick of Zoom meetings! Virtual does not do the job. You can not get inspired by your 13-inch computer monitor.

Going back to work – I thought I would enjoy working from home more. Under normal circumstances, I am always at work and wish I could be home. Now, I just want to be at work.

My research continues – Just not at the bench with students and staff doing experiments. I have been writing grants. My students are organizing their results into manuscripts. This is a great exercise as it helps them realize all the experiments they should be doing that they have not done.

Connecting with AAA – I am so grateful for all the folks who created the virtual anatomy community, many of whom I did not know.

Connecting with staff & students – There are 20 faculty in my department, 5 people in my research lab. We call each other, Zoom at least once a week. We continue to have virtual lab meetings, do journal clubs, and share info we gather from free virtual scientific meetings. I make sure they all know I am here to help. One of my students struggled, as he has a toddler at home. We talked on the phone every day for a while. Having kids, I could easily relate to his struggle. I think it helped him.

Resuming instruction – I have a small group of students starting a 6-week daily program on June 1.

My challenges & solutions – It seems that all around me, everyone discusses what to do with all the time they have. I have no extra time. If anything, my workload has doubled. Finding motivation is difficult when my teenagers and husband have lots of free time. I just take it day by day as much as I can. It is not easy every day. It helps to keep a routine: get up, take a shower, dress up (do not stay in pajamas), and act like I’m going to work.

My guilty pleasure – Playing the piano.

I cannot survive without – Knitting. I had to run to the yarn store before everything shut down to make sure I had enough material for all my projects.

I’m rereadingLe Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It is my all-time favorite book, full of wisdom and humanity, conversations about the meaning of life and friendship. I love the secret the fox shares with the prince – you'll have to read it!