Can the Researcher transfer cards to another player on her very first turn, in other words, while still in Atlanta? Seems like this gives too much of a head start at beginning of game.
Yes, it is perfectly legal for the researcher to share cards on the first turn but it is still somewhat limited as it is limited to the cards that player starts with. While it does sound powerful at the start it should be remembered that it does limit the amount of damage that can be controlled on the first turn if it is spent sharing knowledge. Not to mention that if you are in a 4 player game it would only change someones hand by 1 or 2 cards depending on which colors they match in the other players hands which isn't that large of an advantage when you need 5 cards to do a cure.
2 players: 4 cards to give 3 players: 3 cards to give 4 players: 2 cards to give
When doing the Share Knowledge action, the Researcher may give any City card from her hand to another player in the same city as her, without this card having to match her city. The transfer must be from her hand to the other player’s hand, but it can occur on either player’s turn.