PhD student Kate Mansfield gave an invited talk at the 9th International Symbiosis Society Congress held in Corvallis, Oregon from July 15-20, 2018. The title of her talk was “Immunity Transcription Factor NF-kB is Modulated by Symbiotic Status in Aiptasia.” Kate is a PhD student in the laboratory of Dr. Tom Gilmore, where she carries out research that has implications for the evolutionary origins of the immune system and the molecular mechanisms underlying symbiosis and bleaching in marine organisms such as sea anemones and corals. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and Warren-McLeod Fellowships in Marine Biology.
Katey Lesneski, Ph.D. candidate co-advised by Dr. John Finnerty and Dr. Les Kaufman, was recently named as a 2018 Switzer Fellow. This prestigious fellowship identifies and supports emerging environmental leaders at universities across the nation. The award recognizes Katey’s demonstrated commitment to coral reef conservation in the Caribbean over the course of her Ph.D. training with Professors Finnerty and Kaufman. Read more about Katey and her research here: https://www.switzernetwork.org/users/kathryn-lesneski
A paper by Ph.D. candidate Leah Williams in Tom Gilmore’s lab was selected as one of ten Editor’s Choice papers (from 2015-18) for the 14th International Society for Developmental & Comparative Immunology Congress, June 17th – 21st, 2018 (Santa Fe, New Mexico). The paper, “A conserved Toll-like receptor-to-NF-κB signaling pathway in the endangered coral Orbicella faveolata,” was published in Developmental & Comparative Immunology in February, 2018.
Sanda Zolj Receives Presentation Award at Northeastern Section of the American Society of Plant Biologists Meeting
Ph.D. candidate, Sanda Zolj, of the Celenza lab was recently awarded with the Best Presentation Award Runner-up at the Northeastern Section of the American Society of Plant Biologists meeting held at UMass Amherst this year. Her talk was entitled “The Arabidopsis alf3-1 Mutation Causes Autoimmunity in the Root and Identifies a TIR Domain Protein.”
MCBB Ph.D. candidate, Sarah Yunes, of the Hansen lab was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Fellow of the Year for Biology, academic year 2017/2018. Sarah has served for eight semesters as a teaching fellow in Biology, including for BI 107 and 108 (Biology 1 and 2), two of the largest and broadest introductory courses on campus, and for BB 522 (Molecular Biology Laboratory), a highly interactive upper-level hands-on course.
Her evaluations from students emphasize the clarity of her explanations and offer feedback such as “passionate about teaching” and “supportive and engaging.” In sum, Sarah’s efforts over the last several years have contributed greatly to the success of the teaching mission of the Department of Biology. In the words of her teaching mentors Dr. Spilios and Dr. Gilmore, “her service to the department is unparalleled.”
Beyond her teaching accomplishments, Sarah’s own research, focused on the role of the transcription factor LSF and its role in cell cycle control and oncogene addiction in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), emphasizes novel and exciting approaches to precisely manipulate LSF activity at specific points during the cell cycle, and is oriented toward identifying the mechanism underlying HCC “addiction” to LSF, since blocking LSF function blocks the carcinoma progression. Ultimately, Sarah’s work will contribute to novel therapies to combat this type of cancer.
Ph.D. candidate, Sasha Vivelo, of the Bhatnagar lab was recently awarded a $2,000 Mycological Society of America Graduate Fellowship for her plan of study titled “Determining the Patterns and Drivers of Fungal Decomposer Succession.” This award will help to cover cDNA sample sequencing for transcriptome analysis.
Ph.D. candidate Katelyn Mansfield of the Gilmore Lab was the recipient of the Terner award for 2018. Kate is studying the symbiosis between cnidarians (i.e., corals and sea anemones) and their intracellular algal symbionts (Symbiodinium). Kate studies the role of host innate immunity during the establishment and maintenance of this ecologically important mutualism and during cnidarian bleaching, a process by which symbiosis is disrupted due to environmental disturbances such as ocean temperature warming.
This award provides support for a CM or MCBB Ph.D. candidate who has made significant contributions to their field. Charles Terner was a Professor of Biology at Boston University for over 20 years before he retired in 1985. Dr. Terner specialized in biochemistry and focused his research on the metabolic properties of male reproductive cells. The award was established in his memory after he passed away in 1998.
On March 24th, the Davies Lab attended its first research symposium! A total of 9 lab members made their way to the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography in Narragansett for the Society for Women in Marine Science Spring Symposium. Seven BU Undergraduates participated in this event, and the lab presented 6 research posters as well. More details and photos can be found on the Davies Lab website.
GPN PhD candidate, Ashley Comer, of the Cruz-Martin Lab was the recent recipient of the Brenton R. Lutz Award for 2018. Ashley studies genes that regulate the development and plasticity of neural circuits and how circuit development is perturbed in diseased states. Specifically, she studies the development of the prefrontal cortex in mice by assaying neuronal connectivity, network activity, and behavior after manipulating genes associated with neurodevelopmental disorders.
This award provides support for PhD candidates conducting research in neurobiology or neuroscience and have made significant contributions to their field. Brenton R. Lutz was the person to receive an M.D./Ph.D. at Boston University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1916. He later became a Professor and Chairman of BU’s Department of Biology. Dr. Lutz also gave the first University Lecture at BU on December 11, 1950 “The Living Blood Vessels.”
PhD candidate, Ashley Penvose, of the Siggers Lab was the recent recipient of the Marion R. Kramer Award for 2018. Ashley’s research focuses on understanding how the type II nuclear receptors regulate gene expression, with a focus on DNA sequence specifity and allosteric mechanisms of regulation.
The Marion R. Kramer Award provides support for high-achieving female students majoring in Biology. The award was established in 2001 in honor of Dr. Marion Kramer who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Boston University in 1963 and went on to a long and satisfying career in biology and medicine.