Nahomie Rodriguez-Sastre Receives Outstanding Poster Award at Developmental Biology of the Sea Urchin (DBSU)

Nahomie Rodriguez-Sastre, Ph.D. student in the Bradham Lab, recently received the “Outstanding Poster Award” at the Developmental Biology of the Sea Urchin (DBSU) in Woods Hole, MA for her poster titled: “Ethanol treatment perturbs skeletal patterning during sea urchin development.”

Nahomie’s research uses the sea urchin to identify the pathway that EtOH is affecting that gives rise to physical defects and some neurological problems that might be similar to fetal alcohol syndrome.

Leah Williams Gives Invited Talk at Cnidofest

Ph.D. candidate Leah Williams from Dr. Tom Gilmore’s lab gave an invited talk at Cnidofest: The Cnidarian Model Systems Meeting, held at the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience in St. Augustine, Florida from September 6-9, 2018. The title of her talk was “Cnidarian Toll-like Receptor Signaling.” Leah’s research explores the evolutionary origins and molecular mechanisms of immunity in basal marine organisms such as coral and sponges. Her research has been supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and the National Science Foundation.

Shawna Henry Receives Best Poster Award at Gordon Research Conference

Shawna Henry, Ph.D. candidate in the Ho Lab, recently received the “Best Poster Award” at the Gordon Research Conference: Neurobiology of Brain Disorders in Barcelona, Spain for her poster titled: “Conformational Switch of Mint1 Controls APP Binding and Processing.”

Shawna’s research examined how perturbing the interaction between Mint1, a neuronal adaptor protein, and amyloid precursor protein (APP) can decrease Aβ production associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Jamie Harrison Awarded Best Student Presentation at Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting

Jamie Harrison, Ph.D. student in the Templer lab, was recently awarded the “Best Student Presentation” by the Biogeoscience group for her talk at the Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

In her talk, “Effects of climate change across seasons on foliar nitrogen and in situ net mineralization rates in a northern hardwood forest,” she presented results from an experiment in New Hampshire examining the interactive effects of warmer soils in the growing season and colder soils in winter. More information about the CCASE experiment can be found here.

Kate Mansfield Gives Talk at Symbiosis Society Meeting

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 Named as a 2018 Switzer Fellow


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:

Congrats, Katey!


Leah Williams’ Paper Selected among Editor’s Choice Top 10 papers for ISDCI Congress

williams-leahA 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

20160623_104813 (1)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.”

Sarah Yunes Receives Outstanding Teaching Fellow Award for Biology, 2017/2018

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.