Angela Ho and Christina Gallo receive NIA/NIH Grants

Angela Ho

Christina Gallo

Dr. Angela Ho and Christina Gallo (PhD in Pharmacology student and member of the Ho/Beffert lab) recently received grants from the National Institute on Aging the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Ho received a R21 grant from NIA/NIH. The project’s goal is to determine the specificity of the cell-permeable APP mimetic peptide to disrupt the APP-Mint interaction and reduce Ab accumulation in Alzheimer’s disease mouse models. This work is based on a recent publication from a collaboration with Dr. Kristian Stromgaard’s laboratory at University of Copenhagen where co-first author, Shawna Henry (PhD in Biology, Cell & Molecular student and member of the Ho/Beffert lab) showed that targeting the APP-Mint2 interaction with a peptide-based inhibitor reduces amyloid formation in neuronal in vitro model of Alzheimer’s disease (Bartling CRO, Jensen TMT, Henry SM et al., 2021, Journal of the American Chemical Society).

Christina Gallo received a F31 NRSA award from NIA/NIH to study whether alternative splicing of apoE receptor, apoER2 is altered in the aging and Alzheimer’s disease brains and to uncover modifiers of apoER2 splicing events. Congratulations to Christina and Angela!

Prof. Primack and Ph.D. candidate Tara Millier publish on Annals of Botany

Boston University Professor of Biology Richard Primack and Ph.D. candidate  Tara Miller co-authored a study that is now in press in Annals of Botany. The article “Comparing fruiting phenology across two historical datasets: Thoreau’s observations and herbarium specimens” demonstrated how climate change is having a biological effect on local environments.

To study the sequence and pattern of fruiting in New England plants, the researchers analyzed the museum record of pressed plant specimens, also called herbarium specimens, from the past 150 years and combined it with Henry David Thoreau’s fruiting observations from the 1850s. The study found out that both historical datasets show similar patterns of plant fruiting times despite the fact that the two studies happened in different time and locations. This observation confirmed that these datasets can be combined to create larger and more powerful data sets for climate change and ecological research.

“Our lab group has been working with Thoreau’s observations for 18 years now, and Thoreau still has more to contribute to climate change research,” Prof. Primack, the co-author and principal investigator, said to BU Experts.

“Thoreau is well-known as an environmental thinker and philosopher, but his scientific work is less well known,” Miller added on to Prof. Primack’s point. “By using his scientific observations in modern research, we’re able to connect to new audiences and communicate climate change research to people interested in history, philosophy, literature, and more.” 

You can read the full article here

Ashley Penvose is the 2020 Winner of Belamarich Award

We are excited to announce that the 2020 winner of the Belamarich Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in Biology goes to Dr. Ashley Penvose for her work on “Determinants of the DNA binding and gene regulatory specificity for Type II nuclear receptors”. Dr. Penvose attained her doctoral degree in Cell and Molecular Biology at BU and was a graduate research fellow in Siggers lab from 2012 to 2019. 

The Belamarich Award is generously sponsored by the Belamarich family, who have provided long-standing support for Biology.  We will be scheduling a seminar and award ceremony later this semester, and we hope you will be able to join us to hear about Ashley's research and show your appreciation for the family’s contributions to the department.

This award is given annually to a recent Ph.D. candidate for their outstanding doctoral dissertation completed in the Department of Biology. While several outstanding theses were nominated, Ashley's dissertation stood out based on the powerful new methods she helped introduce into her discipline, her application of these tools to gain new insight into key cellular signaling pathways, her high level of scientific productivity, as well as her collaborative efforts and contributions to the community.

Congratulations, Ashley!

Gwendolyn Pyeatt Awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Gwendolyn Pyeatt, a BA/MA in Biotechnology student, was awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. 

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is a global scholarship at Cambridge University for intellectually outstanding postgraduate students with a capacity for leadership and a commitment to improving the lives of others. Students awarded the scholarship come from countries outside of the United Kingdom and can pursue a postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge.

Congratulations, Gwen! Learn more about her PhD plans here.

2021 Warren-McLeod Awards Winners

By Siyu ZhangFebruary 24th, 2021in Grad Student News, News, Student News

Congratulations to the 2021 winners of the Warren-McLeod Awards!

Recipient of the annual Warren-McLeod Fellowship:
Robin Francis - Biology Ph.D. student in Buston Lab | Variation in reproductive ecology and dispersal ecology of coral reef fishes.

Recipients of the summer Warren-McLeod Fellowships:
E Schlatter - Biology Ph.D. student in Buston Lab | Evolutionary ecology of marine larval dispersal. 

Daniel Wuitchik - Biology Ph.D. student in Davies Lab | Photosymbiosis mediates the transcriptional response to thermal extremes in facultatively symbiotic corals. 

The Warren-McLeod Graduate Fellowship in Marine Science was established by Patricia Warren in 1990 to support graduate students in the BU Marine Program (BUMP). BU Marine Program is an interdisciplinary program between the Department of Biology and the Department of Earth and Environment. The Warren-McLeod fund continues to honor the donors’ intent to support research on marine ecology. 

Tiffany Dill Published in Development

Tiffany Dill, Ph.D. Candidate in the Naya Lab

Tiffany Dill, a Cell&Molecular Ph.D. student in the Naya lab, recently published a paper in the journal Development. This research article, “The long non-coding RNA Meg3 regulates myoblast plasticity and muscle regeneration through the epithelial-mesenchymal transition”, demonstrates that Meg3 restricts gene expression via epigenetic mechanisms to coordinate cell state transitions in muscle differentiation and regeneration. These findings suggest that Meg3 is required for the maintenance of a myogenesis-competent state in proliferating myoblasts. You can read the paper here.

Congratulations, Tiffany!

Julie Jung has Paper and Photo Featured in Journal of Experimental Biology

Julie Jung, Ph.D. candidate in the Warkentin Lab

Julie Jung, a Ph.D. candidate in the Warkentin Lab, had an image featured on the cover of the Journal of Experimental Biology volume 223 (24), alongside a recently published paper. The paper was titled, "Multimodal mechanosensing enables treefrog embryos to escape egg-predators," and the image shows fluorescing neuromasts on a red-eyed treefrog embryo. Julie, alongside Karen Warkentin and Shirley J. Serrano-Rojas of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, examined red-eyed treefrog hatching in response to mechanosensory information. You can read the full paper here.

In addition to being on journal's cover, Julie's paper was also highlighted in "Inside JEB" with an editorial titled "Lateral line helps premature treefrogs evade jaws of death." Congratulations Julie!

Abigail Descoteaux wins Multicellular Design Program Fellowship

Abigail Descoteaux, a Biology Ph.D. candidate, was awarded the Multicellular Design Program (MDP) fellowship, earning a one-year stipend. She has been working in the Bradham Lab under the supervision of Biology Professor Cynthia A. Bradham. 

The Multicellular Design Program, supported by the Rajen Kilachand Fund for Life Sciences and Engineering, is a program that aims to understand the underlying design principles governing multicellular systems, and to leverage these principles for the development of new technologies.

Abigail’s research is in cell biology, developmental biology, imaging, and molecular biology. She describes her work as “investigating the role of chemokine signaling in directing sea urchin skeletal patterning and developing a live-imaging technique to track primary mesenchyme cell (PMC) migration and to visualize skeletogenesis within sea urchin larvae.”

Congratulations, Abigail!

Kim McCall selected as the GWISE 2020 Mentor of the Year

We are excited to announce that Dr. Kim McCall, Biology Chair, was recently selected as the Graduate Women in Science & Engineering (GWISE) 2020 Mentor of the Year. 

In presenting the award, GWISE’s President Abigail Rendos stated that Dr. McCall “…is more than deserving of this award for her leadership, mentorship, and incredible work as an advisor and the chair of the biology department.” In nominating Dr. McCall, her students note her endless availability, countless hours working with them on their science, and most importantly Dr. McCall being a great mentor, leader, and female role model for the department and beyond.

More info on the award can be found here along with a list of former winners including Biology Professor Karen Warkentin.

Congratulations Dr. McCall!

Clarissa Santoso publishes paper in Nucleic Acids Research

By Christina HoneycuttNovember 20th, 2020in Grad Student News, News
MCBB PhD student (and Biology MA alum) Clarissa Santoso, of the Fuxman Bass lab, and colleagues recently published a paper in Nucleic Acids Research. Their article, “Comprehensive mapping of the human cytokine gene regulatory network”, presents a large-scale resource of protein-DNA interactions between transcription factors and cytokine gene promoters. In particular, Clarissa and her team identified an enrichment of nuclear receptors which can be targeted with small molecules to modulate cytokine expression in the context of disease. This resource can also be leveraged to identify novel TF-cytokine regulatory axes in immune diseases and immune cell lineage development, as nicely illustrated in their paper. Read the paper hereCongratulations, Clarissa!