Finnerty and BU Marine Program Highlighted in BU Today

By Meredith J CanodeSeptember 25th, 2015in Faculty News, News, Student News

For four years, BU students have snorkeled around an atoll off Belize to study mangroves, the “flooded forests” with roots breaking the water surface that are the membrane between islands and sea. It’s not research for the squeamish.


“We often saw large rays, barracudas, upside-down jellyfish,” says Zachary Bengtsson (CAS’15). The long days in the water could chill the body, and the students endured numerous stings and bites from jellyfish and bugs that didn’t appreciate intruders. Despite the discomforts, Bengtsson loved all of it. The highlight came in 2013 when the students, acting on a suggestion of their professor, Boston University Marine Program (BUMP) director John Finnerty, looked for and found corals, better known for living in magnificent reefs, not in .. [Read More]

BGSA Hosts Incoming Graduate Student Reception

By Meredith J CanodeSeptember 15th, 2015in News, Student News


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  • Welcome, New Students!

    Welcome New Students

  • Senior Ecology students Rebecca Sanders-DeMott, John Majoris, Nate Fuller and Liz Burmester welcome new students.
  • First-years I-Fang Hsieh (left) and Javier Mendez (right) enjoy refreshments with senior student Mustafa Saifuddin
  • Senior students Ajit Kamath, Mark Deehan and Sandy Serizier take a break from lab and enjoy the reception
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  • IMG_2926

The Biology Graduate Student Associate (BGSA)
and students in the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry (MCBB) program welcomed the incoming classes in Biology and MCBB with the annual New Student Welcome Party in the Graduate Student Lounge.

The reception was held on Friday after the first week of classes and new students were given a warm reception and the opportunity to meet senior students as well as faculty and staff.

The BGSA did an excellent job in hosting the party with a fantastic variety of refreshments. Welcome, New Students! We are happy you are here!

Dr Talbot receives Peter Paul Career Development Professorship

By Meredith J CanodeSeptember 14th, 2015in Faculty News, News

Dr. Jennifer Talbot is a recipient of the 3 year Peter Paul Career Development Professorship.

Each year, Boston University recognizes a handful of talented junior educators emerging as future leaders within their respective fields through the award of Career Development Professorships. Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 10.48.49 AM

Dr. Jennifer Talbot, a microbial biologist in the Department of Biology, utilizes biochemical analysis and advanced sequencing technologies to help uncover the unique mechanisms microbes use to process carbon and nutrients through ecosystems. She is a graduate of Boston University, received her doctorate in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine, and completed her postdoctoral research at Stanford University.

Talbot’s research focuses on how climate change and other factors, such as pollution and drought, affect the interactions among millions of species of fungi, and in turn affect the structure and health of the ecosystem. Talbot’s ultimate goal is to include findings about these underground interactions into predictive models about the Earth’s ecosystem that may produce insights about the Earth’s future.

She says the land surface portion of land-climate models varies greatly when projected into the future. “If you project all the models we have now out for 100 years and 500 years, they go in all different directions,” says Talbot, a chemistry major at BU who went on to earn a doctorate in biological sciences from the University of California at Irvine and do postdoctoral research at Stanford. “We want to put microorganisms into those models.”

Supported by a National Science Foundation grant, she has been studying the interactions between microorganisms. She says the Peter Paul Professorship will provide an important boost to her research by enabling her lab to create simulations of changing environmental conditions—for example, by dumping fertilizer on fungi.

Observing the decomposition of these fungi—which look like beautiful mushrooms in her lab website photos—can help us to understand what our environment will look like many years from now, Talbot says, and at the same time, it’s “opening up a new universe of organisms in the Earth’s microbiome. We’re discovering a new species every day, mapping them on the Earth, where they live, why they are there, and what it means for us.”

Congratulations, Dr. Talbot!

Welcome New Graduate Students!

By Meredith J CanodeSeptember 2nd, 2015in News, Student News

The Department of Biology welcomed the incoming Fall 2015 graduate class during the First Year Orientation, held September 1st.


A total of 16 graduate students were admitted for the Fall semester, 6 Master’s students and 10 PhD students. With students from as close as Boston and as far away as China, Taiwan, Columbia and Malaysia, we look forward to getting to know our new students this semester!

The Biology Graduate Student Association will host a departmental welcome reception for the new  at the end of the week.

Welcome students!


MCBB alum Daniel Starczynowski to speak at Systems Biology Seminar Series

By Meredith J CanodeSeptember 2nd, 2015in Alumni News, News


Dr. Daniel Starczynowski
Dr. Daniel Starczynowski

MCBB graduate program alum Dr. Daniel Starczynowski, Associate Professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Affiliate Associate Professor, University of Cincinnati returns to Boston University to give a talk as part of the Systems Biology seminar series. During his time in the MCBB Program, Starczynowski worked in the laboratory of Dr. Tom Gilmore and studied the NF-kB family of transcription factors and their role in B-cell lymphomas.

The talk will be on Thursday, October 1 in the Life Sciences and Engineering Building, 24 Cummington Mall in LSE 103. The talk will begin at 12:45 PM with refreshments being served prior to the talk at 12:15 PM.

Dr. Starcyznowski’s talk is being hosted by Dr. Trevor Siggers.

Cassidy D’Aloia First Runner Up for Sally Richardson

By Meredith J CanodeAugust 7th, 2015in News, Student News

Dr. Cassidy D'Aloia
Dr. Cassidy D’Aloia

Cassidy D’Aloia of the Buston Lab finishes up her time at BU post-defense by being the first runner-up for the Sally Richardson Award for the best student oral paper at the Larval Fish Conference in Vienna, Austria.

Cassidy will be moving on to a postdoc with Marie Josée Fortin in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Best of luck, Cassidy!

Ysabel Giraldo awarded Belamarich

By Meredith J CanodeAugust 7th, 2015in News, Student News

Ysabel Giraldo
Ysabel Giraldo

Ysabel Giraldo of the James Traniello Lab was selected as the winner of the 2015 Belamarich Award for outstanding doctoral dissertation in Biology for her thesis “Neuroanatomical and Neurochemical Correlates of Senescene and Social Role in the Ant Pheidole Dentata”

Post-defense, Giraldo is currently working as a NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Prof. Michael Dickinson at the California Institute of Technology.  Her research focuses on the behavioral neurobiology of social interactions larval Drosophila melanogaster.  In particular, she is examining the sensory regulation and neural control of competitive and cannibalistic behavior among larvae.

Congratulations, Ysabel. We wish you the best in your future endeavors!

Biology-Hosted SURF Students Give Annual Presentations

By Meredith J CanodeAugust 6th, 2015in News, Student News

Students in the SURF Program wrap up summer research
Students in the SURF Program wrap up summer research

Students in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program at Boston University gave presentations in the program’s annual event on Thursday, August 6, 2015.

The SURF Program is funded by a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduate (NSF-REU) with Dr. Tom Gilmore as lead Principal Investigator and Director of the Program. The SURF Program provides a research opportunity for undergraduates who are interested in conducting research in the Biological Sciences. The ten students who took part in this program were selected from over 800 applicants in a nationwide search. This year students conducted ten weeks of full-time research in a Department of Biology lab, mentored by a Biology faculty member.  Students also participated in weekly enrichment activities and social events.

We wish the SURF students the best as they return to their undergraduate institutions!

Students spoke in the subjects of Molecular Biology of Disease, Plant Biology, and Insect Biology

Molecular Biology of Disease

Sultan Mussakhan (Nazarbayev Univ, Kazakhstan)
Research conducted in the Gilmore Lab
Talk title: “The Effect of Truncating Mutations on the Stability of the p300 Acetyltransferase Protein”

Suhaily Penix (MassBay Community College)
Research conducted in the Gilmore Lab
Talk title: “Characterization of the ‘Intervening Domain’ of NEMO, A Protein Involved in Human Immunodeficiency Diseases”

Dominique Thompson (Northwestern State University)
Research conducted in the Eldred Lab
Talk title: “The Modulation of GFAP in Response to Blast Traumatic Brain Injury”

Plant Biology

Christopher Thomas (Whitworth University)
Research conducted in the Talbot Lab
Talk title: “Effect of Climate Change on Wood-Rot Fungi”

Lidimarie Trujillo (University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez)
Research conducted in the Talbot Lab
Talk title: “Fungi Fight Club: Effects of Nitrogen Levels on Fungal Combat”

Nahomie Rodriguez (Universidad Metropolitana, Puerto Rico)
Research conducted in the Celenza Lab
Talk title: “Role of the alf3-I Mutant in the Systemic Acquired Resistance Signaling Pathway in Arabadopsis thaliana

Maroua Jabouri (Bunker Hill Community College)
Research conducted in the Templer Lab
Talk title: “Effects of Climate Change Across Seasons on Photosynthesis and Foliar Nitrogen of Maples”

Insect Biology

Kelsey Kenniel (Spelman College)
Research conducted in the Traniello Lab
Talk title: “How Sociality Influences Brain Evolution: Ants as a Model”

Anna Yeaton (University of Massachusetts Amherst )
Research conducted in the Frydman Lab
Talk title: “Dissecting the role of Armadillo in the Intracellular Accumulation of Wolbachia”

Anthony Ortega (Boston University)
Research conducted in the McCall Lab
Talk title: “Lysosome trafficking in a Novel Form of Cell Death in Drosophila melanogaster”