Seminars & Events

Please scroll to the very bottom to see our upcoming seminars!

See also the UMass Consolidated Calendar of Life Sciences Seminars

2019 - 2020

Mon, Sep 9, 2019

Introduction to the Honors Program

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

The first Biology seminar in the fall is the Introduction to the Honors Program, scheduled for Monday September 9th at 4:00 PM in Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall (A011). All Honors students working with a Biology Mentor are required to attend. The program includes an Introduction to Honors work with Professor Ethan Temeles, a brief reminder regarding Laboratory Safety with Maureen Manning, and a presentation on Establishing Research Skills Early, with Airlie Rose from the Writing Center.

Sat, Sep 14, 2019

Biology Departmental Showcase

11:00 am Science Center, 2nd and 3rd floor lounge, B-wing

This Saturday, the biology department will host a Department Showcase. Come by to talk with students doing research in the department, meet faculty, eat some snacks, and learn about the fascinating research happening in the biology department! There will be two sessions, one from 11 a.m. to noon and the other from 3 to 4 p.m. You can find us by the spiral staircase on the 2nd and 3rd floor of B-wing in the Science Center.

Biology Departmental Showcase

11:00 am Science Center, 2nd and 3rd floor lounge, B-wing

On Saturday, September 14th, the Biology department will host a Department Showcase. Come by to talk with students doing research in the department, meet faculty, eat some snacks, and learn about the fascinating research happening in the Biology department! There will be two sessions, one 11:00 a.m. to noon and the other 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. You can find us by the spiral staircase on the 2nd and 3rd floor of B-wing in the Science Center.

BioBlitz Flyer

BioBlitz!

On Saturday, September 14th, the Biology department will be hosting the annual BioBlitz event, at the Amherst College Wildlife Sanctuary, followed by the Department Showcase. Come by to meet our faculty, eat some snacks, and learn about the fascinating projects happening here at the Biology department! The Bioblitz will run from 1:00 - 3:00 PM, preceded and followed by the Department Showcase, which will have two sessions, one 11:00 a.m. to noon and the other 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Mon, Sep 16, 2019

Fall Honors Presentations

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

As part of the Biology Honors program, students give a presentation on their honors project and the research they have been doing during the summer. Presentations are scheduled over three Mondays in the fall, September 16th, 23rd, and 30th, during the regular Biology seminar slot: Monday 4:00 PM in Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall (A011). All Biology students are encouraged to attend to support their peers, and attendance is mandatory for senior Biology majors. The schedule for presentations appears below:

Monday September 16th
James Colwell Advisor: Jill Miller
Derek Schneider Advisor: Jill Miller
Jacob Gendelman Advisor: Michael Hood
Michelle Han Advisor: Michael Hood
Sydney Nelson Advisor: Michael Hood

Monday September 23rd
Mary Yoo Advisor: Marc Edwards
Jacqueline Brooks Advisor: Thea Kristensen
Julia Burnett Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Kyra Raines Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Jennifer Gallegos Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
Emily Kwon Advisor: Nidanie Henderson-Stull

Monday September 30th
Emily Hong Advisor: Katerina Ragkousi
Elizabeth Parsons Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
Allan Phillips Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Patrick Friend Advisor: Craig Albertson
Ellen von zur Muehlen Advisor: Sarah Goodwin/Ethan Clotfelter

Mon, Sep 23, 2019

Fall Honors Presentations

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

As part of the Biology Honors program, students give a presentation on their honors project and the research they have been doing during the summer. Presentations are scheduled over three Mondays in the fall, September 16th, 23rd, and 30th, during the regular Biology seminar slot: Monday 4:00 PM in Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall (A011). All Biology students are encouraged to attend to support their peers, and attendance is mandatory for senior Biology majors. The schedule for presentations appears below:

Monday September 16th
James Colwell Advisor: Jill Miller
Derek Schneider Advisor: Jill Miller
Jacob Gendelman Advisor: Michael Hood
Michelle Han Advisor: Michael Hood
Sydney Nelson Advisor: Michael Hood

Monday September 23rd
Mary Yoo Advisor: Marc Edwards
Jacqueline Brooks Advisor: Thea Kristensen
Julia Burnett Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Kyra Raines Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Jennifer Gallegos Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
Emily Kwon Advisor: Nidanie Henderson-Stull

Monday September 30th
Emily Hong Advisor: Katerina Ragkousi
Elizabeth Parsons Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
Allan Phillips Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Patrick Friend Advisor: Craig Albertson
Ellen von zur Muehlen Advisor: Sarah Goodwin/Ethan Clotfelter

Mon, Sep 30, 2019

Fall Honors Presentations

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

As part of the Biology Honors program, students give a presentation on their honors project and the research they have been doing during the summer. Presentations are scheduled over three Mondays in the fall, September 16th, 23rd, and 30th, during the regular Biology seminar slot: Monday 4:00 PM in Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall (A011). All Biology students are encouraged to attend to support their peers, and attendance is mandatory for senior Biology majors. The schedule for presentations appears below:

Monday September 16th
James Colwell Advisor: Jill Miller
Derek Schneider Advisor: Jill Miller
Jacob Gendelman Advisor: Michael Hood
Michelle Han Advisor: Michael Hood
Sydney Nelson Advisor: Michael Hood

Monday September 23rd
Mary Yoo Advisor: Marc Edwards
Jacqueline Brooks Advisor: Thea Kristensen
Julia Burnett Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Kyra Raines Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Jennifer Gallegos Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
Emily Kwon Advisor: Nidanie Henderson-Stull

Monday September 30th
Emily Hong Advisor: Katerina Ragkousi
Elizabeth Parsons Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
Allan Phillips Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Patrick Friend Advisor: Craig Albertson
Ellen von zur Muehlen Advisor: Sarah Goodwin/Ethan Clotfelter

Mon, Oct 21, 2019

Biology Monday Seminar

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

Dr. Kaitlyn Mathis
Assistant Professor, Biology
Clark University

"Ecological complexity and ant-plant protection mutualisms in agroecosystems"
I am an ecologist studying complex species interactions, particularly those involving social insects in agroecosystems. My research examines the dynamics of complex species interactions and how they are shaped by managed systems. Within the last 100 years, most theoretical and empirical research has examined populations, communities and ecosystems by identifying and studying individual components in isolation from the complicating influence of a larger system. However, recent work has illustrated the importance of studying species interactions beyond a pair-wise context. To address this gap in our knowledge, I examine how the underlying mechanisms and drivers of species interactions can reveal the context dependency of these interactions in nature. I use an integrated approach, combining observational studies, manipulative field experiments, chemical ecology techniques, and lab experiments to examine the dynamics of complex species interactions and how they both shape and are shaped by managed systems. There are three major components of my research program: I examine how: (1) chemical communication plays a role in complex species interactions, (2) species interactions shape mutualisms in a broader ecological network, and (3) land management shapes complex species interactions.

Mon, Oct 28, 2019

Q-Lab Research Image

Biology Monday Seminar

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

Omar Quintero, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biology
University of Richmond

More than a meme: how studying mitochondrial motility with undergraduates has been the powerhouse of my career

The goal of Quintero lab (Q-lab) is to investigate the functional, enzymatic, and biochemical properties of myosin-XIX (MYO19), an uncharacterized class of myosin motor involved in mitochondrial dynamics. Specifically, we are currently using cell-based quantitative microscopy assays to determine the roles that MYO19 plays in normal cellular function. Using transient siRNA interference, we recently demonstrated that loss of MYO19 results in cell division defects including cytokinesis failure and asymmetric distribution of mitochondria in the two daughter cells. Using lentiviral approaches, we have generated cell lines stably expressing shRNA against MYO19 and are currently assaying these different cell types for changes in mitochondrial activity, motile behavior, and differentiation when levels of MYO19 are decreased. We are also currently using in vitro biochemistry approaches, including transient kinetics assays and motility assays, to determine the rate and equilibrium constants and motility properties of the MYO19 motor domain (collaboration with Eva Forgacs at Eastern Virginia Medical School). By focusing specifically on the role of “conserved sequence differences” specific to class XIX myosins, our goal is to better understand MYO19 function specifically, and better understand myosin mechanochemistry in general. As MYO19 interacts with mitochondria via a novel, uncharacterized MYO19/mitochondrial outer membrane association domain (MyMOMA), we have used bioinformatics analysis and mutational analysis to identify specific sequences within the MyMOMA domain required for mitochondrial binding. Our most recent publication (https://doi.org/10.1002/cm.21560) used proteomics approaches to identify proteins that interact with MYO19. The proteomics work is with the support of Ben Major at UNC-Chapel Hill. As University of Richmond is a primarily undergraduate institution (PUI) with no graduate programs, nearly all of this work was completed by undergraduates. One of the driving principles of the Q-lab is the idea that fundamental research practice is excellent training for future researchers, future doctors, as well as for a well-informed citizenry.

Q-Lab Research Image

Biology Monday Seminar: “More Than a Meme: How Studying Mitochondrial Motility with Undergraduates Has Been the Powerhouse of My Career”

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

Omar Quintero, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Richmond, will deliver a seminar titled “More Than a Meme: How Studying Mitochondrial Motility with Undergraduates Has Been the Powerhouse of My Career.”

The goal of Quintero lab (Q-lab) is to investigate the functional, enzymatic and biochemical properties of myosin-XIX (MYO19), an uncharacterized class of myosin motor involved in mitochondrial dynamics. Specifically, we are currently using cell-based quantitative microscopy assays to determine the roles that MYO19 plays in normal cellular function. Using transient siRNA interference, we recently demonstrated that loss of MYO19 results in cell division defects including cytokinesis failure and asymmetric distribution of mitochondria in the two daughter cells. Using lentiviral approaches, we have generated cell lines stably expressing shRNA against MYO19 and are currently assaying these different cell types for changes in mitochondrial activity, motile behavior and differentiation when levels of MYO19 are decreased. We are also currently using in vitro biochemistry approaches, including transient kinetics assays and motility assays, to determine the rate and equilibrium constants and motility properties of the MYO19 motor domain (collaboration with Eva Forgacs at Eastern Virginia Medical School). By focusing specifically on the role of “conserved sequence differences” specific to class XIX myosins, our goal is to better understand MYO19 function specifically, and better understand myosin mechanochemistry in general. As MYO19 interacts with mitochondria via a novel, uncharacterized MYO19/mitochondrial outer membrane association domain (MyMOMA), we have used bioinformatics analysis and mutational analysis to identify specific sequences within the MyMOMA domain required for mitochondrial binding. Our most recent publication (https://doi.org/10.1002/cm.21560) used proteomics approaches to identify proteins that interact with MYO19. The proteomics work is with the support of Ben Major at UNC-Chapel Hill. As University of Richmond is a primarily undergraduate institution (PUI) with no graduate programs, nearly all of this work was completed by undergraduates. One of the driving principles of the Q-lab is the idea that fundamental research practice is excellent training for future researchers and future doctors, as well as for a well-informed citizenry.

Mon, Nov 4, 2019

Haswell_Research_Image

Biology Monday Seminar

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

Dr. Elizabeth Haswell
HHMI-Simons Faculty-Scholar
Director of Research, NSF Center for Engineering MechanoBiology
Professor of Biology
Washington University in St. Louis

Smarty Plants: How Green Organisms Use Mechanosensitive Ion Channels to Sense and Respond to Physical Forces

My research group aims to identify the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which cells sense and respond to physical forces. We are studying the structure, function, regulation, and evolution of mechanosensitive ion channels in the green lineage, using molecular genetics, single-channel patch clamp electrophysiology, live-imaging, and computational modeling approaches. We are also engaged in functional and genetic screens designed to identify novel mechanosensory proteins, and in the development of new tools for the non-invasive analysis of membrane forces.

Mon, Nov 18, 2019

Biology Monday Seminar

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

Nicole Theodosiou, PhD
Associate Professor of Biology
Co-Director of Biochemistry Program
Union College

“Game of Guts: Spirals versus Coils”

The digestive tract of sharks and skates provides a fascinating model for studying the evolution of morphological asymmetries. Unique to all basal fishes is the spiral intestine, which may represent an intermediate morphology in evolution from the straight gut of lamprey to the elongated coils of higher vertebrates. The short spiral allows for a large absorptive surface area that can fit into a restrictive abdominal cavity. My lab is exploring how the spiral intestine forms during development of the little skate and the radial constraints that propagate spiraling.

Mon, Feb 17, 2020

Apfeld research image: black-and-white photo of a microscope and other laboratory equipment on a table

Biology Monday Seminar

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

Seminar with Javier Apfeld, Ph.D., assistant professor in the biology department at Northeastern University

C. elegans processes sensory information to choose between freeloading and self-defense strategies

My lab’s goal is to elucidate how the brain regulates aging and resilience to oxidants, using the nematode C. elegans as a tractable model organism. Our work combines molecular genetics, quantitative microscopy, mathematical modeling and engineering. During my Ph.D., I pioneered using genetics to study aging in Professor Cynthia Kenyon’s lab, and discovered that intercellular communication regulates lifespan in the nematode C. elegans. I then translated this new science of aging in biotech. Returning to academia, I help develop enabling technologies for studying C. elegans aging in collaboration with Professor Walter Fontana, a theorist and computational scientist.

Mon, Feb 24, 2020

Kiessling Research Image: a colorful, geometrical illustration of molecules

Biology Monday Seminar: “Carbohydrates at the Host–Microbe Interface”

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

Laura L. Kiessling, Ph.D., the Novartis Professor of Chemistry in Department of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will give a talk titled “Carbohydrates at the Host–Microbe Interface.”

Our health depends on maintaining a functional microbiome and avoiding the propagation of pathogenic microbes. Our group seeks to understand the mechanisms of microbial control by focusing on a prominent feature of the cell’s exterior—the carbohydrate coat. From humans to fungi to bacteria, all cells on Earth possess a carbohydrate coat. A critical role of this coat is to serve as an identification card. Our group has been examining the role of carbohydrate-binding proteins, called lectins, in influencing our microbiota and in immune defense. This seminar will focus on understanding the basis of carbohydrate-protein interactions and how they are used to control microbes. We envision that our findings can lead to alternative means to combat pathogens, methods for rapid approaches to ID microbiota, and the development of new strategies to regulate microbiome composition to promote human health.

Mon, Mar 2, 2020

Photo of an iridescent Hawaiian bobtail squid in a tank of water

Biology Monday Seminar: “A Tale of Two Symbioses: Development and Maintenance of Bacterial Partnerships with the Hawaiian Bobtail Squid”

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

Sarah McAnulty, Ph.D., assistant research professor at the University of Connecticut, will give a talk titled “A Tale of Two Symbioses: Development and Maintenance of Bacterial Partnerships with the Hawaiian Bobtail Squid.”

McAnulty is a squid biologist and the executive director of the science communication nonprofit Skype a Scientist! In her talk, she will cover her research on the Hawaiian bobtail squid and its relationship with the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri and how the immune system plays a role in these interactions. She will also speak on the symbiosis within the female squid’s reproductive system, the accessory nidamental gland. In addition to discussing her science, she will discuss the many ways that scientists can get involved in their communities, both local and online.

Mon, Mar 23, 2020

Eisen_Research_Image

Biology Monday Seminar

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

Kate Eisen '12
Ph.D. Candidate, Cornell University

Species interactions affect the distribution and evolution of multiple floral traits in California native wildflowers

Determining how ecological interactions and evolutionary trajectories vary across communities represents a fundamental goal of evolutionary ecology. In animal-pollinated flowering plants, pollinator sharing among co-occurring plants can shape the structure of ecological communities and the evolution of species' traits. My research examines patterns of species co-occurrence and the distribution and differentiation of traits across communities of annual wildflower species that are native to California in the genus Clarkia. My results from field and greenhouse studies indicate that species interactions may shape ecological communities on multiple levels and that a plant's local neighborhood can affect its evolutionary trajectory.

Mon, Aug 31, 2020

Introduction to the Honors Program

Honors Orientation Fall 2020
For all Honors Students working with a Biology mentor
Introduction to Honors Work: Professor Michael Hood, Biology Department
Laboratory Safety: Maureen Manning, Biology Safety Officer
Biology Community Building: Dr. Thea Kristensen, Biology Steering Committee
"From Lab to Paper: Some Strategies for Writing Your STEM Thesis": Airlie Rose, Science Writing Associate, Amherst College Writing Center
Remote seminar presented via Zoom