Seminars & Events

April 2019

Mon, Apr 1, 2019

Headshot of Jenny Lanni

Biology Monday Seminar: "Fish Tales: How the Zebrafish Grew Its Long Fins"

Jenny Lanni, assistant professor of biology at Wheaton College, will present "Fish Tales: How the Zebrafish Grew its Long Fins."

"My research utilizes the zebrafish model system to explore the regulation of proportional growth in vertebrates. During normal development, growth is integrated such that relative sizes among structures and tissues are specified and maintained. My laboratory is studying a zebrafish mutant strain with fins that grow to over twice the normal length. This long-finned mutant is notable in that it maintains patterned overgrowth, distinct from the kind of aberrant proliferation seen in cancer and overgrowth disorders. As zebrafish share many of their genes with humans, we hope to use this mutant to identify conserved pathways that regulate growth in vertebrates. Zebrafish also possess the remarkable ability to regenerate their fins within two weeks of amputation. Thus, understanding the growth pathways that are activated in our mutant fish may lend insight into tissue regeneration."

Mon, Apr 8, 2019

Derr_headshot

Biology Monday Seminar

Nathan Derr, PhD
Assistant Professor
Biological Sciences
Smith College

Title: Investigating the emergent behavior of teams of cytoskeletal motors using DNA origami and single molecule microscopy

The Derr lab pursues the biophysical and cell biological mechanisms of the cytoskeletal molecular motors dynein and kinesin.
The group studies these molecular machines in two ways: 1) at the level of individual motors to better understand how they convert ATP into the productive work required by the cell, and 2) in small ensembles that allow us to observe how these motors interact with one another at the nanoscale. In these studies, the lab often employs techniques from the field of DNA structural nanotechnology.
The Derr lab also pursues synthetic biology and the application of molecular motors to engineered nanoscale transport devices.

Headshot of Nathan Derr, smiling

Biology Monday Seminar: "Investigating the Emergent Behavior of Teams of Cytoskeletal Motors Using DNA Origami and Single-Molecule Microscopy"

Nathan Derr, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences at Smith College, will present "Investigating the Emergent Behavior of Teams of Cytoskeletal Motors Using DNA Origami and Single-Molecule Microscopy."

The Derr lab pursues the biophysical and cell biological mechanisms of the cytoskeletal molecular motors dynein and kinesin. The group studies these molecular machines in two ways: 1) at the level of individual motors to better understand how they convert ATP into the productive work required by the cell, and 2) in small ensembles that allow us to observe how these motors interact with one another at the nanoscale. In these studies, the lab often employs techniques from the field of DNA structural nanotechnology. The Derr lab also pursues synthetic biology and the application of molecular motors to engineered nanoscale transport devices.

Mon, Apr 15, 2019

Basu_Headshot

Biology Monday Seminar

Alo Basu, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
College of the Holy Cross

Neuronal complexity and hippocampus-dependent cognition

There is strikingly little understanding, at present, of how cellular and circuit-level variation in the mammalian brain relates to variation in cognition. Following from case studies of brain damage and disease in humans, current understanding of brain-behavior relationships is largely based on results of physical, chemical, pharmacological, and genetic ‘lesions’ that result in changes to neuronal morphology, circuit physiology and cognition in experimental systems. We have developed a mouse model of D-serine deficiency which reveals the limitations of the current paradigm including the pitfalls of hypothesis testing as regards variability in neuronal structure and cognitive function. Further, we have uncovered deleterious effects of standard laboratory housing conditions on cognition in mice that suggest that the range of behavior that is being routinely observed in translational neuroscience is limited. We propose that the analysis of variability in hippocampal neuronal morphology and behavior can be combined with noninvasive environmental enrichment to test assumptions about how complexity of hippocampal neurons relates to hippocampus-dependent cognition in mice.

Basu headshot

Biology Monday Seminar: "Neuronal Complexity and Hippocampus-Dependent Cognition"

Alo Basu, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at College of the Holy Cross, will present "Neuronal Complexity and Hippocampus-Dependent Cognition."

There is strikingly little understanding, at present, of how cellular and circuit-level variation in the mammalian brain relates to variation in cognition. Following from case studies of brain damage and disease in humans, current understanding of brain-behavior relationships is largely based on results of physical, chemical, pharmacological and genetic "lesions" that result in changes to neuronal morphology, circuit physiology and cognition in experimental systems. We have developed a mouse model of D-serine deficiency which reveals the limitations of the current paradigm, including the pitfalls of hypothesis testing as regards variability in neuronal structure and cognitive function. Further, we have uncovered deleterious effects of standard laboratory housing conditions on cognition in mice that suggest that the range of behavior that is being routinely observed in translational neuroscience is limited. We propose that the analysis of variability in hippocampal neuronal morphology and behavior can be combined with noninvasive environmental enrichment to test assumptions about how complexity of hippocampal neurons relates to hippocampus-dependent cognition in mice.

Mon, Apr 29, 2019

Bacterial Virus

Biology Honors Thesis Presentations

Candidates for Honors in Biology, class of 2019, will present Honors thesis projects. The schedule and a complete list of candidates and thesis titles appears below:

BIOLOGY HONORS

3:45 PM Irish Amundson Advisor: Michael Hood
"Density-Dependent Transmission in a Vector-Borne Pathogen"

4:00 PM Rachel Cohen Advisor: Michael Hood
“Coevolution as the Driver of Specificity in Host-Pathogen Interactions”

4:15 PM Augusta Hollers Advisor: Sarah Goodwin
"The Effects of Acoustic Experience on Mate Choice Plasticity in Fall Field Crickets (Gryllus pennsylvanicus) and House Crickets
(Acheta domesticus)"

4:30 PM Jocelyn Hunyadi Advisor: Ethan Clotfelter
"Morphological Predictors of Escape Performance in the Rusty
Crayfish (Orconectes rusticus)"

4:55 PM Leah Kim Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
"Ferroportin 3: A mitochondrial iron exporter in Arabidopsis thaliana"

5:10 PM Gabby Ro Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
"Multiple modes of cAMP-mediated regulation of the acetate switch in
Vibrio fischeri "

5:25 PM Katie Rosenberg Advisor: Caroline Goutte
“Investigating a Possible Relationship between Germ cell proliferation and Apoptosis in the C. elegans ”

Bacterial Virus

Biology Honors Thesis Presentations

Candidates for Honors in Biology, class of 2019, will present Honors thesis projects. The schedule and a complete list of candidates and thesis titles appears below:

BIOLOGY HONORS

3:45 PM Irish Amundson Advisor: Michael Hood
"Density-Dependent Transmission in a Vector-Borne Pathogen"

4:00 PM Rachel Cohen Advisor: Michael Hood
“Coevolution as the Driver of Specificity in Host-Pathogen Interactions”

4:15 PM Augusta Hollers Advisor: Sarah Goodwin
"The Effects of Acoustic Experience on Mate Choice Plasticity in Fall Field Crickets (Gryllus pennsylvanicus) and House Crickets
(Acheta domesticus)"

4:30 PM Jocelyn Hunyadi Advisor: Ethan Clotfelter
"Morphological Predictors of Escape Performance in the Rusty
Crayfish (Orconectes rusticus)"

4:55 PM Leah Kim Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
"Ferroportin 3: A mitochondrial iron exporter in Arabidopsis thaliana"

5:10 PM Gabby Ro Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
"Multiple modes of cAMP-mediated regulation of the acetate switch in
Vibrio fischeri "

5:25 PM Katie Rosenberg Advisor: Caroline Goutte
“Investigating a Possible Relationship between Germ cell proliferation and Apoptosis in the C. elegans ”