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News Archives: 2009-2010

General News

Congratulations to our Russell L. Carpenter Summer Internship in Biology students for summer 2010: Ryan Morrie ('12) and Daniel J. Slak ('11).

Open Positions

Undergraduate Positions:

  • Undergraduate Research Opportunities
  • Hourly Work: Students eligible for work-study should contact Mike Grossi.
  • Bio 13 Lab undergrad teaching assistant positions. Application deadline is Monday, May3. You may pick up an application in Barnum 200. 

Faculty News

Assistant Professor Erik Dopman received a research award from the USDA, CSREES: entitled: "Discovering and Quantifying European Corn Borer Transcriptomes Using Next-Generation Sequencing."

Assistant Professor Mitch McVey and Associate Professor Philip T. B. Starks were recipients of the Outstanding Faculty Contribution to Graduate Studies award from the Graduate Student Council.

Michael Levin has received a two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health's Mental Health Institute for a research project on "Automated Analysis of Learning and Memory for Neuro-Development Studies." The goals are to create a next-generation, fully automated, parallelized, real-time machine vision and environmental control system to enhance the study of brain function and to enable nootropic drug screening in vertebrate systems and to use this platform to investigate the cognitive consequences of laterality inversion.

Sergei Mirkin has received a four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health for his work on replication of simple DNA repeats. More than two dozen human hereditary diseases are caused by uncontrollable expansions of simple DNA repeats within individual human genes. They include debilitating neurological disorders, such as Huntington's disease, fragile X mental retardation, myotonic dystrophy, Friedreich's ataxia and others. Sergei hopes to unravel molecular mechanisms responsible for the phenomenon.

The Biology Department welcomes its newest faculty member, Assistant Professor, Erik B. Dopman.  Erik graduated with a B.S. in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin and received his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University.  His most recent position was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University.  Erik's interests are evolution and genetics of natural populations.

Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow News

Adam South, a 4th year doctoral student in the laboratory of Professor Sara M. Lewis, received a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant for his proposal entitled: "The identification, RNAi knockdown and characterization of seminal fluid proteins in Tribolium castaneum". Adam will be performing this work in collaboration with Dr. Yui Suzuki at Wellesley College.

Anne A. Madden, a second year doctoral student in the laboratory of Associate Professor Philip Starks, was awarded a 2010 National Science Foundation Graduate Student Research Fellowship. Anne researches the microbes associated with an invasive paper wasp (Polistes dominulus) and will be studying the effect of host specificity on insect microbial communities.

Michael Simon, a sixth year doctoral student in the laboratory of Professor Barry Trimmer, gave an invited talk, as part of a Tufts University Community Outreach program, at the Brooksby Village Center in Peabody, MA, entitled "Caterpillar Inspiration: Building a Softer Robot".

Tegan Morton has been accepted to the 2010 Graduate Institute for Teaching (GIFT). The GIFT program is an opportunity for graduate students to learn teaching and communication skills through both intensive instruction from tenured professionals, and through hands-on association with a faculty mentor during a university course.

The 12th annual presentation of graduate student awards was held on Friday, April 23. The following members of the Biology Department received awards:

Graduate Student Research Awards AS&E (fall 2009 and spring 2010) were awarded to: Kartik Shah, Alexandra Thorn, Noah Wilson-Rich, Anne Madden, Tegan Morton and Ansel Payne.

Jason Heustis, GSC President, and fifth year doctoral student in the laboratory of Associate Professor Juliet Fuhrman, received the GSC Service Award and well as the Robert P. Guertin Award for Graduate Student Leadership AS&E.

Associate Professor Philip Starks and Assistant Professor Mitch McVey received the Outstanding Faculty Contribution to Graduate Studies award.

Anne Madden won 2nd prize in the Graduate Student Photo Contest.

Adam South, graduate student in the Lewis Lab, received a fellowship from the National Science Foundation to do research this past summer in Taiwan. He worked in the lab of Ping-Shih Yang, a professor of entomology at National Taiwan University in Taipei, investigating chemical defenses and characterizing nuptial gift production in Taiwanese fireflies. Read more about Adam's work with fireflies >

Melissa Koch
joined the Freudenreich lab in July.  She is a fellow of the Tufts TEACRS program, which aims to prepare postdoctoral fellows for academic careers through training in teaching, career development skills, and research.

Shoni Caine attended the National Society for Developmental Biology (SDB) in San Francisco last month and presented a poster entitled "Restoration of the pronephric kidney in Xenopus laevis tadpoles". I obtained both a Tufts Graduate Student Travel Award as well as a Student/Post-doc Travel Award from the SDB to attend the conference. I also received an "honorary mention" for my poster, as well as a text book award entitled "Ecological Developmental Biology: Integrating Epigenetics, Medicine, and Evolution" by Scott Gilbert & David Epel.

Ayron Strauch and Francie Chew were featured in an online article this past month that was written for Discovery.com and circulated by MSNBC.com, amongst other places.

Ansel Payne was elected vice president of the Cambridge Entomological Club for 2009-2010.

Minda Berbeco received a Graduate Women in Science Travel Grant; was a Graduate Institute For Teaching Fellow and presented at the Ecological Society of America conference.

Huai-ti Lin was awarded a Doctoral dissertation improvement grant from the NSF.  He attended and presented at a Conference in Glasgow over the summer

Ranjith Anand received a scholarship from the Keystone Symposia to attend the conference "Genome Instability and DNA Repair" in Taos, NM, March 2009.

Ranjith also gave talks on his research at both the Boston Area Yeast Meeting (Harvard/Broad) and the DNA Repair and Mutagenesis Meeting (MIT) in 2008 and 2009.

Biology Graduate Student, Christine Surka, and Postdoctoral Fellow, Lionel Gellon, attended the Unstable Microsatellites and Human Disease conference in Costa Rica. Christine presented a poster on replication stalling and stabilization at Fragile X CGG repeats and Lionel presented a poster on the role of the Tof1/Mrc1 complex in replication of CAG repeats.  They both received an award from the poster contest selection committee and $500 from the University of Costa Rica.

Priya Sundararajan graduated with a PhD, Feb 2009. Thesis title:  "Double Strand Break repair Pathways modulate CAG Repeat Instability and Cytotoxicity"

Carolyn Miazga graduated with a PhD, July 2009.  Thesis title:  "Notch Signaling Mediates Cell Fate Decisions During Gastrulation in Xenopus laevis"

Nealia House graduated with her Masters in Science, May 2009.  Thesis Title:  "The effect of chromatin structure on CAG/CTG repeat maintenance"

2009-2010 Publications by Faculty and Graduate Students >