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News Archives: 2011-2012

Faculty News

Congratulations to the seven biology laboratories on moving to their new space at 200 Boston Ave. in the Collaborative Cluster in Genome Structure and Developmental Patterning. The seven include Erik Dopman, Catherine Freudenreich, Steve Fuchs, Kelly McLaughlin, Mitch McVey, Sergei Mirkin and Eric Tytell. They are joining the Michael Levin lab, Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology, and the Barry Trimmer lab, Neuromechanics and biomimetic Devices Laboratory. Be sure to check on the updated faculty office hours, as some of the times and locations have changed.

Biology Professor Colin Orians received a Tufts Collaborate Award to study how the quality of tea from different management systems responds to increases in climate variability. This is a collaborative project and brings together the following experts from across the University: Albert Robbat, Chemistry, Arts and Sciences; Timothy Griffin, Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; David Small, Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering and Selena Ahmed, Biology, Arts and Sciences.

NSF has awarded Tufts an Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) grant in the area of Soft Material Robotics. This is a 5 year, $2.7million award that will fund 21 two year interdisciplinary PhD student fellowships, a "Soft Robots BootCamp", an annual Innovation Competition and a significant international collaboration with Universities in Pisa, Zurich and Nottingham. The PI is Barry Trimmer (Biology) with co-PI David Kaplan (Biomedical Engineering) with the support and contributions of 17 other Tufts faculty across the Schools of Arts & Sciences and Engineering. This is an exciting development for interdisciplinary research at Tufts. More information [pdf] >

Jan Pechenik, Professor of Biology, gave an invited, full-day workshop on scientific writing for graduate students and post-doctoral investigators at the 6th annual World Fisheries Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland in May. After the conference he continued on to Norway, to do research at a major fisheries laboratory on the island of Austevoll.

Visualizing Research @ Tufts Awards went to Michael Levin and Daniel Lobo (from the Levin Lab) for their submission entitled, "A New Bioinformatics of Shape for Planarian Regeneration Modeling," which won second place in the Illustrations category. Dany Adams (from the Levin Lab) won third place in the Photography category for her "electric face." The goals of the Visualizing Research @ Tufts Award are to showcase Tufts research projects, enable opportunities for collaboration and promote the use of visualization as a research tool at Tufts University. Congratulations to our department winners!

Graduate Student, Postdoctoral Fellow and Undergraduate News

Shoni Caine, 7th year doctoral candidate in the McLaughlin lab, has been awarded the "Outstanding Graduate Student Contribution to Undergraduate Research" at the Graduate Student Awards Ceremony.

Brook Chernet, 4th year doctoral candidate in the Levin Lab, presented a poster at Harvard Medical's New England Science Symposium, which featured 170 poster presentations from all over the US and Canada, including two dozen participants from Harvard/Dana-Farber research labs. After intensive grilling by 5 judges, his work won the *top* prize of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center award for best cancer poster presentation! The president of Dana-Farber awarded him with a certificate and monetary prize in recognition of his work on bioelectricity and cancer in Xenopus. Go Brook!!

Selena Ahmed, NIH IRACDA Postdoctoral Fellow in the Colin Orians lab, received two travel grants from the NSF IGERT Program in Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development in Southwest China to present talks at the Association of American Geographers 2012 annual meeting in a panel titled, "Landscapes, Livelihoods, and Environmental Change in Southwest China" and at the Himalayan Studies meeting in a panel titled, "Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development in the Eastern Himalaya of Yunnan, China". Selena also received a travel grant from Program 111 of the Chinese Ministry of Education for field research in China on climate change and tea production. This research and funding program was mentioned in a news story titled "Tapping the Best Minds" in China's Global Times, January 11, 2012.

Christine Lattin, 4th year doctoral candidate in the Romero laboratory, presented work at the January 2012 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting in Charleston, SC: a poster, "Seasonal differences in the functioning of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis and initial transference to captivity in wild House Sparrows," and a presentation, "Effects of chronic stress on brain and peripheral intracellular glucocorticoid receptors in wild House Sparrows." Christine also received a Graduate Student Research Award for my project, "How does chronic stress change glucocorticoid receptor concentrations in different tissues?"

Casey Diederich, 3rd year graduate student in the Pechenik Laboratory, presented a poster at the SICB conference in January in Charleston, SC. The title was "Intertidal and subtidal populations of Crepidula fornicata experiencing drastically different thermal conditions have similar physiological tolerance."

Brook Chernet, Ph.D. candidate Michael Levin lab, received a School of Arts and Sciences Grant-in Aid award

Maria Lobikin, Ph.D. candidate Michael Levin lab, was invited to attend the "Cell & Developmental Biology of XENOPUS" course at the Cold spring harbor laboratory.

Robert de Bruijn, 4th year doctoral candidate in the Romero laboratory, gave a talk at Morgan State University as part of their Interdisciplinary Seminar Series. The title of the talk was: Is Weather Stressful? Robert's current research has focused on stress physiology, specifically on the behavioral and physiological responses of wild-caught starlings to weather-related stimuli.

Anne A. Madden, fourth year doctoral candidate, was awarded a 2012 Grant-in-aid of research from the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, and a 2012 (Sprint) Graduate Student Research Award from the Tufts University Graduate School to perform research on the gastrointestinal bacteria of House Sparrows as part of a collaboration with the Romero Laboratory of Tufts University. Anne presented a poster and oral presentation at the 6th Annual New England Biology Conference (BioNES), titled: "Paper wasp bacterial associates display antimicrobial activity." She was awarded the Graduate Student Award for best oral presentation. Anne also gave a presentation on her research at the high school leadership school in Maine, Coastal Studies for Girls, which was written up in NPR's Talking Science blog, a part of the Science Friday aspect of NPR. Read more >

2011-2012 Publications by the Biology Department >