- The lab visited Florida Institute of Technology for the Florida Area Worm Meeting. Pravat gave a great talk on his studies on Gq signaling. Emmanuel and Richard won graduate student poster prizes, continuing the proud lab tradition of overwhelming domination of the poster session. Congratulations!
- Great write-up on UM Biology's bumper crop of NSF Graduate Research Fellowship winnders including lab member, Emmanuel Medrano!
- Kevin travelled to University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA to give a talk at the Department of Neurobiology, hosted by Dr. Mike Francis. It was great visiting with such outstanding faculty there including old worm colleagues, Drs. Mark Alkema and Alex Byrne.
- Kevin also traveled up to the Department of Neurobiology at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, FL. Kevin was hosted by former UM Biology graduate student Dr. Seth Tomchik and worm colleague, Brock Grill. It was also great to visit with old friends next door at FAU including Dr. Alex Keene.
- Dr. Bhavya Ravi returned from Baltimore to walk in commencement! It was great to play dress up and catch up on life & and science up at Johns Hopkins.
- Biology Graduate student Emmanuel Medrano was awarded a Graduate Student Research Fellowship from the NSF! This three year award will support his research into the mechanisms by which stretch and pressure activate the egg-laying behavior circuit. Congratulations, Emmanuel!
- The lab welcomed back Dr. Bo Zhang, a former postdoc in the David Van Dyken lab. Bo is now a Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Davis completing some experiments on a collaborative research project using C. elegans to understand how animal motility affects resource utilization and competition in different food environments. Great seeing you again, Bo!
- The lab's CAREER award got a nice writeup by Barry Williams on the UM College of Arts and Sciences page.
- The lab's CAREER award from NSF officially started March 1. Details here. Lots of new constructs to build and inject to manipulate activity in the reproductive circuit while gear up for a new Molecular Genetics laboratory course.
- Bhavya and Jessica's work looking at a functional relationship between the HSN command neuron and the defecation motor program has now been published at MicroPublication Biology. The editors requested we break up the study into two parts, summarizing all of them in a third 'Integration' report. The papers are available here here, and here. Good job Bhavya and Jessica!
- Reviews from the revised-revised Cu2O nanoparticle paper came back. Reviewer #1 was satisfied, but Reviewer 2 wants us to do more elemental analysis of particle degradation and do additional behavior assays on identical levels of Cu2+. Catherine in the Knecht lab has completed the elemental analyses, and these turned out great, so now it's the rest of the worm stuff.
- Emmanuel, Pravat, Richard, and Kevin submitted abstracts for the 2019 International Worm Meeting this summer in LA. Should be fun!
- Kevin and Marc Knecht submitted the revisions to the Cu2O nanoparticle paper back to Environmental Science: Nano. Hopefully the reviewers will agree all of their criticisms have been addressed.
- Kevin presented a seminar of the lab's research at Yale hosted by Drs. Tony Koleske and Michael Koelle. Kevin had a great time meeting with Yale faculty and former colleagues from the basement of C wing of the Sterling Hall of Medicine.
- Emmanuel Medrano successfully passed his Qualifying Exam. Congratulations!
- Alex was awarded a 'Beyond the Book' award which will allow him to continue his research in the lab over the summer full time. Congratulations, Alex!
- The lab's revised R01 grant renewal application to the NIH/NINDS was scored at 9.0%!! With 2019 paylines looking like 15-16%, this means the grant will almost certainly be funded for four years starting in July. This is a validation of the outstanding published and preliminary data from ongoing projects in the lab that went into the proposal.
- We had a farewell lunch for Dr. Bhavya Ravi. As sad but happy day!
- Happy New Year!
- Bhayva Ravi successfully defended her PhD dissertation!! Brock Grill from Scripps, Florida served as Bhavya's outside examiner. Bhavya's committee agreed she gave an outstanding oral presentation and skillful private defense. Minor revisions to dissertation, and then she is DONE! Congratulations Dr. Ravi!!
- The lab hosted Jiali Zhu's visit from Wheaton College to interview for doctoral studies in Biology.
- Jacob Brewer's NLP-3 paper is finally out in PLoS Genetics. Congratulations Jacob and the Koelle lab!
- Kevin received word that the lab's NSF CAREER proposal will be funded! This five-year award starting in March of next year will fund the lab's work looking at the mechanical activation of the reproductive circuit during both egg-laying and mating behaviors. It will also fund a new effort to incorporate authentic research projects into new Molecular Genetics laboratory courses. Details here.
- The lab welcomes new Research Associate Sana Chaudhry! In addition to working on other projects in the lab, Sana will help start a new collaborative project with Vinny Starai at the University of Georgia studying the function of newly identified effectors from the Wolbachia endosymbiote from Brugia malayi.
- Bhavya held her sufficiency meeting with her dissertation committee. They all agreed that she has completed her PhD academic requirements. Defense date tentatively scheduled for Thursday, January 24th. Good job on all your hard work, Bhavya!
- Bhavya has accepted a postdoctoral position starting next year in Charlotte Sumner's lab at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Congratulations, Bhavya!
- Alex submitted his 'Beyond the Book' proposal to the College of Arts & Sciences. It woudl support his work in the lab next summer to identify the new mutations he identified that disrupt the activation of uv1 after optogenetic activation of vulval muscle activity and egg release.
- Kevin submitted a Provost Research Award to perform whole-genome sequencing of the new mutations that Alex identified.
- The lab welcomes Dominique Rajic, a new Biology undergrad to the lab. Dominique will be working with Emmanuel to understand how and why high osmolarity inhibits egg-laying behavior.
- Richard in the lab hosted Matthew DeGennaro from FIU for a Biology department seminar. Matthew has been a participant in the UM monthly invertebrate neuroscience meeting, so it was nice to interact with him for a longer stretch and hear about his work on Aedes aegypti.
- Emmanuel submitted his NSF Graduate Research Fellowship proposal!
- Kevin re-submitted the collaborative R01 grant with Michael Koelle to the NIH. Fingers crossed for a fundable score this time around.
- Kevin's letter of intent for a Provost Research Award passed the first round. He proposed to identify new genes required for uv1 mechanical activation using the vulval muscle Channelrhodopsin optogenetic screen. Hopefully Alex and Kevin can identify candidate mutants before the proposal goes in at the end of November.
- The reviews on Jabob's paper submitted to PLoS Genetics came back and were very positive. Hopefully the Koelle lab's revisions will be met positively.
- We had a joint, virtual meeting with the Koelle lab. Bhavya, Pravat, Richard, and Emmanuel spent an hour discussing their latest results, including strategies for going forward, reagent and behavior assay sharing, etc. Koelle lab members Robert, Andrew, Nakeirah, and Allison shared their work. Hopefully we can do an in-person meeting next summer at the LA worm meeting.
- The lab welcomes Alex Claman, a Neuroscience undergrad, to the lab. Alex will be studying the mechanical activation of the uv1 neuroendocrine cells.
- Pravat submitted a predoctoral fellowship proposal to the American Heart Association. Thanks to Dr. Laura Bianchi for agreeing to serve as a co-sponsor. Good luck, Pravat!
- Kevin submitted a CAREER proposal to NSF to fund our work on how reproductive behaviors are modulated by mechanosensory feedback.
- Christian and Tyler presented the results from their NSF-REU projects during a joint poster session. Lots of good feedback on how copper oxide and strontium titanate affect C. elegans.
- Jacob Brewer's paper from the Koelle lab on the regulation of egg laying by NLP-3 was submitted to PLoS Genetics. Fingers crossed for a painless review.
- Emmanuel, Kevin, Pravat, and Richard presented posters at the CeNeuro2018 meeting. The lab also got to hang out with the Koelle lab, always a treat.
- Bhayva presented her poster at the Cell Biology of the Neuron Gordon Research Conference. She got to chat with potential postdoctoral mentors and see some great talks.
- The lab welcomes Christian Falgons and Tyler Wagner, two undergrads participating in the NSF REU at UM. Having spent the first part of the summer in Marc Knecht's lab making nanoparticles, they have now joined our group to test their toxicity in C. elegans. Welcome!
- Kevin heard back on the R01 renewal. The grant got a 20.0 percentile score, which is good, but not good enough for the expected 15.0 % payline. Fingers crossed for a Council pickup this Fall, but we'll revised the grant for the November deadline.
- Bhavya's magnum opus has finally been accepted at the Journal of Neuroscience. Congratulations, Bhavya! You can read the final version of the paper here.
- The lab welcomes Neuroscience major Mattingly Bartole to the lab! Mattingly will be investigating how TGFbeta signaling regulates egg-laying circuit activity and behavior.
- Richard and Bhavya were selected for small awards from the Department of Biology Molecular Biology fund. Great work!
- Bhavya, Emmanuel, Pravat, Richard, and Kevin attended the 2018 Florida Area Worm Meeting. Richard and Bhavya won first place and runner-up graduate student poster prizes!
- Christine, Jessica, and Layla are now proud graduates of the University of Miami! Congratulations! We expect great things from each of you!
- Layla was awarded an NSF GFRP! She has selected Yale University to pursue her doctoral studies. Congratulations, Layla!
- Bhavya Ravi submitted the revisions to her paper. Here's hoping for a fast, painless, second round of review at the Journal of Neuroscience. A copy of the revised manuscript is available here.
- The collaborative Cu2O nanoparticle manuscript has been submitted. A copy of that paper is available here.
- Pravat was granted a Travel Award from the Genetics Society of America to attend the 2018 C. elegans Neuro Meeting in Madison, WI. Nicely done!
- Pravat passed his Proposal Defense! Good work, Pravat!
- The competitive renewal for the lab's R01 was submitted. Fingers crossed.
- Pravat's co-first author paper "Photochemical Barcodes" was accepted to JACS. You can read the paper here. Congratulations, Pravat!
- The lab welcomed Elena Gracheva from Yale University for a seminar at the Neuroscience Center. The lab shared a nice lunch with Elena after her fantastic seminar on the mechanisms that regulate hibernation. Great visit!
- Erika was awarded a Lois Pope Life Summer Fellowship to support her research in the lab over the summer. Congratulations, Erika!
- Christine presented a poster of her research at the Undergraduate Research, Creativity, and Innovation Forum!
- The lab's JoVE video paper on ratiometric calcium imaging in behaving animals is now out here! Congratulations Bhavya, Layla, Richard, and Pravat on some great performances!
- Reviews on Bhavya's submission to J. Neuroscience are back. Bhavya is doing an additional requested experiment, and we will revise and resubmit shortly.
- The reviews came back from JACS for Pravat's co-first author paper "Photochemical Barcodes," and they were generally positive of the work. Raymo's lab is addressing some concerns and adding more chemistry data. We will submit the revised manuscript shortly.
- The Cu2O nanoparticle manuscript with the Knecht lab is done. The plan is to submit the paper to Environmental Science: Nano.
- Happy New Year!
- We welcomed Elif Magemizoglu from Carrie Adler's lab at Cornell for a visit to the lab and Miami.
- Pravat submitted a joint first author Communication with Sicheng Tang and Yang Zhang from the Raymo lab to the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Fingers crossed for a painless review!
- JoVE methods revisions are finally complete, and the video and paper should be out soon!
- Layla was invited to interview at Columbia! Congratulations and good luck!
- Bhavya's paper on circuit development was revised according the reviewer recommendations and submitted to the Journal of Neuroscience. PDF of the pre-print available here. We'll see if Kevin's Twitter-badgering the editor on behalf of invertebrate neuroscience helps or hurts the the outcome of the paper.
- Layla received grad school interview invites to Yale and UCSD. Good luck, Layla!
- Kevin heard back on his NSF CAREER award grant proposal on the mating project. While it was declined for funding this round, the reviewers were generally positive and gave encouraging feedback for a revised application.
- Final revisions of the text, videos, and screenshots of the lab's JoVE article were sent back to the editors. Hopefully, the final video and paper will be published soon.
- Jim Wrocklage came to the lab to film Bhavya, Layla, Richard, and Pravat perform practical parts of the ratiometric imaging procedure for the JoVE paper. We will be submitting screengrabs for final video editing and voiceover shortly.
- The reviews for Bhavya’s paper came back. Both reviews were very positive, but Reviewer 2 felt it lacked sufficient ‘general interest’ for PNAS. We will be adding additional data requested by Reviewer 1 and resubmitting to Journal of Neuroscience. Fingers crossed!
- Kevin received official word that he passed his mid-point review!
- Kevin went to SfN in DC to give a keynote talk at the Stomatogastric Ganglion (STG) satellite meeting. He was joined by Julie Simpson from UC Santa Barbara who gave a great talk identifying the circuits that drive Drosophila grooming behavior.
- Bhavya submitted her paper on egg-laying circuit activity and behavior development to PNAS! You can read a pre-print on BioRxiv.org. You can also find our submitted PDF under ’Papers.’
- The lab’s methods paper was officially accepted at the Journal of Visualized Experiments! You can find the text, Bonsai, and MATLAB code under ’Papers.’ The filmmakers will be here at the end of November to record Bhavya, Layla, Richard, and Pravat as they demonstrate ratiometric calcium imaging and quantitative analysis.
- Richard successfully defended his research proposal. He is now officially a doctoral candidate. Congratulations, Richard!
- The lab welcomed 6th graders from the Henry West Lab school to play with the worms and look at fun things under the microscope! Thanks to Ji Shen in the School of Education & Human Development for faciltiating the lab’s outreach. Special thanks to Layla (left) and Richard (right) for helping in the lab.
- The lab survived hurricane Irma. Half sheltered in Miami and half evacuated. Tropical storm-force winds brought down trees, and campus was shut down for about two weeks. The lab was fine, no damage or loss of emergency power. Layla was kind enough to host Bhavya and Richard at her house up in Orlando during their evacuation. Of course the storm veered east and lives were placed in mortal peril:
- The lab welcomes new students Erika Arvelo, Emmanuel Medrano, and Michelle Ng-Reyes!
Xavier and Chris presented their results investigating different types of nanoparticles on C. elegans physiology at the NSF REU research symposium. They both received good feedback on their projects, and hopefully we can incorporate their results into the HHMI lab next Spring.
Kiara and Lila gave an excellent talk at the HHMI High School Scholars symposium on their joint project investigating how ACh signaling affects uv1 activity during egg laying. Great job! Previous HHMI Scholar, Erika Arvelo, will be continuing their work when she returns to UM and the lab this August.
- Conor finished up his research rotation with a presentation on his work investigating the activation of VCs in response to prodding by the male spicules. He did a great job learning how to glue worms down for mechanical prodding with a microinjection needle and developing Bonsai protocols for stimulation. Fantastic effort, Conor. Hopefully we can keep this project going!
- The lab welcomes four new summer students!
-Kiara Farias from Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School and Lila Rosendorf from Miami Country Day School join us through the HHMI High School Scholars program. They are working with Richard to dissect the function of the GAR-2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor in egg-laying behavior.
-Chris Joly from University of Virginia and Xavier Poole from Georgia Southern University join us through the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates grant through the Chemistry department at UM. They spent the first half of the summer in Dr. Marc Knecht’s group synthesizing nanoparticles, and they will be feeding them to worms in our lab and see what happens.
The lab went to Los Angeles to attend the 21st International C. elegans Conference. (Pravat was there, too, but I forgot to take pictures during his and Christine’s poster session.)
- Pravat Dhakal passed his Qualifying Exam! Congratulations!
Conor Moran, a student in the UM MD/PhD program, started first research rotation in our lab. Conor will be working to develop a quantitative assay of VC and uv1 mechanical activation. Welcome, Conor!
- The lab visited Florida Institute of Technology for the Florida Area Worm Meeting. Bhavya gave a great talk on her studies on the development of activity in the egg-laying circuit. Bhavya also won best graduate student poster with Pravat and Richard claiming the runner’s up prizes. Layla won the undergraduate poster prize—a Collins Lab sweep! Congratulations!
Richard and Layla participated in the Miami March for Science! Richard presented a general audience poster of the lab’s work, and Layla advocated for scientific literacy with fellow attendees.
- Richard Kopchock received a travel award from the Genetics Society of America to attend and present his work on acetylcholine signaling at this year’s International Worm Meeting at UCLA!
Erika Arvelo, former HHMI High School Scholar from the lab, is the recipient of a University of Miami Singer Scholarship!
Christine Li received a Beyond the Book scholarship to continue her work on gap junctions in the lab over the summer. Congratulations, Christine!
Jessica Garcia will be doing a summer internship in Niels Ringstad’s lab at NYU!
- Our lab’s collaboration with Navonil Banerjee in Mike Francis’s lab on neuropeptide signaling from uv1 and the inhibition of egg laying is now out at PLoS genetics. Great work, Navonil!
- Bhavya presented her work at the Sunposium in West Palm Beach.
- Richard passed his Qualifying Exam! Congratulations, Richard!
- Bhavya, Layla, and Richard presented their work at Society for Neuroscience in San Diego.
- Our egg-laying circuit paper has been accepted for publication in eLife. Whoo-hoo!
- We welcome new Biology undergrad, Christine Li, who will be studying how the unc-7/9 gap junction proteins regulate egg-laying behavior.
We welcome Michael Scheetz, our lab’s new Research Associate!
Carla, Layla, Patricia, and Erika completed their summer projects and presented posters of their work at Research Symposia in Cox Science. Great work!
- Kevin went to and gave a talk at the C. elegans Neuroscience topic meeting in Nagoya, Japan.
We welcome three new students working in the lab this summer!
Carla Bobé is an undergraduate from Florida International University who is working with Dr. Marc Knecht’s group to perform the chemical synthesis of Copper Oxide nanoparticles followed by studies in our lab of how they affect C. elegans behavior. This project is supported by a Research for Undergraduates grant from the NSF.
- Two high school students, Erika Arvelo from the Rivera School and Patricia Garcia from the Young Women’s Preparatory Academy, are working with Richard to understand how acetylcholine signaling through muscarinic receptors regulates uv1 activity and egg-laying behavior. This project is supported by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Layla, Pravat, and Richard went to the Florida Area Worm Meeting. Layla gave a talk of her work, and Richard won the best graduate student poster prize.
Congratulations Layla and Richard!
Addys was accepted into Medical School at the The Commonwealth Medical College of Pennsylvania.
Congratulations Doctor-to-be Bode!
- Some members of the lab went to the Neuroscience Program Retreat in Naples, Florida.
Richard received a 2016 Biology Graduate Research Support Award for his work on acetylcholine signaling in the egg-laying circuit.
Good job Richard!
- Layla was awarded a Lois Pope Neuroscience Summer Research Scholarship. She will continue her work recording activity in egg-laying circuit activity during mating behavior.
The lab received a Provost Research Award pilot grant for “Molecular mechanisms responding to acute changes in internal pressure and stretch.” This will allow us to follow-up on CJ’s results obtained during her lab rotation on micro-injection induced egg laying.
Pravat Dhakal, a new PhD student in the Biology program, has joined the lab. Pravat previously worked at The Laboratory for Cell Signaling Dynamics at the Riken Quantitative Biology Center in Osaka, Japan. Pravat will study the role of Phophatidyl Inositol signaling in the regulation of egg-laying circuit activity.
Jessica Garcia went to the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students and presented a poster of her work “Testing the importance of HSN motor neuron activity in promoting L4 lethargus in Caenorhabditis elegans.”
Good job Jessica!
Layla Nassar won a travel award to attend the “Diversity in STEM” Meeting of the National Conference of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) in Washington, D.C. She presented a poster of her work “Understanding how sex modulates the female nervous system to drive distinct reproductive behavior states.” She was the recipient of the Undergraduate Student Presentation Award for Neuroscience!
Richard Kopchock was awarded a Maytag fellowship from the University of Miami.