- We resubmitted our revised NSF DEB proposal with Drs. Bo Zhang and Adrian Lam. As requested, we added more about short-term changes in locomotion behavior and reduced our budget. That allowed us to shift more resources to Bo as she starts up her lab. Fingers crossed for a positive review process this time! It's so great that Bo has worm stuff all set up in her lab now, and it's clear her lab members are really gearing up for inventive experiments!
- The lab got to meet with Srishti Mullick, an applicant for the Biology PhD program. Srishti currently works with Raja Bhattacharya at Amity University in Kolkata, India. Part of Srishti's interview was meeting with members of the Graduate Admissions and Advising Committee along with other current PhD students. Everyone enjoyed meeting her, even if it was only by Zoom. Fingers crossed for a successful application season!
- The lab welcomes two new undergraduate researchers! Julian McQuirter is a first-year neuroscience major from here in Florida, and he will be working with Emmanuel on the osmolarity project. Anna Snyders is a second-year Biology major from Missouri, and she will be working with Kevin and Rossi on gap junctions and neuropeptide signaling. Welcome!
- The lab welcomed Koelle lab alumna Dr. Jessica Tanis from the University of Delaware for a visit and seminar at the Neuroscience Center. Jessica gave an outstanding talk on extracellular vesicles in C. elegans. It was great catching up with her to talk life and science!
Happy New Year!!
- We received the reviews for Ariana Jose's AHA predoctoral fellowship. Regrettably, it was not awarded this round. We will look over the comments and see what areas we can address if we decide to revise the application.
- Previous undergraduate Eboni Arnold who is in her first year at Harvard sent in these pics of her presenting her poster from our lab at SfN. Thanks, Eboni! Glad to hear things are going well!
- We got the summary statement for the collaborative R01 w/ the Koelle lab. Two of the scores were among the best we've ever received, but one reviewer had concerns about our ability to do the eletrophysiology experiments. As such, the overall impact score is outside the current NINDS payline, meaning it is unlikely to be funded this round. We will keep working on the physiology to address the reviewer's concerns and resubmit in March.
- The reviews for Emmanuel's submission to Current Biology came back, and they were quite positive! We will work to address the reviewer's comments as soon as we can.
- Kevin enjoyed his first time on an NIH review panel. Hats off to all the other reviewers who really brought their insight and expertise to evaluate applicants and their applications.
- Kevin and Ilya's collaborative R01 grant on serotonin transmission across a nervous system was 'Not Discussed.' Again. We're not sure if a study section on circadian rhythms is the best place for the grant. We'll regroup and decide how to proceed.
- Ariana José submitted a predoctoral fellowship to the American Heart Association to help her study the mechanisms of Gq and Go signaling. Good luck, Ariana!
- Emmanuel submitted his injection manuscript to Current Biology for consideration as a Report. Fingers crossed for a painless and positive review process!
- Kevin was asked to serve as an ad hoc member of the Sensory and Motor Neuroscience, Cognition and Perception NIH Fellowsihp study section. Should be an educational experience!
- Welcome to the start of new academic year and semester!
- Sorry for the lag in updates. The webserver crashed, and we've had to rebuild it. Hopefully, things are back to normal!
- Bo Zhang, Adrian Lam, and Kevin received feedback on their NSF grant submission. While the proposal was reviewed, it was not considered sufficiently meritorious for funding the first go-round. This is not terribly surprising, and we received a lot of good feedback that will be incorporated into the revision. Finger crossed!
- Emmanuel submitted his manuscript on the injection project to eLife. A pre-print is also available at BioRxiv and under 'Papers'. Kevin posted a Twitter thread highlighting the cool results. Congratulations, Emmanuel!
- Emmanuel and Kevin attended the CeNeuro2022 conference in Vienna, Austria. Emmanuel gave a great talk on his microinjection project, and he received lots of positive feedback. We ran into some old friends as well, including Dipon Ghosh who is finishing up in Bob Horvitz's lab at MIT.
- Lijie Yan passed her proposal defense so she is now a doctoral candidate. Good job, Lijie!
- Ariana José and Emmanuel Medrano presented their work at the Florida Area Worm meeting. Ariana presented a poster on her work investigating NALCN channels and Emmanuel gave a brief talk on his work investigating stretch-activation of egg laying. Great work, everyone!
- Emmanuel has also be invited to give a brief talk at the 2022 C. elegans Neuro conference in Vienna, Austria. Lijie was also invited to give a poster on her work on uv1 mechanical activation, but she wasn't able to get a visa appointment in time to make the trip.
- Liraz Stilman has returned to the lab as an NSF Summer Scholar. She will be working with Emmanuel to investigate how changes in osmolarity affect egg laying. Specifically, whether inhibition by high osmolarity occurs via a sensory (aversive) stimuli or via physical mechanisms (e.g. pressure gradient). Welcome back, Liraz!
- Kevin submitted two R01 proposals in June:
- The first was a 'new' collaborative proposal with Ilya Ruvinsky at Northwestern investigating how feedback of reproduction and serotonin signaling across an entire nervous system controls exploration, feeding, defecation, and other behaviors. We've submitted iterations of this work twice before, but the feedback from reviewers has generally helped us to improve and simplify the narrative of the proposal. As always, fingers crossed the reviewers will see the value in our work!
- The second was a competitive renewal of the lab's collaborative R01 w/ Michael Koelle at Yale focusing on the egg-laying circuit. As the lab's other funding from NSF will be ending relatively soon, it would be great to have this grant renewed so we can ensure continuity of funding for the lab.
- Graduate student Pravat Dhakal and Kevin participated in the university's graduate ceremony. COVID has still affected the proceedings, and advisors were unable to hood their own students. Thankfully, Pravat's committee member, Dr. Julia Dallman, was able to do the honor's. Congratulations, Pravat!
- We had a farewell lunch for Pravat at Bombay Darbar in Cocount Grove. As always, the food and conversation were excellent! Best of luck on your new adventures at Stanford, Pravat!
- Graduate student Lijie Yan presented her Dissertation Proposal Defense. Great job, Lijie!
- Graduate student Pravat Dhakal's paper on Gq signaling was accepted to Genetics. Good work, Pravat!
- Undergraduate student Eboni Arnold has officially committed to join Harvard Medical School's BBS program. Congratulations, Eboni!
- Prospective PhD student Melissa Ifidzhen has accepted her offer of admission to the Biology program. She will be doing rotations in her first year, deciding which lab she should join. Welcome to UM, Melissa!
- Pravat successfully defended his dissertation. Congratulations, Dr. Dhakal!!
- Pravat resubmitted his revised Gq paper back to Genetics. Fingers crossed!
- Eboni Arnold submitted a draft of her senior Honor's thesis to the commmittee. Hopefully it will be quick work to incorporate their feedback. Good work, Eboni!
- Drs. Christian Braendle and Thomas Boulin submitted a research proposal to ANR, the French National Research Agency, to investigate natural variation in C. elegans egg-laying behavior with Kevin as a (regrettably unfunded) collaborator. Good luck on the grant, Christian and Thomas!
- Pravat had his Sufficiency Meeting his dissertation committee to determine whether he is on-track to graduate this Spring. He has been given permission to write his dissertation, and his defense date is scheduled for March 31st at 10am. Congratulations on completing this milestone, Pravat!
- Kevin and Ilya Ruvinsky heard back on the revised NIH R01 submission. The proposal was Not Discussed, but the reviews were generally 'more' positive. There were some experiments in there that would be instructive to the overal proposal. They also had some suggestions to clarify and focus the experiments in Aim 3. We will revise again and see if this study section is the right place for the propopsal.
- Happy New Year!
- The lab welcomed Melissa Ifidzen from Radford University as a prospective Biology graduate student. Even though the rest of Biology recruitment was moved to Zoom because of Omicron, Melissa was able to come to Miami and stop by the lab. Hopefully, she will be admitted for this Fall and can rotate through various labs in her first year. Nice to meet you, Melissa!
- Eboni Arnold has been interviewing for graduate school with an interest in studying regenerative biology. Good luck, Eboni!
- Pravat Dhakal concluded his interviews for postdoc positions. He has decided to do a postdoc at Stanford starting this summer after he defends his dissertation. Congratulations, Pravat!
- Kevin submitted a collaborative proposal to NSF with Drs. Bo Zhang and Adrian Lam to continue our work investigating how movement allows animals to survive in changing environments. Fingers crossed!
- Ariana José and Kevin submitted their Gilliam Fellowship application materials to HHMI. Good luck, Ariana!
- Congratulations to everyone for surviving yet another semester (and year) at the University of Miami. Go get your COVID booster shots before the start of the Spring semester!
- Happy Thanksgiving!
- The reviews for Pravat's Gq paper came back from Genetics. The editor and reviewers were quite positive, mostly asking for text revisions and some minor experiments. Good work, Pravat! Once we get notice of acceptance, Pravat can schedule his sufficiency meeting and begin writing his dissertation.
- Dr. Bo Zhang's paper was officially accepted to Ecology Letters. Hopefully it will be out sometime later this year. Congratulations to Bo and Rossanna for all their hard work!
- Pravat Dhakal submitted his Gq paper to Genetics. We tried to address all of the issues raised by reviewers in the prior submission. I really enjoyed the review process at Genetics for Bhavya's Go paper, so fingers crossed!
- Ariana José was selected to apply for an HHMI Gilliam Fellowship. This award would give her 3 years of stipend and research support as she completes her dissertation research. Good luck, Ariana!
- Lijie Yan successfully passed her Qualifying Exam! She is now officially a doctoral candidate. Congratulations, Lijie!
- Previous summer undergraduate Liraz Stilman has been accepted to Optometry School at Nova Southeastern University. Congratulations Doctor-to-be Stilman!
- Liraz Stilman completed her summer research project trying to confirm the identify of one of Lijie's uv1 development mutants. It looks like the mutant might have issues with mating, so we had to come up with some additional strategies to do complementation tests, etc. Hopefully students in the Fall Molecular Genetics lab will pick up different parts of the project! Thanks, Liraz!
- Ariana José passed her Qualifying Exam. Her committee requested some minor revisions to the written proposal but were otherwise happy with her progress and performance. Good work, Ariana!
- Dr. Bo Zhang resubmitted her revised manuscript to Ecology Letters on the role of directed movement driving survival of animals with different movement characteristics on heterogenous food types. Rossi completed a series of tax-2 experiments mutants showing that directed movement was responsible. Fingers crossed for acceptance having addressed all of the reviewers' criticisms and suggestions.
- Bo also started a new position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at Oklahoma State University. Congratulations, Bo! We're super happy for you, and you're going to do great!
- Richard Kopchock successfully defended his PhD defense. He has accepted a postdoctoral position in the Steinberg Lab in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He will be investigating the mechanisms of stroke recovery using optogenetics and calcium imaging. Congratulations and good luck, Dr. Kopchock!
- Karen Jendrick completed her summer research project studying how changes in osmolarity inhibit egg-laying circuit activity and behavior. Thanks for a great summer, Karen!
- Kevin received the reviews on the collaborative R01 grant proposal submission. They were generally fair. He and Ilya are planning to revise and resubmit the proposal to address the reviewer comments before the Fall deadline.
- The lab welcomes undergraduate researchers Karen Jendrick and Liraz Stilman. Karen returns to the lab from Boston University having previously volunteered as an HHMI High School Scholar. Liraz joins us from Vanderbilt University. Karen is working on the regulation of egg-laying activity by osmolarity, and Liraz is characterizing the mutants that Alex and Lijie isolated that affect uv1 cell development & differentiation. Welcome, Karen and Liraz!
- Pravat received the reviews for his Gq paper. While the manuscript was not accepted, we did get some good feedback we will incorporate into the revision.
- Pravat and his wife welcomed their new baby girl, Elora, into the world! Congratulations!
- Richard Kopchock completed his dissertation and scheduled his PhD defense! Good luck, Richard!
- The collaborative R01 grant proposal submitted by Kevin and Ilya Ruvinsky was 'Not Discussed' at the recent Study Section meeting. Once we get the reviews, we will see how best to improve the proposal.
- All lab members are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19! Now that UM has relaxed some mask and social distancing restrictions, life might be able to return to some sense of normal.
- Former PhD student Bhavya Ravi's paper on G(alpha)o was accepted and published in Genetics. Great work, Bhavya!
- PhD student Pravat Dhakal submitted his paper on G(alpha)q signaling to J. Neuroscience. Good wishes for a speedy and pleasant review process!
- Undergraduate Caroline Case received Biology Departmental Honors for successfully completing her Honors thesis. Great work!
- Collaborator Bo Zhang has accepted a tenure-track faculty position in the Department of Integrative Biology at Oklahoma State University. Congratulations, Bo!!
- Undergraduates Erika Arvelo and Alex Claman received Neuroscience Departmental Honors for successfully completing their Honors theses. Great work!
- Alex Claman was also awarded the Edward Green Outstanding Neuroscience Major Award! It is given to an outstanding undergraduate neuroscience student who exemplifies the qualities of Dr. Green including scholarship, citizenship, and research. Congratulations, Alex!
- PhD student Richard Kopchock's VC paper was accepted at J. Neuroscience! Richard also held a 'Sufficiency' meeting with his dissertation committee, and he has gotten the 'ok' to begin drafting his dissertation. Big congratulations!!
- Kevin helped (kind of) submit a Letter of Intent for the project "Indicators of extinction risk under climate change: microcosm experiments and macroecological theory" to the Human Frontiers in Science Program with Drs. Bo Zhang, Christina Cobbold, and Frithjof Lutscher. The project will build on the work led by Bo using the C. elegans system to test how random and directed movement affect animal survivability in a changing environment.
- Grad student Lijie Yan's whole-genome Illumina High-Seq sequence data of her new uv1 development and function mutants (and controls) finally came back. We now get to learn how to use Python to perform bioinformatics analysis on the ~100 million ~150bp reads we got for each of the 4 submitted strains. Fun!!
- Undergrad Alex Claman was accepted into the University of Miami's Computer Science PhD program! He will be working with Dr. Vanessa Aguiar-Pulido to develop some new biomedical research analysis tools. Congratulations, Alex!
- Undergrad Eboni Arnold was accepted into the BP-ENDURE Neuroscience Pipeline program undergraduate research experience in neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis. This is a very competitive program which provides two summers of hand's on research experience. Great work, Eboni!
- Lab members are slowly but surely getting vaccinated against SARS-CoV2! Hopefully, we can begin putting this whole sad mess behind us.
- Kevin submitted the new collaborative NIH R01 proposal with Ilya Ruvinsky at Northwestern University. The project will use molecular genetics, imaging, and behavior experiments to understand how feedback of egg laying regulates exploratory and other behaivors. Fingers crossed!
- Bhavya's Go paper was conditionally accepted pending minor revision and possible experiments! Kevin is working with our collaborators to find the best way to obtain the requested data.
- Happy New Year!!
- Richard submitted a revised version of his VC manuscript back to the Journal of Neuroscience. Hopefully the reviewers will find our revisions acceptable. Fingers crossed!
- Kevin submitted a revised version of Bhavya's Go paper to Genetics as part of their Neurogenetics call for papers. Bhavya's paper definitely fits into that description! Good luck, Bhavya!
- Bo received the reviews back on her paper submitted to Ecology Letters. The reviews were generally positive, and we're working on how best to decide to address their requests for additional worm experiments. Nothing asked was that bad, except that Kevin will probably have to do actual work.
- The Biology Graduate Program had interviews with prospective students, some of whom participated at the Graduate Student Symposium. Lab members were able to meet with applicant Ying Xiang from Queens, NY. Formal notification to students accepted into the program will probably go out sometime mid-March.
- Merry Christmas!
- I think we can all agree that it was a trying semester, and we should just take pride in the fact that we survived it.
- Happy Thanksgiving!
- Happy Election day!
- Happy Halloween!
- The reviews for Richard's VC paper came back. They were very helpful and generally positive, and we were encouraged to revise and resubmit. Congratulations, Richard!
- The reviews for Bo's paper came back. They were pretty critical of some aspects of the study, although one reviewer was quite positive overall. Bo will try to address their concerns in a revised manuscript.
- Ariana submitted her NSF GRFP proposal. Good luck, Ariana!
- Rossana Signorelli has officially joined the lab. Welcome!
- Bo's directed movement manuscript was desk-rejected from Nature Communications. She decided to revise and resubmit to PNAS. Best of luck, Bo!
- Richard submitted his manuscript reporting the function of the VC neurons during C. elegans egg-laying behavior to J. Neuroscience. A pre-print is now available at BioRxiv.org. Congratulations, Richard!
- Collaborator Bo Zhang submitted her manuscript using C. elegans to test how directed movement affects persistance and co-existance in changing food environments to Nature Communications. Nice work, Bo!
- Rossana Signorelli has officially decided to join the lab as a Research Associate beginning on September 7th. She has already been participating in lab meetings through Zoom, but it will be great to have her start in person. Welcome, Rossi!
- Research Associate, Sana Chaudhry, has 'retired' from the lab to begin graduate school in the PIBS program at UM's Miller School of Medicine. We will miss her terribly, but knowing we can still see her around makes that easier to take. Best of luck in your new adventures!!
- The reviews for Bhavya Ravi's GOA-1 paper submitted to J. Neuroscience came back. Where we can, we are working to revise the manuscript to address the issues the reviewers have raised.
- The lab has begun limited resumption of research activities through creative scheduling, social distancing, and obligatory wearing of masks and sanitation of shared equipment. It's not ideal, but hopefully we will grow comfortable in this new normal.
- The lab remains in COVID-19 shutdown. We've been told that lab personnel can return at reduced density in June, so hopefully we can return to research activities shortly.
- A revised version of Bhavya's GOA-1 manuscript has been submitted to J. Neuroscience based on feedback we received from the reviewers at eLife. A pre-print is available on BioRxiv.org. Fingers crossed for a relatively painless review.
- Former Ph.D. student Bhavya Ravi was awarded 4th place in the 2019 UM Medical Faculty Association’s Best Research Award! The award comes with a $500 cash prize and a trophy. Kevin thinks he nominated Bhavya for this back in 2018, but better late than never. Congratulations, Bhavya!
- Kevin heard that the UM Board of Trustees accepted recommendations from the Dean, Provost, and President to approve his promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure, effective June 1, 2020. Whew!
- Lab remains in COVID-19 shutdown. Everyone is trying their best to work from home and to stay healthy.
- Due to COVID-19, we have suspended non-essential in-lab research activities. Lab members are doing their best to work from home: reading papers, performing data analyses, completing manuscripts, etc. Hopefully such social distancing measures will be sufficient to flatten the curve of viral transmission, and we can get back to research soon.
- Graduate student Lijie Yan gave a nice Friday Research In Progress seminar to the Biology Department on her work investigating how the uv1 neuroendocrine cells are mechanically activated. Good work, Lijie!
- Graduate student Lijie Yan has been formally accepted into the Biology Ph.D. Program. She will continue her work to identify how the uv1 neuroendocrine cells are mechanically activated during vulval opening and egg release. Congratulations, Lijie!
- PIBS graduate student Ariana José has officially decided to join the lab through the Cellular Physiology & Molecular Biophysics Program! She will be working to understand how serotonin signals in the egg-laying circuit. Welcome, Ariana!
- Undergraduate student Caroline Case has been accepted into the College of Arts & Sciences Summer Research Program for Underrepresented Minorities and Women. This award will allow her to continue her collaborative work with graduate student Pravat Dhakal over the summer using fluorescent reporters of PIP2 and DAG to understand the biochemical mechanisms of Gq signailng. Congratulations, Caroline!
- Happy New Year!
- Research Associate Sana Chaudhry has received word that she has been accepted to graduate school! Now she will have to decide which PhD program she wants to attend starting this summer / fall. Congratuations, Sana!
- Graduate student Lijie Yan presented her work at the Biology Graduate Student Symposium. She got some good feedback from the faculty and student members of GAAC, and hopefully they will agree to let her transfer to the PhD program starting this fall. Good job, Lijie!
- PIBS graduate student Ariana José started her rotation in the lab. She will be testing out new genetically encoded and small molecule fluorescent reporters for serotonin release and reuptake. Welcome, Ariana!
- Graduate student Pravat Dhakal received word that his revised American Heart Association predoctoral fellowship proposal to study the mechanisms of Gq signaling would be funded for 2 years starting in January! Congratulations, Pravat!
- Graduate student Richard received word from Sigma Xi that his Grant-in-Aid proposal to study ACh signaling was not selected for funding. Disappointing, but with a 13% acceptance rate, the proposal was in very good company. It's also not clear if they fund any/many neuroscience-related proposals.
- Kevin's Frost Fellows proposal to test new fluorescent reporters of serotonin signaling was also declined. But, the College of Arts & Sciences reviewers felt it was worth of a small pilot grant. Hopefully Ariana José, a new PIBS rotation student starting in January, can begin work on the biology half of the project.
- Non-thesis M.S. student, Lijie Yan, officially submitted her request to transfer to the UM Biology PhD program. Good luck, Lijie!
- Research Associate, Sana Chaudhry, submitted applications to several great biomedical science PhD programs around the country. Best of luck, Sana!
- Kevin submitted an internal funding application to the Frost Institute for Chemistry and Molecular Science with Dr. James Wilson from the UM Chemistry Department. The proposal would fund work developing and testing new fluorescent reporters of the neurotransmitter, serotonin.
- Non-thesis M.S. student Lijie Yan has decided to join the lab and start doing research. She'll work with Alex to map the the mutants he isolated that disrupt uv1 cell development and mechanical activation in response to egg laying. Welcome Lijie!
- Richard submitted a grant-in-aid proposal to Sigma Xi to support his work investigating how ACh signals to regulate egg-laying behavior.
- Pravat submitted a Lois Pope life fellowship proposal to support his work investigating how Gq signals to promote synaptic transmission and egg-laying behavior.
- Kevin visited the Department of Cellular Biology at the University of Georgia. Kevin had great meetings with former Wickner lab member and current collaborator, Vinny Starai. Kevin also met with fly researcher Cordula Schulz who shared data in her cool Biorxiv pre-print investigating how serotonin and G protein signaling regulates germline proliferation. Great department and great science!
- The lab welcomes new undergraduate, Claire Moxham. Claire will be continuing Dominique and Lila's work investigating how changes in osmolarity inhibit egg-laying circuit activity and behavior.
- Pravat submitted a revised predoctoral fellowship proposal to the American Heart Association on his project investigating the biochemical consequences of Gq signaling. Fingers crossed for funding!
- The reviews on Bhavya's Go paper came back from eLife. We thank the reviewers who were generally positive on the work, although the editors did not feel the work sufficiently advanced our understanding of Go signaling, inside and outside of HSN, to merit acceptance in the paper's current form. We will work to address the reviewer's concerns and resubmit.
- Kevin gave a seminar to the UM Biology department. He gave an overview of the lab's work during the past 5 years, and what the lab hopes to address in the future. Thanks to everyone in the lab, past and present, who have helped to build a fun and productive scientific environment.
- Bhavya's new paper on GOA-1 signaling was submitted to eLife. Pre-print available for download under 'Papers' and at BioRxiv.org.
- The lab had a second joint lab meeting via video conference with the Koelle lab at Yale. Richard from the lab gave a presentation on his work on the VC neurons, while Allison from the Koelle lab talked about her identification of putative receptor gene for NLP-3 neuropeptides. Great discussions on both projects, and I think it would be great if we do this on a more frequent basis. It's worth considering whether this would work for other labs who work on the egg-laying circuit or with whom we collaborate on other projects.
- Lila completed her work in the lab as a summer research trainee. Lila investigated how changes in external osmolarity affect egg-laying behavior, and she collected some nice data suggesting the pressure gradient powers egg ejection from the uterus when the vulva opens. Great work, Lila!
- Widlyne and Karen, the lab's HHMI High School Scholars, completed their work testing how mating with males affects egg-laying behavior and whether this depends upon female age. They gave a great poster presentation sharing their results!
- The lab is pleased to welcome Karen and Widlyne, our 2019 HHMI High School Scholars. They will be investigating how males and mating influence female egg-laying behavior.
- The lab also welcomes back Lila Rosendorf, 2017 HHMI High School Scholar and current Smith College undergraduate, as the lab's 2019 NSF CAREER research scholar. Lila will be investigating how osmolarity and mechanical stretch regulate egg-laying circuit activity and behavior.
- Kevin revised and resubmitted the Copper Oxide nanomaterial paper. Manuscript here. Hopefully the reviewers will be satisfied that all of their criticsms have now been addressed.
- The lab received a Notice of Award for the NIH for the competitive renewal of the lab's collaborative R01. This award will help fund our lab's work investigating the molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter signaling in the C. elegans egg-laying behavior circuit.
- Richard, Emmanuel, Pravat, Kevin, and Bo traveled to the International Worm Meeting at UCLA. The lab received great feedback on their work and got a chance to meet with Thomas Boulin to discuss their work identifying two-pore potassium channels that regulate egg-laying behavior.
- 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.