Peachy Outreach

We had an absolute blast this morning working with local 5th graders and sharing what it’s like being a scientist! After hearing the whole school sing their Welcome Song, we were pumped to sing the praises of the daily joy of being scientists. We showed their class some vogue mutations of Drosophila, how starved ladybugs interact with scrumptious aphids, and how specimens are preserved, both by humans (herbarium press) and nature (fossils).

Here is an artistic rendition of the enterprise drawn by a talented 5th grader:

Here Jenn is answering questions after the students watched many aphids die at the hands of ladybugs. Note the variation in facial expression.

Omid discussing the process of fossilization proceeding a lively herbarium press and leaf morphological diversity discussion. It’s difficult to say who learned more, me or the students.

Cara engaging her group discussing the inspirational Ms. Frizzle and physiological consequences of common Drosophila mutations.

All in all, we’re very honored to be invited and engage with such incredibly enthusiastic 5th graders. Furthermore, we recognize how effective a welcome song is on invited guests…

Journal Club Feb 6, 2018

Please join us next Tuesday (2/6) from 12:30-2pm in Hutch 316 for Journal Club. We will continue reading papers authored by the faculty candidates. I will be presenting Dr. Geiler-Samerotte’s paper entitled: “Selection Transforms the Landscape of Genetic Variation Interacting with Hsp90”

Journal Club 01/30

As we discussed today in Journal Club, starting next week we will begin to read papers of faculty candidates aligning with their seminars.

Please join us next Tuesday (1/30) from 12:30-2pm in Hutch 316 for Journal Club. I’ll be presenting Dr. Parker’s “Genotype specificity among hosts, pathogens, and beneficial microbes influences the strength of symbiont-mediated protection” paper.

Wasp Venom Research makes the Cover of Current Biology

Nasonia parasitoids wasps, minute insects that inject venom and lay their eggs on fly pupae, are pictured in the Goergen Hall lab of Nathaniel & Helen Wisch Professor of Biology John (Jack) H. Werren May 26, 2017. Were, along with postdoctoral fellow Ellen Martinson uses the rapidly evolving venom repertoires of these parasitoid wasps (including the ectoparasitoid model Nasonia vitripennis, pictured) to investigate the question of how new genes are recruited for venom function. In contrast to expected model of gene duplication, they find that many venom genes evolve by the co-option of single copy non-venom genes. These findings could have broad implications for how new gene functions evolve, as co-option of single copy genes may be a common but relatively understudying mechanism for the evolution of new gene functions, particularly in tissues subject to rapid evolutionary change. // photo by J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

Ellen Martinson, Mrinalini, Yogeshwar Kelkar, Ching-Ho Chang, and Jack Werren’s recent paper in Current Biology was featured in the Rochester Newscenter. Their research uses wasp venom to propose a new idea about how genes can gain new functional roles. The UR write-up has great photos and a video explaining their study, check it out.