Recent News https://biology.ucdavis.edu/articles.rss Recent News for College of Biological Sciences en Wayward Ways: New Study Reveals How the Nucleus Travels https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/wayward-ways-new-study-reveals-how-nucleus-travels <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Wayward Ways: New Study Reveals How the Nucleus Travels</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <span lang="" about="/user/5451" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Greg Watry</span> </span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">September 20, 2018</span> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-primary-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/styles/sf_landscape_16x9/public/images/article/Current-Biology-Dan-Starr-College-of-Biological-Sciences-UC-Davis.jpg?h=926d89e9&amp;itok=jiA6-2LS" width="1280" height="720" alt="C. elegans" title="Using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tools, Starr created mutant versions of the worm C. elegans, focusing on parts of the genome responsible for expression of SUN and KASH proteins. He then observed how these proteins interacted during the worms’ development. ZEISS Microscopy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-sf-landscape-16x9" /> </div> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style addthis_32x32_style" addthis:url="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/articles.rss" addthis:title="Recent News" addthis:description="Quick Summary Proper positioning of the nucleus in the cell is vital for many biological processes Nuclear migration is controlled by a bridge of proteins known as the LINC complex, built by SUN and KASH proteins By mutating genes associated with these proteins, the team created a blueprint of interaction for nuclear migration From the start of life, the proper positioning of the nucleus in the cell is essential in many developmental processes, including fertilization, cell migration and neuronal and muscle development. However, many questions remain regarding how exactly the nucleus moves and repositions itself in the eukaryotic cell. A new study from UC Davis published in Current Biology helps define this process for researchers. Professor Daniel Starr, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and his colleagues at UC Berkeley and the University of Minnesota have revealed how two groups of proteins responsible for nuclear positioning—called SUN and KASH, respectively—function, providing researchers with a blueprint of interaction. “It’s a nice three-way collaboration between worm genetics, mammalian tissue culture experiments and computer modeling,” said Starr. The nuclear bridge Inside the cell, the nucleus’ anchorage and movement is controlled by a biological bridge of proteins called the linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton (LINC) complex. This bridge of SUN and KASH proteins connects structures inside the nucleus to those outside of the nucleus. According to Starr, the LINC complex is conserved across all eukaryotic species, indicating that it’s a fundamental part of eukaryotic biology.  In mammals, SUN and KASH protein groups are integral to many biological functions, including skin, retina, hair cell, sperm and muscle development and homologous chromosome pairing. Their dysfunctions can lead to sterility, blindness, autism and cancer, to name a few negative impacts. Previously, structural biologists identified the LINC complex’s structure, predicting the functions of the SUN and KASH proteins comprising it. According to Starr, the SUN proteins in this complex are positioned along the inner nuclear membrane while KASH proteins sit on the outer nuclear membrane. These two protein groups interact with each other to form the LINC complex and to achieve anchorage or movement. “The LINC complex evolved at the same time as the nuclear envelope and was probably present in the last eukaryotic common ancestor,” said Starr. “Even today, we don’t understand how this machine is put together or how it’s regulated during development.” A graphical abstract from the study shows how the proteins and residues comprising the LINC complex are involved in nuclear anchorage and movement. Current BiologyWorms, mice and computers Using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tools, Starr created mutant versions of the worm C. elegans, focusing on parts of the genome responsible for expression of SUN and KASH proteins. He then observed how these proteins interacted during the worms’ development. Starr and colleagues found that the worms used a KASH protein called UNC-83 for movement and another called ANC-1 for anchorage in the cytoskeleton. Both UNC-83 and ANC-1 interacted with a SUN protein called UNC-84 to achieve movement and anchorage, respectively. “So earlier in development, UNC-84 needs to interact with UNC-83 to move the nucleus along the cell’s microtubules, and then later in development, UNC-84 needs to interact with ANC-1 to anchor the nucleus,” said Starr.  Additionally, the team confirmed the importance of cysteine residues, which form bonds between SUN and KASH proteins, in the LINC complex. The Starr lab hypothesized that if these residues existed in the worm, regulation of the SUN and KASH bond could be the key to controlling developmental switches between nuclear migration and anchorage. Starr’s lab found that mutating the conserved residues disrupted SUN and KASH function in worms. According to Starr, University of Minnesota colleagues tested the same hypothesis but in mammalian tissue cell cultures. When they mimicked mutations made in Starr’s lab, they discovered mammalian cells also exhibited disruptions in nuclear positioning. UC Berkeley colleagues then used computer simulations to predict the interactions of all the atoms involved in this cellular process. The models confirmed the importance of cysteine’s role in mediating mechanical forces required to move and anchor nuclei.   What’s calling the shots? While the study creates a blueprint of the nuclear migration and anchorage processes, researchers still don’t know how the cell regulates these decisions. “There’s a bunch of potential players in the nuclear envelope that could be doing that,” said Starr, noting several enzymes and chaperone proteins in the cell. “The structure predicted that the cysteines were important and we tested and showed that it is important. Now the question is, how is the cell regulating the interactions? And what is the cell doing to make and break those bonds?”     The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Dystonia Medical Research Foundation and American Cancer Society Illinois Division.   "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook"></a> <script> var addthis_share = { templates: { twitter: "From the start of life, the proper positioning of the nucleus in the cell is essential in many developmental processes, including fertilization, cell migration and neuronal and muscle development." } } </script> <a class="addthis_button_twitter"></a> <a class="addthis_button_google_plusone_share"></a> <a class="addthis_button_email"></a> <a class="addthis_button_compact"></a> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><aside class="wysiwyg-feature-block u-width--half u-align--right"><h3 class="wysiwyg-feature-block__title">Quick Summary</h3> <div class="wysiwyg-feature-block__body"> <ul><li><em><strong>Proper positioning of the nucleus in the cell is vital for many biological processes</strong></em></li> <li><em><strong>Nuclear migration is controlled by a bridge of proteins known as the LINC complex, built by SUN and KASH proteins</strong></em></li> <li><em><strong>By mutating genes associated with these proteins, the team created a blueprint of interaction for nuclear migration</strong></em></li> </ul></div> </aside><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>From the start of life, the proper positioning of the nucleus in the cell is essential in many developmental processes, </span></span></span></span></span></span><span><span><span><span><span><span>including fertilization, cell migration and neuronal and muscle development. However, many questions remain regarding how exactly the nucleus moves and repositions itself in the eukaryotic cell. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>A new study from UC Davis published in <em><a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(18)31046-7">Current Biology</a> </em>helps define this process for researchers. Professor Daniel Starr, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and his colleagues at UC Berkeley and the University of Minnesota have revealed how two groups of proteins responsible for nuclear positioning—called SUN and KASH, respectively—function, providing researchers with a blueprint of interaction.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“It’s a nice three-way collaboration between worm genetics, mammalian tissue culture experiments and computer modeling,” said Starr.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>The nuclear bridge</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Inside the cell, the nucleus’ anchorage and movement is controlled by a biological bridge of proteins called the <em>linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton</em> (LINC) complex. This bridge of SUN and KASH proteins connects structures inside the nucleus to those outside of the nucleus. According to Starr, the LINC complex is conserved across all eukaryotic species, indicating that it’s a fundamental part of eukaryotic biology.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>In mammals, SUN and KASH protein groups are integral to many biological functions, including skin, retina, hair cell, sperm and muscle development and homologous chromosome pairing. Their dysfunctions can lead to sterility, blindness, autism and cancer, to name a few negative impacts. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Previously, structural biologists identified the LINC complex’s structure, predicting the functions of the SUN and KASH proteins comprising it. According to Starr, the SUN<em> </em>proteins in this complex are positioned along the inner nuclear membrane while KASH<em> </em>proteins sit on the outer nuclear membrane. These two protein groups interact with each other to form the LINC complex and to achieve anchorage or movement. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“The LINC complex evolved at the same time as the nuclear envelope and was probably present in the last eukaryotic common ancestor,” said Starr. “Even today, we don’t understand how this machine is put together or how it’s regulated during development.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img align-right"><img alt="Abstract graphic of study" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="6da98fc7-83e9-4990-8874-97311b804df2" height="605" src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/inline-images/Graphic-Dan-Starr-Current-Biology-College-of-Biological-Sciences-UC-Davis.jpg" width="468" /><figcaption>A graphical abstract from the study shows how the proteins and residues comprising the LINC complex are involved in nuclear anchorage and movement. Current Biology</figcaption></figure><h4><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>Worms, mice and computers</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tools, Starr created mutant versions of the worm <em>C. elegans</em>, focusing on parts of the genome responsible for expression of SUN and KASH proteins. He then observed how these proteins interacted during the worms’ development.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Starr and colleagues found that the worms used a KASH protein called UNC-83 for movement and another called ANC-1<em> </em>for anchorage in the cytoskeleton. Both UNC-83 and ANC-1 interacted with a SUN protein called UNC-84 to achieve movement and anchorage, respectively. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“So earlier in development, UNC-84 needs to interact with UNC-83 to move the nucleus along the cell’s <span><span><a href="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/understanding-traffic-congestion-shifting-roadways-cell-division">microtubules</a></span></span>, and then later in development, UNC-84 needs to interact with ANC-1 to anchor the nucleus,” said Starr.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Additionally, the team confirmed the importance of cysteine residues, which form bonds between SUN<em> </em>and KASH<em> </em>proteins, in the LINC complex. The Starr lab hypothesized that if these residues existed in the worm, regulation of the SUN and KASH bond could be the key to controlling developmental switches between nuclear migration and anchorage. Starr’s lab found that mutating the conserved residues disrupted SUN and KASH function in worms.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>According to Starr, University of Minnesota colleagues tested the same hypothesis but in mammalian tissue cell cultures. When they mimicked mutations made in Starr’s lab, they discovered mammalian cells also exhibited disruptions in nuclear positioning. UC Berkeley colleagues then used computer simulations to predict the interactions of all the atoms involved in this cellular process. The models confirmed the importance of cysteine’s role in mediating mechanical forces required to move and anchor nuclei.   </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>What’s calling the shots?</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>While the study creates a blueprint of the nuclear migration and anchorage processes, researchers still don’t know how the cell regulates these decisions. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“There’s a bunch of potential players in the nuclear envelope that could be doing that,” said Starr, noting several enzymes and chaperone proteins in the cell. “The structure predicted that the cysteines were important and we tested and showed that it is important. Now the question is, how is the cell regulating the interactions? And what is the cell doing to make and break those bonds?”     </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Dystonia Medical Research Foundation and American Cancer Society Illinois Division.   </span></span></span></span></span></span></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-article-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Category</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/articles/genetics-microbiology" hreflang="en">Genetics and Microbiology</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/molecular-and-cellular-biology" hreflang="en">Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/cell-biology" hreflang="en">cell biology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/chromosome-dynamics-and-nuclear-function" hreflang="en">Chromosome Dynamics and Nuclear Function</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/proteins" hreflang="en">proteins</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/biochemistry-molecular-cellular-and-developmental-biology-graduate-group" hreflang="en">Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Graduate Group</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/integrative-genetics-and-genomics-graduate-group" hreflang="en">Integrative Genetics and Genomics Graduate Group</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/model-organisms" hreflang="en">model organisms</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/nuclear-migration" hreflang="en">nuclear migration</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/nucleus" hreflang="en">nucleus</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/computer-modeling" hreflang="en">computer modeling</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/cytoskeleton" hreflang="en">cytoskeleton</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/developmental-biology" hreflang="en">Developmental Biology</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 15:13:03 +0000 Greg Watry 2676 at https://biology.ucdavis.edu Discovering Curiosity: Eric Sanford Discusses How Marine Science and Sustainable Fisheries Go Hand in Hand https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/discovering-curiosity-eric-sanford-discusses-how-marine-science-and-sustainable-fisheries-go <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Discovering Curiosity: Eric Sanford Discusses How Marine Science and Sustainable Fisheries Go Hand in Hand </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <span lang="" about="/user/5451" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Greg Watry</span> </span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">September 18, 2018</span> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-primary-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/styles/sf_landscape_16x9/public/images/article/Eric-Sanford-Bodega-Marine-Lab-College-of-Biological-Sciences-UC-Davis.jpg?h=5a7fb59d&amp;itok=22DdGnJ2" width="1280" height="720" alt="Eric Sanford teaches a class of students. " title="Since receiving his Ph.D., Eric Sanford said his research has followed in the footsteps of his mentors, merging basic research with ocean conservation. Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-sf-landscape-16x9" /> </div> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style addthis_32x32_style" addthis:url="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/articles.rss" addthis:title="Recent News" addthis:description="Quick Summary Professor Eric Sanford uses red abalone to study how climate change affects our oceans Sanford works with shellfish industry businesses to promote sustainable aquaculture practices Northern California red abalone, according to Sanford, may be better equipped to handle ocean acidification   Outside Eric Sanford’s office window, foamy waters crash against rocky shores and open up to the expansive blue of the Pacific Ocean. Here, at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, Sanford and colleagues in his lab work to understand how ocean acidification is changing the ecology and evolution of the planet’s marine life. “The story behind ocean acidification, in a nutshell, is that as humans have added more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, some of that has been soaked up by the oceans and that has changed their chemistry,” said Sanford, a professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis. “And so the question is, as oceans become more acidic, how does that impact marine animals that have hard shells and skeletons, like oysters, clams, sea urchins and red abalone?” Since joining the UC Davis faculty in 2004, Sanford and colleagues have worked closely with shellfish industry businesses—like the Hog Island Oyster Company in Marshall, Calif. and the Cultured Abalone Farm in Santa Barbara, Calif.—to promote sustainable aquaculture for ecologically and economically important coastal species. Such businesses recognize the importance of sustainable aquaculture, which has been an economic driver in California since the late 1800s.  Part of Sanford’s current focus is on red abalone (Haliotis rufescens). Though it is the most commonly found abalone in Northern California, the species is struggling to survive in a rapidly changing climate. In late 2017, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife instituted a moratorium on the red abalone fishery for 2018 “due to ongoing extreme environmental conditions.”             “With the red abalone that we’re studying now, when you raise them under more acidified ocean conditions, fewer of their early life stages survive and the ones that do survive are smaller,” said Sanford. “So this is a potential problem for the abalone fishery and for abalone growers.” Developing an interest in marine invertebrates For as long as Sanford can remember, he’s been drawn to the ocean and marine life. Raised in Massachusetts, he and his family vacationed in Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. His parents encouraged his passion for natural history and the outdoors. That sense of encouragement Sanford felt as a child is something he cultivates in his own classes at the Bodega Marine Laboratory. Bodega Marine Laboratory students spend a morning in the tide pools. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to spend a summer taking classes and conducting research at the lab. David Slipher/UC Davis“There’s something about teaching smaller classes out here at the marine lab, where you can just walk right outside the door and take the students out into the tide pool and show them the animals that they’re learning about in class,” said Sanford. “That sort of experience for a lot of students is a very different way of learning and really turns them on to the thrill of science.”   Marine invertebrates first caught Sanford’s attention while he was a sophomore at Brown University. There, he took a course on invertebrate zoology and learned about marine animals that lack a backbone, from shellfish and sea stars to octopuses and jellyfish. He delved further into academia, enrolling in a zoology Ph.D. program at Oregon State University, where he was advised by Distinguished Professor Jane Lubchenco and Professor Bruce Menge, both of the Department of Integrative Biology. “That was a great partnership because Bruce has traditionally been very involved in basic research, like understanding how oceans work, and Jane is a pioneer in ocean conservation who was recently the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under the Obama Administration,” said Sanford. Since receiving his Ph.D., Sanford said his research has followed in the footsteps of his mentors, merging basic research with ocean conservation. And he’s at the perfect location to conduct such work. “This whole coastline of California is just extremely rich and productive in terms of marine life and fisheries,” he said. “Those are the things that attracted me to coming to Davis and working at the Bodega Marine Laboratory.” The red abalone of Northern California For shellfish—like oysters, mussels and abalone—ocean acidification adversely affects their development. These creatures secrete shells of calcium carbonate throughout their lifecycles. As the chemistry of the ocean shifts to more corrosive conditions, it becomes more difficult for shellfish to produce their shells. But the red abalone of Northern California may be more tolerant to lower pH levels. “Certain parts of the coast, like where we are in Northern California, have historically been exposed naturally to lower pH as a result of a process called coastal upwelling,” said Sanford. “In the spring and summer, you get water that comes off the bottom that’s cold and nutrient-rich, but it’s also lower in pH.” Lower pH-resistant red abalone could help bolster the shellfish economy. “If that’s the case then our partners down at the Cultured Abalone Farm in Santa Barbara would be really interested to know that because they collect wild animals and bring them to their farm and then breed them,” said Sanford. “Therefore, they’d be producing animals in their farm that would be more robust in the face of these changes that we’re experiencing in the ocean.” Sanford and colleagues at the Bodega Marine Laboratory will continue their work with ecologically and economically important species in California, fueled by a passion for conservation, foundational research and the ocean.     Bodega Marine Laboratory students and Professor Eric Sanford check out a small octopus during a morning of tide pooling on the Sonoma Coast. Jacqueline Sones/UC Davis "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook"></a> <script> var addthis_share = { templates: { twitter: "Since joining the UC Davis faculty in 2004, Eric Sanford has worked closely with shellfish industry businesses to promote sustainable aquaculture for ecologically and economically important coastal species." } } </script> <a class="addthis_button_twitter"></a> <a class="addthis_button_google_plusone_share"></a> <a class="addthis_button_email"></a> <a class="addthis_button_compact"></a> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><aside class="wysiwyg-feature-block u-width--half u-align--right"><h3 class="wysiwyg-feature-block__title">Quick Summary</h3> <div class="wysiwyg-feature-block__body"> <ul><li><em><strong>Professor Eric Sanford uses red abalone to study how climate change affects our oceans</strong></em></li> <li><em><strong>Sanford works with shellfish industry businesses to promote sustainable aquaculture practices </strong></em></li> <li><em><strong>Northern California red abalone, according to Sanford, may be better equipped to handle ocean acidification   </strong></em></li> </ul></div> </aside><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Outside Eric Sanford’s office window, foamy waters crash against rocky shores and open up to the expansive blue of the </span></span></span></span></span></span><span><span><span><span><span><span>Pacific Ocean. Here, at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, Sanford and colleagues in his <span><span><a href="http://bml.ucdavis.edu/research/faculty/eric-sanford/">lab</a></span></span> work to understand how <span><span><a href="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/ocean-acidification">ocean acidification</a></span></span> is changing the ecology and evolution of the planet’s marine life. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <blockquote> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“The story behind ocean acidification, in a nutshell, is that as humans have added more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, some of that has been soaked up by the oceans and that has changed their chemistry,” said Sanford, a professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis. “And so the question is, as oceans become more acidic, how does that impact marine animals that have hard shells and skeletons, like oysters, clams, sea urchins and red abalone?”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> </blockquote> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Since joining the UC Davis faculty in 2004, Sanford and colleagues have worked closely with shellfish industry businesses—like the Hog Island Oyster Company in Marshall, Calif. and the Cultured Abalone Farm in Santa Barbara, Calif.—to promote sustainable aquaculture for ecologically and economically important coastal species. Such businesses recognize the importance of <a href="https://www.ucdavis.edu/food/aquaculture-aquaponics">sustainable aquaculture</a>, which has been an <span><span>economic driver in California since the late 1800s</span></span>.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Part of Sanford’s current focus is on red abalone (<em>Haliotis rufescens</em>). Though it is the most commonly found abalone in Northern California, the species is struggling to survive in a rapidly changing climate. In late 2017, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife instituted a moratorium on the red abalone fishery for 2018 “<span><span><a href="https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/red-abalone-fmp">due to ongoing extreme environmental conditions</a></span></span>.”            </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“With the red abalone that we’re studying now, when you raise them under more acidified ocean conditions, fewer of their early life stages survive and the ones that do survive are smaller,” said Sanford. “So this is a potential problem for the abalone fishery and for abalone growers.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>Developing an interest in marine invertebrates</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>For as long as Sanford can remember, he’s been drawn to the ocean and marine life. Raised in Massachusetts, he and his family vacationed in Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. His parents encouraged his passion for natural history and the outdoors. That sense of encouragement Sanford felt as a child is something he cultivates in his own classes at the Bodega Marine Laboratory. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img align-right"><img alt="Summer session students tide pool" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1c67080e-c414-453e-91f9-9a817b2cb47c" height="367" src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/inline-images/Tide-Pools-Bodega-Marine-Lab-College-of-Biological-Sciences-UC-Davis-2.jpg" width="551" /><figcaption>Bodega Marine Laboratory students spend a morning in the tide pools. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to spend a summer taking classes and conducting research at the lab. David Slipher/UC Davis</figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“There’s something about teaching smaller classes out here at the marine lab, where you can just walk right outside the </span></span></span></span></span></span><span><span><span><span><span><span>door and take the students out into the tide pool and show them the animals that they’re learning about in class,” said Sanford. “That sort of experience for a lot of students is a very different way of learning and really turns them on to the thrill of science.”   </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Marine invertebrates first caught Sanford’s attention while he was a sophomore at Brown University. There, he took a course on invertebrate zoology and learned about marine animals that lack a backbone, from shellfish and sea stars to octopuses and jellyfish. He delved further into academia, enrolling in a zoology Ph.D. program at Oregon State University, where he was advised by Distinguished Professor Jane Lubchenco and Professor Bruce Menge, both of the Department of Integrative Biology.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“That was a great partnership because Bruce has traditionally been very involved in basic research, like understanding how oceans work, and Jane is a pioneer in ocean conservation who was recently the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under the Obama Administration,” said Sanford. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Since receiving his Ph.D., Sanford said his research has followed in the footsteps of his mentors, merging basic research with ocean conservation. And he’s at the perfect location to conduct such work. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <blockquote> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“This whole coastline of California is just extremely rich and productive in terms of marine life and fisheries,” he said. “Those are the things that attracted me to coming to Davis and working at the Bodega Marine Laboratory.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> </blockquote> <h4><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>The red abalone of Northern California</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>For shellfish—like oysters, mussels and abalone—ocean acidification adversely affects their development. These creatures secrete shells of calcium carbonate throughout their lifecycles. As the chemistry of the ocean shifts to more corrosive conditions, it becomes more difficult for shellfish to produce their shells. But the red abalone of Northern California may be more tolerant to lower pH levels.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“Certain parts of the coast, like where we are in Northern California, have historically been exposed naturally to lower pH as a result of a process called coastal upwelling,” said Sanford. “In the spring and summer, you get water that comes off the bottom that’s cold and nutrient-rich, but it’s also lower in pH.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Lower pH-resistant red abalone could help bolster the shellfish economy.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“If that’s the case then our partners down at the Cultured Abalone Farm in Santa Barbara would be really interested to know that because they collect wild animals and bring them to their farm and then breed them,” said Sanford. “Therefore, they’d be producing animals in their farm that would be more robust in the face of these changes that we’re experiencing in the ocean.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Sanford and colleagues at the Bodega Marine Laboratory will continue their work with ecologically and economically important species in California, fueled by a passion for conservation, foundational research and the ocean.    </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img align-left"><img alt="Eric Sanford's students check out a small octopus" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="93e54eb2-ed24-4983-8b98-f7f6f05de22a" src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/inline-images/Eric-Sanford-Class-Tide-Pool-College-of-Biological-Sciences-UC-Davis.jpg" /><figcaption>Bodega Marine Laboratory students and Professor Eric Sanford check out a small octopus during a morning of tide pooling on the Sonoma Coast. Jacqueline Sones/UC Davis</figcaption></figure><p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-article-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Category</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/articles/ecology-environment" hreflang="en">Ecology and Environment</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/evolution-and-ecology" hreflang="en">Department of Evolution and Ecology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/center-population-biology" hreflang="en">Center for Population Biology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/coastal-and-marine-sciences-institute" hreflang="en">Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/bodega-marine-lab" hreflang="en">Bodega Marine Lab</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/marine-science" hreflang="en">marine science</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/abalone" hreflang="en">abalone</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/fisheries" hreflang="en">fisheries</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/climate-change" hreflang="en">climate change</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/ocean-acidification" hreflang="en">ocean acidification</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/discovering-curiosity" hreflang="en">Discovering Curiosity</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 18 Sep 2018 16:00:52 +0000 Greg Watry 2671 at https://biology.ucdavis.edu Mariel Vazquez Explores the Mathematics of DNA Shapes https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/mariel-vazquez-discusses-mathematics-shape-dna <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Mariel Vazquez Explores the Mathematics of DNA Shapes</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <span lang="" about="/user/5451" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Greg Watry</span> </span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">September 17, 2018</span> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-primary-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/styles/sf_landscape_16x9/public/images/article/UC-Davis-College-of-Biological-Sciences-DNA-knot.png?h=997d8e7e&amp;itok=KPq8Z7-m" width="1280" height="720" alt="DNA knot as seen under the electron microscope" title="DNA knot as seen under the electron microscope. Javier Arsuaga, CC BY-ND" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-sf-landscape-16x9" /> </div> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style addthis_32x32_style" addthis:url="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/articles.rss" addthis:title="Recent News" addthis:description="Did you know that DNA can change its shape? In an article featured in The Conversation, Professor Mariel Vazquez, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, discusses the mathematics of the shape of DNA. Read further in &quot;Math shows how DNA twists, turns and zips.&quot;"> <a class="addthis_button_facebook"></a> <script> var addthis_share = { templates: { twitter: "Did you know that DNA can change its shape? Mariel Vazquez discusses the mathematics of the shape of DNA in an article featured in The Conversation." } } </script> <a class="addthis_button_twitter"></a> <a class="addthis_button_google_plusone_share"></a> <a class="addthis_button_email"></a> <a class="addthis_button_compact"></a> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Did you know that DNA can change its shape? In an article featured in <em>The Conversation, </em>Professor Mariel Vazquez, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, discusses the mathematics of the shape of DNA. Read further in "<a href="https://theconversation.com/math-shows-how-dna-twists-turns-and-unzips-95989">Math shows how DNA twists, turns and zips.</a>"</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-article-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Category</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/articles/genetics-microbiology" hreflang="en">Genetics and Microbiology</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/microbiology-and-molecular-genetics" hreflang="en">Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/mathematics" hreflang="en">mathematics</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/dna" hreflang="en">DNA</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/cells" hreflang="en">cells</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/chromosomes" hreflang="en">chromosomes</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/mitochondria" hreflang="en">mitochondria</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/bacteria" hreflang="en">bacteria</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/cell-division-and-cytoskeleton" hreflang="en">Cell Division and the Cytoskeleton</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 17 Sep 2018 15:29:26 +0000 Greg Watry 2656 at https://biology.ucdavis.edu Students from Jonathan Eisen's Lab Tell the Story of Microbial Symbiosis to Young Minds https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/students-jonathan-eisens-lab-tell-story-microbial-symbiosis-young-minds <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Students from Jonathan Eisen&#039;s Lab Tell the Story of Microbial Symbiosis to Young Minds</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <span lang="" about="/user/5451" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Greg Watry</span> </span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">September 07, 2018</span> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-primary-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/styles/sf_landscape_16x9/public/images/article/UC-Davis-College-of-Biological-Sciences-Jonathan-Eisen-Frontiers-Children.jpg?h=894e10f1&amp;itok=9YnkWnGT" width="1280" height="720" alt="Cartoon of a child and squid" title="Frontiers for Young minds" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-sf-landscape-16x9" /> </div> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style addthis_32x32_style" addthis:url="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/articles.rss" addthis:title="Recent News" addthis:description="In an article appearing in Frontiers for Young Minds, students of Professor Jonathan Eisen, Department of Evolution and Ecology, recount three tales of microbial symbiosis using superheroes from the animal kingdom. Frontiers for Young Minds is a journal that connects scientists and younger audiences &quot;to create articles that are both accurate and exciting.&quot; Read about these amazing interactions in &quot;Even Superheroes Need Help Sometimes: Three Incredible Tales of Microbial Symbiosis.&quot; "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook"></a> <script> var addthis_share = { templates: { twitter: "In an article appearing in Frontiers for Young Minds, students of Professor Jonathan Eisen, Department of Evolution and Ecology, recount three tales of microbial symbiosis using superheroes from the animal kingdom." } } </script> <a class="addthis_button_twitter"></a> <a class="addthis_button_google_plusone_share"></a> <a class="addthis_button_email"></a> <a class="addthis_button_compact"></a> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>In an article appearing in <em>Frontiers for Young Minds, </em>students of Professor Jonathan Eisen, Department of Evolution and Ecology, recount three tales of microbial symbiosis using superheroes from the animal kingdom. <em>Frontiers for Young Minds </em>is a journal that connects scientists and younger audiences "to create articles that are both accurate and exciting." Read about these amazing interactions in "<a href="https://kids.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/frym.2018.00050#.W5H_oduNMf4.twitter">Even Superheroes Need Help Sometimes: Three Incredible Tales of Microbial Symbiosis</a>." </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-article-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Category</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/articles/ecology-environment" hreflang="en">Ecology and Environment</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/evolution-and-ecology" hreflang="en">Department of Evolution and Ecology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/genome-center" hreflang="en">Genome Center</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/center-population-biology" hreflang="en">Center for Population Biology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/microbes" hreflang="en">microbes</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/symbiosis" hreflang="en">symbiosis</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/parasitism" hreflang="en">parasitism</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/graduate-student-news" hreflang="en">Graduate Student News</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/undergraduate-student-news" hreflang="en">Undergraduate Student News</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 07 Sep 2018 17:15:29 +0000 Greg Watry 2631 at https://biology.ucdavis.edu UC Davis Receives $1 Million From Keck Foundation Following Virus Discovery https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/uc-davis-receives-1-million-keck-foundation-following-virus-discovery <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">UC Davis Receives $1 Million From Keck Foundation Following Virus Discovery </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <span lang="" about="/user/11656" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Katherine Lee</span> </span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">September 06, 2018</span> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-primary-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/styles/sf_landscape_16x9/public/images/article/UC-Davis-College-of-Biological-Sciences-Priya-Shah-Keck-Foundation.jpg?h=c71d0c67&amp;itok=2u5X-mWj" width="1280" height="720" alt="Priya Shah stands with colleagues" title="The UC Davis research team represents the colleges of Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Agricultural and Environmental Sciences" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-sf-landscape-16x9" /> </div> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style addthis_32x32_style" addthis:url="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/articles.rss" addthis:title="Recent News" addthis:description=" Researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Alberta, Canada, have made preliminary discoveries about how Zika and hepatitis C viruses reproduce at the cellular level, providing new insight into a family of viruses that also includes West Nile and dengue. Now their cutting-edge research will be supported by a $1 million grant from the prestigious W.M. Keck Foundation. The foundation primarily focuses on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical research, science and engineering, and undergraduate education. The research has the potential to lead to new, more effective antiviral drug treatments. Millions of people could ultimately benefit, with 3.5 million cases of hepatitis C in the U.S. alone, 40 percent of the global population at risk for dengue fever (resulting in 390 million infections per year) and Zika emerging as a viral threat. The recipients are UC Davis assistant professors Ben Montpetit of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Priya Shah of the College of Biological Sciences and College of Engineering, and Associate Professor Christopher Fraser of the College of Biological Sciences, with partner Professor Richard Wozniak at the University of Alberta. “Receiving this award was a big moment for us, especially since most of us are at an early stage in our careers as assistant or associate professors. This support speaks to the Keck Foundation’s important mission; they are willing to invest in young people and novel ideas, and give those things a chance,” said Montpetit, a cell biologist who will lead the three-year study. “These findings could pave the way for the development of antiviral drugs that will better target the specific virus behavior we have discovered, which until now has been overlooked,” said Shah, who specializes in the study of virus biology. “This could help the millions of people affected by this particular family of viruses — the Flaviviridae virus family — and especially help prevent deaths in children and the elderly, who are more susceptible to the dangerous side effects of the fever associated with infection.” Next steps fueled by UC Davis’ culture of interdisciplinary collaboration Montpetit began his work with Wozniak during a previous appointment at the University of Alberta, where they made the initial discovery of the novel behavior of the Flaviviridae family of viruses. Long established research suggested flaviviruses replicate only in the cytoplasm of a host cell, but the research team’s findings now indicate a critical role for the host cell’s nucleus in virus production. This sets the stage for a more complete understanding of these viruses and the development of targeted viral treatments that will more successfully suppress the virus or even completely stop it from replicating. The initial findings are expected to be published within the year.  Meanwhile, the research has continued at UC Davis with Shah and Fraser added to the team. Shah will allow the team to seek answers from a systemwide view of how host cells and viruses interact, while Fraser will focus on the molecular mechanics that explain why the virus needs to go into the nucleus of the host cell to reproduce. “To further the research, we needed to assemble a team that had expertise in various areas that would allow us to quickly go after the major questions this project pursues,” Fraser said. In addition to receiving financial support from the Keck Foundation and all of the colleges involved, as well as the UC Davis Office of Research, the research team will leverage interdisciplinary UC research facilities, known as “core facilities,” in imaging, proteomics and genomics, to continue their work this fall. “Traditional government funding sources simply would not fund such novel and potential paradigm-shifting studies in their infancy, so this project would not be possible without support from the Keck Foundation and the support of UC Davis’ collaborative culture,” said Fraser. “We are incredibly grateful for the chance to continue research that could ultimately save lives.” About the W.M. Keck Foundation Based in Los Angeles, the W.M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late W.M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company. The foundation’s grant making is focused primarily on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical, science and engineering research. The foundation also maintains an undergraduate education program that promotes distinctive learning and research experiences for students in the sciences and in the liberal arts, and a Southern California Grant Program that provides support for the Los Angeles community, with a special emphasis on children and youth from low-income families, special needs populations and safety-net services. For more information, please visit www.wmkeck.org. Media contact(s) Laura Pizzo, Development and Alumni Relations, 530-750-9291, lpizzo@ucdavis.edu This story originally appeared on the University News website. "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook"></a> <script> var addthis_share = { templates: { twitter: "Researchers at UC Davis and the University of Alberta, Canada, have made preliminary discoveries about how Zika and hepatitis C viruses reproduce at the cellular level, providing new insight into a family of viruses that also includes West Nile and dengue." } } </script> <a class="addthis_button_twitter"></a> <a class="addthis_button_google_plusone_share"></a> <a class="addthis_button_email"></a> <a class="addthis_button_compact"></a> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div> <div> <div> <div> <div> <p>Researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Alberta, Canada, have made preliminary discoveries about how Zika and hepatitis C viruses reproduce at the cellular level, providing new insight into a family of viruses that also includes West Nile and dengue. Now their cutting-edge research will be supported by a $1 million grant from the prestigious W.M. Keck Foundation. The foundation primarily focuses on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical research, science and engineering, and undergraduate education.</p> <p>The research has the potential to lead to new, more effective antiviral drug treatments. Millions of people could ultimately benefit, with 3.5 million cases of hepatitis C in the U.S. alone, 40 percent of the global population at risk for dengue fever (resulting in 390 million infections per year) and Zika emerging as a viral threat.</p> <p>The recipients are UC Davis assistant professors Ben Montpetit of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Priya Shah of the College of Biological Sciences and College of Engineering, and Associate Professor Christopher Fraser of the College of Biological Sciences, with partner Professor Richard Wozniak at the University of Alberta.</p> <p>“Receiving this award was a big moment for us, especially since most of us are at an early stage in our careers as assistant or associate professors. This support speaks to the Keck Foundation’s important mission; they are willing to invest in young people and novel ideas, and give those things a chance,” said Montpetit, a cell biologist who will lead the three-year study.</p> <p>“These findings could pave the way for the development of antiviral drugs that will better target the specific virus behavior we have discovered, which until now has been overlooked,” said Shah, who specializes in the study of virus biology. “This could help the millions of people affected by this particular family of viruses — the <em>Flaviviridae</em> virus family — and especially help prevent deaths in children and the elderly, who are more susceptible to the dangerous side effects of the fever associated with infection.”</p> <h4>Next steps fueled by UC Davis’ culture of interdisciplinary collaboration</h4> <p>Montpetit began his work with Wozniak during a previous appointment at the University of Alberta, where they made the initial discovery of the novel behavior of the <em>Flaviviridae</em> family of viruses.</p> <p>Long established research suggested flaviviruses replicate only in the cytoplasm of a host cell, but the research team’s findings now indicate a critical role for the host cell’s nucleus in virus production. This sets the stage for a more complete understanding of these viruses and the development of targeted viral treatments that will more successfully suppress the virus or even completely stop it from replicating. The initial findings are expected to be published within the year. </p> <p>Meanwhile, the research has continued at UC Davis with Shah and Fraser added to the team. Shah will allow the team to seek answers from a systemwide view of how host cells and viruses interact, while Fraser will focus on the molecular mechanics that explain why the virus needs to go into the nucleus of the host cell to reproduce.</p> <p>“To further the research, we needed to assemble a team that had expertise in various areas that would allow us to quickly go after the major questions this project pursues,” Fraser said.</p> <p>In addition to receiving financial support from the Keck Foundation and all of the colleges involved, as well as the UC Davis Office of Research, the research team will leverage interdisciplinary UC research facilities, known as “core facilities,” in imaging, proteomics and genomics, to continue their work this fall.</p> <p>“Traditional government funding sources simply would not fund such novel and potential paradigm-shifting studies in their infancy, so this project would not be possible without support from the Keck Foundation and the support of UC Davis’ collaborative culture,” said Fraser. “We are incredibly grateful for the chance to continue research that could ultimately save lives.”</p> <h4>About the W.M. Keck Foundation</h4> <p>Based in Los Angeles, the W.M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late W.M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company. The foundation’s grant making is focused primarily on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical, science and engineering research. The foundation also maintains an undergraduate education program that promotes distinctive learning and research experiences for students in the sciences and in the liberal arts, and a Southern California Grant Program that provides support for the Los Angeles community, with a special emphasis on children and youth from low-income families, special needs populations and safety-net services. For more information, please visit <a href="http://www.wmkeck.org/">www.wmkeck.org</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div> <div> <div> <h2>Media contact(s)</h2> <p class="media-contacts"><a href="https://www.ucdavis.edu/person/articles/23786">Laura Pizzo</a>, Development and Alumni Relations, 530-750-9291, lpizzo@ucdavis.edu</p> <p class="media-contacts"><em><strong>This story originally appeared on the <a href="https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/uc-davis-receives-1-million-keck-foundation-following-virus-discovery">University News</a> website. </strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div></div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-article-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Category</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/articles/human-animal-health" hreflang="en">Human and Animal Health</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/microbiology-and-molecular-genetics" hreflang="en">Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/college-engineering" hreflang="en">College of Engineering</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/women-stem" hreflang="en">Women in STEM</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/viruses" hreflang="en">viruses</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/virology" hreflang="en">virology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/zika-virus" hreflang="en">Zika virus</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/dengue" hreflang="en">Dengue</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/college-agricultural-and-environmental-sciences" hreflang="en">College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/hepatitis-c" hreflang="en">hepatitis C</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/human-disease" hreflang="en">human disease</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 06 Sep 2018 17:05:36 +0000 Katherine Lee 2626 at https://biology.ucdavis.edu Philipp Zerbe Receives Young Investigator Award from Phytochemical Society of North America https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/philipp-zerbe-receives-young-investigator-award-phytochemical-society-north-america <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Philipp Zerbe Receives Young Investigator Award from Phytochemical Society of North America</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <span lang="" about="/user/5451" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Greg Watry</span> </span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">September 04, 2018</span> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-primary-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/styles/sf_landscape_16x9/public/images/article/UC-Davis-College-of-Biological-Sciences-Philipp-Zerbe-Lab.jpg?h=3736d7f2&amp;itok=Hx0joVoH" width="1280" height="720" alt="Zerbe stands with graduate students Katie Murphy and Prema Karunanithi" title="Zerbe and graduate students Katie Murphy and Prema Karunanithi hand pollinate corn hybrids. David Slipher/UC Davis" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-sf-landscape-16x9" /> </div> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style addthis_32x32_style" addthis:url="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/taxonomy/term/1451/feed" addthis:title="" addthis:description="Quick Summary Funding from the award will go towards Zerbe&#039;s research on the defensive chemical strategies of plants He plans on trying to identify which compounds are best suited to fight against specific pathogens Zerbe will present his research findings at the 58th Annual Meeting of the PSNA In a world facing rapid environmental change, securing the health of food crops is a top priority. And while plants have evolved sophisticated ways to adapt to shifting environments, increasing climate-driven crop damage causes much reason for concern.   “Our crops can’t keep up,” said Assistant Professor Philipp Zerbe, Department of Plant Biology. “The rate with which environmental pressures are changing is outpacing the adaptive capacity of many crops. At the same time many pests and diseases thrive under warmer conditions causing extensive damage to already stressed plants; this is a growing issue.” To help protect our food sources, Zerbe investigates how crops—like maize—deal with environmental stressors at the molecular level, defining the networks that give rise to chemical defenses. At the 57th Annual Meeting of the Phytochemical Society of North America (PSNA), Zerbe received the PSNA/Elsevier Young Investigator’s Award for his work, which includes funding that will allow Zerbe and his team to advance their research. “I think our research aligns well with the work of other groups in the department and across campus,” Zerbe said. “For example, if you consider the STAIR Grant that Professors Anne Britt and Neelima Sinha recently received, it aims to address the challenge of food security from a different angle. Ultimately, deeper knowledge of crop natural defenses and advanced tools for gene editing can complement each other as new avenues to optimize the genetic makeup of crops and help them deal with the increasing climate damage we are witnessing.”   Philipp Zerbe recently received the PSNA/Elsevier Young Investigator’s Award for his work, which includes funding that will allow him and his team to advance their research. David Slipher/UC DavisNo two plants defend themselves the same way Chemicals called metabolites are important in the interaction of plants with the environment. When it comes to defending against herbivores, pathogens and other environmental stressors, a class of metabolites, called terpenoids, is a key component in several major food crops. At the PSNA annual meeting—held in August at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí (UASLP) in Mexico—Zerbe presented a talk about how cocktails of these defensive chemicals evolved and function in different crop species. “What we find is that different crop species deploy unique suites of defensive terpenoids,” said Zerbe. In the course of the evolution of these different species, many genome and gene duplications and mutations have allowed each plant to form their own specific defensive cocktail. “For me, it’s fascinating to try and decipher this chemical diversity and learn how it might be applied to generate more resilient crops,” Zerbe said.  Today, researchers have a much better understanding of the genes, enzymes and pathways that produce these compounds in plants. But questions about how plants regulate and deploy the process still abound. Part of Zerbe’s plan is to better understand the chemical features that drive the distinct activity of different defensive compounds against plant pathogens, with the goal of finding the compounds that are best suited to fight against specific pathogens. “We want to look in detail at the mechanistic aspects governing these bioactivities because understanding these will open the gate to engineering tailor-made compounds,” said Zerbe, noting that this may help crop optimization and reduce pesticide input. “For example, we know that maize terpenoids are very effective against many Fusarium fungal pathogens,” he added. Such pathogens can cause up to 15 percent harvest loss, according to Zerbe. “We also know that a closely related Fusarium pathogen causes wilt in tomato.” Zerbe’s foundational research could one day help introduce the natural beneficial maize terpenoids into tomatoes to prevent the wilt caused by the Fusarium pathogen, which, if left untreated, can lead to premature plant death. “This is one of the possible applications we are exploring from a proof-of-concept perspective,” said Zerbe. “What I hope we’ll do in the next year is really understand at the molecular level, how these defenses are regulated and precisely how they impact fungal pathogens.” Zerbe will present the results of his research at the 58th Annual Meeting of the PSNA, which is scheduled to be held in July 2019 in Johnson City, Tenn."> <a class="addthis_button_facebook"></a> <script> var addthis_share = { templates: { twitter: "At the 57th Annual Meeting of the Phytochemical Society of North America (PSNA), Philipp Zerbe received the PSNA/Elsevier Young Investigator’s Award for his work." } } </script> <a class="addthis_button_twitter"></a> <a class="addthis_button_google_plusone_share"></a> <a class="addthis_button_email"></a> <a class="addthis_button_compact"></a> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><aside class="wysiwyg-feature-block u-width--half u-align--right"><h3 class="wysiwyg-feature-block__title">Quick Summary</h3> <div class="wysiwyg-feature-block__body"> <ul><li><em><strong>Funding from the award will go towards Zerbe's research on the defensive chemical strategies of plants</strong></em></li> <li><em><strong>He plans on trying to identify which compounds are best suited to fight against specific pathogens</strong></em></li> <li><em><strong>Zerbe will present his research findings at the 58th Annual Meeting of the PSNA</strong></em></li> </ul></div> </aside><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>In a world facing rapid environmental change, securing the health of food crops is a top priority. And while plants have </span></span></span></span></span></span><span><span><span><span><span><span>evolved sophisticated ways to adapt to shifting environments, increasing climate-driven crop damage causes much reason for concern.   </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“Our crops can’t keep up,” said Assistant Professor Philipp Zerbe, Department of Plant Biology. “The rate with which environmental pressures are changing is outpacing the adaptive capacity of many crops. At the same time many pests and diseases thrive under warmer conditions causing extensive damage to already stressed plants; this is a growing issue.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>To help protect our food sources, Zerbe investigates how crops—like maize—deal with environmental stressors at the molecular level, defining the networks that give rise to chemical defenses. At the 57th Annual Meeting of the <span><span>Phytochemical Society of North America (PSNA)</span></span>, Zerbe received the PSNA/Elsevier Young Investigator’s Award for his work, which includes funding that will allow Zerbe and his team to advance their research. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“I think our research aligns well with the work of other groups in the department and across campus,” Zerbe said. “For example, if you consider the <span><span><a href="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/stair-grant-funds-plant-biologists-efforts-create-cheaper-crispr-tech">STAIR Grant that Professors Anne Britt and Neelima Sinha</a></span></span> recently received, it aims to address the challenge of food security from a different angle. Ultimately, deeper knowledge of crop natural defenses and advanced tools for gene editing can complement each other as new avenues to optimize the genetic makeup of crops and help them deal with the increasing climate damage we are witnessing.”   </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img align-left"><img alt="Philipp Zerbe stands with plants" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="be690c34-8d14-4443-9a67-f782a3779b36" height="458" src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/inline-images/philipp-zerbe-plant-biology-college-of-biological-sciences-UC-Davis.jpg" width="330" /><figcaption>Philipp Zerbe recently received the PSNA/Elsevier Young Investigator’s Award for his work, which includes funding that will allow him and his team to advance their research. David Slipher/UC Davis</figcaption></figure><h4><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>No two plants defend themselves the same way </span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Chemicals called metabolites are important in the interaction of plants with the environment. When it comes to defending against herbivores, pathogens and other environmental stressors, a class of metabolites, called terpenoids, is a key component in several major food crops. At the PSNA annual meeting—held in August <span><span><span><span>at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí (UASLP) in </span></span></span></span>Mexico—Zerbe presented a talk about how cocktails of these defensive chemicals evolved and function in different crop species. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“What we find is that different crop species deploy unique suites of defensive terpenoids,” said Zerbe. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>In the course of the evolution of these different species, many genome and gene duplications and mutations have allowed each plant to form their own specific defensive cocktail. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“For me, it’s fascinating to try and decipher this chemical diversity and learn how it might be applied to generate more resilient crops,” Zerbe said.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Today, researchers have a much better understanding of the genes, enzymes and pathways that produce these compounds in plants. But questions about how plants regulate and deploy the process still abound. Part of Zerbe’s plan is to better understand the chemical features that drive the distinct activity of different defensive compounds against plant pathogens, with the goal of finding the compounds that are best suited to fight against specific pathogens. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“We want to look in detail at the mechanistic aspects governing these bioactivities because understanding these will open the gate to engineering tailor-made compounds,” said Zerbe, noting that this may help crop optimization and reduce pesticide input. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“For example, we know that maize terpenoids are very effective against many <em>Fusarium</em> fungal pathogens,” he added. Such pathogens can cause up to 15 percent harvest loss, according to Zerbe. “We also know that a closely related <em>Fusarium</em> pathogen causes wilt in tomato.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Zerbe’s foundational research could one day help introduce the natural beneficial maize terpenoids into tomatoes to prevent the wilt caused by the <em>Fusarium </em>pathogen, which, if left untreated, can lead to premature plant death. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“This is one of the possible applications we are exploring from a proof-of-concept perspective,” said Zerbe. “What I hope we’ll do in the next year is really understand at the molecular level, how these defenses are regulated and precisely how they impact fungal pathogens.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Zerbe will present the results of his research at the 58th Annual Meeting of the PSNA, which is scheduled to be held in July 2019 in Johnson City, Tenn.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-article-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Category</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/articles/students-campus-life" hreflang="en">Awards and Recognition</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/plant-biology-0" hreflang="en">Department of Plant Biology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/plant-biology" hreflang="en">plant biology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/terpenoids" hreflang="en">terpenoids</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/metabolites" hreflang="en">metabolites</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/crops" hreflang="en">crops</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/pathogens" hreflang="en">pathogens</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/climate-change" hreflang="en">climate change</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/plant-biology-graduate-group" hreflang="en">Plant Biology Graduate Group</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/defenses" hreflang="en">defenses</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 04 Sep 2018 17:31:03 +0000 Greg Watry 2616 at https://biology.ucdavis.edu $1.5 Million NSF Grant Will Help Make Hydra a Better Model for Studying Regeneration https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/15-million-nsf-grant-help-make-hydra-better-model-studying-regeneration <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">$1.5 Million NSF Grant Will Help Make Hydra a Better Model for Studying Regeneration </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <span lang="" about="/user/5451" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Greg Watry</span> </span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">August 31, 2018</span> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-primary-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/styles/sf_landscape_16x9/public/images/article/NSFEdge-Hydra-Celina-Juliano-College-of-Biological-Sciences-UC-Davis_0.jpg?h=9135461e&amp;itok=QlcfcNqD" width="1280" height="720" alt="Image of Hydra" title="Hydra constantly renew all of their cells from stem cell populations throughout their entire lives, meaning these creatures have a bottomless well for replacing every single type of cell in their body. Stefan Siebert/Juliano Lab" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-sf-landscape-16x9" /> </div> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style addthis_32x32_style" addthis:url="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/articles.rss" addthis:title="Recent News" addthis:description="Quick Summary The Hydra is a small freshwater invertebrate that possesses miraculous regenerative capabilities Celina Juliano studies the molecular mechanisms that allow this creature to continuously renew its stem cells A recent $1.5 million NSF grant will help Juliano and colleagues develop genomic tools to promote regenerative research What comes to mind when you think of the animals scientists use for life sciences research? Worms? Flies? Mice? While these popular model organisms are staples in research laboratories across the globe, understanding some of life’s mysteries, such as regeneration, require a different kind of creature. Enter the Hydra, a small freshwater invertebrate that’s got a knack for biological immortality and regeneration. Despite its miraculous abilities, the Hydra remains understudied. But thanks to a roughly $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Enabling Discovery through Genomic Tools (EDGE) program, Assistant Professor Celina Juliano, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and her lab will help develop genomic tools that will promote regenerative research and hopefully increase the number of researchers using Hydra as a model system.   Stefan Siebert/Juliano LabConstantly-renewed stem cells Hydra have been referred to as the “eternal embryo.” And the name is fitting. The embryo of any animal, including humans, has the ability to produce all cell types. This ability doesn’t usually continue into adulthood. But Hydra constantly renew all of their cells from stem cell populations throughout their entire lives, meaning these creatures have a bottomless well for replacing every single type of cell in their body. “If you or I were injured, say our hands were cut off, there’s a specific genetic program that is activated and is required to heal the wound, but the hand wouldn’t grow back” said Juliano “That same genetic program is activated after injury throughout the animal kingdom, but in some cases, instead of triggering scarring, it triggers regeneration and thus the missing body part is replaced.” Juliano and her lab are currently wrapping up a single-cell sequencing project on the Hydra. Over the course of the last year and half, they’ve sequenced every cell type in the Hydra body, defining the exact genes expressed in each cell type. With that information, Juliano and her team now know the genes expressed in every cell type, which allows them to understand how all cell types are made in Hydra. This information also gives Juliano and her team greater control over the genes they’d like to study in the cells of their experimental organisms. “You want to be able to modify gene function and then look at the resulting phenotype, or observable characteristics,” said Juliano. “So you can manipulate gene function and maybe something really drastic would happen. For example, in Drosophila changing the expression of just one gene leads to a leg growing out of the eye. That’s a very extreme example.” But in order to better control genes, certain tools need to be developed. And that’s where the grant funding comes in.  Making Hydra a model for all Hydra being immobilized in a microfluidic chamber designed to provide tight confinement for electrophysiological measurements. Krishna Badhiwala/Robinson LabJuliano is partnering with Jacob Robinson, a neuroengineer from Rice University, to develop methods that can be used to study gene function in Hydra. The team will use the grant to focus on improving methods to study the regeneration of Hydra, including the regeneration of neurons. Juliano’s team will construct tools to turn genes on and off at specific times and places in a Hydra’s continuous development as an adult. Robinson, according to Juliano, will create tools that will help them study the Hydra’s nervous system including the first microfluidic technologies designed to probe neural activity and behavior in Hydra. Combined, the genetic tools and phenotyping technologies will help them understand how Hydra can regenerate all of its cells, including the nervous system and, potentially, why humans can’t. But there’s also another tool Robinson is developing that Juliano knows members of her lab will appreciate. One tricky thing about keeping Hydra is they require a lot of maintenance. And you have to clean the Hydra by hand. With the thousands of animals Juliano and her lab manage, the work is time intensive. Using his engineering expertise, Robinson is developing a robot that will carry out maintenance of the Hydra and their enclosures. “He’s designing what we’re calling the ‘Hydra robot,’” said Juliano. "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook"></a> <script> var addthis_share = { templates: { twitter: "With a grant from the National Science Foundation, Assistant Professor Celina Juliano will help develop genomic tools that will promote regenerative research and hopefully increase the number of researchers using Hydra as a model system." } } </script> <a class="addthis_button_twitter"></a> <a class="addthis_button_google_plusone_share"></a> <a class="addthis_button_email"></a> <a class="addthis_button_compact"></a> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><aside class="wysiwyg-feature-block u-width--half u-align--right"><h3 class="wysiwyg-feature-block__title">Quick Summary</h3> <div class="wysiwyg-feature-block__body"> <ul><li><em><strong>The Hydra is a small freshwater invertebrate that possesses miraculous regenerative capabilities</strong></em></li> <li><em><strong>Celina Juliano studies the molecular mechanisms that allow this creature to continuously renew its stem cells</strong></em></li> <li><em><strong>A recent $1.5 million NSF grant will help Juliano and colleagues develop genomic tools to promote regenerative research </strong></em></li> </ul></div> </aside><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>What comes to mind when you think of the animals scientists use for life sciences research? Worms? Flies? Mice? </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>While these popular model organisms are staples in research laboratories across the globe, understanding some of life’s mysteries, such as regeneration, require a different kind of creature. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Enter the Hydra, a small freshwater invertebrate that’s got a knack for <span><span><a href="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/hydra-and-quest-understand-immortality">biological immortality and regeneration</a></span></span>. Despite its miraculous abilities, the Hydra remains understudied. But thanks to a roughly $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Enabling Discovery through Genomic Tools (EDGE) program, Assistant Professor Celina Juliano, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and her <span><span><a href="https://juliano.faculty.ucdavis.edu/">lab</a></span></span> will help develop genomic tools that will promote regenerative research and hopefully increase the number of researchers using Hydra as a model system.   </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img align-left"><img alt="Image of a Hydra" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="37f89156-4cad-4f03-a506-864a3ffaeb08" src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/inline-images/NSFEdge-Hydra-Celina-Juliano-College-of-Biological-Sciences-UC-Davis-2.jpg" /><figcaption>Stefan Siebert/Juliano Lab</figcaption></figure><h4><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>Constantly-renewed stem cells</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Hydra have been referred to as the “eternal embryo.” And the name is fitting. The embryo of any animal, including humans, has the ability to produce all cell types. This ability doesn’t usually continue into adulthood. But Hydra constantly renew all of their cells from stem cell populations throughout their entire lives, meaning these creatures have a bottomless well for replacing every single type of cell in their body.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“If you or I were injured, say our hands were cut off, there’s a specific genetic program that is activated and is required to heal the wound, but the hand wouldn’t grow back” said Juliano “That same genetic program is activated after injury throughout the animal kingdom, but in some cases, instead of triggering scarring, it triggers regeneration and thus the missing body part is replaced.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Juliano and her lab are currently wrapping up a single-cell sequencing project on the Hydra. Over the course of the last year and half, they’ve sequenced every cell type in the Hydra body, defining the exact genes expressed in each cell type. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>With that information, Juliano and her team now know the genes expressed in every cell type, which allows them to understand how all cell types are made in Hydra. This information also gives Juliano and her team greater control over the genes they’d like to study in the cells of their experimental organisms.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“You want to be able to modify gene function and then look at the resulting phenotype, or observable characteristics,” said Juliano. “So you can manipulate gene function and maybe something really drastic would happen. For example, in Drosophila changing the expression of just one gene leads to a leg growing out of the eye. That’s a very extreme example.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>But in order to better control genes, certain tools need to be developed. And that’s where the grant funding comes in.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>Making Hydra a model for all</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h4> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img align-right"><img alt="GIF of Hydra" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3f66d21b-5c0c-4a9f-8e83-3ff3d0ac0adc" src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/inline-images/NSFEdge-Hydra-Celina-Juliano-College-of-Biological-Sciences-UC-Davis-GIF_0.gif" /><figcaption>Hydra being immobilized in a microfluidic chamber designed to provide tight confinement for electrophysiological measurements. Krishna Badhiwala/Robinson Lab</figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Juliano is partnering with Jacob Robinson, a neuroengineer from Rice University, to develop methods that can be used to </span></span></span></span></span></span><span><span><span><span><span><span>study gene function in Hydra. The team will use the grant to focus on improving methods to study the regeneration of Hydra, including the regeneration of neurons.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Juliano’s team will construct tools to turn genes on and off at specific times and places in a Hydra’s continuous development as an adult. Robinson, according to Juliano, will create tools that will help them study the Hydra’s nervous system including the <a href="http://news.rice.edu/2018/07/26/squishy-hydras-simple-circuits-ready-for-their-close-up/">first microfluidic technologies designed to probe neural activity and behavior in Hydra</a>. Combined, the genetic tools and phenotyping technologies will help them understand how Hydra can regenerate all of its cells, including the nervous system and, potentially, why humans can’t.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>But there’s also another tool Robinson is developing that Juliano knows members of her lab will appreciate. One tricky thing about keeping Hydra is they require a lot of maintenance. And you have to clean the Hydra by hand. With the thousands of animals Juliano and her lab manage, the work is time intensive. Using his engineering expertise, Robinson is developing a robot that will carry out maintenance of the Hydra and their enclosures.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“He’s designing what we’re calling the ‘Hydra robot,’” said Juliano. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-article-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Category</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/articles/genetics-microbiology" hreflang="en">Genetics and Microbiology</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/molecular-and-cellular-biology" hreflang="en">Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/model-organisms" hreflang="en">model organisms</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/stem-cells" hreflang="en">stem cells</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/regeneration" hreflang="en">regeneration</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/developmental-biology" hreflang="en">Developmental Biology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/genomes" hreflang="en">genomes</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/gene-regulation" hreflang="en">Gene Regulation</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/women-stem" hreflang="en">Women in STEM</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 31 Aug 2018 16:07:01 +0000 Greg Watry 2611 at https://biology.ucdavis.edu Every Plant Has a Story: Ellen Dean and the Center for Plant Diversity https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/every-plant-has-story-ellen-dean-and-center-plant-diversity <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Every Plant Has a Story: Ellen Dean and the Center for Plant Diversity</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <span lang="" about="/user/5451" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Greg Watry</span> </span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">August 28, 2018</span> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-primary-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/styles/sf_landscape_16x9/public/images/article/Center-for-Plant-Diversity-College-of-Biological-Sciences-UC-Davis-1500-5.jpg?h=1dce23aa&amp;itok=a0cLkrq5" width="1280" height="720" alt="Ellen Dean looks at a specimen from the Center for Plant Diversity." title="Researchers, farmers and others across California seek Ellen Dean&#039;s plant identification expertise and access to the center’s many hidden treasures, which tell tales from times long past. David Slipher/UC Davis" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-sf-landscape-16x9" /> </div> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style addthis_32x32_style" addthis:url="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/20/feed" addthis:title="" addthis:description="Inside the Sciences Lab Building, tucked next to the Biological Academic Success Center, is a door with a placard reading, “UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity.” Step inside and you’ll find undergraduates working at tables, curating and prepping dried plants for display and storage. Around 350,000 dried specimens are stored in the center, organized in phylogenetic order. There are algae, lichens, ferns, angiosperms and much more. And overseeing this massive resource is curator Ellen Dean. For more than 20 years, Dean has made the Center for Plant Diversity a passion project. Researchers, farmers and others across California seek her plant identification expertise and access to the center’s many hidden treasures, which tell tales from times long past. Slowing down to appreciate the pace of plants Dean’s path to the UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity started in her hometown of Berkeley, California. As a child, she used plants as playthings and ingredients in make-believe concoctions. “Most people aren’t drawn to plants as a child in our culture,” said Dean, noting the prevalence of stories and books based around animal characters. “In many parts of the world, people’s grandmothers teach them about plants. They have that sense of place and know the plants around them and use them for medicine and food.” Dean’s mother—a Montessori teacher—taught her to appreciate the seemingly still elegance of plants, emphasizing that they really come to life when one slows down to appreciate them. While Dean’s appreciation for plants ran deep, she initially thought her academic interests lay in animal biology and behavior. But a biology course at her alma mater, Stony Brook University, shifted her mindset. “There was this lab where you had to dissect a frog and ablate a nerve and still watch all its functions, and I just couldn’t do it,” said Dean. “I became a botanist at that moment.” After graduating, Dean landed a lab position in Columbia University’s Department of Biological Sciences. There, she studied nematode neurobiology but continued nurturing her interest in plants. She audited courses, taught herself plant biology and eventually secured a position in the New York Botanical Garden’s herbarium, where she stayed for about a year and a half. Other jobs followed, including a stint as a forest botanist, but Dean soon decided to head back to the West Coast for graduate school. In 1995, she graduated from UC Berkeley with a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology. She joined the staff of UC Davis shortly after.  Sarina Rodriguez glues a sample to card paper to prepare it for the plant archives. David Slipher/UC DavisThe who, what, where and why of plant collection In the Center for Plant Diversity, every specimen tells a story. Besides using the facility for plant identification and taxonomy, people, according to Dean, come here for the stories. Each curated specimen has a label filled with as much information as possible about its collection. Where was it collected? Who collected it? And when? “That’s something I’m extremely taken with,” said Dean. “With herbarium specimens, you get to know the collectors and each label adds a little story about their life.” “I sort of feel like it’s a gift that I’ve been given to keep track of all this,” she added. The specimens are windows into history, providing researchers with clues about past climates. But they also tell tales of scientists past. Like that of botanist Katherine Esau, a pioneer of plant anatomy. Esau spent nearly 35 years at UC Davis, starting at the university with a graduate assistantship. After receiving a doctorate, she joined the faculty in 1931. During her lifetime, she received many accolades for her research on diseased plants and overall contributions to the botany field, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, election to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Medal of Science. She also wrote the monumental textbooks Plant Anatomy and The Anatomy of Seed Plants.      “She became one of the most famous anatomists of all time,” said Dean. “I mean she’s one of those people that really helped make Davis great.” Esau was instrumental in the herbarium’s formation and expansion, assisting W.W. Robbins, the founder of the university’s botany department. Esau expanded Robbins’ small collection, adding native plants from the Sacramento Valley and nearby Coast Ranges. Her career eventually took her to UC Santa Barbara in the 1960s. “Most of her research materials left the campus, but we have her herbarium,” Dean said. “I like seeing her name on her specimens.” &quot;Even though I’m an NPB major, it helps to have some basic knowledge of plants in my back pocket. Especially when we were learning about plant medicines and herbal remedies for health.&quot; - Sarina Rodriguez, Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior and Chicana/Chicano Studies Hannah Kang takes measurements of plant samples. David Slipher/UC DavisStudent involvement UC Davis students have opportunities to get involved at the Center for Plant Diversity. According to Dean, the facility employs between 10 and 12 undergraduate students each year. Student employees learn many skills, including how to use plant presses, create labels and mount dried specimens for display. “By working at the herbarium, you really get a feeling for the plant families and genera,” said Dean. According to her, in the last twenty years, the facility has focused on curating many untouched specimens collected during the past century. “The other really fun thing about herbaria is the stories the newspapers tell,” said Dean. When pressing plants, taxonomists usually use newspapers to contain the plant material. The plant press is then placed in a heated, cupboard-like area, where it sits for several days to dry. “Not only are the specimens windows, but the newspapers are windows into the time period when the plant was collected or stored,” she said. “The Center for Plant Diversity preserves so much that is important about UC Davis.”  &quot; We all share the same passion. The environment is very educational and people here are very kind. Phenology, evolution and taxonomy – Ellen really hones it in and helps you learn more about fields like that.&quot; - Hannah Kang, Plant Biology When pressing plants, taxonomists usually use newspapers to contain the plant material. David Slipher/UC Davis "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook"></a> <script> var addthis_share = { templates: { twitter: "For more than 20 years, curator Ellen Dean has made the Center for Plant Diversity a passion project. The center holds around 350,000 dried specimens, which tell tales from times long past." } } </script> <a class="addthis_button_twitter"></a> <a class="addthis_button_google_plusone_share"></a> <a class="addthis_button_email"></a> <a class="addthis_button_compact"></a> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Inside the Sciences Lab Building, tucked next to the <span><span><a href="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/biology-academic-success-center-celebrates-five-years-advising">Biological Academic Success Center</a></span></span>, is a door with a placard reading, “UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity.” Step inside and you’ll find undergraduates working at tables, curating and prepping dried plants for display and storage. Around 350,000 dried specimens are stored in the center, organized in phylogenetic order. There are algae, lichens, ferns, angiosperms and much more.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>And overseeing this massive resource is curator Ellen Dean. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>For more than 20 years, Dean has made the <span><span><a href="https://herbarium.ucdavis.edu/">Center for Plant Diversity</a></span></span> a passion project. Researchers, farmers and others across California seek her plant identification expertise and access to the center’s many <span><span><a href="https://herbarium.ucdavis.edu/pdfs/articles/Hidden%20Treasures.pdf">hidden treasures</a></span></span>, which tell tales from times long past. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>Slowing down to appreciate the pace of plants</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Dean’s path to the UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity started in her hometown of Berkeley, California. As a child, she used plants as playthings and ingredients in make-believe concoctions. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“Most people aren’t drawn to plants as a child in our culture,” said Dean, noting the prevalence of stories and books based around animal characters. “In many parts of the world, people’s grandmothers teach them about plants. They have that sense of place and know the plants around them and use them for medicine and food.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Dean’s mother—a Montessori teacher—taught her to appreciate the seemingly still elegance of plants, emphasizing that they really come to life when one slows down to appreciate them. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>While Dean’s appreciation for plants ran deep, she initially thought her academic interests lay in animal biology and behavior. But a biology course at her alma mater, Stony Brook University, shifted her mindset.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“There was this lab where you had to dissect a frog and ablate a nerve and still watch all its functions, and I just couldn’t do it,” said Dean. “I became a botanist at that moment.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>After graduating, Dean landed a lab position in Columbia University’s Department of Biological Sciences. There, she studied nematode neurobiology but continued nurturing her interest in plants. She audited courses, taught herself plant biology and eventually secured a position in the New York Botanical Garden’s herbarium, where she stayed for about a year and a half. Other jobs followed, including a stint as a forest botanist, but Dean soon decided to head back to the West Coast for graduate school. In 1995, she graduated from UC Berkeley with a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology. She joined the staff of UC Davis shortly after.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img align-left"><img alt="Sarina Rodriguez glues a sample to card paper to prepare it for the plant archives." data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="2458fe68-b169-4924-b354-1f0813bd11a8" height="591" src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/inline-images/Center-for-Plant-Diversity-College-of-Biological-Sciences-UC-Davis-collage2.png" width="436" /><figcaption>Sarina Rodriguez glues a sample to card paper to prepare it for the plant archives. David Slipher/UC Davis</figcaption></figure><h4><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>The who, what, where and why of plant collection</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>In the Center for Plant Diversity, every specimen tells a story. Besides using the facility for plant identification and taxonomy, people, according to Dean, come here for the stories. Each curated specimen has a label filled with as much information as possible about its collection. Where was it collected? Who collected it? And when? </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“That’s something I’m extremely taken with,” said Dean. “With herbarium specimens, you get to know the collectors and each label adds a little story about their life.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“I sort of feel like it’s a gift that I’ve been given to keep track of all this,” she added. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>The specimens are windows into history, providing researchers with clues about past climates. But they also tell tales of scientists past. Like that of botanist Katherine Esau, a <span><span><a href="http://www-plb.ucdavis.edu/esau/about.htm">pioneer of plant anatomy</a></span></span>.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Esau spent nearly 35 years at UC Davis, starting at the university with a graduate assistantship. After receiving a doctorate, she joined the faculty in 1931. During her lifetime, she received many accolades for her research on diseased plants and overall contributions to the botany field, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, election to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Medal of Science. She also wrote the monumental textbooks <em>Plant Anatomy</em> and <em>The Anatomy of Seed Plants</em>.      </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“She became one of the most famous anatomists of all time,” said Dean. “I mean she’s one of those people that really helped make Davis great.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Esau was instrumental in the herbarium’s formation and expansion, assisting W.W. Robbins, the founder of the university’s botany department. Esau expanded Robbins’ small collection, adding native plants from the Sacramento Valley and nearby Coast Ranges. Her career eventually took her to UC Santa Barbara in the 1960s. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“Most of her research materials left the campus, but we have her herbarium,” Dean said. “I like seeing her name on her specimens.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <blockquote> <p>"Even though I’m an NPB major, it helps to have some basic knowledge of plants in my back pocket. Especially when we were learning about plant medicines and herbal remedies for health." - Sarina Rodriguez, Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior and Chicana/Chicano Studies</p> </blockquote> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img align-right"><img alt="Hannah Kang takes measurements of plant samples." data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="ee964913-78b8-428c-970d-7766c7734f0c" height="513" src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/inline-images/Center-for-Plant-Diversity-College-of-Biological-Sciences-UC-Davis-collage.png" width="379" /><figcaption>Hannah Kang takes measurements of plant samples. David Slipher/UC Davis</figcaption></figure><h4><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>Student involvement</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>UC Davis students have opportunities to get involved at the Center for Plant Diversity. According to Dean, the facility employs between 10 and 12 undergraduate students each year. Student employees learn many skills, including how to use plant presses, create labels and mount dried specimens for display. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“By working at the herbarium, you really get a feeling for the plant families and genera,” said Dean. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>According to her, in the last twenty years, the facility has focused on curating many untouched specimens collected during the past century.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“The other really fun thing about herbaria is the stories the newspapers tell,” said Dean.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>When pressing plants, taxonomists usually use newspapers to contain the plant material. The plant press is then placed in a heated, cupboard-like area, where it sits for several days to dry. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“Not only are the specimens windows, but the newspapers are windows into the time period when the plant was collected or stored,” she said. “The Center for Plant Diversity preserves so much that is important about UC Davis.”  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <blockquote> <p>" We all share the same passion. The environment is very educational and people here are very kind. Phenology, evolution and taxonomy – Ellen really hones it in and helps you learn more about fields like that." - Hannah Kang, Plant Biology</p> </blockquote> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"><img alt="Ellen Dean sits with a plant specimen from the Center for Plant Diversity" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="c91e66f7-c42c-48d8-93d2-26d065e84de0" src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/inline-images/Center-for-Plant-Diversity-College-of-Biological-Sciences-UC-Davis-1500-6_0.jpg" /><figcaption>When pressing plants, taxonomists usually use newspapers to contain the plant material. David Slipher/UC Davis</figcaption></figure><p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-article-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Category</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/articles/food-agriculture-plants" hreflang="en">Food, Agriculture and Plant Biology</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/center-plant-diversity" hreflang="en">Center for Plant Diversity</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/plant-biology-0" hreflang="en">Department of Plant Biology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/plant-biology" hreflang="en">plant biology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/women-stem" hreflang="en">Women in STEM</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/plant-anatomy" hreflang="en">plant anatomy</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/plant-sciences" hreflang="en">Plant Sciences</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/neurobiology-physiology-and-behavior" hreflang="en">Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/undergraduate-student-news" hreflang="en">Undergraduate Student News</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/undergraduate-research-opportunities-available" hreflang="en">Undergraduate Research Opportunities Available</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 28 Aug 2018 16:19:10 +0000 Greg Watry 2596 at https://biology.ucdavis.edu Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program Elevates Diversity in the Life Sciences https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/busp-program-elevates-diversity-life-sciences <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program Elevates Diversity in the Life Sciences</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <span lang="" about="/user/5451" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Greg Watry</span> </span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">August 20, 2018</span> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-primary-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/styles/sf_landscape_16x9/public/images/article/Biology-Undergraduate-Scholars-Program-College-of-Biological-Sciecnes-UC-Davis-1500-2.jpg?h=760fbd3a&amp;itok=Z_zksdxJ" width="1280" height="720" alt="Aldrin Gomes, Leib Lipowsky, Tayler Smith and BUSP Director Connie Champagne stand outside the Life Sciences Building. David Slipher/UC Davis" title="Professor Aldrin Gomes, students Leib Lipowsky and Tayler Smith and BUSP Director Connie Champagne stand outside the Life Sciences Building. David Slipher/UC Davis" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-sf-landscape-16x9" /> </div> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style addthis_32x32_style" addthis:url="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/articles.rss" addthis:title="Recent News" addthis:description="Quick Summary Since 1988, the Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program (BUSP) has hosted more than 1,500 undergrads. BUSP supports students from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds. Each fall, approximately 50 students join the program. When Tayler Smith entered UC Davis as a freshman two years ago, she knew she had a strong interest in life sciences research. But at the time, she had no idea what research was, or how it was carried out in the laboratory. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. Smith—a neurobiology, physiology and behavior major— decided to pursue molecular biology research in November 2017. She joined the lab of Professor Keith Baar, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, and over the past summer, she worked to develop an innovative model of muscle loss. “We want to learn how the muscle is losing mass in order to know how to help it gain and retain mass,” said Smith. Members of Baar’s Functional Molecular Biology Lab study the processes that regulate muscle mass at a molecular level, with the goal of identifying molecules critical to the process. A component of that research is understanding atrophy, the loss of muscle mass. Smith’s research project concerns the tibialis anterior, which is the muscle located in front of the shin. Using rats, the team developed a new model where they removed the opposing muscles to decrease the load on the tibialis anterior. Smith is trying to understand how this causes the tibialis anterior to waste away in the hope of preventing the loss of muscle. Smith credits finding her path to Baar’s lab to the UC Davis Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program (BUSP), an enrichment program promoting diversity in the life sciences. Open to incoming freshmen, the two-year program seeks to increase retention of underrepresented minority, disadvantaged and disabled students in the life sciences across all four undergraduate colleges at UC Davis. “It’s been an eye-opener, if you will, because I don’t have family who does research,” said Smith. “I’ve learned what research is and it’s been a really good experience learning how to be a research professional.” Tayler Smith works in the lab of Professor Keith Baar, studying the molecular effects of atrophy on muscles. David Slipher/UC DavisSupporting diverse students Since BUSP’s creation in 1988, over 1,500 freshmen and sophomores have benefited from the enrichment program. Each fall, roughly 50 freshmen join the new cohort of BUSP students. And there to greet them is Connie Champagne, the director of BUSP, and Heather Lawrence, the program’s academic advisor. “One of the key aspects of the BUSP experience is the community,” said Champagne. “Students in BUSP will take their foundational courses with one another, so they have someone to study with and they have academic support that has been tailored for those individual classes.”    BUSP students are provided with academic support for introductory calculus, chemistry and biology. Additionally, students enroll in a lab skills course in the spring quarter of their freshmen year that leads into a faculty-mentored research experience during their sophomore year. “The objective is that they feel more comfortable in a lab environment,” said Champagne. “We demystify the undergraduate research experience for these students and help them understand what’s expected from them as undergraduate researchers.” To continue fostering cohesion among members, the program launched the BUSP Living Learning Community in fall 2017. “If they’re co-housed, I think it’s easier for them to study together and do social activities together,” said Champagne. “When they first arrive on campus, they don’t know yet how instrumental they’re going to be for each other’s successes and the friendships that they’re going to form,” she added. BUSP Honors Research Upper-level students who are disabled or are from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds can get involved in BUSP Honors Research, a one-year program with a summer research component. Summer participants receive a $3,400 stipend to conduct research at a UC Davis campus laboratory for 10 weeks. The program is open to students who didn’t participate in the BUSP program.  Leib Lipowsky performs research on the proteasome in the lab of Professor Aldrin Gomes. David Slipher/UC DavisOne such student is junior Leib Lipowsky, a neurobiology, physiology and behavior major. Lipowsky spent the summer working in the lab of Professor Aldrin Gomes, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior. “My project is studying how ibuprofen affects liver cells and we’re looking at proteasome activity rates because the proteasome is responsible for protein degradation,” said Lipowsky. “The degradation of unwanted proteins is just as important as making new ones.” The proteasome is linked to longevity, and inhibition and dysfunction of its activity leads to a myriad of diseases and premature death. Ibuprofen has been known to negatively affect the proteasome’s functionality, and the Gomes Lab previously conducted studies regarding how it affects heart cells. But the research has expanded to include other cell types in the body. “Our hypothesis is that ibuprofen causes damage to every single tissue in the body; the heart is what manifests the damage first,” said Gomes. “Our idea is to determine if we can prove that such problems can occur in other tissues such as the liver.” Lipowsky is running proteasome assays on liver tissue from mice and rats to understand how ibuprofen affects proteasome activity rates in liver cells. According to Lipowsky, support from the BUSP Honors Research program has allowed him to use the summer to focus on research rather than finding a part-time job outside his research interests. ‘Some of the experiments, if I work very diligently and very quickly, still take several hours,” he said. “Right now, I’m able to run many experiments during the day because I have the support to be here for the entire day.” Funding undergraduate life sciences research For nearly 30 years, BUSP has been funded by external funding agencies, like the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Ever-evolving, BUSP employs a program evaluator to help guide the program’s direction to ensure it meets student needs. And BUSP students sign a tracking consent form, which allows program operators to track their educational and career outcomes 10 years after graduation. Though many students benefit from BUSP’s offerings, there’s always a need for more funding. “I do have more students than I have funding for,” said Champagne. “It would be fantastic if anyone were interested in supporting a BUSP or BUSP Honors student.” “It’s such a critical time in their development,” she added. “It’s also a time when I just see them blossom.” Make A Gift to Support the BUSP Program Tayler Smith and Leib Lipowsky joined BUSP Honors this past summer. David Slipher/UC Davis "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook"></a> <script> var addthis_share = { templates: { twitter: "Since 1988, the Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program (BUSP) has supported more than 1,500 undergrads from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue research in the life sciences." } } </script> <a class="addthis_button_twitter"></a> <a class="addthis_button_google_plusone_share"></a> <a class="addthis_button_email"></a> <a class="addthis_button_compact"></a> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><aside class="wysiwyg-feature-block u-width--half u-align--right"><h3 class="wysiwyg-feature-block__title">Quick Summary</h3> <div class="wysiwyg-feature-block__body"> <ul><li><strong><em>Since 1988, the Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program (BUSP) has hosted more than 1,500 undergrads.</em></strong></li> <li><strong><em>BUSP supports students from <span><span><span><span><span><span>underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds.</span></span></span></span></span></span></em></strong></li> <li><strong><em>Each fall, approximately 50 students join the program.</em></strong></li> </ul></div> </aside><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>When Tayler Smith entered UC Davis as a freshman two years ago, she knew she had a strong interest in life sciences </span></span></span></span></span></span><span><span><span><span><span><span>research. But at the time, she had no idea what research was, or how it was carried out in the laboratory. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>Smith—a neurobiology, physiology and behavior major— decided to pursue molecular biology research in November 2017. She joined the lab of Professor Keith Baar, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, and over the past summer, she worked to develop an innovative model of muscle loss. </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“We want to learn how the muscle is losing mass in order to know how to help it gain and retain mass,” said Smith.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Members of Baar’s <span><span><a href="http://fmblab.com/">Functional Molecular Biology Lab</a></span></span> study the processes that regulate muscle mass at a molecular level, with the goal of identifying molecules critical to the process. A component of that research is understanding atrophy, the loss of muscle mass.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Smith’s research project concerns the <em>tibialis anterior, </em>which is the muscle located in front of the shin. Using rats, the team developed a new model where they removed the opposing muscles to decrease the load on the <em>tibialis anterior.</em> Smith is trying to understand how this causes the <em>tibialis anterior </em>to waste away in the hope of preventing the loss of muscle. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Smith credits finding her path to Baar’s lab to the UC Davis <span><span><a href="http://eeop.ucdavis.edu/BUSP/">Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program</a></span></span> (BUSP), an enrichment program promoting diversity in the life sciences. Open to incoming freshmen, the two-year program seeks to increase retention of underrepresented minority, disadvantaged and disabled students in the life sciences across all four undergraduate colleges at UC Davis.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“It’s been an eye-opener, if you will, because I don’t have family who does research,” said Smith. “I’ve learned what research is and it’s been a really good experience learning how to be a research professional.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img align-right"><img alt="Tayler Smith sits in the lab. David Slipher/UC Davis" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="a87e6f90-b792-44e2-a4e5-8b9b3db6ad57" height="344" src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/inline-images/Biology-Undergraduate-Scholars-Program-College-of-Biological-Sciecnes-UC-Davis-1500-5.jpg" width="515" /><figcaption>Tayler Smith works in the lab of Professor Keith Baar, studying the molecular effects of atrophy on muscles. David Slipher/UC Davis</figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>Supporting diverse students</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Since BUSP’s creation in 1988, over 1,500 freshmen and sophomores have benefited from the enrichment program. Each fall, roughly 50 freshmen join the new cohort of BUSP students. And there to greet them is Connie Champagne, the director of BUSP, and Heather Lawrence, the program’s academic advisor. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“One of the key aspects of the BUSP experience is the community,” said Champagne. “Students in BUSP will take their foundational courses with one another, so they have someone to study with and they have academic support that has been tailored for those individual classes.”    </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>BUSP students are provided with academic support for introductory calculus, chemistry and biology. Additionally, students enroll in a lab skills course in the spring quarter of their freshmen year that leads into a faculty-mentored research experience during their sophomore year.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“The objective is that they feel more comfortable in a lab environment,” said Champagne. “We demystify the undergraduate research experience for these students and help them understand what’s expected from them as undergraduate researchers.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>To continue fostering cohesion among members, the program launched the BUSP Living Learning Community in fall 2017. “If they’re co-housed, I think it’s easier for them to study together and do social activities together,” said Champagne. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“When they first arrive on campus, they don’t know yet how instrumental they’re going to be for each other’s successes and the friendships that they’re going to form,” she added. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>BUSP Honors Research</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Upper-level</span></span></span><span><span><span> students who are disabled or are from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds can get involved in BUSP Honors Research, a one-year program with a summer research component. Summer participants receive a $3,400 stipend to conduct research at a UC Davis campus laboratory for 10 weeks. The program is open to students who didn’t participate in the BUSP program.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img align-left"><img alt="Leib Lipowsky sits in the lab. David Slipher/UC Davis" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="6efbc0e7-4275-4b1f-8970-4a6808f80b05" height="290" src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/inline-images/Biology-Undergraduate-Scholars-Program-College-of-Biological-Sciecnes-UC-Davis-1500-3.jpg" width="435" /><figcaption>Leib Lipowsky performs research on the proteasome in the lab of Professor Aldrin Gomes. David Slipher/UC Davis</figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>One such student is junior Leib Lipowsky, a neurobiology, physiology and behavior major. Lipowsky spent the summer working in the lab of Professor Aldrin Gomes, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“My project is studying how ibuprofen affects liver cells and we’re looking at proteasome activity rates because the proteasome is responsible for protein degradation,” said Lipowsky. “The degradation of unwanted proteins is just as important as making new ones.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>The proteasome is linked to longevity, and inhibition and dysfunction of its activity leads to a myriad of diseases and premature death. Ibuprofen has been known to negatively affect the proteasome’s functionality, and the <span><span><a href="http://gomeslab.ucdavis.edu/">Gomes Lab</a></span></span> previously conducted studies regarding how it affects <span><span><a href="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/connecting-molecular-dots-heart-disease">heart cells</a></span></span>. But the research has expanded to include other cell types in the body. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“Our hypothesis is that ibuprofen causes damage to every single tissue in the body; the heart is what manifests the damage first,” said Gomes. “Our idea is to determine if we can prove that such problems can occur in other tissues such as the liver.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Lipowsky is running proteasome assays on liver tissue from mice and rats to understand how ibuprofen affects proteasome activity rates in liver cells.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>According to Lipowsky, support from the BUSP Honors Research program has allowed him to use the summer to focus on research rather than finding a part-time job outside his research interests. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>‘Some of the experiments, if I work very diligently and very quickly, still take several hours,” he said. “Right now, I’m able to run many experiments during the day because I have the support to be here for the entire day.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>Funding undergraduate life sciences research</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>For nearly 30 years, BUSP has been funded by external funding agencies, like the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Ever-evolving, BUSP employs a program evaluator to help guide the program’s direction to ensure it meets student needs. And BUSP students sign a tracking consent form, which allows program operators to track their educational and career outcomes 10 years after graduation. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Though many students benefit from BUSP’s offerings, there’s always a need for more funding. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“I do have more students than I have funding for,” said Champagne. “It would be fantastic if anyone were interested in supporting a BUSP or BUSP Honors student.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“It’s such a critical time in their development,” she added. “It’s also a time when I just see them blossom.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><a class="btn--lg btn--primary" href="https://give.ucdavis.edu/Go/BUSP">Make A Gift to Support the BUSP Program</a></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"><img alt="Tayler Smith and Leib Lipowsky stand in the lab. David Slipher/UC Davis" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="f3c7d458-432e-49bf-a45b-a006dfcb6828" src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/inline-images/Biology-Undergraduate-Scholars-Program-College-of-Biological-Sciecnes-UC-Davis-1500-4.jpg" /><figcaption>Tayler Smith and Leib Lipowsky joined BUSP Honors this past summer. David Slipher/UC Davis</figcaption></figure><p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-article-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Category</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/articles/campus-community" hreflang="en">Campus and Community</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/neurobiology-physiology-and-behavior" hreflang="en">Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/women-stem" hreflang="en">Women in STEM</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/human-health" hreflang="en">human health</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/physiology-and-membrane-biology" hreflang="en">Physiology and Membrane Biology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/genetics" hreflang="en">genetics</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/proteins" hreflang="en">proteins</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/liver-disease" hreflang="en">liver disease</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/muscles" hreflang="en">muscles</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/undergraduate-student-news" hreflang="en">Undergraduate Student News</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/sports-medicine" hreflang="en">sports medicine</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/muscle-atrophy" hreflang="en">muscle atrophy</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/busp" hreflang="en">BUSP</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/busp-honors" hreflang="en">BUSP Honors</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 20 Aug 2018 16:07:46 +0000 Greg Watry 2581 at https://biology.ucdavis.edu The Scent of a Mate: Seabird Study Provides Insights into Sexual Selection https://biology.ucdavis.edu/news/scent-mate-seabird-study-provides-insights-sexual-selection <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The Scent of a Mate: Seabird Study Provides Insights into Sexual Selection</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <span lang="" about="/user/5451" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Greg Watry</span> </span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">August 20, 2018</span> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-primary-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/styles/sf_landscape_16x9/public/images/article/Leachs-Storm-Petrel-College-of-Biological-Sciences-UC-Davis.jpg?h=6bededdc&amp;itok=zSHSsRns" width="1280" height="720" alt="Hands hold a Leach&#039;s storm-petrel." title="Tube-nosed seabirds, like the Leach’s storm-petrel, have an excellent sense of smell, using it to find food on the open ocean and to navigate to a home burrow. Courtesy photo" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-sf-landscape-16x9" /> </div> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style addthis_32x32_style" addthis:url="https://biology.ucdavis.edu/articles.rss" addthis:title="Recent News" addthis:description="Quick Summary Leach&#039;s storm-petrels have an excellent sense of smell and may use it to select mates Their selection may be influenced by MHC, a group of genes critical for proper immune system function The study revealed males are mating with heterozygous females, which can produce offspring with varied genotypes  What scent attracts a seabird’s mate? It’s a question on the mind of Professor Gabrielle Nevitt, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior. An expert on the chemical senses of birds, Nevitt and members of her lab have been studying Leach’s storm-petrels (Oceanodroma leucohoa) for over 20 years with the goal of making the species a model for chemical ecology in birds. For some animals, it’s known that individual odor is influenced by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC)—a group of genes critical for proper immune system function. Often, an animal will pick a mate with a dissimilar MHC from its own, the genetic variability increasing its offspring’s resistance to pathogens. “We and others have shown that some species of petrels can recognize personal scents, and we wanted to better understand the molecular mechanisms that might be driving this ability in birds,” said Nevitt. “MHC has been shown to be involved with personal odor recognition in other organisms, so I thought the MHC was a logical starting point.”   In a new study, funded by the National Science Foundation and appearing in Molecular Ecology, the team relay their findings on the role MHC plays in sexual selection in populations of Leach’s storm-petrels on Bon Portage Island in Nova Scotia, Canada. Sampling close to 2,000 adults and chicks, the researchers found males were less likely to mate with females of a specific MHC genotype. Like many other animals, they seemed to select mates with MHC genotypes different from their own. Nevitt teamed up with Scott V. Edwards, a professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University and an expert in MHC, to characterize the MHC genes in this system. Former graduate student Brian Hoover led the genotyping effort in Nevitt’s lab, with help from neurobiology, physiology and behavior undergraduates and fellow ecology graduate student Sarah Jennings. “We ended up showing that these birds actually do mate non-randomly based on MHC,” said Nevitt. “And there’s actually one genotype that they seem to avoid.” Nevitt has studied Leach’s storm-petrels since 1996, first on Kent Island and then Bon Portage Island since 2006. Courtesy photoThe birds of Bon Portage Island Tube-nosed seabirds, like the Leach’s storm-petrel, have an excellent sense of smell. They use it to find food on the open ocean and to navigate to a home burrow. Generally monogamous, each breeding pair produces a single egg each year. That egg can account for a whopping 22 percent of the female’s body weight. “These seabirds have a demanding existence where you need both parents pulling their weight to successfully incubate, hatch and fledge a chick,” said Brian Hoover, the study’s lead author and a UC Davis Ph.D. ecology graduate. “Both parents are taking turns incubating eggs, and going on foraging trips to feed the chicks when they hatch.” Bon Portage Island is home to 35,000 breeding pairs. The research team was therefore able to collect blood samples from 1,078 adults and 925 chicks. They also monitored reproductive success and other aspects of their ecology from 2010 to 2015 for the study. The aim was to collect a sample size large enough to answer their research question with adequate statistical power.  The researchers found males mated less frequently with females possessing the most common MHC genotype in the sample population. The males preferred mating with heterozygous females, which are capable of producing offspring of varied genotypes. “It was a bit of a surprise to see that MHC was associated with male choice instead of female because that’s usually not the expectation,” said Hoover. How do the birds know? No one has yet identified the mechanism for how MHC leads to differences in personal scent. “We are finding ways to examine chemical profiles of these birds and see whether they can actually smell out the differences in MHC genotypes,” said Nevitt, who’s been studying Leach’s storm-petrels since 1996, first on Kent Island and then Bon Portage Island since 2006. While homozygous females did possess significantly smaller wings than their heterozygous counterparts, the researchers didn’t report any other substantial bodily differences. “Science is like a puzzle,” added Nevitt. “Whether it takes a day or a decade, it’s best to be able to make sure you fit the pieces correctly to reveal a picture that makes sense, or scents in this case.” "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook"></a> <script> var addthis_share = { templates: { twitter: "A new study appearing in Molecular Ecology delves into the sexual selection behaviors of Leach&#039;s storm-petrels, a seabird that may be able to sniff out a suitable mate." } } </script> <a class="addthis_button_twitter"></a> <a class="addthis_button_google_plusone_share"></a> <a class="addthis_button_email"></a> <a class="addthis_button_compact"></a> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><aside class="wysiwyg-feature-block u-width--half u-align--right"><h3 class="wysiwyg-feature-block__title">Quick Summary</h3> <div class="wysiwyg-feature-block__body"> <ul><li><strong><em>Leach's storm-petrels have an excellent sense of smell and may use it to select mates</em></strong></li> <li><em><strong>Their selection may be influenced by MHC, a group of genes critical for proper immune system function</strong></em></li> <li><em><strong>The study revealed males are mating with heterozygous females, which can produce offspring with varied genotypes  </strong></em></li> </ul></div> </aside><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>What scent attracts a seabird’s mate? </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>It’s a question on the mind of Professor Gabrielle Nevitt, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior. An expert on the chemical senses of birds, Nevitt and members of her <span><span><a href="http://nevittlab.org/The_Nevitt_Lab/HOME.html">lab</a></span></span> have been studying Leach’s storm-petrels (<em>Oceanodroma leucohoa</em>) for over 20 years with the goal of making the species a model for chemical ecology in birds.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>For some animals, it’s known that individual odor is influenced by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC)—a group of genes critical for proper immune system function. Often, an animal will pick a mate with a dissimilar MHC from its own, the genetic variability increasing its offspring’s resistance to pathogens. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“We and others have shown that some species of petrels can recognize personal scents, and we wanted to better understand the molecular mechanisms that might be driving this ability in birds,” said Nevitt. “MHC has been shown to be involved with personal odor recognition in other organisms, so I thought the MHC was a logical starting point.”  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>In a new study, funded by the National Science Foundation and appearing in <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/mec.14801"><span><span><em>Molecular Ecology</em></span></span></a>, the team relay their findings on the role MHC plays in sexual selection in populations of Leach’s storm-petrels on Bon Portage Island in Nova Scotia, Canada. Sampling close to 2,000 adults and chicks, the researchers found males were less likely to mate with females of a specific MHC genotype. Like many other animals, they seemed to select mates with MHC genotypes different from their own. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Nevitt teamed up with Scott V. Edwards, a professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University and an expert in MHC, to characterize the MHC genes in this system. Former graduate student Brian Hoover led the genotyping effort in Nevitt’s lab, with help from neurobiology, physiology and behavior undergraduates and fellow ecology graduate student Sarah Jennings.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“We ended up showing that these birds actually do mate non-randomly based on MHC,” said Nevitt. “And there’s actually one genotype that they seem to avoid.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img align-left"><img alt="Gabrielle Nevitt holds a Leach's storm-petrel." data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="88f13f34-2bcf-477a-8fa7-c5dd39aadde1" height="290" src="/sites/g/files/dgvnsk2646/files/inline-images/Gabrielle-Nevitt-Profile-Photo-College-of-Biological-Sciences-UC-Davis.png" width="375" /><figcaption>Nevitt has studied Leach’s storm-petrels since 1996, first on Kent Island and then Bon Portage Island since 2006. Courtesy photo</figcaption></figure><h4><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>The birds of Bon Portage Island</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Tube-nosed</span></span></span><span><span><span> seabirds, like the Leach’s storm-petrel, have an excellent sense of smell. They use it to find food on the open ocean and to navigate to a home burrow. Generally monogamous, each breeding pair produces a single egg each year. That egg can account for a whopping 22 percent of the female’s body weight. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“These seabirds have a demanding existence where you need both parents pulling their weight to successfully incubate, hatch and fledge a chick,” said Brian Hoover, the study’s lead author and a UC Davis Ph.D. ecology graduate. “Both parents are taking turns incubating eggs, and going on foraging trips to feed the chicks when they hatch.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Bon Portage Island is home to 35,000 breeding pairs. The research team was therefore able to collect blood samples from 1,078 adults and 925 chicks. They also monitored reproductive success and other aspects of their ecology from 2010 to 2015 for the study. The aim was to collect a sample size large enough to answer their research question with adequate statistical power.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>The researchers found males mated less frequently with females possessing the most common MHC genotype in the sample population. The males preferred mating with heterozygous females, which are capable of producing offspring of varied genotypes. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“It was a bit of a surprise to see that MHC was associated with male choice instead of female because that’s usually not the expectation,” said Hoover.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>How do the birds know?</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>No one has yet identified the mechanism for how MHC leads to differences in personal scent. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“We are finding ways to examine chemical profiles of these birds and see whether they can actually smell out the differences in MHC genotypes,” said Nevitt, who’s been studying Leach’s storm-petrels since 1996, first on Kent Island and then Bon Portage Island since 2006. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>While homozygous females did possess significantly smaller wings than their heterozygous counterparts, the researchers didn’t report any other substantial bodily differences. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“Science is like a puzzle,” added Nevitt. “Whether it takes a day or a decade, it’s best to be able to make sure you fit the pieces correctly to reveal a picture that makes sense, or scents in this case.” </span></span></span></span></span></span></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-article-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Category</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/articles/ecology-environment" hreflang="en">Ecology and Environment</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-sf-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/neurobiology-physiology-and-behavior" hreflang="en">Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/graduate-student-news" hreflang="en">Graduate Student News</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/coastal-and-marine-sciences-institute" hreflang="en">Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/chemical-ecology" hreflang="en">chemical ecology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/sexual-behavior" hreflang="en">sexual behavior</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/seabirds" hreflang="en">seabirds</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/population-biology" hreflang="en">population biology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/women-stem" hreflang="en">Women in STEM</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/graduate-group-ecology" hreflang="en">Graduate Group in Ecology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/ecology" hreflang="en">ecology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/marine-ecology" hreflang="en">marine ecology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/animal-behavior" hreflang="en">animal behavior</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 20 Aug 2018 15:08:53 +0000 Greg Watry 2576 at https://biology.ucdavis.edu