May wrap-up

Lots going on in the R-G lab for the beginning of the summer!

We welcomed two new undergraduate students, Alicia and Princess.  They have gotten started on some neurobiology projects using our planarians and are trucking right along.  

After completing her first semester in the lab, Lauren is spending a bit of the summer hanging out with us, before and after her study abroad trip to Peru (jealous!).  She spent a couple of weeks writing an immunofluorescence protocol for a few antibodies we'd like to use. She showed a lot of independence in writing up a protocol and her first try at IF worked!  She'll return to us later in the summer to optimize the protocol and then use the IF protocol for some of her experiments.

Jennifer just prepared a poster for her first R-G lab presentation, at the regional Society for Developmental Biology meeting, held on campus last week.  I was excited to have Jennifer represent the lab and we enjoyed hearing lots of great science and meeting new colleagues in the region.

We finally(!) got our Zeiss Axiozoom microscope set up in the lab!  Woohoo for a new toy!

We also found out that we received a Junior Faculty Seed Grant from UGA.  Many thanks to the folks who helped with the proposal, the Office of Research, and to the thoughtful reviewer(s) for helpful feedback.

Jennifer won the Cellular Biology Departmental Research Photo Contest, with an image of the nervous system of our planarians.

Rachel's colleague from her Vanderbilt days, Dr. Dawn Hart, spent several days in the lab learning how to do some planarian experiments a first year course she's developing at Grand Valley State University.  It was wonderful to get to spend some time doing science together (and visiting, too).

Rachel has found a new writing buddy in her colleague, Dr. Amanda Frossard, from the Department of Chemistry.  They enrolled in the Sustainable Writing Practice program through the Office of Faculty Affairs.  It has been nice to have some encouragement and support for the writing part of the job!  (Plus, we both like brownies.)

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 Top Left: Rachel and Dawn in the lab.    Above: Britessia, Jennifer, and Rachel attend the Southeast Society for Developmental Biology meeting in Athens, GA.  Bottom Left: new Axiozoom microscope.

Top Left: Rachel and Dawn in the lab.  

Above: Britessia, Jennifer, and Rachel attend the Southeast Society for Developmental Biology meeting in Athens, GA.

Bottom Left: new Axiozoom microscope.

Spring 2018 in the books

The R-G lab (as an actual lab and not just RRG!) just completed its first semester.  

Some highlights: welcoming our first technician and first graduate student; troubleshooting some experiments; launching some new (exciting) projects; and hosting 3 undergraduate students for their first research experiences.  Lots of learning and growth (and good science) all around.  We are looking forward to some new students joining us this summer and we hope to bring in some new rotation students in the fall!

Below: Jennifer (graduate student), Rachel, and Britessia (technician).  After a yummy lunch to celebrate the close of a semester.  (The undergrads are in finals!)

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Undergraduate research symposium

Our undergraduate students participated in a research symposium this week, hosted by the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO).  The CURO folks give lots of outstanding support for undergrad research and the symposium was really amazing.  >500 students presented their research through a huge poster session and two days of talks.  It was really great to hear such a wide variety of excellent research (from the sciences, but also the humanities, on policy topics, etc.).  I was deeply impressed and proud of our UGA students and I was also inspired by all of the excellent faculty who support them in their research endeavors.

Christian, Lauren, and Yamini presented their work on planarian regeneration, creating posters of their results and preparing short oral presentations to go along with the posters.  They have been in the lab for the Spring semester, so they created posters from their 3 months with me.  Great first showing for the R-G lab at our first CURO symposium!

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Upcoming meetings!

We are really looking forward to two upcoming meetings:

The Southeast Regional Meeting of the Society for Developmental Biology will be held on the campus of UGA from May 23-25.

http://sesdb.uga.edu

The International Planarian Meeting will be held at the Morgridge Institute (Madison, WI)—hosted by the Newmark lab (and organized by Melanie Issigonis, Jochen Rink & Phil)—on July 16-20.

https://morgridge.org/research/regenerative-biology/international-planarian-meeting/

Hope to see you there!

Spring 2018

Whew!  It's been a busy few months!  We have gone from a lab of 1 to a lab of 6, which has been an exciting and fun change (for me!).  We have lots of exciting projects getting off the ground, so stay tuned!  Here's a list of some highlights from the past few months:

1) We welcomed Britessia, our new lab technician.  She has been a really welcome addition to the lab, taking over some lab maintenance tasks (chemical tracking, feeding animals, making salts, etc.) and learning the ropes of our experiments and model.  She is working on a screen and getting some beautiful in situs already.  She brought in some planarians from the pet store this week (Dugesia japonica or Dugesia dorotocephala).  So cute with their auricles that look like Yoda!

2) We launched our lab meeting, with a mixture of journal club and research presentations.  Jennifer (graduate student) kicked off the official line-up and did a great job explaining a paper at a level that was fun for me and also very informative for the undergraduate students.

3) All three undergrads have grown a lot this semester, learning to keep lab notebooks and getting some experiments underway.  They have each made some progress on their projects and are currently preparing their posters for the CURO (Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities) symposium, to be held next week.  

4) I have been writing some grant applications on new topics, which has been super fun!

5) I have gotten to know some colleagues better and found a writing buddy in a new faculty member in Chemistry.

See below: 1) Photo of our guest from the pet shop (courtesy of Britessia).  2 & 3) Our model planarian Schmidtea mediterranea before amputation and after regeneration.  4-6) Some pretty in situ experiments performed by our undergraduates Yamini and Lauren, showing some peripharyngeal secretory cells, stem cells, and the nervous system.  7 & 8) Some close-up images of the many eyes on our land planarian pets (Bipalium kewense).