RRG enjoyed a week of great science with even greater colleagues at the International Planarian Meeting in Madison, WI (hosted by Melanie and Phil of the Newmark Lab - Morgridge Institute - and Jochen Rink - Max Planck Institute). Lots of wonderful science that we're looking forward to reading in print. Polarity, stem cells, connections to parasitic flatworms, etc. Exciting stuff and inspiring ideas to bring back to the lab!
Jada, Alicia, and Princess presented their summer research in lab meeting today. They described the experiments they have been performing and also gave background on their projects. They fielded some questions (some of them tough!) and did a great job. Days like this are some of the most fun for me, because it is such a gift to watch talented students work hard and grow!
The undergrads have been busy this summer, learning everything from pipetting and making their own buffers... all the way up to in situ hybridization and RNAi! Lauren also made some progress in getting a couple of immunofluorescence protocols off the ground. Cheers to the undergrads!
We had a new lab member join in June, with undergraduate student Jada beginning her research experience in the lab. Alicia and Princess continued their research in June, working on some RNAi and finishing up some of their experiments. The undergraduate crew will present their work at lab meeting in late July. All 3 summer students have been thoughtful, enthusiastic, and hard-working. So it has been my pleasure to have them in the lab!
I have been writing some and moving some grants forward on multiple fronts. I have been very grateful to have received good advice, example proposals, support, etc. from my colleagues at UGA and beyond. That makes a hard job (getting funding) more enjoyable and manageable.
Jennifer (graduate student) and Britessia (technician) have continued chipping away at their projects through the summer. Jennifer had her first committee meeting this month and we are both really glad to have such excellent scientists and mentors on her "team!" (Jim Lauderdale, Cordula Schulz, and Doug Menke-- thanks all!)
We already have a few graduate students lined up for rotations in the fall. I am REALLY looking forward to having them rotate in the lab and launch some new projects. The rotations will be fast, but hopefully fun and productive! Fall's around the corner!
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.)