BIOrhythms

a publication of the Washington University Biology Department for Undergraduate Majors

Congratulations to our 2020 winners:

Nikhil Aggarwal wins Quatrano Prize

Manasvi Verma wins Spector Prize, honorable mentions Kate Wardenburg and Ali Wilkening

Lily Xu wins Stalker Award

BIOrhythms April 2020

This issue features:

Seniors trade pipettes for Zoom in their last semester of college: Biology Lecturer Maggie Schlarman on the challenge of teaching a lab course online—by Marta Wegorzewska
Course Spotlight: Bio 4492: Infectious Diseases: History, Pathology, and Prevention
Bio 500 spotlight: Ethan Weiner on Haswell Lab moss research
Undergraduate Awards: Goldwater and US State Dept scholarships
WashU Between the Lines: new video series about undergrads
Stories from Home: Students share experiences from a distance

Video series ‘WashU Between the Lines’ launches in time of uncertainty: Students Gupta, Mather hope series sparks honest conversations

Video series ‘WashU Between the Lines’ launches in time of uncertainty: Students Gupta, Mather hope series sparks honest conversations

Bio 200/500 Research Spotlights

Ethan Weiner on Haswell Lab

Hello! My name is Ethan Weiner and I am currently a senior about to graduate with a Biology major with a Biochemistry concentration. Since spring semester of my sophomore year, I have had the privilege of working in Dr. Haswell’s lab. Her lab studies the ways in which plants respond to mechanical stimuli. I have utilized algae and moss as model organisms in order to better understand a specific family of protein channels (Piezos) that are likely involved in not just plants’, but many eukaryotes’ responses to certain mechanical stresses.

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Irene Hamlin on the Budge Lab

In the Budge Lab we focus on the eradication of lymphatic filariasis (LF) which is a neglected tropical disease caused by the Wuchereria bancrofti worm endemic in Western and Central Africa. This disease damages the lymphatic system, often causing lymphoedema and elephantiasis of the limbs. I’ve spent the last year and a half as an undergraduate research assistant working towards improving the rapid diagnostic test for LF. The World Health Organization’s Global Program for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis depends on efficient and accurate diagnoses to inhibit transmission. Currently, cross reactive antigens from the co-endemic Loa loa worm produce false positive test results and impede the successful treatment of those with Lymphatic Filariasis. Misdiagnosis bears significant risks, as treating false positives may lead to encephalopathy and death.

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Maya Dutta on the Olsen Lab

Adaptation to local environments is critically important for a plant’s ability to survive in a variety of ecological settings and persist in the face of climate change. The genetic and physiological mechanisms that regulate these processes, however, are not well known. In the Olsen Lab, we aim to understand the genetic basis of evolution in plants.

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Kevin Yin on the Rentschler Lab

In the Rentschler lab, we aim to address heart disease by looking at how developmental pathways and gene regulation networks are associated with various heart diseases. We are specifically interested in how alterations of genes during development or in the adult can lead to arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.

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Samuel Kim on the Kummer Lab

In the Kummer lab, we are focused on creating the tools needed to help localize the foci of neural circuit dysfunction. Although the historical attention has been on axonal injury, with synapses below the resolution of classical techniques, new technology enables us to overcome this barrier.

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Mitchell Grinwald on the Chheda Lab

My work in the Chheda lab as a Bio500 independent research student has given me a fantastic opportunity to explore my interests at the intersection of epigenetics and cancer biology. Additionally, the ability to conduct independent research with the exceptional support which my PI (Dr. Chheda) and bench mentor (Dr. Galdieri) provide has enabled me to learn new techniques and think critically about experimental design and analysis.

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Seniors trade pipettes for Zoom in their last semester of college—by Marta Wegorzewska

In the first week of March, seniors enrolled in Microbiology Lab entered the laboratory in Rebstock Hall. They had to attend a few more classes before they could leave for their well-deserved spring breaks. Maggie Schlarman, who teaches Microbiology Lab, had them continue experiments that would incubate over the break. In a week and a half, they would return to campus and analyze the results.

They never returned.

The global spread of COVID-19 took a turn for the worse. More countries and US states were added to the do-not-travel list. Washington University’s Chancellor, Andrew Martin, made the difficult decision that undergraduate students would not return to campus. Washington University would move all classes online.  Read More...

BIOrhythms archive

  • April 2020

    This issue features Bio 4492 to refocus on COVID 19, Maggie Schlarman on the challenge of teaching a lab online, Bio 500 spotlight on Ethan Weiner of Haswell Lab, new video series WashU Between the Lines, undergrad scholarship winners, and more.

  • November 2019

    This issue features new assistant professor Swanne Gordon, WUSTL Endure Neuroscience Pipeline program, Research opportunities at Tyson Research Center and MO Botanical Gardens and more.

  • September 2019

    This issue features a Faculty Spotlight on Barbara Kunkel; New Course Spotlight on Bio 4582: Essentials of Biomedical Scientific Reviewing, Writing, and Presenting; Bio 500 Spotlight: Mitchell Grinwald on the Chheda Lab and more!

  • March 2019

    This issue features Faculty Spotlight April Bednarski, New Course Spotlight Bio 144: The Biology of Cancer, Bio 500 Spotlight: Maya Dutta on the Olsen Lab, Career Center events, 2019 Bunche Scholars and more

  • January 2019

    This issue features new biology faculty member Heather Barton, new Area C course Bio 4195 Disease Ecology, Bio 500 Research spotlight about Kevin Yin in the Rentschler Lab, Biosurf, and a new Living Earth Collaborative undergrad group.

  • November 2018

    This issue features new biology faculty member Dr. Mary Lambo, changes to the Neuroscience Track of the Biology Major, Bio 500 Research spotlight about Benjamin French in the Elgin Lab and the new Biology Commons.

  • September 2018

    This issue features new biology chair Joe Jez, the Biotech Explorers Pathway, Undergrad Research Symposium, Career Center events and more.

  • April 2018

    This issue features new biology faculty member Jonathan Losos, Bio 1811, MedPrep Global Scholars Program, Bunche Scholar Awards, Minority Association of Rising Scientists, and Career Center Events.

  • February 2018

    This issue features new biology faculty member Keith Hengen, Bio 3411: Research Spotlight on Molly Shallow’s work in the Hengen Lab, Career Center events, summer internship opportunities, the Public Health Major at Wash U and more.

  • November 2017

    This issue features new faculty member Dr. Rachel Penczykowski, Bio 4936: Seminars in Ecology and Evolution, the Bio 500 research of Odion Asikhia in the Strassmann/Queller Lab, Career Center events, and more.

  • September 2017

    This issue features information about Tyson Research Center, Bio 200/500: Independent Research with focus on the Blodgett Lab, new student group Wash U Women in STEM, Career Center events, and more.

  • April 2017

    This issue features information about Dr. Petra Levin, Bio 4492: Infectious Diseases: History, Pathology and Prevention, the new Microbiology major track, Career Center events, and more.

  • February 2017

    This issue features information about Dr. Kate Hanes, Bio 4524: Structural Bioinformatics of Protein, Wash U Global Brigades Student Experience, Career Center events, WU Achieve, JCUBES, STLAURS and more.

  • November 2016

    This issue features information about Dr. Fahd Ahmad, Bio 2652 PEMRAP, Synapse and more.

  • September 2016

    This issue features information about Dr. Allan Larson, Bio 4183 Molecular Evolution, S.A.R.A.H. recruiting, student groups JCUBES and Synapse, Undergraduate Research Symposium and more.

  • April 2016

    This issue features information about Dr. Richard Vierstra, JCUBES meetings, upcoming events at the Career Center and various prizes and awards for biology graduates in the class of 2016.

  • February 2016

    This issue features information about Dr. Mitch Kundel, Bio 171: Neuroscience Futures 1, JCUBES meetings, upcoming events at the Career Center and various other undergraduate opportunities.

  • November 2015

    This issue features information about Dr. Maggie Schlarman, Bio 3493: Bacterial Bioprospecting and Biotechnology, Organization for Tropical Study opportunities, Student Clubs, and upcoming events at the Career Center.

  • More BIOrhythms Archive

    All issues of BIOrhythms dating back to September 2008

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