Spring 2014

Summer Research Informational - Biological Sciences

January 22, 2014 5:00 PM  – 6:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Summer Fellowship Informational in the Biological Sciences
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
5:00 pm
Druckenmiller Hall 20

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"The evolution of complexity in animals"

January 23, 2014 4:00 PM  – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Biology Department Weekly Seminar Series
CASEY DUNN, Assistant Professor of Biology, Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University
Research Interest:
The Dunn Lab investigates how evolution has produced a diversity of life. We primarily focus on form (i.e. morphology), and are interested in learning about both the actual history of life on Earth and general properties of evolution that have contributed to these historical patterns. The type of questions the Dunn Lab asks require field (mostly marine), laboratory, and computational work.

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The Art of Cell Biology

January 27, 2014 8:00 AM  – 5:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Fishbowl

Cell Biology Art Show

 Monday, January 27, 2014 to Friday, February 7, 2014

Take in a show of some of the microscopic images of plant and animal cells taken over the last 10 years by students and faculty in the Cell Biology Course (Biology 224) at Bowdoin College.
Each year students learn to master several types of fluorescent microscopes using the state-of-the-art Cell Biology Imaging facility. The College has available seven compound fluorescence microscopes and computer capture software, and an NSF-funded confocal microscope able to capture 3D images from live cells. 
Introductions begin on opening night, Monday, January 27, 2014, at 7 p.m. All are welcome. For inquiries, please contact Bruce Kohorn.

Open to the public
Free of charge

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Due to the predicted weather forecast ~ CANCELED Stem Cell Tumors - Getting Their Fix on the Fly

February 6, 2014 4:00 PM  – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Michele Markstein, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Research Interests

Regulation of gene expression

Michele Markstein's laboratory uses the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as an in vivo incubator to grow and study stem cell tumors. This approach preserves the integrity of the stem cell microenvironment, a feat not yet readily possible by traditional cell culture methods. In her talk, Markstein discusses a humanized tumor model made by putting a human oncogene in the fly genome. Markstein will show how she has used this model to screen for drugs and genes that impact growth of stem cell derived tumors.

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Bowdoin Marine Science Semester Information Session

February 19, 2014 7:00 PM  – 8:00 PM
Kanbar Hall, Room 107

BOWDOIN MARINE SCIENCE SEMESTER, FALL 2014
Information Session-Wednesday, Feb 19 7:00 pm
Kanbar Hall, Room 107

* Immersion semester for juniors and seniors
* Taught at the Coastal Studies Center on Orr's Island, Harpswell Sound
* Four courses in module format, field and lab experience, independent research, Marine biodiversity, biological oceanography, benthic ecology, molecular ecology & evolution
*Tropical field trip to Baja California

Interested? Come to informational meeting this Wednesday Feb.19, 7pm, Kanbar Hall, Room 107

Or contact Dave Carlon, Director of the Bowdoin Marine Lab, dcarlon@bowdoin.edu

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The bounce in a seastar's step: classifying gaits in underwater legged locomotion

February 20, 2014 4:00 PM  – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Amy S. Johnson , James R. and Helen Lee Billingsley Professor of Marine Biology

The Johnson Lab applies the tools of physics, math and engineering to the understanding the biomechanics, functional morphology and ecophysiology of marine invertebrates and algae.
Focal research areas in the Johnson lab include quantifying and modeling: growth of sea urchins under conditions of variable temperature and pH, scaling of metabolic rate associated with urchin growth, lobster heart mechanics and the mechanics of underwater walking in marine invertebrates.

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Bowdoin Marine Science Semester, Information Table

February 26, 2014 4:00 PM  – 5:30 PM
David Saul Smith Union, Vendor Station 3

Did you know that Bowdoin will offer a Marine Science Semester at the Coastal Studies Center Fall, 2014?

Learn more Wed. 2/26 from 4:00-5:30 from Dave Carlon (marine lab director) and Sarah Kingston at the Smith Union Marine Science Semester Table

The Marine Science Semester will be an immersion program consisting of 4 courses taught at the Coastal Studies Center in module format, and will include field, lab, and independent research, and a filed trip to Baja CA.

The courses offered Fall 2014 will include: Marine Biodiversity; Biological Oceanography; Benthic Ecology; and Molecular Ecology & Evolution. and a field excursion to Baja, CA.

See the Bowdoin Marine Laboratory webpage for more information.

Questions? Contact Dave Carlon, Director of Bowdoin's marine laboratory at: dcarlon@bowdoin.edu

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Rising Above the Crowd: Identification of New Genes Controlling Growth and Development in Arabidopsis thaliana

February 27, 2014 4:00 PM  – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Charlie Anderson, Penn State, Eberly College of Science

Research Interests:

Research lab studies plant cell wall dynamics, with the goal of informing efforts to produce sustainable food, materials, and bioenergy from plants.

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Barbarians at the gate: Adaptive evolution of squid-naive Vibrio fischeri to light organ symbiosis

March 6, 2014 4:00 PM  – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Cheryl Whistler, University of New Hampshire, Department of Molecular, Cellular & Biomedical Sciences

My current research focus will use the GacA mutant as a basis for identifying and characterization colonization traits. These studies will provide insight into bacteria-derived signals that allow hosts to respond appropriately to beneficial organisms, thus allowing association, without compromising the ability of immune responses to protect the host from pathogenic infection. We are currently utilizing a recently generated DNA microarray of the entire genome of V. fischeri, and will also combine this genomic approach with random mutagenesis screens to discover previously uncharacterized genes and traits that contribute to animal tissue colonization.

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Kates Lecture: Susan Hockfield on "The 21st Century's Technology Story: Biology, Physics and Engineering Converge"

March 25, 2014 7:30 PM  – 9:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

As the first life scientist to lead MIT, Susan Hockfield, William Edward Gilbert Professor of Neurobiology and President Emerita, championed the breakthroughs emerging from the historic convergence of the life sciences with the engineering and physical sciences, in fields from clean energy to cancer.


Hockfield will present the talk, "The 21st Century's Technology Story: Biology, Physics and Engineering Converge."


The talk is sponsored by the Arnold D. Kates Lecture Fund.

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Stories of speciation: Sperm invasion, defective males, and hyperdiversity

March 27, 2014 4:00 PM  – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Asher Cutter, Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair, University of Toronto, CA

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
In the Cutter lab, we study the genetic basis of evolutionary change. We are particularly interested heritable changes through time with causes that are at the interface of natural selection and non-adaptive evolutionary forces.

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Restoring Imperiled Ecosystems using Fire

April 10, 2014 4:00 PM  – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Leda N. Kobziar University of Florida Associate Professor of Fire Science & Forest Conservation

Her research interests include: the efficacy of fuels reduction and prescribed burning treatments in forest restoration; predicting potential fire behavior and severity; using dendrochronology to determine historical fire regimes; and the relationships between fire, fuels management, and soil carbon efflux.

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Neurochemical substrates for modulation of audition and acoustic behavior in a vocal fish

April 17, 2014 4:00 PM  – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Paul M. Forlano, Brooklyn College, Department of Biology

Using fish as model systems, Forlano's lab employs a combination of evolutionary/systems neuroscience with a molecular and cellular approach in order to identify the mechanisms underlying steroid-induced neural plasticity and sex differences in brain and behavior. These studies focus on vocal, auditory and neuroendocrine circuits that are conserved across vertebrates.

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Gene by environment interaction and the genomic basis of local adaptation in plants

April 24, 2014 4:00 PM  – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

David Des Marais, Research Associate, Harvard University

Research Interests

I study the diversity of life at many different scales. Like most of us, I am amazed by the visual diversity of plant life. But I am also fascinated by the diversity of genes, proteins, and other molecules which give rise to the beautiful plants that surround us. My research addresses how molecular processes shape organismal diversity, and how these processes evolve within and between species of plants.

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How to maintain a variable brain

May 1, 2014 4:00 PM  – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Timothy O'Leary, Post Doctoral Researcher, Volen Center for Complex Systems, Brandeis University

How to maintain a variable brain

Imagine you are anengineer who is given the following task: design an airplane that has all itsspare parts on board and that can have every single one of its parts replacedbetween take-off and landing. No engineer would want such a challenging designproject and no pilot would want to fly such a plane, yet this is the challengefaced by the neurons that make up our nervous system. Even though each neuronlives for many years, the components it is made from are replaced over thecourse of weeks, days or even hours. Yet our brains and bodies continue tofunction throughout this process. How does our nervous system keep functioningwith this continual rebuilding going on? This is the central question of thework I will present.

Neurons are examplesof electrically excitable cells,other examples include the cells that make up the heart and muscle tissue. Justlike the components of an airplane, electrically excitable cells have a diverserange of specialized properties and generate specific patterns of activity thatare important physiologically. All excitable cells have many thousands (ormillions) of molecular 'gates' called ionchannels that open and close, allowing ions to flow in and out of the cell.The different ion channel types have different gating properties and areencoded in different genes. Just as the variety of paints used by an artist canbe mixed to form new hues, combinations of many different types of ion channelswork together to give each excitable cell its overall properties. For example,the balance of different amounts of ion channels determine the rate at which aneuron fires, or the size and speed of a muscle contraction. It is thereforevery important that the balance of ion channels is set appropriately in eachcell, otherwise the electrical activity can become uncoordinated, or lostaltogether. This is what happens in diseases such as epilepsy, and many kindsof respiratory, motor and heart diseases.

I used what is knownabout this internal monitoring and rebuilding to make a theoretical model ofion channel regulation in neurons. This has helped us understand how neurons(and other excitable cells) can monitor their own activity and self-regulatetheir ion channel expression. One thing we learned is that cells with verysimilar properties in the self-regulating model can nonetheless have quitedifferent underlying ion channel expression. This is consistent withexperimental observations, which show that even genetically identical cells canhave very different amounts of ion channels expressed in their membranes. We alsodiscovered that certain pathologies (such as hyperexcitability at one extreme,or loss of activity at the other) can actually be caused by the cell's internalcontrol system. Therefore, to understand and cure some diseases, we need topick apart and understand how biological systems control their internalproperties when they are in a normal, healthy state.

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