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Reed Biologists Divide and Conquer

By Chris Lydgate on January 30, 2017 11:25 AM

The eye of the zebrafish peers into your soul.

There’s a definite buzz around the Griffin Biology Building these days, and it’s not just the fruit flies. Like cells that keep dividing, the students, professors, and staff in the bio department keep generating news.

Prof. Derek Applewhite and Wick Perry ’13 published a paper in the Journal of Cell Science on a protein known as PIGS that has a dramatic effect on cytoskeleton organization. What, you ask, is the cytoskeleton? It’s the network of filament that gives a cell its shape and allows it to move. Prof. Applewhite’s research is focused on these fundamental structures.

Prof. Kara Cerveny and five of her former students published a paper in Development on the growth of the eye in zebrafish, and the role played by a mutant gene and retinoic acid in regulating the timing of this fiendishly difficult feat. The students were Terra Vleeshouwer-Neumann ’13, Amanuel Tafessu ’14, Audrey Williams ’14, Will Horner ’15, and McKenzie Givens ’17. Also on the author list: bio lab manager Dayna Lamb.

Prof. Jay Mellies and Amy Platenkamp ’16 published a paper for Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology on the sinister pathogen enteropathic E. coli and the knavish tricks it employs to hoodwink the immune system. Prof. Mellies is now a member of the editorial board for the journal Infection and Immunity.

Jolie Kaner ’15 and Prof. Sarah Schaack published a paper in Globalization and Health on the lessons learned from the Ebola epidemic of 2014. The paper was largely based on Jolie’s senior thesis.

Nadav Mouallem ’17 has been going hammer and tongs on the Reed Herbarium, updating specimens from the Cascade Head and Sandy River collections with Prof. Keith Karoly.

Prof. Anna Ritz led a Reed delegation to the ACM-BCB Conference (that’s the Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Health Informatics), where Barney Potter ’16 won top prize for his poster on Modeling Cell Signaling Networks with Prize-Collecting Subhypernetworks.

Also, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Prof. Suzy Renn has introduced more Reed students to the mud-spattered majesty of cyclocross.