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Showing posts from July, 2015

Ain't nothin better than the summer in the northwest

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Our unusually warm weather this year brought all sorts of crazy phenomena: massive siphonophore strandings on the coast, Dungeness crab molting frenzies, algal blooms (also some things happened on land maybe?), but it also meant an early arrival of weather we typically don't get until July 5th, starting during a month locally renamed "Junuary".

Summer means we grad students don't get to keep as close of tabs on each other, often heading out to field sites, or into the lab for many hours straight. What are UW Biograds up to this summer?



Octavio Campos: I have already defended, so I have my "D"; now this summer I just have to work on finishing my written dissertation so that I can get my "r" to officially become... a Dr.

Jake Cooper: I'll be tracking evolution in my simulated populations, some of which can have sex and some of which can't.

Marie Clifford: This summer I am writing up my paper on floral scent so that the scientific community can …

Grad Publication: Ann Wen-Yang Lin

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Ann (Parrish Lab) just had a paper published in Genes and Development about pathetic mutants! Below she describes the impetus and context for the paper, as well as the results.


The link to the full paper is found here.


A central question in growth control of multicellular organisms is how growing organisms maintain proportionality. For example, as animals grow, dendrite arbors of many neurons must expand proportionally to sustain proper connectivity and maintain coverage of their receptive field. However, different types of neurons have different growth requirements, depending on the size and complexity of their dendrite (and axon) arbors. We have been working to identify the cellular machinery that supports neuron growth with a focus on understanding whether neurons with large arbors have specialized mechanisms to support their extreme growth requirements.

From a genetic screen, we identified a mutant that selectively affects dendrite growth in neurons with large dendrite arbors withou…

Laura Newcomb: Spidermen of the Sea

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Washington State is a fantastic place to study shellfish – not only are they plentiful to study, the state is home to a productive shellfish industry which has enabled me to apply my results in the lab to real life problems.

This piece was originally prepared for FHL's Tide Bites:

As you walk past the Kings Market seafood aisle in Friday Harbor or browse at Costco, chances are that you will see fresh mussels harvested locally from Penn Cove Shellfish on Whidbey Island, WA. These mussels have been cleaned and washed to look enticing to buy, cook, and eat. What you do not see when you look at these mussels is one of the most important parts: the byssal threads that attached the mussels to the lines they grew on (Figure 1), enabling them to then progress from the ocean to your plate.

Mussels are the Spidermen of the sea: they mold byssal threads to attach to a variety of surfaces, from rocks to aquaculture lines. These threads act as stretchy tethers to keep a mussel in place (Bell and …

Foen Peng: A winding journey to a conference

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I went to the international conference for plant speciation in Stockholm, Sweden one week ago, which was organized by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). It was an important conference in this field and a lot of good researchers gave talks. It might have been just like any other good conference for most participants, but it was unusual for me - I started to prepare for it more than 6 months ago.
As a Chinese student, I need Schengen visa to visit Sweden. Also, the Chinese US student visa has only one-year validity, which means I need to apply for a US visa every year if I need to go abroad. Since I wanted to go to Sweden this summer, I needed to get my US visa renewed beforehand so that I could come back without a problem. Of course, the official way for a Chinese person to renew US visa is to go back to China. In that case, I would have had to to travel around the earth: US - China – Sweden – US!
Lucky enough, Seattle is close to Vancouver, BC, which has a US embassy th…