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Showing posts from January, 2016

Grad publication: Tracy Larson

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Originally published October 2014

New Neurons Replace Naturally Dying Neurons in the Adult Brain


Neurogenesis, or the birth of new neurons in the adult brain, occurs widely across animal species, including mammals (and humans) but to a more limited degree than birds and fish. In mammals, neurogenesis occurs in its highest levels after physical injuries to the brain following stroke and traumatic brain injuries. This type neurogenic response to injury-induced neural death is called reactive neurogenesis and is thought to repair neural circuit and restore ‘normal’ behavior.

Neuroscientists were previously aware that injury-induced neural reactive neurogenesis occurs, however no previous studies had described reactive neurogenesis following ‘natural’ neural loss such as that which occurs with aging, depression, and other neurodegenerative diseases. To ask whether natural reactive neurogenesis occurs in the adult brain, the authors exploited the natural neuronal death that occurs in the b…

Grad Publication: Carolyn Shores takes a very close look at what wolves eat

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As a BioGrad, Carolyn Shores worked in Sam Wasser's lab, AKA the UW Center for Conservation Biology, finding new and better ways to look at wolf poop! Carolyn's work, co-authored by Samrat Mondol (former Post-doc, now at the Wildlife Institute of India) and Sam Wasser, recently appeared in Conservation Genetics Resources. Carolyn is continuing her research on the effects of predators in the Predator Ecology Lab in the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. Here she describes what the recent study was all about.
Large carnivores have the unlucky honor of being some of the most well-recognized but controversial wildlife in the world. This is partly due to their cultural significance in myths and legends, but also because their diet often puts them into direct conflict with humans. Apex carnivores depend on large herbivores such as deer, elk and moose that are hunted by humans, and carnivores may also attack livestock if wild prey is scarce.

Given how the diet of large …

Biology Graduate Student Retreat 2016: Cascades or Bust!

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Last weekend nearly a third of our graduate students (+ many partners/families) headed for the hills, leaving behind the grading, studying, culture transfers, emails (right...), funding applications, to enjoy each other's company in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. A weekend retreat at the Wallace Falls State Park lodge has been the tradition for several years now. Below are some highlights. Special thanks to Lyda Harris for helping compile contributions to this post!

List of Assembled Grads (in no order related to the photo above): Lyda Harris, Alex Lowe, Steph Smith, Kory Luedke, Chris Wells, Mo Turner, Luke Weaver, Gideon Dunster, Lauren Vandepas, Molly Phillips, Jorge Bustamante, Megan Whitney, Alex Brannick, Hannah Jordt, Brandon Peecook, Octavio Campos, Frazer Meacham, Meredith Bache-Wiig, Claire Rusch, Itzue Caviedes Solis, Myles Fenske, Ryo Okubo, Molly Roberts, Yasmeen Hussain, Eleanor Lutz, Jennifer Hsiao, Jeremy Chan.

The best part of the Cascades is - the Cascad…

Fresh Insights into UW Biology: Volume 3 (Issue 3)

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Introducing our cohort of first-year grad students! In this series of three posts, we'll be featuring several of the students from the entering cohort of 2015. The department has such a wide range of research, it's impossible to fit it all into one post. Congrats to the First Years on making it through your first quarter in the program! Read Volume 3 (Issue 1), Volume 3 (Issue 2)



Ryo Okubo is generally interested in studying chemical ecologyand is currently focusing on studying the interactions between the blunt-leaved rein orchid, Platanthera obtusata, and their pollinators, Aedes spp. mosquitoes. Ryo chose UW because of his interest in combining his experiences in ecology and olfactory neurobiology under the instruction of Jeff Riffell. Ryo is also extremely happy with choosing UW because of the emphasis on the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of the department. He also enjoys the nature that the state of Washington has to offer and is excited about working in the f…

Fresh Insights Into UW Biology: Volume 3 (Issue 2)

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Introducing our cohort of first-year grad students! In this series of three posts, we'll be featuring several of the students from the entering cohort of 2015. The department has such a wide range of research, it's impossible to fit it all into one post. Congrats to the First Years on making it through your first quarter in the program! Read Volume 3 (Issue 1)


Having spent most of her life scampering around tide pools, Molly Phillips has always been amazed by the incredible array of creatures found within the marine world. She is broadly interested in how, at a genetic level, animals acquire diverse features. She's rotating during her first year in UW Biology, so the specifics of her thesis project are still in development, but Molly reports that she is overwhelmed by the wealth of interesting research being conducted in the Biology department. She spent the fall term in Billie Swalla’s lab where she had the opportunity to think about how some species of marine invertebrat…