Hot Student Papers

Cloning, localization, and physiological effects of sulfakinin in the kissing bug, Rhodnius prolixus

9 Mar 2017 - 7:41am
Rhodnius prolixus on a person's lips

A scientist’s first 1st-authored paper is among the most important, memorable, and sometimes difficult accomplishments in a career. It is something to be celebrated and for this reason we tip our hat to Ph.D. student Hussain Al-Alkawi (Lange and Orchard Labs) who just published his first paper: “Cloning, localization, and physiological effects of sulfakinin in the kissing bug, Rhodnius prolixus” in Peptides. Sulfakinins, which are satiety peptides found in insects, crustaceans, and arachnids, are homologous to the mammalian cholecystokinin and gastrin family of neuropeptides. The Kissing Bug, Rhodnius prolixus, is the main vector for Chagas disease, which it transmits while feeding on blood.

Ontogenetic change in the temporal region of the early permian parareptile Delorhynchus cifellii and the implications for closure of the temporal fenestra in amniotes

2 Mar 2017 - 7:23am
Yara Haridy

New research in UTM Biology shows that some ancient reptiles experienced a sort of “coming of age”. Graduate student Yara Haridy (Reisz Lab) just published her first 1st-authored paper with Ph.D. student Mark Macdougall as a collaborator. Their paper “Ontogenetic change in the temporal region of the early permian parareptile Delorhynchus cifellii and the implications for closure of the temporal fenestra in amniotes” recently appeared in PLoS ONE. In this work Yara studied fossilized skulls of the parareptile Delorhynchus cifellii. Previously this species was only known from adult specimens, but Yara and her collaborators determined that this new skull belonged to a juvenile individual.

Effects of environmental warming during early life-history on libellulid odonates

9 Feb 2017 - 9:34am
dragonfly nymph

Despite what “alternative facts” might have you believe, climate change poses risks to many organisms, especially ectotherms that depend on temperature for vital metabolic functions. Intraspecific variation in species’ responses to warming may be important in buffering populations from the detrimental effects of warming, yet we know little about how individuals vary in their response to warming. In her first 1st-authored paper, Ph.D. student Dachin Frances and undergraduate coauthor Jy Yang Moon (McCauley Lab), just addressed this problem in “Effects of environmental warming during early life-history on libellulid odonates” published in Canadian Journal of Zoology.

Phylogeny, environment and sexual communication across the Drosophila genus

30 Jan 2017 - 8:09am
Drosophila head, close up

Are you interested in the secret to love and a healthy relationship? If so then you should stop PhD student Jacob Jezovit (Levine Lab) in the hallway and he can tell you all about it, at least as it relates to Drosophila. Jacob just published his first 1st-authored paper “Phylogeny, environment and sexual communication across the Drosophila genus” in Journal of Experimental Biology. In this paper, Jacob and his coauthors (including PDF Dr. Jon Schneider) provide an overview of how life history and phylogenetic constraints shape visual and chemical signals during courtship in Drosophila.

The structure, kinetics and interactions of the β-carboxysomal β-carbonic anhydrase, CcaA

20 Jan 2017 - 9:31am
diagram of β-carboxysomal β-carbonic anhydrase

Photosynthesis is the secret to all life, a secret discovered and closely guarded for over 3 billions years by an ancient group of tiny organisms. We are of course talking about the CYANOBACTERIA! Amazingly, PhD student Maryam Moazami-Goudarzi (Espie Lab) has uncovered and shared part of the secret ingredients cyanobacteria use to accomplish their amazing feat. Her results were recently published in her first 1st-authored paper, published in Biochemical Journal. Much of cyanobacteria’s success is due to concentrating CO2 within a proteinaceous microcompartment called a carboxysome.

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