Hot Student Papers

Induced defences alter the strength and direction of natural selection on reproductive traits in common milkweed

30 Aug 2017 - 8:19am
Journal of Evolutionary Biology cover

Taking a bite crosses the line with sex…in plants. Former MSc student Ken Thompson and NSERC USRA student Katie Cory (Johnson Lab) recently published “Induced defences alter the strength and direction of natural selection on reproductive traits in common milkweed” in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology. Ken and Katie conducted their field studies here on the UTM campus, where they investigated how insect damage, and the hormonal up-regulation of a plant’s chemical defences alters natural selection on plant reproductive traits in common milkweeds.

Molecular modulators of the circadian clock: lessons from flies and mice

1 May 2017 - 7:59am
Grad students and personnel in Mary Cheng's lab

Are you curious to know more about how our behavior and physiology are tightly synchronized to daily environmental cycles? Or, why do we suffer from jet lag when traveling between different time zones? You’ll find these answers and more in the recent paper “Molecular modulators of the circadian clock: lessons from flies and mice” published by co-first authors Lucia Mendoza-Viveros, Pascale Bouchard-Cannon and Sara Hegazi (Cheng group) in Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. This paper provides an extensive overview of the intricate molecular mechanisms underlying circadian timekeeping in Drosophila and murine systems.

miR-132/212 modulates seasonal adaptation and dendritic morphology of the central circadian clock

19 Apr 2017 - 4:05pm
Circadian clock in summer and winter

HOT OFF THE PRESSES - The genetics of adjusting your internal clock to day length! PhD student Lucia Mendoz-Viveros (Cheng Lab) just yesterday published her 1st First Authored Paper. And this is a whopper of a paper in Cell Reports, entitled: “miR-132/212 modulates seasonal adaptation and dendritic morphology of the central circadian clock”. In this paper, Lucia examines the role of the microRNA gene cluster, miR-132/212, in circadian timekeeping using miR-132/212 knockout mice.  She finds that genetic ablation of miR-132/212 alters the ability of mice to adjust their clock in response to varying day lengths.

Octopamine and tyramine regulate the activity of reproductive visceral muscles in the adult female blood-feeding bug, Rhodnius prolixus

3 Apr 2017 - 10:27am
Rhodnius prolixus

Kissing can lead to babies and bugs, and thanks to a new paper from the Lange Lab, we know a lot more about the physiology of egg production in the blood-feeding Kissing Bug (Rhodnius prolixus). M.Sc. student Sam Hana just published his first 1-authored paper “Octopamine and tyramine regulate the activity of reproductive visceral muscles in the adult female blood-feeding bug, Rhodnius prolixus” in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Female kissing bugs that are well fed and mated can lay hundreds of eggs in a matter of days, but how they physiologically regulate egg production is poorly understood.

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.

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