Hot Student Papers

Biomarker use is associated with reduced clinical trial failure risk in metastatic melanoma

3 Mar 2015 - 8:41am
Daniel Rubinger and Sarah Hollman

The complexity of modern medicine sometimes makes it difficult to know if drug treatments are doing their intended job. MBioTech students Daniel Rubinger and Sarah Hollman (advisor Jayson Parker) took this problem head on in their recent paper “Biomarker use is associated with reduced clinical trial failure risk in metastatic melanoma” published in Biomarkers in Medicine. Dan and Sarah looked at how new drugs are tested in melanoma and traced them through various stages of clinical trial testing between 1998 and 2013. They compared drugs that used a biomarker (e.g. “personalized medicine” if you will) versus drugs that did not use a biomarker, in identifying patients who will be treated with the drug in question for the disease.

Recurrent loss of sex is associated with accumulation of deleterious mutations in Oenothera

17 Feb 2015 - 11:54am
primrose

Happy Darwin Day! Yes, that is right, Charles Darwin is 206 years old today! If that is not enough, love is in the air and that is why this week’s Hot Student/Postdoc paper is so apropos. Former Postdoc Jesse Hollister (Johnson & Wright Labs) has experimentally shown that sex is good for your health, at least if you are a plant. Jesse published “Recurrent loss of sex is associated with accumulation of deleterious mutations in Oenothera” in Molecular Biology and Evolution. He studied the evening primrose genus Oenothera where there have been >20 independent transitions from a sexual to a functionally asexual genetic system. After using Illumina based RNA-seq to sequence ca.

Myinhibitors controlling oviduct contraction within the female blood-gorging insect, Rhodnius prolixus

3 Feb 2015 - 8:30am
Rhodnius prolixus

What is the best way to recover from a long and tiring snow day? Curling up with the latest Hot Student Paper OF COURSE! Well, lucky for you Ph.D. student Laura Sedra (Lange Lab) recently published “Myinhibitors controlling oviduct contraction within the female blood-gorging insect, Rhodnius prolixus” in General and Comparative Endocrinology. If you are not an animal neurophysiologist you might not have known that muscle fibers are coordinated by stimulatory and inhibitory neuropeptides that result in the overall contraction and relaxation of the tissue. This paper focuses in on three specific neuropeptide families that are commonly classified as myoinhibitors: A-type allatostatins (FGLa/AST), B-type allatostatins (MIP/AST) and myosuppressins (MS).

Latitudinal gradients in herbivory on Oenothera biennis vary according to herbivore guild and specialization

19 Jan 2015 - 8:04am
insect on a flower
Living in warmer climates isn’t all it is cracked up to be, or is it? Ecologists have long hypothesized that the intensity of antagonistic species interactions increases towards the tropics. For example, plants at lower latitudes are predicted to be eaten more by insect herbivores. A recent paper by Ph.D. candidate Daniel Anstett (Johnson Lab) calls this hypothesis into question. Daniel recently published “Latitudinal gradients in herbivory on Oenothera biennis vary according to herbivore guild and specialization” in Ecology. In this paper he tested if herbivory is highest at lower latitudes across the entire North-South species range (Ontario to Florida) of common evening primrose, Oenothera biennis.

Genomewide mutation dynamic within a long-lived individual of Armillaria gallica

7 Jan 2015 - 4:14pm
Armillaria gallica

Happy New Year! Nothing brings in the New Year like mushrooms and mutations, so this week we celebrate the paper by former M.Sc. student Stefan Catano and Prof. Jim Anderson. Their paper “Genomewide mutation dynamic within a long-lived individual of Armillaria gallica” was published in Mycologia. Mutation is the ultimate source of all genetic variation in populations and yet the actual events remain unobservable and buried in the past. Long-lived individuals of Armillaria gallica, a common opportunistic fungal pathogen of tree roots, provide the context for examining the mutational dynamic.  Whole-genome sequencing was used to identify the mutations and place them in space and time, reflecting growth of the individual from birth to present.

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