Hot Student Papers

Plastid genome evolution in mycoheterotrophic Ericaceae

31 May 2012 - 11:03am

EricaceaeThomas BraukmannWe close out May by focusing on the research of Thomas Braukmann, a Ph.D. student in the Stefanović Lab.

Inactivation of a low temperature-induced RNA helicase in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803: Physiological and morphological consequences

22 May 2012 - 11:26am

This week we recognize the work of former BIO 481 student Meghana Ventakesh from the Espie Lab.

In collaboration with the Owttrim lab from U Alberta, Meghana recently published her work in Plant and Cell Physiology. This paper examines the molecular and physiological mechanisms by which cyanobacteria respond to cold temperatures. Specifically, the inability of a mutant line to grow at cold temperatures was directly related to the cessation of photosynthesis caused by a DEAD box helicase. Mutants lacking this helicase had reduced capacity for electron transport that limited the supply of ATP and NADPH for carbon fixation, eventually causing cell death.

Meghana recently finished a degree in our M.Biotech Program. Congratulations, Meghana!

Habitat patch shape, not corridors, determines herbivory and fruit production of an annual plant

8 May 2012 - 1:47pm

Nash TurleyThis week we recognize the work of PhD student Nash Turley from the Johnson Lab.

In this paper, which is currently in press at Ecology, Nash and his collaborators examine how habitat fragmentation affects the movement and abundance of insect herbivores, and how this in turn affects insect damage on plants. They find that patch shape and not the connectedness of patches, has the largest effect on insect damage and plant fitness. This provides insight into how conservation corridors can influence species interactions.

Nash will be around for a few more years so we look forward to seeing future developments. Great job, Nash!

Signalling and sex in the social amoebozoans

30 Apr 2012 - 1:50pm

This week we recognize the achievement of former BIO 481 student Alex Keszei from the O’Day Lab.

Alex’s paper was recently published in Biological Reviews. The multicellular development of macrocysts of Dictyostelium is an exciting tale of sexual pheromones, fertilization, cellular imprisonment and cannibalistic phagocytosis. O’Day and Keszei review the complete literature on this alternative lifestyle with a view to setting the stage for future research. Alex is now a graduate student in Molecular Genetics downtown.

Great work and best of luck, Alex!

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Development and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite markers for Conopholis americana (Orobanchaceae)

23 Apr 2012 - 1:52pm

Anuar RodriguesThis week we recognize the work of Ph.D. student Anuar Rodrigues from the Stefanović Lab.

Anuar’s paper recently appeared in American Journal of Botany. This paper develops new molecular resources for studying population genetic diversity in an obligate root parasite. Their initial screen shows that C. americana populations appear to be highly inbred. These markers will now be used to initiate a larger scale study of the population genetics and phylogeography of Conophilis.

Keep up the great work, Anuar!

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