Hot Student Papers

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.

Phylogenetic relatedness, phenotypic similarity and plant-soil feedback

9 Jan 2017 - 7:53am
potted plants in a greenhouse

If you've ever tried gardening, you'll know that soil matters. Soil properties such as nutrient availability, pH, and the resident microbes and invertebrates can affect plant growth. Plants themselves can also alter these soil properties, giving rise to feedbacks between plants and soil. Plant-soil feedbacks influence some of the most fundamental terrestrial processes - productivity, succession, and the maintenance of diversity - though we still lack a basic understanding of their causes. PhD student Connor Fitzpatrick (Johnson Lab) recently investigated how phylogenetic relatedness and phenotypic similarity among co-occurring plant species influence the strength of their soil feedbacks.

Clinical Trial Risk in Hepatitis C: Endpoint Selection and Drug Action

2 Jan 2017 - 8:39am
human body diagram with liver and hepatitis C

While you are sipping a beverage by the fire over the holidays, why not read the latest Hot Student Paper? This week's top honours go to former ROP student Nicole Tillie working with Prof. Jayson Parker, who recently published “Clinical Trial Risk in Hepatitis C: Endpoint Selection and Drug Action" in the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. In this study Nicole quantified the risk that new drug candidates for this disease fail clinical testing and never reach the market.  She found that only 20% of drugs succeed during clinical testing with small drug viral inhibitors being the most successful. Nicole is now studying at the Canadian College of Naturopathic medicine. Congratulations on your success!