Congratulations to Allegra Sundstrom and Bineeta Veach, both have been selected to receive the NASA Space Grant Undergraduate Scholarship in Science and Engineering! The Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium offers scholarships for students in science, engineering, or math at Washington State University. These competitive grants are based on academic achievements, a personal essay, and a recommendation from a faculty mentor who will supervise the student’s research and future academic promise.
The National Science Foundation has funded our project studying how fishes adapt to hydrogen sulfide rich springs. We will compare closely related populations that live in adjacent sulfidic or nonsulfidic habitats to identify differences in genetic, biochemical, and physiological traits that underlie tolerance to H2S. This project is in collaboration with Michael Tobler (Kansas State University) and Jennifer Shaw (Oklahoma State University).
We have been working with Michael Tobler‘s lab at Kansas State University to understand the molecular basis of adaptation to hydrogen sulfide springs. We sequenced and analyzed transcriptomes from multiple populations of sulfide spring fishes. We sampled fish in the genus Poecilia from mulitple, replicated clear and sulfidic springs. The results of the study have recently been published in Molecular Biology and Evolution! A variety of news sources have covered our findings, including Scientific American Español.
Graduate student Anthony Brown and I attended Ecological Genomics 2015 in Manhattan, Kansas #EGSym2015. It was a fantastic conference. The organizers planned the conference very well and considered all aspects for planning a successful conference. The talks were all stellar and ranged from senior faculty to graduate students, organisms, and approaches (see the line-up here: http://ecogen.k-state.edu/symposia/2015%20schedule%20final.pdf). The two poster sessions similarly highlighted diverse research. It was a pleasure to have my abstract invited for a presentation. See you next year in Kansas City, Oct 28-30th!
Joanna Kelley had the pleasure of participating in ConGen2015 “Application of Next Gen Sequence Data to Understand Genetic Population Structure and Detect Natural Selection”. The goal of the multi-day course is: “To provide training in conceptual and practical aspects of data analysis for the conservation and evolutionary genomics of natural and managed populations. Emphasis will be on next generation sequence data analysis (RADs, exon capture, and whole genome sequence analyses) and interpretation of output from recent novel statistical approaches and software programs.” Her presentation focused on RNAseq methods and potential applications to conservation.
While usually found in the field, we had the pleasure of hosting Ryan Greenway from Kansas State University to learn RNAseq library preparation techniques. He spent long hours perfecting his pipetting technique and by the end of his visit he could pipette small volumes with the multichannel pipette, while blindfolded! Oh, and 108 beautiful RNAseq libraries!
Directly from Ryan: “I visited Dr. Joanna Kelley’s lab at Washington State University for three weeks in order to learn and practice transcriptomic techniques. For part of my dissertation work, I am using an RNA sequencing approach to study the genomic underpinnings of adaptation. Specifically, I created cDNA libraries for paired populations of eight species of Poeciliid fishes inhabiting toxic sulfide springs and nearby benign freshwater streams. Following the sequencing of these libraries, I will be investigating genomic adaptations to life in sulfide springs in each of these population pairs, as well as taking a comparative approach to look for patterns of convergent evolution at the molecular level across these eight species and three additional paired populations of Poecilia mexicana, for which reference transcriptomes have already been developed. By investigating adaptation to similar habitats in a sampling of species spanning a wide phylogenetic gradient I hope to answer fundamental questions about the nature of convergent evolution, be it an optimal adaptive response to selection or rather a constraint due to evolutionary relatedness.”
Kayla Cribbin, undergraduate researcher in the Kelley Lab, received the Leo Millam Undergraduate Research Scholarship from the College of Arts and Sciences at WSU! The award encourages undergraduates to engaged in research and present their research. Congratulations Kayla!
Lerner Publishing Group recently published biographies of STEM Trailblazers. The series highlights researchers from different fields to inspire kids in STEM. I was not a part of the writing of the book. I am excited to be included as the Genetics Expert. The entire series can be located on the Lerner website. You can take a look inside at Amazon.
We just returned from a very successful sampling trip in Mexico! We saw and measured a lot of fish! Anthony (PhD student) and Julian (undergraduate) both had the opportunity to join the sampling expedition to Mexico.