Congratulations to Ph.D. Candidate Morgan Newhoff, for recently receiving two competitive professional development awards!
First up, Morgan was named one of this year's recipients of the Stark Award for Advanced Scholarship from the Graduate Program in Neuroscience! The intent of the Stark Award is to support GPN students in the pursuit of advanced training, either in the U.S. or abroad, in specific lab techniques or via specialized courses. Morgan will be using her award to help fund her trip to Okinawa, Japan, where she will attend the 2018 Okinawa Institute of Science & Technology Computational Neuroscience Course later this summer!
Morgan also received the Heiligenberg Stuent Travel Award from the International Society for Neuroethology! This award will help fund her trip to the International Congress of Neuroethology in Brisbane, Australia this July, where she will present the latest and greatest findings from her doctoral research.
Way to go, Morgan!
Ph.D. Candidate Anthony Auletta recently received the Department of Entomology Community Service Award, in recognition of his dedication to departmental service & community-building. The award was presented at the 20th Annual Hodson Alumni Event & Student Awards Ceremony this past Friday.
Since joining the department in 2013, Anthony has been a strong voice on several departmental committees, in addition to holding leadership positions within Frenatae (the Entomology Graduate Student Association) and being actively involved in teaching multiple entomology courses. He has also recently taken lead in organizing a number of departmental events in an effort to foster greater camaraderie and professional connections among Entomology students, staff, and faculty. Congratulations, Anthony, on being recognized for all of your efforts!
Congratulations to Ph.D. Candidate Anthony Auletta, who recently received a Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF) from the University of Minnesota Graduate School! The DDF is a competitive award designed to fund doctoral candidates in the final year of their degree programs. Anthony’s DDF will fund him for the 2018-19 academic year, putting him right on track to defend his thesis in Spring 2019. Congratulations, Anthony!
We’re very happy to announce that our latest paper has been published as the cover story in the new issue of Journal of Experimental Biology! Congratulations to PI Dr. Karen Mesce (lead author), as well as co-authors Magda Alania (former postdoctoral researcher), Quentin Gaudry, and Joshua Puhl (current postdoctoral researcher)!
The full citation for the paper is below:
Mesce KA, Alania M, Gaudry Q, Puhl JG. 2018. The stomatogastric nervous system of the medicinal leech: its anatomy, physiology and associated aminergic neurons. Journal of Experimental Biology 221:jeb175687. PubMed Link
Behind the scenes of our leech photo shoot.
Congratulations to Ph.D. Candidate Morgan Newhoff, who will be heading off to Japan later this summer to attend the 2018 Okinawa Institute of Science & Technology Computational Neuroscience Course! Morgan is one of a handful of scholars from around the world selected to participate in this prestigious course. As part of the experience, Morgan will conduct a small independent project that will augment her PhD dissertation on the cellular mechanisms underlying ultrasonic neuromodulation. おめでとう, Morgan!
To all of our friends and colleagues attending this year’s Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Denver from November 5-8th, please be sure to stop by the Exhibit Hall on Monday, November 6th and check out Ph.D. candidate Anthony Auletta’s poster presentation! Anthony will be standing at the poster at 6:00pm, and is excited to tell you all about our recent forays into scorpion electrophysiology and behavior. The full poster citation is below:
Auletta A, Bigelow AW, Newhoff M, Mesce KA. 2017. Dopamine and norepinephrine as neuromodulators of arachnid behavior: Anatomical and physiological insights from the scorpion Centruroides sculpturatus (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Poster D3026.
We hope to see you there!
They say that the only thing that’s constant in the world is change, and that seems to be the case for us too! With the end of summer on the horizon, it was time to bid a fond farewell to lab manager Tony Bigelow, who recently left the lab to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Washington in Seattle. Tony joined the lab in early 2015 as an undergraduate researcher, and upon graduating in 2016, assumed the role of lab manager. During his time in the lab, Tony made some incredible discoveries that have helped illuminate possible mechanisms by which leeches recover their locomotory abilities following traumatic nerve cord injury, and his findings will form a crucial component of our upcoming publication on the phenomenon. We are sad to see Tony go, but we know that many great things await him as he starts his new journey, and we are excited to hear about all of his future successes!
We are also happy to welcome Ph.D. student Carrie Sheeler into the lab! Carrie is a first year student in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience, who will be completing a lab rotation with us this fall. Though she will only be with us for several months, we are looking forward to working with her in the lab. Welcome, Carrie!
And last, but certainly not least, we would like to join the rest of the Entomology Department in welcoming our new Department Head, Dr. Sujaya Rao, who will be arriving in Minnesota later this month. Sujaya is an alumna of the department, and upon graduating with her Ph.D., completed a postdoc in our lab in 1992. We are excited to have her back with us, and look forward to working with her to create a bright new future for the department.
Undergraduate researcher Maria Godinez gave a wonderful poster presentation of her summer project at the Multicultural Summer Research Opportinities Program (MSROP) Research Symposium yesterday. Maria’s poster highlighted some of her preliminary findings on the responses of different mechanosensory neurons in injured leeches before and after recovery, a project that she hopes to continue working on in the upcoming semester. Way to go, Maria!
Can you believe that it’s already been a full year since our lab hosted a Bugs ’n Brews (Entomology Social Hour) and turned Hodson Hall into a 1920s speakeasy? Well, the time has come for us to host Bugs ’n Brews again, and this time… we want to see what you got! That’s why the Mesce Lab is pleased to present Entomology’s Got Talent: the first-ever Entomology Department talent show! That’s right— in addition to all of the usual refreshments & comeraderie you’ve come to love from Bugs ’n Brews, this time there will also be an optional talent competition! So, come strut your stuff! We even have a few prizes for the very best acts….
It’s going to be so much fun, and we look forward to seeing all of our friends and colleagues in the Entomology Department there! The festivities will take place this Friday (August 4th), from 4-6pm in Hodson Hall 490. We hope that you can make it!
We are happy to announce that Ph.D. candidate Anthony Auletta has been named a recipient of the CFANS Alumni Society Graduate Student Professional Development Award! This award, offered through the Alumni Society of the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), comes with $500 to use towards travel or professional skill-building activities. Anthony plans to use the award to attend the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), which is being held this November in Denver, CO. Congratulations, Anthony!
We have a new publication to report! PI Dr. Karen Mesce is a co-author on a new paper that was published in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience earlier this month. The paper, A tyrosine-hydroxylase characterization of dopaminergic neurons in the honey bee brain, was written in collaboration with Dr. Martin Giurfa and colleagues at Université de Toulouse in France.
Karen has been busy as a bee (ha— get it?) working on this paper over the last few months, so we are very excited that it is now published and available for reading! Congratulations, Karen! The full citation is below— please take a look:
Tedjakumala SR, Rouquette J, Boizeau ML, Mesce KA, Hotier L, Massou I, Giurfa M. 2017. A tyrosine-hydroxylase characterization of dopaminergic neurons in the honey bee brain. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 11:47. PubMed Link
Summer is off to a great start here in the Mesce Lab, as we welcome two new members of the lab family (and welcome back a familiar face)! Making their lab debut are undergraduate students Camille (Cami) Brod and Maria Godinez. Cami and Maria are both rising juniors enrolled in the neuroscience major, and will be developing projects to complement our ongoing studies into the mechanisms of recovery following nerve cord injury in the medicinal leech. We are looking forward to working with them this summer (and beyond)!
In several weeks, we will also welcome back Dr. Michael Baltzley from Western Oregon University, who is once again joining us as a visiting scholar this summer. Mike had previously visited the lab in Summer 2016, and will be continuing to work on the projects he started in the lab then. We are thrilled to have him back in the lab, and hope that this will become a summer tradition!
Welcome, welcome, everyone!
2017 is shaping up to be an excellent year for all of us in the Mesce Lab! The next stop on the Congratulations Train goes to Ph.D. candidate Anthony Auletta, who received the Morris & Elaine Soffer Rockstein Fellowship in Entomology at yesterday’s Hodson Alumni Event & Student Awards Ceremony. The Rockstein Fellowship is intended to honor Entomology Ph.D. students who have demonstrated excellence in research and contributions to the department, and comes with a $2000 honorarium. Woot woot, Anthony!
Congratulations to former arachnid care specialist Zoë Harvey, who graduated from the U earlier this month with a B.S. in Technical Writing & Communication and a minor in Entomology! Zoë joined the lab in early 2015 to help us care for our growing spider collection, and we have greatly enjoyed having her in the lab. Now that she has graduated, she is set to start an exciting new job as a digital marketing specialist and writer here in the Twin Cities. We wish her luck in her new position, and are glad to hear that she’s staying in the area… because that means she can still pop by the lab for a visit here and there!
Ph.D. candidate Morgan Newhoff will be presenting preliminary findings from her doctoral research next Wednesday (May 17th), as part of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience Colloqium series. Her talk, entitled An Investigation into the Cellular Mechanisms Underlying Ultrasonic Neuromodulation, will take place from 12:00-1:00pm in Jackson Hall 2-137. Come join us if you can! And good luck, Morgan (we know you’ll do a great job)!