Lab News

Is There a Doctor in the House?

...there is now!

We're happy to report that Ph.D. candidate Anthony Auletta successfully passed his dissertation defense yesterday! Congratulations to the newly-minted Dr. Auletta!

Anthony recently began his new position as Lecturer of Insect Biology at the University of Florida Department of Entomology & Nematology. While it is bittersweet to see him go after six years in the lab, we are very excited for him as he begins this new chapter of his career and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors!

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 - 5:15am

New Publication: Catecholaminergic Neurons in the Spider CNS

Catecholaminergic neurons in the wolf spiderWe are very excited to announce a new publication, hot off the presses at the Journal of Comparative Neurology! The full citation is below:

Auletta ARue MCPHarley CM, & Mesce KA. 2019. Tyrosine hydroxylase immunolabeling reveals the distribution of catecholaminergic neurons in the central nervous systems of the spiders Hogna lenta (Araneae: Lycosidae) and Phidippus regius (Araneae: Salticidae). Journal of Comparative Neurology 2019: 1-20.

Congratulations to lead author, Ph.D. candidate Anthony Auletta, as well as his co-authors: former lab manager Mara C.P. Rue, former postdoc Cindy Harley, and PI Karen Mesce! They have been working on this one for a long time, and are all very excited to share the results with you. This paper is the first description of catecholaminergic (e.g. dopaminergic and adrenergic) neurons in the central nervous system of any arachnid species, and forms a core component of Anthony's doctoral dissertation.

The full text of the article is available online now, via JCN's "Early View." Please go check it out!

Publish Date: 
Monday, August 5, 2019 - 11:30am

Anthony Says, "Later, Gator!"

Gator!This week, we bid a fond farewell to Ph.D. candidate Anthony Auletta, as he heads down to Gainesville, FL to begin his new position as Lecturer of Insect Biology at the University of Florida Department of Entomology & Nematology. As a member of the teaching faculty at UF, Anthony will develop and teach a variety of entomology courses, as well as advise undergraduate students and coordinate CUREs (course-based undergraduate research experiences). It is a perfect fit for Anthony, who is passionate about entomology and undergraduate education, and we wish him the very best in Florida!

Anthony will be back to visit Minnesota next month, to formally defend his Ph.D. dissertation.

Publish Date: 
Monday, July 22, 2019 - 9:00am

Anthony Receives CFANS Teaching Award

Yay for great teachers!Congratulations to Ph.D. Candidate Anthony Auletta, who was recently selected to receive the Graduate Assistant Teaching Award from the College of Food, Agriculture, & Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS)! This prestigious award, which includes a $1500 prize, is given annually to one graduate student in CFANS who has demonstrated excellence in undergraduate teaching and education. During his time at the University of Minnesota, Anthony has taught in five different entomology courses, and has made strong contributions to the undergraduate and graduate programs in the Department of Entomology. He has a strong interest and background in pedagogy, and will be pursuing a career in undergraduate entomology education after he graduates later this year. Congratulations, Anthony, on this well-deserved recognition!

Anthony will formally receive the award at the CFANS Spring College Assembly, which will take place on Tuesday, May 7th from 9:30 am–12:00 pm in 105 Cargill.

Publish Date: 
Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 11:00am

Anthony presents at SICB 2019


SICBPh.D. Candidate Anthony Auletta is kicking off the new year in sunny Tampa, FL, at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society for Intregrative & Comparative Biology (SICB). The meeting will take place in the Tampa Convention Center from January 3-7th. If you'll be in attendance, please come check out Anthony's poster, which details the latest and greatest research he's done as part of his doctoral dissertation:

Auletta A, Mesce KA. 2019. An examination of biogenic amines in nervous system of the scorpion Centruroides sculpturatus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) provides insight into the evolution of neuromodulatory systems in the Arthropoda. 

And, of course, from all of us here in the Mesce Lab, have a safe, happy, and productive new year!! We look forward to all of the wonderful things to come in 2019!

Publish Date: 
Saturday, December 29, 2018 - 12:45pm

Anthony wins ESA Poster Prize

Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate Anthony Auletta, who won Second Place in his poster section at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Vancouver!

His poster, A window into the past: evidence for an ancient tripartite dopaminergic, adrenergic, and octopaminergic signaling system in the Chelicerata, co-authored with PI Karen Mesce, showcased our latest research into the evolution neuromodulatory systems in scorpions (and other arachnids).

Congratulations, Anthony!

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, November 20, 2018 - 1:45pm

Representing at SFN and ESA 2018!

We're taking this show on the road! That's right-- this November, you'll have the chance to learn about all of the great research we've been doing at not one, but two conferences!

SFN 2018To all of our neuroscience friends, we hope that we will see you at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting this year from November 3-7 in San Diego, CA! PI Karen Mesce and Ph.D. Candidate Morgan Newhoff will both be in attendance and presenting posters on their work! If you're at SFN this year, please stop by the poster hall on Sunday the 4th and say "hi!" Full poster citations are below:

Newhoff M, Smith C, Ebbini E, Mesce KA. 2018. Low intensity ultrasound reversibly inhibits single neuron firing in a tractable invertebrate model.

Mesce KA, Bigelow AW, Puhl JG. 2018. Reorganization of proprioceptive inputs facilitates locomotor recovery after injury to the CNS.

ESA 2018And if you're more on the entomology side of the spectrum, we look forward to seeing you at the Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting from November 11-14 in Vancouver, BC! Ph.D. Candidate Anthony Auletta will also be there, and will present a poster on his dissertation research. Come learn more about it in the poster session on Monday the 12th! His full poster citation is below:

Auletta A, Mesce KA. 2018. A window into the past: evidence for an ancient tripartite dopaminergic, adrenergic, and octopaminergic signaling system in the Chelicerata.

In addition, Anthony will also be participating in the ESA Student Debates this year, alongside fellow entomology graduate students Anh Tran, Edwin Benkert, and Dylan Tussey. Their debate will take place on Tuesday the 13th at 3:00pm. Come by and cheer on their team!

Publish Date: 
Monday, October 29, 2018 - 1:30pm

New Faces in the Mesce Lab!

We have two new faces joining us in the Mesce lab this fall! 

Emiliya (Emma) Bayko is a new undergraduate researcher in the lab, who will be working with us on our ongoing project to uncover the mechanisms of recovery following nerve cord injury in the leech. Emma comes to us from Metropolitan State University, where she has previously worked with Asst. Prof. Cindy Harley (former postdoctoral fellow in the lab)! We look forward to working with Emma this semester, as well as our continued collaboration with Cindy on this project!

Also joining us this semester is Radhika (Rads) Edpuganti. Rads is current undergraduate student in the Neuroscience program here at the U of M, and will be working with us over the next year on a variety of projects, including the leech revovery project, our arachnid neurobiology project, and the ultrasonic neuromodulation project. We are very excited to have Rads onboard!

Welcome, welcome, Emma and Rads!

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 12:00pm

Karen is the New ISN President!

Karen MesceThe votes are in, and we are very excited to announce that our very own Dr. Karen Mesce will be the new president of the International Society for Neuroethology! Karen has a long and rich history of service to the ISN, as the current treasurer and a former secretary of the society, and we think that she is the perfect person for this role. We look forward to the many wonderful things that she will accomplish during her presidency!

Karen begins as president-elect for the 2018-20 term, after which she will officially take over as president for the 2020-22 term, which includes the 2020 International Congress of Neuroethology in Lisbon, Portugal.

Congratulations again, Karen, on your well-deserved victory!

Publish Date: 
Monday, October 8, 2018 - 5:30pm

Another New Publication!

We're excited announce that former Postdoctoral Researcher Joshua Puhl and PI Karen Mesce are co-authors on a paper that was just published in PLoS ONE! This study characterizes the transcriptome of our beloved medicinal leech (Hirudo verbana), and is the result of a collaboration led by the Schulz lab at the University of Missouri. Congratulations to Joshua and Karen, as well as their fellow co-authors: Adam Northcutt, Eva Fischer, and David Schulz!

The full citation is below-- be sure to check it out!:

Northcutt AJ, Fischer EK, Puhl JGMesce KA, Schulz DJ. 2018. An annotated CNS transcriptome of the medicinal leech, Hirudo verbana: De novo sequencing to characterize genes associated with nervous system activity. PLoS ONE 13: e0201206.

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 3:00pm

Crikey, it's Almost Time for ICN 2018!

ICN 2018Time is flying by this summer-- we can hardly believe that the International Congress of Neuroethology in Brisbane, Australia is less than a week away! We are looking forward to catching up with our friends and colleagues who will be at the meeting, and learning about the latest and greatest discoveries in neuroethology!

PI Karen Mesce and Ph.D. Candidate Morgan Newhoff will both be in attendance and showcasing their research with poster presentations. If you will be at the meeting, please stop by our posters... we are excited to show you what we've been up to this past year! The full poster citations are below:

Newhoff M, Ebbini E, Mesce KA. 2018. The effects of ultrasound neuromodulation on behaviorally relevant neuronal firing patterns.

Mesce KA, Puhl JG, Bigelow AW, Newhoff M. 2018. Locomotor recovery after injury in the medicinal leech: novel proprioceptive pathways correlate with the return of locomotion.

We hope to see you down under, mate!

Publish Date: 
Monday, July 9, 2018 - 4:00pm

Hot Off The Presses: Functional Recovery of a Locomotor Network after Injury

Figure from Puhl, Bigelow, et al. 2018Former Lab Technician Tony Bigelow and former Postdoctoral Researcher Joshua Puhl are co-first authors on an exciting new paper that was just published in eNeuro earlier this month! The paper, written with PI Karen Mesce and former Lab Technician Mara CP Rue, is the culmination of several years of work on the recovery of locomotor abilities and associated reorganization of the nervous system following traumatic injury in the medicinal leech. Be sure to check it out!

The full paper citation is below:

Puhl JG*, Bigelow AW*, Rue MCP, Mesce KA. 2018. Functional recovery of a locomotor network after injury: plasticity beyond the central nervous system. eNeuro 2018: 10.1523/ENEURO.0195-18.2018. eNeuro Link

*co-first authors; please cite as Puhl, Bigelow, et al. 2018.

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, July 3, 2018 - 11:45am

Congratulations, Asst. Prof. Puhl!

Dr. Joshua G. PuhlCongratulations to Postdoctoral Researcher Joshua Puhl, who has accepted a new position as Assistant Professor at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA! As a member of the college's Science Division, Joshua will specialize in teaching courses on human anatomy and physiology. Over the last few years, Joshua has discovered and embraced his passion for teaching, and most recently served as an adjunct instructor of biology at Metropolitan State University. We are very happy that he will be able to continue pursuing those passions in his new role, and we wish him all the best on his way to California!

Publish Date: 
Thursday, June 28, 2018 - 2:30pm

Summer Welcome!

Christine EllisSummer is here, and that means it's time to welcome a new summer undergraduate researcher into the lab! Christine Ellis is joining us from Virginia Tech this summer, where she is enrolled in the undergraduate biochemistry major. As a Minnesota native, she is happy to be back in MN, and we are happy to have her in the lab! She will primarily be assisting Ph.D. Candidate Anthony Auletta in his research into the evolution of biogenic amine signaling in the arachnids, which is an excellent match for her biochemistry background and budding interest in neuroscience. Welcome, Christine!

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 3:45pm

Morgan Receives Professional Development Awards!

Morgan NewhoffCongratulations 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! 

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 10:30am