Lab News

Anthony Recognized with Entomology Community Service Award

Community Service AwardPh.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!

Publish Date: 
Sunday, April 29, 2018 - 10:30am

Anthony Receives the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

Anthony AulettaCongratulations 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!

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 11:00pm

Easy Breezy Beautiful Cover Leech!

Cover shot!

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

The cover photo was taken by PhD Candidate Morgan Newhoff, with assistance from Joshua Puhl, PhD Candidate Anthony Auletta, and Karen Mesce.


Work it, leech!
Behind the scenes of our leech photo shoot.

Publish Date: 
Friday, April 13, 2018 - 10:45pm


Okinawa!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! 

Publish Date: 
Thursday, April 5, 2018 - 11:00am

Join Us at ESA 2017!

ESA 2017To 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!

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - 11:45am

Comings and Goings

Tony BigelowThey 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!

Sujaya RaoCarrie SheelerWe 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.

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 6:30pm

Maria Draws a Crowd at the MSROP Symposium

Maria Godinez

Undergraduate researcher Maria Godinez gave a wonderful poster presentation of her summer project at the Multicultural Summer Research Opportunities 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!

Publish Date: 
Friday, August 11, 2017 - 11:45am

Show Us What You Got!

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!

Entomology's Got Talent!

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 9:30am

Anthony Receives CFANS Alumni Society Award

Anthony AulettaWe 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!

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 5:15pm

New Publication!

The C3 cluster and its main processes into the bee brainWe 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

Publish Date: 
Monday, July 17, 2017 - 8:45pm

Our Growing Lab Family....

Cami Brod  Maria Godinez  Dr. Michael Baltzley

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!

Publish Date: 
Monday, June 5, 2017 - 11:00pm

Anthony Receives the Rockstein Fellowship

Anthony Auletta2017 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!

Publish Date: 
Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 3:15pm

ConGRADulations, Zoë!

Zoë Harvey, BACongratulations 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!

Publish Date: 
Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 8:30pm

Morgan Presenting at GPN Colloqium

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)!

Publish Date: 
Friday, May 12, 2017 - 2:00pm

Tony Says, “See-attle You Later!”

Tony BigelowSee-attle you later!We are very pleased to announce that lab manager Tony Bigelow has accepted an offer to join the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at the University of Washington as a Ph.D. student this coming fall! While it will be bittersweet to see Tony leave the lab later this year, we know that he will do great things in Seattle and are very proud of him. Congratulations, Tony!

Publish Date: 
Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 1:15pm