Lab News

Springtime Accolades

A big round of congratulations is in order for many members of the lab this month!

Who's Awesome? You're awesome!
Yes, we are!

First up, a hearty huzzah to lab technician Mara CP Rue and former undergraduate researcher Estelle Smith, both of whom were accepted into their top choice PhD programs for this coming fall! Mara will be joining the graduate program in neuroscience at Brandeis University, and Estelle will be joining the graduate program in computer science here at the University of Minnesota. We are all very excited for them both; congratulations, Mara and Estelle!

Additionally, graduate student Anthony Auletta recently received the prestigious Laudier Histology student travel grant, which will fund his trip to Golden, Colorado for the 20th International Congress of Arachnology this July. Woot woot, Anthony!

And last but certainly not least, undergraduate researcher Tony Bigelow recently accepted a position as course assistant for the renowned Neural Systems and Behavior summer course in Woods Hole, Massachusetts for this summer. Way to go, Tony!

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 - 12:30pm

Anthony talks Spiders on “Brains On”

Brains OnGraduate student Anthony Auletta recently shared his love and knowledge of spiders in an episode of Brains On, a national podcast produced by MPR News and Southern California Public Radio. Brains On is a science podcast for curious kids and adults, and each episode features children co-hosts and interviews with experts across many scientific disciplines.

Click here to listen to the latest episode, “Spider Sense,” in which Anthony discusses the fascinating world of spider biology with co-hosts Rowan, Dylan, and Molly.

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 12:30pm

New Publication!

Plasmon resonance and the imaging of metal-impregnated neurons with the laser scanning confocal microscopeWe are very pleased to announce that our most recent paper, Plasmon resonance and the imaging of metal-impregnated neurons with the laser scanning confocal microscope, was published in eLife today! You can check it out by clicking here!

Congratulations to recent lab alumna Cindy Harley (co-first author) and PI Karen Mesce, as well as our collaborators Karen Thompson (Agnes Scott College), Grant Barthel (University of Minnesota Imaging Center), and Mark Sanders (University of Minnesota Imaging Center)!

The full citation is below:

Thompson KT, Harley CM, Barthel GM, Sanders MA, Mesce KA. 2015. Plasmon resonance and the imaging of metal-impregnated neurons with the laser scanning confocal microscope. eLIFE 4:e09388.

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 12:30pm

Anthony wins ESA President’s Prize

wolf spider Hogna lentaCongratulations to Ph.D. student Anthony Auletta, who won the First Place Award in his poster section in the Graduate Student Competition for the President’s Prize at the 2015 Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting!

His poster, entitled The organization of the spider nervous system as revealed by dopamine immunolabeling and confocal microscopy, showcased his research on the distribution of dopamine in the spider CNS, which is also currently being prepared for publication with Cynthia HarleyMara Rue, and Karen Mesce as co-authors.

This award includes a cash prize of $175, as well as one year of free membership to ESA.

Congratulations, Anthony!

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 12:30pm

The Mesce Lab at ESA 2015

ladybug and flowersTo all of our friends and colleagues attending the Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting in Minneapolis next week, please be sure to come and see what we’ve been up to! Ph.D. student Anthony Auletta will be at the meeting, presenting the results of his spider research as part of the Graduate Poster Competition:

Auletta A, Harley CM, Rue MCP, Mesce KA. 2015. The organization of the spider nervous system as revealed by dopamine immunolabeling and confocal microscopy.

Look for Poster D3171 in Poster Session #17. The poster will be on display from 8:00am-6:30pm on Monday, November 16th in Exhibit Hall BC, and Anthony will be there from 5:30-6:00 to present the poster and answer questions.

We hope to see you there!

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 12:15pm

We Live!!

Hello there, internet! It’s been quite a while since we’ve last updated our website, hasn’t it? But fear not— WE LIVE!!

zombie hand
“I need to process these BRAAAAAAAAAINS!”

In fact, not only are we still alive… but this past year has been a very exciting and busy one for us! Here’s a recap of some lab highlights from 2015 (so far):

First, accolades are in order for Dr. Cindy Harley, who recently accepted a faculty position at Metropolitan State University that began this August. Cindy was a postdoctoral associate in the lab for the last 3 years, and while we’ll miss her dearly here at the U, we’re happy for her and her awesome new job. We’d also like to congratulate Cindy and her husband Chris on the birth of their new son, Malcolm Paul Harley, who was born on April 6th. Mazel tov, Asst. Prof. Harley and family!

We would also like to congratulate Estelle Smith, who recently completed an outstanding UROP project in the lab and graduated (summa cum laude!) with her B.S. in neuroscience. Estelle joined the lab in 2014 as an undergraduate research assistant; now that she has graduated, she plans to continue working in the lab as a junior scientist while applying to graduate schools. Way to go, Estelle!

This past year also saw many amazing new additions to the lab. In January 2015, we were joined by Mara Chin-Purcell Rue, who is currently working as our lab manager and support scientist on many projects in the lab. Additional congratulations are in order for Mara, as she and her husband Nate were recently married in a beautiful ceremony this August. Congratulations, Mara and Nate! In January we were also joined by Tony Bigelow, who is currently performing directed undergraduate research in the lab. Tony had previously conducted research under lab alum Dr. Kevin Crisp (now at St. Olaf College), and we’re very excited to have him here at the “mothership.” We are also pleased to announce that Morgan Newhoff, PhD student in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience, accepted an offer to join the lab this past May. Morgan’s project is still developing, but she has many interesting new ideas to bring to the table! Undergraduate student Zoë Harvey also recently came aboard as head of our spider care team. And last but certainly not least, lab alum Dr. Joshua Puhl, who received his PhD in the lab in 2011, has returned as a postdoctoral researcher. Joshua will be working on several exciting and innovative new projects, which will benefit greatly from his special expertise in neurophysiology. Welcome, welcome everyone!

As our parade of congratulations marches on, we’d also like to extend a hearty “hear-hear” to high school student Anthony Polyakov, who began volunteering in the lab under PhD student Anthony Auletta in March 2014. Anthony recently enrolled in the undergraduate program in entomology at Cornell University with a prestigious Hunter R. Rawlings III Presidential Research Scholarship. Woot woot, Anthony— make us proud!

Speaking of awards, PhD student Anthony Auletta recently received the prestigious Thomas H. Shevlin Fellowship from the University of Minnesota Graduate School. This $23,000 award is bestowed upon a select few graduate students each year, on the basis of their academic record and their overall professional promise. In addition, Anthony also received the Marion-Brooks Wallace Fellowship from the Department of Entomology, to fund an exciting project on spider electrophysiology, as well as the Heiligenberg Student Travel Award from the International Society for Neuroethology.

And what would the lab be without funding? This past year, PI Dr. Karen Mesce received two large, competitive grants from the National Science Foundation, including an NSF EAGER award as part of the BRAIN Initiative with matching funds from the University of Minnesota. Way to go, Karen!

This past year, Dr. Karen Mesce also co-organized an exceptionally successful Gordon Research Conference in Neuroethology, which took place in Barga (Tuscany), Italy in June and July. The meeting was one of the most well-attended Gordon conferences in our field in recent years, and by all accounts was a productive, stimulating, and enjoyable experience. PhD student Anthony Auletta also attended the meeting, where he presented a poster on his wolf spider neuroanatomy work at both the conference and the preceding Gordon Research Seminar.

All in all, it’s been a fantastic year in the lab, full of accomplishments, welcome additions, and exciting new journeys. And 2015 isn’t even over yet! We’re definitely looking forward to what the rest of the year (and beyond) will bring our way. Already we have several very cool publications in the pipeline, as well as several great new projects being developed— stay tuned for more news on those a little bit later….

Publish Date: 
Thursday, November 5, 2015 - 12:15pm