Colloquium Schedule


All colloquia are in TBL 112 at 1:10pm on the dates below (except where noted).

September 8, 2017 – Norm Bell, Safety talk for all students working in labs.  This is mandatory!!

September 15, 2017  – “Strategies for designing and delivering a scientific presentation” (by Matt Carter, Assistant Professor of Biology)
It takes time, effort and skill to design and deliver an engaging scientific talk that audiences understand and remember.  In this one-hour presentation, we will discuss three aspects of designing an outstanding scientific talk: (1) organizing complex scientific information into a clear narrative; (2) using PowerPoint or Keynote software to visually communicate scientific concepts; and (3) improving verbal and nonverbal delivery during a presentation. This seminar is open to anyone and is especially applicable to senior thesis students.

September 22, 2017 – Adam Siepielski, University of Arkansas
“A cautionary tale of woe and intrigue in explaining species diversity”
Spectacular levels of species diversity exemplify most biological communities: plankton in freshwater and marine systems, beetles in a tree, plants in tropical forests or grasslands, and microbes in the human gut. What allows so many ecologically similar species to locally coexist? Progress into this vexing problem has primarily focused on identifying ecological differences among species that could promote coexistence. However, missing are critical tests determining whether or not ecological differences among species do indeed promote coexistence via their effects on population regulation. Likewise, the role of evolution in shaping the ability for species to coexist via its demographic effects is often missing. Yet, evolution is relentless. I’ll explore these ideas using a diverse assemblage of aquatic insect predators – damselflies, which are a close relative of dragonflies. The work will reveal some of the complexities and joys of studying species diversity from ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Given the importance of biodiversity, understanding how diversity is maintained remains and will remain an important and active area of study in the biological sciences.

September 29, 2017 – Zuzana Tothova (’01), Harvard
“Targeting cohesin mutations in leukemia”
Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) represent a group of diseases of the bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells, which are characterized by ineffective production of normal blood cells. While tremendous progress has been made in defining the genetic basis of MDS with the advent of next generation sequencing, little is known about the basic mechanisms by which newly identified drivers cause transformation. Patients with MDS have a poor overall prognosis given limited treatment options. Better understanding of the mechanisms by which these novel genetic drivers contribute to transformation will offer biological insight into myeloid diseases and inform the design of urgently needed new therapies. One of the protein complexes recurrently mutated in MDS and AML is the cohesin complex – a ring-like structure that wraps around the DNA and facilitates sister chromatid cohesion, DNA repair and chromatin organization. It is not understood how cohesin mutations lead to MDS or leukemia, or whether cells with these mutations have vulnerabilities that can be exploited therapeutically. I will discuss our data showing that the loss of STAG2, the most frequently mutated cohesin subunit, results in assembly of mutant cohesin complexes, disruption of critical DNA looping interactions and leads to transcriptional deregulation. Importantly, we reveal novel therapeutic vulnerabilities associated with these changes, which has informed design of new clinical trials.

October 6, 13, 20, 2017 – Thesis Talks (two of these three dates, depending on Mountain Day)

November 3, 2017Abhyudai Singh, University of Delaware
“Systems Biology in Single Cells: A Tale of Two Viruses”
In the noisy cellular environment, expression of genes has been shown to be stochastic across organisms ranging from prokaryotic to human cells. Stochastic expression manifests as cell-to-cell variability in the levels of RNAs/proteins, in spite of the fact that cells are genetically identical and are exposed to the same environment. Development of computationally tractable frameworks for modeling stochastic fluctuations in gene product levels is essential to understand how noise at the cellular level affects biological function and phenotype. I will introduce state-of-the-art computational tools for stochastic modeling, analysis and inferences of biomolecular circuits. Mathematical methods will be combined with experiments to study infection dynamics of two viral systems in single cells.  First, I will show how stochastic expression of proteins results in intercellular lysis time and viral burst size variations in the bacterial virus, lambda phage. Next, I will describe our efforts in stochastic analysis of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) genetic circuitry. Our results show that HIV encodes a noisy promoter and stochastic expression of key viral regulatory proteins can drive HIV into latency, a drug-resistant state of the virus.

February 9, 2018 – Byron Weckworth, Panthera, Director Snow Leopard Program

February 23, 2018 – Alumni Reunion

March 2, 2018Shaeri Mukherjee, UC San Francisco

March 9, 2018 (BIMO Class of 1960 Scholar) – Tannishtha Reya, UC San Diego

April 6, 2018James Sobel, SUNY Binghamton

April 13, 2018 – Beronda Montgomery, Michigan State University

April 20, 2018 – Nicholas Betley, University of Pennsylvania

April 27, 2018 – David Seward (’98), University of Vermont

May 4, 2018 – Thesis Poster Presentations

Previous Years Schedule