Faculty News

Bacillus subtilis swarm by Adrian Daerr

L. Mahadevan and Team Describe How Bacteria Spread in Different Forms

April 30, 2019

Prof. L. Mahadevan and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences researchers have developed a new model to describe how bacteria spread in different forms. The study, published in the open-access journal, eLife, combines mechanics, hydrodynamics and transport to describe the dynamics of growth and formation of thin bacterial swarms and biofilms; revealing the spread in both forms of microbial community are limited by the constraints of water and nutrient...

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southern cassowary Luke Seitz

Convergent Regulatory Evolution and Loss of Flight in Paleognathous Birds

April 5, 2019

Species from widely divergent taxa can experience similar changes in traits. What underlying genetic drivers cause these parallel changes remains an open question. Tim Sackton (Director of Bioinformatics and former postdoc in Scott Edwards Lab), PhD student, Phil Grayson and Prof. Scott Edwards used a new method developed by collaborators in the Harvard Statistics Department to look across groups of birds that have repeatedly lost flight. The team showed there is convergence in the regulatory regions associated with genes related to flight, but not within the protein coding regions.
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Mansi Srivastava and Andrew Gehrke with specimens in the laboratory. Courtesy of Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

The Genetics of Regeneration

March 15, 2019

In a study in the March 15 issue of Science Magazine, Mansi Srivastava and lab members Andrew Gehrke, Emily Neverett, Yi-Jyun Luo, Lorenzo Ricci (Postdocs) and Ryan Hulett (PhD student) shed light on how some animals have the amazing ability to regenerate and uncovered a number of DNA switches that appear to control genes for whole-body regeneration.

The team used three-banded panther worms to test the process and discovered...

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Bee Sensor courtesy of Jacob Peters

How Honey Bees Keep the Hive Cool on Hot Days

February 5, 2019

Postdoc, Jacob Peters (PhD '18) and Prof. L. Mahadevan have developed a framework that explains how bees use environmental signals to collectively cluster and continuously ventilate the hive. The study published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface looked at European honey bees (Apis mellifera), which live in large congested nest cavities with a single opening that limits...

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Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus)

Evolution in Real Time

February 1, 2019

Set in the Nebraska's Sand Hills, an on-going study led by Rowan Barrett (McGill University, former Postdoc, Hoekstra Lab) and Hopi Hoekstra shows evolution in real time. Hundreds of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) were released into massive, custom-built outdoor enclosures to track how light- and dark-colored mice survived in light- and dark-colored habitats.

The results, published in Science, reveals real-time...

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Lungless Salamander by Dave Huth on Flickr

Lungless Salamanders’ Skin Expresses Protein Crucial for Lung Function

January 30, 2019

Scientists have long assumed that the hundreds of species of salamanders that lack lungs breathe instead through their skin and the lining of the mouth. However, a new study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B led by postdoc Zachary Lewis (Hanken Lab) and Prof. Jim Hanken provides the first concrete evidence for how the lungless salamanders do "breathe".

The authors, including former Harvard...

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