Faculty News

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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Ercaicunia micro CT model by Dayou Zhai

Cambrian Ancestor of Crustaceans and Insects in 3D

January 7, 2019

The pancrustaceans are the most diverse animal group to ever exist, and include familiar kinds of arthropods such as crustaceans (e.g. shrimp, crabs, lobsters) and six-legged insects. A new study by Prof. Javier Ortega-Hernández and Joanna Wolfe (Research Associate, Ortega-Hernández Lab), in collaboration with colleagues at Yunnan University in Kunming, illuminate details on the evolution of these successful invertebrates. The findings, published in the...

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Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B v374(1763)

Biological Collections for Understanding Biodiversity in the Anthropocene

November 19, 2018

Postdoctoral researcher, Emily Meineke (Davis Lab), former postdoctoral researcher, Barnabas Daru (Davis Lab) and Prof. Charles Davis teamed with Prof. Jonathan Davies, University of British Columbia to serve as co-editors of a special issue of Philosophical Transactions B, (v374:1763). 

The special issue is dedicated to looking at the creative...

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Echidna by Mark Gillow Flickr

Researchers Look to Echidnas to Shed Light on Forelimb Evolution in Mammals

November 14, 2018

Mammals use their forelimbs for many activities including swimming, jumping, flying, climbing and digging. But how they evolved to do so is a mystery for scientists. Postdoc, Sophie Regnault (S. Pierce Lab) and Prof. Stephanie Pierce studied a highly-detailed musculoskeletal model of an echidna forelimb to shed light on how extinct mammals might have used their forelimbs. Echidnas are egg-laying mammals with many anatomical features in common with earlier mammal ancestors and can help bridge the gap between extinct and other...

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