Postdoc News

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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Skate Cartilage courtesy of Valentina Di Santo

Ocean Acidification and Warming Affect Skeletal Mineralization in a Marine Fish

February 22, 2019

Postdoc, Valentina Di Santo (Lauder Lab) examined the effect of ocean acidification and warming on mineralization of fish skeleton. Previous studies have focused on the effect of these climate-related stressors on calcification rates of the exoskeleton, or shell of marine invertebrates, as well as the ear stone of fishes. However, DiSanto's study, published in Proceedings of the...

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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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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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James Crall QR Code Tagged Bees for Science Magazine

Pesticide Exposure Disrupts Bumblebee Nest Behavior

November 9, 2018

Postdoc, James Crall joined former PhD student, Callin Switzer ('17, Hopkins Lab) and OEB professors, Benjamin de Bivort and Naomi Pierce to investigate the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on the bumblebee's nest behavior. Previous studies showed the pesticides reduced colony size, but how the reduction occurred was not known. In their study published in Science...

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Illustration showing an early mammal relative, Thrinaxodon, which was part of the first group to have an extra fourth section of their backbones. Credit: April Neander  Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-09-mammal-spine-scientists.html#jCp

What Makes a Mammal a Mammal? Our Spine!

September 21, 2018

A new study led by postdoctoral researcher, Katrina Jones (S. Pierce Lab) and Stephanie Pierce suggests the makeup of a spine is one more characteristic that defines a mammal. The research, published in the September 21 issue of Science, shows mammal backbones are different than the vertebra of most four-legged animals in that it is made up of different sections - neck, thorax, and lower back - that take on different shapes and...

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Derek Bok Center

Spring 2018 Derek Bok Certificate of Distinction in Teaching

September 19, 2018

Congratulations to OEB graduate students, postdocs and associates awarded the spring 2018 Derek Bok Certificate of Distinction in Teaching!

Graduate Students: Izzy Baker (MCB 64), Meghan Blumstein (OEB 50), Liming Cai (OEB 103), Blake Dickson (OEB 217R), Nathan Edelman (OEB 230), Morgan Furze (OEB 52), Phillip Grayson (OEB 50), Nicholas Herrmann (OEB 57), Miriam Johnston (OEB 157), Vanessa Knutson (OEB 51), Mara Laslo (OEB 167), Avantika Mainieri (OEB 57), Anju Manandhar (ESPP 90Y), Ya Min (OEB 52), Sofia Prado-Irwin (OEB 167), Jonathan Schmitt (OEB 190...

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