Amy presented two talks at ASCB

Amy was honored to present work entitled “Space-time-frequency Shape Mapping Reveals Harmonics in Contractile Oscillations during Cytokinesis” from co-authors Michael Werner, Dylan Ray, Coleman Breen, Adam Sattler, Paul Maddox, Florian Jug, and Sebastian Fürthauer. The progress of this work has also benefited from consultation by Hau-Tieng Wu and Ingrid Daubechies, our neighbors at Duke. Their abstract was selected for a Saturday Special-interest Subgroup on Machine Intelligence and Statistics in Cell Biology co-organized by Kwonmoo Lee (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Jean-Chrisophe Olivo-Marin (Institut Pasteur, France), and Assaf Zaritsky (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev). The work was also invited for a Scientific Workshop “From Single Molecules to Understanding of the Cellular Processes using Biophysical Methods” hosted by Chip Asbury (University of Washington), Ibrahim Cisse (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and Martin Loose (IST Austria). Workshop speakers later bonded over an outstanding dinner.


Post-doc Daniel Cortes chosen for ASCB mini-symposium three-peat

Daniel presented his work “Measured Contractile Ring Component Dynamics Inform Agent-based Models of Animal Cell Cytokinesis” in a talk for the Higher Order Cytoskeletal Structures minisymposium, co-chaired by Prachee Avasthi (University of Kansas Medical Center) and Jessica Feldman (Stanford University). His co-authors were D. Cortes, M. DiSalvo, N. Allbritton, F. Nedelec, P. Maddox, and A. S. Maddox. The talk was very well-received, and we’re all grateful for the opportunity!

Undergrads wrap up the semester w talks and posters

Several undergraduates in the lab were carrying out research for course credit this past semester, and their projects culminated with oral presentations at the honors thesis symposium (Larry Yang not pictured here) or posters. They all did terrific work and presented it clearly and thoughtfully. The aMDX lab is grateful for their contributions!

counterclockwise from top left: Adhham Zaatri is proud of his poster; Arusha killed her talk at the Koeppe Biology Undergraduate Honors Symposium; Daisy Hensley and her very quantitative poster!

What does a scientist look like? A kid!

Amy enjoyed teaching 11 classrooms of kindergarteners and 2nd graders at a local elementary school, in partial fulfillment of the lab’s commitment to substantial outreach in conjunction with our NSF grant. She asked the kids:
what do scientists do? (lots of action words that happy kids act out!)
what does a scientist look like? (the kid in the mirror! – the kindergarteners drew their ideas)
what kinds of questions do scientists ask? (the Q words minus “why”)
what is a cell? (the building block of living things)
can you see a cell? (sure, but many can’t be resolved without a microscope!)
And then she walked the kids through these broad steps of animal development:
a very big cell
animal growth
And the kids did the first 3 steps hands-on with playdough!
Take home messages:
teachers are HEROS!
kids are scientists!

Tons of fun at the ASCB/EMBO meeting in San Diego

ASCB was fun, invigorating, and exhausting, as always. Amy co-organized a Saturday subgroup: the 5th bi-annual Frontiers in Cytokinesis session. She filled in for an invited speaker who couldn’t make it, with a talk about contractile oscillations in cytokinesis. Later that day, undergraduate Anusha Doshi presented her work in a special poster session for undergraduates. She flew back red-eye that same night to try to beat the snow storm! Michael came in early for the same reason, and arrived in time to celebrate with the Cytokinesis community at a huge happy hour at Tivoli Bar, which boasts being the oldest establishment in San Diego. The event was well-attended and was sponsored by Molecular Devices, Journal of Cell Science, eLIfe, Biochemistry, Nikon, and Zeiss. On Sunday we had a delicious fish taco lab reunion dinner at the South Beach Bar and Grill in Ocean Beach. Daniel was selected to speak in a Minisymposium on Motors organized by Julie Welburn and Michael Ostap. Though he had to wait to speak last, he did a great job! With Jan Skotheim, Amy co-organized a minisymposium that took place Tuesday. Michael wrapped up a well-attended, awesome session with a terrific talk! Discussions continued at a relaxing dinner afterward. Paul and Amy re-connected with the younger set of Salmon lab alumni, and zoomed around town on Lime scooters.

Amy speaks in an undergrad-organized symposium in Istanbul Turkey

Amy was honored to be invited to speak in a conference put together by undergraduates in the Molecular Biology Club at Istanbul Technical University. The students were incredibly professional in their hosting of the symposium in a huge, beautiful auditorium. 500 undergraduates from around Turkey registered for the symposium and traveled for this 3-day event. Amy did not know a single one of the 24 other outstanding faculty, hailing from Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, the UK, Spain, Jerusalem, Canada, and other countries! With the students’ attentive help, we shared meals and toured the city, which boasts a population of 15-20 million, and sprawls over the bits of Europe and Asia that meet at the Bosphorus.

Dylan Ray joins the team

Dylan graduated from UNC with a double major in Statistics & Operations Research and Applied Math. He has been working with other Math-Biologists at UNC on macroscopic problems of collective behavior. Now Dylan is working with both live-cell imaging and agent-based modeling to study the cytoskeletal and shape change dynamics of the cytokinetic ring. We’re thrilled to have him on board!

Katie Rehain-Bell defends her thesis

Congratulations to Dr. Rehain-Bell, who defended her thesis work on the differential regulation of actomyosin contractility in stable germline bridges and the dynamic cytokinetic ring, by GCK-1 and CCM-3. She published a paper in Current Biology, a methods piece in Methods in Cell Biology, a preview in Current Biology. Her work on cytokinesis is forthcoming! She TAed, taught, served on committees and trained and coordinated many, many work-study students and rotation students.
Katie immediately started a teaching position at Fayetteville Tech, where the students are sure to love and appreciate her!!
Congrats to Katie on her work, contributions to the community, great presentation, and ceiling-tile champagne-cork dent!
We will miss her!