As of July 1, Michael Werner will hold the post of Research Assistant Professor. Michael received his PhD for work at the IMP in Vienna and at the University of Chicago with Michael Glotzer. Dr Werner then did post-doctoral work first with Robert Bacallao at the IUPUI in Indianapolis, and later with Brian Mitchell at Northwestern University. Michael came to UNC early in 2015 and has worked on cytokinetic shape changes, the structure and regulation of the C. elegans germline syncytium, and the “interactome” of conserved structural proteins. He has become expert at data analysis in Excel and image analysis in Matlab and other programs. He has trained several undergraduate researchers and rotation students, and mentors many colleagues in the Maddox labs and our wider cell and developmental biology community at UNC. Michael has also taught Cell Biology and guest lectured on thesis writing and oral presentations. The Research Assistant Professor position is therefore befitting of his depth of expertise and many meaningful leadership roles.
Together with the labs of Paul Maddox, Bob Goldstein, and Kerry Bloom, we enjoyed a weekend retreat at Sunset Beach, NC. Special guest Sadie Wignall, from Northwestern University spoke on campus on Friday and accompanied us to the beach. Florian Jug from the Max Planck CBG also joined us and regaled us with his work, while down at the beach. We played in the waves, competed in mini-golf, and enjoyed delicious cooking by the lab members.
Vincent Boudreau, a PhD student in the lab of Paul Maddox, and Carlos Patino Descovich, a former member of Amy Maddox’s lab currently a PhD student in Scott Williams’ lab, will be inducted into the Frank Porter Graham Honor Society. The Honor Society (FPGHS) recognizes outstanding service provided to the University and community (https://gradschool.unc.edu/studentlife/fpghs/), and includes a very select group of faculty and graduate students. Vincent and Carlos’ contributions to research science are deeply appreciated by their peers and colleagues. These contributions include research discoveries, computer vision software, and orchestrating conferences including the popular Triangle Cytoskeleton Meeting.
Amy was pleased and proud to receive the news that she’s promoted and tenured! She is grateful to all who provided letters of reference, and to the UNC colleagues who advocated her dossier as it went through the system. Many thanks to the terrific lab members whose exciting discoveries and hard work make it all possible!
Karine Bourdages, who completed part of her doctoral work in our lab at the Universite de Montreal, successfully defended her thesis on Friday March 2, at the U de M. Karine worked on cytokinesis in the vulval precursor cells of C. elegans, a truly in situ model of epithelial biogenesis. She published her work in PLoS1, and also published a review in Developmental Cell and contributed to a Methods in Cell Biology chapter. When Amy moved to UNC, she transferred into the lab of Mike Tyers, where she performed genome-wide CRISPR to determine the molecular underpinnings of mammalian cell size regulation. She contributed to a paper in Molecular and Cellular Biology, was awarded a Cole Foundation Fellowship, and generated results for forthcoming manuscripts. In a 2.5 hour public presentation and questioning session, Karine successfully defended her work on these two very different systems, and was awarded her PhD.
“Chemistry in the Biology Department” featured several science couples among our outstanding colleagues.
A photo accompanied the online version of the article.
Non-muscle myosin II (NMM-II) is thought to drive the cytoskeletal remodelling that closes the cytokinetic ring. But NMM-II can function as a cross-linker and not just a motor. The literature contains increasing evidence that cross-linkers do not simply drive or brake cytoskeletal remodelling, but rather that they play a positive (driving) role up to a certain threshold, over which they hinder (brake) remodelling. Carlos found this to indeed be the case for NMM-II and for the non-motor cross-linker anillin, in cells. Daniel created an agent-based model of the cytokinetic ring, and found evidence there also that both motor and non-motor cross-linkers play positive and negative roles in the cytoskeletal remodelling that achieves cytokinesis.
The award, created by members of the class of 1986, recognizes one member of the faculty per year who has exemplified excellence in inspirational teaching. The winner is selected from all full-time faculty who teach undergraduates. Amy is very grateful to the nominating committee and all the colleagues and former students whose recommendations supported her nomination. She was recognize with other award winners at the UNC-GeorgiaTech basketball game!