Friday, August 8, 2014

Communication from Christian Gfatter from Abroad the Bintang Sedang

I was aboard the Bintang Sedang live-a-board vessel from July 10th to 15th conducting “reef checks” at sites near Wanci, a town on the island of Wangi-Wangi (The “Wa” of WaKaToBi National Marine Park). A 100m transect tape was set at 5m and 10m depths and the team collected indicator species counts of fish and invertebrates along with substrate “0.5m point” data.  The information will become part of “The Global Survey of Coral Reefs” which is used to determine the health of global reefs.

Since then, I have been a Research Assistant (RA) for two dissertation students (1/week).   I also assisted several other dissertation students by: collecting live food (crabs, shrimp, and fish) to feed samples of species such as lionfish being studied in the wet lab; trekking to the mangroves to assist with site characterization, collect sample species (mudskippers), and take photographs; and fixing software issues.  I  have offered the use of my equipment to help dissertation students and researchers with their projects, and this has been especially helpful to the one I am currently serving as RA since her camera has malfunctioned (she uses my underwater GoPro system to video her transect and take photographs) .  Unfortunately, one of the groups that departed Hoga Island took several of my items from the computer room, one of which was the battery charger for my underwater light so it is no longer of use while here.

I have attended multiple lectures and presentations, and look forward to more.  I also continue to prepare for graduate school by reading and watching videos.  At the moment, I am somewhat neutral about my experience so far, in part because my expectations were different; I’ll discuss this after I return, but I’d like to note that the staff and dive masters have been great.

Upcoming weeks (likely schedule):
Unit 7: Coral Reef Monitoring (video transect and utilize software to analyze the video)
Unit 8: Research Assistant
Unit 9: Scope out sites

Special thanks to Arni for helping me get this e-mail out.

Christian

Friday, May 2, 2014

Student Shaves Head for "Buzz Cuts for Cancer"

Here is a picture of Sara Forman (Cell/Molec), who shaved her head in a fundraiser for cancer research called  Buzz Cuts for Cancer.  
Professor Tracy Ware sponsored Sara with only one condition—that she poses with her after her haircut while also wearing her jacket that looks like  DNA Microarray data!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

NMT Students at the Society of Nuclear Medicine's 2014 Spring Symposium

Congratulations to Yanitza Espinal and Christy Vo, 2014 Graduates from SSU’s Nuclear Medicine Program. Yanitza and Christy had the pleasure of presenting their NMT research at the Society of Nuclear Medicine's 2014 Spring Symposium in Portsmouth, NH on March 28th and 29th. The Symposium is an annual meeting that the NMT students attend with fellow SSU alumni, as well as students and technologists from all over New England. The Students not only present their research but are able to attend a student NMT board exam review session, and the technologist/physician presentations on current events and concerns in Nuclear Medicine.
From left Professor Mindy Walker, Yanitza Espinal, Christy Vo in front of their posters at the spring symposium



Monday, March 31, 2014

A fun field trip to Genzyme on Monday 3/17/2014!

Here's a photo from our fun field trip to Genzyme on Monday 3/17/2014! 



Thomas Vermette (left in photo) is the wonderful SSU BIO alum ('91) that hosted us for an awesome tour of Genzyme's Allston plant! He taught us a lot of science in this one trip--- details about recombinant protein expression of Cerezyme in Chinese-Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell Bioreactors, secretion signals, His-Tags, serum-free media, ion-exchange protein purification, and FDA-mandated Good Manufacturing Procedures (GMP).  We are excited that Tom has tentatively agreed to come as a visiting speaker for a few lectures on GMP within our Fall 2014 (new) Biotechnology course!

Special, special thanks to Kaitlyn Hurley and Angelique Kim of Career Services (not shown) for co-organizing this trip. And thank-you's for expert van driving by Longinus and Jebson.


Dr. Tracy Ware

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mini-grant Awarded to Dr. Sheila Marie Schreiner

Dr. Sheila Marie Schreiner was awarded a mini-grant entitled "Detection of Cry1Ab Protein in Local Propolis Compared to Commercially Available".  The project aims to examine the levels of Cry1Ab in local and commerically available propolis through ELISA and western blot analysis.  Cry1A is a delta endotoxin produced by Bacillus thuringiensis, a Gram positive bacterium.  Cry1A, which is found on the spore coat of the bacteria, is toxic to insects.  Several agriculture crops, such as corn and cotton, have been genetically modified to express Cry1A so that the crops are resistant to insects, such as Helicoverpa armigera,which is commonly called cotton bollworm or corn earworm.  However, a number of studies have shown that exposure to Cry1A can effect the honey bee (Apis mellifera) behavior and potentially be a cause of colonly collapse disorder (CCD), which has lead to large-scale and unexplained loss of honey bee colonies.  Propolis, or bee glue, is a hard, resinous material made by honey bees to seal openings in their hives and prevent microbial infections in the hive. It contains pollen, waxes, resins, and flavonoids which are specific to the region the bees are housed in.  Due to its antimicrobial properties, propolis is commonly prescribed in animals that are undergoes antibiotic therapies, i.e. tetracycline, in veterianary medicine.  This application is not as widely used in human medicine.  Jaclyn Smith (’13) worked on developing protocols to assess the antimicrobial properties of propolis.  Adam Williams, who is graduating this May, will be working on the Cry1Ab project this semester.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Internship Opportunity at the NAFO Secretariat

A NAFO Intern Program allows students, post graduates or early career individuals from NAFO member countries an opportunity to improve their skills, enhance their experience and learn about NAFO and its activities. Interns will work at the NAFO Secretariat in Dartmouth, NS, Canada. Since the start of the program 4 interns have been hosted form USA, Canada, Russia and the EU. Applications are encouraged from all NAFO Contracting Parties. The results from the Internship Program have been very successful but due to budget restrictions the program will only be available for a three (3) month term in 2014.

Applications are being accepted now for placement beginning in 2014. Please download and complete the Application Form (rich text format). If you have already applied please indicate your continued interest and your availability for the upcoming term (in 2014).





Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Climb to the Green Crab Summit

Since last August, I have been assisting Dr. Alan Young in all aspects of a grant-funded year-long research project exploring the population dynamics of the invasive European Green Crab (Carcinus maenas). The position (inherited from Ethan Fertsch - thanks, Ethan!) includes monthly deployment of baited green crab traps from a variety of docks located in Salem, Beverly and Danvers. All crabs collected during the course of a week are frozen for future determination of size, sex, and color (while the dorsal surface remains fairly consistent, the ventral surface changes to yellow, orange, and finally red during the molt cycle). In just one semester, I have learned a lot about the green crab in addition to various research methods. The project has also presented me with new opportunities outside of Salem State University.


In the midst of a chaotic finals week, Dr. Young and I attended the first Green Crab Summit organized by Maine Sea Grant, Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), and Maine Coastal Program held at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine (Thanks to the Biology Department and the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences for providing funding). The meeting was arranged primarily to examine the impact of the invasive species on commercial fisherman (clammers), but there were also many scientists that came to discuss research being conducted. In fact, over 300 people attended the conference, with about 350 people tuned in to the live broadcast of the presentations. That is really quite a turnout given the time of year and the isolated location plagued by the harsh Maine weather. Data in the survey I am participating in is still being collected, so Dr. Young and I were merely audience members.

Still, my first conference was certainly thought-provoking. There were science related talks, starting off with the ecology of the green crab, all the way to using a genotype as a mode of tracing the path they have taken in the last 200 years since arriving in New Jersey. In contrast, there were several policy related talks directed more towards the fishermen. These were largely entertaining debates between fisherman and scientists regarding shellfish municipal programs, licensure, and costs.

On the topic of controlling the omnipresent crustacean, a number of different speakers suggested that the green crab should be utilized as fishmeal and fertilizer for farming and aquaculture. This would not only rid the hindrance on shellfish production, but also enhance economic function in the fisheries. One talk given by Dr. Denise Skonberg from the University of Maine focused explicitly on the commercialization of green crabs for hu*man consumption. In the study, Dr. Skonberg used a traditional “deboning machine” to shuck crabs at a more efficient rate than shucking them by hand. The mechanical separation technique yielded a meat puree that had a repulsive appearance. So in collaboration with a culinary arts student, Dr. Skonberg decided to have a panel sample the meat slurry concealed in a pleasant looking empanada. The results just met the standard scores of acceptance recommended for new products. This talk was exhilarating for me, because I have been pondering the idea of human consumption of green crabs for the past few months. As found in Dr. Skonberg’s study, green crab meat tastes exceptionally sweet (yes, I have eaten it) and I believe that there would be no problem finding a market for them; however it is the small size and unpredictable molting cycle that discourages a market for human consumption. Dr. Skonberg’s study inspired me to continue research to see if it would be possible to manipulate the molting cycle by a biological means, such as a hormone. If so, could an open aquaculture system be set up for them?

I’ll get back to you on that.  All the deliberations resulted in an eagerness to continue research. Seeing that many people congregate to solve a universal problem gave me a supplementary reason for committing to the field of marine sciences. All in all, the Green Crab Summit was an excellent source of networking and education and I hope to be a part of similar experiences in my academic career.

James Elliott

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Snowy Owl Spotted at Cat Cove!

A snowy owl was spotted at Cat Cove Marine Laboratory on Thursday, December 12, 2013.  Here are 2 photos taken by Scott Weston.  








Wednesday, December 11, 2013

More Than 20 Million Children In Syria, Nearby Regions To Be Vaccinated Against Polio.

The following article is from The American Thoracic Society.  Thanks Gwen Scottgale for alerting all of us to this!

In what appears to be the largest joint immunization effort ever initiated in the Middle East, Reuters (11/8, Nebehay, Kelland) reports that health workers carrying the polio vaccine hope to reach some 20 million children residing in Syria and neighboring nations. Constant conflict and the mass exodus of people fleeing the fighting continues to impede such campaigns. Hence, the current outbreak.

The United Nations says 10 children have already been left paralyzed and the scourge “poses a threat to hundreds of thousands across a region that had not seen polio for nearly a decade,” the Los Angeles Times (11/8, McDonnell) reports. According to the UN and its health arm the WHO, the situation prompted an “emergency drive” during which 650,000 children in Syria were protected from polio and other infectious ailments like measles and mumps. Altogether, health workers are “targeting 2.4 million” children within Syria and refugees in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon. Immunization campaigns are also expected to occur in Gaza and the West Bank.

The Red Crescent will be largely responsible for efforts inside Syria, the AP (11/11) reports.

Meanwhile, “two German infectious disease experts warned vaccination efforts of Syrian refugees might not be enough to prevent the infection from spreading to Europe,” CBS News (11/11) reports. Professor Martin Eichner, from the University of Tbingen, and Stefan Brockman, of the Reutlingen Regional Public Health Office, explained that a number of nations still have “low vaccination coverage, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, and Austria.” In other words, should polio find its way into these areas, “herd immunity might not be enough to prevent an outbreak.”


Nonetheless, reports BBC News (11/8), UNICEF’s Peter Crowley says: “[This] is not just a tragedy for children, it is an urgent alarm – and a crucial opportunity to reach all under-immunised children wherever they are.” He also explained that the “new cases in Syria were a “stark reminder” that children are particularly vulnerable to the disease.” 


Darwin Festival 2014 Schedule

Darwin FestivalSM 2014

Salem State University
Department of Biology
Schedule of Events
10 - 14 February 2014


darwin01


Dedicated to Virginia and Richard Keville,
for 35 years of inspiration

Printer-Friendly Schedules:  Lectures Only:  HTM   PDF       Full Schedule:  HTM  PDF


MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2014

7:50 a.m.
VIDEO: “Charles Darwin: Evolution’s Voice” – Biography.
Slater Lecture Hall
9:30 a.m.
VIDEO: “Meteor Strike” – NOVA.
Slater Lecture Hall
11:00 a.m.
“GENES INFLUENCE BEHAVIOR, BUT IT’S NOT SO SIMPLE” – Steven Hyman, Director, Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Broad Institute, Cambridge MA. Sponsored by the Salem State Chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
Veterans Hall
12:30 p.m.
VIDEO: “Decoding Neanderthals” – NOVA.
Slater Lecture Hall
1:40 p.m.
VIDEO: “Can I Eat That?” – NOVAscienceNOW.
Slater Lecture Hall
3:05 p.m.
“’JAWS’ REVISITED:  NEW INSIGHTS INTO THE ECOLOGY OF THE WHITE SHARK IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC” – Gregory Skomal, Senior Marine Fisheries Biologist, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
Sponsored by the Biological Society.
Veterans Hall


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2014

8:00 a.m.
VIDEO: “What Plants Talk About” – Nature.
Slater Lecture Hall
9:25 a.m.
“MORAL TRIBES: EMOTION, REASON, AND THE GAP BETWEEN US AND THEM” – Joshua Greene, Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge MA
Veterans Hall
10:50 a.m.
VIDEO: “What Females Want” – Nature.
Slater Lecture Hall
12:15 p.m.
Artemisia annuaAN EFFECTIVE AND SIMPLE HERBAL
TREATMENT FOR MALARIA AND OTHER DISEASES” – Pamela Weathers, Department of Biology and Biotechnology, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester MA. 
Sponsored by the Charles Albert Read Trust.
Veterans Hall
1:40 p.m.
VIDEO: “Chasing Ice” – New Video Group (75 min).
Slater Lecture Hall
3:05 p.m.
VIDEO: “Deadliest Tornadoes” – NOVA.
Slater Lecture Hall


WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2014 - Charles Darwin’s Birthday

7:50 a.m.
VIDEO: “Silence of the Bees” – Nature.
Slater Lecture Hall
9:25 a.m.
VIDEO: “The Human Spark” – PBS.
Slater Lecture Hall
10:50 a.m.
“LIFE IN THE ‘PLASTISPHERE’: THE ECOLOGY OF PLASTIC MARINE DEBRIS” – ErikZettler, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole MA.
Sponsored by the Charles Albert Read Trust.
Veterans Hall
12:15 p.m.
VIDEO: “Ultimate Mars Challenge" – NOVA.
Slater Lecture Hall
1:40 p.m.
“HUMAN EVOLUTION: NEW SURPRISES FROM SOUTH AFRICA” – Jeremy DeSilva, Department of Anthropology, Boston University, Boston MA.
The Keville-DePalma Founders Lecture.
Veterans Hall
3:05 p.m.
VIDEO: “Mind of a Rampage Killer” – NOVA.
Slater Lecture Hall


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2014
Charles Albert Read Science Lectures

7:50 a.m.
VIDEO: “The Animal House” – Nature.
Slater Lecture Hall
9:25 a.m.
VIDEO: “Hurricane Sandy: Inside the Megastorm” – NOVA.
Slater Lecture Hall
10:50 a.m.
“THE REALITY OF CLIMATE CHANGE:  ADAPTATION PLANNING FOR COASTLINES” – Paul Kirshen, Department of Civil Engineering, University of New Hampshire, Durham NH.
Sponsored by the Department of Geography and the Charles Albert Read Trust.
Veterans Hall
12:15 p.m.
“EXOPLANETS AND THE SEARCH FOR HABITABLE WORLDS” – Sara Seager, Departments of Planetary Science and Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA. 
Sponsored by the Department of Chemistry & Physics and the Charles Albert Read Trust.
Veterans Hall
1:40 p.m.
VIDEO: “Bag It – Is Your Life Too Plastic?” – Reel Thing Film (78 min).
Slater Lecture Hall



FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014 - Biology Alumni Day


7:50 a.m.
VIDEO: “How Smart Can We Get?” – NOVAscienceNOW.
Slater Lecture Hall

9:25 a.m.
“RABIES: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE” – Catherine Brown, State Public Health Veterinarian, Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Veterans Hall

10:50 a.m.
VIDEO: “What Males Will Do” – Nature.
Slater Lecture Hall

12:15 p.m.
“BREAKTHROUGHS IN GENETICS: FROM SEX CHROMOSOMES TO SILENCING THE DOWN SYNDROME CHROMOSOME” – Lisa Hall, Department of Cell & Developmental Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester MA. 
Sponsored by the Charles Albert Read Trust.
Veterans Hall

1:40 p.m.
"SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES – WHAT THE PERMIAN-TRIASSIC MASS EXTINCTION TELLS US ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE AND EARTH’S FUTURE” – RobynHannigan, School for the Environment, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Boston MA.
Sponsored by the Department of Geological Sciences and the Charles Albert Read Trust.
Veterans Hall

3:05 p.m.
VIDEO: “Invasion of the Giant Pythons” – Nature.
Slater Lecture Hall

Founded By:  Philip A. DePalma and Virginia F. Keville



If you require interpretative services, please contact the Office for Students with Disabilities at TTY (978)-542-7146 or osd@salemstate.edu. To help us best meet your needs, please notify us of your requirements at least 2 weeks in advance. All videos are close-captioned.

Veterans Hall is located on the 2nd floor of the Ellison Campus Center.
Dr. Schuyler G. Slater Lecture Hall (MH 444) is located on the 4th floor of the Frederick A. Meier Arts & Sciences Hall.

The Festival is open to the public. All events are free.

The location for all events is Salem State University's North Campus, 352 Lafayette St., Salem, Massachusetts, 01970. For directions, go to http://www.salemstate.edu or contact the Biology Department (978-542-6236).

Major funding for the DARWIN FESTIVALSM has been provided by the Salem State University Administration, the Charles Albert Read Trust Fund, the Student Government Association through the Biological Society, the Keville-DePalma Darwin Festival Endowment Fund, contributions from Hayden McNeil Publishers, McGraw Hill, Pearson Higher Education, SimbioticSoftware, WH Freeman, and other individual contributions. Darwin FestivalSM Committee: Susan M. Case (Coordinator),Juditha C. A. Burchsted, Ryan Fisher, Lynn Fletcher, Paul Kelly, Sheila Schreiner, T. Nelson Scottgale, Alan M. Young andNoelia Fernandez (President, Biological Society).