October 25, 2014

2003 Fellows and Scholars

MBL Summer Research Fellows
Nineteen scientists receive fellowships totalling $245,500 to conduct research at the MBL this summer.

David Albertini, Ph.D. is Professor of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tufts University School of Medicine. The title of his research project is “Origins of egg polarity.” Dr. Albertini studies axis specification in developing embryos. He will explore the basic mechanisms used through evolution to establish polarity in eggs using marine organisms as models. Dr. Albertini is funded by The Laura and Arthur Colwin Endowed Summer Research Fellowship.

Suzanne G. Ayvazian, Ph.D. is a Research Scientist in the Department of Fisheries, Western Australia Marine Fisheries Laboratory, North Beach, Australia. The title of her research project is “Metapopulation analysis of bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) in estuaries and implications for linkages with offshore populations.” Dr. Ayvazian proposes to determine the usefulness of the otolith microchemistry technique to distinguish juvenile bluefish residing in different estuaries in northern and southern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York. Dr. Ayvazian is funded by MBL Associates and the Lucy B. Lemann Fellowship Fund.

Graciela Elso de Berberian, Ph.D. is on the research staff in the Biophysical Laboratory at the Instituto de Investigación, Cordoba, Argentina. The title of her research project is “Studies on the squid nerve cytosolic factor required for the Mg-ATP stimulation of Na+/Ca2+ exchange.” Dr. Elso de Berberian aims to identify cytosolic regulatory proteins required for ATP stimulation of Na+/Ca2+ exchange in the squid nerve cell. Dr. Elso de Berberian is funded by the Frederik B. Bang Fellowship Fund.

Simone Engelender, M.D., Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Pharmacology of The Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. The title of her research project is “Molecular mechanisms of Parkinson’s Disease.” Her research focuses on the study of proteins involved in Parkinson’s Disease and how they contribute to the disease. Dr. Engelender is funded by the Gruss Lipper Foundation.

Jaime L. Eugenín, M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Laboratory of Neural Systems, Department of Biology, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Santiago, Chile. The title of his research project is “pH sensitivity of respiratory neurons: Optical recording in the embryonic brain.” Using a mouse model, he studies how central chemoreceptors contribute to the generation of respiratory rhythm, and how disfunctioning chemoreceptors may be related to human diseases such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Dr. Eugenin is funded by the Evelyn and Melvin Spiegel Fellowship Fund.

Francesca Gherardi, Ph.D. is a Researcher in the Department of Animal Biology and Genetics at the University of Florence, Italy. The title of her research project is “Individual recognition in hermit crabs.” The primary aim of this project is to investigate the existence and modalities of individual recognition in the long-wrist hermit crab, Pagurus longicarpus, a common shallow-water species in the Cape Cod area. Dr. Gherardi is funded by the MBL Associates, the Plum Foundation John E. Dowling Fellowship Fund, the Ann E. Kammer Memorial Fellowship Fund, the H. Keffer Hartline Fellowship Fund, and the Frank R. Lillie Fund.

Gregg G. Gundersen, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Departments of Anatomy and Cell Biology and Pathology at Columbia University, New York, New York. The title of his research project is “The role of microtubule capture in cytokinesis.” He will use sea urchin eggs for these studies because of the ease of triggering synchronous cell division, of introducing molecules into eggs, and of imaging cellular events by microscopy. These studies will shed light on a basic process important to all cells and have implications for cancer where abnormal cell division can contribute to chromosome instability. Dr. Gundersen is funded by an award from the Universal Imaging Corporation.

Yosef Gruenbaum, Ph.D., is Head of the Department of Genetics at the Institute of Life Sciences at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel. His research project is titled “Molecular and functional dissection of the nuclear lamina in the surf clam.” The nuclear envelope is a selective barrier between the nucleus and the cytoplasm composed of outer and inner nuclear membranes, nuclear lamina, and nuclear pores. It is involved in nuclear organization, cell cycle regulation, nuclear migration, transcriptional repression, cell differentiation and apoptosis. Mutations of the lamina give rise to a range of inherited diseases. Dr. Gruenbaum is here this summer to produce an EST (Expressed Sequence Tags) database as part of the Clam Mini-Genome Project. Dr. Gruenbaum is funded by the Frank R. Lillie Fund, the Herbert W. Rand Fellowship, the Elisabet Samuelsson Director’s Discretionary Fund, and the William T. Golden Fund.

Alexey L. Khodjakov, Ph.D. is a Principal Investigator at the Wadsworth Center, Albany, New York. The title of his research project is “Development of semi-automatic laser microsurgery system.” Dr. Khodjakov is developing sophisticated imaging to study the centrosome and its role in cell division and cell cycle progression. Dr. Khodjakov is funded by Nikon Instruments, Inc.

Nevin Alan Lambert, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia. The title of his research project is “The role of RGS proteins in regulation of slow synaptic transmission in the CNS.” Dr. Lambert studies the mechanisms of slow synaptic transmission in the central nervous system. He is funded by the MBL Associates and The Stephen W. Kuffler Fellowship Fund.

Matthew E. Larkum, Ph.D. is a Junior Professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of Bern, Switzerland. The title of his research project is “Characterization of the active dendritic properties of the pyramidal cells of turtle cortex.” The turtle cortex has many features in common with the human cortex but is a much simpler system. The most important principles of cortical function have been conserved across the eons because the same cells and principles of architecture can be found in brains from turtles to people. He injects fluorescent dyes into pyramidal neurons to observe and measure functionally relevant intradendritic interactions and their role in cortical information processing. He will use a sensitive high-speed video camera attached to a microscope to quantify calcium changes in the dendrites that affect synaptic plasticity and other mechanisms in the cortex. Dr. Larkum is funded by The Stephen W. Kuffler Fellowship Fund, the Baxter Postdoctoral Fellowship Fund, the M.G.F. Fuortes Memorial Fellowship Fund, and the MBL Associates.

Roland Lill, Ph.D. is a Professor of Cell Biology at the Institute of Cell Biology, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany. The title of his research project is “Studies on mitochondrial iron metabolism in yeast and mammals.” Dr. Lill is interested in how iron is metabolized in mitochondria. Defects in iron metabolism are associated with anemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and Parkinson’s Disease. Dr. Lill received the Leibniz Award in 2002—the most prestigious prize awarded a scientist in Germany. He is funded by the Herbert W. Rand Fellowship.

Christopher Lowe, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. John Gerhart’s lab at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Berkeley. The title of his research is “Early deuterostome evolution and the origin of chordates: Insights from hemicoradate development.” Dr. Lowe works on the characterization of the development of a direct-developing enteropneust species of hemichordate, Saccoglossus kowalevskii. His goal is to compare the role of conserved developmental regulatory genes during the development of this species and to compare these genes to their orthologues in chordates. Dr. Lowe is funded by The Laura and Arthur Colwin Endowed Summer Research Fellowship.

Issei Mabuchi, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Division of Biology, Department of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan. The title of his research project is “Mechanism of determination of the cleavage plane in sea urchin eggs.” Animal cells undergo cytokinesis by virtue of contraction of the contractile ring formed in the cell cortex at the division plane. The contractile ring contains myosin and actin filaments, which are considered to assemble at the division site by signaling pathway(s) that are geometrically controlled by mitotic apparatus. He will investigate how the cleavage plane is determined in animal cells using sea urchin eggs and a centrifuge microscope. Dr. Mabuchi is funded by the Robert Day Allen Fellowship Fund.

Yair Manor, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Life Sciences Department at Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel. The title of his research project is “Neuromodulation of neuronal networks that produce rhythmic activity.” Neuromodulation affects both intrinsic properties of neurons, and the dynamics of synapses that connect them. Dr. Manor will study the influence of dose-dependent neuromodulation on the pyloric rhythm in the stomatogastric nervous system in crustaceans, via the combined effects on intrinsic properties and synaptic strength and dynamics. Insights obtained from his studies in a small neuronal network will apply to larger vertebrate circuits. Dr. Manor is funded by The Gruss Lipper Foundation.

Christian Tschudi, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health and the Department of Internal Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. The title of his research project is “Do gene silencing pathways operate in Giardia lamblia?” Gene silencing pathways that function as defense mechanisms against nucleic acid invaders, such as viruses and mobile elements, are present in all eukaryotic organisms and can be thought of as adaptive immune responses at the genome level. Dr. Tschudi is studying RNA interference or RNAi in Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African sleeping sickness. His focus will be to test whether RNAi or RNAi-related mechanisms exist in Giardia lamblia through a combination of molecular and bioinformatics approaches. Dr. Tschudi is funded by the Baxter Postdoctoral Fellowship Fund, The Erik B. Fries Endowed Fellowship, The John O. Crane Fellowship Fund, and the H. Burr Steinbach Memorial Fellowship Fund.

Elisabetta Ullu, Ph.D. is a Professor of Internal Medicine and Cell Biology at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. The title of her research project is “The role of gene silencing pathways in trypanosome biology.” Her research focuses on RNA interference or RNAi in Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African sleeping sickness. The interest in T. brucei as a model system to study RNAi stems primarily from its evolutionary position and its biology. Her studies should elucidate whether RNA silencing targets different sets of genes during the life cycle of this organism. Dr. Ullu is funded by the Baxter Postdoctoral Fellowship Fund, The Erik B. Fries Endowed Fellowship, The John O. Crane Fellowship Fund, The Charles R. Crane Fellowship Fund, the H. Burr Steinbach Memorial Fellowship Fund, and the James A. and Faith Miller Fellowship Fund.

Herman Wolosker, M.D., Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. The title of his research project is “Neurobiology of D-amino acids.” D-amino acids are present in bacteria and invertebrates, but recently were identified in mammalian brain. Dr. Wolosker will study the neurobiology of D-serine and D-aspartate in primary cultures of mammalian neurons and in tissues of the squid Loligo pealei and other marine invertebrates. These studies may shed light on schizophrenia and stroke. Dr. Wolosker is funded by The Gruss Lipper Foundation.

Dejan P. Zecevic, Ph.D. is a Research Scientist in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. The title of his research project is “Signal integration in dendrites of individual vertebrate neurons.” Dr. Zecevic investigates information processing in single neurons by monitoring the activity in different parts of the same cell simultaneously. The information obtained about how normal nerve cells function may help investigators understand mental disorders in humans. Dr. Zecevic is funded by the Herbert W. Rand Fellowship, The Stephen W. Kuffler Fellowship Fund, and the H. Keffer Hartline Fellowship Fund.

Grass Fellows
Eleven young scientists have been awarded fellowships by the Grass Foundation to conduct research in neurobiology at the MBL this summer. The program is directed by Susan Barry, Mount Holyoke College. Melissa Ann Vollrath, Harvard Medical School, serves as associate director.

S. Clare Chung, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco
“Electrophysiological and anatomical analysis of retinal ganglion cells in zebrafish: Comparison studies between wildtype and motion detection mutants”

Karen Cusato, Ph.D.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
“The role of gap junctions in cell death”

Ian Davison
Simon Fraser University
“Spatial extent of GABAB-dependent lateral inhibition in the olfactory bulb”

Gal Haspel
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
“Photoactivation of C. elegans neurons”

Sandra J. Kuhlman, Ph.D.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
“Role for fast GABAergic transmission in promoting synaptic competition”

Anthony Molina
University of Illinois at Chicago
“Localization of retinal horizontal cell proton flux: New insights into extracellular microdomains and their role in visual processing”

Jennifer R. Morgan, Ph.D.
Yale University School of Medicine/HHMI
“Mechanisms of actin regulations during synaptic vesicle endocytosis”

Gabriel J. Murphy
UCSD School of Medicine
“Mechanisms of feedback inhibition in the retina”

Joseph Sisneros, Ph.D.
Cornell University
“Steroid dependent plasticity of auditory hair cell tuning in the plainfin midshipman, Porichthys notatus”

Carlos A. Villalba-Galea, Ph.D.
Duke University Medical Center
“The timing of protein-protein interactions involved in synaptic vesicle endocytosis”

David G. Zeddies, Ph.D.
Loyola University-Chicago
“An optical measurement of the auditory brainstem response in larval zebrafish”

Science Journalism Fellows
Fifteen science reporters, producers, and editors have been awarded Science Journalism Fellowships at the Marine Biological Laboratory this summer. This is the program’s eighteenth year.

The recipients of MBL Science Journalism Fellowships in biomedical science are:

Gino Del Guercio, documentary filmmaker
Elizabeth DeVita, freelance
Andrew Jordan, freelance producer
Sanjay Kumar, freelance foreign correspondent, India
Naomi Lubick, freelance
Erik Mellgren, Reporter, Ny Teknik, Sweden
Jordi Ortega, freelance TV news reporter-producer
David Perlman, Science Editor, San Francisco Chronicle

The recipients of MBL Science Journalism Fellowships in environmental science are:

Nicola Jones, Reporter, New Scientist Magazine, UK
Sharon Levy, freelance
Amanda Onion, Science Editor, ABCNEWS.com
John Ryan, freelance
Ilsa Setziol, Environment Reporter, Southern California Public Radio
Natasha Singer, Correspondent, Outside Magazine
Wendy Wolfson, freelance

Albert and Ellen Grass Faculty Awards
Four investigators have been awarded the first Grass Faculty Awards at the MBL this summer. The goal of this new Program is to take advantage of the collaborative environment of the MBL and bring together neuroscientists at the Assistant or Associate Professor level from different institutions to work together to conduct specific research in neuroscience.

Joseph D. Buxbaum, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurobiology, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Neuropsychiatry, and Director of Molecular Genetics at the Seaver Center for Autism Research, all at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York and Vincent A. Pieribone, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Neurobiology and Cellular and Molecular Physiology at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut and Assistant Fellow at the John B. Pierce Laboratory, New Haven, Connecticut. Together they will investigate “The role of the Alzheimer’s amyloid protein precursor (APP) in vesicle transport in axons.”

William N. Green, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Pharmacology & Physiology, at the University of Chicago, Illinois, and John Marshall, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Together they will study “Target and trafficking of glutamate receptors by PDZ domain receptors.”

Dart Scholars Program in Learning and Memory
The first three scientists have been named Dart Scholars in Learning and Memory have been awarded this summer. Sponsored by a generous grant from Dart Neuroscience, these fellowships bring top scientists in the field of learning and memory together to conduct research at the MBL for the summer.

David Glanzman, Ph.D., Professor in the Departments of Physiological Science and Neurobiology at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, who will be investigating “Serotonin-induced release of calcium from intracellular stores in Aplysia motor neurons.”

Michale S. Fee, Ph.D., Principal Investigator in the Biological Computation Research Department, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, New Jersey and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey. He will study “Neural dynamics in avian song.”

Richard D. Mooney, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, who will investigate “Neural bases of learning and memory, and the developmental mechanisms that limit sensitive periods for such processes.”