Georgia Gosnell Seminar Series

The Georgia Gosnell Seminar Series showcases speakers with broad expertise across the life sciences who present ongoing research on topics that include ecological sustainability, education, evolution, genomics, pathogenesis, proteomics, and viral therapeutics.

Join us for our next seminar!

February 1

Time: 1:00 - 1:50 PM Eastern
Location: Zoom Link Registration

headshot of Melissa Duhaime

Speaker:
Melissa Duhaime

Assistant Professor
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Michigan

Abstract:
It is estimated that 4.8-12.7 million tons of plastic enter the ocean in a single year, and this number is expected to increase exponentially. To target major sources and pathways on a global scale, the question remains: What is the physical fate of plastic once in the oceans and major fresh waterways? Our work is to experimentally resolve the knowledge gaps regarding the fate of plastic debris in freshwater systems.

To request an interpreter, visit myaccess.rit.edu.

Spring 2023 - Upcoming Seminars

Applied Biomedical Genomics and Bioinformatics at the Genomics Research Center

headshot of Trevor Penix

Speaker:
Trevor Penix (Biotechnology ’20)
Ph.D. Candidate
St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Time: 1:00 - 1:50 PM Eastern
Location: Gosnell A300

Abstract: 
Respiratory bacterial pathogens have been known to take advantage of influenza-infected hosts, greatly exacerbating disease and playing a significant role in morbidity and mortality. Through proteomic and genetic approaches, I plan to uncover the molecular players responsible for direct binding of bacteria and influenza. The goal is to understand this mechanism to help inform the treatment of high-risk influenza patients, hopefully preventing deadly secondary bacterial infections.

To request an interpreter, visit myaccess.rit.edu.

March 22

Time: 1:00 - 1:50 PM Eastern
Location: Gosnell A300

More Info to Come!

March 29

Time: 1:00 - 1:50 PM Eastern
Location: Gosnell A300

More Info to Come!

April 5

Time: 1:00 - 1:50 PM Eastern
Location: Gosnell A300

More Info to Come!

April 19

Time: 1:00 - 1:50 PM Eastern
Location: Gosnell A300

More Info to Come!

April 26

Time: 1:00 - 1:50 PM Eastern
Location: Gosnell A300

More Info to Come!

Spring 2023 - Past Seminars

Applied Biomedical Genomics and Bioinformatics at the Genomics Research Center

Headshot of Drs. Pritchett and Ghoneim

Speakers:
Elizabeth Pritchett, Operations Director
Dr. Dalia Ghoneim (bioinformatics '07)

Genomics Research Center 
University of Rochester

Abstract:
Drs. Pritchett and Ghoneim will overview the ongoing applied and translational next-generation sequencing (NGS) genomics capabilities at the University of Rochester.

Fall 2022

Genetic causes and population consequences of behavioral and life history evolution

headshot of Erik Dopman

Speaker: Erik Dopman
Tufts University

Abstract:
While most biologists agree that multiple reproductive barriers are required for new species to form, empirical studies often emphasize single barriers to interbreeding such as hybrid sterility. In my talk I will describe how the two main reproductive barriers seen in the European corn borer moth (Ostrinia nubilalis), temporal and behavioral isolation, are a byproduct of only four genes.

To request an interpreter, visit myaccess.rit.edu.

Applications of Cryopreserved Human Dissociated Tumor Cells (DTCs) for Drug and Diagnostic Development

headshot of Shawn Fahl

Speaker: Shawn Fahl '05 (biotechnology)
Vice President of Lab Operations, Cell Services, and R&D, Discovery Life Sciences

Abstract:
The acquisition of fresh human tissue is often an impediment to significant research advances. We have developed cryopreserved dissociated human tissues as a viable specimen source for many downstream applications, including immunophenotyping, bulk and single-cell sequencing, and single-cell functionality. Extensive cellular profiling of these samples by flow cytometry revealed indication-specific trends in the composition of the tumor microenvironment, and these specimens provide the opportunity to screen for novel drug targets and biomarkers. We have used the PD1/PDL1 pathway, which is currently therapeutically targeted in numerous solid cancers, to confirm the utility of these samples in evaluating immunomodulatory pathways. These studies have been extended to uncover novel functional immune receptors to target the next generation of immunotherapies.

Building on “déjà vu” to understand giant phage head assembly and function

headshot of Julie Thomas
Speaker: Dr. Julie Thomas, Associate Professor
RIT Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences

Abstract:
Phage research is undergoing a renaissance due to the abundance and diversity of phages in the environment, as well as their use to control multi-drug-resistant bacteria. In this seminar, I will discuss our research on the large Salmonella phage SPN3US, whose complex head has déjà vu-like similarities to that of the model E. coli phage T4. Our goal is to define the molecular cues that control proteolytic maturation in T4 and SPN3US so they can be exploited to package non-phage proteins into their heads.

Biases and Partnerships: Learning from Student Social Networks

headshot of Daniel Grunspan

Speaker: Dr. Daniel Grunspan, Assistant Professor
Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph

Abstract:
With high student-to-faculty ratios, large classes elevate the importance of relationships and interactions between students. Using social network analysis, Dr. Grunspan will present how peer interactions evolve over the course of a semester. Results indicate that who students study with primarily depends on course structure and shared identities between peers, while who students perceive as strong in the class material follows a strong gender bias.

To request an interpreter, visit myaccess.rit.edu.

Trafficking of viral ribonucleoproteins in the cytoplasm of host cells

headshot of Douglas Lyles

Speaker: Douglas Lyles, Professor of Biochemistry
Wake Forest School of Medicine

Abstract:
The ribonucleoprotein (RNP) cores of RNA viruses are too large to diffuse through the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells. Nonetheless, they migrate extensively post-infection to form inclusion bodies and migrate to the plasma membrane for virus assembly. We have shown that vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) RNPs move through the cytoplasm primarily by rapidly bouncing back and forth within traps and hopping from trap to trap in random directions.

headshots of six faculty members

Speaker: GSoLS Faculty Slide Slam
Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences, RIT

Abstract:
Join the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences community to learn about faculty research and the opportunities for student research. Faculty will be presenting 5-minute summaries of their research.

Comprehensive prokaryotic glycoproteomics: challenges, solutions, and their application to pathogenic bacteria

headshot of Stefan Schulze

Speaker: Stefan Schulze, Assistant Professor
Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences, RIT

Abstract:
Protein glycosylation, one of the most complex post-translational modifications, plays central roles in a variety of cellular processes in prokaryotes. Therefore, system-wide analyses of glycoproteins are crucial to gain a molecular understanding of biofilm formation, antibiotic resistance, and pathogenicity mechanisms. Yet the challenges posed by the complexity and variability of glycoproteins have prevented their large-scale analyses in most prokaryotes so far. Here, I will present an interdisciplinary approach that combines bioinformatics, comprehensive glycoproteomics, and cell biological characterizations for the functional analysis of prokaryotic glycosylation. For the model archaeon Haloferax volcanii, this approach led to the identification of the largest archaeal glycoproteome described as yet, revealed the concurrence of two independent N-glycosylation pathways that can modify the same glycosylation sites, and indicated the involvement of glycosylation in crucial cellular processes such as cell shape determination. The universal applicability of the developed methods and bioinformatic tools now sets the stage for functional glycoproteomics in bacteria. The first results highlight the importance of glycosylation for biofilm formation in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In summary, comprehensive prokaryotic glycoproteomics provides new insights into prokaryotic cell biology and, in turn, opens new avenues for developing novel therapeutics.

Impact of extraction methods, filter pore sizes, and primers on eDNA metabarcoding results

headshot of Dr. Girish Kumar

Speaker: Dr. Girish Kumar, Genomics Research Associate
Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences, RIT

Abstract:
Findings from environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding are strongly influenced by the experimental approach. Yet, the effect of pre-PCR sample processing on taxon detection and estimates of biodiversity across different water types is still poorly resolved. In this presentation, I will discuss the impact of sampling effort, extraction method, filter pore size, and primers on metabarcoding results for fish in water samples.

Representations and Visualizations in Molecular Biology

headshot of Leslie Kate Wright

Speaker: Dr. Leslie Kate Wright
Professor and Interim Head of Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences

Abstract:
The field of Molecular Biology relies heavily on visual representations to communicate ideas about unobservable biological processes and molecules. Visual representations are simplified models that appear in biology textbooks, teaching materials, and even as quickly created drawings on paper or whiteboards during discussion. Much evidence suggests, however, that biology learners and experts do not necessarily “see” the same things when deciphering or creating visual representations. This seminar will highlight two recent projects from our laboratory; how visual representations are used to illustrate Molecular Biology concepts and how student-generated drawings can be a window into mental models of Molecular concepts and processes.