January 2019 update

A lot’s been going on in the lab since our last update.

We had a successful summer 2018—several students were in the lab on campus, and visited our collaborators at the Université de Poitiers, where we isolated RNA from male and female isopods for an RNA-seq experiment (see photo below: Ty and Nora in the lab).

Jane’s paper on an in silico screen for novel Wolbachia infections was accepted and published in PeerJ! (And Jane has returned to upstate NY to work on her PhD at Syracuse University.)

At the beginning of January we attended the 2019 SICB conference, where three students presented posters on their work. All three received great feedback.

Finally, we recently received the sequencing data from our ongoing RNA-seq experiments. We’re now working on analyzing the data so we can better understand sex determination and gene expression differences between males and females in our focal isopod species.

Summer 2017 update

This summer has been so busy, it’s more than half over and we haven’t even had a chance to post an update yet. In May we welcomed several new students to the lab: Angelica, Annie, Rose, and Sarita. Everyone’s been working hard, and we’ve had good success making progress towards our goals: the results of the test crosses we set up last year are in, suggesting that our population of the terrestrial isopod Trachelipus rathkei has X and Y sex chromosomes, instead of Z and W chromosomes as a previously published paper indicated; we’ve been establishing populations of additional terrestrial isopod species for comparisons; we’ve been holding weekly joint bioinformatics sessions together; and we recently returned from a trip to our collaborators’ lab in Poitiers, France, where we continued some experiments on Porcellio laevis that we started last year, and where Sevi was able to gather data on sexual dimorphism in a wider variety of species. We also introduced some local elementary and middle school students to terrestrial isopods through an educational program at SUNY Oswego’s Rice Creek Field Station.

SICB 2017

We just got back from the 2017 meeting of the Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology. Jane and Sevi both presented posters on their research on the terrestrial isopod Trachelipus rathkei. Nice work!

Jane at SICB

Jane at SICB

Sevi at SICB

Sevi at SICB

Fall 2016 update

We had a successful summer. Some of the highlights included:

  • Testing our local population of Trachelipus rathkei and our lab population of Porcellio laevis for Wolbachia infections.
  • Generating tons of sequencing data (both Illumina and PacBio) to sequence the genome of T. rathkei and identify sex-linked loci in this species.
  • Visiting our collaborators in Poitiers, France, where students learned how to perform androgenic gland transplants in terrestrial isopods, set up a sex reversal experiment in P. laevis that we will follow up on next summer, and also got to try out local cuisine like escargot (see photo below).

    Sevi bravely eating escargot.

    Sevi bravely eating escargot.

  • Setting up another large sex reversal experiment in T. rathkei when we returned to Oswego.
  • Developing protocols to measure sexually dimorphic phenotypes in T. rathkei, including using the scanning electron microscope on campus at SUNY Oswego to get a close-up look at isopod legs (below).t_rath_female_leg

We are looking forward to presenting our results at the 2017 SICB meeting!

Our recent visit to Poitiers

We’ve just returned from a successful visit with our collaborators at the laboratoire d’Écologie et Biologie des Interactions (EBI) at l’Université de Poitiers in France. We learned a lot while we were there and got to practice all sorts of lab techniques, including isopod dissection, androgenic gland implantation surgeries, cytogenetics tools, and also planned strategies for whole-genome sequencing of our study species. We also got to see a few historical sites around Poitiers, which was a lot of fun. Hopefully next time we visit we’ll be a bit more fluent in French.

Beautifully dissected isopod ovaries

Beautifully dissected isopod ovaries

 

Notre Dame de la Grande, one of the many very old churches in Poitiers

Notre Dame de la Grande, one of the many very old churches in Poitiers

Recent Lab Events

Congratulations to lab members on recent successes!

  • Don Wang and Josh Drake did a great job presenting posters on their work at the Annual Paper Session of the Rochester Academy of Science in November 2014.
  • Don Wang received a SUNY Oswego Student SCAC grant in December 2014 to support his research on genetic diversity in Rickettsiella infections in terrestrial isopods in central New York.
  • Chulee Paw has received a SUNY Oswego Student Mini-Grant for her project on the molecular evolution of DM-domain genes in terrestrial isopods.
  • Josh Drake was recognized with a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.
  • Karen Alvarado was awarded a SUNY Oswego Faculty-Student Challenge Grant to study the experimental evolution of neo-Y chromosomes in C. elegans in summer 2015.
  • Dr. Chandler’s NSF CAREER proposal on the evolution of sex chromosomes and dosage compensation in terrestrial isopods has been recommended for funding.