Congrats John Filosa!

This is somewhat old news now (Spring 2019) but we are proud to have worked with John Filosa in completing his BS/MS degree at the University of Pennsylvania. John was first author on the C. fasciculata adhesion paper. Here he is after a successful thesis presentation.

Great articles featuring undergraduate researchers

Maddie Malfara is a recent graduate and Schreyer Honors scholar who was recognized multiple times during her time at Brandywine as a scholar, athlete, researcher, and leader. Here’s an article talking about her latest award.

Katya Iatsenko, a rising junior biochemistry major, is making the most of her undergraduate experience. She’s back in the lab this summer after studying abroad in Singapore.

3-D mitos!

Cells are three-dimensional, a fact that is sometimes hard to appreciate from textbook illustrations. Mitochondria in particular can have complex three-dimensional structures, especially the reticulated mitochondrial networks of kinetoplastid parasites! To illustrate this, we are working with engineers at Penn State Great Valley to print 3-D models of kinetoplastid mitochondria. This is a great collaboration between our lab, Gordon Ruthel at the Penn Vet Imaging Core, Dennis Wozniak, Engineering Lab Manager at Great Valley, Abbey Philip, ITS network/system administrator at Great Valley, and Kathryn Jablokow, Professor of Engineering at Great Valley.

We plan to use these models to address pedagogical questions about how students approach problems in 3D quantitative cell biology, and to communicate our work to colleagues and the general public.

This is one of our first models. It is a G1 (non-dividing) stage Crithidia fasciculata mitochondrion. The original cell expressed mitochondrialy-targeted GFP (mitoGFP), and was fixed and imaged on a confocal microscope. With confocal, we can image the entire cell as a series of thin slices and then assemble the slices into a stack, called a z-stack, in order to obtain 3D information. We were then able to convert that 3D information into a format that was readable by the 3D printer.

Looking at the model I was struck by how differently I interacted with it compared to a 3D rendering I can rotate on a computer screen. I also noticed detailed aspects of the structure I hadn’t appreciated before!

Karina presents at McNair conference

One of our summer students, Karina Cuevas-Mora, recently presented her work, entitled “Density-dependent mitochondrial morphologies in C. fasciculata” at the McNair Scholars Conference at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Great job, Karina!

Primer party

Today we had pizza to celebrate the lab’s 200th primer! It’s been a rough cloning week. Sometimes you just need a reason to celebrate.