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APRIL 1-7, 2024

This week we recognize the many contributions graduate and professional students make to research, teaching, and service in the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We are so thankful to have such a dedicated cohort of students, some of whose contributions are highlighted below. More students and their work will be added throughout the week.

Hazel Havens and Liz Troy

Hazel and Liz secured a Peer Support Core Mini-grant to help expand the BBQ Fundraiser to include campus more broadly, with this year’s proceeds going to UNC’s LGBTQ Center and its trans community closet (a safe space where trans and gender-nonconforming people can try on clothes without worrying about employees or other shoppers). This fundraiser, a tradition Hazel and the Safe Spaces Committee have spearheaded for the past three years, raises funds to help groups and non-profits that suupport the trans community. Please consider volunteering, submitting a donation (that gets you delicious BBQ!), and/or joining us at The Stone Center Amphitheater on Thursday, April 11th from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. to celebrate!


Katherine Malinski

Kingsolver and Willett Labs
Katherine published a paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology titled Host species differences in the thermal mismatch of host-parasitoid interactions, which received a separate write-up in the issue as an editor’s choice (work highlighted in Inside JEB in same issue by J. Kay)

Issi Burger

Riddell Lab
Issi published a study in Functional Ecology as a first author on research related to salamander physiology. She also ran and designed a booth at Amphibian and Reptile Day at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, which had roughly 8,000 members of the public in attendance.

Pu Zhang, Addie Schlater, and Clayton Harry

Goldstein Lab
Pu Zhang published her work on the architecture of the actin-mysoin network of cells changing shape by apical constriction in the Journal of Cell Biology. Addie Schlachter passed her candidacy exam, presented her research at a conference in France, and was recently invited to speak at a Gordon Research Seminar based on an abstract she submitted. Clayton Harry developed methods for primary culture of tardigrade cells.

Haley Capone

Alumni, Bruno Lab
Haley has recently been selected as a 2024 Presidential Management Fellow Finalist! This is a highly prestigious 2-year fellowship that places fellows into full-time management positions at the GS 9-12 level with a government agency. As a finalist, Haley is currently searching for a supervisory resource management position with NOAA or the USGS.

Salomé Jaramillo Gil

Bruno Lab
Salomé’s paper “Whale shark abundance forecast: The interannual hotspot effect,” published in The Journal of Applied Ecology, has been shortlisted for the publication’s Southwood Prize. This award is given to the best paper by an author at the start of their research career.

Stephanie Peak

Castillo and Xiang Labs
In collaboration with Barbara Stegenga, Stephanie has helped design the course BIOL 102L Introductory Biology Lab with Research: Coral-algal Symbiosis. The course is based on Stephanie’s work investigating molecular mechanisms that underlie coral-algal symbiosis using a sea anemone model. Students use UV mutagenesis to generate mutant algal symbionts of the anemone adn characterize their mutant(s) both in culture and in symbiosis with the animal. Students learn cell culture, imagining/microscopy, and other useful molecular techniques to complete their own independent research project and present their findings.

Fred Koitz

Gordon Lab
Fred, a student in The Curriculum in Genetics and Molecular Biology, has advanced to candidacy!

Noor Singh

Gordon Lab
Noor Singh, a student in The Curriculum of Genetics and Molecular Biology, has a preprint that is currently in review at Current Biology and was selected to give a talk at The Allied Genetics Conference (TAGC) in March.

Ethan Bedsole

Shiau Lab
Ethan gave a winning talk, awarded a Best Talk at the annual Glia Camp hosted by the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. Ethan’s research examines the elusive crosstalk of intracellular digestive function and immune response by microglia and macrophages.

Matt Hamilton

Shiau Lab
Matt gave an invited symposium talk at the annual international conference ZDM16 for the Zebrafish Disease Models Society. He was awarded a Best Poster prize at a recent 2024 Microbiology & Immunology Retreat. His research has uncovered an important function of resident macrophages in modulating hepatic cholesterol metabolism.

Nolan Hamilton

Furey Lab
Nolan has published a first author paper in Bioinformatics titled ROCCO: a robust method for detection of open chromatin via convex optimization

Meaghan Kennedy Ng

Furey Lab
Meaghan was a co-author on a paper in Nature’s Scientific Reports along with fellow Furey lab member, Nina Nishiyama. The paper is titled Linking gene expression to clinical outcomes in pediatric Crohn’s disease using machine learning.

Nina Nishiyama

Furey Lab
In addition to co-authoring a paper in Scientific Reports with fellow Furey lab member, Meaghan Kennedy Ng, Nina was also awarded an F31 fellowship from NIH/NIDDK.