February 23, 2017

The Spring 2017 Biology Seminar Series continues with Troy Magney’s talk, "Can we see plant photosynthesis from space? Insights across leaf, tower, airborne, and satellite scales."


Tuesday, February 28th
BioScience 113
12:30 p.m.
Refreshments will be served!

Troy Magney is a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow in the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. He completed his Ph.D. in the Geospatial Laboratory for Environmental Dynamics at the University of Idaho in 2015. He is interested in designing, testing, and deploying instrumentation that will enable improved monitoring of biosphere-atmosphere interactions in space and time. To accomplish this, he collects remote sensing and field data across a range of scales – from the leaf chloroplast, to canopy observation towers, to aircraft sensors, and earth-observing satellites.

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February 16, 2017

The Spring 2017 Biology Seminar Series continues with Dr. Chris Wheeler’s talk, "Age-related killer T cells in brain malignancy, degeneration, and development."

Abnormal expansion of memory (killer) T cells is among the earliest physiological manifestations of aging. While this is known to impair pathogen susceptibility in the elderly, its impact on non-infectious diseases is less clear. This is particularly true of age-related neurological disorders. Initially focusing on brain tumors, we identified special molecular properties of age-sensitive killer T cells related to patient survival and immunotherapy success. Remarkably, reduction of these cells in young animals unmasked pathology similar to autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity, depending on sex, revealing a probable neurodevelopmental role. By contrast, inducing age-related expansion of killer T cells altered their molecular and functional properties, and ultimately promoted neurodegeneration...
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February 10, 2017

The Spring 2017 Biology Seminar Series continues with Gage Crump’s talk, "Using Zebrafish to Model Diseases of the Human Face and Skull."

Department of Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine 
Keck School of Medicine, USC
Using Zebrafish to Model Diseases of the Human Face and Skull
Tuesday, February 14th
BioScience 113
12:30 p.m.
Refreshments will be served!
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February 2, 2017

The Spring 2017 Biology Seminar Series continues with Susan Piacenza’s talk, "Fathoming Sea Turtles: How to Improve Population Assessments of Unstable Populations."

Green sea turtles have endangered and threatened populations globally, but several nesting beaches have shown substantial increases in the number of nests or nesting females. However, population monitoring must be accurate and reliable to classify population status correctly. Sea turtle biologists commonly use nesting beach surveys as a population index for assessment because nesting turtles are easily accessed and quantified. Yet, this is problematic because process and observation errors, compounded by delayed maturity, obscure the relationship between trends on the nesting beach and the population as a whole. I present an approach that addresses temporal and individual-level variability, uncertainty, and observation errors to improve the accuracy of population assessments for sea...
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January 25, 2017

The Spring 2017 Biology Seminar Series continues with Sergio Avila’s talk, "From fur to fuzz: protecting northern jaguars while studying monarch butterflies along the US-Mexico borderla

The US-Mexico borderlands boast a great diversity of life, making it a hotspot of biodiversity in North America. The region mixes temperate and tropical species, resident and migratory, large and small, adapted to life in a biologically connected, yet politically divided ecosystem. In this talk, Sergio Avila will share personal experiences and stories from his time studying wildlife species, from jaguars and monarch butterflies, and the region they call home, from the Sonoran Desert to the Sky Islands and the Sierra Madre
Sergio Avila-Villegas has found his niche as a bridge between cultures, languages and approaches to the conservation of biodiversity in the US-Mexico border. As a Conservation Scientist with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Avila leads...
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January 19, 2017

The Spring 2017 Biology Seminar Series commences with David W. Scott's talk, "Driving CARs to BARs: The road to engineered human antigen-specific regulatory and cytotoxic T cells."

The specificity of the immune system is powerful and has been harnessed in a novel therapy for cancer, called CARs (for Chimeric Antigen Receptors).  Our lab has applied this approach to create regulatory police CARs that stop harmful immune responses in autoimmunity and hemophilia, and we have now driven them to BARs.

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November 22, 2016

The Fall 2016 Biology Seminar Series concludes with Dr. Jamie Voyles’ talk: How does it end? Shifts in the infectious disease chytridiomycosis and the fate of frogs.

The emergence of infectious disease rarely ends in the complete extinction of host species. Frequently, the level of virulence in a severe disease system shifts such that hosts and pathogens can persist in a shared environment. However, the mechanistic underpinnings of these transitions are not well understood. The lethal fungal disease known as amphibian chytridiomyocosis provides a compelling system to investigate such shifts in infectious disease dynamics. The pathogen that causes chytridiomycosis, Batrachochytrium dendrobatids (commonly called "Bd"), is renown for its ability spread rapidly into amphibian communities and cause extremely high levels of mortality in many different host species. However, some host species have survived initial...

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October 24, 2016

The Fall 2016 Biology Seminar Series continues with Sharon Stranford’s talk: The MAIDS model system: IL-10 and the role of immunosuppression in susceptibility to immunodeficiency

Sharon Stranford studies factors that influence the development of acquired immune deficiency. She and the undergraduate students who work in her research lab employ a mouse model of AIDS (MAIDS) in which some strains of mice develop immune deficiency following exposure to Murine Leukemia Virus (MuLV). This allows them to compare the early immune response patterns of MAIDS-susceptible and MAIDS-resistant mice for clues to immune pathways that bias towards resolution versus immunodeficiency. This is done using a combination of techniques, including comparative gene expression, flow cytometric analysis, enzyme-linked immunosorbant assays (ELISAs) and fluorescence microscopy. 



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October 3, 2016

The Fall 2016 Biology Seminar Series continues with Francie Mercer's talk: Immune subversion by the sexually transmitted parasite Trichomonas vaginalis

Trichomonas vaginalis is a protozoan parasite that causes the most common non-viral STI in the U.S. and worldwide. While complications due to Trichomonas infection can contribute to adverse reproductive outcomes and health disparities, not much is known about how the immune system responds to Trichomonas, or why the infection persists.  We show that human neutrophils are able to kill Trichomonas in a contact- dependent manner that involves antibody opsonization, and that some clinical isolates are resistant to neutrophils.  These “virulent” strains of Trichomonas can also kill other cells of the immune system.
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September 23, 2016

The Fall 2016 Biology Seminar Series continues with Michael A. Anderson's talk: Microbial water quality, drinking water treatment and public health.


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