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Biology Seminar: Babak Hassanzadeh

The sun is the ultimate source of energy for almost all forms of life on Earth, with about half of global primary productivity occurring in marine systems. While chlorophyll-based photosystems have been studied since the 19th century, the presence of rhodopsin (retinal-based) light harvesting complexes in marine environments was not known until the year 2000. Microbial rhodopsins are simple light-driven ion-pumps present in greater than 80% of the bacteria in the ocean’s photic zone and appear in all three domains of microbial life.

Biology Seminar: Dr. Stephanie Birnbaum

Insect interactions with host plants and other organisms provide unique and powerful models for understanding the evolutionary ecology of species interactions and molecular responses to stressors including host plant toxins, pathogens, and pesticides. I will present work investigating 1) the effects of plant toxins on specialist insect fitness and gene expression, and 2) the interactive effects of evolved pesticide resistance, pesticide exposure, and pathogen infection on insect fitness, immunity, and gene expression.

Biology Seminar: Dr. Spencer Nyholm

The Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, is well known for its light organ association with the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri. Female squid also house a bacterial consortium as part of their reproductive system that helps protect developing eggs from pathogens. I'll cover our current research into understanding the function of this defensive symbiosis and how the association is established during development.

Biology Seminar: Blake Madruga

Working in Dr. Peyman Golshani's lab at UCLA and nearing the completion of his PhD, Blake Madruga is currently designing, building, and using, novel compact multiphoton microscope systems that can be worn by freely behaving mice to image neural activity as they navigate, intract, and perform tasks. This system addresses the studies that have shown decreased or modified neural activity in mice participating in otherwise unnatural head-fixed or virtual reality based behaviours.

Dr. Kate Boersma - Understanding community assembly in freshwater habitats

Dr. Kate Boersma is an assistant professor at the University of San Diego and aquatic ecologist working in desert streams. Her research examines aquatic insect adaptations to drought and their effects on aquatic community structure. She also develops quantitative methods to analyze functional trait information and applies these methods to study the impacts of disturbances on biological communities. Boersma believes that human diversity is an essential part of the scientific process and works to increase the representation of women and underrepresented groups in the biological sciences.

Dr. Troy Magney - The plant kaleidoscope: Looking beyond leaf ‘greenness’ to study the biosphere from space

Troy Magney is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis as of Nov. 2019. Prior to this he was working at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology as a Research Scientist and postdoc. He completed his PhD in the Geospatial Laboratory for Environmental Dynamics at the University of Idaho in 2015 and his undergraduate work at the University of Denver in 2010. He is investigating plant optics: the ways plants absorb, reflect, and emit energy, to understand their functional response to the environment.