Undergraduate Evolutionary Research Posters

Every semester, the Math and Sciences Department of Queens College hosts an undergraduate research conference. You know what that means: catered poster session!!! Two of my students presented posters at the fair today, so I showed up to give them support and provide some internet hype.

Gavriel Ausubel joined the lab last spring and has been developing population genetic markers in non-coding regions of the Anolis genome. For most of that time has been designing primers in silico, doing PCRs, editing sequence reads, building contigs and manually editing alignments. So far he has been pretty successful, adding four new informative loci to our ever-growing data set. His analyses here are preliminary, but so far his sequences have yielded a nice amount of neutral variation that show population structure.

Ashley Kerrodar was in my Phage Genomics course last spring, and she presented a poster featuring the the bacteriophage genome we annotated as a class and published in GenBank. The poster includes a comparative analysis of a mycobacteriophage subcluster and demonstrates an instance of genome mosaicism. Certain phages in this sublcuster have switched a tyrosine recombinase for a serine recombinase (or vice versa), which is a gene involved with integration into the host genome. Ashley is not a biology major and this was her first experience doing any kind of research. Nonetheless, she put in a lot of work and was a real class leader.

I also browsed the poster session for ecology/evolution posters, and included some photos of posters here from students I know from the lab or from classes I have taught in the past.

Ronveer Chakraborty works in our lab on a project examining 12S and 16S mitochondrial gene variation in the toad Amietophrymus asmarae, an Ethiopian tetraploid hybrid.

Surei Quintana is a recent graduate and a former student of mine, now an adjunct at QC, and is still doing ongoing work in the Boissinot lab on neutral genetic variation in natural populations of threespine stickleback.

Xiaoou Xie is a new student at the Hickerlab, working with Mike Hickerson on MTML msBayes code. This poster features a study of DNA barcodes in 71 species pairs of birds that identified two major episodes of divergences in the early and late Pleistocene.

Lindsay Cahn (right) and Lauren Peyer (left) are former students of mine who spent the summer studying the diet of diamondback terrapins in Jamaica Bay. These turtles live in Eastern coastal swamps and estuaries and are an important part of the ecosystems they live in because they are omnivorous. They have Near Threatened conservation status and recently caused big trouble on the runways of JFK, which is right smack in the middle of prime turtle habitat.

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