Fall 2013 Newsletter | Biology | Marquette University




Garlich Travels to Summer Course in Finland

Josh Garlich
Josh (Right) with 2 other summer school students, Ashwin (left) and Päivi (Center), taken on a boat trip on Lake Päijänne

Fourth-year graduate student Josh Garlich attended the FinMIT International Summer School on Mitochondria and Organelle Communication held in Vääksy, Finland from June 1-8, 2013. The week-long course was organized by the FinMIT Centre of Excellence, a collaborative between the Universities of Tampere and Helsinki, Finland. The course featured an intensive lecture series given by several international research leaders on topics including; mitochondrial dynamics and turnover, peroxisome biogenesis, organelles and neurodegeneration, mitochondrial lipid metabolism and signaling, endosomes, lysosomes and autophagosomes, ER/mitochondria interactions, and intracellular transport. As part of the summer school, students worked throughout the week to prepare presentations on specialized topics within the theme of the summer course, and presented these topics at the end of the week.

The summer course was held in conjunction with the FinMIT Nordic Minisymposium on Mitochondria and Organelle Communication which took place on June 6th. Speakers from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark presented their work on a diverse array of topics related to organelle dynamics, crosstalk, and biogenesis. During the minisymposium, students from the summer course presented their own work at a poster session. Josh found this part of the summer course particularly valuable as he was able to speak with others in the field about his research, many of whom expressed interest and offered helpful suggestions regarding his project.


Josh Garlich
FinMIT Summer School attendees on a group hike near Vääksy, Finland

Another aspect of the course that Josh found to be incredibly beneficial was that the organizers, Howy Jacobs (University of Tampere, Finland) and Brendan Battersby (University of Helsinki, Finland), placed a high emphasis on instructing students how to actively listen and participate in a lecture. He learned from the lecturers and organizers, as well as his fellow students, the valuable skill of engaging each presenter and asking thought-provoking questions, and honed these skills throughout the week.

Josh’s overall impression of the summer course was that it was a highly valuable experience that facilitated professional connections with colleagues all over the world, and provided him with skills that he can apply to his pursuit of a doctoral degree and beyond.


Mathai Attends Course at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory

Prince Mathai

Prince collects samples of methanogens, methanotrophs, sulfur-oxidizers and sulfate-reducers at Trunk River, Falmouth

Prince Mathai attended the ‘Microbial Diversity’ summer course at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, MA from June 8 to July 25, 2013. He was among the 20 students selected to this course, which included PhD students, post-docs, and faculty members. His classmates included 13 from American institutions, as well as students from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark and Indonesia. Steve Zinder and Dan Buckley, professors from Cornell University, served as course-directors. In June, the Microbial Diversity course at MBL was designated as a ‘Milestones in Microbiology Site’ by the American Society for Microbiology. The MBL awarded Prince a tuition scholarship and he also received a Charles O’Hara Scholarship from Marquette which covered his room and board expenses.

This course provided Prince an opportunity to learn a wide variety of traditional and novel microbiological/molecular techniques and access to the latest cutting-edge technology in this field. A particular emphasis of the course was to isolate and cultivate microorganisms that were distinguished by their physiological, biochemical, and morphological properties (e.g., methanogens, acetogens, sulfate-reducers, sulfur-oxidizers, phototrophs, magnetotactic and bioluminescent bacteria). Another highlight of this course was that course participants had the opportunity to meet and interact with internationally renowned microbiologists who were invited to the course as guest lecturers.

Prince Mathai

2013 Microbial Diversity students, teaching assistants and course faculty

In addition, course participants had an opportunity to design and execute a mini- research project of their choice. Prince studied methanotrophic bacteria in an acidic freshwater swamp by using a combination of cultivation-dependent and -independent methods. He established multiple microcosms and enriched for acidic methanotrophs. He used stable isotope probing to explore the diversity of active methanotrophs and fluorescence in-situ hybridization to determine their relative abundance. As part of project, Prince also performed an in-situ depth profile analysis of the swamp linking physicochemical data to microbial community structure.



Josh and Prince would like to acknowledge and express their gratitude to the Charles O’Hara Scholarship for providing financial support to attend the FinMIT International Summer School and the summer course at the Marine Biological Laboratory.



Jonathan HillJonathan Hill, Ph.D. May 2013
Advisor: Dr. Paul Gasser
Thesis: Contributions of Individual Differences in Stress Reactivity to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Vulnerability and Resilience


Chrissy SansoneChristine Sansone, Ph.D. August 2013
Advisor: Dr. Ed Blumenthal
Thesis: Temporal and spatial requirements of drop-dead expression for adult survival in Drosophila melanogaster


Ru YaRu Ya, Ph.D. August 2013
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Downs
Thesis: The Role of AMP-Activated Protein Kinase in Mouse Oocyte Maturation and Subsequent Egg Activation



Yan Li attended the 26th International Conference on Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology in Frankfurt University, Germany from August 29th to September 3rd, 2013. She presented her poster entitled, "Functional analysis of Mtr4 as a component of TRAMP complex". Yan had a great experience experiencing all of the facets of current yeast research, as well as exploring the beautiful modern city of Frankfurt.

Prince Mathai attended the 113th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Denver, CO last May, where he presented his poster, “Quantitative Detection of Syntrophic Fatty-Acid Degrading Bacteria in Anaerobic Environments”.

Yi Lin attended the 33rd Midwest Enzyme Chemistry Conference in Chicago, IL on October 12, 2013. Yi presented her poster entitled, “Studies into domain coordination of urea amidolyase".




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