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Departmental Seminars

Spring Semester 2019

Monday, April 15, 2019
12:00 - 12:50 pm,  RITA 103
Andrew Shedlock and Agnes Southgate, College of Charleston

Agnes Southgate:  Only 20,000 genes? The role of alternative splicing in cell diversity

Andy Shedlock:  Building an international alliance for predictive environmental genomics of marine resources in Japan and the United States.

A sabbatical report by Dr. Andy Shedlock

Japan’s relationship with marine biodiversity is complex and includes ancient animistic, traditional exploitative, as well as modern scientific views that are unique to the world and can inform western ideas about sustainability literacy, research priorities, and environmental education. I will summarize highlights of a nine-month Fulbright US Scholar Award (100% research, all disciplines) spent in Japan traveling to UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserves that are hotspots for marine conservation and biodiversity research.  This work, funded generously by the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Japan-US Educational Commission is aimed at empowering Asian colleagues and building effective communication networks that span traditional cultural and socio-economic and institutional boundaries. Time permitting I will share results from predictive environmental genomics research now being published for sea turtles that has benefitted greatly from my 2016-17 sabbatical activities.

 

Monday, April 8, 2019
12:00 - 12:50 pm, RITA 1-3
Fadi Issa, Assistant Professor, East Carolina University

Title: Social Regulation and Neuromodulation of Spinal Locomotor Neural Circuits

The talk will explore cellular and behavioral mechanisms of how social status induces functional and morphological neural plasticity in identified neuromodulatory brain circuits to regulate locomotor circuits in a socially adaptive manner.

Monday, April 1, 2019
12:00 - 12:50 pm, RITA 103
Nick Gotelli, Professor, University of Vermont

Title: The Ecological Effects Of Nitrogen Deposition: Insights From the Carnivorous Pitcher Plant Sarracenia purpurea".

This seminar summarizes 23 years of field observations and experiments, lab studies, and statistical modeling to examine the consequences of atmospheric nutrient deposition on plant morphology and ecophysiology, nutrient stoichiometry, population dynamics, and ecosystem tipping points.

Monday, March 25, 2019
12:00 - 12:50 pm, RITA 103
Matt Rutter and Gorka Sancho, College of Charleston

Title: Mutants and tigers and sharks, oh my!  The importance of place and local adaptations: Research examples with Arabidopsis thaliana and Galeocerdo cuvier

A double feature seminar with Gorka Sancho and Matt Rutter

Gorka Sancho:  Tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) are apex predators in subtropical and tropical waters worldwide. Recent research indicates the existence of a sub-population of Tiger Sharks that occupy high salinity estuarine and nearshore habitats off the coast of South Carolina. Habitat utilization of shallow coastal waters is temperature dependent, exploiting opportunistic food resources and mating in nearshore waters. I will discuss the importance of studying local populations of tiger sharks in order to better understand the overall ecology of highly mobile species.

Matt Rutter: Mutations alter the DNA sequence, generate new alleles, and have the potential to influence organismal fitness.  However, each specific mutation is a rare event, making it difficult to understand the frequency of different types of mutation or their contributions to adaptive processes in nature.  I will discuss my recent work on these problems, using approaches that span the range from field experiments to whole genome sequencing to curriculum development--  all integrated through research on the plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

Monday, March 11, 2019,
12:00 - 12:50 pm, RITA 103
Mark Lazzaro, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, College of Charleston

Tomato fruit shape is controlled by genes that alter the patterns of plant cell division and expansion

OVATE and SUN are two of the genes that control fruit shape in tomato by interacting with microtubules through an unclear mechanism that alters the patterns of cell division and expansion during fruit development.  During my sabbatical research at University of Georgia, we crossed near isogenic tomato lines for ovate and sun with lines that express fluorescently labelled microtubules to directly visualize the effects of these genes on the cytoskeleton.   I also used bioinformatics to identify several candidate genes that code for cytoskeletal associated proteins and co-express with OVATE when fruit shape is determined.  One of these genes codes for MAP-65, a microtubule associated protein involved in plant cell division and a potential mechanistic link for OVATE function that the lab is pursuing.

Monday, March 4, 2019,
12:00 - 12:50 pm, RITA
James Spotila, Betz Chair Professor of Environmental Science, Drexel University, Philiadelphia, PA

Global Warming and Sea Turtles- A Personal History

I have been studying sea turtles since 1978. During that time carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 320 ppm to over 410 ppm. That has had dramatic effects on animals as well as climate. In this presentation I will review my own scientific and personal experience with global warming during the course of my career as well as the impact of global warming on sea turtles.

Monday, February 25, 2019,
12:00 - 12:50 pm,  in RITA 103
Jennifer Grier, Clinical Assistant Professor, USC School of Medicine, Greenville, SC

Ah… Ah… Achoo! Steps towards understanding the Cellular Response to Respiratory Virus Infection

Symptoms of a respiratory virus infection range from mildly annoying to extremely severe, and for some patients infected with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), the infection can lead hospitalization and life-long complications. While it is not clear what leads to these outcomes, the initial immune response to an infection may be pivotal in shaping the eventual disease progression. The earliest intracellular response to RSV or Sendai Virus (SeV), a mouse pathogen similar to RSV, have been linked to error in viral replication that lead to production of defective viral genomes (DVG). This DVG-associated immune response leads to the up-regulation of hundreds of Interferon Stimulated Genes (ISGs), yet only a handful of ISGs have known functions. Through CRISPR-Cas9 mediated mutation, study of the ISG, IFIT1, demonstrates the impact these genes can have on viral replication, the host response, and lung physiology.  An in-depth understanding of these early response genes may one day be used to minimize RSV symptoms and prevent the development of chronic complications.

Monday February 11, 2019,
12:00 - 12:50 pm,  RITA 103
Ko-Hsaun Chen, University of Florida

Functional Ecology of Plant-Associated Fungi

Fungi are associated with all lineages of plants. While plant-fungal symbiosis is common, many of their interactions, ranging from mutualism, commensalism, to parasitism are yet to be determined. Questions still remain for the scientists: How do plants affect the assemblies of fungal communities? How do plants and their fungal partners communicate and maintain their relationships? With the advancement of technologies that allow scientists to approach these questions, stories of plant-fungal symbiosis have just started to unveil.

Monday, February 4, 2019
12:00 - 1:00 pm in RITA 101 Auditorium
Dr. Joseph Pfaller, Research Director, Caretta Research Project Courtesy Faculty, Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, University of Florida

Sea turtles in the Southeast: What have we learned and achieved?

Monday, January 28, 2019
12:00 - 12:50 pm in RITA 103
Qamar Schuyler, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere

Marine life and governance in the Plasticene Era 

Marine debris is among the most pressing environmental concerns of the 21st century. An estimated 4-12 million tons of debris enters the ocean annually, and nearly 700 species of animals are recorded to have interacted with this debris. I will outline what we know about debris and what still remains unknown, and describe my research into the impacts of debris on sea turtles and sea birds at both local and global scales.

Monday, January 14, 2019
12:00 - 12:50 pm in RITA 103
Michael Schmidt, MUSC

Infection Control - Spreading Awareness - Not Germs

How Copper Surfaces continuously foster patient safety by controlling microbial burden within clinical environments

National health-service providers, private health insurers, and healthcare practitioners have each called for increased practices that foster patient safety. Healthcare associated infections (HAI) represent one of the most significant risks to patient safety, occurring at an alarmingly high rate of 1 per 25 hospitalizations in the US. Collectively HAIs add ~150 billion dollars to the annual cost of healthcare.  Here we will introduce data that support components fabricated from solid copper alloys have an ability to continuously control the concentration of microbes in situ at levels recommended subsequent to terminal cleaning (<250 cfu/100cm2). In a number of clinical trials, limited placement of copper surfaces has been shown to mitigate the rate of HAI acquisition through a reduction to environmental burden. In the seminal study, conducted at three hospitals, the HAI rate was significantly reduced in rooms with copper surfaces (11.8 to 4.8 per 1,000 patient days (p= 0.013)). Collectively these data advance a conclusion that an application of copper touch surfaces throughout healthcare can enhance infection control efforts augmenting patient safety.
   

 

 

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