The lab (along with honorary member Sandra Mendiola) recently mutinied against me (Levi) to commemorate my tenure talk. They filled my office with 200 balloons, a cardboard cutout of me (not pictured), and a creepy clown picture (thankfully not pictured). Then, in move of pure evil genius, they used Photoshop to frame Jaap de Roode for the prank. Needless to say, I was impressed and felt quite loved.
Also, popping 200 balloons is an excellent therapeutic activity for the end of the semester.
200 balloons in Levi’s office.
“Jaap” in action.
Aftermath of balloon popping.
Congrats to de Roode/Morran lab grad student Signe White on a successful dissertation defense! Signe’s dissertation explored how characteristics of the host population influence host-parasite interactions and parasite evolutionary trajectories. See our Publications page for some of her work and stay tuned for more to come.
Also, Signe’s interest in phoresy inspired this t-shirt.
Check out this new paper from Kim. Kim’s dissertation work has uncovered many novel and interesting questions, including “Can a symbiont (also) be food?” Find Kim’s answer here.
As C. elegans researchers, it can be tough to share a department with folks that study a system as beloved as monarch butterflies. Yet, what C. elegans lack in charisma they make up for in hypothesis testing power. Nonetheless, sometimes it is important to hurl insults at butterfly researchers, quite literally.
Here is a picture of Jaap de Roode (monarch butterfly researcher) after the Morran lab dropped monarch insults (via parachute) onto him from two floors above.
Here is one of my favorites (most can’t be repeated here):
Butterflies would be better if they were made out of actual butter.
Gerardo/Morran lab student Kim Hoang successfully defended her Ph.D. She will begin an NSF funded postdoctoral fellowship with Kayla King (Oxford) and Tim Read (Emory) in March. Kim has done some really cool work on the establishment of beneficial host-microbial interactions using C. elegans as hosts. See our publications page for some of this work, and stay tuned for some very cool stuff to come!
Congrats Kim! Excellent work.
We ran our first Science Saturday camp last weekend. Kids and adults from the Edgewood neighborhood in Atlanta came out to learn about DNA, extract DNA from strawberries, and to see mutant worms. Oh yeah, we also ate lots of waffles (Thank you Waffle House)! Many thanks to the Morran lab crew for serving as “camp counselors” and to Edgewood Church for hosting the event. It is pretty cool to host a science camp at a church, and pastors Carrie and Nathan Dean were amazing collaborators. And finally thanks to NSF for the funds to make this happen.
Science Saturday part II will be 11/16 at Edgewood Church at 9am. We’ll be learning about heredity and natural selection. Also, there will be waffles!
The first data chapter from Signe’s dissertation is now published. Congrats Signe!
In this paper, Signe finds that the dauer life stage can alter C. elegans interactions with parasites by inducing avoidance behavior and/or reducing host mortality rates, depending on the strain of C. elegans. On a broader scale, this project demonstrates that the host life stage can alter mechanisms of host defense and thus play a critical role in the outcome of host-parasite interactions.