Raakhee Shankar joins the ADCL
Raakhee joins the ADCL as an incoming postdoctoral researcher to spearhead all EM-related studies. Raakhee comes in with an extensive background in tissue processing and microscopy, including EM and confocal. Raakhee’s scientific journey began with a strong interest in neurogenetics. As a master’s and Ph.D. student, Raakhee utilized C. elegans as a model system to study the molecular mechanisms of synaptic recognition and nuclear envelope reformation after mitosis, respectively. Raakhee is excited to expand her knowledge and skill base to include studies of the connectome of the mammalian auditory brainstem.
Dan Heller returns from a stint in the von Gersdorff lab at OHSU
Dan has returned to the lab after spending 7 months working at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland, OR. Dan worked in the lab of Dr. Henrique von Gersdorff, a frequent collaborator and co-sponsor with the ADCL, and has returned as an expert in multiple challenging electrophysiological techniques (dual patch pre and postsynaptic patch clamp). Dan will use these new skills and expertise to collect preliminary data that will be used in the submission of an NRSA F31 application.
The ADCL bids farewell to two star undergraduates
The ADCL is losing two talented and committed undergraduates this spring. Victoria Moses and Carolyna Yamamoto Alves Pinto are graduating with a Bachelors of Science, as part of the first graduating class in the undergraduate Biomedical Engineering program. They have been integral parts of the ADCL’s success over the last couple of years. Carolyna has largely worked with the Connectomics team and has excelled in learning and implementing computational methods for studying neurobiology. Victoria worked with Morgan (PhD student) on the developmental side of the lab and provided critical work for reconstructing astrocytes in the developing mouse MNTB.
My favorite thing about the lab was the people, Dan (PhD student) was the first person to welcome me into the lab and I remember he was super nice and patient explaining things to me. At the time, I did not know anything about neuroscience, so it was very important to me that he did that, and one of the main reasons I decided to stay. After 7 months in the lab, I decided I wanted to write a thesis and I received great support from Dr. Spirou and Matt Kersting, who helped me throughout the entire year while I worked on my project.
My favorite thing about the lab is how helpful and nice everyone was. I am really going to miss everyone. I also enjoyed learning so much about astrocytes.
What’s next for our star students?
Carolyna will be starting her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in July. She is a direct-admission to the lab of Dr. Natalia Trayanova, which focuses on computational cardiology. She is very excited to move to Baltimore and looking forward to learning more about human health. Victoria will be starting a masters degree program in prosthetics and orthotics on May 17th at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Matt Kersting headed off to Noblis
Matt completed his Masters of Science in Biomedical Engineering in December 2020. Next in his journey, he will be heading off to Noblis, where he will work as a Machine Learning Scientist. Noblis is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides federal clients with scientific and technological expertise. In his role, Matt will work as part of a team that researches, develops, and deploys solutions to various national security missions, such as identity management, multimedia, and cyber end-to-end systems. Good luck, Matt!
Dan Heller heads west to strengthen his skills as an electrophysiologist
Dan will spend two months learning multiple challenging electrophysiological techniques (dual patch pre and postsynaptic patch clamp) in the lab of the lab of Dr. Henrique von Gersdorff. Dr. von Gersdorff is a frequent collaborator and co-sponsor with the ADCL, as well as an expert in electrophysiological techniques. Dan will bring his own expertise in transcardial perfusions and brain slicing techniques to the von Gersdorff lab to collect data for his thesis project.
Dakota Jackson completes his Ph.D.
Dakota completed his Doctorate at West Virginia University in Neuroscience. Dakota was a valuable member of the ADCL at WVU and will join the ADCL at USF in January 2021 to work as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Dakota was an author on multiple publications during his graduate years, including a first-author paper recently published in Synapse, titled “Two types of somatic spines provide sites for intercellular signaling during calyx of Held growth and maturation.” He mastered a number of techniques during his time at WVU, and the ADCL is excited to utilize his expertise. Congrats to Dakota!
ADCL opens at USF
The ADCL officially opens at the University of South Florida! The lab is a state-of-the-art facility that includes multiple distinct areas for all steps of the scientific process. The wet lab contains up-to-date equipment for tissue processing, immunohistochemical staining, genetic and molecular manipulations, organotypic cultures, and optogenetic stimulations. The lab contains multiple microscopes for imaging live and fixed tissue, including a multiphoton Hyperscope from Scientifica, as well as an electrophysiology station. Once data is collected, state-of-the-art virtual reality stations allow for data analysis in 3D, using syGlass software, thereby revolutionizing the way data is processed. The data analytics section of the lab contains a BIOS IT 256 TB 4 Dual Socket storage system for tackling large imaging data sets. Greater than 12 work stations are set up for teams of undergrads to aid in the processing of large 3D image volumes. Graduate student and Postdoctoral Fellow work stations are equipped with new, powerful workstations for running 3D data analysis software. Finally, the possesses an amazing view of the USF campus.
Bob Nichol joins the ADCL
Bob joins the ADCL as a laboratory manager. Bob was a graduate student and Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, where he worked to develop induced pluripotent stem cells as a valuable, high-throughput model for studying human axon guidance. Bob has a variety of research, writing, and editing expertise that will aid the ADCL in accomplishing their goals.
ADCL awarded NIH RO1 grant, co-sponsored with Dr. Henrique von Gersdorff at OHSU
Dr. Spirou is Co-Investigator on an RO1 grant from the NIH/ National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), in collaboration with principal investigator Dr. Henrique von Gersdorff of the Oregon Health and Science University. This project is focused on the biophysical and structural properties of synaptic transmission in the superior olivary complex, a critical region for localizing environmental auditory stimuli. The project will utilize a mixture of high-resolution imaging and electrophysiological techniques to reveal the synaptic mechanisms that regulate action potential timing in the ascending pathways of the auditory brainstem.