by | Jul 19, 2021 | 0 comments

Meet OGL’s new faces—and their new projects!

This month, OGL is welcoming a new postdoctoral fellow and two new co-op students!

Did you know that some bacteria stab their competitors with poison darts? In her PhD research at UNC Chapel Hill, Dr. Lauren Speare showed how glowing symbionts use this strategy to fight for space in the light organ of the Hawaiian bobtail squid. Her expertise in studying bacterial behaviors in animal hosts will be put to work at OGL, where she’ll examine bacteria that invade the cells of clams and help them eat wood! Understanding these and other bizarre bacterial behaviors may one day help scientists fight disease and produce sustainable energy. Not only is Lauren an excellent grower of bacteria, she is also an avid jigsaw puzzler!

Scientists use DNA samples to solve crimes, fight pandemics, and unravel your family history—but where do they find those samples and how do they keep them from spoiling? Our new Laboratory Assistant co-op, Prince Wang, a rising fourth year biochemistry major and computer science minor, and the newest Don Comb Undergraduate Research Scholar, will be working to discover new ways to preserve DNA in animal tissue samples without refrigeration or toxic chemicals. When not doing groundbreaking research, Prince loves to study aquatic animals and take care of his pet snapping turtle at home!

Where do valuable samples go when researchers retire? Nicole Kutenplon, our new Collections Assistant co-op, will be collaborating with Northeastern University’s Dr. William Detrich to ensure that when he retires, his 40-year collection of Antarctic fish and invertebrates will continue to serve science and never end up in a dumpster! Nicole will use her prior experience as a museum assistant to help Dr. Detrich accession hundreds of precious samples into the OGL collection. Like many of us, Nicole became an avid baker during quarantine and continues to bake bread to this day.

We’re so excited to see what our new lab members will discover! Interested in supporting the research of young scientists? Support OGL here.


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