We kicked off the new year with a virtual discussion with Dr. Piali Sengupta & Dr. Brian Gulbransen on January 12, 2021.
Dr. Sengupta received her PhD from MIT, where she studied pheromone signaling in yeast Brent Cochran’s laboratory. She then did her post-doc at UCSF, where she identified genes that encode how olfactory receptors are encoded in C. elegans with Cori Bargmann. She was later recruited to Brandeis University in 1996. Dr. Sengupta is currently a professor of Biology at Brandeis University and was recently elected as an AAAS fellow in 2019 for her pioneering work on the molecular genetics of chemical communication and thermosensation in C. elegans.Her lab work has two primary research focuses: one is the cilia squad, which is focused on the mechanisms by which cilia form and function, and the other is the axis of taxis: which is aimed at uncovering how thermal and chemical stimuli are sensed by C. elegans
Dr. Gulbransen received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Health Science Center, where he studied chemoreceptor cells. He is currently an associate professor in the physiology department at Michigan State University. The focus of his lab is to understand how inflammation in the nervous system (neuroinflammation) leads to long-term changes in gastrointestinal function with a particular focus on the intercellular communication between glia, neurons and immune cells.
Learning To Co-Exist With Humans: A Microbe’s Story
On November 3, 2020, we held a virtual conversation with Dr. Dylan Dodd and Dr. Mary Estes.
Dr. Dylan Dodd is an Assistant Professor at Stanford University. He received training as a physician scientist at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. His PhD work in Professor Isaac Cann’s laboratory looked at the molecular mechanisms for energy capture by gut bacteria. He then worked in Dr. Sonnenberg’s laboratory, where he studied how gut bacteria contribute to small molecules that impact host physiology. He has leveraged his research to co-found a company that engineers bacteria to modulate the immune system and his research group’s focus is to uncover the chemistry underlying host-microbe interactions in the gut.
Dr. Mary Estes is a Professor of Virology and Microbiology in the Department of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the past president of the American Society for Virology, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has authored over 400 articles, She is a molecular virologist whose research is focused on understanding viral (rotavirus and norovirus) infections of the gastrointestinal tract. Her research group’s focus is to study how the viral proteins interact with receptors of the intestinal cells.
On October 6, 2020, we held our second virtual conversation with Dr. Michael Krashes and Dr. Yulong Li.
Dr. Krashes is a Section Chief at the NIDDK. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, his work focused on memory circuits and odor memory processing in Drosophila. His lab currently focuses on how the brain brings together information sensed from its external environment and its own internal states, including memory, to guide eating behavior (the study of neural circuits that guide the behavior of obtaining food).
Dr. Li is a Professor at the School of Life Sciences in Peking University. He received his Ph.D. at Duke University, where he utilized single molecule techniques to understand the role of specific proteins in neurotransmitter release. He then pursued a post-doc at Stanford University in the laboratory of Richard Tsien, where he developed a genetically-encoded pH probe to monitor activity-dependent release of neurotransmitters. His lab has expanded on his previous work and developed advanced imaging probes to untangle the exact chemical signals neurons are using to communicate. Dr. Li’s lab has used these probes to identify new receptors and neurotransmitters and characterize their role in specific neural circuits.