Meet Jennifer Landino of the University of Michigan. Jennifer is a postdoctoral fellow and member of Ann Miller's lab in the Department of Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology. She was on campus to train at the Cell & Developmental Biology of Xenopus, her very first CSHL course.
What are your research interests? What are you working on?
I am interested in investigating how cells divide in epithelial tissues, where they are attached to neighboring cells by cell-cell junctions. I specifically want to understand how the neighboring cells contribute to successful cell division while maintaining tissue integrity.
How did you decide to make this the focus of your research?
During my PhD research I studied how the cytoskeleton drives cell division in the context of a single cell. For my postdoc, I wanted to expand my understanding of cell division and investigate how groups of cells work together in a tissue to ensure successful division.
How did your scientific journey begin?
I became interested in cell division as an undergraduate working on cytokinesis in yeast. This is a fundamental biological process that underlies disease progression, in particular cancer, and has motivated me to continue studying cell division throughout my graduate and postdoctoral training.
Was there something specific about the Cell & Developmental Biology of Xenopus course that drew you to apply?
My lab uses Xenopus laevis as a model system to study epithelial cell division in a developing animal. I have no experience working with live animals, or developing embryos. This course was a chance to learn about the diversity of experimental techniques that are available in this model system.
What and/or how will you apply what you've learned from the course to your work?
I feel more confident in my experimental skills. I also found that my conversations with the instructors and guest lecturers helped me generate ideas that I can use for my own research when I return to the lab.
What is your key takeaway from the course?
This course was an excellent opportunity to learn and practice a broad range of techniques. I enjoyed learning about the current research in the field - ranging from developmental biology to cell biology.
If someone curious in attending this course asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
This course is a great opportunity to expand your understanding of the Xenopus field. My primary focus is on cell biology, and I have very little experience with developmental biology. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed learning about classic embryology experiments that were done in Xenopus.
What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
I most enjoyed feeling like part of the Xenopus community. I now feel like I have people I can turn to, outside of my own lab, who will be able to help me grow professionally and scientifically.
Jennifer received a scholarship from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to cover a portion of her course tuition. On behalf of Jennifer, thank you to the NICHD for supporting and enabling our young scientists to attend a CSHL course where they expand their skills, knowledge, and network.
Thank you to Jennifer for being this week's featured visitor. To meet other featured scientists - and discover the wide range of science that takes part in a CSHL meeting or course - go here.