Xenopus Course

Visitor of the Week: Dylan Guerin

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Meet Dylan Guerin of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The graduate student in Dr. Ai-Sun Tseng’s lab is currently training at his first course at CSHL: Cell & Developmental Biology of Xenopus: Gene Discovery and Disease where he has been perfecting his injection and imaging skills, and learning how others use Xenopus embryo in their work.

What are your research interests? What are you working on?
Our lab is interested in studying the mechanisms underlying regeneration. Specifically, I am interested in genes controlling embryonic eye regeneration in Xenopus laevis.

How did you decide to make this the focus of your research?
I was interested in regeneration before applying to graduate school. It is amazing to me how some animals can completely regrow lost appendages and it would be even more amazing if we could do that as well.

How did your scientific journey begin?
I am just naturally curious about the world and that curiosity was luckily encouraged by my parents. Science was the natural path to follow to feed that curiosity.

Was there something specific about the Cell & Developmental Biology of Xenopus: Gene Discovery & Disease that drew you to apply?
My advisor brought the Xenopus course to my attention as a way to interact with other Xenopus labs as we are the only lab in Nevada working with Xenopus. Personally, I wanted to learn how to perform micro injections and gain more experience with imaging.

What and/or how will you apply what you’ve learned from the course to your work?
The injection and imaging skills I learned here will be useful in my research as they are techniques we use in our lab but I have not had the chance to perfect until now.  From talking to others in the course, I have gained a new perspective about how they utilize the Xenopus embryo from a developmental point of view--where I look at it from a regenerative lens. They are similar but with some interesting differences.

What is your key takeaway from the course?
My key takeaway is that there are many different approaches to using Xenopus to answer scientific questions.

If someone curious in attending this course asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
The course is a good way to see what others in your field are doing. Also, you get as much out of the course as you put in.

What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
It was great to meet people from all over the world and get to know them. The personal interactions I have had here have been very enjoyable.

Dylan received a scholarship from the Howard Hughes Medical institute (HHMI) to cover a portion of his course tuition. On behalf of Dylan, thank you to HHMI for supporting and enabling our young scientists to attend a CSHL course where they expand their skills, knowledge, and network.

Thank you to Dylan 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.

Xenopus Reunited

It is our pleasure to introduce the launch of our guest writer series. The series will highlight pieces from course and meeting participants, and graduate students of the Watson School of Biological Sciences who share their personal insights to a meeting or course in which s/he took part. Kicking off the Series is Heather Ray, a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an alumna of the 2017 Xenopus course, who recounts her CSHL course experiences, and the unexpected benefits her participation at the course continually presents.

Visitor of the Week: Jennifer Landino

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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.