Dr. Nathan “Nate” Mortimer gave a scientific talk on the GEP’s Parasitoid Wasps Project he is the Project Leader for at the Texas/Oklahoma Regional Node Meeting on January 5, 2021.
Regional Node Meeting
The GEP’s Southeast Regional Node held its Spring 2021 Regional Node Meeting on Friday, April 23, with over 60 in attendance, including students and faculty from constituent states Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. The keynote speaker Whitley Kelley, MS, Certified Genetic Counselor at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, AL, provided a fascinating overview of how genomics can be practically applied in careers in genetic counseling (see recording below). Faculty were inspired by the talk to include similar professional development training for students at their own institutions.
Following the keynote address, virtual breakout rooms offered a platform to undergraduate and graduate students to present 5-minute poster sessions on their GEP research projects. Again, faculty response was extremely positive; one professor commented, “Seeing the student presentations with the RNA-Seq provided even more weight to the benefits of the GEP Gene Annotation Curriculum in providing hands-on experiences with multiple data-sets and the feasibility of implementing this curriculum with other scientific questions.”
The two-hour online event served as a brief yet effective forum where students and faculty alike were empowered and motivated to continue active engagement in genomic research.
The Texas/Oklahoma node held their first virtual Regional Node Meeting (RNM) on January 5, 2021. The meeting was organized by several members of the TX/OK node including Lindsey Long and Alisha Howard. The morning session focused on providing training on the Parasitoid Wasps annotation project for current GEP faculty. This session was led by Dr. Nathan Mortimer and attended by seven GEP faculty members.
The afternoon session was open to faculty, postdocs, and students in the TX/OK region who were either affiliated with, or interested in, the GEP project. This session was hosted on the interactive platform Gather Town and was attended by 13 faculty and students from eight different institutions. Dr. Nathan Mortimer kicked off the afternoon with a presentation on his Parasitoid Wasps research project. This talk was followed by a virtual poster session by current and former GEP students. Finally, the GEP faculty hosted a Q&A session for new and prospective GEP faculty members.
The meeting was organized by Andy Arsham (Node Leader) and Paula Croonquist. The 55 attendees included 13 faculty, 1 postdoc, 51 undergraduates, and 1 administrator from 4 community colleges and 2 four-year institutions (St. Paul College, North Hennepin Community College, Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Minneapolis College, Wartburg College, and Bemidji State University).
The virtual poster session at the Regional Node Meeting included:
- Undergraduates presenting their bioinformatics research projects analyzing evolutionary conservation of growth factor signaling pathways in Drosophila species separated by about 40 million years of evolution
- Capstone classroom research presentations from BSU’s Gene Expression class investigating the role of repetitive DNA in triggering gene silencing by heterochromatin
- Introduction and lightning talks by Dr. Laura Reed, GEP Program Director and Pathways Project Leader, and Dr. Nathan Mortimer, GEP Wasp Venom Project Leader
- Q&A and information for prospective faculty
- Undergraduate talks from beginner and advanced students presenting GEP data
- Q&A with professors
- Alumni Panel
The Midwest North Node, which covers Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, held the GEP’s first NIH-funded Regional Node Meeting in Detroit, MI, at the University of Detroit Mercy, on September 7th – 8th, 2019.
The meeting was organized by Martin Burg (Node Leader), Jacob Kagey (Host Site Leader), and Jamie Siders. The 32 attendees included 12 faculty, 2 postdocs, and 18 undergraduates from 9 institutions (Albion College, Grand Valley State University, Illinois State University, Mount Mary University, Oakland University, Ohio Northern University, University of Detroit Mercy, University of Michigan, Wayne State University).
Sessions at the Regional Node Meeting included:
- undergraduate talks presenting GEP and other CURE data
- benefits of becoming a Teaching Assistant
- dos & don’ts of applying to graduate and professional school
- GEP faculty discussion about future node events
- faculty breakout sessions on CURE implementation
- keynote by Nathan Mortimer titled “Invasion of the body snatchers: A functional genomics approach to understanding parasite virulence proteins”
This successful event kicked off the GEP’s first year of NIH IPERT-supported regional activities and created a template for future events as we ramp up activity under the 5-year IPERT grant.