Skip to content
Close this search box.
Home » New England

New England

Northeast Regional Node Meeting participants group photo

New England Regional Node Meeting – January 4-5, 2024

Eight faculty members, one staff member/TA, and seven students of the New England Regional Node gathered together at Siena College in Loudonville, NY on January 4-5, 2024 for an exciting two-day conference. Dr. Brittany Miller and Dr. Tom Giarla gave upper level course implementation talks entitled, “Using GEP Annotation Projects as a Launching Point for More Advanced Bioinformatics” and “Piloting the ZAD-ZNF Gene Family Evolution Project,” respectively. Dr. Rachel Sterne-Marr led a training session, “Wasp Venom Gene Annotation” and GEP TA and staff member, Logan Cohen, engaged us in a discussion, “Why students make mistakes: the underlying concepts behind common errors.” Five students from the Pathways Project presented in a lively poster session. 
Brittany Miller posing before beginning her talk entitled Using GEP annotation projects as a launching point in an advanced bioinformatics course
Rachel Sterne-Marr providing talk on PPT slide entitled Challenges: Incomplete Transcript Examples
  • Kate Putnam (Siena College, Giarla lab), presented “Akt and srl Genes.”
  • Forrest Veilleux (Franklin Pierce University, Page lab) presented “Glycogen Synthase in D. bipectinata: How Fruit Flies Store Their Sugar.” 
  • Caleb Casey (Siena College, Tom Giarla’s Genomics and Bioinformatics course) enlightened us on “Discovery of a Putative Paralog to wat in Drosophila willistoni.”
  • Chris Shulman (Siena College, Biochemistry course) gave a progress report on the wet lab wasp CURE (a collaboration with Lindsey Long, Marisol Santisteban and Nate Mortimer) in a poster entitled “Role of Glycolytic Enzymes in Parasitoid Wasp Infection of Drosophila: Heterologous Expression of Three Wasp Venom Pyruvate Kinases.” 
  • Tommy Anderson (Siena College, Sterne-Marr lab in collaboration with Nate Mortimer, Oregon State University) shared novel images from the SUNY Albany timsTOF MALDI instrument in a poster entitled, “Using Classical Histology and Mass Spectrometry Imaging to Study Parasitoid Wasp Infection of Drosophila Larvae.”
Members of the New England Node have a long-standing interest in learning R for their courses and research projects. The two final sessions, “An Introduction to R: Data Import, Simple Statistics, and Plotting” presented by Tom Giarla, and “Differential Gene Expression in R: Walkthrough of Primary Component Analysis and Volcano Plots” presented by Shallee Page, accomplished an important first step in getting the Node members comfortable working in the R environment and being exposed to very common uses of R for life scientists.
Shallee Page providing a talk on using R

Special thanks to all our presenters and other participants for making this meeting highly successful! Thanks to Melinda Yang and Jenni Kennel, the Regional Node Director and Co-Director, for perfectly scheduling the planning benchmarks. Thanks to Sarah Potts for taking care of financial logistics allowing us to focus on the meeting itself. Thanks to student participant Isaiah Korostil (Siena College) for facilitating during the R workshops. Rachel Sterne-Marr, Tom Giarla, Daron Barnard, and Evan Merkhofer all contributed to making this meeting actually happen.

What worked well for your event that might help others plan similar events?

The timeframe that was set up by Melinda Yang, the Regional Node Director, was perfect for prodding us to complete the various steps in a timely manner. Working with Sarah Potts to take care of financial logistics was such a relief. We are lucky in having two GEP members at our institution so the organizer had help in making decisions and on-the-spot problem solving (no lighting in the room we were having dinner!).

What would your Node do differently based on your experiences?

Have a detailed checklist for the week before the event to include name tags, poster boards, clips, maps, uploading presentations, and confirming times with caterers.

Jennifer Roecklein–Canfield head shot

GEP Member Named as 2024 ASBMB Fellow

This information originally appeared online in ASBMB Today

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) named 17 members as 2024 fellows of the scientific society.

Designation as a fellow recognizes outstanding commitment to the ASBMB through participation in the society as well as accomplishments in research, education, mentorship, diversity and inclusion, advocacy and service to the scientific community.

Jennifer Roecklein–Canfield is a professor of chemistry and physics at Simmons University. Her lab focuses on a systems approach to studying the mechanisms of viral-host interactions and the use of Synthetic Biology principles to create novel DNA devices used to introduce new functions into cells. In addition, Roecklein–Canfield has focused much of her career on providing opportunities for girls and women to excel in science. She has mentored numerous undergraduate and early career scientists.

She is a past member of the Women in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Committee and has made seminal contributions to the ASBMB accreditation program and exam, including establishing core concept areas and exam questions. Roecklein–Canfield is a member of the Massachusetts Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, which works to expand access to high-quality STEM education for students across the state.

Victoria Del Gaizo Moore, a professor of chemistry at Elon University, and Michael Wolyniak, a professor of biology at Hampden-Sydney College, jointly nominated Roecklein–Canfield. In their nomination letter, they wrote: “Dr. Canfield’s career can only be described as one of selfless dedication to the betterment of those around her with a special emphasis on providing opportunities for girls and women to excel in STEM fields. She has never shied away from challenges to build scientific opportunities at local, regional, and national levels that provide improved access to opportunities in STEM fields to all students regardless of background.”

Jennifer Roecklein–Canfield joined the Genomics Education Partnership in 2009.

Zoom meeting screenshot of 10 participants

New England Regional Node Meeting – January 4, 2023

Pictured Left to Right
Top: Rachel Sterne-Marr, Tom Giarla, Shallee Page, & Evan Merkhofer
Middle: Daron Barnard, Jess Crowley, Shanna Cawley, & Matthew Skerritt
Bottom: Amie Jo McClellan & Cheng-Chiang Wu
The New England Regional Node has active members in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Upstate Eastern New York. The Regional Node Meeting was organized by the Node leader, Dr. Rachel Sterne-Marr, with help from Dr. Daron Barnard, and was held virtually, on January 4, 2023. There were ten attendees in total.

The six historical regulars:
Veteran GEPer, Dr. Matthew Skerritt from SUNY Corning Community College, Corning, NY, and three newly-minted GEP members, Dr. Jessica Crowley and Dr. Shanna Cawley, (Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester, MA), and Cheng-Chiang Wu, (Framingham State University, Framingham, MA) joined as well. Quinsigamond CC and Framingham State are Minority-Serving Institutions. With three new GEP members, this meeting focused on facilitating first-time implementation of GEP materials and projects.

As such, there were talks in the following four areas:
  • GEP Implementation at the Freshmen level (Amie)
  • GEP Implementation in Sophomore level genetics course (Shanna, Matthew and Rachel)
  • GEP Implementation in Junior/Senior molecular biology, bioinformatics and genomics courses with and without wet lab components (Shallee, Tom, Evan)
  • GEP Implementation in independent research (Shallee, Tom, Evan)

Requested resources were then posted on our Node Trello Board. The group committed to having an In-Person Regional Node Meeting with student presentations in January 2024 and Evan graciously agreed to join the node leadership in Summer 2023. Finally, Rachel gave an update on her collaborative efforts with Dr. Nate Mortimer, entitled ‘Proteomic Analysis of the Drosophila Immune Response to Parasitoid Wasp Infection.’ 

What worked well for your event that might help others plan similar events?
The general timing had previously been agreed upon by the node members.

What would your node do differently based on your experiences?
Hold it in person with undergraduate presenters, which was the original goal.