Skip to content
Close this search box.
Home » Rocky Mountain

Rocky Mountain

GEP Regional Node Meeting Virtual

Rocky Mountain Regional Node Meeting – February 25, 2023

The Rocky Mountain Regional Node held its Spring 2023 Regional Node Meeting virtually on February 25, 2023. This meeting was attended by six current GEP faculty and three prospective members. Two of the prospective members, Dr. Laura De Lorenzo (The University of New Mexico) and Dr. Narayan Kandel (University of the Southwest), are full members of the GEP as of June 30, 2023. 

During this Regional Node Meeting, Node members discussed the upcoming National GEP Faculty Workshop that is being held in St. Louis, MO on June 6-9, 2023. The Node Directors have asked the leaders of each Node to give a short speech at the reception on June 6th. Node members also discussed changes in Node responsibilities and who will be the co-leader of the Node moving forward. A potential Node training event was also discussed. 

Dr. Dan Bean, Director of the Biological Pest Control Program for the Colorado Department of Agriculture, then gave a talk about photoperiodism and diapause in the tamarisk beetle with a focus on the impacts these have had on its success when introduced in the American Southwest to control tamarisk along the Colorado River and its tributaries. The Colorado Department of Agriculture has a facility in both Western Colorado and the Western Slope in Palisade. Both facilities started out servicing peach farmers many years ago, but now the Colorado Department of Agriculture services many types of produce in the industry.

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

Everyone was flexible and willing to work together to see it happen.

What would your Node do differently based on your experiences?

Organizers are going to plan the next meeting much earlier so there is a longer lead time to get a speaker.

tamarisk beetle - about 3/8 inch (9 mm) long, They are mostly yellowish brown or green with brown to dark green longitudinal stripes on the wing covers.

Rocky Mountain Regional Node Meeting – November 12, 2022

The Rocky Mountain Regional Node met virtually, to accommodate its distant members, on November 12, 2022. Dr. Amanda Stahlke gave a riveting talk about the tamarisk beetle species that have been introduced to the western United States as a biocontrol measure against the invasive tamarisk plant, which is threatening our dwindling water supply. She is investigating the genetic underpinning of the success different species have had in different geographical locations. Her research includes the annotation of genes from the species’ recently completed genomes that might be related to the species’ success.

Dr. Stahlke is moving forward with plans to use GEP tools to implement such annotation into a course she is co-teaching with Node member Dr. Zeynep Ozsoy. They are interested in developing this research project as a regular GEP science project that can be implemented by other GEP members in the future. The Node members were very supportive of this idea and discussed ways that we might be able to help them move forward.

GEP member Dr. Shan Hays presented his implementation of TSS annotation and members discussed ways they could add TSS annotation to their courses as well.

Finally, the Node name you now see was adopted and the newly inaugurated “Rocky Mountain Regional Node” discussed plans to meet virtually again in the spring. Overall, it was a great opportunity for the group to connect and talk about science and GEP!

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

The event was pre-planned and the Node, as a group, decided to focus on the major outcomes that were expected from it.

What would your Node do differently based on your experiences?

Event organizers needed to stay on top of communications, especially since it was nearing the end of the semester and everyone was busy.