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Current Events

2016 - Fall  BCXT/IUB Seminar Series at Noon in IGB Conference Center 612

Thursday, August 25 - Tom Kuhlman  “Real Time Transposable Element Activity in Individual Live Cells

Current estimates of the rates and statistics of transposable element (TE) activity are primarily based on sequencing and other bulk analyses that generate time and cell ensemble averages, but which cannot capture cell-to-cell variation or local environmental and temporal variability. We have developed an experimental system based on the bacterial TE IS608 that uses novel fluorescent reporters to directly observe single TE excision events in individual cells in real time. We find that the rate of TE activity is highly variable throughout the lifetime of the cell, depending upon the TE’s orientation in the genome, the amount of intracellular transposase protein, and the cellular growth state, local environment and history. These results underscore the importance of cell-to-cell and spatial variation in influencing the rate of evolution.

2016 - Fall IGB Seminars at Noon in IGB Conference Center 612

Tuesday, September 6 - Nicholas V. Hud, PhD (Pioneers Seminar), Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry “Connecting the Chemistry of Darwin’s Warm Little Pond to Woese's Supramolecular Aggregates”

Tuesday, October 4 - Betul Kacar, PhD, Harvard University, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology "Reconstructive biochemistry as a window into historic optima"

Tuesday, October 25 - Andrew L. Ferguson, PhD, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Depart. of Materials Science and Engr. "Statistical learning of viral fitness landscapes for in silico vaccine design"

Tuesday, December 6 - Professor Jack A Gilbert, University of Chicago Gilbert Profile - "Invisible Influence: Exploring the Human Microbiome"  

The human race, like all macrobiological life, evolved in a sea of microbes. There was no way to keep the bacterial and archaeal hoards at bay, so instead life evolved mechanisms to live with these invaders. The immune system was refined over millions of years to control our interaction with the microbial world, and even to use it as a mechanism of defense, food processing, and vitamin production. The immune system and the microbiome have shaped each other in extraordinarily elaborate and intricate ways. Here we will discuss some of the recent evidence highlighting these mechanisms of interaction. We will also discuss how the last 150 years, have started to disturb the delicate balance of the immune-microbe equilibrium. As our natural ecosystem has been restricted to the built environment, especially in the developed world, where an average of 90% of our lives take place indoors, our exposure to the microbial world has been corrupted. Modern buildings are equipped with surfaces and environmental systems designed to reduce the potential for microbial life to flourish.  This fundamental shift in our lifestyle is likely impacting the development and function of our immune systems in ways that we are only beginning to understand.