For her senior project, Yuanyuan Gao is asking whether infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, affects the behavior of white-footed mice, Peromyscus leucopus, which are common hosts for the bacterium. In the lab at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY, Yuanyuan is comparing the activity levels of wild mice that have been vaccinated against B. burdorgeri to the activity levels of mice that have not.
In this short article for Science, Felicia Keesing and her colleague Rick Ostfeld synthesize recent research that shows how and why areas with high diversity frequently have lower rates of transmission of infectious diseases of wildlife, humans, and plants. This is particularly compelling because it aligns environmental conservation with public health.
Citation: Keesing, F., & Ostfeld, R. S. (2015). Is biodiversity good for your health?.Science, 349(6245), 235-236.
Full version of the paper can be found at Researchgate.
Sam Israel began his Biology work at Bard in Eukaryotic Genetics (BIO202, currently known as “Genetics and Evolution”) with Mike Tibbetts. During his time at Bard, Sam took an ambitious load of courses, including Evolution, Molecular Evolution, Biostatistics, Introduction to Physiology, Biochemistry, Protein Structure & Function, Molecular Biology, an Advanced Seminar in Ecology, Microbiology, Cancer Biology, and a Cell Biology Tutorial. He was also a member of the Bard Music Conservatory and graduated with degrees in both music and biology. His coursework was complemented by 3 (!) summer research experiences, including a semester and summer at the Bard-Rockefeller Semester in Science Program. Sam completed his senior project in the lab of Mike Tibbetts.
As of Fall 2015, Sam is close to the completion of his PhD in the lab of John Ngai at UC Berkeley, where he studies how smell drives fear behaviors in larval Zebrafish. He also works as a science educator and is one of the leaders of the finance team for “Beyond Academia”: a series of highly successful student-run conferences educating students and researchers about non-academic jobs.
Sam’s Linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/samuel-israel/48/5b7/1b3
Sam talking about his graduate program: https://vimeo.com/79831189
Beyond Academia: http://www.beyondacademia.org/
Below is a sample of Sam’s current work: a double-stained confocal microscopy prep of the olfactory bulb in a 5-days old larval Zebrafish. Here, magenta displays the various glomeruli in the olfactory bulb, while green shows a particular subtype of olfactory sensory neurons that project from the olfactory epithelium to the olfactory bulb. The cell bodies of these neurons, that look like flask-shaped bright glowing blobs in this picture, contain olfactory receptors that allow the fish to sense (smell) chemicals in the water. The scale bar represents 20um.
Alexis came to Bard with equal passions for both science and the arts. He graduated from the Biology program in 2003, with his senior project dedicated to the reconstruction of microbial genome rearrangements in Chlamydia. After Bard, Alexis got a Masters degree in Bioinformatics from the University of Marne la Vallée, and then a PhD from the Rockefeller University, where he studied apoptosis in fruit flies.
During his graduate career, Alexis founded the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York, which celebrates films that feature science. The mission of the festival is “to bridge the gap between art and science through film, thereby transforming the way science is communicated to the public and encouraging collaboration across disciplines”.
In 2014 Alexis completed his first feature film, The Fly Room, parts of which were shot at Bard College.
The spread of antibiotic resistance in human pathogens is one of the most urgent challenges in public health today. While the discovery of new drugs remains central in our fight against microbial infections, our ability to understand how antibiotic resistance evolves in the first place is crucial in the development of sound public health policies. In this Special Issue published in Evolutionary Applications, Dr. Perron, acting as guest-editor, present a collection of articles discussing the different contributions of evolutionary biology and ecology to help solving the current antibiotic crisis.
The Summer Research Poster Session happened in RKC on Sep 24. Students presented results of their summer projects, both from the Bard Summer Research Institute (BSRI) program, and from various external research internships. About eighty people attended the session, which was quite a crowd for this late hour, and some incredibly interesting conversations happened at the posters.
January Intersession 2016
The Bard College at Simon’s Rock program in Montserrat is an opportunity for students to engage both theoretically and practically in tropical ecology, conservation biology, and island and global sustainability issues. This year, in partnership with Marist College and Bard College, students will have the opportunity to study the island’s ecology, including endangered and endemic species; receive training in ecological survey methods; and participate in one of several opportunities for community service.
Dec. 27, 2015 – Jan. 20, 2016
Simon’s Rock, Marist College, and Bard College sophomores and above are eligible
$4000 includes room & board, and RT airfare from NYC to Montserrat
4 300-level science credits
Information sessions will be held on all three campuses in September.
Contact Info: Dr. Thomas Coote, Director of Sustainability Programming at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. email: email@example.com
Daniela Anderson came to Bard having recently visited leper colonies in Nepal, and received a grant through Bard’s Trustee Leader Scholar (TLS) Program to create a program that supports these colonies. Later in her undergraduate career, she and a friend bicycled across the US to raise awareness and funds for leper colonies. In the summer of her junior year, Daniela earned a competitive NSF-REU award to study genetics of cancer growth; her summer research grew into her senior project, which examined the effects of micro RNA on the differentiation of cancer cells as a means of making them susceptible to existing therapies. Daniela earned a prestigious Watson Fellowship, which funded her for a year following graduation to visit existing leper colonies around the world and learn about both the medical and human impacts of this disease, which still infects tens of thousands of people annually. She is planning to pursue medicine as a career.
It was known for some time that Xenopus tadpoles try to avoid collisions with objects that approach them, but until now it was not quite clear what part of the brain detects potential collisions and makes the tadpole change its swimming trajectory. In this study Dr. Arseny Khakhalin shows that most likely this calculation happens in the midbrain region called the optic tectum.
Citation: Khakhalin AS, Koren D, Gu J, Xu H, Aizenman CD. (2014). Excitation and inhibition in recurrent networks mediate collision avoidance in Xenopus tadpoles. European Journal of Neuroscience, 40(6), 2948–2962
The ticks that harbor the bacterium that causes Lyme disease can also carry other pathogens. Dr. Felicia Keesing and co-authors showed that ticks are more likely to be coinfected with the organism that causes babesiosis than expected by chance, as ticks are likely to acquire both pathogens when they feed on a single small-mammal host.
Citation: Hersh, Michelle H., Richard S. Ostfeld, Diana J. McHenry, Michael Tibbetts, Jesse L. Brunner, Mary E. Killilea, Kathleen LoGiudice, Kenneth A. Schmidt, and Felicia Keesing. “Co-Infection of blacklegged ticks with Babesia microti and Borrelia burgdorferi is higher than expected and acquired from small mammal hosts.” (2014): e99348.
Download the paper: Hersh et al. 2014 – coinfection