The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has brought with it a variety of new (and newly-applied) approaches in science and public health. mRNA vaccines have been given to over 160 million US residents – a “technology” (mRNA isn’t exactly technology, but the delivery method is certainly novel) which has not been widely applied in the past. While there… Read More And then we tried a new approach…
Summer is almost here, but classes are already done for the semester, and the lab has been hard at work on a couple of our new projects- with some promising results to boot! After a [somewhat frustrating] time validating PCR-based protocols for detecting aquatic flaviviruses in sea cucumbers from January – April, we finally had… Read More Aquariums, Gels, and Fieldwork!
After a frustrating several months of trial and error, the team is back in action looking at sea cucumber aiFVs. We now have a validated method of detecting aiFVs in sea cucumber tissues – which involves the following steps: Tissue collection, preservation, RNA extraction and copy DNA (cDNA) synthesis Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR) targeting… Read More aiFVs are go!
Jordan has successfully completed his A-Exam! His project focuses on the role of microorganisms in seagrass health, focusing on microbial respiration, sulfide reduction/oxidation, and eutrophication. He will be collaborating with Bob Howarth, Roxanne Marino, Katie Haviland, and Melanie Hayn in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (Cornell) who have performed long-term research in West… Read More Congratulations Jordan!
It’s been a frustrating time over the last few weeks in the lab trying to amplify, clone and sequence aquatic invertebrate flaviviruses from holothurian samples. Earlier, we found that we could successfully amplify (by PCR) a product of expected size from at least one Apostichopus (Parastichopus) californicus sample collected in 2016. However, upon cloning (and… Read More aiFVs do exist, after all!
Wasn’t there some statement about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result…? In early March we reported on the exciting application of a new primer set targeting the non-structural (NS5; also known as the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase) gene of a cluster of aquatic invertebrate flaviviruses (aiFVs). These were designed… Read More PCR, Cloning, Sequence, Repeat
Another busy week in the lab has resulted in some success in studying sea cucumber aiFVs. Around 3 weeks ago we received our newly-designed, highly degenerate PCR primers to study aiFV diversity; this was a bit of a long-shot since the aiFV genomes that are known are very divergent – sharing only ~ 40 –… Read More Success! We think…
As part of our new work on aquatic flaviviruses in sea cucumbers, we have begun to explore the microbiome of sea cucumber body wall tissues, which we expect will vary under organic matter enrichment and ultimately we hope to test whether this impacts flavivirus replication. We haven’t yet been in the lab this year aside… Read More Exploring the Microbiome of Sea Cucumbers
… a little different. Work is undoubtedly a lot slower than the before times, but we’re still getting things done as best we can! Cornell restarted research labs in mid-summer 2020 after shutting down for nearly 3 months. To de-densify our building and ensure safety of all workers, each lab has a reactivation plan, which… Read More What does research in the era of COVID look like at the TAV?
The team has started work on our new NSF-funded project looking at aquatic insect-only (aka invertebrate) flaviviruses (aiFVs)! This exciting new direction seeks to understand how environmental variation drives viral replication within sea cucumber tissues. As part of this new endeavor we are trying to find out how widespread and how diverse these aiFVs are… Read More The hunt for aquatic invertebrate flaviviruses begins!