11-15

Brain connectomics

We are reconstructing entire brains from serial sectioned electron micrographs. In this way, we can find not only every neuron, but every synapse each neuron makes. We are doing this with simple brains from nudibranch molluscs, which have only 10,000 neurons. That's still a very large number. We are using semi-automated techniques to "segment" neurons and find their connections, but the software still needs humans to guide it. We are looking for students to run this software and trace out neurons from the electron micrographs.

Molecular genetic mechanisms of host-microbe mutualism

The Wang Lab, located in the Life Science Laboratories, is interested in the mechanisms of beneficial host-microbe interactions. Our experimental system is the symbiosis between legumes and nitrogen-fixing rhizobia, with important economic and environmental relevance, as well as similarities to pathogenic interactions. The BURA student will be engaged in dissecting the genetic basis of the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis, in particular characterizing the defects in host mutants unable to sustain a successful symbiotic relationship.

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