Tag Archive for Burke

Burke Speaks on Turtles at Vertebrate Morphologist Symposium

Ann Burke

Ann Burke

Ann Burke, professor of biology, spoke on “The origin and evolution of Turtles” during the 10th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphologlogy in Barcelona, Spain July 7- 12.

The International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology (ICVM) has emerged as the premier conference for scientists researching the morphology of vertebrate animals at all levels of organization. The Congresses are held typically every three years with the broad goal of providing an opportunity for interaction, integration, and interfacing.

Through a mixture of symposia, workshops, and open platform and poster sessions, everyone from senior scholars to students share ideas in an informal and genial setting.

More than 400 morphologists and vertebrate experts from 27 countries attended the meeting.

Burke’s Paper on Lamprey Development Published in PNAS

A paper co-written by Professor of Biology Ann Burke, “Body wall development in lamprey and a new perspective on the origin of vertebrate paired fins,” was published in the July issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Burke and her colleagues investigated the sea lamprey and the Japanese lamprey, comparing “the embryonic development of both these jawless fish to jawed animals — a shark, the catshark, and a salamander, the axolotl.” The abstract of the paper states, “Classical hypotheses regarding the evolutionary origin of paired appendages propose transformation of precursor structures (gill arches and lateral fin folds) into paired fins. . . . We focus on the evolutionary history of the somatopleure to gain insight into the tissue context in which paired fins first appeared. Lampreys diverged from other vertebrates before the acquisition of paired fins and provide a model for investigating the preappendicular condition. We present vital dye fate maps that suggest the somatopleure is eliminated in lamprey as the LPM is separated from the ectoderm and sequestered to the coelomic linings during myotome extension. We also examine the distribution of postcranial mesoderm in catshark and axolotl. In contrast to lamprey, our findings support an LPM contribution to the trunk body wall of these taxa, which is similar to published data for amniotes. Collectively, these data lead us to hypothesize that a persistent somatopleure in the lateral body wall is a gnathostome synapomorphy, and the redistribution of LPM was a key step in generating the novel developmental module that ultimately produced paired fins. These embryological criteria can refocus arguments on paired fin origins and generate hypotheses testable by comparative studies on the source, sequence, and extent of genetic redeployment.”

Learn more:

http://firstlook.pnas.org/seeking-the-origin-of-paired-fins/

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/06/27/1304210110

 

Burke Teaches Human Anatomy in Nepal as Fulbright Specialist

Ann Burke

Professor of Biology Ann Burke recently completed a Fulbright Specialists project in Nepal at The Patan Academy of Health Sciences. It is the mission of this new medical program to train students from rural areas of Nepal who are committed to returning to their villages to provide desperately needed health care. Burke’s project, which involved training local faculty in the teaching of human anatomy for medical students, was completed during the months of May and June.

Burke was one of over 400 American faculty and professionals who will travel abroad this year through the Fulbright’s Specialists Program. The program, created in 2000 to complement the traditional Fulbright Scholars Program, provides short-term academic opportunities to prominent U.S. faculty and professionals to support curricular and faculty development and institutional planning at post-secondary academic institutions around the world.

The Fulbright Program, in existence for 60 years, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Several Faculty Receive Promotions, Tenure

Wesleyan has announced the following promotions of faculty, effective July 1, 2010:

Promotion with Tenure

During the academic year, the Wesleyan Board of Trustees maintains an ongoing process of tenure case consideration. During its most recent review, the Board awarded tenure to one faculty member effective July 1, 2010.

Michael Singer, associate professor of biology, was appointed assistant professor at Wesleyan in 2004. Previously he was postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arizona’s Center for Insect Science, in Tucson.

Singer’s research examines the evolutionary ecology of tri-trophic interactions between plants, herbivores and carnivores. In considering

NIH Supports Burke’s Lateral Plate Symposium in Uruguay

Ann Burke, professor of biology, received a $5,700 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, to support a symposium on “Evolution and Development in the Lateral Plate Mesoderm.” This symposium was part of the program of the Ninth International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology held July 26-31 in Punta del Esta, Uruguay. The funds supported the housing and registration costs for six invited speakers.

The symposium brought together paleontologists, developmental and evolutionary biologists to discuss major morphological innovations occurring in the lateral plate mesoderm.

NSF, NIH Support Burke’s Development, Evolution Research

Ann

Ann Burke, associate professor of biology, received grants from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health to study amphibian systems.

Ann Burke, associate professor of biology, recently received a three-year, $395,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the development and evolution of the shoulder girdle using transgenic mice, frog and salamander.

The mice will be generated in collaboration with a lab at the University of Michigan and will allow Burke and her associates to turn off Hox genes, which are specific patterning genes, in specific sub populations of the embryonic mesoderm that make the musculoskeletal tissues.

Pictured is a three dimensional reconstruction of a mouse and chicken scapula. Ann Burke, associate professor of biology, received two grants that fund her research on the scapula's development.

Pictured is a three dimensional reconstruction of a mouse and chicken scapula. Burke is studying the scapula's development.

“Comparing the dynamics of gene expression and cell interactions during the formation of the pectoral region in a variety of embryos will help us understand the evolution of these musculoskeletal structures and the dramatic variations among vertebrate lineages associated with adaptations for different locomotor strategies, like swimming, scurrying, crawling and flying,” Burke explains.

The frog and salamander experiments will use transplants of mesoderm between wild type embryos and embryos that have Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) expressed in all their cells, allowing Burke and her associates to fate map mesodermal cell populations.

Fate mapping is determining which cellular structures in the embryo give rise to which adult structures.

“We do this by transplanting the embryonic structure from a labeled embryo (GFP in this case) into the same spot in an unlabeled embryo, and tracing the ‘fate’ of the labeled cells, that is which adult structure they end up in,” Burke says.

Burke also received a two-year $100,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use the same amphibian systems (salamander and frog) to develop a model system for understanding body wall defects in humans.

The grants will provide funds for a team of researchers at Wesleyan working with Professor Burke on these projects, including a postdoctoral fellow, graduate students and undergraduates.

“Receiving these two new federal grants, plus a grant from the Eppley foundation earlier this year, is a remarkable accomplishment in any year, but particularly this year as funding levels have dropped precipitously,” says Jan Naegele, professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior.

Burke Awarded NSF, NIH Grants

Ann Burke, associate professor of biology, received a three-year, $395,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the development and evolution of the shoulder girdle using transgenic mice, frog and salamander. She also received a two-year $100,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use the same amphibian systems (salamander and frog) to develop a model system for understanding body wall defects in humans.The grants will provide funds for a team of researchers at Wesleyan working with Burke on these projects, including a postdoctoral fellow, graduate students and undergraduates.

Burke, Sultan Awarded Grant from Eppley Foundation

Ann Burke, associate professor of biology, and Sonia Sultan, professor of biology, received individual grants from the Eppley foundation for research. The Eppley Foundation for Research supports advanced post-doctoral work in the physical and biological sciences, computer science, social sciences, and educational programs. Burke’s grant, worth $32,442, will help to support her postdoctoral research fellow, Rebecca Shearman. Sultan’s grant, worth $25,000, provides support while she writes a book.