The most important community-oriented activity we sponsor is CEMINAR, formerly MicroMorning, a monthly seminar series where students and postdocs in the CEMI program present their work. Usually 2 individuals present 20-25 min talks (+ 5 min questions) to fill the hour, but on rare occasions we invite an outside speaker. CEMINAR is primarily designed to provide CEMI students and postdocs with an opportunity to practice giving a formal talk to a friendly Caltech audience. Numerous collaborations have been sparked between labs at Caltech thanks to creative connections made during these seminars. View past CEMINARS
4:00-5:00pm Virtual Talks
Wednesday, September 8, 2021 at 4:00pm
Meeting ID: 840 7819 8585
"The Tetrahymena thermophila gene network landscape, revisited"
Tetrahymena thermophila is a unicellular eukaryote that has proven to be a charismatic model organism. Researching it has led to the discoveries of self-splicing RNA, dyneins, and telomerase, along with many different aspects of programmed genome rearrangements, short RNA biology, and secretory pathways. However, T. thermophila was never established as a popular lab organism, and the annotation of its genome is very poor relative to the likes of S. cerevisiae, D. melanogaster, and C. elegans. Being over a billion years evolutionarily divergent from the Optisthokonts (animals and fungi), and having some unusual genome structures, even computational annotations are difficult to deduce in a rigorous way. It has been found, however, that genes that are coexpressed across different physiological states tend to be functionally associated. This observation led to the construction of the Tetrahymena Gene Network (TGN) in 2011, based on microarray data collected from 2006-2008, which has proved invaluable for researchers to identify gene candidates to study in the lab. I will be presenting my ongoing work to rejuvenate the TGN by correcting the microarray probes against the 2021 T. thermophila genome, applying more modern algorithms for computing co-expression, and using a phylogenetically- and structurally-informed approach to derive more rigorously inferred gene annotations.
"Evidence for sustained growth and broad nitrogen utilization under dark conditions in the microalga Picocystis sp. strain ML"
Picocystis sp. strain ML is a phototrophic green microalga in Mono Lake, periodically found with high cell densities at depths where photon flux is well below 10-5 μmol/m2s, and during periods of severe inorganic nitrogen limitation. The mechanisms that allow Picocystis to survive in these conditions are unknown. Using a combination of microscopy, genomic information, and 15N-stable isotope probing with single cell-resolved nanoscale Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (nanoSIMS), we interrogated Picocystis' ability to uptake alternative nitrogen sources and remain active in both light and darkness.
In addition to MicroMorning, CEMI sponsors social events during the academic year:
CEMI Spring Celebration of Science: This hour-long science program features short lightning talks from CEMI graduate students and postdocs followed by time to talk with the speakers and socialize with our CEMI colleagues. The inaugural event was held on May 12, 2021.
Poster Sessions: All CEMI labs present one or more posters on their lab’s research. This helps incoming/current students and postdocs remain up-to-date on that latest research projects going on across the campus. One attractive feature of Caltech is that students admitted in any graduate program are welcome to rotate in any lab (as long as the lab is taking students), so this poster session can open up new interests and areas for exploration. It also can spawn new collaborations between labs.
Winter Lectures and Evening Gala (early January): To celebrate the start of the calendar year, we invite a keynote speaker from outside Caltech to give a seminar, plus a few shorter talks by assistant professors or postdocs at Caltech and other local universities. These “Winter Lectures” are open to anyone interested. As a companion event, we hold a formal gathering for a limited number of CEMI sponsors, faculty, and students and postdocs currently being supported by CEMI grants. The evening’s entertainment is organized by a different CEMI lab each year, and the evening culminates with a presentation of the “CEMI Oscars” (we are close to Hollywood, after all…), roasting CEMI members for notable achievements in the past year, all in good fun. View past winter lectures
Spring Happy Hour (early April): In recognition of the fact that sometimes the most inspired ideas come when we least expect them, we promote casual conversation between all members of the CEMI community supplemented with drinks and food at the start of the spring term (no posters required!).
CEMI occasionally supports training courses at Caltech that provide members of the CEMI community with an opportunity for intensive training in a particular area. Any member of the CEMI community is welcome to suggest a topic for a workshop. Please contact the CEMI administrator if you have an idea. View past workshops