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, June 9, 2021 at 4:00pm
Meeting ID: 898 2860 7218
"Quantitative microbiome profiling of the human small-intestine"
One common limitation in microbiome-based studies can be their reliance on relative abundances. We developed a digital PCR anchored 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing method to measure the absolute abundances of bacteria in complex communities. We then utilized this method to evaluate the microbial communities from the human duodenum. Total microbial load in the duodenum varied over 5 orders of magnitude and a high concordance between taxa in paired duodenum and saliva samples was observed. Additionally, several disruptor taxa, mainly Enterobacteriaceae, were enriched in samples with high total microbial loads and were associated with more severe GI symptoms.
"Addressing evolutionary stability of engineered functions through tunable and redundant integrase mediated differentiation"
Despite advances in synthetic biology, mutation and natural selection limit the duration of circuit function because engineered functions typically impose burden and are unnecessary for cell growth. To address this problem of evolutionary stability in E. coli, we developed a system in which a population of progenitor cells encodes an arbitrary function that is not expressed, but can differentiate at a tunable rate via integrase mediated recombination into cells which express a function driven by T7RNAP, and whose proliferation is limited to prevent expansion of mutations. We then improve this system by incorporating redundancy in the differentiation circuit architecture.
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