Worms, Pathogens, and Extremophiles… Oh My!


IMET Center in Baltimore, MD

Despite traffic’s best efforts, Joe Robinson, Dr. Powell, and I (Jenny Giannini) arrived at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) Center to attend a seminar given by Dr. Powell’s post-doctoral adviser, Dr. Fred Ausubel.  Dr. Ausubel’s seminar was entitled “Using Caenorhabditis elegans to Elucidate Immune Response Pathways and to Identify Novel Anti-Infective and Immuno-Stimulatory Compounds”. This seminar discussed many years of research in Dr. Ausubel’s lab which is focused on C. elegans and Arabidopsis thaliana innate immunity. He discussed methods for screening the effects of different compounds on the immune response and the longevity of worms infected with a pathogen. He also talked about C. elegans’ different immune response pathways, one of which was discovered by Dr. Powell during her time in his lab as a post-doc, as well as different theories for how the worm detects pathogenic bacteria.

imet seminar

Flyer for Dr. Ausubel’s seminar with pictures from the seminar (If you look closely, you can see the back of my head in the audience!)

After the seminar, Dr. Powell got to eat lunch with the big wigs while Joe and I ate lunch at Panera with members of the DasSarma lab, including Priya DasSarma, the lab supervisor, Wolf Pecher, the lab tech, and two of their students. The DasSarma lab studies haloarchea and other extremophiles. While Joe and I don’t know terribly large amounts about extremophiles, it was fun to learn about their research as well as talk about our own.


Overall, this seminar was extremely relevant to the research we do in Dr.Powell’s lab, and it was great to meet Dr. Ausubel as well as the DasSarma lab.


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