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Julia Van Etten and Debashish Bhattacharya
Horizontal Gene Transfer in Eukaryotes: Not if, but How Much? - Trends in Genetics

October 1, 2020

Julia Van Etten, a PhD student in the Bhattacharya lab publishes a review in the journal Trends in Genetics on the topic of the frequency and importance of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in microbial eukaryote evolution. Her work shows how HGT can be adaptive in extreme and fluctuating environments and how it has contributed to major eukaryotic transitions. She identifies future directions in the field and proposes that upcoming eukaryote genome projects need to incorporate standardized pipelines to create a robust inventory of HGT across the tree of life. 

Read the full review

DBM Graduate Jessica McCormick-Ell is Rutgers Biosafety Officer

Rutgers Today
March 12, 2020

Jessica McCormick-Ell headshot.

Most people, if asked by the boss to secure a facility stocked with vials of tuberculosis, would find a new job.

Jessica McCormick-Ell found her life's calling.

She accepted the challenge and became—while still in her early 20s—the biosafety manager for the first level 3 biohazard research laboratory at what is now Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. She left the industry to get her Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular genetics, but she gladly returned shortly after receiving her degree in 2010.

She has been the Rutgers University Biosafety Officer ever since.

Read the full article at Rutgers Today

Gloria Dominguez Bello and Martin Blaser Have Great Chemistry

March 12, 2020

Martin Blaser and Gloria Dominguez Bello.

"I was lucky to marry someone as wonderful as Gloria," says Blaser, the director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, the Henry Rutgers Chair of the Human Microbiome and professor of medicine and microbiology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

"There's a lot of respect and love between us," says Dominguez-Bello, director of the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health, the Henry Rutgers Professor of Microbiome and Health in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and in the Department of Anthropology at the School of Arts and Sciences.

The couple, who investigate the microbiome—the massive collection of bodily bacteria that regulate our health—will celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary next month. Both had been married before and started dating a decade after they first met, commuting from 2008-2012 whenever they could between San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Dominguez-Bello worked as a professor at the University of Puerto Rico to New York where Blaser was teaching at New York University.

"I didn't remember that this woman was so beautiful," Blaser remembers thinking when their paths crossed again in 2008 at a scientific meeting. "Then I realized how intelligent and how nice she was and what a good character she had."

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Debashish Bhattacharya's Research Featured on Cover of Cell - Trends in Genetics

February 24, 2020

Debashish Bhattacharya headshot.

Given the catastrophic changes befalling coral reefs, understanding coral gene function is essential to advance reef conservation. This has proved challenging due to the paucity of genomic data and genetic tools available for corals. Recently, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing was applied to these species; however, a major bottleneck is the identification and prioritization of candidate genes for manipulation. This issue is exacerbated by the many unknown ('dark') coral genes that may play key roles in the stress response. We review the use of gene coexpression networks that incorporate both known and unknown genes to identify targets for reverse genetic analysis. This approach also provides a framework for the annotation of dark genes in established interaction networks to improve our fundamental knowledge of coral gene function.

Read the full article at Cell

Recent Arrivals - DBM Babies!

February 18, 2020

We are excited to announce the arrival of the following munchkins:

Abi Kulczyk
Abi Kulczyk, daughter of Assistant Professor Arek Kulczyk
Simba Rudra
Simba Rudra, son of Paulami Rudra, Post-Doctoral Associate in Jeff Boyd's lab
Mark Vasy Jr.
Mark Vasy, Jr. (MJ), son of Microbiology/Microbial Biochemistry Program Administrator Lindsay Robinson

In Memoriam - Douglas E. Eveleigh

January 8, 2020

Douglas E. Eveleigh headshot.

It is with great sadness that we report that Douglas E. Eveleigh, an emeritus Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University, died on Dec. 30, 2019 of complications of a glioblastoma. Prof. Eveleigh served on the Rutgers faculty for forty-five years, where he was known as an exceptionally fine teacher and scholar. Professor Eveleigh's interests ranged broadly from applied microbiology (fermentation and degradation) to the history of science. Students loved his infectious humor and his skill at enlivening the study of microbiology on topics that ranged from alcoholic fermentation to the generation of swamp gas...

Read the full obituary