Seminars, Scripps Only

Institutional Seminar Series

DateWednesday, September 23, 2020 | 1:00 PM
Contact Romie Apostol |

Institutional Seminar Series

Wednesday, September 23
via Zoom (link to be sent the morning of)

1:00 p.m. Talks begin w/ Q&A


Deirdre Lyons - Slow and steady gets in the race: developing new tools and research organisms for biomedicine using molluscs

Molluscs are familiar invertebrates, from the humble garden slug, to the colorful shells left on the beach, to the mercurial shell-less octopus.  Being one of the largest, most diverse, and beautiful groups of marine animals, molluscs have been cultivated by humans for centuries for the valuable materials they make (think pearls) and for the nutritious food they provide (menu items such as pulpo, escargot, moules).  Biological research has employed molluscs as well, including two Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine, using a squid species to uncover the ionic mechanism of action potentials (1963) and a sea slug species to uncover the biological mechanisms of memory storage (2020). Since then, however, biomedicine has increasingly focused on the cellular and genetic levels, and no mollusc species ever joined the pantheon of “model” organisms like fly, roundworm, zebrafish, or mouse.  Commonly used mollusc species were not ideal “lab rats” because they are large, difficult to breed in the lab, and their embryos are not accessible to genetic transformation--i.e. exogenous DNA and RNA molecules cannot be delivered to their eggs.  In this talk I will describe how recent advances in my lab and others’ have focused on a few genetically tractable molluscs species--including snails, nudibranchs, and cephalopods--to usher in a modern era of molluscan studies.  These recent advances provide new tools for answering questions about genetic networks, shell production, and neurobiology and behavior. 


Paul Ponganis - Heart Rate of the Blue Whale

In order to evaluate the regulation of heart rate in the world’s largest animal, as well as to examine the the  effects of environmental change and anthropogenic disturbance on whales, I have developed a heart rate recorder for the blue whale.  In this talk, I discuss the technical challenges of working with such a large animal and review initial findings.


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