New study on rapid evolution of specific immune responses published in PNAS
Many invertebrates are capable of mounting specific immune respones through innate immune memory in the form of immune priming. While completing his PhD within the MGSE, MGSE alumnus Kevin Ferro was involved in a study, which revealed that immune priming and its specificity can evolve rapidly in response to repeated bacterial exposure. Kevin and his colleagues subjected red flour beetles Tribolium castaneum in an experimental selection experiment repeatedly to different bacteria species and found that the populations evolved treatment-specific differences in expression profiles of immune, metabolic, and transcription-regulatory genes, showing that high specificity of immune priming can evolve rapidly for certain bacteria. This result sheds new light on the evolvability of specific innate immune responses. The results have been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA: Ferro K, Peuß R, Yang W, Rosenstiel P, Schulenburg H & Kurtz J (2019) Experimental evolution of immunological specificity PNAS doi:10.1073/pnas.1904828116
On 29 and 30 August 2019 MGSE PhD students got together for the fourth MGSE student retreat, this time in Cologne. The retreat aims to foster scientific exchange between the students through the presentation of projects and discussions of broader evolutionary topics as well as social interactions between students. Dr Luca Melotti from the Department of Behavioural Biology and MGSE PI Dr Anna Lampei-Bucharová from the Institute of Landscape Ecology joined the retreat and presented an overview of their research and provided feedback to the students on their projects. After the scientific programme, the students enjoyed an afternoon in sunny Cologne while climbing the Cathedral's tower.
Workshops on teaching with ETT fellow Sara Brownell
On 12 and 13 June 2019, ETT fellow Sara Brownell offered two short workshops on teaching. The first workshop entitled "How to measure whether you are effective at teaching evolution" discussed which obstacles might be encountered when teaching evolution and in a second part introduced different tools to measure students' understanding of evolutionary concepts. The second workshop "Building inclusive and fair classrooms: Spotting sources of bias" introduced experiences and challenges students from different social identities might encounter in class and how (unconscious) bias against social identities can be avoided.
Yeisson Gutiérrez successfully defended his PhD
Congratulations to Yeisson Gutiérrez who was awarded with his doctoral degree today. Yeisson conducted his PhD studies at the Institute of Landscape Ecology in the Animal Ecology and Multitrophic Interactions Group of Prof Dr Christoph Scherber. In his PhD, Yeisson investigated the responses to environmental stressors in different insect species focusing on canalization, plasticity and evolution. We wish Yeisson all the best for his future career!
MGSE hosted 2019 Joint Symposium
On 27 - 28 May 2019 the MGSE hosted its 8th annual symposium, this year together with the Research Training Group EvoPAD and the Collaborative Research Centre NC³. Around 80 participants attended the two-day event at the Schloss in Münster. The symposium once again presented an opportunity for PhD students to present their work in talks or poster presentations completed by talks by PIs and four excellent keynote speakers: Michael Hochberg, Sara Brownell, Johanna Mappes and Koos Boomsma. The symposium further included a public talk by Norbert Sachser on new insights into animal behaviour. We would like to thank all presenters and guests who helped making the symposium a great event again, showing off the diverse research within the three research programmes. The programme can be found here.
Interview with MGSE PI Christoph Scherber on situation of biodiversity in the Münsterland
On the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity on 22nd May, the current issue of the university newspaper "wissen|leben" (no. 3, volume 13, May 2019) contains a special page on species extinction. The page includes an interview with MGSE PI Christoph Scherber from the Institute of Landscape Ecology on the situation of biodiversity in the Münsterland region. MGSE PIs Joachim Kurtz and Kai Müller were interviewed for the page as well and are featured in the accompanying article. PDF of the issue (in German)
Newest issue of 'The Eyebrow' fresh from the printer
The newest issue of The Eyebrow – the student magazine for and by PhD students of the MGSE and associated labs - has just arrived fresh from the printer. The Eyebrow spans a broad range of articles and essays as well as artwork. This issue features three PhD students answering the Up-goer 5 Challenge, a challenge to describe the topic of your PhD using only the 1000 most commonly used words in the English language. Copies are available in Hüfferstr. 1a and will also be distributed to all MGSE institutes. If you like to stay updated on The Eyebrow or are interested in contributing, follow The Eyebrow on Twitter or visit the website of the magazine.
MGSE PI Norbert Sachser featured in documentary on animal rights
Amongst others, MGSE PI Prof Norbert Sachser from the Department of Behavioural Biology at the WWU was interviewed for and is featured in a documentary on animal rights and animal welfare by German TV station 3Sat.
The full documentary (in German) is available in 3Sat's media library.
ETT Fellow Sarah Schaack arrived in Münster
Sarah Schaack arrived in Muenster as the newest ETT Fellow on March 1st and will be here until April 30, 2019. She comes to the MGSE from Portland, OR where she is currently an Associate Professor on sabbatical from Reed College. Her research centers on mutation rates and mutation rate evolution, with a special focus on transposable elements and endogenous viruses. Her work on mutations and mobile DNA uses a combination of bioinformatic, comparative, and experimental approaches and a wide variety of organismal systems, ranging from snakes to Daphnia. Please feel free to contact Sarah if you are interested in discussing topics in evolution and genomics with her while she is here, her email address is schaackmobile(@)gmail.com.
Science Pub resumed in new location with talk by MGSE PI Joachim Kurtz
On 18th February 2019 the Science Pub resumed in its new location, the Ratskeller, with MGSE PI Joachim Kurtz. This was the first Science Pub to be held after the sudden of death of Hans-Dieter Görtz who initiated the Science Pub and was the main organizer of the format. Moderator Monika Stoll remembered and appreciated Hans-Dieter Görtz' dedication to bring science to the broad public in her introduction. Afterwards, Joachim Kurtz introduced more than 70 interested listeners to the world of hosts and parasites and their coevolution while the Ratskeller catered for the avid listeners with refreshments and typically westphalian food. The event was covered in an article in the Westfälische Nachrichten that can be found here.
The next Science Pub will be held by Franz Goller from the University of Münster who will talk about songbirds as athletes. Further information and the full programme of the Science Pub can be found here.
MGSE celebrates first graduate in 2019
Congratulations to Kevin Ferro who was awarded with his doctoral degree today. Kevin conducted his PhD studies at the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity in the Animal Evolutionary Ecology group of Prof. Dr. Joachim Kurtz investigating the evolutionary significance and the underlying mechanisms of immune priming in Tribolium castaneum. We wish Kevin all the best for his future career!