Let the Games Begin!

Yes, that’s a “shout out” to the 2012 Olympic Games which will be held this summer in London.  But really, it’s in celebration of the beginning of an exciting summer of research with Norwich University students Zac Fulton and Liz Chapdelaine!  Zac, a Norwich rising junior who is also a member of the men’s ice hockey team, won a highly competitive NIH-INBRE-funded Vermont Genetics Network Fellowship for work titled “Functional investigation of novel SFK phosphotyrosines in src-1 mutant worms”.  Zac will be working for most of the summer in the laboratory of Dr. Bryan Ballif, Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Vermont, in whose lab I recently completed a year-long sabbatical.  Zac will become the “resident expert” in functional studies in worms, and will help me transition this model system back to Norwich University where we can continue these experiments. 

Liz Chapdelaine, also a rising junior Biology major and herself a standout on the women’s lacrosse team, won a prestigious Weintz Fellowship to support her work in my laboratory this summer.  Liz’s project, titled “Functional investigation of novel phosphotyrosine residues in the Src family kinase Fyn”, also represents work stemming from my sabbatical studies in Dr. Ballif’s lab this year.  Liz will be primarily working in human cell culture for her studies, in which she will be conducting sophisticated biochemical experiments to study Fyn, an enzyme that has implications in development and cancer.  Liz will also be traveling up to UVM this summer to learn valuable techniques and to help me establish this new project at Norwich University where we all will continue this work.

Speaking of the Olympics, rumor has it that up at UVM there will be a “Ballif Olympics”, to which I’m hoping to bring my star athletes Zac and Liz to crush the competition.  (I of course will be on hand to bring orange slices.)  Here’s to a wonderful, productive summer of research!  And to my colleagues who happen to pass by the VGN lab at Norwich this summer and hear us grooving to really good hip-hop while we’re performing our experiments, come on in and groove with us!

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