1. Kelsey Witt
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5392
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. University of Illinois
  1. Jonatas Cruz
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5356
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. University of Illinois
  1. Beryl Jones
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5263
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. University of Illinois
  1. Lorena Rios Acosta
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5299
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. University of Illinois
  1. Selina Ruzi
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5264
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. University of Illinois
  1. Cassandra Wesseln
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/5349
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. University of Illinois

Judges’ Queries and Presenter’s Replies

  • May 20, 2013 | 03:22 p.m.

    Impressive diversity of research topics!! Are all students expected to conduct the genomics/sequencing experiments themselves, and if yes, how are students trained when they are not coming from a bio-technical field?

  • Icon for: Jonatas Cruz

    Jonatas Cruz

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2013 | 03:17 p.m.

    I believe everyone in our cohort has had some training in biotech field to various degrees. In any case, for any weakness, we are trained in a novel framework that emphasizes vertically integrated training, that is integration across different levels of biological organization. In fact, the diversity in our cohort provides a flexible, tractable and practical manner to integrate genomic knowledge across sub-disciplines of biology. We are fortunate to be a big institution with abundant resources, courses and expertise available to us, for example the institute for genomic biology, blue water super computer, etc. Specifically, we take ANSC 542: Applied Bioinformatics, attend workshops and give presentation. Furthermore, we keep the communication open among ourselves and with the participating PIs on campus, nationally and internationally to help each other as well as for the collaborations that are forthcoming.

  • Icon for: Selina Ruzi

    Selina Ruzi

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2013 | 08:58 p.m.

    I actually never received biotechnology training prior to the start of my graduate studies. Instead, I had much more field training. As a cohort we come from different backgrounds, some with more field training and others with training in biotechnology and genomic techniques. Our varied background compliment each other well and, along with graduate courses, have allowed me personally to expand the potential scope of my research from more than just a field component.

  • May 21, 2013 | 11:42 a.m.

    Very interesting research topics. Could you elaborate a bit more on the other training aspects (e.g. classes, group learning and career development)?

  • Icon for: Jonatas Cruz

    Jonatas Cruz

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2013 | 03:26 p.m.

    We, as a cohort, attend the integrative biology speaker seminar series which features discussion, review and critical analysis of general concepts and specific problems in ecology and evolution. The discussions that we have have a practical value. We learn about grant writing and given examples, we discuss strengths and weaknesses. We discuss career goals and what it takes to get achieve them. We are given an overview and contacts of the resources available to us as graduate researchers and as igert fellows. We further discuss research project conception, planning and development.
    In the bioinformatics component, we learn theoretical and applied aspects of bioinformatics. Topics include genomic and proteomic databases, sequence alignment and search algorithms (e.g., BLAST, FASTA, CLUSTAL W), predictive methods in DNA sequence, machine-learning techniques (e.g., Hidden Markov Models) and data mining, biomolecular structure and its prediction, molecular evolution and phylogenetic reconstruction, structural genomics and phylogenomics. Concepts are complemented with hands-on experience with computational biology databases and bioinformatic tools.

  • Icon for: Kelsey Witt

    Kelsey Witt

    Presenter
    May 21, 2013 | 08:15 p.m.

    During our first month in Panama, we also took a course in tropical ecology. We had lectures from staff scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and got to visit many different research stations around Panama. The talks covered a broad range of research topics, from animal behavior to archaeology to tropical forest ecology, and helped to give us an idea of the research projects currently going on at STRI and inspire us to pursue our own project. Some of the speakers use bioinformatics and genomics in their own work, and so they provided their perspective on how they integrate tropical ecology and genomic techniques.

  • Icon for: Cassandra Wesseln

    Cassandra Wesseln

    Co-Presenter
    May 22, 2013 | 05:11 p.m.

    The Tropical Biology Field Course and our subsequent research experiences at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) were integral in shaping collaborations between IGERT students, STRI staff scientists, and UIUC scientists. One of the amazing aspects of this IGERT program is the relationship that has developed between STRI and our home university. Project ideas have been initiated that perhaps otherwise would not have been possible without this IGERT program and its encouragement of a STRI-UIUC collaboration.

  • May 21, 2013 | 02:52 p.m.

    What a rich array of research topics! How will the field site component be incorporated into the genomic lesion project?

  • Icon for: Jonatas Cruz

    Jonatas Cruz

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2013 | 04:43 p.m.

    That’s a good observation. The field site component isn’t directly incorporated into the genomic lesion project. I lead this project. Fortunately, I’m a bone cancer survivor. Accordingly, the committee excused me from the field site component due to health reasons. For the other projects heavily related to the field site component, the projects’ blog is a good source of info. http://igertstriillinois.wordpress.com/

  • Icon for: Zhaomin Yang

    Zhaomin Yang

    Judge
    May 21, 2013 | 09:08 p.m.

    Sounds like a fun program! I am sure you have great interactions while off campus in Panama. How do you interact with one another while on campus? I imagine most of you are in scattered buildings.

  • Icon for: Selina Ruzi

    Selina Ruzi

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2013 | 09:32 p.m.

    It is true that we are scattered among a few different buildings, though that isn’t too different from our time after the course in Panama where we were scattered even farther apart depending on where our research was taking place. In Illinois specifically, there area few of us that are taking the same courses so we get to together that way to talk and study. Other times we meet for lunch or go out to dinner. During the regular school year we also attend weekly seminars where we can not only meet up with each other but also talk to invited speakers.

  • Icon for: Kelsey Witt

    Kelsey Witt

    Presenter
    May 22, 2013 | 09:08 p.m.

    We also intend to hold social events for all the IGERT students in the coming semester so that we can get to know the incoming cohort and they can get to know each other before leaving for Panama. All of the IGERT students have different strengths and some great collaborations could come out of the IGERT from the students themselves!

  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.

Presentation Discussion
  • Small default profile

    Joseph III

    Guest
    May 21, 2013 | 09:16 a.m.

    What a terrific idea…it would link classical taxonomists (usually older faculty) with sequence mavens (younger) to provide insights into evolution (even perhaps habitat evolution) and challenge existing taxonomic subdivisions.

  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.