March Lab Spotlight: Taverna Lab

The Taverna lab, located in the Center for Epigenetics.

The Taverna lab, located in the Center for Epigenetics.  From left to right – Top Row: Ana Raman, Annie Cieniewcz, Kimberly Cox, Sean Taverna.  Middle Row:  Blair Dancy, Kousik Sundararajan.  Bottom Row:  Romeo Papazyan, Tonya Gilbert

Lab Stats

PI Name: Sean Taverna

Number of Years in BCMB: 5

Model System(s): Yeast (S. cerevisiae), rats, C. elegans, mouse, Tetrahymena 

Research Area: Understanding how the epigenome is regulated at a molecular level with a particular focus on histones and histone modifications.

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Goley Lab Spotlight

Lab Stats

PI Name: Erin Goley

Number of Years in BCMB: 1.5

Model System(s)Caulobacter crescentus

Research Area: Mechanisms underlying cytokinesis in bacteria

Lab Personnel: Erin Goley, PhD; Alex Hessel, Research Tech; Elizabeth Meier, BCMB student

What is your favorite thing about BCMB?

Elizabeth Meier (EM): When choosing a lab, I appreciated the large number of BCMB faculty with diverse areas of research.  I also have enjoyed recruitment weekend: ensuring that prospective students both have a good time and get a realistic idea of what it is like to live in Baltimore and be a graduate student at Hopkins.

What does your lab do for fun?

EM: Our lab does a lot of joint activities with the Margolis lab such as attending Orioles games, overeating at Indian lunch buffets, and hosting BBQs or holiday parties. Recently, we have started an informal game of Horse in the hallway between our labs using K-cups from our Keurig machine.

Where do you see your research going in the next 5 years?

EM: To understand how bacterial cells divide, we focus on the function and regulation of the highly conserved tubulin-like protein, FtsZ.  Previous work suggests that FtsZ acts as a scaffold for the assembly of the cytokinetic machinery and generates the constrictive force necessary to drive cell division.  However, molecular details of force generation on the membrane and how FtsZ superstructure and dynamics relate to its function are still areas of active research.  Of particular interest to our lab is how FtsZ interacting proteins regulate FtsZ function over the cell cycle.


Celebrating the isolation of the thousandth Caulobacter strain in December 2012.
From left to right: Alex Hessel, Erin Goley, Elizabeth Meier, Phil Cox (Fall 2012 rotation student)

December Lab Spotlight – Raben Lab

Lab Stats

PI Name: Dan Raben

Number of Years in BCMB: 26
Model System(s): mammalian cell culture, in vivo mouse/rat brains
Research Area: Physiological roles of signaling lipids and the enzymes that generate them.

Dan Raben, in his office.

Dan Raben, in his office.

Lab Personnel:
Hana Goldschmidt – PhD Candidate, BCMB program
Becky Tu-Sekine, PhD – Research Associate (Former BCMB Student)
Elizabeth Petro – PhD Candidate, Biological Chemistry program

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November Lab Spotlight – Pevsner Lab

Lab Stats

PI Name: Jonathan Pevsner
Number of Years in BCMB: >12
Model System(s): Human genome, mammalian cell culture
Research Area: Genomics of childhood and rare diseases, relatedness and inbreeding within human populations.
Lab Website
Lab Personnel:
Joseph Baugher – BCMB student
Eric Stevens – Human Genetics student
Matt Shirley – BCMB student
Larry Frelin – Research Technician

Dr. Pevsner splits his work day between the lab and his office.

BCMBNews (BN): You wrote a very successful bioinformatics textbook. What motivated you to do this?

JP: I’m dedicated to teaching—including a BCMB core course—and the book is an extension of the teaching. Writing it has helped me become a better teacher.

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New BCMB Faculty Present at Retreat

Every year, BCMB increases its list of participating faculty.  This year, the two newest members, Chris Potter (Neuroscience) and Frank Bosmans (Physiology), peddled their science before a crowd of potential rotation students at the retreat.  BCMB News caught up with them after the retreat to find out a little more about their backgrounds and their research.  

Chris Potter’s office is sunny and airy, and has a view overlooking Washington Street, on the 4th floor of the Rangos building.  Potter welcomes me into his office, and we get to chatting about his journey from grad student to BCMB faculty.  “I did my graduate work at Yale, in a fly lab there.  My project was to look at tumors in flies.”  Upon seeing my look of confusion, he elaborates.  “Flies actually do get tumors, surprisingly!”  Potter moved from Yale to a postdoctoral position in another fly lab at Stanford University.  His lab at Hopkins also uses Drosophila as a model system.  “I do like Drosophila!” Potter exclaims.  Far from tumorigenesis, his current lab is affiliated with the Department of Neuroscience.  “We’ve been here for two years,” says Potter.  “I started in March 2010, and then I think somehow I went through a loop-hole and didn’t get added to BCMB right away.”  Happily, the situation was remedied, and Potter couldn’t be more excited.  “I would LOVE to have a BCMB student,” says Potter.

Christoper Potter, Department of Neuroscience.

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October Lab Spotlight – Rao lab

Lab Stats

PI Name: Rajini Rao
Number of Years in BCMB: 18
Model System(s): Initially yeast, more recently mammalian cell culture using whatever tissues are relevant, mice
Research Area: The regulation and induction of ion transport and the physiological roles of various ion transporters
Lab Personnel:
Brandie Cross- BCMB student
Annie Hack- CMM student
Kalyan Kondapalli- postdoctoral fellow
Jose P. Llongueras- post bac student
Cassie Patenaude- BCMB student
Hari Prasad- CMM student

A Rao Lab group photo during lab meeting

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