Bio352 Group Investigation
Genetics of Mitochondrial Shaping
Spring 2013, Davidson College

Dr. Karen Hales, Dana 201,
Phone x2324, email kahales


Course objectives
In this group investigation course you will learn to design and carry out experiments to explore the molecular basis of mitochondrial movement and shaping in developing fruit fly sperm cells. This course will function much like independent research for credit. You will learn basic techniques of fly husbandry, microscopy, and/or recombinant DNA technology. You will become familiar with reading the research literature. You will develop skills as an experimentalist, proposing new experiments to follow up on recent results, and learning to troubleshoot techniques.

Research focus: In the Hales lab we perform genetic analysis with the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to explore the molecular mechanisms by which mitochondria are moved and shaped in cells. Mitochondria are the organelles often referred to as the "powerhouses of the cell," since they are the sites where energy from food is stored in ATP. In many cell types with unusual energy needs, mitochondria move (in a regulated way) to be close to energy-requiring structures such as flagella or ion pumps. In addition, mitochondria often undergo regulated fusion and division, sometimes existing as a single large network in the cell, and sometimes as many individual units. We speculate that such changes may contribute to the efficiency of ATP generation in certain contexts. In Drosophila melanogaster (as in most other higher organisms), mitochondria undergo a dramatic series of shape changes during spermatogenesis. Through the identification of male-sterile mutants defective in mitochondrial morphogenesis, we can isolate and characterize genes whose protein products function in this process. Lindsay Regruto and James Winkle are lab technicians who will provide additional mentoring as you carry out your projects.

Textbooks/Reading
There are no official textbooks. We will discuss journal articles during our weekly meetings. You will participate in literature searches and paper selection in preparation for these journal club-style discussions.

For the beginning of the semester, read these background materials. Returning research students note that #8 is a new addition to the list:
1) Sections 1-6 of Bio 201 lab manual 
2) Chapter 2 ("Spermatogenesis" by M.T. Fuller) in The Development of Drosophila melanogaster. Focus only on the sections describing what happens to mitochondria during spermatogenesis. One copy of the book is in the lab.
3) Chapter 2 ("Spermatogenesis" by H. White-Cooper) in Drosophila Cytogenetic Protocols. Just focus on section 1, the introduction. One copy of the book is in the lab.
4) Chapter 3 of Mitochondria by Immo Scheffler. One copy of the book is in the lab.
5) Dr. H's 2011 grant proposals to the NIH and NSF (available in PDF form on Louise, in the Biology/Hales/Bio352GroupInvest folder) 
6) On the web, explore the Drosophila online resources listed at the Independent Research home page. At the various database sites, see what you can find for the genes fzonmdCG4701, and CG7813
7) First chapter (and glance through the other chapters) of Fly Pushing by Ralph Greenspan
8) Fabian and Brill, 2012. Drosophila spermiogenesis: big things come from little packages. Spermatogenesis 2: 197-212. In the Biology/Hales/Bio352GroupInvest public folder.
 

Expectations
--A two page project proposal at the beginning of the semester, due Monday January 28 at 4 PM.
--Attendance at weekly lab meetings Friday at 1:45 PM.
--At least ten hours a week of research time in the lab. The ten hours do not include time in lab meeting or time filling out your time sheet.
--Weekly submission of a progress sheet indicating daily activities, achievements, troubleshooting, and goals.Template is in the Biology/Hales/Bio352GroupInvest public folder.
--Formal presentation of your results (with powerpoint) every three weeks during lab meeting.
--Informal discussion of your progress with the group every week during lab meeting.
--Weekly one-on-one informal conversations with me.
--Literature searches and background paper reading as applicable to your project.
--Poster creation and subsequent presentation at the Spring 2013 Science and Math Research Symposium: abstracts due Monday April 22; completed poster due Friday April 26; poster is Wednesday May 8, 2013, 3-5 PM.
--A detailed separate write up of your methods to supplement the information on the poster, due Wednesday May 8th at 4 PM.


Grading


Proposal

Data presentations

Journal club

Poster

Overall effort and output

5%

15%

15%

15%

50%

 

Schedule (lab lunches, etc., to be added as we proceed)

Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri

Jan 14

Students should come meet with me individually this week before our Friday meeting; also read background materials listed above.

15

16

17

18

Lab meeting 1:45 PM

Jan 21

Individually scheduled lab time and frequent informal conversations with me, James, and Lindsay, throughout each week from here on out!

22

Journal club article suggestions due by 4 PM (email citations to me)

23

 

24

25

Lab meeting 1:45 PM

Journal club article #1: TBA

Jan 28

Project proposal due 4 PM

29

30

31

Feb 1

Lab meeting 1:45 PM

Continue article #1

Feb 4

5

6

7

8

Lab meeting 1:45 PM

Continue article #1

Feb 11

Journal club article suggestions due by 4 PM

12

13

14

15

Lab meeting 1:45 PM

Journal club article #2: TBA

Feb 18

19

20

21

22

Lab meeting 1:45 PM

Continue article #2

Feb 25

26

27

Lab meeting 9:30 AM

28

Mar 1

No lab meeting (rescheduled earlier in the week)

Mar 4

5

6

7

8

No lab meeting--spring break

Mar 11

12

13

Lab meeting 9:30 AM

14

15

No lab meeting (rescheduled earlier in the week)

Mar 18

Journal club article suggestions due by 4 PM

19

20

21

22

Lab meeting 1:45 PM

Journal club article #3: TBA

Mar 25

26

27

28

29

Lab meeting 1:45 PM

Continue article #3

Apr 1

2

3

4

5

No lab meeting--Dr. H, Bethany, Lindsay, Eric, Will at a conference

Apr 8

Journal club article suggestions due by 4 PM
(extension on this deadline until Thurs 4 PM)

9

10

11

12

Lab meeting 1:45 PM

Finish article #3

Apr 15

16

17

18

19

Lab meeting 1:45 PM

Start article #4

Apr 22

Abstracts for posters due 4 PM

23

24
Lab meeting 9:30 AM
Continue article #4

25

 

26

No lab meeting (rescheduled for earlier in the week)

Posters due 4 PM

Apr 29

30

May 1

2

3

Lab meeting 1:45 PM

Finish article #4

May 6

7

8

Science and Math Research Symposium (poster session)
3-5 PM

9

10

No lab meeting--final exams

May 13

14

15

16

17

May 20

Commencement

       

 

Last modified on April 8, 2013, by K. Hales