Jeff Bouffard

Ph.D. Student Bioengineering
Email: bouffard.j@husky.neu.edu
 

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In my research I create transgenic C. elegans with genetically encoded fluorescent biosensors to study highly conserved proteins that sense the mechanical state of cells and generate biological responses. I use widefield and confocal microscopy to acquire 2 and 3D movies of the spermatheca during ovulation events, and write scripts in Fiji and Matlab for image/ signal processing and analysis.
 

Alyssa Cecchetelli

Ph.D. Student Biology
Email: cecchetelli.a@husky.neu.edu
 

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My research focuses on understanding how cells in biological tubes sense and respond to mechanical stimuli in vivo. We use the C. elegans spermatheca, the site of fertilization, as an in vivo model of mechanotransduction as this tissue undergoes multiple rounds of stretch and constriction as oocytes enter, are fertilized and finally forced into the uterus to develop. Specifically, my work focuses on understanding the functional role of a highly conserved protein in mechanotransduction pathways, PLC-1, a phospholipase C-ε homolog, in addition to identifying alternative key players in the pathway. I am also currently finishing up a project characterizing a network of proteins that controls somatic gonad development and germline differentiation within the nematode.
 

Charlotte Kelley

Ph.D. Student Biology
Email: kelley.ch@husky.neu.edu
 

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My research involves using the C. elegans spermatheca as an in vivo model for studying how biological tubes respond to mechanical stress. I am currently developing a model for studying the flux of calcium in and out of the endoplasmic reticulum. In addition, I am screening gene candidates as potentially new regulators of spermathecal function.
 

Alison Wirshing

Ph.D. Student Biology
Email: wirshing.a@husky.neu.edu
 

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I got my BS from the University of New Hampshire where my undergraduate research involved methods for growing microalgae for biofuel production and genetic engineering of the microalgae Dunaliella. My initial graduate research at Northeastern University was on a collaborative project where I worked in both the Lee-Parsons Lab (Chemical Engineering and Chemistry Departments) and Cram Lab (Biology Department) studying lipid production and gene expression in the microalgae Chlorella vulgaris. My current graduate work in the Cram Lab is on understanding the role of the actin cytoskeleton in mechanotransduction and tissue contractility using C. elegans spermatheca.