In August, MS BioSci students Elizaveta Shmakova and Yvain Desplat defended and graduate from the lab. They finished some fantastic research focused on elevating our chosen laboratory model sponge Cinachyrella. The two MS students presented clear seminars and worked hard on the topics of microbial symbiont metagenomics and host gene expression, respectively. Thanks to the two graduate committee members (Julie Torruellas Garcia, Cory Padilla, Jake Warner, and Travis Craddock) who provided valuable guidance and helpful input throughout. These projects partially culminates 10 years of work on this sponge, encompassing many other earlier students and collaborators, and which began with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010.
In December, a third MS student, Shelby Cain, also graduated defending her thesis on a different aspect of the same Cinachyrella sponge genus: “Investigation of Sulfur Cycling in a Marine Sponge on”. This work was done with our valued collaborator Hidetoshi Urakawa and his student Megan Finney at Florida Gulf Coast University. Shelby’s defense was excellent, and also presented remotely via Zoom. Well done!