Lenz-Hartline Lab News

[updated 9/06]


We started the year with the addition of a new postdoc, Caroline Wilson, fresh from a PhD at University of Arizona. She plans to work on the development of myelin in copepods using transmission electron microscopy. Soon after Caroline's arrival, Anna Lechner arrived from Germany for a 6-month internship working on HSP in cultured copepods.

No sooner had Caroline and Anna gotten settled than Rudi Strickler and Ed Buskey arrived from Wisconsin and Texas respectively to look at escape behavior in developmental stages of copepods (Bestiolina). Rudi set up a most amazing optical train for viewing in exquisite detail every hair on a copepod's body while it was swimming around in a small chamber. Its reaction to mechanical stimuli could then be monitored in 3D with our high-speed video system.

This summer, Andy Christie (Univ. of Washington) and Monica Vianna (Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) joined the growing group of crustacean neurobiologists at MDIBL. Andy and Dan shared sponsorship of Greg Sousa, from Bates College, working on the immunohistochemical localization of peptides in Calanus nervous systems, while Dan worked on some of the amines. Monica worked on isolating myelin from shrimp nerve cords for later protein analysis. Liz Mitchell, now enrolled as a freshman at University of New England, returned to work with us and the Beltz Lab on cell-division patterns in developing copepod stages. Liza Oliveira couldn't stay away eaither -- she was back doing more molecular work with Petra on copepod HSPs.


More fascinating student projects this year at MDIBL. Delynn Martinez, an REU undergraduate from New Mexico, used the high-speed video system to examine escape behavior in developing stages of copepods from Frenchman Bay. Dan, with assistance from high-school graduate Liz Mitchell and much guidance and encouragement from Barbara Beltz and her lab, took a stab at some immunohistochemical localization of serotonin and crustacean hyperglycemic hormone in copepods. We had remarkably good luck for beginners! Read about it in the 2006 MDIBL Bulletin. Lisa Oliveira, an honors student from UH, spent a whirlwind month with us extracting HSP RNA from Calanus and studying for her MCATs. She, Petra and a new investigator from University of New England, Marcus Fredrich, pulled out a partial sequence for AMP kinase from the beast as well.

Kevin spent the spring analyzing last summer's data from Maine and finished off his Master's degree with a thesis titled Development of Mechanosensory Responses in Myelinated Copepods. Congratulations, Kevin!


This spring we lured Maria out to Hawaii once she graduated from Northwestern. She proceeded to pull out the HSP70 gene from Labidocera and to show that it may be upregulated even in animals kept in captivity for a short period.

Summer time at MDIBL we had Marisa Litz from University of Maine, Orono looking at the temperature-dependence of copepod escape behavior in different developmental stages, with help from Daniel Burdick (returning for a second year). Daniel went on to work under the supervision of new investigator Barbara Beltz of Wellesley College, to identify 5HT-containing neurons in copepods. Kevin also migrated east wiith us, setting up an electrophysiology rig on a stack of cinder blocks as a make-shift but effective substitute for an air table. He recorded sensory impulses in myelinated copepod natennae (Calanus), finding that even very early stage copepodids show the rapid spike timecourses indicative of myelination. Kelly Baehre from Bates pursued work with Petra on heat-shock proteins, cloning copepod HSP70 and finding evidence for alternative splicing of the gene product.

While Petra and I were stressing out in Maine, two new students occupied our lab in Hawaii, Kyle Vanderlugt, a UH undergrad just finishing up, and Ben Clauberg, an trainee from Manheim Technical University in Germany. They successfully initiated a project culturing a myelinated copepod (Bestiolina) from Kaneohe Bay in the lab.


UH undergraduate Daniel Burdick came to work in the lab, and rapidly set up a system for mechanically triggering coepod escape responses using both suction and computer-controlled vibration while viewing responses with high-speed video. When summer came, he got a fellowship to work at MDIBL where he implemented a new cooling jacket for his setup so we coould keep cold-water (Calanus copepods happy while scaring them. We were joined briefly by Gabe Rodrigues for some more photic-response work.

Petra took the time off at the beginning of the summer to attend a course in molecular techniques at Smith College. She came back a certified molecular biologist spouting terminology like "reverse transcriptase" and "primer design" and went to work with David Towle (an MDIBL long-timer) and Northwestern student Maria Voznesensky, to pull the gene for the heat-shock protein, HSP70, from a copepod (Calanus). Maria then showed that HSP70 mRNA is upregulated by a heat-shock treatment. It was a great success!

In the fall, Kevin Funk, from Pat Hasset's lab, joined ours as a graduate student and started work on the electrophysiology of the antennular mechanosensors in Labidocera.


Gabe Rodrigues, a student at Rutgers University, joined the lab for the summer as part of MDIBL's NSF-REU program. He set to work looking at photically-triggered escape responses in several species of Frenchman Bay copepods. You can read about it in the 2003 MDIBL Bulletin!


Dan went to Univ. of Texas for two weeks in the spring (much cooler!) to work some more with Ed Buskey on photic responses in copepods. Some species are very responsive to sudden changes in light level and others couldn't care less.

April Davis has been working away at figuring out how copepod myelin deveolps. Early stages are not myelinated, but as myelin grows, it seems to come from strange stacks of fairly compact lamellae we have termed "bricks," for their resemblance to brick wall structures. Strange!

When summer rolled around, we were back at MDIBL for Petra's second year on a New Investigator Award. We added to our repertoire of experimental approaches that of high-speed video photography. In slow motion, an escaping copepod calls to mind a galloping horse! After spending the summer watching her glue copepods to force transducers, we said farewell to Amy Hower and Tomas Boman -- they are migrating to Florida, where Amy is enrolling in the neuroscience graduate program at University of Miami.

News from Don Gassie has him moving once again! He and Lillian are now in Monterrey, California.


The lab moved to the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory for the summer. There Amy Hower, Petra and Dan set up apparatus for hydrodynamic stimulation of cold-water copepod species. The data on sensory capabilities and escape kinematics we will use in a comparison with the warm-water species we have concentrated on in Hawaii. We are very grateful for the fantastic hospitality of MDIBL, which was key to a highly productive research summer!

After MDIBL, we migrated south to the inferno that was Texas. The heat at Port Aransas was not so bad, though, and the hospitality extended to us by Ed Buskey and his lab more than made up for it! We made an auspicious start on our newest collaborative research project, studying escape behavior in free-swimming copepods. Some species seem quite sensitive to hydrodynamic stimuli and others are less so. We will eventually make a comparison of the free-swimming data with similar data obtained from tethered animals.

We were delighted to see Bill Roberts and Janice Weeks out here in December. They were the distinguished Grass Traveling Speakers for our local Hawaii chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. Thanks for a terrific set of talks, guys!