An Empty Lab Doesn’t Stop the WyethLab!

It’s that time of year again, when we both welcome new faces into the WyethLab and our field research projects really ramp up. Although the pandemic restrictions mean we haven’t yet been able to actually do any lab or field work yet, lots of preparation is still happening as everyone works remotely. This summer, 14 lab members are making great use of MS Teams and working together on several different projects:

And also an extra thank you to Chelsie Hall, project manager working behind the scenes to help keep things on the straight and narrow!

Katherine Purvis

My name is Katherine Purvis, and I recently graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a BSc and Honours in Biology. I am working for the Wyeth Lab as a Research Technician with the support of the Career Launcher internship program. This summer will be my third year in research, however it is my first summer with the Wyeth Lab. In my previous work experiences, I have worked as a Research Assistant at Saint Mary’s University in a molecular genetics lab and a physical chemistry lab. During my internship, I will be assisting a project on the development of environmentally conscious antifouling treatments. I am very excited about this opportunity, and I am looking forward to my time at StFX. 

Laura Brady

My name is Laura Brady and I am from Ottawa, Ontario. In the fall I will be starting my fourth year in biology at StFX. This is my first summer doing work for the Wyeth Lab and I am working on a lobster foraging project. I will be working as an assistant data manager as well as doing some field work on fishing boats. The goal of the project is to test bait preferences of the American lobster in the hopes of gaining more knowledge on one of the most important fisheries in Canada. Our findings may also allow us to provide advice for lobster harvesters to make the fishery more sustainable. I am very happy to be part of this project and excited to spend my summer by the ocean.

Megan Fraser

My name is Megan Fraser and I am a recent graduate of StFX University and will be beginning my Masters in the fall at Dalhousie University. This is my fourth summer doing research in the StFX biology department. I have previously worked in Brier Island, NS, on a bog restoration project, and have worked the past two summers on Boat Harbour remediation projects. This summer I am working in the Wyeth Lab on two lobster-related projects. I will be assisting with a lobster toxicology analysis and I will also be the data manager for the lobster foraging crew where we will be testing bait preferences in the American lobster. I enjoy spending time in nature whether it be hiking, camping, kayaking or beach combing.

Allanique Hunter

I am from New Providence in The Bahamas and I’m going into my fourth year at St. Francis Xavier University. I am doing an advanced major in Biology and hope to do directed studies in the fall. I enjoy reading, spending time near the water, and making observations about my environment. In intending to become a marine biologist, I feel doing research and getting experience in situ will help me to better navigate the path I would like to take to achieve my goals. I am excited and grateful for this opportunity to participate in the research project on biofouling this summer.

Lia Blackett

I am from Kingston, Ontario and am going into the fifth year of my undergraduate degree at St.FX.  I am taking my major in Biology and my minor in Climate and the Environment.  I love travelling, horseback riding and being outdoors.  This past year, I began analyzing biofouling data as a Wyeth Lab volunteer.  This summer, I will be switching gears and working on a lobster foraging project instead which I hope to do a directed studies project on in the fall.  I am very excited for this opportunity and look forward to spending another summer in the lovely town of Antigonish.

Funding – several times over

A number of events have occurred this past year: a federal election, a horrific plane accident, and a pandemic. A completely understandable side effect of these has been that that many research funding announcements have not been made. THAT means that the typical embargoes on publicizing the funding have effectively been extended indefinitely. However, these successes are important for the research we do, and particularly, for supporting the students who do so much of the work. So, although I cannot directly acknowledge the sources, I would like to announce…

A huge thank you to the great work by past students who have led up to this. Obviously, this does not compare to the larger events in the world, but the funding is going to make a huge difference for how 13 students spend their time this summer, and many others over coming years in the Wyeth Lab and elsewhere in the Biology Dept.

Publication!

Alex Young has published his second article from his MSc.   While working to adapt flourescent in situ hybridization (FISH) methods to work with Lymnaea stagnalis, two things became apparent.  There’s a fair number of published protocols out there, and no one has consolidated all the variants in one location to help anyone in our position.  So, he decided to do it himself – adding in the expertise of Dan Jackson, we’ve put together exactly what the title says it is: a technical review and guide to RNA FISH.  Hopefully others looking to work with FISH for the first time or adapt an established protocol will find this helpful.

Young, A.P., Jackson, D.J., and Wyeth, R.C. 2020. A technical review and guide to RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization. PeerJ 8: e8806. PeerJ Inc. doi:10.7717/peerj.8806.