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Genetics and Genomics

Unwrapping Glial Engineering in the Vertebrate Nervous System

The long-term goal of the Kucenas Lab is to fundamentally understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that mediate neural-glial and glial-glial interactions during nervous system development and injury/regeneration. Using Danio rerio (zebrafish) as a model system, we combine genetic and pharmacological perturbation, single cell manipulation, laser ablation/axotomy, small molecule screening, and in vivo, time-lapse imaging to directly and continuously observe glial cell origins, behaviors, and interactions in an intact vertebrate.

Improving student learning through understanding reasoning and problem solving tactics

Classroom practices affect student behavior, and by extension, their learning. Through studying how students discuss clicker questions in active learning classrooms, we have found that students rarely use reasoning when answering in-class questions. However, their use of reasoning increases when they are cued to use reasoning by instructors or peers, or when under pressure of accountability. Can students transfer in-class group practices to individual assessment opportunities that require reasoning and logic?

There are always flowers for those who want to see them

The integration of developmental genetics and evolution is providing a powerful synthesis towards understanding the mechanisms underlying the generation of biodiversity. Functional studies across the phylogenetic landscape are facilitating a comparative, integrative view highlighting that genes are mostly repurposed into new roles. I will present micro- and macro-evolutionary approaches on the evolutionary consequences of the emergence of novel traits in three distinct plant systems: an angiosperm, a gymnosperm and a fern.


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