On October 28th, our former-undergrad-turned-technician-extraordinaire, Pavithran Ravindran, was invited to give a talk as part of the Trainee Seminar Series at the University of Pennsylvania! Pav was hosted by Dr. Arjun Raj from the departments of Bioengineering and Genetics. His talk was titled “Engineering novel combinatorial and dynamic decoders using synthetic immediate-early genes.” After his talk, he got to spend the day with Arjun and members of the Raj lab.
Says Pav, "Getting the opportunity to prepare a presentation about the work that I have done over the years and visit/present at another university was an incredible experience. I really want to thank both members of the Raj lab/Arjun Raj for hosting me and telling me about the amazing science they are doing as well as everyone in the Toettcher lab for helping me prepare for the talk."
This summer, Sarah McFann spent 12 weeks interning with the quantitative team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the creative team at Gates Ventures.
During her internship, Sarah evaluated different mathematical models for how malnutrition leads to developmental stunting. Her goal was to ultimately identify which models could best guide malnutrition interventions. Among the models evaluated were genome-scale metabolic (GEM) models, microbe community GEM models, and ordinary differential equation models, which Sarah explains, “try to capture the complicated relationships between microbial population dynamics in the gut, gut health, and the human immune response.”
In addition to her mathematical work, Sarah says she got to write and learn a lot about the roles that epidemiology, digital health, and renewable energy play in global development.
In describing her experience, Sarah says:
“Working in Seattle was like having a bird’s eye view of the world. I got to see, in real time, how philanthropy can be used to shift markets and how social factors impact epidemics—things you don’t necessarily get to see firsthand in the lab. While it was sobering to realize the bigness of some of the challenges that people around the world are facing right now, it was encouraging to see how many brilliant, empathetic people there are working towards solutions. My summer also got me thinking about ways I can apply the skills I’ve picked up during my PhD to global development problems in health and energy once I graduate.”
We’re very happy to have Sarah back in lab and to have her regale us with tales of her experience and research!
Left to right, Haeun Jung '20, Giselle Uribe '20, Payam Farahani and Qinhao Cao.
This summer, three hardworking undergrads spent ten weeks doing research in the ToettchLab. On August 9th, they each presented their projects at the annual SURP MOL/QCB Poster Session! All three did a great job this summer - visiting student, Qinhao Cao, got working right away with mentor Payam Farahani, and Haeun Jung ’20 and Giselle Uribe ’20 made excellent progress towards their senior theses.
Farewell, Qinhao – it was a pleasure to have you in lab! Haeun and Giselle – we look forward to working with you again when the semester starts!
On June 10th 2019, Princeton’s Office of the Dean for Research published an article about new research initiatives that have received the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund, including a cross-disciplinary collaboration between Celeste Nelson, Andrej Kosmrlj, and Jared Toettcher!
As described in the article,
The team will build a 3D-printing technology that can deposit muscle cells and supporting tissues in the precise orientations necessary to create the conditions for making new organs. The researchers will control the contractions of the printed muscles using optogenetics, in which light turns on genes to make proteins that cause the contraction of muscles to build artificial organs.
Big shout out to Alex Goglia and Evan Zhao who successfully defended their dissertations and have completed their PhDs!
On May 9th, Evan presented his research, "Application of Optogenetics towards Control of Microbial Chemical Production and in Vitro Protein-Protein Interaction." On May 10th, Alex presented his research, "Encoding Information and Directing Cell Fate using Ras/Erk Signaling Dynamics."
Dr. Goglia will be returning to Rutgers University to finish his MD/PhD, and Dr. Zhao will soon start a new job in industry. Congratulations, Alex and Evan!
June 2018: Elliot Dine's paper was selected for the cover of Cell Systems. Congrats, Elliot, for your first contribution towards dissecting the cell signaling consequences of protein phase separation!
Spring 2018: The Toettcher lab emerges from winter hibernation, ravenous and looking for its first prey of the spring... Wait, scratch that! Some good news to report: Jared was awarded an NSF CAREER Award, Evan's beautiful opto-metabolic engineering work in the Toettcher and Avalos labs was published in Nature, and Heath and Elliot published reviews on the use of optogenetics for developmental biology and biophysics. Jared spoke at the University of Arizona, Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NY, and the Winter qBio meeting in Hawaii. We're now looking forward to the summer!
Fall 2017: Lots of exciting news to report from the Toettcher lab! Max Wilson published a beautiful Molecular Cell paper and Alex Goglia published a nice methods chapter. We welcomed Sarah McFann, Sidu Jena and Ping Wu as new lab members! We congratulated Jen on successfully defending her thesis, and Haeun, Giselle and Jillian in joining the lab as undergraduate researchers. Jared took the show on the road, giving talks at UT Southwestern, EMBL, the University of Freiburg, ETH Zurich, and the World Economic Forum summer meeting in Dalian, China.
Here's to a great 2017, and looking forward to more excitement in the years to come!
May 2017: Congrats to Jennifer Lee, our senior thesis student, for winning the gold medal for Best Poster at Princeton Research Day!
February 2017: Jose Avalos, Yannis Kevrekidis and Jared Toettcher win funding from the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund to combine optogenetics, control theory and metabolic engineering. See the press release here.
January 2017: The Toettcher lab, in collaboration with the Shvartsman and Schupbach labs, publish some work about the consequences of increasing the dose, domain, or duration of Erk signaling in Drosophila development. Congrats to Heath and Yogesh!
It also was featured as the cover illustration of that issue of Dev Cell! See the article here, the news & views piece about it here, and the cover here:
December 2016: The Toettcher lab, in collaboration with the Brangwynne lab, publish a new optogenetic technique to control liquid-liquid phase separation in live cells. Congrats to Yongdae Shin from Cliff's lab and Nicole Pannucci from our group! See the article here, the news & views piece about it here, and the press release here.
December 2016: Elliot passes his qualifying exam with flying colors. Congrats, Candidate Dine!
November 2016: Heath and Jared head to the ASCB meeting in San Francisco to both give talks about ToettchLab projects.
November 2016: Agnieszka Gil joins the Toettcher lab as a new postdoc, after completing her PhD in Peter Tonge's lab at Stony Brook. Welcome, Agnieszka!
October 2016: Max Wilson from the Toettcher lab wins a NJHF Innovation grant for some exciting, high-risk high-reward research ideas. Congratulations, Max!