Graduate Students Awarded Warren-Mcleod Fellowships

Congratulations to the 2018 winners of the Warren-McLeod Graduate Fellowships!

Recipient of the full year Warren-McLeod Fellowship:

  • Tina Barbasch - Biology PhD candidate in the Buston lab | Negotiations Over Offspring Care: A Test of Alternative Hypothesis Using the Clown Anemonefish

Recipients of the summer Warren-McLeod Fellowships:

  • Emily Chua - Earth & Environment PhD student in the Fulweiler lab | Investigation of Biogeochemical Cycling in Permeable Marine Sediments Using a Novel Porewater Sampling Underwater Mass Spectrometer
  • Karina Scavo - Biology PhD candidate in the Kaufman/Finnerty labs
  • Nicholas Ray - Biology PhD student in the Fulweiler lab | Quantifying the Fate of Nitrogen in Oyster Habitats

The Warren-McLeod Graduate Fellowship in Marine Science was established by Patricia Warren (the granddaughter of BU’s 1st President, William Fairfield Warren) in 1990 to support graduate students in the BU Marine Program (BUMP). Guy McLeod was Patricia’s brother-in-law and the long-time director of research at the New England Aquarium. He was a marine biologist, whose scholarship focused on the role of iron, vanadium, and other metal ions on the physiological ecology of marine animals. 

Gilmore Lab PhD Students Publish a Trio of Papers on the Origins of Immunity and Disease in Marine Invertebrates

video courtesy of Carl Facer

In research supported by the National Science Foundation, Tom Gilmore’s lab recently published three papers that address the origins of immunity, as well as its possible role in disease in threatened marine invertebrates. In a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, PhD student Joe Brennan led a study that characterized a conserved pathogen response molecule, a Toll-like receptor, in a sea anemone model. In a paper in Scientific Reports led by PhD student Kate Mansfield, and with collaborators from the labs of Trevor Siggers and John Finnerty (at BU) and Virginia Weis (Oregon State University), they investigated the role of immune transcription factor NF-κB in loss of symbiosis in an anemone model for coral bleaching. Finally, NSF graduate fellow Leah Williams, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Texas Arlington, showed that an endangered Caribbean coral, Orbicella faveolata, encodes a complete Toll-like receptor to NF-κB immune pathway with extensive similarity to human immune pathways. This last paper was published in Developmental and Comparative Immunology, and included 40 undergraduate co-authors from BB522, a molecular biology project laboratory in which early studies for this research were carried out.

Biology PhD Candidate Jesse Delia to Present Research at International Workshop

Biology PhD candidate Jesse Delia was selected to present his research at a specialized international workshop on the "Interplay Between Parental Care And Sexual Selection" in Fiskebäckskil, Sweden, 26 Feb – 3 Mar, 2018. Jesse's talk, entitled "Family dynamics influence parent and embryo co-evolution in Neotropical glassfrogs," describes research conducted in Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador, supervised by Prof. Karen Warkentin.

Professor Sorenson and Alumna Dr. Katie Stryjewski Featured in BU Research

Boston University's Research has published an article featuring BU Biology's Professor Sorenson and former Sorenson Lab member Dr. Katie Stryjewski. The article details Sorenson and Stryjewski's work on estrildid finches of New Guinea and what these birds can teach biologists about evolution. The article can be read on BU Research.

Kaufman Lab Researches Intersection Between Nature and Society

The Kaufman Lab is conducting comparative research in different parts of the world to better understand the system dynamics that occur between natural ecosystems and human society. Their newest study site is Biscayne Bay, front yard to the Miami metropolitan area’s 7 million people, and home to tropical forest, mangrove forest, seagrass meadows and coral reefs. On January 29th and 30th, the lab led a workshop that gathered together ecological modelers, oceanographers, hydrologists, resource managers and wildlife specialists to assemble a picture of how Biscayne Bay works. The result was a realization that the fate of Biscayne Bay is shaped by the well-being of the entire South Florida’s landscape of iconic reefs, keys and Everglades. The group realized that in the face of climate change and runaway development, the importance of Biscayne Bay to Florida’s ecological and human health is on the rise.

Biscayne National Park Workshop January 29 2018
Margaret Goodro, Biscayne National Park Superintendent, welcomes a group of modelers, ecologists, and resource managers to the Park for the first day of the workshop

The meeting spurred new field work and modeling to guide stewardship efforts. The working group is planning for a science symposium, special journal issue, and stepped-up restoration and management interventions in the coming few years. BU folks involved include Professor Les Kaufman (marine ecology), Professor Suchi Gopal (GIS and remote sensing), Professor Roel Boumans (ecological economic modeling), Mr. Joshua Pitts (programming and visualization), and doctoral student Ms. Katey Lesneski (coral biology). The work is supported by a grant from the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation. The lab’s interdisciplinary program on coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) is based at BU’s Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future.

PhD Candidate, Karina Scavo, Receives BU Graduate Research Abroad Fellowship (GRAF)

By Christina HoneycuttDecember 22nd, 2017in Grad Student News, News

Karina in mangroves 3

Karina Scavo, a PhD candidate working with Dr. Les Kaufman and Dr. John Finnerty, has received a Short-term Graduate Research Abroad Fellowship (GRAF) to support her travel and research in Belize in 2018. With these funds, Karina will be able to further study and understand the role of mangroves as potential reef refuges which is critical in the design and development of marine protected areas (MPAs) and reserves.

James “JP” Gilbert Wins Belamarich Award

JP Gilbert Profile PictureDr. James "JP" Gilbert of the Man Lab was selected as the winner of the 2017 Belamarich Award for his doctoral dissertation in Biology titled “Investigation of the Human X-Linked Autism Protein KIDLIA in Neuronal Development and Brain Function." This award is given annually to a recent Ph.D. candidate for their outstanding doctoral dissertation completed in the Department of Biology.

Dr. Gilbert is now in a position as a Scientist at Biogen in Cambridge, MA. His work focuses on target validation as well as support for later stage drug development programs for neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric indications. Additionally, he is involved in identifying new exploratory programs and reviewing external business development opportunities.

This year's Belamarich Award Ceremony and Reception will be held on Monday, October 16th, from 5:00 - 7:00 pm, in BRB 113. At that time, we will be joined by the Belamarich family to celebrate this year's award winner. Frank A. Belamarich joined the BU Biology Department in 1963 as an assistant professor where he quickly gained international recognition for his research in the field of comparative hemostasis, the process of blood clotting. Throughout his tenure at BU he was a popular teacher of a core course in cell biology which he developed. Belamarich maintained research laboratories in Boston as well as at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole in Falmouth, MA as part of the BU Marine Program.

As in previous years, there will be a Belamarich Seminar, given by the awardee. The Seminar will be held on Monday, October 16th, from 4:00 - 5:00 pm in BRB 113.

We look forward to seeing you at the Belamarich Seminar and the Belamarich Ceremony and Reception.


Katey Lesneski Receives AAUS Award

Katey Lesneski, Ph.D. candidate co-advised by Dr. John Finnerty and Dr. Les Kaufman, was recently selected as a runner up for the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Foundation's 2017 Doctoral Scholarship which comes with a $1500 award. The AAUS consists of over 130 organizational members and produces consensual standards for the training and certification of scientific divers and the operation of scientific diving programs.


In addition to this award, Oceans of Opportunity (OO), has offered to match 50% of the AAUS scholarship. OO is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization, whose mission is to evolve the art and science of the life aquatic through effective communications and inspired social change.

These funds will be used exclusively for Katey's research in Belize. Her research concerns the resilience of stag horn coral, a major framework building coral in the Caribbean, whose future is threatened by climate change and other anthropogenic insults. For the last two years, she has been the teaching fellow in Phil Lobel’s Scientific Diving course and Les Kaufman's Coral Reef Resilience and Restoration course. 

Tim Maguire’s Research Highlighted by the Council of Graduate Schools

Ph.D. candidate, Tim Maguire, of the Fulweiler lab has been highlighted by the Council of Graduate Schools. Tim’s research investigates the effects of climate change on silica production in trees and his dissertation defense is scheduled for next week.  See more at