Faculty Highlights

faculty gathering outside Tufts new Science and Engineering Complex

Academic Year 2021-2022

The Biology Department welcomes our new faculty, Lawrence Uricchio. Lawrence graduated from UCSF with a PhD in bioinformatics in 2014, where he was supervised by Ryan Hernandez. He followed this up with a highly stimulating but nearly interminable postdoc at Stanford and UC Berkeley. He is interested in the ecological and evolutionary processes that drive adaptation. Why are some species (apparently) fast-adapting and why are some slow-adapting? How will adaptation affect loss of biodiversity and community composition in our rapidly changing world? The lab is currently pursuing a number of research projects related to these questions, including studies of local adaptation in butterflies, the effects of disease transmission on host genomic variation, and the role of rare genetic variation in evolutionary processes. Lawrence currently teaches Computational Biology, an introductory course that covers the application of computer science methods to DNA sequence analysis, as well as the work of contemporary scientists in this field. Lawrence's favorite hobbies include kayaking, biking, and hiking, usually with his family. Visit Lawrence's profile for more information!

The McVey lab received an R01 grant from the National Institute on Aging, as a co-investigator with Dr. Jimmy Crott from the HNRCA; the grant is titled "Strengthening gut barrier integrity with beneficial microbes to increase lifespan and healthspan".

In 2021, there were two notable publications from the Kao lab: a collaboration with Aniruddh Patel in the Psychology Dept. and a new direction for the lab, and the first paper from postdoc Jaerong Ahn.

In August 2021, Michael Romero was Keynote Speaker at the International Society for Wildlife Endocrinology, and Plenary Speaker at the Animal Behavior Society (both talks were given via zoom).

The Wolfe Lab's sourdough paper, "The diversity and function of sourdough starter microbiomes," published in eLife in 2021 was a big highlight for the lab, receiving some press coverage.

Congratulations to Kate Mirkin, who was promoted to Senior Lecturer as of September 1st 2021!!

The Tufts Biology Department began the Fall 2021 semester by welcoming two new faculty members in September, fulltime biology lecturer Robert de Bruijn and tenure-track full-time lecturer in computational biology Lawrence Uricchio.

Lawrence Uricchio co-authored two papers, published in the summer of 2021: "How will mosquitoes adapt to climate warming?" and "Understanding the emergence of contingent and deterministic exclusion in multispecies communities"

Sara Lewis led an international team to evaluate global firefly tourism and provide guidelines for greater sustainability - this was published in Conservation Science & Practice.

Mimi Kao was featured in Tufts Now for her article Birds Got Rhythm, Telling Us Something About How We Form Speech and Movement. Read the story on Tufts Now.

New hire to the Biology Faculty Lawrence Uricchio appears in Faculty Focus: Fall 2021 | School of Arts and Sciences. Learn more about Tufts' excellent new hires this Fall!

Academic Year 2020-2021

Ladders News did a write up about the research on dreaming conducted by Tufts Biology Research Assistant Professor Eric Hoel. Read the article “Our dreams are getting weirder but it's not for the reason you think".

Congratulations to Erik Dopman for his paper "bric à brac controls sex pheromone choice by male European corn borer moths" being accepted by prestigious publication Nature Communications magazine! Read the article itself or read some of the buzz in the press release.

Mimi Kao’s paper, “Variable but not random: temporal pattern coding in a songbird brain area necessary for song” was accepted in the Journal of Neurophysiology.  Read the article and listen to the podcast that goes with it!

Congratulations to Zarin Machanda and her team, whose Science paper “Social Selectivity in Aging Wild Chimpanzees” was released October 22nd, 2020 and made the cover of Science magazine!  The piece has attracted significant media interest in including from The NY Times which published a piece on the paper.

Michael Levin’s article (October 19th, 2020) explores the idea of conducting more experiments from home during these uncertain times, with benefits for scientists and society.

Benjamin Wolfe talks cheese talk in his latest article (October 16th, 2020).

Congratulations to Sergei Mirkin for receiving the The Faculty Research Awards Committee Distinguished Scholar Award.

Congratulations to Mitch McVey for receiving The Lerman-Neubauer Prize for excellence in teaching and advising.

Barry Trimmer and collaborators were awarded an NIH R34 BRAIN grant, to establish optogenetic tools for studying neural processes in Manduca sexta (tobacco hornworm).

Congratulations to Julia Gouvea and Ben Wolfe for achieving tenure status in the Tufts Biology Faculty.

Congratulations to Mike Levin on being named a Distinguished Professor; the title of distinguished professor is not given lightly and our department is proud to have him!