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Lab update:
Wow! I can’t believe that it’s been over a year since the last lab blog update! So much has happened in the lab!

First of all, Corri Stewart defended her Masters Thesis, in May. Congratulations Corri!

We also both said hello and goodbye to Amanda Petrus. Here is a picture of Amanda sampling at the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Testing Center:

Alex Vickers has been working on a clone library from the leach fields. Guess what lives in the leach fields? I’m not telling just yet – but it was a bit more interesting than we initially thought.

Colin Rutner (BCMB 2013) just got accepted into the BCMB 5th year Masters Program. Congratulations, Colin! Here’s to a productive 2013 in the Wiatrowski lab!

The Wiatrowski Lab would like to extend a heart congratulations to Kyle Denton on the successful defense of his Masters Thesis today!

Kyle and I at his post-defense party!

Kyle is one of the first students to graduate from Clark University’s Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 5th year BA/MA program. Kyle gave a spectacular seminar, and wrote a wonderful thesis. His leadership in our laboratory is already greatly missed.

Kyle will be continuing on for a PhD in the University of Connecticut Health Center’s Genetics and Developmental Biology Graduate Program. Best wishes on your further studies, Kyle!

I just returned from the Grand Opening of an Anaerobic Digester at the Jordan Dairy Farm in Rutland, MA. The Anaerobic Digester turns cow manure and food waste into methane gas, which is then converted into electricity. The methane is the product of fermentation by anaerobic Archaea known as methanogens. If you’d like to learn more about this project, you may enjoy this video.

The event was spectacular, and the ribbon cutting was attended by Governor Deval Patrick and Congressman Jim McGovern.

The digester project is Jordan Family’s Dairy Farm and Casella Waste Management. The Chief Operating Officer of Casella, Paul Larkin, is an alumnus of Clark University. And I’m happy to report that next week, Hannah Reardon, who just graduated this month with a BA in Biology, will be joining the team as an intern this summer. I hope that we’ll continue to be able to partner with Casella to offer internships to Clark students in the future.

I and two of my graduate students, Songnian Liu and Yingjiao Wang, recently attended the First Annual Nanoworcester Symposium, on February 12, 2011. Many thanks to Reema Zeineldin at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences for organizing this!

Songnian Liu presented a poster, entitled “Can NOx-scrubbing bacteria withstand high levels of mercury?”, about his work with Denitrovibrio acetiphilusDenitrovibrio acetiphilus is one of the microorganisms in the Joint Genome Intitute’s Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea that Clark University has “adopted” for genome interpretation by undergraduate students. For more information about undergraduate genome interpretation, click here. Songian Liu is following up some of this work with functional studies in the laboratory.

I’m excited about NanoWorcester. Reema Zeineldin started this group last summer, and it’s great to have something like this here in Worcester.

This semester, the Wiatrowski lab welcomed a new member, Lina Sanchez.  Lina is a junior, and a biology major.  Here is a picture of me and Lina attempting to perform the Volta experiment in Crystal Pond, during microbiology class in the Fall of 2010.  In this experiment, we capture methane from the sediments below in a funnel and then light it on fire.  It didn’t work this time;  better luck next year!

Lina and Heather attempt the Volta Experiment in Crystal Pond

I am eternally grateful to the Academic Technology department for setting up a lab blog!

Here is a view from our laboratory window.

For our first post, allow me to redirect you to the old Lab News Section that was previously on the Wiatrowski Lab website.
You can find them here:

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