Loraine Lab welcomes Jessi Davis

The Loraine Lab would like to welcome Jessi Davis to the group. Jessi was selected through the 2016 Research Campus Plant-Bio Summer Internship program. She joins us from AL Brown High School, where she will begin her senior year this fall. Jessi will be spending her summer working on designing artificial microRNA to knock down expression of genes in Arabidopsis thaliana.


The Last Scientist for a Day of the 2015-2016 School Year

This month, we introduced high school students to the field of personal genomics. Ivory, April, and I taught kids how to analyze genetic variation data from 23&Me using Integrated Genome Browser. Ann attended and worked through the exercises along with the kids.

This week, we showed 4th graders how we grow plants in the lab.

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I explained that one of the biggest reasons we study plants is to develop hardier, more nutritious crops. I showed them Arabidopsis plants and introduced the concept of a “model” organism in research. Arabidopsis plants are tiny and grow quickly – like weeds – which makes them ideal for quickly testing theories about how plants grow.

Then, they got their hands dirty transplanting radish seedlings from petri dishes into soil – just like we do with Arabidopsis seedlings when we want uniform growth.

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Everyone in the Loraine Lab had a lot of fun helping out with the Scientist for a Day program. I’m sure we all learned as much from the experience as the students. We all look forward to showing of our research to more Kannapolis students next school year.

Genomic Methods class – get hands-on experience in molecular biology and DNA sequencing

Update – July 29, 2016

Due to scheduling and technical issues, we will offer BINF 3201 and BINF 3201L in spring 2017 instead of fall 2016.

We plan to make the Spring offering better than ever, featuring new content and introducing new sequencing methods and applications. Therefore we highly recommend reserving time in your schedule to take the the class in Spring of 2017. Check back here for more information or feel free to get in touch!

The Bioinformatics Department at UNC Charlotte has developed a great class for students from CS, SIS, Biology and Bioinformatics to get hands-on experience in genomic methods, focusing on DNA sequencing.

shapeimage_2Why should you take this class?

These days, nearly everyone in biology uses high throughput sequencing methods in research. And these methods are getting cheaper, faster, and more accessible. Very soon – possibly within only a few years – you’ll be able to get your own personal genome sequenced. If you’re considering a career in medicine or biotechnology, you need to understand how these methods work.

However, many people who use sequencing methods don’t know much about them. We don’t sequence our DNA directly – first we extract it and convert it into a library. How we make these libraries dictates what we can do with the data later. In this class, you’ll gain in-depth, first-hand knowledge of how we convert DNA into libraries into data.

You’ll learn how to create a sequencing library from genomic DNA using a technique called long-range PCR, the same method you could use to sequence select human genes. You’ll sequence the library using an Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine (PGM), a low-cost sequencing instrument ideal for learning the basics. In the process, you’ll also master basic molecular biology techniques – like how to pipette, how to extract DNA from a sample, how to run a gel, and how to design and perform a PCR experiment. By the end of the semester, you should be well qualified to start an internship in a molecular biology laboratory – or apply to a Ph.D. or health professions program to continue your training.

Outside of lab, you’ll learn about many different approaches to sequencing, such as the limitations and strengths of different sequencing platforms. You’ll also learn to use software tools to visualize and interact with data, such as Integrated Genome Browser, developed here at UNC Charlotte. And then you’ll apply what you’ve learned by writing a mock grant application proposing an experiment that uses sequencing to answer a research question. (We’ll provide plenty of ideas to help you get started.) Last but not least, you’ll give a presentation on your idea.


Undergraduate level BIOL 1110 Minimum Grade of D and Undergraduate level BIOL 1110L Minimum Grade of D or Undergraduate level BIOL 2120 Minimum Grade of D and Undergraduate level BINF 1101 Minimum Grade of D

18th Annual Plant Genome Awardee Meeting

On the first of September I began my National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship through the plant genome research program. As such, I was able to attend this year’s Plant Genome Awardee Meeting along with Dr. Loraine. It was a great opportunity to hear talks on the latest plant research and exchange ideas with other plant geneticists. I had a great time, and am looking forward to next year’s meeting.

There were two days of talks on the latest research into plants.

There were two days of talks on the latest research into plant genetics and biology.

Tanner Deal joins Loraine Lab

We’re excited that Tanner Deal has decided to stay in the Loraine Lab through the next year. Tanner did an excellent job throughout his summer internship, conducting experiments in molecular biology and taking care of the various plants being grown in the lab.

Tanner watering the Agami rice.

Tanner watering the Agami rice. One of his first projects this summer was planting this rice.

The rice has begun to flower - a difficult feat, considering it was grown in a basement.

The rice has begun to flower – a difficult feat, considering it was grown in a basement.





2015 Plant Biology Meeting

The Loraine lab traveled to the Minneapolis convention center for the 2015 American Society for Plant Biology meeting. There were many great talks given on recent advances in plant biology and crop sciences. Our own April Estrada gave a talk on the role of the gene SR45a in stress response in plants. I gave a talk on using IGB as a resource for teaching, as well as a workshop introducing visual analysis of RNA-seq data.

April giving her talk on SR45a

April giving her talk on SR45a

Everyone had a great time at the various talks, workshops, and exhibits. It was also a great chance to network with other researchers. Of course, we also made sure to take some time to visit the Twin Cities.

Enjoying Minneapolis

Enjoying Minneapolis

2015 Society for Developmental Biology

I want to thank the Society for Developmental Biology for inviting me to their annual meeting in Snowbird, Utah. I had the opportunity to give a talk on the work that April Estrada and I have done on the role of SR45a in alternative splicing in stress response. I also led a workshop on using Integrated Genome Browser to visually analyze high-throughput sequence data. We had a great turnout, as many of the attendees were very interested in using IGB in their work.


SDB attendees finding out more about IGB.

Snowbird is a ski resort located in the mountains near Salt Lake City. I was able to take the tram to the top of the mountain and take some photos. It was a great location for a conference.


View from top of Snowbird, looking out over Salt Lake City.


Loraine Lab welcomes Tanner Deal

The Loraine lab would like to extend a warm welcome to Tanner Deal. Tanner joins us from A.L. Brown High School, where he is an incoming senior. Throughout the summer, he will have the opportunity to explore plant biology, molecular research, and learning about genomics software. We’re all excited to have Tanner as part of the team.Tanner