New publication: Transcriptomics of freeze tolerance

And now some good news to start the new year: the second data chapter from my Ph.D. thesis is now published in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology D! In this article, we compared gene expression of crickets that survive freezing (freeze tolerant) and crickets that don’t (freeze intolerant) to better understand how insects survive internal ice formation. Freeze-tolerant crickets modify expression of all sorts of genes that likely help protect cells at low temperatures, and you can read all about it here (or contact me for  copy).

Graphical abstract
Graphical abstract of the article, illustrating how changes in gene expression may support processes that facilitate freeze tolerance

New publication: How crickets become freeze-tolerant

A bit of good news to end the year – the first data chapter from my Ph.D. thesis has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Insect Physiology! In this manuscript, we describe how the spring field cricket becomes freeze-tolerant when kept under ‘autumn-like’ conditions (i.e. decreasing temperature and day length) for six weeks. This is one of very few freeze-tolerant insects than can be grown in the lab, and allows us to do all sorts of neat laboratory experiments to better understand how some insects survive freezing. You can read more about what we found here (or contact me for a copy).

Graphical abstract
Graphical abstract for this article, illustrating the conditions that induce freeze tolerance, and how crickets change their physiology when acclimated to those conditions

New publication: Review on insect freeze tolerance

My first review has been published! My Ph.D. supervisor and I wrote this long (but readable, I promise!) review on how we think insects survive internal ice formation for Biological Reviews. You can read all about it here (or contact me for a copy).

Update: Did I mention that Biological Reviews used one of our figures as their cover page? That’s a first for me!

Toxopeus and Sinclair 2018 Cover Page
The issue of Biological Reviews containing our review article, featuring a line-drawing of a freeze-tolerant cricket, created by Lauren E. Des Marteaux

Presenting my final talk at the Physiology & Biochemistry graduate student seminar series

Today was somewhat bitter sweet, as I gave my final seminar in the Physiology & Biochemistry graduate seminar series at Western. The annual talks that each graduate student gives is an awesome way for us all to catch up on what others in the department are up to, and to give each other research advice. While I look forward to finishing up my Ph.D. later this year, I will miss these seminars!

Title slide of my graduate seminar talk.

SICB conference in San Francisco

The beginning of January brought one of my favourite conferences: the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) annual meeting. This year it was in sunny San Francisco. I enjoying networking, discussing my freeze tolerance research with other integrative biologists, and the free 6:30 am Zumba classes!

A view of the Golden Gate bridge, from some brief post-conference touristing.

Presenting at the International Symposium on the Environmental Physiology of Ectotherms and Plants … in Estonia!

August brought me to Tartu, Estonia for the 7th International Symposium on the Environmental Physiology of Ectotherms and Plants (ISEPEP, 31 Jul – 4 Aug, 2017), where I presented some of my Ph.D. research findings. It was an amazing opportunity to discuss insect freeze tolerance with leaders in the field, and I’m looking forward to the next one in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2019!

Presentation mode (Photo credit: Jacqueline Lebenzon)

Attending the Canadian Society of Zoologists annual meeting in Winnipeg

Myself and a few other Sinclair lab members presented our work on insect cold tolerance at the Canadian Society of Zoologists (CSZ) Annual Meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba this spring (15-19 May, 2017). It was a busy week for me: as Student Councillor, I helped organize events like the “Strategies for Success” workshop for students and postdoctoral fellows. I was also an invited panelist in a session on the future of zoology education in Canada (read more here). All in all: many great discussions on science, career, and education! (I also wrote a summary of the meeting here.)

Sinclair lab at the conference banquet