Pawlowic Lab Travels

Beatrice was invited to give a talk at the “What’s New in Cryptosporidium?” conference organised by Prof Rachel Chalmers and Prof Angharad Davies. She presented “lab tools to study Cryptosporidium transmission and advance drug discovery”.

Jack gave a talk about his PhD project at the “Biology of Host-Parasite Interactions: Insights Into the Complex Relationships Between Eukaryotic Parasites and Their Hosts” Gordon Research Conference AND also at the “The Molecular and Cellular Biology of Eukaryotic Infectious Organisms” Gordon Research Seminar.

He shared his work to develop a comprehensive mode-of-action toolkit for Cryptosporidium. This includes adapting thermal proteome profiling for Cryptosporidium, an unbiased method to identify drug targets. This work was done in collaboration with the Mode-of-Action team led by Susan Wyllie.

Parasitology ECRs networking (Jack on far right).

This was also Jack’s first time to the USA! He was lucky enough to sample a Guinness at a Boston bar before his return flight to Dundee. One step closer to enjoying a Guinness on every continent!

Emma attended ICOPA in Copenhagen where she gave a talk about her work establishing organoid co-culture for Cryptosporidium, and presented a poster on her PhD project. Thanks to David Smith for organising the parasites and organoid panel and inviting Emma to speak!

Faith, Emma’s cat, providing essential assistance during conference preparation đŸ™‚

Simona participated in the Bioinformatics Summer School at the University of Glasgow!

Apicomplexan buddies!
Simona in the middle, on the left of the center hand rail.

The PhD students in the lab went for a long weekend together to the Scottish countryside to enjoy some time off together.

Ross, Emma, and Jack at Cawdor Castle
Emma in the gardens surrounding the castle
Group selfie!
Ross has also been teaching Jack all about fishing. The incredibly long Scottish summers mean you can squeeze in a trip to the lake after work.

Beatrice will give a talk at the Molecular Parasitology Meeting in Woods Hole, MA about her project to describe the Cryptosporidium oocyst wall proteome.

Big Changes

In the spring of 2022, we had several big changes to the membership of our group:

Sophie Rappich, a Wellcome Trust PhD student, joined us for a rotation. She helped us finish some key imaging experiments, as well as set-up some new in vivo transmission assays. Thanks Emma and Ross for working with Sophie during her rotation. Sophie joined Dr. Greg Findlay’s lab and Dr. Kate Storey for her PhD project.

Grant Hall, an MRC PhD student, joined us for a rotation to work on Mode-of-Action work, jointly supervised with Dr. Susan Wyllie. Thanks to Jack and Simona for helping Grant during his rotation. We are thrilled that Grant decided to come back for his PhD project. He will work on target identification of anti-cryptosporidial compounds.

Flora Caldwell finished her Honours laboratory-based project. Thanks to Beatrice for training Flora on all things molecular biology. Flora will continue with us as a research assistant over the summer and in the autumn of 2022 for an Integrated Masters project!

Pawlowic Lab students Spring 20220: Sophie, Grant, Flora, Jack, Ross, and Emma.

Jena: With nearby labs relocating to give us more space to expand, we found ourselves in need of some equipment of our own. Enter Jena, a streamlined gel doc with a small foot print and a tablet computer-touch screen. Thanks for coming into our #lablives.

The tablet touchscreen doubles as a lab selfie mirror.

Some of the biggest changes are the arrival of a lab baby in May- meet Clark Pawlowic!

Jack bravely was the first to hold Clark!
One month old here!

Collaboration with Curtis Thorne Lab

We are excited to share that we were awarded an Innovator Award in the last round of 2021! The project is to develop a 384-well plate based culture models for Cryptosporidium with human intestinal organoids. To do this, we are partnering with Dr. Curtis Thorne’s lab at the University of Arizona. Thanks to the Wellcome Trust for supporting this new work.

Curtis, Kelvin, and Pearl traveled to Dundee in March to visit us and brainstorm experiments for the project! We can’t wait to get started in April!

Dinner and drinks at Duke’s Corner.
No trip to Scotland is complete without visiting the Old Course in St. Andrews.

Back-in-the Lab!

During lockdown we baked…

We grew things…

Beatrice’s tomato plants (before they got huge!)

And we caught up on our scientific reading, planned experiments for when we get back, organised lab primers and plasmids on Benchling (thanks Jack!), did our first experiment with NOD SCIDs (thanks Lee!), and discussed Tiger King.

Ready to walk through this door soon and get things up and going again! Thanks to everyone for their hardwork and patience during this weird time.

Thanks to lab managers and everyone across SLS for making it safe for us to return.

Spring Travels

Before covid-19 closed most of the world to travel, we made a few visits to conferences and to visit collaborators. Unfortunately, the pandemic also meant that travel after April for the remainder of the year would be much restricted. We’re looking forward to seeing the parasitology community in online conferences, and in 2021!

Mattie went to Tucson, Arizona to visit some collaborators at the University of Arizona. Curtis Thorne’s group (a fellow Texan) develops technology to study intestinal organoids in 2D in plates. It was great to chat about how we could collaborate in the future.

Fantastic mural on the main drag in Tucson, Arizona. Great collection of cactus in a neighbourhood yard. The view from Curtis’ office.

Mattie also visited Sterling Labs, home of the famous “Sterling Iowa II” C. parvum strain. Thanks Debbie and her group for chatting with me about all things Crypto.

Mattie visited Sterling Labs, in the newly renovated Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences Building at the University of Arizona. Thanks for chatting with me Debbie!

While in Arizona, Mattie also got to see the sights: Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and Taliesin West!

Horseshoe Bend, the Colorado River.
A slot canyon outside of Page, Arizona. Erosion of the Navajo Sandstone creates beautiful shadows.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s “summer camp” where he trained the next generation of architects.

At the end of January, Mattie and Emma attended the Keystone Meeting: Tissue Organoids as Models of Host Physiology and Pathophysiology of Disease in Vancouver, British Columbia. It was amazing to hear work from Thad Stappenbeck, David Sibley discuss the air-liquid-interface model for continuous culture of Cryptosporidium, and Mary Estes about norovirus. Mary also taped a great podcast episode with the American Society for Microbiology.

Emma gave a poster about her work to adopt ALI in the Pawlowic lab!

Thanks to the meeting organisers and the Crypto group for lots of new ideas, feedback, and inspiring science.

The last day of the conference was Emma’s birthday! We celebrated with a walk around Vancouver that included this great sunset.

Mattie also got to visit the Striepen lab for a quick visit. It was meant to coincide with the PATH biannual Symposium on Innovative Therapeutics for Cryptosporidium, which was the first meeting to be canceled due to covid-19. Thanks to Boris and the group for great discussions, sharing new and exciting data, and a delicious Ethiopian food dinner.

Jennie brought me my favorite beer from Athens, and Alexis shared her most recent crotchet project with me. Science friends are the best!

When Mattie returned from the USA, we closed the lab 3 days later. Scotland is fairing well in the fight against covid-19 at the moment and we are especially grateful for our outstanding Tayside NHS.

We are hoping to reopen the labs soon and resume research!