Event Details

Thursday, December 15th

Joint Health Sciences, Room104
201 South Broadway
Camden, NJ  08103


  • Dr. Antonio D. Tillis, Chancellor, Rutgers University–Camden
  • Dr. John Griffin, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Dr. Michelle Meloy, Assoc. Dean of the Graduate School            
  • Dr. Grace Brannigan, Director, CCIB           
  • Flash Talks: Joe Braasch, Emily Kanach, Caden Comsa
  • Student Best Paper – Mark Nessel: Nitrogen and phosphorus enrichment cause declines in invertebrate populations: a global meta-analysis
  • Flash Talks: Sathya Vaidhyanathan, Cat Maienza, Omar Mansour
  • Flash Talks: Creston Singer, Alireza Ebrahimi, Qhawe Bembe, Regina  Salzer
  • Workshops: Help, I’ve Got a Wacky Side Project! 
    • K Lee:  Renewable Biofuel
    • A Savage: Urban Heat Islands
    • E Klein: Membrane Stress
  • Flash Talks: Sid Bhadra Lobo, Connor Pitman, Sayed Mehedi Azim
  • Brian Corbett: Stress-induced expression of an anti-inflammatory protein promotes resilience
  • Flash Talks: Vedangi Hambardikar, Maria Schwarz, Adam Poff, Josh Chamberlain
  • Hunter King:  Mechanical Ecology



Keynote Talk: Ursula Jakob
Early Life ROS as Modulators of Lifespan and Age-Associated Diseases

Stochasticity, a fundamental property of biology, is particularly prevalent in aging.  Even genetically identical animals, when grown under the same environmental conditions, show large lifespan variations and seemingly random patterns of aging-related pathologies.  Our research shows that reactive oxygen species (ROS) serve as naturally occurring stochasticity factors, which individualize biological processes by persistently altering the epigenetic landscape.  Our studies in the aging model organism Caenorhabditis elegans revealed that inter-individual differences in developmental ROS-levels contribute to the observed variations in stress resistance and lifespan.  We identified the underlying mechanism by demonstrating that the highly conserved histone modifying complex COMPASS is oxidation sensitive, and that the level of K4-trimethylated histone H3 is directly connected to the redox environment of the cell.  To our knowledge, these studies provide the first demonstration of a redox-regulated histone methylation event known to biology.  We now demonstrate that transient accumulation of ROS during development protects organisms against amyloid toxicity later in life, and reveal the cellular pathway by which downregulation of H3K4me3 exerts its protective and lifespan extending effects.  In summary, our studies provide insights into the role of ROS as important stochasticity factors and the role of redox-sensitive epigenetic modifiers as downstream modulators that are responsible for imprinting variability and individualizing health span and longevity in organisms.

  1. Oleson1, J. Bhattrai1, T. Kravchenko1, C. Madden1, D. Bazopoulou1 and U. Jakob1

Dept. of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104


Student Best Paper – Mark Nessel:
Nitrogen and phosphorus enrichment cause declines in invertebrate populations: a global meta-analysis

Human-driven changes in nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) inputs are modifying biogeochemical cycles and the trophic state of many habitats worldwide. These alterations are predicted to continue to increase, with the potential for a wide range of impacts on invertebrates, key players in ecosystem-level processes. Here, we present a meta-analysis of 1679 cases from 207 studies reporting the effects of N, P, and combined N + P enrichment on the abundance, biomass, and richness of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. Nitrogen and phosphorus additions decreased invertebrate abundance in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, with stronger impacts under combined N + P additions. Likewise, N and N + P additions had stronger negative impacts on the abundance of tropical than temperate invertebrates. Overall, the effects of nutrient enrichment did not differ significantly among major invertebrate taxonomic groups, suggesting that changes in biogeochemical cycles are a pervasive threat to invertebrate populations across ecosystems. The effects of N and P additions differed significantly among invertebrate trophic groups but N + P addition had a consistent negative effect on invertebrates. Nutrient additions had weaker or inconclusive impacts on invertebrate biomass and richness, possibly due to the low number of case studies for these community responses. Our findings suggest that N and P enrichment affect invertebrate community structure mainly by decreasing invertebrate abundance, and these effects are dependent on the habitat and trophic identity of the invertebrates. These results highlight the important effects of human-driven nutrient enrichment on ecological systems and suggest a potential driver for the global invertebrate decline documented in recent years.