Tag Archives: Alaska

MinION Meeting

Devin is heading out to the Oxford Nanopore New York Community meeting this week to learn from the community as well as present on the Alaska MinION Hackathons. You can follow along with the action on Twitter below:


Permafrost Premonition

Given winter’s rapid approach, the permafrost experimental plots are getting special attention.  Preemptive vegetation surveying and soil core collections are propelling the Drown lab into a future greenhouse hibernation…and I am excited about it! Do you know what this means? Vegetation surveying, soil samples and an empty greenhouse? Sounds like a pilot study to me. Maybe come January,  this smiling face will be found working alongside the IAB Research Greenhouse coordinator, Mark Wright.

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Travel to Toolik (68° 38′ N, 149° 36′ W, AK)

On August 20th, Biology and Wildlife graduate students and researchers traveled to UAF’s Toolik Field Station for an awakening taste of arctic atmosphere. Devin and I used this nine hour road trip north of Fairbanks for investigation…in the 68th degree.

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Some of UAF’s Biology and Wildlife graduate students and scientists pose at the Toolik Field Station welcome sign.

Toolik provided an opportunity to use the MinION sequencing capabilities in the field and sample for microbes on the North Slope.

Materials for soil extraction.
Materials for soil extraction.

Soil sampling and DNA sequencing with the MinION was supplemented with an abundance of scarlet alpine bearberry (Arctostaphylos alpina) and characteristically Alaskan Arctic beauty.

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Hiking along the Atigun river outside of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

URSA Research Day 2016

URSA Research Day 2016
URSA Research Day 2016

Undergraduate research activities at UAF cover a broad spectrum of disciplines, from climate science to life science, engineering to anthropology, and music to theater.  This year, Jackson Drew presented his URSA sponsored independent research project on the Alaska Soil Microbiome. The MinION Hackathon crew also presented their work using nanopore sequencing technology. Continue reading URSA Research Day 2016

Identification antibiotic resistance in the microbial communities of a Fairbanks permafrost gradient

IMG_20160405_190655Undergraduate researcher Maddie McCarthy was recently awarded a BLaST Undergraduate Research Experience. Maddie will have a completely funded summer of research ahead of her. She’ll be digging into the soil microbial communities of the Fairbanks Permafrost Experimental Station. Continue reading Identification antibiotic resistance in the microbial communities of a Fairbanks permafrost gradient

Does permafrost thaw alter methane cycling via a shift in the microbial community composition?

Undergraduate researcher Alex Wynne was recently awarded an URSA Summer Research Project. This includes funds for his project and a stipend for the summer. He’ll use next-generation sequencing to characterize the relative abundances of methanogens and methane oxidizers found within a permafrost thaw gradient. By analyzing the relative amount of methane related microbes associated with each disturbance treatment, he will deduce how the thawing of permafrost may contribute to the net amount of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere.

New tech, MinION

MinION_UAFThanks to the efforts of Ian Herriot who initiated the application to the Oxford Nanopore MinION Access programme (MAP), we have acquired access to a new nanopore sequencer (pictured above). The MinION at just 87 grams and half the size of an iPhone is so portable that it will visit the International Space Station as a proof of concept in remote collection of DNA sequence data. Working in collaboration with the IAB DNA Core Lab,  the Drown lab will begin experimenting with this technology in the near future and expand access to potential undergraduate researchers in Spring 2016. This device can provide opportunities for student researchers to generate their own low cost DNA sequence data (as little as $500 / experiment).

INBRE Pilot Proposal funded

The news finally came through this past week that my first Alaska INBRE Pilot grant was awarded. The goal of the proposed research is to develop a general evolutionary theory to understand host-symbiont interactions. This is an important missing component of current investigations of the human microbiome and its interpretation in regard to human health. In terms of human pathogens, we may better understand the conditions for disease emergence as well as those that favor increases and decreases in disease virulence.

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