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Biology Student Stories: Bailey Landis

Biology Student Stories: Bailey Landis


April 3, 2024

by Maisy Webb

From playing the clarinet and majoring in music to finding inspiration in deciphering the As, Ts, Gs, and Cs relevant to fruit fly evolution and genetics, Bailey Landis has many interests but has dedicated his educational pursuits to biology.

The “major” shift happened when Bailey took Genetics from Nitin Phadnis. That was the moment he realized he loved biology and wanted to give research a try.

Bailey asked Phadnis if he knew of any lab openings, and the very next day he entered the research world…in the Phadnis lab! “Even though research was new to me, I was given the opportunity to jump into cutting-edge science. I immediately began investigating the genetic basis of a hybrid incompatibility between two subspecies of Drosophila.” Bailey artfully explained that “When two populations of a species are isolated from each other, they rapidly evolve [and this can] lead to speciation.” Deciphering the molecular and genetic basis of this process is the focus of the Phadnis lab.

Bailey finds the lab environment “unequivocally amazing” and  “is inspired by the motivation and drive of his peers in the lab.” He says, “Whenever you are doing something, people want you to do well ... and are not hoping for your downfall. So I have gotten courage knowing when I am presenting or doing something scary that people are hoping to see me succeed.”

Bailey has gained an appreciation for the collaborative nature of science, receiving mentorship and mastering new techniques with support from two other biology professors, Kent Golic and Clayton Dale. As it goes in research, things often don’t work and you always have to be on the lookout for something unexpected, Bailey shared. “I became frustrated that my hard work had yielded no results and began doubting whether the X-ray machine was working correctly. I examined the neuroblasts of mutagenized males, looking for fragmented chromosomes to ensure that the genetic material was being irradiated. ... My irradiation approach was simple and reliable [yet] lacked efficiency, relying on randomly mutating a single gene out of over 13,000. I felt like I was waiting for an accident and wanted my approach to be more precise. I returned to the drawing board, searching for a more efficient way to identify this gene. I pivoted to a targeted deletion system using CRISPR/Cas-9.”

Bailey’s enthusiasm and dedication has led to an evolution in his knowledge, which will definitely give him a head start when he begins his PhD in biology, at the U, in the fall of 2024.

Bailey is from Chico, California. When he’s not in the lab, you can find Bailey indulging his many other interests from drawing and painting, fly fishing, working on his jiu jitsu, snowboarding, and cooking lots of different dishes!

 

This article originally appeared at the School of Biological Sciences

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Where the Wild Things Went During the Pandemic

Where the Wild Things Went During the Pandemic


March 18, 2024

A new study of camera-trap images complicates the idea that all wildlife thrived during the Covid lockdowns.

Austin Green

In the early months of the Covid pandemic, when every bit of news seemed bleak, there was one heartwarming narrative that took hold: With humans stuck in their homes, the world was safe again for wild animals, which could now wander freely through cities, parking lots or fields that once might have been crowded with people.

But a new global study, which used wildlife cameras to track human and animal activity during the Covid lockdowns, suggests that the story was not that simple. Austin Green HBS'16, PHD '22 , currently post-doctoral researcher in the College of Science's Science Research Initiative, is one of the many co-authors and a leader in Utah in the collection of data of wildlife as it intersects with urban environments.

“We went in with a somewhat simplistic notion,” said Cole Burton, a wildlife ecologist and conservation biologist at the University of British Columbia, who led the research. “You know, humans stop, animals are going to breathe a sigh of relief and move around more naturally. And what we saw was quite different.”

Although humans disappeared from some places during the lockdowns, they surged into others, like parks that remained open when little else was, the researchers found. And there was enormous variability in how wild mammals responded to changes in human behavior. Carnivores and animals living in remote, rural places, for instance, were more active when people faded from the landscape, while the opposite was generally true for large herbivores and urban animals.

The study, which was published in Nature Ecology & Evolution on Monday, deepens and complicates scientists’ understanding of what has been called the “anthropause,” when pandemic lockdowns radically altered human behavior. It also highlights the nuanced ways in which humans affect the lives of wild animals, as well as the need for varied and multifaceted conservation efforts, the authors said.

“There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to mitigating the impacts of human activity on wildlife,” said Kaitlyn Gaynor, a wildlife ecologist and conservation biologist at the University of British Columbia. “Because we see that not all species are responding similarly to people.”

Read the full article by Emily Anthes in the New York Times.

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Our DNA 2023

OUR DNA 2023


Aftermath 2024

The official magazine of the U Department of Mathematics.

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Spectrum 2023

The official magazine of the U Department of Physics & Astronomy.

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Common Ground 2023

The official magazine of the U Department of Mining Engineering.

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Down to Earth 2023

The official magazine of the U Department of Geology & Geophysics.

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Catalyst 2023

The official magazine of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Utah.

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Synthesis 2023

Wilkes Center, Applied Science Project and stories from throughout the merged College.

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Aftermath Summer 2023

Anna Tang Fulbright Scholar, Tommaso de Fernex new chair, Goldwater Scholars, and more.

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Air Currents 2023

Celebrating 75 Years, The Great Salt Lake, Alumni Profiles, and more.

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Spectrum 2022

Explosive neutron stars, Utah meteor, fellows of APS, and more.

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Aftermath 2022

Arctic adventures, moiré magic, Christopher Hacon, and more.

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Our DNA 2022

Chan Yul Yoo, Sarmishta Diraviam Kannan, and more.

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Spectrum 2022

Black Holes, Student Awards, Research Awards, LGBT+ physicists, and more.

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Aftermath 2022

Student awards, Faculty Awards, Fellowships, and more.

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Our DNA 2022

Erik Jorgensen, Mark Nielsen, alumni George Seifert, new faculty, and more.

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Notebook 2022

Student stories, NAS members, alumni George Seifert, and Convocation 2022.

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Discover 2021

Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Physics Research, SRI Update, New Construction.

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Our DNA 2021

Multi-disciplinary research, graduate student success, and more.

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Aftermath 2021

Sound waves, student awards, distinguished alumni, convocation, and more.

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Spectrum 2021

New science building, faculty awards, distinguished alumni, and more.

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Notebook 2021

Student awards, distinguished alumni, convocation, and more.

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Spectrum 2021

Student awards, distinguished alumni, convocation, and more.

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Aftermath 2021

Sound waves, student awards, distinguished alumni, convocation, and more.

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Our DNA 2021

Plant pandemics, birdsong, retiring faculty, and more.

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Discover 2020

Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Physics Research, Overcoming Covid, Lab Safety.

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AfterMath 2020

50 Years of Math, Sea Ice, and Faculty and Staff recognition.

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Our DNA 2020

E-birders, retiring faculty, remote learning, and more.

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Spectrum 2020

3D maps of the Universe, Perovskite Photovoltaics, and Dynamic Structure in HIV.

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Notebook 2020

Convocation, Alumni, Student Success, and Rapid Response Research.

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Our DNA 2020

Stories on Fruit Flies, Forest Futures and Student Success.

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Catalyst 2020

Transition to Virtual, 2020 Convocation, Graduate Spotlights, and Awards.

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Spectrum 2020

Nuclear Medicine, PER Programs, and NSF grant for Quantum Idea Incubator.

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Discover 2019

Science Research Initiative, College Rankings, Commutative Algebra, and more.

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Spectrum 2019

Nuclear Medicine, PER Programs, and NSF grant for Quantum Idea Incubator.

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Notebook 2019

The New Faces of Utah Science, Churchill Scholars, and Convocation 2019.

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Catalyst 2019

Endowed Chairs of Chemistry, Curie Club, and alumnus: Victor Cee.

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Our DNA 2019

Ants of the World, CRISPR Scissors, and Alumni Profile - Nikhil Bhayani.

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Catalyst 2019

Methane-Eating Bacteria, Distinguished Alumni, Student and Alumni profiles.

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Spectrum 2019

Featured: Molecular Motors, Churchill Scholar, Dark Matter, and Black Holes.

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Our DNA 2019

Featured: The Startup Life, Monica Gandhi, Genomic Conflicts, and alumna Jeanne Novak.

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AfterMath 2018

Featured: A Love for Puzzles, Math & Neuroscience, Number Theory, and AMS Fellows.

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Discover 2018

The 2018 Research Report for the College of Science.

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Spectrum 2018

Featured: Dark Matter, Spintronics, Gamma Rays and Improving Physics Teaching.

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Catalyst 2018

Featured: Ming Hammond, Jack & Peg Simons Endowed Professors, Martha Hughes Cannon.

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Ribosome adventures

Venki Ramakrishnan, 'My adventures in the ribosome'

 

Venkataraman “Venki” Ramakrishnan’s story is the stuff of fiction. He went from an eager undergraduate student in India to a self-described “failed physicist” to a major player in the race to uncover one of biology’s biggest mysteries—the structure of the ribosome, the most important molecule that nobody’s heard of that earned him a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2009.

The opportunity to research the ribosome drew Ramakrishnan to the University of Utah in the late ‘90s. The ancient molecule brings him back as a Nobel laureate to discuss his “Adventures in the Ribosome” at the College of Science’s Frontiers of Science Lecture Series on Sept. 26, at the Natural History Museum of Utah. The evening should be enthralling—his popular memoir Gene Machine reads like a thriller that navigates inspired collaborations, friendly rivalries, and cutthroat competition behind scientific discoveries and international accolades.

“Why did my career work out? I didn’t go to any famous schools for my undergrad or graduate school, and I was sort of an outsider most of my life. I think there’s some sort of general lessons there,” Ramakrishnan said. “One of them is if you find things don’t work out, you have to be open to change.”

Ramakrishnan has never been afraid of change. He earned a PhD in theoretical physics at the University of Ohio, but immediately realized that developing theories and mathematical calculations wasn’t for him. The field of biology grabbed his attention.

“Every issue of Scientific American when I was a grad student was full of big breakthroughs in biology. That was a time when the first sequences of DNA were being reported, Ramakrishnan said. “Biology was going through this huge revolution, and it hasn’t stopped.”

 

Read the full story by David Pace and Lisa Potter in @TheU.
Read more about the Ribosome exhibit, in conjunction with Ramakrishnan lecture, at the Natural History Museum of Utah.