Jasmyn Hoeger has received two fellowship awards for her research at the University of Iowa. She was awarded the “Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award” from the University of Iowa,” This award includes a $2,000 travel award. To reads the full press release for the “Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award”  please use the following link: EURA Winner Jasmyn Hoeger | Office of Undergraduate Research – The University of Iowa (uiowa.edu) .

Jasmyn is also the recipient of the UI-MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers) 2024-2025 Fellow Award. This is an “NIH-funded T34 training program that supports the academic and personal success of underrepresented junior and senior University of Iowa students committed to pursuing a PhD or combined M.D/Ph.D program after graduation.”

Dr. Kristina Martinez-Guryn (Midwestern University) received the following extramural funding from NIH-NIDDK:
MPI Name: Kristina Martinez-Guryn (Subcontract with University of Chicago, Contact MPI Eugene B. Chang, MD)
Grant title: Probing short and long term consequences of Small and Large Bowel Microbiota Transplants on Host Physiology: Implications for the development of future live biotherapeutics.
Funding Agency: NIH, NIDDK
Funding period: 2/1/24 – 12/31/27
Direct costs and indirect costs for entire grant: $2,787,536
MWU, Direct $550,546, Indirect $223,498, Total $744,044


The intestinal tract is comprised of functionally different regions, each having distinct and highly selected microbiota assembled to achieve a mutualistic relationship important to the health of the host. However, it is becoming evident that perturbations of the balance between host and microbes such as through diet and antibiotic use affect states of health and give rise to a multitude of disorders. This recognition has fostered interest in more “natural” remedies such as Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) to maintain or restore gut microbiota health in patients with recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection and other disorders (IBD, IBS, metabolic disorders). Yet, FMT preparations are comprised mostly of colonic anaerobic microbes not indigenous or fit to inhabit the small intestine. Mismatches between regional host gut ecosystems and their microbiota could have adverse consequences to the host. Thus, we hypothesized that colonic microbiota of FMT will not properly restore the microbiome of the small intestine (and vice versa) and that this will have both short- and long-term regional and systemic consequences. Indeed, our preliminary data show that the engraftment of donor microbiota in non-indigenous ecosystems can be substantial, creating mismatches that lead to regional and systemic consequences particularly of immune and metabolic networks that persist at least 3 months in a post-antibiotic (Abx) microbial transplant murine model. The goal of this recently awarded grant is to employ both in vivo and in vitro experimental models (1) to examine to what extent do post-Abx jejunal (JMT) vs fecal (FMT) microbiota transplants restore regional gut microbiota composition and function, and host immune and metabolic function following antibiotic-induced dysbiosis compared to cecal microbiota transplant (CMT) and saline controls; and (2) to determine the direct impact of JMT vs FMT-specific microbes identified through a novel cross ‘omics bioinformatic integration platform and their metabolites on host metabolism and immune function using in vivo and in vitro approaches. It is expected that our findings will raise awareness to the potential concerns of improper restitution of regional gut microbiota with microbiota transplants that may require a rethinking of current FMT practices.

In Vitro – Animal Editor-in-Chief, Tetsuji Okamoto, is delighted to announce a special issue on “Exploring Oral, Head & Neck Cancer: Insights from Basic Research” in the In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology – Animal journal, guest-edited by Professor Yasusei Kudo of Tokushima University, Japan.

This special issue covers a wide range of original articles and review papers from basic research using oral, head & neck cancer cells/cell lines. Any topic related to oral, head & neck cancer such as carcinogenesis, proliferation, invasion, metastasis, microenvironment, immune response, drug resistance, biomarker, molecular targeted therapy, and treatment modality is welcome. The submission deadline is expected to be November this year.

We look forward to your contribution in this special issue. Please submit your manuscript online.

Charlotte Kemble, a Slovak-American Junior at Marian High School, is a driven scientist specializing in the study of MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and the development of bacteriophage technology. Her groundbreaking work has garnered recognition, including the Tri-PAC Senior Division Award for Advancement in Technology and an award of Outstanding Achievement in In Vitro Biology. Charlotte was also chosen to compete in the Senior Division at the ISEF Science competition on April 6th, 2024. Charlotte’s expertise and innovative research have laid the foundation for advancements in combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, marking her as a leader in the field of microbiology.

Oregon State Forest Undergraduate in Strauss Laboratory Awarded NSF GRFP Fellowship. Xavier Tacker is a senior conducting comparative transcriptome studies of in vitro regeneration in poplar. He is a first-gen college student, Barry Goldwater Scholar, and GEM Consortium Fellow who will attend the University of Florida as an NSF fellow in Fall 2024. For his PhD he will investigate the genome-guided enhancement of flavor in Strawberry.

CAST has recently offered  a recording, paper, and the presentation slides of a recent webinar on “Applications, Benefits, and Challenges of Genome Edited Crops.” Whether you want to revisit key points or missed the live event, you can access these resources to deepen your understanding of genome editing technologies in agriculture.


The DOE recently organized a workshop on “Barriers in Plant Transformation: A Focus on Bioenergy Crops” chaired by Prof Wayne Parrott (University of Georgia) and one of Co-Chairs was Veena Veena from Danforth Plant Science Center. They have submitted the report to the Department of Energy (DOE) who has published the report online (https://genomicscience.energy.gov/plant-transformation/). A pictured here is the QR code to access the report. There are several recommendations in the report which could benefit plant genomics research community and funding agencies alike.


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