Lab News

May 2022: Welcome to Vanesa Lopa and Opeyemi Ibitoye, our newest PhD students!

May 2022: Welcome to our newest undergrad, REU students Eva Plankey and Alana Lue Chee Lip!

May 2022: Congratulations to Catherine Masiello, Adrian Orszulak, and Van Le who completed their senior projects in the Shell lab and were awarded their BS degrees. Adrian is going to be a PhD student in Biomedical Sciences at UMass Chan Medical School, Catherine will be working as a Research Associate II for the Metagenomics Discovery Team at Arbor Biotechnologies, and Van will be Research Associate of Preclinical Biomarkers at Caraway Therapeutics.

May 2022: Congratulations to Catherine Masiello for receiving BBT Department 2nd Place MQP Award!

April 2022: Catherine Masiello, Adrian Orszulak, and Van Le present their senior projects.

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May 2022: Undergraduate students of BB3527 Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering present their posters about using an ATc-inducible CRISPRi approach to knock down expression of key proteins in RNA metabolism in M. smegmatis.

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April 2022: Julia and Huaming present at the WPI’s Graduate Research and Innovation Exchange finals!

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March 2022: Congratulations to Huaming for passing his qualifying exam and becoming a PhD Candidate!

March 2022: Shell lab at Northeast World Tuberculosis Day Conference at Tufts University.

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March 2022: We’re finally out for a conference in person at the Pioneer Valley Microbiology Symposium!!! Huaming also gives a talk.

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January 2022: Welcome to Vanesa Lopa and Opeyemi Ibitoye, our new rotation students!

December 2021: Welcome to Abby Rapiejko, our newest PhD student!

December 2021: Welcome to Hilario Cafiero, our new postdoc!

October 2021: Congratulations to Julia for passing her qualifying exam and becoming a PhD Candidate!

Julia quals

October 2021: We say a bittersweet goodbye to Carla Martini, who is off to a faculty-track position in Argentina. We will miss Carla tremendously but we are so happy to see her taking the next big step in her career!

We love you, Carla!

September 2021: Welcome to our new NSF-funded post-baccalaureate student, Sarah Bibeau!

September 2021: Welcome to new rotation students Edward Chocano Coralla and Danielle Costello!

July 2021: Shell lab members and recent lab alums gather to celebrate a host of 2020-2021 accomplishments including papers published, grants awarded, MQPs completed, babies born, and Scarlet’s tenure!

Shell lab party July 2021

July 2021: Welcome to Sarah Shepro, Worcester high school teacher in residence in the Shell lab for the summer  (NSF RET award).

June 2021: The Shell lab and collaborators are awarded an NIH grant to study the roles of small RNAs in gene regulation and virulence of mycobateria (NIAID 1 R21 AI156415-01A1).

June 2021: Welcome to our newest undergrad, REU student Hannah Allen!

June 2021: PhD students Huaming Sun and Ying Zhou present posters at the Boston Bacterial Meeting.

May 2021: Congratulations to Jessica Kelly for winning the Provost’s MQP award for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology!

May 2021: Congratulations to Ryan Peters for receiving the third place Biology and Biotechnology Poster Presentation Day award!

May 2021: Congratulations to Jessica Kelly, Samantha Joubran, and Ryan Peters who completed their senior projects in the Shell lab and were awarded their BS degrees. Samantha and Ryan are off to grad school in the fall (Harvard University Chemical Biology PhD program and Purdue University Biological Sciences PhD program, respectively), and Jess is a research assistant in the Friedman lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

May 2021: Under the direction of Prof. Lou Roberts, undergraduates in lab course BB3527 begin investigating the gene products that modify mRNA 5′ ends in mycobacteria.

May 2021: The Shell lab gathers in person for the first time in over a year for a picnic party to celebrate Diego’s graduation.

Shell lab party May 2021

May 2021: Welcome to new postdoc Natalia Alonso! Natalia received her PhD at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and then worked as an Assistant Research Scientist at the Institute of Agrobiotechnology and Molecular Biology in Buenos Aires.

February 2021: Welcome to BCB PhD rotation student Junpei Xiao and new undergrad volunteers Livvie Atkins, Amelia Sadlon, and Daniel Larrabee!

December 2020: Congratulations to Diego Vargas Blanco for successfully defending his PhD dissertation!

September 2020: The Shell lab and a team of collaborators are awarded an NIH grant to study the mechanisms of antimycobacterial activity by Artemisia plant extracts (NIAID 1 R21 AI151481-01).

September 2020: Our paper on the role of the DNA methyltransferase MamA is published. This paper is the culmination of work by two WPI undergrads as well as PhD student Ying Zhou and postdoc Carla Martini. Congratulations to the team! You can find it here.

September 2020: Our paper on Regulation of mRNA Stability During Bacterial Stress Responses is published. Congratulations to Diego Vargas-Blanco and Scarlet Shell! You can find it here.

August 2020: Undergrads Catherine Masiello, Justin Moy, Jessica Kelly, and Adrian Orszulak complete summer bioinformatics projects – the science goes on, in spite of covid!

July 2020: The Shell lab together with a team of collaborators across the country are awarded an NIH program project grant to study pathways required for stress tolerance and antibiotic tolerance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (NIAID 1 P01 AI143575-01A1).

July 2020: Congratulations to Carla Martini (postdoc) on the birth of her new baby, Lucas!

July 2020: Our paper on the antimycobacterial properties of Artemisia plant extracts is published. This project is an exciting new collaboration with the lab of Pam Weathers. Congratulations to first author Carla Martini (postdoc) and the rest of the team! Check it out here.

June 2020: Grad students and postdoc are back in the lab and dancing joyfully from the freezer to the RNA bench!

June 2020: Congratulations to Shell lab alum Alexa Davis (B.S., 2020) on her new position as a research associate at Abcam Life Sciences!

June 2020: Congratulations to Shell lab alum Joe Dainis (B.S., 2020) on his new position as a research technician at Brown University!

April 2020: More exciting news in April. Scarlet was awarded the WPI Sigma Xi Outstanding Junior Faculty Research Award! Congratulations!

April 2020: Congratulations to Karina Franca (B.S., 2020)! Karina will be attending the Boston University School of Medicine for a Masters of Science in Genetic Counseling Program starting Fall 2020.

April 2020: Our newest paper is out and it is our first paper to have an undergraduate as co-first author. Congratulations Tien Nguyen (B.S.) and Diego Vargas-Blanco (Ph.D. candidate). Check it out.

April 2020: While our weekly meetings changed format, we are still eager to do science and share our findings… though we can’t help but feel nostalgic about the RNA bench.

Feb 2020: Ying, Diego and Huaming at the WPI’s Graduate Research and Innovation Exchange poster celebration day. Ying and Diego made it to the finals!

GRIE 2020

Nov 2019: lab game night!

Lab party time

Fall 2019: welcome to Julia, our newest PhD student!

Summer 2019: recent WPI grads Sam and Tien get exciting jobs as research technicians.

July 2019: Scarlet is elected to chair the Gordon Research Conference on Mechanisms of Microbial Transcription in 2023.

July 2019: Diego is elected to chair the Gordon Research Seminar on Tuberculosis Drug Development in 2021.

June 2019: Lunch to celebrate Diego’s mBio paper.

Celebrating Diego's paper

June 2019: Sam gives a lightening talk at the Boston Bacterial Meeting and wins the prize for best undergraduate poster.

Sam BBM lightening talk

May 2019: Three fantastic students – Oscar, Tien, and Sam – receive their Bachelor’s degrees.

Sam, Tien, and Oscar

May 2019: Sam, Tien, and Oscar present their senior projects.

Tien at PPD Sam at PPD Oscar at PPD

May 2019: Celebrating Scarlet’s WPI Board of Trustees Award for Outstanding Academic Advising.

Advising award dinner

April 2019: Diego wins best life sciences poster the the WPI Graduate Research and Innovation Exchange, and Sam wins the Salisbury prize for excellence in Biology and Biotechnology (with WPI president Laurie Leshin and WPI provost Wole Soboyejo).

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April 2019: WPI undergrads contribute to the Shell lab’s research mission in a course-based research experience (with Associate Teaching Professor Lou Roberts).

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April 2019: lab game night!

Lab party

March 8, 2019: Carla’s paper is accepted for publication by Frontiers in Microbiology. Time for a celebration lunch!

2019 Carla paper celebration lunch

March 7, 2019: Diego presents his work at the Boston TB Meeting

February 6, 2019: Diego and Huaming present their work at WPI’s Graduate Research and Innovation Exchange

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January 2019: Ying gives a talk at the Pioneer Valley Microbiology Symposium

Ying PVMS

January 2019: Scarlet gives a talk and Carla presents a poster at Keystone Tuberculosis in Banff, Alberta

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