Benjamin Moran was awarded the Goldwater Fellowship in December 2014.
Moran, a Marine Biology major, is mentored by Professor Bill Detrich.
Here, he writes about his research experience:
“I’m certain that the several research opportunities I’ve had in my time at Northeastern helped my Goldwater application stand out. This previous summer, I spent 4 months working at Northeastern’s Marine Science Center in Nahant, MA, in the laboratory of Dr. H. William Detrich. Dr. Detrich and his laboratory discovered the bloodthirsty (bty) gene in Antarctic icefish, and demonstrated that it was required for the development of embryonic red blood cells. This gene has multiple functions, so an important open question is when and where bty is expressed in developing embryos. I aimed to create a model for bty expression, in the form of transgenic zebrafish which produced a fluorescent protein in the same times and locations as Bty. To do so, I created DNA vectors with a possible bty regulator controlling the fluorescent proteins EGFP or mCherry, injected them into zebrafish embryos, and observed any fluorescence caused by the DNA construct. Although I didn’t successfully identify the entire regulatory sequence in my time this summer, other possible promoter sequences were isolated, and left to the lab for later trials.
While conducting this evolutionary and developmental biology project, I also worked on a project in Dr. Jon Grabowski’s fisheries ecology, conservation, and policy lab. As an independent volunteer, I began preliminary investigation and data analysis for a fisheries socioeconomics publication, reviewing the characteristics and outcomes of those fisheries labelled Federal Fishery Disasters by the Department of Commerce. Before this summer, I spent both semesters of my first year at Northeastern learning bioinformatics techniques in the Laboratory of Neurobiology, under Dr. Gunther Zupanc. I worked as part of a team assembling a de novo central nervous system transcriptome of Apteronotus leptorhynchus, the brown ghost knifefish (an important model species in neuroethology used frequently by the Zupanc lab).”