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The Nishikawa lab & Co. have been busy the last few weeks and we intend to keep on pushing right into the break. Kari, who is working on figuring out the change in the stiffness of active titin in mutant mice when compared to wild type mice (via a “shivering frequency” experiment) is almost done with her shivering data and her observations are raising some eyebrows. Kit (who is trying to understand how frogs can jump out of water) has just wrapped up frog jumping and after one more minor experiment, he will be ready to prepare a manuscript. Both of them are using this data in prep of their master thesis works. Once they have worked out the bugs, I will let you guys in on the results! A brief intro on their work can be found in earlier posts.

Our post-docs (Cinnamon and Jenna) both have their author hats on as they finish up their manuscripts (and experiments) on characterizing active-titin deficient mutant mice muscles on a force lever. I will try to write a post dedicated to their work in the next few weeks. Tentative results seem to support the Winding Filament Hypothesis on activated titin.

I finally started my salamander research! 2 weeks ago, I received 7 D.fuscus from Lisa Whitenack @ Allegheny College (they are adorable). As we speak I am finishing up characterizing their skin and passive muscle/element elastic properties to their C-start jumping mechanism. I will have some results to talk about next semester. In other news, I think that I have wrapped up a separate salamander project on tail loss effects. After I finish up the manuscript I will summarize it here. I should mention that I took on an undergraduate researcher, Megan Keenom. She is very capable and her work has allowed my work to run efficiently.

Next semester, we have a new PhD student coming in to begin work on incorporating our titin model into leg prostheses. We will be getting a new post doc to work on this project as well. Once I learn exactly how they intend to do this, I will be sure to pass it on into the blog.
Rene, who is our ex-lab tech will be continuing in the lab as a masters student!

The Nishikawa lab is going, in numbers, to the SICB national conference in San Francisco January 3-8th.

Check back for in-depth posts of everything above! Thanks for reading!

A.Hessel

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