The first Rückert lab student graduates in May 2022
Roxana Sandoval Garcia has graduated with her MS in Biochemistry this May 2022. Roxana worked mainly on the difficult cryopreservation project. She is a first generation college graduate and we wish her all the best for her future endeavors!
Good luck and Go Roxana!
It is 2022 and we have not updated this page in forever!
Over the last year, we had lots of notable news - Tran Zen received 4 Nevada Undergraduate Research Awards and presented his research at 3 UNR poster symposiums - Go Tran Zen! Kalvin just received his first Nevada Undergraduate Research Award for Spring 2022. And Elizabeth received an NV INBRE Service Award to facilitate her small RNA sequencing efforts.
Claudia had one co-author paper published and the lab is about to submit a review article that Brian, Elizabeth, and Tran Zen wrote together with Claudia's guidance. There might be other achievements that I am forgetting about (such as surviving my first semester of teaching), but more will follow in 2022.
We also had the first Rueckert Lab retreat up in Tahoe last August - 2 days of fun that helped bring the lab together after a long period of isolated activities and social distancing. Hopefully, we can do it again this year - ideally with less smoke ...
UNR Team awarded subcontract on NSF EPSCoR Track II project (September 2020)
In September 2020, our NSF EPSCoR Track II project to study tick-borne diseases in the Western U.S. started. The Rückert lab is one of 6 research groups at UNR involved in the project, which is led by the University of Idaho.
Taken from tickbase.net: 'Tick-borne diseases (TBDs) account for a staggering 94% of human illnesses due to vector-borne diseases in the U.S. The mission of this project is to assimilate disparate datasets with spatio-temporal, environmental and human predictors and to leverage cyber-infrastructure and data science to enhance forecasting of TBDs in the western U.S.'
Rückert lab awarded Nevada INBRE Developmental Research Project grant to establish high-throughput screens in mosquito cells
In this project, we will establish and compare a CRISPR/Cas9 gene knockout screen and an siRNA screen that can be performed in 96-well large-scale format. We will compare gene knockdown efficiency to traditional dsRNA transfection methods and determine the best approach for a reliable screen. We will test it on 16 select genes, including antiviral genes, proviral genes, and genes of unknown function, and measure the impact of knockdown/knockout on replication of an alphavirus, a flavivirus, and an orthobunyavirus.
Rückert lab awarded NIH R03 award to establish cryopreservation methods for Culex mosquitoes
Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito eggs can be preserved on dried egg papers for several months. Culex mosquitoes, however, need continuous maintenance of colonies which can be a major drain on resources and effort. This drawback also makes the idea of maintaining several transgenic Culex lines nearly impossible, and has stopped many researchers from trying to develop transgenic lines in the first place (among other technical difficulties).
With this small NIH grant, we will try to adopt cryopreservation strategies, such as liquid nitrogen freezing of eggs, to develop protocols for the long-term storage of Culex lines. This task will be difficult, as we know from other insect cryopreservation approaches, but the benefits for preservation of transgenic lines could be enormous, so we decided it is worth the effort.
Due to the ongoing pandemic of Sars-CoV-2, the Rückert lab will be shutting down lab work. We have egg papers from our Aedes aegypti colonies, so we can 'kill off' the ones we have and we have frozen down all cells. Write-ups will be done remotely and we will be back in full swing soon, and with new graduate students starting in the Fall.
Update - June 2020
The lab is reopening with adjusted safety protocols for social distancing, PPE, and disinfection procedures.
We hatched eggs!
The time has come to raise some Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and make more egg papers. While we will need to keep the adults in another insectary (space is kindly provided by Dr. Monika Gulia-Nuss), due to on-going humidity issues, everything else is ready for these guys. Hopefully we can soon get those last ~20-30% of humidity that are currently missing. An exciting week for the Rueckert lab :)
Insectary about to open!
Our ACL-2 insectary renovations are finished (minus a leaking faucet and a timed light switch...) and it has been approved for work with mosquitoes and Sindbis virus by the UNR IBC! Exciting to start mosquito work soon!
BSL-2 virus work in cell culture was also approved. The lab will be busy with 5 of us working here now.
We're getting there!
Insectary renovations have begun!
Renovations on our new BSL-2/ACL-2 insectary space for mosquito rearing/experiments began this Monday 10/28/2019. Contractors will spend the next couple of months sealing doors, adding an 'ante-room', adding a lowered ceiling, and making the room 'mosquito-proof', as well as temperature, humidity and light controlled. This will be the last big step towards a fully functional laboratory and we're excited to see it happening.
Wish us luck that things go at least mostly to plan and we can start 2020 strong - with a fully set-up, functioning lab and insectary!
Lexi Robison has joined the Rückert lab!
Alexis (Lexi) Robison recently graduated with a Microbiology degree from Colorado State University, where she was working in the Ebel lab with Claudia as her mentor. She will now work as our laboratory technician/manager helping us get the mosquito colonies going and the lab set up and running. We will also work on getting her first author publication from her undergraduate work submitted.
Welcome Lexi, I hope you will enjoy Reno and UNR!
The Rückert lab is here!
On August 12th, I finally got a chance to start setting up my lab and office. It's been almost 3 weeks now and the lab is not as empty anymore. Reagents and equipment have been successfully scavenged and new items are being ordered. I look forward to filling it with people soon!