2007

Free Fallin'

A chill is in the air and the days are getting shorter in Madison. But there is no shortage of work in the lab. Alex Blasky and Justin Greene are preparing manuscripts for submission while Shelby and I just finished hosting Dr. Denis Nansera, a pediatrician from Uganda, and Dr. Esper Kallas, a clinician/researcher from Sao Paulo, Brazil. A crazy and hectic week!

Earlier this month I gave a seminar to transplantation researchers in Washington D.C., a city I will be visiting twice more by the end of November. October was also a busy month for teaching. Shelby and I lectured extensively in Pathology 210, HIV: Sex, Science, and Society and Pathology 803.

The lab is happy to welcome our newest member, Dr. Dawn Dudley, who joins us after getting her PhD in Dr. Eric Arts's laboratory at Case Western Reserve University.

dave

Off the Road Again

In the last month we've had lots of travel. Roger visited our collaborator Dan Geraghty in Seattle and attended the AIDS Vaccine 2007 conference. Meanwhile, Shelby and I visited Kim Hasenkrug in Hamilton, Montana. We got to spend a few days talking about adoptive transfer of cellular immunity, learn about the NIH's Rocky Mountain Labs, and enjoy the natural beauty of western Montana.

Shelby and I submitted 2 NIH R01 applications in the week after we returned from Montana. Now we keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best!

Last week Shelby, Alex Blasky, and I attended the 25th Annual Nonhuman Primate Models for AIDS meeting in Monterey, CA. Outside the meeting (where Dave had a talk and debuted a video previewing next year's conference), we spent time hiking with our friends Stephen Kent from the University of Melbourne and Dave Evans from the New England Primate Research Center. Later the same day we got to snorkel in Monterey Bay with other scientists from the New England Primate Center. Who knew there were so many sea lions in California (not us!)?

Congratulations to Justin Greene who submitted a manuscript in August and also completed his Pathology Department Preliminary Written exam. Julie Karl also submitted a manuscript last month. Hopefully the next website update will reflect the positive peer review of these papers!

Chaotic

I am writing this from the LaGuardia airline terminal in New York. When many flights are delayed - as they are now - the already small gate areas can begin feeling entirely claustrophobic. Combine with two parts screaming babies and a good time is has by all.

I am in New York to meet with our friends at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. They provided support for our pilot research into nonhuman primate adoptive transfer experiments and I visited today to give a status update on this project. If all goes well, we will continue our relationship with IAVI into the future.

Last week I also visited with HIV treaters at the Medical College of Wisconsin. If our subsequent interactions are as positive as the ones we had last week, Milwaukee and Madison HIV treaters and researchers may be working together very soon.

In other late breaking lab news, I'm pleased to announce that Dr. Dawn Moore-Dudley, formerly of Dr. Eric Arts' laboratory at Case Western Reserve, will be joining our team in October. Welcome Dawn!

Chaotic

I am writing this from the LaGuardia airline terminal in New York. When many flights are delayed - as they are now - the already small gate areas can begin feeling entirely claustrophobic. Combine with two parts screaming babies and a good time is has by all.

I am in New York to meet with our friends at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. They provided support for our pilot research into nonhuman primate adoptive transfer experiments and I visited today to give a status update on this project. If all goes well, we will continue our relationship with IAVI into the future.

Last week I also visited with HIV treaters at the Medical College of Wisconsin. If our subsequent interactions are as positive as the ones we had last week, Milwaukee and Madison HIV treaters and researchers may be working together very soon.

In other late breaking lab news, I'm pleased to announce that Dr. Dawn Moore-Dudley, formerly of Dr. Eric Arts' laboratory at Case Western Reserve, will be joining our team in October. Welcome Dawn!

Returned

We're back in Madison after a week of whirlwind traveling to Florida and Brazil. With classes done, the lab is busier than ever with graduate students and undergrads spending entire days in lab. Hopefully it will be a productive summer!

Congratulations to O'Connor lab alumnus (Sr. Vice President in Charge of Awesomeness) Kendall Krebs -- he tied the knot last weekend and is moving to Cleveland with Christi to work with Dr. Eric Arts.

In a highly anticipated matchup, the original lab soccer team, Incompetent United (with the Drs. O'Connor, Ben Burwitz, and Chad Pendley), solidly thrashed the motley upstart lab team the Long-Term Non-Progressors (which includes Alex Blasky, Justin Greene, and Ericka Becker) 3-1. Rumor has it that the LTNP were so distraught that they disbanded their team for the summer.

A few other developments to pass along:

- Undergraduate Chad Pendley won a prestigious Hilldale Undergraduate Research Fellowship for his studies on Indonesian cynomolgus macaque MHC genetics
- 1st year PhD student Ben Bimber was selected to give an oral presentation at the University of Wisconsin Immunology Symposium
- Assistant Scientist Roger Wiseman participated in an NIH think tank on nonhuman primate genetics in late May
- The website for the Knowledge Vaccine Project can now be accessed
- I was just named the Wisconsin Primate Research Center's interim Associate Director for Research Services in addition to my responsibilities as head of the Primate Center's Genetics Service.
- Shelby and I also started a new project with our friends and co-geeks Angie Mabb and Scott Svendsen to simplify supplies purchasing for academic labs. For more details, visit http://www.lab-hound.com.

Grants

New research proposals have been the story of the last few months. We submitted an expanded proposal to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, revised a proposal for the MERC New Investigator award program, and submitted our lab's first NIH R01 grant application. This summer will see us writing at least two more grants, an NIH R13 travel grant for the 26th Symposium for Nonhuman Primate Models for AIDS (I am the Scientific Chair!) and revision of a program grant. Needless to say, it has been busy!

In a way, the next few weeks will be more relaxing. I am preparing a talk for the American Association of Immunologists meeting in Miami and a visit to our collaborator Esper Kallas in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Thawing

The temperature in Madison has finally climbed out of the teens, though we still may see more snow before the end of winter (note added 2/23 - we're supposed to get over a foot of snow this weekend!). The last few months in the lab have been very productive. Roger Wiseman submitted a review article and Shelby O'Connor recently resubmitted a manuscript on Mauritian cynomolgus macaque MHC class II genetics. The two Bens, Bimber and Burwitz, recently joined the lab as graduate students, willingly submitting themselves to several years of working around here. We also hired a new undergraduate researcher, Ann Detmer, bringing our total number of undergrads to four. I am also happy to report that Jason Wojcechowskyj, one of our former technicians, paused his tour of the world long enough to get accepted into graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations Jason!