It's being loaded on YouTube.
The 24-hour free Zoom symposium, which began Wednesday, Aug. 11, drew attendees from 66 countries. UC Davis distinguished professor Walter Leal organized the event and co-hosted one of the three segments.
Nine videos from the symposium are now online, with more to follow:
- Video One is at https://youtu.be/QlyNCZtSvtY
- Video Two is at https://youtu.be/-aO8-1yfQRI
- Video Three is at https://youtu.be/2SsQvYlXKXY
- Video Four is at https://youtu.be/hmmEac7MliI
- Video Five is at https://youtu.be/60D99Z6nJI8
- Video Six is at https://youtu.be/rZ7i4d7VogQ
- Video Seven is at https://youtu.be/19ukK_R7eKE
- Video Eight is at youtu.be/eROTKZFhu9w
- Video Nine is at https://youtu.be/uVrESHyAyvU
Noted neuroscientist and keynote speaker John Hildebrand heralded the opening of the first-of-its kind international olfaction/taste symposium. Hildebrand is the Honors Professor and Regents Professor at the University of Arizona and the International Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences.
The symposium included 15 invited (keynote) and 36 contribution presentations,” said Leal, a UC Davis distinguished professor with the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and a former chair of the Department of Entomology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology). Leal hosted the PDT segment. Wynand van der Goes van Naters of Cardiff University, UK, hosted the British Summer Time (BST) segment; and Coral Warr of La Trobe University, Australia hosted the Australia Eastern Standard Time (AEST) segment.
The presentations covered a wide variety of insects, including three species of mosquitoes (Culex, Aedes and Anopheles); honey bee (Apis mellifera); fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster, Drosophila sechellia, and Drosophila suzukii); sand flies (the blood-sucking dipteran flies); cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera); housefly (Musca domestica); cabbage butterfly (Pieris rapae); and the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana).
- Total users (including those logging in periodically): 2,990
- 71 percent of the attendees surveyed said they were "very satisfied" with the symposium, and 12 percent "satisfied."
- 54 percent of the surveyed attendees had never attended a conference on chemosensation.
The survey yielded such comments as:
- "I used to work in the field of insect taste and olfaction and have attended a couple of ESITO meetings (European Symposium for Insect Taste and Olfaction) when I was a grad student and in early days as a postdoc. This was a wonderful opportunity to see that latest advances in the field and see many of the people whom I had met in person talk and some new people."
- "Thank you to the organizers for coordinating such an informative and well run virtual event."
- "Great collegial and convivial atmosphere. Really good idea to have a commentary on the lectures."
- "I am working on bark beetle olfaction, so I am available in the future with this topic. Thank you."
- "I learnt a lot from different groups especially disease vectors. It was a privilege to listen to some of the big names in this area. Looking forward to a future meeting."
- "I would like say the heartiest thanks to everyone who worked on this webinar. I am doing research for more than 10 years and I never experienced such a wonderful scientific event. What you have done can not be appreciated by words."
- "Undoubtedly, this is the best symposium I have ever attended to. I was able to join with almost every presentation. As an early-career researcher in chemical ecology, this inspired me a lot. Hope to present in this meeting and getting to know great scientists in the future. Hats off to the organisers. Thank you."
- "Thank you for organizing! I only wish there were more detailed times for each presentation so I could be sure to tune in for specific talks, but this is a great concept!"
The detailed schedule of times and speakers was purposely not announced in advance "in order to to keep attendance high when students, postdocs, and early-career scholars presented," Leal said, adding "I enjoyed listening to the student/early-career researchers talks. All of them were very interesting and well executed."
For more information and updates, follow Walter Leal on Twitter at @wsleal2014 or access his biochemistry channel where all the videos will be posted. Folks can also turn on YouTube and Chrome browser notifications to receive alerts.
(Editor's Note: See the initial news story, which includes the names of the presenters.)/span>/span>
The 24-hour Zoom event, to begin at 9 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 11, Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), will cover such topics as why mosquitoes are so persistent; the origins of insect olfaction; bitter perspectives (and insect taste); and novelty detection in the early olfactory processing of the honey bee.
“We will have 15 invited (keynote) and 36 contribution presentations,” said Leal, who will host the PDT segment. One of the interviews will feature olfaction research pioneer Karl-Ernst Kaissling of Germany.
Co-hosts with Leal are Wynand van der Goes van Naters of Cardiff University, UK, who will host the British Summer Time (BST) segment; and Coral Warr of La Trobe University, Australia (formerly of the University of Tasmania), host of the Australia Eastern Standard Time (AEST) segment. The trio, along with Karen Menuz (PDT), Wei Xu (AEST), and Emmanuelle Jacquin-Joly (BST), will moderate the symposium.
“The attendees will be engaged by questions and answers,” announced Leal, a UC Davis distinguished professor with the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and a former chair of the Department of Entomology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology). “We will give priority to questions from students, postdocs, and early career professionals, but will attempt to address everyone's questions. Attendees can ask anonymous questions.” Many of the attendees would not otherwise have an opportunity to travel to an international symposium, he added.
The first segment--the PDT segment hosted by Leal--begins with a welcoming address by John Hildebrand of the University of Arizona, International Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences. Presentations by Josefina del Marmol of The Rockefeller University, New York, and Jon Clardy of Harvard Medical School will follow. “There will be four keynote lectures and 10 contributed presentations,” Leal said.
The last presentation in this segment, by Ke Dong of Duke University, will bridge with the AEST segment, hosted by Warr. It will include two keynote lectures and 14 contributed presentations. Then, a keynote lecture by Richard Benton of the University of Laussanne will bridge with the BST segment, hosted by van der Goes van Naters. It will include six keynote lectures and 12 contributed presentations. After the last lecture by John Pickett of Cardiff University) the symposium returns to UC Davis for closing remarks.
The list of keynote speakers and their topics:
- Anupama Dahanukar, UC Riverside, Adaptive taste variation in Drosophila
- Jeff Riffell, University of Washington, The olfactory gating of visual preferences to human skin and colors in mosquitoes
- Leslie Vosshall, The Rockefeller University, Why are mosquitoes so persistent?
- Zain Syed, University of Kentucky, Insect olfaction in the era of genomes, transcriptomes, and proteomes
- Guirong Wang, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Molecular mechanism of olfactory coding in Helicoverpa armigera and its application
- Ke Dong, Duke University, A dual-target molecular mechanism of pyrethrum repellency against mosquitoes
- Melissa Jordan, Plant and Food Research, New Zealand, The origins of insect olfaction
- Richard Benton, University of Lausanne, Evolution of olfactory circuitry in drosophilids
- Frederic Marion-Poll, University Paris-Saclay, at AgroParistech, Bitter perspectives (and insect taste)
- Greg Jefferis, University of Cambridge, Olfactory circuits: whole brain connectomics to behavior
- John Pickett, Cardiff University, The role of chemistry in contextual olfactory signaling to insects
- Marcus Stensmyr, Lund University, Molecular basis of natural insect repellents
- Silke Sachse, Max Planck Institute – Jena, Olfactory learning modulates a neural circuit mediating innate odor-guided behavior in Drosophila
- Sylvia Anton, French National Institute for Agricultural Research, Plasticity in pest insect olfaction
The list of contributed presentations:
- Ben Matthews, Molecular and neural basis of salt taste in mosquitoes
- Carolina Reisenman, Taste specializations in specialist Drosophila sechellia
- Chris Potter, Olfactory responses to insect repellents in Anopheles malaria mosquitoes
- Craig Montell, Drosophila receptors controlling chemical and textural taste sensation
- Erika Plettner, Mechanisms of molecular recognition of odorant-binding proteins
- Hany Dweck, Evolutionary shifts in taste coding in the fruit pest Drosophila suzukii
- Jason Pitts, Indolergic receptors in the housefly, Musca domestica
- Jessica Zung, Chemical signatures of human odour and implications for mosquito olfactory evolution
- Mahmut Demir, Dynamic switch between ON and OFF responses in an olfactory receptor neuron
- Preeti Sareen, A neuronal network for gustatory decision making under conflicting taste information in Drosophila
- Walter Leal, Swapping mosquito odorant receptor domains to probe specificity
- Zepeng Yao, Serotonergic neurons translate taste detection into internal nutrient regulation
- Alice French, Sensory processing during sleep in Drosophila melanogaster
- Aniruddha Agnihotri, Unfolding the truth behind refolding of insect Odorant Binding Proteins
- Brian Smith, Novelty detection in early olfactory processing of the honey bee, Apis mellifera
- Chen-Zhu Wang, A gustatory receptor tuned to sinigrin in the cabbage butterfly Pieris rapae
- David Heckel, bric à brac controls sex pheromone choice by male European corn borer moths
- Helen Rushby, The role of olfaction in macronutrient balancing in Drosophila melanogaster
- Hidehiro Watanabe, Postembryonic development of sex pheromone reception in the American cockroach<
- Kosuke Tateishi, Functional analysis of odorant receptor co-receptor (Orco) in the antennae of the American cockroach
- Paul Cunningham, A blend of fruit and fungal volatiles shows promise for mass trapping female Queensland fruit fly
- Paul Szyszka, Rapid evolution of olfactory degradation in recently flightless insects
- Pinky Kain, Starvation and activity dependent modulation of salt taste in Drosophila
- Nobuaki Tanaka, A sexually dimorphic olfactory neuron mediates fixed action transition during courtship ritual in Drosophila melanogaster<
- Teruyuki Matsunaga, Evolution of olfactory receptors tuned to mustard oils in herbivorous Drosophilidae
- Yinliang Wang, Peripheral olfactory sensing of plant volatiles and their potentially applications in Northeast China
- Ben Paffhausen, A flying platform to investigate neuronal correlates of navigation in the honey bee (Apis mellifera)
- Bente Berg, Distinct protocerebral neuropils associated with attractive and aversive female-produced odorants in the male moth brain
- Danila Kolesov, Insect chemoreceptors in a mammalian chemogenetics
- Emmanuelle Jacquin-Joly, Function of odorant receptors in a moth
- Ilona Grunwald Kadow, A learning circuit is involved in mating state-dependent olfactory behavior of Drosophila females
- Jonathan Bohbot, Indolergic odorant receptors are an ancient feature of dipteran olfactory systems
- Julia Mariette, Functional study of the queen pheromone receptor OR11 in honey bees within the genus Apis
- Mario Pannunzi, Non-synaptic interactions in olfactory receptor neurons, a peripheral odour coding?
- Naoko Toshima, A rewarding and a punishing effect of amino acid taste in larval Drosophila
- Sharon Hill, Age matters: regulation of antennal transcription throughout a mosquito's first gonotrophic cycle
- Xi Chu, Neuronal architecture of the CO2 pathway in the brain of a noctuid moth
- Yael Grosjean, Adult sex-specific vigilance via olfactory receptor inhibition in Drosophila
The registrants hail from 66 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Réunion, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, The Philippines, United Kingdom, United States, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United States Minor Outlying Islands, Uruguay, and Vietnam.
For updates, videos and more information, follow Leal on Twitter at @wsleal2014.
- "Why do hairdressers use thioglycolic acid for permanent hair treatment?”
- "Why is the spike protein called a glycoprotein?"
- "When you get ivy poisoning, where do you expect that the active ingredient (urushiol) will accumulate?”
- "Who was the scientist at the UC Davis Genome Center that came out with the idea of using papain protease to reduce saliva viscosity?"
Those were some of the questions that the 60 undergraduate students competing in the first-ever UC Davis Eric Conn Biochemistry Quizzes answered, and the two winning teams will now compete against two teams from Cardiff University, UK.
The answers: To break disulfide bridges; Because it is decorated with sugar; In the cell membrane; and Lutz Froenicke.
More than 300 attendees ZOOMed in to watch the Feb. 20 competition. The event can be viewed online at https://youtu.be/Y9T9ayRXyYE.
“I thought the quizzes would help students get out of the ZOOM routine," said organizer-moderator Walter Leal, UC Davis distinguished professor of molecular and cellular biology and a former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. "But I did not envision that there would be so much interest. The response was overwhelming, and students showed a genuine interest in the activity. They recorded videos for self-introduction, studied for the quizzes, and--more importantly--made new friends.”
Two teams emerged victorious: Ironic Bonds Team and the Gibbs Team.
“We are planning a global event on Wednesday, March 10, with our UC Davis players challenging UK's Cardiff University,” Leal announced. UC Davis Chancellor Gary May will deliver the welcome address.
The three-game virtual event, to begin at 11 a.m., Pacific Time on Zoom, will first pit UC Davis vs. UC Davis, and then Cardiff vs. Cardiff to determine the players in the championship game. The public is invited to view the event by registering here: https://tinyurl.com/dmnftsuj
“I am absolutely delighted to provide this opportunity for our students to learn biochemistry, have fun, work as teams, and build international ties,” Leal said. “Yes, remote learning is challenging, but it also creates new opportunities.”
UC Davis students who will compete in the Cardiff University event: Catherine Rodriguez, Jiaying Liu, Kelly Brandt, Aly Lodigiani, and Efrain Vasquez Santos of the Ironic Bonds Team; and Brandon Matsumoto, Tina Luu, Yasi Parsa, Esha Urs, and Kathryn Vallejo of the Gibbs Team.
The format of the game will be three questions per team, alternating one question for each team. “In the event of a tie,” Leal said, “each team will be asked one question at a time until we break the deadlock.”
While the teams work on the questions, Dr. Dean Blumberg, an epidemiologist and chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, UC Davis Children's Hospital, will answer questions about vaccines and vaccinations.
In an exit survey, the Eric Conn Biochemistry Quizzes drew such comments as:
- “It was wonderful....a nice way for students to showcase their knowledge to their families and friends and a wonderful tribute to a great UCD scientist. Kudos to Professor Leal for putting it together.”
- “This was a super fun event and I wish we could have the opportunity to have something like this again. It was a really good review of the material we learned.”
- "I am very proud of the students and hold both students and faculty in highest regard, very respectful and smart."
- "Congratulations to all that played today. You are inspiring young individuals and we know you will leave a mark on your chosen fields of study.”
- "Very impressed with the caliber of students involved. Great game!”
- "I wanted to play!"
Eric Conn (1923-2017), a member of the UC Davis faculty for 43 years, was the third recipient of the UC Davis Prize for Teaching and Scholarly Achievement. Described as an excellent teacher and researcher, Conn received the Academic Senate's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1974 and the Academic Senate's highest honor, the Faculty Research Lecturer Award, in 1977. He won the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement in 1989.
Sixty UC Davis undergraduate students, divided into 12 teams with such names as “Green Team, “Amigo Acids” and “Attack on Titration,” will compete in the first-ever Eric Conn Biochemistry Quizzes, which will get underway on Zoom at 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20.
“This will be a fun activity and one that memorializes the legendary plant biochemist Eric Conn (1923-2017), renowned in his field,” said organizer and coordinator Walter Leal, UC Davis distinguished professor of molecular and cellular biology and a former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Conn, a UC Davis emeritus professor of molecular and cellular biology, "was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and his leadership at UC Davis helped establish the academic spirit of the College of Biological Sciences as it exists today," Leal said. "He strongly believed that a university professor should excel in both research and teaching.”
The public can register to view the event by logging in at https://tinyurl.com/y33eyc4v. It may become an annual event.
Initially, 40 students registered to compete—five per team—but the response was so overwhelming that Leal added four more teams. The first eight teams to register will compete on camera, while the other four teams will play “off tube.”
“I created the word in reference to the old TV set (a tube) to say that they will not be on camera,” Leal quipped. “These teams will play simultaneously with the teams playing on camera. We will have a scorekeeper, Radek Abarca, who will keep track of their response in real-time.”
“Team A will play along with the Proline Pros, and Team D will play along with Drop the Base,” Leal said. “Next, Team B will play along with the Krebs Cyclists,” and Team C will play with the Gibbs Team.”
The first 40 students to register introduce themselves, their majors and their hometowns in videos posted on Leal's Twitter account, @wsleal2014.
The first game pits the Green Team vs. the Amigo Acids and includes Almas Khan, Christopher Yun, Max Fallejo, Kathryn Vallejo, Alvin Kim, Caidon Iwuagwu, Jeffrey Toman, Karsen Culverhouse, Matthew Kim, and Sudev Namboordiri. On Leal's video, each also names his or her favorite amino acid.
In the second game, it's the Proline Pros vs. Drop the Base. Participants are Alyse Lodigiani, Anthony Weidner, Aaditi Gaikwad, Banin Alofi, Jennifer Kang, Rachel Levan, Anish Wadhwa, Ian Guzman, Viraj Deshpande and Yu-uki Onda.
The third game stars the Krebs Cyclists vs. the Gibbs Team. Participants are Joseph Morrison, Addison Ali, Alan Santana Cortez Molina, Shiwani KC, Frances Gross, Natalie Six, Yasamin “Yasi” Parsa, Brandon Matsumoto, Tina Luu and Esha Urs.
In the fourth game, the Attack on Titration will clash with the Ironic Bonds. Participants are Charlize Mitra, Kelly Kim, Maya Mysore, Lizeth Macias, Suzanne Quiroz, Natanie “Tonie” Leech, Jiaying Liu, Catherine Rodriguez, Lauren Hartwell and Kelly Brandt.
Participating students are from as far away as the City of Pune (India), Yokohama (Japan), Nanjing (China), and as close as the City of Davis. Other students hail from Cupertino, Los Angeles, Redwood City, Santa Monica, Palmdale, Irvine, Redding, Sacramento, Fairfield, Cupertino, San Jose, San Diego, San Ramon, Elk Grove, San Lorenzo, Lincoln, El Centro, Santa Rosa, Oakland, Roseville, Tracy, and Martinez in California, and Long Island in New York, among the many other municipalities.
“Each team of five players will be given three questions,” Leal said. “They will have one minute to confer while we hear stories about Eric Conn; see videos from staff, faculty and alumni and UC Davis friends; and watch public service messages on health topics such as COVID-19 and diabetes.”
College of Biological Sciences (CBS) faculty will ask questions via video. Emeriti Professors Clark Lagarias and Charles Gasser will judge the competition. The schedule also includes CBS Professor Judy Callis delivering a brief remembrance of Conn, and CBS Dean Mark Winey offering a message of encouragement to the students.
In her video, Dr. Allison Brashear, dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, addresses the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines. Also planned: footages of favorite campus sites that students miss the most, and “even accounts of how departments were named in the old days,” Leal said. Plant pathologist George Bruening, professor emeritus, Department of Plant Pathology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will be among the faculty featured in the clips.
Conn, a member of the UC Davis faculty for 43 years, was the third recipient of the UC Davis Prize for Teaching and Scholarly Achievement. Described as an excellent teacher and researcher, Conn received the Academic Senate's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1974 and the Academic Senate's highest honor, the Faculty Research Lecturer Award, in 1977. He won the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement in 1989. See https://youtu.be/TdwJkcjQvbw.
A friendly global rivalry between undergraduate biochemistry students at UC Davis and at University College Dublin, Ireland, is being launched in memory of plant biochemist Eric Conn (1923-2017), a UC Davis professor emeritus of molecular and cellular biology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
To be called the UCD vs. UCD Biochemistry Games, it will be preceded by a preliminary game, the Eric Conn Biochemistry Quizzes, set for 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20 to determine the UC Davis participants. Students (prospective participants) and the public can register at https://tinyurl.com/y33eyc4v. Up to 500 members of the public can register.
“Both UC Davis and UC Dublin are global research universities,” said organizer Walter Leal, a UC Davis distinguished professor of molecular and cellular biology and a former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology). “However, the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered our efforts to exchange students. Meanwhile, remote learning is causing ZOOM fatigue and impairing student's ability to focus. We hope that this educational activity will promote physically distant, socially close interactions between undergraduate students and further our institutions' ties.”
Both universities maintain vibrant research programs, said Leal. More than 39,000 students attend UC Davis, a public land-grant research university and a member of the Association of American Universities, and more than 33,000 attend UC Dublin, a member institution of the National University of Ireland, and Ireland's largest university.
The number of UC Davis students selected to compete is undetermined, depending on responses from UC Dublin, Leal said. “It may be between 10 and 15 students on each team.”
“The final Games will focus on protein structures, including two proteins closely related to SARSCoV-2 inflicted COVID-19 disease,” Leal said. “Specifically, students will be asked questions about the structures of human hemoglobin--the protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body's tissues (and return carbon dioxide) and the virus' spike protein-- that binds to a human receptor, known as ACE2, and starts the process of invading human cells.” The Eric Conn Quizzes will cover other topics of fundamental biochemistry.
Leal said that one of the most notorious presentations of COVID-19 is hypoxia (insufficient oxygen in the blood). “While the virus replicates and the spike proteins trigger invasion to other cells, hemoglobin cannot capture enough oxygen because the lungs' alveoli are filled with the mucus derived from the viral infection.”
Two Department of Molecular and Cell Biology emeriti professors Charles Gasser and National Academy of Sciences member J. Clark Lagarias, will ask questions and serve as judges for both the preliminary game and the final. Two UC Dublin judges also will be selected. Prizes are pending.
The event promises to be an educational and entertaining activity but at the same time honoring legendary plant biochemist Eric Conn, world-renowned in his field for his contributions to the understanding of plant metabolism. Conn served on the UC Davis faculty for 43 years.
“He is remembered as an architect and advocate of biological sciences programs at UC Davis whose leadership helped establish the academic spirit of the College of Biological Sciences as it exists today,” according to a Sept. 21, 2017 article on the College of Biological Sciences website.
Born in Berthoud, Colo., the youngest of four sons, Eric moved with his family in the early 1930s to Bellaire, Kan. He considered himself a “child of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression.” Eric received a four-year scholarship to the University of Colorado, earning his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1944. He worked as an inorganic chemist with the Manhattan Project through the remainder of World War II, first as a citizen and then as a private with the U.S. Army.
Conn received his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Chicago in 1948 and served as a postdoctoral fellow there for two years before joining the faculty of UC Berkeley in 1950. Conn joined the UC Davis faculty in 1958, founding the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics with UC Davis colleague Paul Stumpf (1919-2007). The department they founded evolved into the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.
Described as an excellent teacher and researcher, Conn received the Academic Senate's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1974 and the Academic Senate's highest honor, the Faculty Research Lecturer Award, in 1977. He won the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement in 1989.
Conn organized the university's introductory course in biochemistry in 1959 and taught it until his retirement in 1993. The course became a requirement for numerous undergraduate majors. Conn was the third recipient of the UC Davis Prize for Teaching and Scholarly Achievement (https://youtu.be/TdwJkcjQvbw)