Oakland University
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

James and the Giant Corn

Today, Allison Barbaglia defended her master’s thesis about transposable elements (helitrons) in the maize genome. Barbaglia works in the laboratory of Associate Professor and CBR member Shailesh Lal, of the Department of Biological Sciences.

Barbaglia’s presentation was notable for two reasons. First, her work made use of the software “HelRaizer," a computational tool created as part of the Summer Institute in BioEngineering and Health Informatics in the summer of 2009. This program is used to analyze the maize genome for the presence of helitron transposable elements exhibiting possible full length gene capture. Lal and Professor Fatma Mili of the School of Engineering and Computer Science supervised the development of this tool.

Second, Barbaglia presented her research as a poster (Accessing the Transcriptional Activity of Helitron-Captured Genes of Maize) at the 52nd Annual Maize Genetics Conference, held in March 2010 in Riva del Garda, Italy. Her poster attracted the attention of James Schnable, a researcher attending the conference who publishes a blog: James and the Giant Corn. One blog post, “Helitron Capture Creating New Genes? ” is dedicated entirely to discussing Barbaglia’s poster.
Graduate student Allison Barbaglia defends her masters thesis and is featured in the blog James and the Giant Corn.

Created by Brad Roth (roth@oakland.edu) on Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Modified by Brad Roth (roth@oakland.edu) on Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Article Start Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2011