Bugfest Recap!!

Bugfest was two weekends ago!  We had a blast getting to see and talk to everyone that stopped by our booth!! Kids, teenagers, and parents alike got to see live flies with dyed bellies as well as flies at different stages in the life cycle.  Then anyone that was interested also had the opportunity to pick up fun activity pages which included coloring sheets, a word search, and fun facts about fruit flies.  They also could make their very own fly ring or bracelet out pipe cleaners and beads!! The kids and sometimes even the adults even enjoy making these.  We really relish getting to have these hands on experiences in our community!! I know the Ables’ lab is already excited for next years Bugfest; the theme for which is Beetles!!

Here are a few pictures from this year’s Bugfest!! If you would like to see more pictures from the event please see our Lab Fun folder on the website. 



Rescheduled Bugfest Coming Soon!!

Bugfest update!!

The last post we had was about gearing up for Bugfest; however, due to Hurricane Florence Bugfest was postponed until Saturday, October 20th.  We super excited to still be going to this event this year and cannot wait to talk about flies, the flies life cycle, and the research our lab does.  The rescheduled Bugfest event is only 10 days away and our excitement is only growing!!

-The Ables Lab

Virginia Wins a FASEB Travel Award!

Ables Lab Senior Undergraduate Virginia Vasquez-Rios received a competitive Mentored Presenter Travel Award from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) to present her Senior Honors Thesis work at the 77th Annual Meeting of the Society for Developmental Biology in Portland, OR (July 20-24, 2018). Virginia had the opportunity to meet other undergraduates in the field and interact with colleagues from across developmental biology with the help of her FASEB mentor Dr. Graciela Unguez, a Professor at New Mexico State University. Virginia’s poster, titled “Identification of interacting partners of Tnpo-SR in the control of germline cell divisions in the Drosophila ovary” details the results of her targeted reverse genetic screen, designed to identify protein-coding genes critical for germ cell mitotic divisions and oocyte specification. The work is co-authored by Biology / Ables Lab alumna Taylor Hinnant (B. S. Biology, 2016; M. S. Biology, 2018) and serves as part of a foundational project in the lab investigating the mechanisms by which steroid hormones promote early germ cell development.

Congratulations to Two of our Lab-mates on Receiving NIH Awards

Congratulations to Biology Majors Virginia Vasquez-Rios and Morgan Phillips on Receiving National Institutes of Health Diversity in Health-Related Research Awards
Senior Biology majors Virginia Vasquez-Rios and Morgan Phillips have recently been awarded $17,000 (each) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to pursue research and training in the laboratory of Dr. Elizabeth Ables, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology. The competitive, merit-based research awards were conveyed by the NIH’s Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research program. This opportunity is designed for undergraduates working in NIH-funded labs to gain hands-on training in biomedical research, while bolstering the coursework and career development they need for future pre-professional programs. Ms. Vasquez-Rios (Pre-Medical) and Ms. Phillips (Pre-Dental) are investigating the roles of two novel genes in the control of stem cell function in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Their studies may shed new light on how tissue-resident stem cells are able to divide continuously in adult tissues, with implications in regenerative medicine and cancer biology. These awards will support their training through the summer and fall of 2018, giving them the time and resources they need to complete their Biology Senior Honors Theses.


Triangle Fly Symposium

Yesterday all of the Graduate students in the lab attended the 4th Annual Triangle Fly Symposium.  There were a lot of great speakers including the Keynote speaker, Dr. Eric Wieschaus.  Three of us even had the wonderful opportunity to have dinner  with him along with other Graduate and Post-doctoral students after the symposium had ended.  It was a great conclusion to a very long but informative, rewarding day. 

4th Annual Triangle Fly Symposium 2018

Dr. Elizabeth Ables Recipient of the 2018 Dean’s Early Career Award

This is a very prestigious award that is only given to one or two tenure-track professors within the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Science each year.  We are elated and incredibly proud of Dr. Ables for all that she does in and out of the classroom.  You can see the wonderful article about the award and each of this year’s recipients at the link provided below. 


Biology and Physics Department Party

The semester has ended! 

The Biology and Physics departments shared in the holiday cheer together to celebrate the end of the semester, all that has been accomplished, and to just have fun.  The night was filled with a yummy turkey and ham buffet followed by indoor mini-golf.  

The Ables lab brought out their competitive sides on the mini-golf course to see who would rein the victor!  We all brought our Holiday cheer by wearing Tacky Holiday sweaters. 

The evening was a blast filled with friends, laughter, and loads of Holiday cheer! 

From our lab to yours we wish you all Happy Holidays and safe travels!!

P.S. This is only the portion of the lab that was wearing Tacky Sweaters for the evening!  You can also see two photo-bombers in the picture!

Ecdysone meeting – coming soon!

Dear Drosophila Hormone Enthusiasts,
We are pleased to announce a call for abstracts for the 2017 Ecdysone Workshop at the 58th Annual Drosophila Research Conference!

This year´s Workshop will be held on Wednesday March 29th, from 12-6PM. The deadline for abstract submissions is Friday January 20th, 2015.

We hope you will submit your new and most exciting results (juvenile hormone, insulin and other hormones encouraged, as well)! The workshop is an excellent opportunity for graduate students and postdocs, as well as principal investigators to present their recent results. Please note, talks scheduled for platform sessions cannot be presented at workshops.

Please submit abstracts to rebecca.spokony@baruch.cuny.edu. We will announce the full speaker list in mid-February.

We hope you can make it and are looking forward to your participation.

Finally, please forward this email to anyone you think might be interested.

Thanks and we’ll look forward to seeing you in San Diego.

Rebecca Spokony and Elizabeth Ables

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