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K-State Today

March 5, 2024

Michael Veeman to present Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Seminar

Submitted by Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Michael Veeman, professor of biology at Kansas State University, will be the featured speaker for this week's Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Seminar. Veeman will present "Understanding tunicate development with single-cell resolution" at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, in 120 Ackert Hall.

The invertebrate Ciona has a chordate body plan in the context of a very small, simple embryo with invariant cell lineages. Veeman's lab uses Ciona embryos to study chordate development with subcellular detail and an embryowide field of view. The lab uses microscopy and transcriptomics as its major experimental modalities, with the Ciona embryo enabling some explicitly quantitative approaches that would be more difficult in other model organisms. Most of the work at K-State has been on the notochord as a tractable model organ, but a tangential observation from a single cell RNAseq experiment has led us into a new interest in a poorly understood branch of the Ciona embryonic cell lineages that gives rise to posterior neural tube and tail tip muscle cells. 

Veeman will present the lab's latest findings on this posterior neuromesodermal lineage and discuss the potential relationships with neuromesodermal progenitors in vertebrate embryos. Different cell types in this lineage exhibit major differences in the abundance and morphology of mitochondria, and Veeman will present evidence indicating that both asymmetric partitioning in cell division and differential mitochondrial dynamics in interphase are involved. Veeman will also show results from a side project where we are working to quantify transcriptional cis-regulatory input/output relationships on a genomewide scale.