MSJC Biology Honors Students Present Genomics Education Partnership Research

April 11, 2014
The group of MSJC students presented in San Diego and at UC Irvine
A group of Mt. San Jactino College students recently presented research on the Drosophila, better known as the fruit fly, during the 55th Annual Drosophila Research Conference in San Diego.
The Annual Drosophila Research Conference is the international conference for biology researchers that use the fruit fly as their model organism. The MSJC students learned how to annotate genes and other features in the newly sequenced Drosophila biarmipes genome under Dr. Nick Reeves, MSJC biology instructor on the Menifee Valley Campus.
The MSJC students and Reeves attended the San Diego workshop before heading over to the Honors Transfer Council Conference at UC Irvine on April 5, 2014. Reeves received his doctorate in biology for research on the development of neural stem cells in Drosophila.
“We are excited to share the work of MSJC students with the Drosophila community through a poster presentation,” Reeves said. “This was a great opportunity for my honors students to experience the environment of a scientific conference and meet the scientists that are making scientific discoveries.”
Reeves and Michael Plotkin, biology instructor and life sciences chair on the San Jacinto Campus, participated in training for the Genomics Education Partnership (GEP) at Washington University in summer 2013. The goal of the GEP is to provide opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in Drosophila genomics research. GEP is a collaboration between a growing number of primarily undergraduate institutions and the Biology Department and Genome Center of Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.
Reeves and Plotkin became members of the partnership last summer and Mt. San Jacinto College is now the first Community College on the list of active institutions (
Student participants:
Celine Gerber of Temecula
Astrid Russell of Wildomar
Gabriel Sanchez of Hemet
Ursula Simonoski of Beaumont
Curtis Smith of Sun City
Robert Haywood of Menifee
Maureen Njuguna of San Jacinto
MSJC students presented their research on the fruit fly at two conferences. From left: Biology instructor Dr. Nick Reeves with students Astrid Russell, Maureen Njuguna, Gabriel Sanchez, Curtis Smith, Celine Gerber and Ursula Simonoski. Not pictured is student Robert Haywood.