Category Archives: SRBR

Greg Cahill (1958-2008)

It is with great sadness that I learned that Dr.Greg Cahill died a few days ago, at the Houston airport, waiting for his flight. I have met Greg at several meetings of the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms and while, those being fairly large meetings, we never had big one-on-one conversations, I remember him as a humble and friendly person, beloved by everyone.
He started his scientific career in Mike Menaker’s lab, studying the entrainment of the mammalian clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in vitro. Making preparations of SCN and optic tracts and doing electrophysiology on such preparations was not an easy technical feat back in 1986 or so when he started doing this. After getting a PhD with Menaker at the University of Oregon, Greg did some work on circadian clocks in the retina of the Xenopus frog with Dr. Joseph Besharse.
When he got his own lab at the University of Houston, he was one of the first two circadian researchers to start using the zebrafish. I remember the SRBR meeting when we all excitedly watched the two of them present their first data – both primarily focused on the methodological question: how to continuously monitor circadian rhythms in this animal.
The other researcher, Dr.Keith Barrett (MS with Terry Page on cockroaches, PhD with Herb Underwood on Japanese quail, postdoc with Joseph Takahashi on chicken pineal, then started on zebrafish, not doing science any more, I hear), designed a continuous-flow collection and melatonin assay of zebrafish larvae placed in a 96-well plate.
Greg Cahill used a different tactic – he also placed larvae in a 96-well plate, but instead, he trained a camera on them and came up with a computer program to translate the video of the movements into quantitative data of circadian locomotor activity.
Having this methodology as a starting point, Dr.Cahill then embarked on the study of zebrafish circadian rhythms, identifying genetic mutants and elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the rhythms. He later perfected an even better monitoring technique – constructing zebrafish with the luciferase gene which could be monitored in the dark during the early development of the circadian system in the fish larvae.
He will be sorely missed by his colleagues and the field.

What I learned at SRBR meeting last week

A couple of days have passed and I had a lot of work-related stuff to catch up with, but I thought I better write a recap now while the iron is still hot and I remember it all. Here we go….

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SRBR – Day 2

As you know, I am currently in Florida, at the 20th Anniversary meeting of the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, that is, my own society. I have not been since 2002, so I am surprised to see how many people remember may face and are happy to see me.
I am also surprised to hear how many people in the field read this blog – some more some less regularly – and even use the ClockTutorials and some other Chronobiology posts in teaching their courses on Biological Clocks. I would have know this before if they would just post comments here!
What I am not surprised, yet am pleased, is how much people are in support of Open Access and love PLoS. I have already talked to dozens of people about the details of PLoS is and what it does and how it does it and why that is good and they should publish with us – and they are very receptive.
I have seen a bunch of interesting talks and posters already. Instead of blogging them myself, I will interview their authors and post the interviews here after I come back home – so look out for a nice series of summer interviews here with various luminaries of the field, ranging from living legends, through currently top researchers, to bright up-and-coming students.
And yes, I am taking pictures, but will post them later. Here, just to make sure everyone knows, is the photographic proof that Professor Steve Steve is having fun:
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SRBR – Day 1

I just had nice seafood dinner while watching the sunset over the water with this guy, down in sunny Florida. Readers of this blog have met him before, here and here.
I also saw Erik Herzog, who is familiar to all of you from, e.g., here, here, here and here. I heard him give a presentation about the ways to get an NSF grant in the circadian field.
I am about to see Chris Steele as well.
I attended a Memorial Symposium on Melatonin in honor of Aaron Lerner.
And talked to several people about PLoS already – I am REALLY doing my job.
I am suprised how many people recognize me and are happy to see me – last time I attended SRBR meeting was six years ago.

What makes a memorable poster, or, when should you water your flowers?

What makes a memorable poster, or, when should you water your flowers?Being out of the lab, out of science, and out of funding for a while also means that I have not been at a scientific conference for a few years now, not even my favourite meeting of the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms. I have missed the last two meetings (and I really miss them – they are a blast!).
But it is funny how, many years later, one still remembers some posters from poster sessions. What makes a poster so memorable?

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See you at the SRBR meeting!

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The 11th Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms will be held in Sandestin, FL on May 17th-21st, 2008. And I’ll be there. This meeting occurs every two years (on even-numbered years, the International Congress and the Gordon Conference are in odd-numbered years). I attended three or four of these when it was down on Amelia Island, FL. Then I skipped the one in Whistler, Canada, four years ago as I had no money to go, and the one in Sandestin two years ago as I was out of science. But I’ll be going back – with a mission: to explain Open Access to my colleagues, to get them to publish with PLoS, to get them to read my blog, to catch up with my field and to do some blog-interviews with the interesting people there. So, if you are chronobiologist and you’ll be there, please find me and say Hi.