Baton Rouge, Louisiana
LSU AgCenter Aquatic Germplasm and Genetic Resources Center
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Jack is a Postdoctoral Research Associate leading a portion of a National Institutes of Health-funded grant to develop a comprehensive cryopreservation germplasm repository for the biomedical model sea hare, Aplysia californica, in collaboration with the National Resource for Aplysia. These sea hares are gastropod molluscs whose namesake derives from the pair of charismatic rhinophores on top of their head like a pair of rabbit ears. Unlike the stereotypical gastropod (land snail), Aplysia have an extremely reduced shell that resembles an oblong shield, covered by their mantle. Other notable anatomical features include their mustache-like feeding tentacles and their wing-like parapodia that can be used to swim through the water column and escape predators. These sea hares are useful biomedical models for studies in neural development, classical and operant conditioning, and nervous system senescence. This provides the foundation for developing a germplasm repository for the resource center and research community, though advances in genetic technologies are applying additional pressure to this need. Germplasm cryopreservation has traditionally been focused on sperm, egg, and single cells. Accessing these cell types in Aplysia is currently very difficult. Thus, another option for potential cryopreservation are the early life stages (e.g., embyros, larvae) of Aplysia, which presents its own challenges that Jack is working to address.