April 2019 – Spring in the Hamdoun Lab


It’s been a great first quarter of 2019. Undergraduate lab members Isabelle and Travis both received funding from the Triton Research and Experiential Learning Scholarships (TRELS) at UCSD, to study transporter/environment interactions and CRISPR/Cas9 knockouts of transporters, respectively.  


Drs. Hamdoun and Schrankel also received a European ASSEMBLE grant for comparative studies on ABC transporters at the IMEV laboratories in Villefranche. It’s going to be a great summer!



February 2019 – New resources for Echinoderm research


We are very proud to announce the completion of the latest METHODS IN CELL BIOLOGY, vol. 150 and 151!


These are the third in the series of volumes in the Methods in Cell Biology (MCB) series on echinoderms. We hope that these the updated MCB will continue the long tradition of sharing updated and new methods to study echinoderms. These volumes come at a pivotal time when functional genomic and proteomic technologies are enabling investigators to leverage the biological advantages of echinoderms in new and creative ways. As such, we think MCB 150 and 151 point to a promising future for investigators working with echinoderms. It has been our pleasure to work with our colleagues in assembling these volumes and we thank everyone who contributed.


Volume 150 chapters describe the fundamentals of working with echinoderms: how to obtain adult echinoderms, collect and handle gametes, and culture embryos and larvae. This includes suitable species for the establishment of transgenic lines. Volume 150 also covers basic cell biological approaches and embryo manipulation protocols, including chapters on the isolation and study of specific cell types, cilia, microinjection, and blastomere transplantation. Several chapters detail the best practices for studying the effects of abiotic stressors and environmental toxicants on echinoderms, continuing the long tradition of using echinoderms as models for investigating problems at the interface of oceans and human health. Featured on the cover, a juvenile Lytechinus pictus reared by lab member Kate Nesbit.



Volume 151 is organized around methodologies that probe genomic structure and regulation, including transcriptome analyses, single-cell gene expression studies, proteomic and protein–protein interactions, and knockdown and knockout strategies, including the use of CRISPR-CAS technology in echinoderms. Additionally, a suite of chapters focused on imaging analyses provide starting points for investigators who wish to adapt them to their particular molecule(s) of interest. The echinoderms also continue to contribute to our knowledge of sperm motility and chemotaxis, for which cutting-edge methods are highlighted in several chapters.

Cover design by Hamdoun lab member Catherine Schrankel.



October 2018 – Awards, Updates, and New lab members!


The Hamdoun Lab. Back row, left to right: Jose Espinoza, David Vereau-Gorbitz, Travis Fleming, Dr. Sascha Nicklisch. Front row, left to right: Hannah Rosenblatt, Dr. Cat Schrankel, Dr. Amro Hamdoun, Dr. Vic Vacquier, Wei Gordon, Amara Pouv, Kate Nesbit, and former members Dr. Joe Campanale, Dr. Lauren Shipp, and Dr. Tufan Gokirmak.


It was a great summer for the Hamdoun Lab. First and foremost, we are proud to announce that former Postdoc Sascha Nicklisch is starting a tenure-track Faculty position at the University of California, Davis, in Environmental Toxicology this fall! Pictured above is his goodbye BBQ–we wish him the best of luck starting his new lab.


This summer, Postdoc Cat Schrankel received a prestigious Ruth Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a division of the NIH. She is funded for three years to study the role of ABC transporters in the development and protection of primordial germ cells (PGCs) that are destined to become egg or sperm.


Undergraduate Travis Fleming was also successful in receiving research funding, from the Ledell Family Scholarship for Science and Engineering, part of UCSD’s Academic Enrichment Program. Travis is optimizing culturing methods for larval sea urchins, a crucial step for generating transgenic lines of echinoderms.


Finally, the Hamdoun Lab is happy to welcome our newest member, Postdoc Himanshu Vyas. Himanshu comes from a zebrafish toxicology background, and will be working on CRISPR/Cas9 mediated knockdown and compensatory mechanisms of ABC transporters. 



July 2018 – New publication update


The Hamdoun lab recently published a review on Sea Urchins as Lab Animals for Reproductive and Developmental Biology. This article is part of the newest edition of the Encyclopedia of Reproductive Biology. The full text can be found here and in our publications page. 



March 2018 – Hamdoun Lab Member Accomplishments – Admissions and Awards!



It’s been a busy start to the year for the Hamdoun Lab. In early March, Postdocs Sascha Nicklisch and Cat Schrankel attended the 7th FEBS Special Meeting on ABC Proteins with Dr. Hamdoun, located at Innsbruck, Austria. Their talks and posters were very well-received. Dr. Schrankel (left) won the prize for best Poster Bulletin Talk for her short but stimulating presentation (3 min max!) on ABC patterning during development. Her prize was a stunt plane ride above the breathtaking Alps.


Meanwhile, undergraduates Wei Gordon (centre) and Hannah Rosenblatt (right) completed graduate school interviews. We are very proud to announce that come September 2018, Wei will be attending the University of California, San Francisco, and Hannah will be attending Stanford University! Congrats to our trainees for these important accomplishments.



September 2017 – More POPs in the news



Our latest study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, examined persistent organic pollutant levels (POPs) in yellowfin tuna from around the world’s oceans. The results indicate that the pollutant load depends on the location of catch, varying in level by as much as 36 times between sites. We also found that overall pollutant levels are positively linked to the presence of a small subset of pollutants, termed Transporter Interfering Chemicals or TICs. This new class of chemicals may be involved in enhancing bioaccumulation of chemicals in organisms by inhibiting cellular defense proteins. This research lays the groundwork for future studies to examine natural and anthropogenic sources of these chemicals, and to examine how pollutant distribution and bioaccumulation patterns change over time, particularly under rapidly changing climate conditions.


You can read additional news coverage about our study at EHP, the LA Times and NPR. Congrats Dr. Nicklisch!



July 2017 – Update on Recent Publications


Four new lab publications are available: Dr. Sascha Nicklisch’s studies on mercury and pollutant levels in yellowfin tuna (Environ Pollution 2017; Environ Health Perspect 2017), Dr. Gökirmak’s work on alternative splicing in the sea urchin MRP gene ABCC1 (Am J Phys Cell 2016), and collaborators’ Ramakrishnan and Patel characterization of ADP-ribosyl cyclases in early sea urchin development (Messenger 2016). 




Dr. Catherine Schrankel

May 2017 – Welcome to Dr. Catherine Schrankel


This month we welcomed the newest member of our lab, Dr. Catherine Schrankel, all the way from Toronto, Canada. She will be studying the regulation of ABC transporters during embryogenesis, and how this impacts the future detoxification capabilities of adult tissues and cell types.





Dr. Sascha Nicklisch

March 2017 – Congrats to Dr. Sascha Nicklisch 


Congratulations to Hamdoun Lab postdoc Dr. Sascha Nicklisch for being honored at the Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting for Best Postdoctoral Publication. The award and study were featured at the NIEHS’ Environmental Factor Newsletter. The original publication from Science Advances can be accessed here.















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