Biology Undergraduate Research Award

2022 Biology Undergraduate Research Award Recipient: Clayton J. Harry

Clayton Harry has been a member of Associate Professor Erik Ragsdale’s lab for the previous three years, studying the comparative anatomy of a novel trait, moveable teeth, in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus. This involved using transmission electron micrographs of serial thin sections through an adult hermaphrodite of P. pacificus to three-dimensionally reconstruct all epithelial and myoepithelial cells and syncytia, corresponding to 74 nuclei of its face, mouth, and pharynx. This comprehensive model has allowed for the identification of derived characteristics that may be contributing to the novelty of the P. pacificus mouthparts and will be used in future studies as a reference map for gene expression in this model. Clayton was awarded the Biology Undergraduate Research Award for his manuscript titled “Comparative reconstruction of the predatory feeding structures of the polyphenic nematode Pristionchus pacificus.” Starting May 2022, Clayton plans to pursue his Ph.D. working under Dr. Bob Goldstein at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying tardigrades.