Ides of August Album Two  

Assistant Professor of Biology Patrick Burton and his students study sea anemomes.

“Why, you might ask,” Professor Burton said, “would we be studying marine life in the middle of Indiana?

“I’m a developmental biologist, and a sea anemone can develop its body in three different ways,” Burton said. Those developmental abilities—embryonic, regeneration, and asexual fission—also make studying such animals important in an age of cloning and, in particular, growing organs and tissue.

Burton and his students have been using the drug alsterpaullone to manipulate head and tentacle development in sea anenomes and have been studying their results. They have learned that the drug decreased tentacle development and increased head development by turning off the Wnt signaling pathway for one, and not the other.

One of the anemones they created using these manipulations had three "heads," hence the title of the professor's talk, "A Modern Cerberus: The Creation of a Three-Headed Anemone."

When Professor Burton projected the image on the screen, he said, "Behold the hellhound of Wabash!"

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