Guam NSF EPSCoR Graduate Research Assistant Colin Anthony is a Special Research Student in the Graduate School of Agricultural Studies at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan.
As a Special Research Student, Anthony is receiving mentorship from Cheryl Ames, Ph.D., a leading expert in marine biology whose research focuses on jellyfish systematics, genomics, and using environmental DNA to understand marine biodiversity.
“Many of the leaders in my field are Japanese, so [Dr. Ames and I] thought it would be a good idea for me to do some research, network, teach, and present in Japan,” said Anthony.
During his time at Tohoku University, Anthony will study the protein differences across different structures in box jellyfish (Alatina alata) along with Ames. Box jellyfish get their name from the cube-like shape of their bell and can be found in the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean.
“We have these [jellyfish] in Guam, but my samples are from the Netherlands,” said Anthony. “It is the only species found all the way around the world. To do this we pair genomic (DNA), transcriptomic (RNA), and proteomic (amino acids) data using various bioinformatic techniques. We hope this provides novel insight into how box jellyfish produce venom-related proteins.”
During his time at Tohoku University, Anthony has led an introductory coding workshop for the university’s undergraduate and graduate researchers, presented at a joint conference with the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, as well as given a guest lecture on the role of presentation design in effective science communication.
“The food and people are the best, but my language skills are not very good,” said Anthony. “So, I look forward to improving my Japanese in order to eat more great food and meet new people.”