Assmann Lab Group

In recent Assmann Lab news...

We wish Sarah good luck as she takes a new position in Boston
and extend a warm welcome to our new lab manager, Dave!

Yotam and his wife welcomed a new baby boy in December!

A successful secret santa exchange at Primanti Brothers!

Christian Cantos passed his comprehensive exam and Sarah Cronk received the Research Staff Excellence Award for the Biology department. Congrats!

Fun in the Lab
Chefs from École de cuisine d'Assmann for the
Biology Department's Chili Cookoff

Lunch usually involves some sort of contest -- like a Carolina Reaper
challenge. Megan Sylvia is the reigning champion of hot peppers!

Most of the other fun involves changing the various bulbs we have around the lab...

Fun outside the Lab
We find time as a group to channel the inner athelete in each of us.
Our lab has experience in soccer, cricket, basketball, volleyball, and running.

Assmann Lab Group through the Years
Assmann Lab members celebrated a full 2018 summer with
two weddings, a new baby, and a farewell!

Another successful secret santa exchange!

The Assmann Lab celebrated the retirement of Cathy Vandenberg,
our dear lab manager of seven years. Her hard work is commemorated in
an officially licensed Penn State Fidgit-Spinner™!

Celebrating Yin after his successful defense!

The Assmann Lab enjoys sharing meals -- with mandatory snacking at group meetings!

Magical Life in the Muggle World

Through an NSF-supplement to Dr. Assmann's Arabidopsis 2010 grant and an NSF Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) supplement for the support of Ms. Susan Braun, a high school science educator from a local school district, the curriculum was developed for a one week plant science summer camp, 'Magical Life in the Muggle World,' for rising fourth through eighth graders, both day students and residential campers (see the science camps website here).

The curriculum of this camp captures the attention of young people by utilizing the theme of 'Herbology' from the beloved series of Harry Potter books by author J.K. Rowling. The 'Principles of Plant Biology' forms the scientific basis for the 5 day camp. A few examples of the many curricular activities are: bioassays of seed germination under acidic and saline conditions, experiments using seedlings to demonstrate phototropism and gravitropism, investigations of floral anatomy, a seed dispersal contest with seeds 'designed' by the campers, and microscopic observations of osmosis and stomatal function.

To keep the students engaged via recurrent references to the Harry Potter theme, the curriculum also includes such items as a scavenger hunt for carnivorous and useful plants in the 'enchanted' plant diversity rooms of the Biology Department greenhouse, explorations of the uses of different types of wood as students design their own magic wands, concoction of 'magic' potions with cabbage juice and by chlorophyll extraction, and observation of magical 'glow in the dark' plants (i.e. cacao flowers transformed with GFP).