GMGI Updates from the Harbor: September 2022

GMGI Researchers Join OceanX for Young Explorers Program 

As part of GMGI’s ongoing partnership with OceanX, GMGI researchers Matt Harke, Ph.D. and Jennifer Polinski took part in the organization’s third Young Explorers Program (YEP). YEP was created by OceanX to provide college students and recent graduates traditionally underrepresented in marine science with the incredible opportunity to learn about and explore the ocean – all while aboard the state-of-the-art research vessel OceanXplorer. Click here to read the full article.

GMGI Adds New Board Member: Introducing Lauren Liss

GMGI is thrilled to announce the addition of Lauren Liss to the GMGI Board of Directors. Lauren is an attorney who focuses her practice on environmental law and policy as well as on real estate development. Lauren has deep public and private sector experience, having served in a variety of governmental roles, including as president and CEO of the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency. She previously served as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and as general counsel and deputy secretary for Environmental Policy at the Executive Office of Transportation and Construction for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Additionally, she was senior environmental counsel for the Central Artery/Ted Williams Tunnel project.

Lauren has authored several articles, as well as participated in panels for numerous federal and state organizations. She has guest-lectured on environmental and transportation issues at Boston College Law School, Suffolk University Graduate Program and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Board of Directors at GMGI,” Liss said. “I’ve been hearing about the organization for years through several different circles and have been impressed with the impact GMGI has made in such a short time. I’m looking forward to using my experience to help GMGI grow a thriving science community here on Cape Ann.”

Cape Ann Savings Bank Invests in GMGI
CASB donates $150K to support Academy’s new“Big Waive” tuition structure

Cape Ann Savings Bank recently announced a $150K gift to Gloucester Marine Genomic Institute in support of their mission to address critical challenges facing our oceans, human health, and the environment through innovative scientific research and education. The donation marks one of the early commitments to GMGI’s soon-to-be-announced See Change Campaign.   Click here to read the full press release.

Growing our Talented Team

Desks and cubicle space once available for guests are no longer – GMGI is growing! Since April GMGI has hired five full time staff to join the research, education and administrative teams. 

Executive Director Chris Bolzan is thrilled with the trajectory of the organization. “GMGI’s growth has been steady, and it’s been consequential,” she said. “We are fortunate to have been able to attract and retain a team of incredibly talented individuals. It’s because of them we can achieve the success we’ve seen and envision continued growth ahead.”

Each of the new hires bring a unique energy and skillset to the organization:

Lisa Tobias joined the team in April as Director of Finance & Administration. Lisa oversees GMGI’s financial health, ensuring sustainability for GMGI’s continued growth. She is a driving force for DE&I. 

Laura Richane started this spring as the Academy’s first Director of Enrollment & Partnerships. She focuses on attracting young adults to our Academy training program, as well as connecting the Academy to industry partners. 

Kristin Lewis and Mel Drexler are the newest Teaching Assistant & Laboratory Technician’s to join the Academy team. They are responsible for engaging students in hands-on lectures in the lab and teaching industry-standard protocols. 

Reanna McAtee was recently hired full-time as a Laboratory Technician & Assistant Laboratory Manager after completing her Academy internship with GMGI. Reanna is assisting Postdoctoral Scientist Kate Castellano, Ph.D. with her work on studying healthy aging in the red sea urchin.

Click here to read more about all our talented staff. 

Interested in being part of our team? GMGI has MORE positions available! Check out our Careers page for more information. 

Summer STEM in Boston

Summer 2022 brought new developments to the Academy’s Summer STEM Enrichment programs. The “Mean Glow Green” curriculum was introduced, giving participating students the opportunity to grow and extract green fluorescent protein in the lab, learning about the growing field of biomanufacturing. 

Academy instructors took the show on the road! Thanks to our partners at Lincoln Properties, Related Beal, and the South Boston Neighborhood House, John Doyle, Sadie Salazar, and Zach Dench packed up the necessary equipment and set up a temporary laboratory in the Mass Bay Credit Union in South Boston. An engaged group of middle and high school students extracted DNA, completed PCR protocols and learned how to properly analyze scientific results through GMGI’s Fish Fraud Forensics program. This was an exciting step forward as the Academy team works to expand access to the tremendous opportunities that exist in the Commonwealth’s thriving life science and biotech industries.

CST Nominates GMGI to Join 1% for the Planet 

This past month GMGI joined “1% for the Planet.” Only 3% of global philanthropy goes towards environmental causes and “1%” set out to change that. As an organization, they inspire business to donate 1% of their revenue to environmental nonprofits of their choosing. By creating a global network of partnerships, 1% for the Planet is increasing support for environmental solutions — and that is something we can get on board with!

By joining this initiative, GMGI hopes to increase awareness and support for our research initiatives, including biodiversity conservation, the promotion of sustainable fisheries, and uncovering new discoveries that impact human health.

Thank you to Cell Signaling Technologies who nominated us for this amazing global effort. As a loyal supporter and partner of GMGI, we thank CST for their generous commitment to our mission. If you know of (or are part of) a 1% for the Planet member organization, please consider GMGI!

Photos from the field

Did you catch these social media posts?

New England Aquarium visits GMGI

GMGI staff enjoy sail on Schooner Ardelle

GMGI hosts newly-appointed President of Emmanuel College

On August 16th, GMGI’s Discovery Series featured underwater photographer Andrew Martinez. Andrew was joined by GMGI researchers Jennifer Polinski and Matt Harke, Ph.D., as they shared the beauty of the Gulf of Maine through amazing underwater photographs as well as how genomic tools like eDNA and DNA sequencing can uncover biodiversity that cannot be seen with a lens.

Interested in attending future Discovery Series talks? Contact Maggie Costello for details.

Register now for the GMGI Science Hour on 1/27 with Dr. Peter Girguis of Harvard University

Please join us on Thursday,  January 27 at 7:30pmas we kick off the winter season of GMGI’s Science Hour with Harvard University’s Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Dr. Peter Girguis.

This is not Planet Earth: Recent findings from our work on the physiological and biochemical adaptations to life in the deep sea

The deep sea represents more then 80% of our planet’s living space, and harbors some of the Earth’s most extreme environments. Dr. Girguis and his colleagues study the microbes and animals that live in these environments using “omics-informed” physiological experiments that aim to:

  • Measure metabolic activity – including carbon, sulfur, and nitrogen metabolism
  • Examine the associated patterns of gene and protein expression
  • Relate their research activity to biogeochemical cycles

Studying these communities is an incredible challenge – many of these habitats are located where pressure is immensely high and temperatures range from near freezing to over 662° F! To study these organisms, Dr. Girguis and his team of scientists developed tools to maintain pressures and chemical conditions that mirror the extreme habitats of deep sea microbes and animals, allowing them to make in situ geo-referenced geochemical measurements. 

During Peter’s Science Hour presentation, he will share some recent findings and future directions for his work. Moreover, he hopes to make these technologies broadly available to the scientific community with the hope they can help inform policymakers and other stakeholders who govern the fate of our ocean, and ultimately, our biosphere.

Q&A to be moderated by GMGI Donald G. Comb Science Director Andrea Bodnar.

Genomics and You: Three Thursdays of Discovery at GMGI

Tour our institute’s laboratories with GMGI’s Donald G. Comb Science Director, Dr. Andrea Bodnar
Take a deep dive into an exciting research topic at the core of our mission
Connect with research scientists and engage in conversations about their cutting-edge research
July 29th How We Sequence a Genome and Why It’s So Important
with Senior Research Associate Jennifer Polinski
August 5th Environmental DNA: the Breadcrumbs of Life
with Senior Research Associate Tim O’Donnell
August 12th The Mighty Microbe: How the Tiniest Life Forms in the Ocean are Leading the Biggest Discoveries
with Senior Scientist Matt Harke
Tours begin at 5pm, and presentations by scientists start at 5:30pm.This is a free event.

Space is limited at each event. RSVP today!

Please reach out to Ashley Destino with any questions.
978.879.4575 ext. 106

GMGI: 2020: A Year in Review

It was a year that had everything — there were incredible successes and accomplishments, alongside unrivaled challenges and unplanned obstacles. Goals were achieved, expectations were exceeded, but we would be remiss to not acknowledge that 2020 was fraught with difficulties.

Through the good and the hard, we are grateful for the positivity we experienced. Our Academy team changed the lives of two full classes of young adults, and the research team made incredible advances in their work that has direct impact on two very important areas – our oceans and human health. 

Your unflagging support, whether reacting to our monthly updates, tuning in to our virtual Science Hour lectures, sending notes of encouragement or providing generous financial support, has meant so much to us at GMGI. THANK YOU. 

As 2020 comes to a close, please join us for a short look back at some of our favorite moments in a year that will undoubtedly go down as memorable.
From all of us here at GMGI, we wish you and your families a healthy and happy New Year.
See you in 2021,

Chris Bolzan, Executive Director2020: A Year in Review 

Grant announcements, research publications and so many Zoom calls – this was 2020!  Click here to check out the full timeline. 2020 Year in Review

GMGI: The very latest

The shift to Fall brings a renewed sense of focus and determination, as we make the push towards the end of the year. The dedicated research team continues making great progress on all fronts including obtaining new samples for the red sea urchin research, the Annisquam microbe study and Cod eDNA project, as well as announcing a new partnership that will pair GMGI with OceanX, an organization known for extraordinary research and storytelling. 

Our virtual GMGI Science Hour returned, premiering with a talk from Dr. Bruce Walker, Founding Director of the Ragon Institute, setting the tone for a season of engaging and insightful talks. The Academy is already in its eighth week of Semester 1, and we are incredibly proud to report classes have remained safely in-person, giving the students the full experience of hands-on learning in a working biotech laboratory.

The support from you, and our community, is palpable. We see it in your commitment to reading our monthly updates, spending your Thursday evenings with GMGI to explore new scientific ideas, and in your financial support. Your generosity is, as always, profoundly appreciated in this uncertain climate.

– Chris Bolzan, Executive Directorphoto credit: Andy Mann

GMGI Announces Partnership with OceanX
 GMGI is thrilled to announce a newly formed partnership with leading research and exploration organization OceanX. Formed with an extraordinary mission to support scientists in their effort to “explore the ocean and to bring it back to the world through captivating media,” OceanX works to connect the ocean and all it offers to world through innovative technology, ambitious science and breathtaking storytelling.

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to partner with OceanX, an organization that holds the same curiosity and passion for marine exploration and biological discovery,” said Chris Bolzan, GMGI Executive Director. “This partnership will be fueled by a shared interest in genomics, allowing our two teams to collaborate and align our complementary skill sets. We look forward to conducting exciting research together and sharing our discoveries broadly.”

GMGI and OceanX will collaborate on several research projects with the goals of understanding and preserving the ocean as well as fostering its connection to the general public.

“We are ecstatic to be pursuing a partnership with Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute, an organization dedicated to addressing the challenges facing our oceans, human health and the environment through groundbreaking scientific research,” said Vincent Pieribone, Vice Chairman, OceanX. “We have a shared motivation and interest in the ocean and look forward to merging the expertise of GMGI with our science, technology and media teams to produce much needed ocean science and storytelling.”The New GMGI Science Hour Season Kicks Off

Earlier this month, the Fall season of the GMGI Science Hour kicked off with a fantastic talk by Dr. Bruce Walker.  Dr. Walker, Founding Director of the Ragon Institute, a pioneering virus researcher at MGH and an expert on viruses and the immune system, discussed his experience treating patients with HIV and COVID-19. While working in Africa in the peak of the HIV outbreak, Dr. Walker focused on the how patients’ immune systems reacted to the disease, enabling him and his team to develop optimal treatments.

Dr. Walker is assisting in the fight against COVID-19, alongside GMGI Co-founder David Walt, with the Massachusetts Consortium for Pathogen Readiness.  Dr. Walt facilitated the Science Hour Q&A, in which Dr. Walker answered questions on possible future pandemics, what we can learn from patients who have contracted the disease twice, the virus’s impact on the immune system, and potential vaccines for COVID-19.

The next Science Hour speaker is William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD, scheduled for November 19th.  Dr. Kaelin was awarded the 2019 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine for his work with tumor suppressing proteins, using a variety of molecular and cellular approaches to understand how, mechanistically, these proteins prevent tumor growth. 

To register for this talk, please visit the GMGI Science Hour page on our website
 GMGI scientists Andrea Bodnar and Jennifer Polinski have officially begun the process of sequencing the genome of the long-lived red sea urchin (Mesocentrotus franciscanus) to determine how it is able to live nearly 50X longer than a closely-related sea urchin species, and what that could mean in the context of human age-related diseases.Check Out Our New Website recently got a facelift, and we invite you to check it out! You can meet our staff and Board of Directors, learn more about GMGI’s science strategy and ongoing research projects, read some Frequently Asked Questions about the Academy, catch up the latest GMGI news, and re-watch past Science Hour talks.
 Remembering Donald G. Comb

GMGI remembers and honors the late Donald G. Comb, scientist and founder of New England BioLabs.   Don’s passion for research, arts and the marine environment was unmatched and an inspiration to so many.  We are truly honored to have the Science Director position at GMGI named after Don, and we will continue to lead GMGI with same integrity, humility, and passion for science that he demonstrated throughout his life.  His legacy will forever be an inspiration to all.
 The GMGI Science Minute

We are excited to announce that we will soon be breaking ground on our new biomanufacturing teaching lab at the Academy! This state-of-the-art learning environment, made possible by a $940k Massachusetts Workforce Skills Capital Grant and additional matching funds from our supporters, will allow us to add biomanufacturing skills to the standard Academy curriculum — and double the number of students we are able to enroll in each class. 

GMGI Research Scientist Amanda Baryshyan gives us an overview of what biomanufacturing is, what it’s been used for in the past and what the future looks like for this booming field.

Biotech Academy Student Recruitment Open House – January 26, 2017

Dear Friends –

Student recruitment season is here! Gloucester Biotechnology Academy is recruiting students for our Class of 2018, to enroll in September 2017.  We are offering a one year fulltime vocational course for entry level jobs as lab technicians, working in biotechnology.

For this second year, the program is free, no expenses for tuition or fees.

We have had a very successful launch year, with 13 students now entering their paid internships.

If you know anyone who might be interested in our program, please invite them to join us on Thursday, January 26th from 3:00pm to 7:00pm. It will be a great opportunity for potential students to learn more and speak with members of our inaugural class.

Call 978-491-5968, email, or visit Facebook for more information.

Thank you for your continued support!

Biotech Academy Recruitment Open House
Biotech Academy Recruitment Open House