Kimberly Chen Joins ScienceMatters Hall of Fame

Postdoctoral Researcher Wins Podcast Episode 6 Quiz

Georgia Tech postdoctoral researcher Kimberly Chen has ended up winning a ScienceMatters quiz after relaxing at home one evening last week.

"I've listened to a few other episodes of the podcast," Chen says. "It's a great way to get to know the exciting research happening at Georgia Tech."

Chen hails from Taipei, in Taiwan. She came to Georgia Tech in 2016, joining the labs of Matthew Herron and Frank Rosenzweig, in the School of Biological Sciences. 

"I am broadly interested in the evolution of complexity," Chen says. "For my Ph.D in Indiana University Blomington, I studied the evolution of non-coding RNAs that regulate bacterial development."

In Georgia Tech, Chen's research aims to find answers to a major question in evolutionary biology: How did the transition from single cells to multicellular organisms take place. She is especially examining the genetic mechanisms underlying this transition. Chen and her colleagues are using experimental evolution to generate de novo multicellularity in a unicellular alga that's under pressure from predation. (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2018/06/07/247361). "I am using both genomic and genetic approaches to understand the genetic basis of the evolved multicellular phenotypes," she says.

You can get a flavor of her research area from this YouTube video of her talk, "Genetics Underlying De Novo Origins of Multicellularity in Response to Predation," at the 2018 Georgia Tech Astrobiology Colloquium.

The Episode 6 quiz question: According to Episode 6, what animal did Simon Sponberg study when he was an undergraduate in Lewis and Clark College, in Oregon?

The answer: Gecko

Episode 7 of ScienceMatters is out this week. "Sneaking Science into Punk Rock" stars Jennifer Leavey, principal academic professional in the School of Biological Sciences, director of the Georgia Tech Urban Honey Bee Project, and integrated science curriculum coordinator for the College of Sciences. But when she straps on a guitar, Leavey becomes Leucine Zipper, leader of the rock band Zinc Fingers.

If you would like to join the ScienceMatters Hall of Fame, enter the answer to this question: In Episode 7, what is the name of the song that Jennifer Leavey says sounds like a love song but is actually about bacteria living together in biofilms?

Submit your answer by 11 a.m. Monday, October 18, at sciencematters.gatech.edu.