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Evolution of Multicellularity [2020-2021]
Hunted worms in Texas to harvest parasitic unicellular relatives of animals.

Rulers of the Earth had many key transitions in their path to taking over the world. Plants, animals, and fungi all have these things in common. They rule the world. They all love low volume funk music. And they are multicellular (mostly). These behemoths of lifeforms pack cell specialization, where labor is divided and given to cells dedicated to performing specific tasks. These are exemplified by muscle cells in the animals, whose whole morphology developed to “pull on the body and move it a certain direction.” Multicellularity was a game changer in a world dominated by microbes like bacteria and protists. When single celled protists started living in colonies, a form of society emerged. Just like human society, when they started out, multicellulars weren't as complex as they are today. Remnants of ancient human societies live on today and they still carry on their traditions, but because of the development to the modern world, they have changed. Likewise, remnants of ancient protist societies still live on today and we can study them to learn more about how the features of multicellularity evolved. This is akin to looking at the traditions of modern Māori communities in order to understand their Polynesian ancestors. But sadly, many intermediates between ancient and new societies have gone extinct. We can only learn with what we have. For studying the evolution of animals, we have Choanoflagellates, the Filastereans, and sponges among other model organisms. If you're interested in this topic, I've linked research papers below for you especially.

Why am I so interested in multicellularity? It contains many nuggets of interesting developments in living systems. Multicellularity has implications. You become a living environment for others to live on and in. You can evolve specialized structures that aren't limited to micrometer scales. You can develop strong extracellular materials that prevent drying out. You can rule the land or sky. The road to intelligence requires multicellularity as a key transition. One of the things I pursue is a new biology. And that can be given in two ways: synthetic life or undiscovered life. For those wanting to create or find intelligent life, multicellularity is something you must generate or look for. It requires living systems to be social with each other to accomplish a greater task.

The border between unicellularity and multicellularity is a rough one. It brings philosophical problems not debated in the scientific method. Are we just colonies of clonal cells, each striving to survive but limited by the whole colony? Cancer is an interesting case study where cells mutate and begin to act on their own, breaking free of programed societal restrictions. Its survival takes over to the detriment of the colony. But we must learn how multicellulars evolve to understand what can be used to connect living systems. How may we mimic these requirements in unicellulars to convince them to become more social? Fast artificial evolution to multicellularity? There are many things to look at. As I said before, multicellularity has great implications.

Interesting reviews on this topic:
origin of animals from a unicellular perspective
origin of animal multicellularity and cell differentiation
multiple origins of complex multicellularity
OoM and early history of the genetic toolkit For animal development

Era of Amphioxus [2017-2020]

The Amphioxus Song

My stepping stone into the scientific world and learning methodologies began with this little worm. The amphioxus.

The amphioxus is an animal closely related to vertebrates, a group comprising of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. It is a close descendant of the last common ancestor to all vertebrates, which lived about 500 million years ago (MYA). We can use the amphioxus as a portal to 500 MYA to understand ancient populations of vertebrate ancestors that ended up developing unique features such as adaptive immunity, complex nervous systems, endocrine signaling, and many other unique features.

Here are some things I did:

◉ Protocol development to culture and transfect amphioxus tissues. With the goal to make immortal cell lines. Lots of cloning.
◉ Finding a form of ancient adaptive immunity. [VCBPs]
◉ Husbandry and breeding protocols for the Amphioxus.
◉ Exploring why they produce GFP in their tentacles and eyespot area. Cloning the GFP gene from their genome, which resides in a freezer somewhere. Amplification of GFP from cDNA showed two possible splicotypes.
Developing a crude tool to explore the locations of ancient Chordates through time and space on Earth by tracing coastlines.

If you would like more information, feel free to contact me. [contact]

Go to
Scientific Repertoire for specifics.

The CNRC [Summer 2019]
Worked in this government building for a summer. Had blast. Spent plenty of time doing immunohistochemistry and using a godly Leica SP8 confocal microscope.
I'll throw a photo I took below:

This is a tri-stained cross section of baby pig muscle.
Watch me present this research at Houston Baptist University