Lab Spotlight: Beaudin Laboratory

Simply Blood Lab Spotlight 
Each month, Simply Blood spotlights a lab focused on the research of basic hematology, immunology, stem cell research, cell and gene therapy, and other related aspects.  Get to know these different labs around the world! This month, we are featuring the Beaudin Laboratory at the University of California - Merced in the United States. 

How long have you had your lab?   
I started my lab in September, 2016 - so about a year and half.

How many members make up your lab?  Students/postdocs?
My lab is currently made up of three graduate students, a technician, and 6 undergraduate researchers. I'd love to add a postdoc or two. 

What is the major research theme of your lab?
My lab focuses on developmental hematopoiesis.  We are broadly interested in defining the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating the establishment of fetal-derived immune cells, as well as understanding how perturbation during development drives immune dysfunction across the lifespan.

What is the most exciting project in your lab right now?
We are just initiating experiments investigating how maternal nutritional status influences fetal hematopoietic and immune development, and the long-term consequences of prenatal nutrition for adult immunity in offspring.  My PhD is in nutritional science, and this is the first opportunity I've had since my doctoral work to come full circle and work at the intersection between my interests in nutritional programming of development and my current work in developmental hematopoiesis and immunology.  I can't wait to see what comes out of this work!

What's your best approach to mentoring students in the lab?
I don't feel like it was that long ago that I was a student, so my best approach is to be relatable.  I always expect a lot from my students, because I expect a lot from myself, but I also know that they're all human.  I try hard to remember that everyone learns differently - everybody comes to the table with unique strengths and weaknesses - and as a mentor I try my hardest to play to strengths and strengthen weaknesses for individual students. 

What's the biggest accomplishment your lab has had recently?
This month, my lab has two invited talks at two different meetings - I'm giving a talk at a Keystone meeting on myeloid cells, and my graduate student is giving his first platform talk at the annual meeting for the American Association of Immunologists (AAI).  We are thrilled to already be getting these opportunities to present some really exciting work coming out of our new lab.

What facilities or equipment does your lab absolutely depend on?
FACS machines!  Good ones!  My lab monopolizes the FACS machines here, as our work depends on them daily.  Because we use many different transgenic reporter lines in our work, we depend on machines with very specific lasers and a boat-load of channels.  For a smaller institution, UC Merced's flow facility is pretty fantastic - we have two sorters and a 5-laser analyzer - but I still had to upgrade one of our sorters to meet our capabilities.  Our flow core has recently submitted a facilities grant to further upgrade our resources, which I'm excited about.

What was the most exciting part about starting your new lab?
Everyone told me that starting my lab was going to be so hard - can I admit that its actually really fun?  I get to build everything from the ground up with great people,  and get to pursue every exciting idea.  I love my students-- building a team, sharing my passion and enthusiasm for my work, and seeing my students thrive and be successful is by far the most exciting part.

Does your lab attend the ISEH annual meeting?
I have attended ISEH almost every year since I joined the field.  As my lab is brand new, this will be the first time we will attend. Since the meeting is nearby in Los Angeles this year, my entire lab will be coming, along with a big contingent from UC Merced.  We're all looking forward to it! 

What is the most beneficial aspect of ISEH membership for your lab?
My students have already heard so much about how beneficial the ISEH meeting is for young investigators.  As someone who initiated my career in hematopoiesis at the postdoctoral level, I can honestly say that I made many, if not most of my connections in the field at ISEH meetings.  The ISEH community is so welcoming for young investigators, and such a supportive network - my students are very excited to experience that first-hand. 

How do members of your lab celebrate accomplishments?
We take celebratory shots from 50mL conical tubes. I have a small stash hiding in my office.

Does your lab have any fun traditions?
My new lab has joined the traditions of our sister lab, the Manilay lab, of end of semester celebrations- whether it's winter holiday or spring graduations- which include potlucks, gift exchanges, dinners out and most recently a pub crawl.

Anna Beaudin, PhD
ISEH Publications Committee Member
Assistant Professor
UC Merced


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