Posted On: Friday, November 2, 2018
The recipient of the fourth annual NIGHTSEA/EMS KEY Award for New Faculty is Dr. Pierre-Paul Bitton, who started his new position as Assistant Professor in the Cognitive and Behavioral Ecology (CABE) program at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Dr. Bitton is researching the mechanisms of fluorescent protein production, especially in red- and green-fluorescing fish. During his time as a research associate at the University of Tübingen in Germany (under the tutelage of Prof. Dr. Nico Michiels), he was a key contributor to modeling perception, and to the development of pavo, an R-based platform for the spectral analysis of color. He used these modeling tools to calculate depth-dependent chromatic and achromatic perceptual contrasts in triplefin Tripterygion delaisi vision. Dr. Bitton’s hope is that his research will contribute to the identification of the molecules responsible for conferring fluorescent properties in vertebrate tissues and by doing so, help elucidate the mechanisms and purposes of fluorescent protein production in these organisms.
The KEY Award was instituted in 2015 by NIGHTSEA founder Dr. Charles Mazel to acknowledge his own mentors and as a way of giving back to the scientific community. The annual award, sponsored jointly by NIGHTSEA and Electron Microscopy Sciences (EMS), includes a NIGHTSEA Model SFA Stereo Microscope Fluorescence Adapter system outfitted with two excitation/emission combinations plus $750 in supplies from the EMS catalog.
Dr. Bitton’s new SFA system will provide him with the capacity for fluorescence dissection under a conventional stereo microscope – something for which he says “there does not seem to be any other good alternative on the market!”. The Royal Blue and Green wavelength sets of the NIGHTSEA SFA will be used in working with both green- and red-fluorescing taxa in his lab. He will involve students in this research and will also use the SFA system in teaching laboratories and for STEM educational outreach.
The 2019 edition of the KEY Award will be announced in January.
Bitton, P. P., Harant, U. K., Fritsch, R., Champ, C. M., Temple, S. E., & Michiels, N. K. (2017). Red fluorescence of the triplefin Tripterygion delaisi is increasingly visible against background light with increasing depth. Royal Society open science, 4(3), 161009.