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Karl Hill – from active duty to cutting-edge research

Karl Hill (BS-IPN, '23) recently completed a 10-week internship at Harvard University, working in the laboratory of Dr. Mansi Srivastava in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. Karl’s project examined brain regeneration in the three-banded panther worm, Hofstenia miamia, belonging to the phylum Xenacoelomorpha, hypothesized to be a sister group of Bilateria. Interestingly, H. miamia shows evidence of a brain intermediate between centralized and diffuse nervous systems, placing it on the evolutionary tree as the earliest taxon to exhibit centralized control. Using a combination of confocal microscopy and live voltage staining, Karl’s research uncovered evidence for the possible existence of thin, pioneering bundles of neurites that expand after tissue damage to regenerate lost regions of the brain, results which he hopes to present at the annual Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) meeting at the invitation of Dr. Srivastava. Karl’s internship was funded by the Summer Research Opportunities at Harvard, through an NSF REU. Prior to matriculating at NC State, Karl was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, having been deployed to several countries in Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, and Southwest Asia. Since arriving at NC State in the Fall of 2019, Karl has worked in the Planchart lab. He is currently characterizing a CRISPR'd fish he designed and generated that introduced inactivating mutations in pycr1b, a gene important in mediating the effects of cell stress and production of NADH. His research in the Planchart lab has been funded, in part, through a grant he received from NC State’s Office of Undergraduate Research.