Bioluminescence Research Group 2017

2017 Research Group, from left to right: Emma Henricks, Demetria DeBartolo, Tara Southworth, Bruce Branchini, Danielle Fontaine, Catherine Florentine, and Franceine Welcome.

Tara Southworth, B.S., Senior Research Technician
B.S., Molecular and Cell Biology and certificates in Cytogenetics and Molecular Diagnostics, University of Connecticut.
I have previous experience in solid tumor research, cytogenetics, and molecular genetics. Some projects I am working on are developing a dual analyte reporter gene application that utilizes chimeric luciferases based on Photinus pyralis and Luciola italica, and evaluating the bioluminescence system of Orfelia fultoni. Outside of the lab, I enjoy running with my dog, reading sequels based on Jane Austen’s books and mysteries, watching baseball, and spending time with my family.

Danielle Fontaine, M.A., Research Technician
B.A., Molecular Biology, Susquehanna University, Pennsylvania, 1999; M.A., Cell and Molecular Biology, Boston University, 2002.
I was a laboratory instructor for introductory biology labs as well as anatomy and physiology lab coordinator at Boston University. My current research focuses on creating new P. pyralis mutants and characterizing a newly cloned luciferase. Outside of lab, I enjoy reading, gardening, salt/freshwater fishing, and chasing my 15 month old son around!

Demetria DeBartolo, M.A., Research Technician
B.A., Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Connecticut, 1996; M.A. in Biology, Brown University, 2002.
I was a research technician at Pfizer for 10 years and joined the bioluminescence research group in September 2015. I am currently exploring an uncharacterized bioluminescence system of Orfelia fultoni. Outside of lab I enjoy spending time with my three children, teaching science labs at their school, gardening, and reading.

Franceine Welcome ’19, Undergraduate Research Student
I am a junior at Connecticut College majoring in ACS Biochemistry and also a member of the Science Leaders Program. I have been working in Professor Branchini’s lab since the spring of 2016. After getting my undergraduate degree, I plan on working in a lab for a while, then getting my Ph.D. in biochemistry. Currently, I am working on several different projects, all of which consist of the mutagenesis and characterization of enzymes for uses in different types of assays. Outside of lab, I enjoy binge watching TV shows, crocheting, and shopping.

Catherine Florentine ’19, Undergraduate Research Student
I am currently entering my senior year at Connecticut College with a Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology major and a Dance minor. After I graduate, I plan to attend dental school and ultimately pursue a career as an orthodontist. I began learning about bioluminescence of firefly luciferase in Dr. Branchini’s lab in January 2016. Initially, I worked on a mutagenesis project to produce a red light emitting enzyme for in vivo imaging, and now I am focused on the synthesis of a new luciferin molecule. Some of my favorite tasks in the lab include mini-preps, HPLC purification, and most importantly, calibrating the pH meter! Outside of the lab, I am a dance teacher and love to perform in dance shows on campus.

Emma Henricks, ‘19, Undergraduate Research Student
I am a Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology major at Connecticut College, hoping to pursue a graduate degree in biochemistry or developmental biology. I began working with Professor Branchini in February 2016, and am currently involved in synthesizing new organic substrates to be used for in vivo imaging. Outside of the lab and my studies, I enjoy dancing, running, and writing.