Dr. Jason C. Slot Guest Lecture

Image result for podospora anserinaImage result for psilocybin phylogeny

On October 25th, 2018, Dr. Jason C. Slot, a fungal evolutionary genomics researcher, attended our Biology 3401 class to discuss his research and observations on the impact of analyzing the genomic information of distinct species to gain evolutionary information. Specifically, Dr. Slot delved into the two cases of the Podospora anserina and the Psilocybin mushrooms, which are both a type of fungus that display a level of horizontal gene transfer that illuminate phylogenetic information about their type of organism. While it will be elaborated upon, the awareness of the metabolic pathway gene transfer in Podospora anserina and the occurrence of unique gene clusters in Psilocybin mushrooms that do not correlate with close relatives can imply meaningful results in the presence of horizontal gene transfer (HGT).

First, it is important to note that the evolutionary history of Podospora anserina could not be understood to its greatest extent had it not been for the understanding of HGT, which is the “Duplication of genetic material from a genetic locus in one species to one in another species” (Slot 2018). After the analysis of the genes in the fungi, it was extraordinary to see that 14.5%of the horizontally transferred genes were determined to be genes responsible for secondary metabolite synthesis, transport, and catabolism (Slot 2018). Furthermore, a study done on Podospora anserina further concluded the fact that the necessity to metabolize from different complex carbon sources required horizontal gene transfer to form a dynamic evolutionary history of the fungi (Espagne et al. 2008). Moving onward to HGT, as it pertains to the specific mechanisms, it was vital that students understood the “selfish cluster hypothesis”, which communicated the idea that weakly selected genes can survive through the clustering of their gene with others to transfer to distinct species (Slot 2018). It is believed that the clustering is the reason that Psilocybin, which is a cluster of different chemicals, has been identified as a prevailing feature in mushrooms, due to its absence in close relatives signaling HGT in recent history to dung (why dung is preferred is still in question). Also, research done on HGT now extrapolates such results to challenge previous notions that eukaryotes could not observe HGT, as there has been increasing results suggesting the prevalence of this genetic transfer throughout the entire tree of life (Qiu et al. 2016). This allows us to be aware of the changing dynamics in evolutionary research, and the further finding will always enhance our understanding of the most core theorems and truths of biology.

While the information may have seemed daunting throughout the presentation, having to complete some independent research and analyze professional publications was an opportunity to digest material that was slightly beyond my understanding. Such work better prepares me for future endeavors in the scientific field, which requires that the populace of, in my case, dental professionals have the ability to collaborate with other people and to understand new studies done in the field, no matter the specific content’s relevance to your own work.

  1. Slot, Jason. 2018, October, 25. Reading the genomes of microorganisms to form ecological

and evolutionary hypotheses. Seminar presented at: Biology 3401, Ohio State     University. Columbus, Ohio.

  1. Espagne E et al. The genome sequence of the model ascomycete fungus Podospora anserina.

2008 May 6 [accessed 2018 Nov 1]. https://genomebiology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/gb-2008-9-5-r77

  1. Qiu H et al. Extensive horizontal gene transfers between plant pathogenic fungi. 2016 May

23 [accessed 2018 Nov 1]. https://bmcbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12915-016-0264-3

University Hospitals Volunteering as a Lecturer for Senior Patients

Image result for ohio ahuja hospitalImage result for ohio geauga medical center

Throughout the summer before my senior year of high school, including the entirety of my senior year, I volunteered at the Ahuja Medical Center and the Geauga Medical Center, which are University Hospitals locations in Northeast Ohio. As a part of the Age Well Be Well program, I was tasked with providing informational lectures on the basics of the internet, which included the following concepts: devising search terms, using the search bar, creating and accessing an email account, avoiding spam or scam emails, discerning viable online threats, and gaining access to technology and ultimately the internet. My role was that of the primary lecturer, so while other volunteers would peruse the room and help senior patients through the current objective, for example searching their favorite animal, I would communicate the information in a way that delivered the information in a manner that was clear and did not berate the limited knowledge of the patients. Having to teach an audience the basic structure of a resource that people of my generation use (sometimes exploit) with relative ease was an eye-opening opportunity to become aware of the necessity to consider the backgrounds and experiences of different people when interacting with them in a professional setting. As such, the enriching feeling of providing aid, in any form, to a collective that requires my specific take or knowledge of a certain topic or procedure was repeatedly fulfilling, and I look forward to continuing my ventures into volunteer opportunities that allow me to lighten the confusion or struggles of diverse groups of people. Appropriately, the patient-professional relationships is vital in the dental field, and I accordingly place great value in creating meaningful bonds with people now so that I can foster the development of myself in a way that best prepares for amicable and respectful interactions with patients.

Expectation of Dr. Jason C. Slot’s Guest Lecture

On October 25, 2018, Dr. Jason C. Slot will be visiting my Biology 3401 (Integrative Biology) class and giving a guest seminar with the following title, “Reading the genome of microorganisms to form ecological and evolutionary hypotheses”. The topic actually invites a peculiar view on the entire profession of dental, medical, and any form of health care, specifically in the necessity of understanding evolutionary changes in microorganisms, which is the topic of the seminar, but also of humans. Many of the biological studies done on animals, and some on humans, analyze microorganisms to evaluate key vectors of concern or safety towards the tested variables of that study, wherein results usually impact medicine development or treatments to ailments. An understanding of the evolution of microorganisms can facilitate the growth of a more detailed view on the future of public health and dental care, as well as create a more educated physician or dental professional community. Furthermore, the theoretical exploration into the evolutionary patterns of microorganisms can extend to the analysis of the development of human and animal features over time in response to external stimuli, and can help garner the propagation of ideas that aid professionals in examining patient history and explaining the presence of features that would not be easily understandable without proper historical context. A followup post will be created to reflect on the information from the seminar, and what lessons can be applied to dentistry specifically.

Onur Kardzhala’s OSU Freshman Year in Review

Recollecting all of the memories and experiences of my time at OSU during my first year, I have realized a heightened characterization of myself that expands upon previous preconceptions I had toward my own capabilities and future prospects. First and foremost, it is important to establish the foundation of my academic journey at OSU, which was primarily focused on an arrogant headfirst dive into mathematics, a strategy, that in hindsight, cleared my vision of my true interests in biology (more specifically dentistry). However, at the time, my commitment into advancing my knowledge of different fields and aspects of mathematics compelled me to visit several Reading Classics sessions hosted by Dr. Vitaly Bergelson, which were short lessons given my students and teachers about the historical context, as well as definitions and explanations, of popular mathematics theories and conjectures. Furthermore, I attended several Radical Pi meetings, which were guest lectures sponsored by the math department that taught interesting topics not covered by most university classes. Unfortunately, my effort to delve into mathematics quickly allowed me to realize that I didn’t feel a sincere connection with the content and applicability of what I was learning, and instead became enamored with the inquiry and experimental level knowledge required for my chemistry classes.

While mathematics was usually my most highly cherished academic subject, biology and chemistry had always been a close second only due to the restrictions on high school curricula with regard to the sciences. Although I was intently focused on academics and educational extracurriculars, I made time for a club called “OSU Tough Mudder”, which was an obstacle course racing club that allowed me to accomplish one of my goals of staying fit, as well as enjoying an opportunity to run a race in North Carolina. (Picture below shows me going through one of the obstacles)


Returning to my development of interest in dentistry, it was actually a conversation I had with my parents, one of which is a dental hygienist, after completing my research project for Chemistry 1920H (please refer to the experience tab for more information) that allowed me to definitely decide upon my ideal future in dentistry. The research I began to conduct at the end of the year, which included medicine and law at the time, spurred me to pursue my addition to the Honors Collegium, a group that I believed could enhance my ability to make up for a year of purely exploratory education and begin working towards my career prospects. Learning of my acceptance over the summer, the strenuous journey of my first year came full circle, and I truly basked in the wide array of possibilities that I opened up by finally committing to a career that had been slowly gaining ground through my upbringing and experiences in volunteering. At this point, the focus now shifts to applying my newly developed drive towards dentistry in the specific course work I complete, the volunteering experiences I do, and the offices I seek to shadow and intern with during the summer and school season.

Sophomore-Year Introduction to Onur Kardzhala

Hello! After accumulating a wide array of academic knowledge and practical career information throughout my first year at The Ohio State University, I have determined that a career in Dentistry most closely aligns with the experiences I have been exposed to and the interests that motivate my personal determination and drive. My initial introduction to the dental field was actually at a very young age, as I would visit the dental office that my mother worked at quite frequently, which at the time was in the city of Budapest, Hungary. Since the days of adolescence, I have had the opportunity to observe the inner workings of dental offices that would normally occur unbeknownst to most patients, which in itself has given me a predisposition to entertain a career in dentistry.

Furthermore, having volunteered in multiple locations such as Ahuja Medical Center, Geauga Medical Center, Taste of Bainbridge (local restaurant endorsement event assisted by Kenston High School Math Club members), and Chagrin Valley Athletic Club, I have had the freedom to exercise my abilities in communicating to patients and those who rely on my knowledge to progress through the respective events. Not only have the different occasions of volunteering given me a chance to develop my skill in practical communication and leadership skills, but to also realize that I truly enjoy the action of serving any population of people that require guidance to improve their lives or progress through a desired activity or event.

Now, with a series of academic classes rigorously drilled into my toolbox of applicable resources and skills in real-world situations, I strive to continue applying myself to the search for opportunities to better the lives of others in some way, which I believe will require that I begin participating in Internships and Shadowing positions. Consequently, I am currently extending my reach to, and would be gracious to hear from, dental offices and clinics that require undergraduate Biology students, with a focus on Pre-Dental studies, who would learn valuable lessons only obtainable from the work in an actual dental environment.

Chemistry 1920H Research Project Approval and Completion

During the 2nd semester of my freshman year, I had the opportunity to develop a research project with a small group of 2 fellow chemistry students, 3 including myself. The objective was to conduct research that focused on the impact of perovskites, which are a class of chemical compounds with a similar structure to that of CaTiO₃ by definition, but more importantly possess favorable photovoltaic properties at a fraction of the cost of most prevailing silicon-based solar cells. Due to progressive developments in solar technology, with respect to the use of perovskites, the class tasked students with conducting research on how to possibly improve upon the leading compound in the world of perovskites, which is a methylammonium lead halide perovskite. As the chemical name so subtly suggests, there is a presence of lead in the most optimal solar cells that utilize perovskite technology, which poses an obvious toxicity hazard to people that handle the technicalities of installing the hardware to locations.

Faced with one of the first real-world applications of chemistry as a student, the entirety of the project was rewarding in its ability to foster the growth of independent creative thought, professional collaborative work, and production of feasible, or somewhat meaningful, results in a real laboratory environment. However, the difficulty of creating a scientific investigation into the future of solar cells was humbling, especially in the amount of individual research that was required to handle the information of the industry and implement relevant concepts into our project. Having struggled to establish a cohesive first draft, which was accepted without significant revisions, there was a notable feeling of excitement from the success, as well as the opportunity to work under our own initiative. Furthermore, completing the work and having the opportunity to present it to Dr. Moga and the entire lab group was an excellent experience in the communication of scientific research. Overall, the journey of experiment synthesis and completion was a useful foray into the complexities of working in the scientific community, and will serve to ground myself in the expectations of my future work in the technical field of dentistry. Finally, the presentation of my groups specific research will be provided in the form of a link at the bottom of this entry, wherein there are summarized descriptions of all the new experimental techniques our group learned and the results we calculated for analysis.


First Semester at The Ohio State in Hindsight

As my first semester at The Ohio State University winds down, I have finally begun reflecting upon the numerous changes that I have encountered, whether in an academic, extracurricular, or social setting, and I can conclude that I have successfully overcome some my most fearfully anticipated challenges at college. Most importantly, the manner in which I faced the social aspect of college was the most surprising, mostly to myself, due to the fact that it marked a significant transition between the introverted lifestyle I led during high school and the noticeably more active effort of meeting people during college. Advertised as an all-encompassing experience, no student can venture through the long journey that is the college experience without dealing with the social aspect of communicating with other people and creating connections that extend past their education. Accordingly, I have taken an active role in solidifying my initial connections with all suite mates, and as many classmates and superiors as possible, in order to not only expand my capability to escape my comfort zone, but to also prepare for the practical communication-based nature of the work environment after college. Furthermore, my honed ability to value the respect-based relationships with other people has allowed for me to draw from the unique knowledge of all people I have met, which will be invaluable in my undergraduate experience, where any problem I have will most likely have a solution from one of the people I have built a connection with during my first semester. With respect to the aforementioned academic and extracurricular aspects of college, the prior commitments to education and extracurricular practices that I made before college have directly translated to a relatively easy management of my current priorities and responsibilities, and I eagerly await the opportunity to encounter the truly challenging course-work that defines the academic maturation of college students.

University Resources Commercial: University Disability Services

The attached link leads to a video that a group of Arts and Sciences Honors students and I completed for our freshman survey class. Tasked with creating a short commercial that outlined the general information pertaining to a specific resource on campus, our group devised the provided short commercial skit that provides the audience with an introduction on The Ohio State University’s Disability Services.


Introduction to Onur Kardzhala

Hello! My name is Onur Kardzhala, and I am an honors student at The Ohio State University. Originally, I was born in Budapest, Hungary, where I comfortably lived in the stunning hillside landscape beside the City of Budapest for seven years. Afterwards, immigration to the United States at a young age provided me with a unique perspective on the intricacies of my relationships between diverse communities and institutions, in addition to teaching me the necessity for a flexible mentality that embraces adversity and difficulty. While hindsight allows me to reflect calmly on the benefits of my early translocation, the situation admittedly forced an inheritance of disadvantages as well. It is this early struggle that defines my present commitment to unadulterated dedication towards any task I undertake, whether it be a question I strive to answer, a job that I hunger to complete, or a request that I graciously accept and wish to uphold. Unfortunately (while many may not perceive this as unfortunate), my ambitious nature towards education and knowledge has lead me to develop an interest for a massive array of subjects and avenues of learning that cannot be defined by a single major or career path. Thus, I intend to fully absorb the information presented at OSU, as well as take advantage of the countless opportunities available. However, it would be improper to claim that I had no direction, since I have a clear affinity toward mathematics, biology, and a fusion of debate and literacy that could lead to a possible career in law.


As a direct result of my cultural heritage, I have a peculiarly strong interest in expanding my global awareness, as I have witnessed first-hand the impacts of embracing a culture foreign to one’s original birthplace. Consequently, I would enjoy the prospect of traveling to a different country to possibly provide humanitarian aid or education to a community that would not only allow me to help others, but to also learn about the backgrounds and conditions of the people that I meet. However, due to my intent to major in the two work-intensive majors of Mathematics and Biology, my exposure to the globe will revolve around classes and on-campus resources that provide global awareness.

As I delve deeper into Mathematics and Biology, I would be interested in conducting research that allows me to employ the knowledge and skills acquired from both subjects. Specifically, some sort of research opportunity that involves the inquisitive-mindedness and analysis focus of Mathematics, and the composition and discovery mentality of Biology would be an extremely exciting prospect. Furthermore, I expect to experiment with my first taste of Original Inquiry with the research that is conducted in Chemistry 1920H, which includes a research project that will expose me to the necessities of conducting meticulous experiments and composing adequate reports.

In an attempt to avoid my lackadaisical view towards the generally easier classes that I completed in high school, I will embrace academic schedules, semester-by-semester, at The Ohio State University that stimulate my competitive mentality to “beat” the most challenging classes that the university can provide in the majors I seek to complete. By majoring in both Mathematics and Biology, I have willingly enrolled in a rigorous path of academics that require almost every semester to have the maximum hours of study, specifically with classes that amount to little over 90 hours of upper-division classes. While this may seem daunting, there are classes mixed into the schedule which should serve to alleviate the stresses of such difficult course material, one of which is Classics 2220H, a Literature class that focuses on one of my most long-standing academic interests, Mythology.

Similar to previous extracurricular venture in high school, I will research clubs and organizations that not only match my interests, but also provide opportunities for the cultivation of leadership and communication skills. Temporarily, I am only participating in three extracurricular activities: Reading Classics of the Mathematics Department, Radical Pi Club of the Mathematics Department, and the Tough Mudder Club. These opportunities have allowed me to create an initial network of companions and friends who have been able to provide my with invaluable knowledge in academics, social life, and the development my own communication skills and leadership potential. However, I do anticipate to increase my involvement dramatically in the future, specifically in other organizations, research, and possibly internships, where I can continue to improve upon my current competencies in speaking and team-building.

During my college experience, not only do I plan to contact local organizations through university clubs to humbly implore about service opportunities that can enrich my understanding of the community, but I also plan to travel at least once, at least out of the state, to provide a service to people who require any form of assistance. In fact, on Sunday, October 22, 2017, I, along with the Tough Mudder Club at OSU, helped the Tough Mudder Corporation disassemble their entire course and provide services during the event to contestants that were running Tough Mudder’s obstacle course. After completing the course as a club on Saturday, October 21, 2017, the service opportunity on Sunday was the perfect way to conclude the weekend in a way that solidified our own accomplishments as well as providing a way to allow others to succeed and realize their capabilities and desires.