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Pat Rivlin

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Electron microscopy (EM) has always been a big part of my scientific career.  My entry into this field began as an undergraduate with a course in biological transmission electron microscopy at the University of Michigan.  After graduating with a BS in Biology, I worked as a research technician for Pamela Raymond at University of Michigan and Torsten Weisel at Rockefeller University.  I was inspired to pursue a PhD in neurobiology while working in these labs, applying my EM training to reconstruct cells in the goldfish retina (Michigan) and the primate visual cortex (Rockefeller).  I switched to flies during my graduate work to combine my interest in genetics, neurobiology and developmental biology.  Working with Anne Schneiderman and Ron Booker at Cornell, my PhD research focused on adult muscle development in Drosophila.  Not surprisingly, I used EM to characterize different types of muscle precursors when I couldn’t find a suitable genetic tool.  After my doctoral studies, I wanted to learn more about synapses and turned my attention to study the fly neuromuscular junction.  As a post-doc with David Deitcher at Cornell, I was introduced to the molecular organization of synapses and used confocal and electron microscopy to study vesicle docking and fusion in synaptic transmission mutants.  Following my post-doc, I combined my interest in flies and teaching to work with Ron Hoy, an HHMI Professor at Cornell to design laboratory exercises for undergraduate neuroscience using Drosophila behavioral mutants.  I took a little detour from fly synapses at this time to study the ultrastructure of the Drosophila oviduct and organization of song producing muscles in Hawaiian Drosophila. I joined Janelia in the fall of 2009.  As the project scientist for  FlyEM, I have many opportunities to apply the lessons I learned from fish to flies while developing innovative approaches to produce connectomes of the Drosophila nervous system.