Joseph G. Kunkel
Sabbatical leave Report
September 1977 - January 1978
Appointment: Visiting Scholar, Biochemistry Dept., University of California at Berkeley, Laboratory of Allan C. Wilson.
Travel to Berkeley: By car via tenting at Rocky Mountain National Park, Wyoming Lumberjack Jamboree, Yellowstone National Park, and Grand Tetons National Forest: we arrived at Berkeley August 27, 1977.
a. I applied the technique of microcomplement fixation to measuring the immunologicai relatedness of Larval-Specific-Proteins (LSP) and vitellogenins. This technique confirmed my prior qualitative discovery, (Kunkel et al., 1976), that the vitellogenins are an extremely rapidly evolving group of proteins which might be valuable in looking at recent evolutionary divergences.
b. I carried out amino acid analyses on serum proteins which had been purified by my former graduate student, Raymond Duhamel, (Duhamel & Kunkel, 1978), and also on glycopeptides of Blattella germanica vitellogenin purified in collaboration with Jack Norden, (Kunkel, Ethier & Nordin, 1978, and in preparation).
c. I wrote APL computer programs for an IBM 5100 desk-top computer for analysing morphological and biochemical data. I wrote these programs as a learning experience to familiarize myself with the current techniques of generating phenetic and phylogenetic trees from quantitative morphological and biochemical data. The programs reduced a task it formerly took days to complete to a five to ten minute exercise at the computer terminal.
d. The library research for the review of vitellogenin and vitellin to appear in Annual Reviews next year was done in the excellent libraries at Berkeley (Hagedorn & Kunkel, 1979).
e. On field trips in the Bay area, I collected enough colonies of the dampwood termite, Zootermopsis angusticollis, to allow me to accumulate 0.6 ml. of hemolymph from them. This will allow me to make antibodies against the LSP of that species and pursue the rate of speciation in this eusocial group of organisms and confirm whether their vitellogenins are evolving as rapidly as the cockroach vitellogenins, (Greenberg, Kunkel & Stuart, 1978).
Return to Amherst: By car via Disneyland and San Diego Zoo, and visiting Dr. Raymond Duhamel at U. Arizona, Professor M.L. Pan at U. Tennessee, and Professor R.A. Wallace at Oak Ridge National Labs; we arrived back at Amherst January 24, 1978.
Comments: The condition of inadequate salary scale under which our university is operating is perhaps a major reason why we are perilously close to descending into a valley of mediocrity. Judging from my recent experience at Berkeley, it would seem almost impossible for the majority of our faculty to take a sabbatical leave away from Amherst without going into personal financial debt. More sabbaticals are being spent in Amherst with little gain of intellectual vigor; more good people are leaving for greener pastures; who will want to replace them?
Joseph G. Kunkel
Associate Professor of Zoology
University of Massachusetts at Amherst