Our spotlight of the week is James Nowotny. James is a Junior research intern studying the innate immunity in cnidarians and the mechanisms by which they respond to stimuli. His research interest utilizes microbiology techniques to learn more about the processes behind observed responses in Anthozoans (corals and anemones). He is currently working to establish a long term primary cell culture of Nematostella vectensis in order to create a controlled sample of cnidarian cells that can be easily observed and manipulated. After culturing the cells of these anemones, they can be treated with a variety of chemicals and stressors to learn the precise cellular mechanisms that act as responses. It is important to understand how the immune system of cnidarians react to environmental stress, so scientists can better combat the severe loss of coral reefs around the world.