You are here

CBS People: Aric Daul

Worms! Star Wars! Bicycles! Homebrew! This long-time curator does it all.

Aric Daul

What do you do here?

I am the Head Curator for the Caenorhabditis Genetics Center (CGG).

How long have you been at the U?

I have been the curator of the CGC since 2009. I earned my Ph.D. with Dr. Ann Rougvie here at the U of M, and did a short post-doc at University of Michigan before returning to Minnesota to join the CGC.

Can you describe your position a bit?

The CGC is the world's sole stock center of nematodes, distributing more than 30,000 stocks each year. I am responsible for maintaining frozen stocks of the nearly 20,000 different strains in the collection. I work with researchers around the world to obtain new worm strains for the collection, and vet strain donation requests from the community. I collaborate with WormBase to establish genetic nomenclature guidelines and ensure genotypic information is properly annotated in our catalog of strains.

How did you get into this field?

I have been working with C. elegans for more than 15 years. My thesis work in the Rougvie lab focused on temporal regulation of development in C. elegans. The worm community as a whole tends to be quite helpful and generous with reagents and advice, particularly here at Minnesota. Joining the CGC was a great opportunity to get back into worms, working with talented and enthusiastic scientists I'd known for many years.

What is something interesting or unusual about your work here?

Since we distribute strains around the globe, I get to work with an incredibly diverse group of people. We have customers in more than 75 countries, whose experience ranges from high school students to experts in their fields. Additionally, we are able to cryogenically store our strains — it's a lot like when Han Solo is frozen in carbonite in Star Wars. I’ve thawed strains that were frozen in the early 80s, and we have some stocks that are older than that. It's pretty amazing to think these animals have been in stasis for nearly as long as I've been alive, yet once thawed, they will pick up where they left off decades ago. 

What do you like to do in your free time?

My wife and I have two young children, so a lot of my time outside of work is spent with them. I bicycle year-round, though in winter I mostly just commute by bike. When I have time, I enjoy going for longer rides and working on bikes, a necessary skill if riding through winter in Minnesota. I am also an avid homebrewer and currently the president of the Saint Paul Homebrewers Club. 


March, 2016