We want to take some time to focus on our students and get to know them and the amazing things they are doing.
Meet Mike Acquafredda! He won the student award at our MAC annual meeting in October and has been involved in a wide variety of research.
What made you get into your line of work?
Mike: I’m currently a PhD Candidate at the Rutgers University Haskin Shellfish Research laboratory. My dissertation research is broadly focused on ways to diversify the Northeast’s aquaculture sector. Aquaculture is a perfect marriage between my two greatest passions: marine biology and food! I first learned about aquaculture and became interested in the field when I organized an oyster gardening program for my Eagle Scout Project.
What did you do before coming to work at the Haskin Shellfish Research Lab (HSRL)?
Mike: Before starting graduate school at HSRL, I was an undergraduate at Tufts University. At Tufts, I worked in two separate laboratories conducting independent research with Dr. Kelly McLaughlin. I studied heart development and heart disease in the amphibian model species, Xenopus laevis. With Dr. Jan Pechenik, I studied the effects of hypoxia on a pollution-indicating polychaete, Capitella teleta.
What is (or has been) the most rewarding part of your job?
Mike: The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that my research is helping to support the aquaculture sector, which is the fastest growing part of the food industry.
What is the one thing on your bucket list you’d like to accomplish in the next five years?
Mike: In the next five years, I hope I can scratch off swimming with stingless jellyfish in Palau from my bucket list.
What’s your favorite holiday, and why?
Mike: My favorite holiday is Christmas Eve. In my family, we celebrate Christmas Eve with a smorgasbord of seafood. It’s an Italian tradition known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes.