Department of Biology

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Cell Center - Cryo-EM

The Department of Biology offers exceptional opportunities to learn, work, and collaborate across levels of biological organization and styles of research. Faculty research interests span the complete spectrum of biological phenomena and disciplines, from biochemistry to global environmental change. This breadth of research interests has led to development of three focused, yet overlapping, graduate training programs: Molecular, Cellular, and Evolutionary Biology (MCEB), Ecology Evolution and Organismal Biology (EEOB), and Microbial Biology.

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2016 Beacons of Excellence

Oct 17, 2016 - Congratulations to Dr. David Temme on receiving a 2016 Beacons of Excellence Award. Dr. Temme seeks to truly transform learning by encouraging students to engage in critical, creative thinking. Temme helps teach his students how to learn instead of following the rote memorization typically attached to scientific instruction. He enriches his students’ lives by teaching them how to apply their newly gained biology knowledge to everyday life. In the words of one of his students, Temme “has flipped the idea of typical education on its head. He asks his students to do more than simply regurgitate information presented in class. He hopes they will be able to apply that knowledge to problem solving.”  See Full Story...

Biology Professor receives Blavatnik award

October 13, 2016 – The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences today announced the three winners of the 2016 Blavatnik Regional Awards. The winners include a U of U ecologist, Dr. Bill Anderegg, who has advanced our understanding of how forest ecosystems recover or die during drought; a physical chemist who studies electron transport in solar energy capture and conversion; and a condensed matter physicist who has provided theoretical guidance to experiments that have led to the direct observation of Majorana fermions. See Full Story...

Beckerle's Cancer Moonshot

Oct. 7, 2016 - There's something about Utah's uncluttered landscape and expansive blue sky that gives Mary Beckerle a sense of mental space. It helps her think, she says, and fuels her desire to explore both mentally and physically. It's the reason the New Jersey native came to the Beehive State in the 1980s to teach at the University of Utah. Thirty years later, she's found herself in the Huntsman Cancer Institute's corner office as its CEO, with wall-to-wall windows overlooking the geography she loves so much. And recently, Beckerle, 62, was picked by Vice President Joe Biden to serve on a blue-ribbon panel as part of his campaign to cure cancer. See SL Trib Story...

Former grad in coley/kursar lab publishes book

Sept 29, 2016 - Georgia Sinimbu has published an e-book in collaboration with two Brazilian artists. It illustrates some of the knowledge she acquired during the PhD program at the University at Utah Coley/Kursar Lab in a language that everyone can understand. It is published in both Portuguese and English and available for free at Mutualism. Inspired by the challenge of demystifying science, the production of "Interactions: about ants and Amazonian plants" arose as an e-book distributed free of charged over the internet.

Renee Dawson receives Teaching Excellence Awar d

Sept. 22, 2016 - Dr. Renee Dawson has been awarded the College of Science's inaugural award for Teaching Excellence! This award recognizes accomplishments in challenging and stimulating the intellectual curiosity of our students. Renae has been teaching for the Department of Biology for 13 years and has always been an innovative and highly effective teacher. She has introduced thousands of students to the wonders of Biology in our main Introductory Biology class (Biology 1210), and she teaches our Human Genetics course, of great importance to many of our pre-professional students. She has made enormous contributions to the educational mission of the Biology Department and the University of Utah.

Why Birds Matter

September 7, 2016 - University of Utah ornithologist and biology department professor Çağan Şekercioğlu presents a new book, "Why Birds Matter," this week at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu. Held every four years, this is the world's largest conservation event. Over 8300 delegates from 184 countries gathered for the meeting where President Obama made an appearance on Wednesday. Sekercioglu represents his Turkish environmental organization KuzeyDoga that was elected an IUCN Member this year with the support of National Geographic Society and Wildlife Conservation Society. See Full Story...

Ecology on the Runway

August 8, 2016 - University of Utah ecologist Nalini Nadkarni is no fashion mogul. But she is a scientist actively engaged in public outreach, working to bring the wonder and curiosity of the natural world to people, even those who may have no interest in natural history museums, nature documentaries or natural history magazines. Those people probably care about clothes, though. On Aug. 8, Nadkarni and 14 other ecologists put on an unconventional fashion show at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Each showcased a custom-made garment that artistically depicted his or her own field of research, the organism or environment to which they’d devoted their life and careers — their hearts on their sleeves. See Full Story...

Thure Cerling Named AGU Fellow

August 4, 2016 - Dr. Thure Cerling has been named a 2016 AGU Fellow. Since the American Geophysical Union (AGU) established its Fellows Program in 1962, the organization has elected outstanding members as Union Fellows. This special honor recognizes scientific eminence in the Earth and space sciences. It acknowledges Fellows for their remarkable contributions to their research fields, exceptional knowledge, and visionary leadership. Only 0.1% of AGU membership receives this recognition in any given year. See Full Story...

Nitin Phadnis on KUED

July 22, 2016 - Dr. Nitin Phadnis, who was recently named one of 22 Pew Scholars in the country, is an evolutionary biologist.  He has created a lab that combines genetics and microbiology…two disciplines that for years were considered separate.  He has been published in the most prestigious science magazines in the world, and recently solved a genetics puzzle that had been identified over 100 years ago.  He prides himself on his ability to address fundamental biological questions with novel approaches and current technology. “Science is an incredibly creative Endeavor,” says Phadnis.  “I am not sure it is as widely appreciated as it should be.” KUED Video Interview... See Full Story...

Capecchi Endowed Chair in Biology

July 21, 2016 - Sophie Caron has been appointed as the next Capecchi Endowed Chair in Biology. This chair was established to honor the U’s first Nobellaureate,MarioCapecchi, through a generous gift from the Eccles Foundation. Knowing Capecchi’s commitment and passion for supporting young scientists, whom Eccles described as “the Nobel winners of tomorrow,” the foundation directors decided to establish an endowed chair to help recruit and retain some of the best and brightest young researchers. 

U of U Presidential Award

July 15, 2016 - Congratulations to Dr. Michael Shapiro on being selected as a University of Utah Presidential Scholar. This is a relatively new award given by the Vice President of Academic Affairs with funding from an anonymous donor to recognize excellence and achievement of mid-career faculty. Each college is permitted a single nominee for this award with a total of four awards made across the University. Mike was selected from a cadre of exceptional nominees. Kudos on this prestigious recognition!

To save water, throw some shade

July 13, 2016 - How much water does your lawn really need?  A University of Utah study re-evaluated lawn watering recommendations by measuring water use by lawns in Los Angeles. “The current method of estimating water use is very arbitrary,” says postdoctoral scholar Elizaveta Litvak, first author on the new study, published today in the Journal of Arid Environments. “And there has been no scientific ground for more precise recommendations.” Although turfgrass is the largest irrigated crop in the U.S., researchers aren’t certain how the ET model holds up in the fragmented urban landscape. Tall water vapor flux towers are not the answer. “You can’t use that method in urban lawns because they’re too small,” says U biology professor Diane Pataki. See Full Story... KSL Audio Interview...

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