News

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Center for Cell and Genome Science
 ‘Hey, What’s the Big Idea!’ Symposium
2:30 – 4:30 PM (CSC 208)
Reception 4:30 – 5:30 PM

College of Science
Frontiers of Science lecture
6:00 – 7:00 PM (HEB 2008)

What’s the Big Idea!
A symposium by scientists for scientists

The goal of the CCGS symposium is to inspire researchers to think about how to achieve ambitious and ground-breaking science. Speakers will discuss the genesis of their greatest idea. 

Michael Rosen
Chair, Department of Biophysics
University of Texas Southwestern
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The Rosen lab seeks to understand the formation, regulation and functions of enigmatic, cellular compartments called biomolecular condensates.  He will discuss an ‘aha’ moment that set the lab on a completely new trajectory. iBiology “Cell Organization on Micron Length Scales

Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:vt:cj78x2zh8xl9md0059b1l58h0000gp:T:TemporaryItems:6148459330_308725b2c7.jpg Jeanne Stachowiak
Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Institute for Cellular & Molecular Biology
University of Texas at Austin

The Stachowiak lab studies physical mechanisms that organize cellular membrane surfaces.  She will discuss how her background in mechanical engineering lead her to notice a paradox in our understanding of cellular membrane remodeling.  Connectosomes Create Gateway for Improved Chemo Delivery

 

Frontiers of Science! A public lecture series

The goal of this lecture series is to bring notable researchers to campus to present public lectures about important developments in scientific research.

Macintosh HD:Users:becky:Desktop:download.jpgManu Prakash
Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering
Stanford

The Prakash lab applies soft-condensed matter physics, fluid dynamics, computational studies to biological problems, most recently to Trichoplax, a simple animal that may harbor the secret of the first nervous system.  In many cases these studies require the construction of new instrumentation. They have used these skills to design simple solutions in resource-constrained settings, especially in the field of global health. iBiology “Foldscope: Origami Based Paper Microscopes”

 

Faculty teaching excellence Award

May 1, 2019 - Congratulations to Dr. David Temme for being awarded the 2018-2019 Faculty Teaching Award for Excellence in General Education. The committee was most impressed by the unique approach Dr. Temme takes to teaching biology, the depth of his commitment to student learning and the years of dedicated service to high quality biology instruction in General Education. “It is commonplace to hear them [students] say that Dave is one of the most outstanding teachers they have experienced. They always state that he can take a vast field of knowledge and make it extremely conceptual and clear. He gives them tools and approaches to synthesize the knowledge, rather than just dispensing the knowledge itself. ” 

Are Coffee Farms for the Birds?

April 29, 2019 - Over 11 field seasons, between 1999 and 2010, ornithologist Çağan Şekercioğlu of the Şekercioğlu Lab trekked through the forests and coffee farms of Costa Rica to study how tropical birds were faring in a changing agricultural landscape. Through painstaking banding of individual birds, ?ekercio?lu asked whether the expansion of coffee plantations is reducing tropical bird biodiversity. The answer, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesis no. And yes. Sun coffee plantations are able to host a surprising number of bird species, even more if the plantation has some tree cover. But the plantations are not enough to maintain bird biodiversity. See UNews story...

Speaking for the raptors

April 22, 2019 - Birds of prey such as owls, eagles, falcons and vultures are soaring and elegant predators. But many raptors worldwide have flown under the scientific radar and are all but invisible: Ten species of raptors, out of 557 total, comprise one-third of all raptor research, and one-fifth of all species have never been studied in a scientific publication. That’s the conclusion of a recent paper in Diversity and Distributions by University of Utah researchers and their collaborators. The most understudied raptor species tend to be those with small geographic ranges and those in less developed regions. Unfortunately, those same factors contribute to a species’ extinction risk. See UNews story...

Biology professor wins Fulbright Grant

April 11, 2019 - Congratulations to Dr. Lynn Bohs on her selection for a 2019-2020 Fulbright Scholar grant. The Fulbright Scholar Program, which aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Dr. Bohs will spend several months in Colombia working on research projects in the tomato family. She will revise the museum collections at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá and carry out field work in various parts of Colombia, which is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.

Biology Professor named ESA Fellow

April 5, 2019 - Congratulations to Dr. Diane Pataki who has been named as a 2019 Ecological Society of America Fellow. She was elected for advancing new approaches to understanding the interactions between humans and ecosystems in urban systems. Fellows are members who have made outstanding contributions to a wide range of fields served by ESA, including, but not restricted to, those that advance or apply ecological knowledge in academics, government, non-profit organizations, and the broader society. They are elected for life.

College of Science 2019-20 awards

March 28, 2019 - The CoS Award for Teaching Excellence recognizes extraordinary skill in university teaching with an emphasis on outstanding accomplishments and commitments to science and/or math education. This year, we express our appreciation to two faculty members who have excelled in challenging the intellectual curiosity of our undergraduates:
        Leslie Sieburth, Professor, School of Biological Sciences
        Holly Sebahar, Professor (Lecturer), Dept. of Chemistry

The CoS Award for Fostering Undergraduate Research Excellence recognizes excellence in fostering undergraduate research and promoting experiential learning during the academic year. This year, we express our appreciation to two faculty members with outstanding record of mentoring and advancing undergraduate research:
        Nitin Phadnis, Assistant Professor, School of Biological Sciences
        Tino Nyawelo, Assistant Professor (Lecturer), Physics and Astronomy

Putting Science in Science communication

Mar. 27, 2019 — Bring science to people where they are. That’s the driving philosophy that propels U biology professor Nalini Nadkarni to stretch the possibilities of science communication and bring the beauty of science to people and places that others have overlooked. Building public trust in science is about more than just providing information and improving science literacy, she says. It’s about building relationships between scientists and communities that are founded on shared values. In two recent studies, one published today in BioScience and another published in 2018 in Science CommunicationNadkarni and her colleagues present evidence-based conclusions about the effectiveness of science engagement in two programs: “Our goal is to help people realize that all citizens are interested in, capable of understanding and full of wonder at science, if it is presented in places and ways that are accessible to them,” Nadkarni says. See UNews story...

Fighting Leaf and Mandible

March 14, 2019 - Researchers have been baffled by tropical rainforest diversity for over a century; 650 different tree species can exist in an area covering two football fields, yet similar species never grow next to each other. It seems like it’s good to be different than your neighbors, but why?  To grow in a tropical rainforest is to engage in constant warfare. Related trees share the same pests and diseases—if one gets it, the infestation can spread. Scientists have asked, “What is the primary driver in tropical forest diversity–competition for resources, or herbivore pests?”  For the first time, University of Utah biologists in the Coley/Kursar Lab compared the two mechanisms in a single study. “Despite state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, there’s no substitute for spending months and months in the rainforest,” said Dr. Phyllis Coley, Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Utah, research affiliate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and co-author of the study. “It took us several years to collect data, and samples of leaves and herbivores. It’s hot, humid and buggy, but attempting to understand the diversity of species is a biologist’s dream.”See UNews story... See Science Article...

Cells under stress

March 14, 2019 - A new article has been published in the Journal of Cell Biology by Dr. Julie Hollien and members in her lab. "Cells respond to stress in the ER by initiating the widely conserved unfolded protein response. Activation of the ER transmembrane nuclease IRE1 leads to the degradation of specific mRNAs, but how this pathway affects the ability of cells to recover from stress is not known. Here, we show that degradation of the mRNA encoding biogenesis of lysosome-related organelles 1 subunit 1 (Blos1) leads to the repositioning of late endosomes (LEs)/lysosomes to the microtubule-organizing center in response to stress in mouse cells". See JCB Article...

Startup

March 11, 2019 - University of Utah alumna Reshma Shetty is now an executive of growing Boston biotech firm Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc., which she co-founded in 2008. Ginkgo Bioworks engineers biological organisms for a variety of commercial and industrial uses, including engineering organisms to manufacture specified chemicals and enzymes. The company has been called “the future of” industries from fragrances to pharmaceuticals. But her road to becoming a biotech pioneer began as a high school student in the laboratory of U biology professor  Baldomero “Toto” Olivera. That’s where she met the snails. See full story...

U Biologists trigger adaptive radiation

March 5, 2019 - University of Utah biologists experimentally triggered adaptive radiation; they used host-specific parasites isolated on individual pigeon "islands." Lead authors Sarah Bush and former U PostDoc Scott Villa showed that descendants of a single population of feather lice adapted rapidly in response to preening, the pigeons' main defense. "People have been trying to bridge micro- and macro- evolution for a long time," said Dale Clayton, professor in biology at the U and co-author of the paper. "This study actually does it. That's a big deal." Co-authors include U biologists Michael Shapiro and Juan Altuna. Story in AAAS EurekAlert... See full article... Story in The Atlantic...

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