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Why Bio Majors Love Chem: Meet the TAs

It’s de rigeur these days to talk about cross-over science. And to do it. Physicists studying engineering. Chemists learning about quantitative modeling in the department of mathematics, to name just two. It’s the nature of scientific inquiry to mash-up, and it’s how new research gets its footing, new collaborations emerge, new insights blaze forth and […]

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Norm Negus

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Remembering Norman Curtiss Negus, Professor Emeritus | September 20, 1926 — September 3, 2022 Farmington, UT–Norman Curtiss Negus, born September 20, 1926, passed through the journey of life on September 3, 2022. He was predeceased in his death by his parents, Howard and Cleo, and his brother, Robert, and sister, Jane. He was a remarkable […]

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Wilkes at Center of U’s Climate Action Plan

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A  Message from University of Utah’s President Taylor Randall: Salt Lake City, September 20, 2022–I am excited to announce that the University of Utah is creating a new Climate Change Action Plan and reinvigorating efforts to build a healthy, resilient future. Climate change continues to cause and intensify local and global challenges. Here in Utah, […]

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Golden Goose Award: Olivera lab

These scientific breakthroughs led to the development of a bladeless LASIK procedure, paper microscopes, and the discovery of a non-opioid pain reliever hidden in the venom of cone snails WASHINGTON, D.C. – On September 14, 2022, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society, hosted the 11th annual […]

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‘Indigenous imagination’ can be found in all of us

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On July 28, 58 junior high and high school students participated in the Summit Youth Track during the 16th Governor’s Native American Summit held at the University of Utah. The Summit Youth Track provides youth-focused workshops for Native American students. This year’s theme mirrored that of the summit, “Elevating Ourselves: Restoring Balance by Connecting with Our Cultures.” […]

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Global analysis identifies at-risk forests

Forests are engaged in a delicate, deadly dance with climate change, hosting abundant biodiversity and sucking carbon dioxide out of the air with billions of leafy straws. They can be a part of the climate solution as long as global warming, with its droughts, wildfires and ecosystem shifts, doesn’t kill them first. Top Photo: William […]

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What is the Wilkes Center for Climate Science & Policy?

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The geography that makes Utah unique—red rock deserts, greatest snow on Earth, cities amidst natural beauty—also makes us vulnerable to one of the biggest challenges of our time: Climate Change. Climate change can drive or exacerbate severe drought, wildfires, air pollution, water scarcity, and disappearing snowpack. Luckily, the University of Utah has a deep pool […]

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Bill Anderegg, Inaugural Director, Climate Center

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Backed by $20 million gift, U launches the Wilkes Center for Climate Science and Policy The University of Utah today announced the creation of the interdisciplinary Wilkes Center for Climate Science and Policy to promote research, study effective public policies and propose entrepreneurial business solutions to curb and combat the threats that climate change poses […]

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Synthetic insect-bacterial symbiosis

A new paper in Current Biology authored by Crystal Su (Dale lab) and other collaborators in SBS describes the development of a novel, synthetic insect-bacterial symbiosis that is sustained through many insect generations by transovarial bacterial transmission. ^ Banner photo: Crystal Su in the lab The symbiotic bacteria express a red fluorescent protein that is […]

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Denise Dearing, New Division Head, NSF

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The National Science Foundation has announced a 2-to-4-year appointment of the University of Utah’s M. Denise Dearing as Division Director for the NSF’s Division of Integrative Organismal Systems, effective August 15. The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) is one of four divisions within the Directorate of Biological Sciences at the NSF. The Division Director […]

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A Great-Grandson’s Tribute to Utah’s “First Dentist”

Remembering George R. Riser … and his tribute to Utah’s “First Dentist.” Salt Lake City, August 11, 2022 — Today, Distinguished Alumnus George R. Riser BS’47, who passed away in Pennsylvania in June, would have been ninety-nine-years old. The news of his death was especially poignant, not only because Riser’s Endowed Scholarships have been a […]

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Stephanie VanBeuge

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Lockdowns are something that Stephanie VanBeuge BS’17 knows something about . . . even before the coronavirus pandemic dropped out of the sky like an anvil. It was in her third year of graduate school at the University of Oregon when VanBeuge was first diagnosed with brain cancer–on the first day of the school year. She returned […]

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Elaine Tan

The difference between the flora and fauna of Malaysia and that of the Great Basin and Wasatch Mountains could not be more different. And yet it was the latter where SBS graduate student Elaine Tan (they/them), whose family is from the former, decided to do their graduate work in ecology and the evolution of social […]

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Seeing the world through ants

Ants are among the most numerous insects in the world, numbering from 10-100,000 trillion individuals globally with more than 10,000 species. But you don’t have to tell that to John “Jack” Longino, professor of biology. Known affectionately as “Ant Man” in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah and beyond, Longino is […]

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Remembering Bob Vickery

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Emeritus Faculty Dr. Robert Kingston Vickery Jr, 99, passed away July 20, 2022 in Salt Lake City after a life full of adventures, accomplishments and love. “Bob was an internationally recognized Plant Geneticist and Chair of the Department of Genetics, one of the traditional Departments at Utah that were merged to form the Biology Department,” […]

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You are STEM!

One of the best ways to engage in science, technology, engineering and math is through hands-on activities. Utah STEM Fest does just that and much more! This year the event takes place September 27-28 with a family night Sept. 27 from 4-8 pm with free admission! STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It’s […]

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Structural Signatures in E. Coli

Motile bacteria are capable of swimming efficiently toward favorable chemical environments and away from inhospitable ones. This behavior–called “chemotaxis”–is frequently used by unicellular organisms for finding food. Not surprisingly, such behaviors play important roles in establishing beneficial host symbioses and pathogenic infections. The value of understanding in detail this mechanism of directed cell migration in response […]

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Payton Utzman

Most people wouldn’t see a direct line between working on tractors in rural Washington State and working on a DNA repair enzyme that functions to prevent cancer in humans. But that’s the unlikely trajectory of Payton Utzman BS’22 who after graduating from the School of Biological Sciences headed off to join Nabla Bio  at a […]

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Major Alex Horn, PhD’21 | USAF C-17 Pilot

By Alex Horn I joined the Air Force as an 18-year-old cadet. I came to the U as part of a program that would allow me to later return to the Air Force Academy to teach. In my doctoral studies, I wanted to understand the relationships between our evolved propensity to form intense fraternal bonds […]

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OUR DNA, Spring 2022 Issue

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THE SCHOOL OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES MAGAZINE OUR DNA magazine is a dynamic 360-degree snapshot of both the depth and breadth of the people, the research and the outreach that make up one of the University of Utah’s most celebrated academic units, The School of Biological Sciences.   READ THE ENTIRE MAGAZINE HERE Subscribe to this […]

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Juneteenth Day of Freedom Summit

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Juneteenth is a nationally recognized holiday that commemorates the ending of slavery in the U.S. Today, it is celebrated to recognize Black excellence, achievement, education, and freedom. June 15 is Juneteenth Day of Freedom Summit at the U. The School of Medicine Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (OHEDI), in collaboration with the University […]

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Tiffany Do, Undergraduate Research Scholar

“My hero is my brother,” says Tiffany Do of her brother Anthony. “He’s the first in my family to graduate from the University of Utah. I look up to him because he’s gone through the trials in being a first-generation student and has helped me overcome some of those obstacles.” Those obstacles can be daunting. […]

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College Merger

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College of Mines and Earth Sciences to merge with College of Science. The University of Utah College of Mines and Earth Sciences will merge with the College of Science beginning July 1, 2022, a move that will unite well-funded programs, build synergy and cooperation between faculty and create a much stronger base for science and […]

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Metabarcoding for characterizing wild animal diets

DNA metabarcoding is the large-scale taxonomic identification of complex environmental samples via analysis of DNA sequences for short regions of one or a few genes. The technique is widely used to determine wild animal diets, but whether this technique provides accurate, quantitative measurements is still under debate. A team of SBS researchers set out to test […]

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What gives mammals a tolerance to poisonous compounds?

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In a new study, a SBS research team has learned that direct ecological exposure to the specialized chemistry of particular plant species is not a prerequisite for tolerance to toxic compounds. These findings lay the groundwork for additional studies to investigate the genetic mechanisms underlying toxin tolerance and to identify how these mechanisms are maintained […]

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Toto Gets Stamped!

Distinguished Professor Baldomero Olivera is featured in the Filipino Postal Office’s “Living Legends” commemorative stamp series. Affectionately referred to as “Toto,” Olivera has pioneered research on marine cone snails, demonstrating the therapeutic potential of their venom, already resulting in an FDA-approved drug. The University of Utah’s biochemistry and pharmacy departments (UofU Health) are currently expanding […]

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Wildfire, Drought & Insects

Threats impacting forests are increasing nationwide. by Paul Gabrielsen Planting a tree seems like a generally good thing to do for the environment. Trees, after all, take in carbon dioxide, offsetting some of the emissions that contribute to climate change. But all of that carbon in trees and forests worldwide could be thrown back into […]

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What We’re Still Learning About How Trees Grow

FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS REMAIN ABOUT WHAT FACTORS LIMIT TREE GROWTH. A NEW SBS STUDY MAY HOLD ANSWERS.  TOP PHOTO CREDIT: Antoine Cabon A conifer forest in Northern California. by Paul Gabrielsen science writer, University Marketing & Communications What will happen to the world’s forests in a warming world? Will increased atmospheric carbon dioxide help trees grow? […]

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2022 Rosenblatt Prize: Thure Cerling

Thure E. Cerling, Distinguished Professor of Biology, is the 2022 recipient of the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence. by Paul Gabrielsen science writer, University Marketing & Communications Cerling is also department chair of the Department of Geology & Geophysics, Francis H. Brown Presidential Chair, and Distinguished Professor of Geology and Geophysics. The Rosenblatt Prize is the […]

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That’s a Wrap. Footnotes from a Young Scientist

Letters from the Galápagos Islands Our South American correspondent Sonora “Nora” Clayton happily embarked on an excursion of a lifetime in February of this year: the Galapagos Islands off the coast of mainland Ecuador. The middle-schooler was embedded in the Clayton/Bush lab (Dale Clayton and Sarah Bush also happen to be her parents.) It was a first-hand […]

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