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Darwin’s short-beak enigma solved

Mutation in the ROR2 gene is linked to beak length in domestic pigeons, has a surprising connection with a human congenital disorder. Charles Darwin was obsessed with domestic pigeons. He thought they held the secrets of selection in their beaks. Free from the bonds of natural selection, the 350-plus breeds of domestic pigeons have beaks […]

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Mario Capecchi

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We’re sure you’ve heard of Mario Capecchi Drive on campus, but do you know why that main road was given its name? Dr. Capecchi, who has joint appoints in the Department of Human Genetics and in the School of Biological Sciences, the latter of which where he got his start at the U, was born […]

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Birds at risk of extinction

The lush forests and more than 7,000 islands of the Philippines hold a rich diversity of life, with 258 bird species who live nowhere but the Philippine archipelago. A new study from University of Utah researchers suggests that, due to deforestation and habitat degradation, more bird species may be endangered that previously thought – including […]

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Scientific Discovery Illustrated

Biology Under Cover is a permanent exhibit in the lobby of the Aline W. Skaggs Biology Building. The evolving display showcases faculty research spanning decades featured on selected journal covers.   As of July 1, 2021, the exhibit features 60 book and journal covers ranging from the Journal of Cell Science to Nature, and from […]

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Bucking Groove Formation

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Nalini Nadkarni Retires Dr. Nalini Nadkarni has a busy brain. I should know; I’ve been married to her for nearly forty years. She can be described as (in no particular order): a taxi driver, surveyor, hitch hiker, pioneering canopy researcher, forest ecologist, mother, TED talk giver, science and art mixer, teacher, science-to-incarcerated promoter, solo hiker, […]

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Pan-Amphibian Viral Vectors

Ayako Yamaguchi and a team of amphibian neuroscientists awarded a one-million-dollar prestigious National Science Foundation EDGE grant to develop pan-amphibian viral vectors for spatio-temporal control of gene expression. The goal of the Yamaguchi lab is to understand how behavior of animals are produced by the nervous system. To this end, they use the courtship vocalizations of the […]

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Mary Beckerle Elected to NAS

April 21, 2021—Mary C. Beckerle, chief executive officer and director, Huntsman Cancer Institute (HC); and distinguished professor of biology and associate vice president for cancer affairs, University of Utah was elected to the National Academy of Science. She spends her days working to save lives and as CEO of HCI  models the company’s core values […]

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Nitin Phadnis, Fly Genetics

One of 3 for ’20. February 19, 2021 – Nitin Phadnis, SBS Associate Professor, and his colleagues won an Editors’ Choice Award for an outstanding Population and Evolutionary Genetics article published in GENETICS. Titled “Extensive Recombination Suppression and Epistatic Selection Causes Chromosome-Wide Differentiation of a Selfish Sex Chromosome in Drosophila pseudoobscura“, the article was one of only three selected for […]

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Fast Track Designation for Denali Diagnostics

March 22, 2021 – When Ryan Watts, BS’00, steps into the classroom at the University of Utah to discuss with students the opportunities they have in bio-tech, the founder/CEO of San Francisco-based Denali Therapeutics speaks from deep experience. His knowledge of the subject is unfolding in real-time, including earlier this month when Denali announced that […]

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Jim Ehleringer, Academy of Sciences

Distinguished professor of biology James R. Ehleringer, who has pioneered applications of stable isotopes, was elected in May 2016 as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. James “Jim” Ehleringer is among 84 U.S. scientist-scholars and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries elected at the Academy’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. He joins more than […]

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Going with the Flow

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Retiring botanist studied how plant’s xylem tissue carries phenomenal amounts of water to tree leaves where it evaporates and influences regional weather patterns. John Sperry grew up in Normal, Illinois, but his interest in plants–eventually their vascular function–would propel him into work that was far from standard in botany via Duke University and, eventually Harvard […]

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Leslie Sieburth: Associate Dean

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The College of Science is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Leslie Sieburth from the School of Biological Sciences as the new Associate Dean of Research in the College of Science, effective July 1, 2019. Leslie earned her PhD in Botany from the University of Georgia, completed a postdoctoral appointment at the California Institute of […]

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Associate V.P. for Research

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The College of Science is pleased to announce the appointment of Diane Pataki, Ph.D., as the Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Utah, effective April 1st, 2019. She will continue to serve as the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Science through July 1st, 2019. Dr. Pataki is a Professor […]

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TreeTop Barbie

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When Nalini Nadkarni was a young scientist in the 1980s, she wanted to study the canopy – the part of the trees just above the forest floor to the very top branches. But back then, people hadn’t figured out a good way to easily reach the canopy so it was difficult to conduct research in […]

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Running with Scissors

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One could argue that the age of genomes is divided between before CRISPR-Cas9 and after CRISPR-Cas9 (commonly referred to as just “CRISPR”). As a Harvard post-doc studying the genes involved in embryo development, James (Jamie) Gagnon remembers in 2012 that “pivotal moment” when these “really nice pair of scissors now easy to make” came on […]

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Courtship Condos

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Playing to the ethic of pursuing pure science, new faculty member Dean Castillo is driven by research questions not necessarily the research organism. While working on his bachelor’s and even before that while growing up in rural northern California, he worked with “tons of different organisms,” he says, including fungi. So it wasn’t difficult for him […]

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Karl Gordon Lark

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Karl Gordon Lark, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Utah, passed away on April 10, 2020, after a seven-year battle with cancer. A renowned geneticist, Lark uncovered fundamental aspects of DNA replication and genetics across many systems, from bacteria to soybeans to dogs. He came to the U in 1970 as the biology department’s […]

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Biological Invaders

Science Research Initiative Fox Squirrel Biology Research STREAM Denise Dearing, PhD, Distinguished Professor, School of Biological Sciences Tess Stapleton, PhD Candidate, School of Biological Sciences Biological invaders are one of the key drivers of ecosystem change. Invasion can result in loss of native species, reduction of ecosystem diversity, and even loss of ecosystem services such […]

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Forest Futures

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Forest Futures Know the risks of investing in forests. Given the tremendous ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, some governments are counting on planted forests as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions—a sort of climate investment. But as with any investment, it’s important to understand the risks. If a forest goes bust, […]

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Ryan Watts, BS’00

Ryan Watts Distinguished Alumnus   Dr. Ryan Watts, BS’00 in Biology, is the CEO and Co-Founder of Denali Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on finding treatments and cures for neurodegenerative illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Watts and his colleagues at Denali are passionate about discovering drug therapies to help over 22 million people […]

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John “Sandy” Parkinson, Academy of Sciences

December 9, 2019 – John S. Parkinson was one of two fellows from the University of Utah named to the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for “distinguished contributions to the field of molecular microbiology, particularly using genetic and in vivo analyses to study bacterial chemotaxis, behavior and signal transduction.” “My election as […]

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