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Nematode proteins shed light on infertility

  We have two copies of each chromosome in every cell in our bodies except in our reproductive cells. Sperm and egg cells contain a single copy of each chromosome with a unique mix of genes from our parents, an evolutionary trick to give our offspring genetic variability. The sperm and egg are made during […]

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Christmas trees and climate change

Small choices can make a big impact this holiday season, starting with your Christmas tree! As Douglas firs and white pines appeared in lots around Salt Lake City, Natalie Vickers, a junior pre-occupational therapy major and video intern at the School of Biological Sciences, got curious—how does the tree-trimming tradition fit into a changing climate? […]

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PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLAR AWARD

Associate Professor of biology Sophie Caron is a 2023 awardee. The University of Utah Presidential Scholar Award supports the work of exceptionally promising mid-career faculty in academic units across campus by providing $10,000 in funding each year for three years to the award winners. In addition to Caron, an internationally prominent neuroscientist, other awardees include […]

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MECHANISMS OF PLANT MICROBES

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‘Plants do have immune systems or immune responses, and a lot of people don’t realize that,’ explains Efthymia ‘Effie’ Symeondi.  “They have a pretty complicated and well-defined system for responding to pathogens.” The post-doctoral researcher in the School of Biological Sciences is this year’s recipient of the College of Science Outstanding Post-Doc Award. Symeondi’s fascination […]

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Nadkarni named NatGeo Explorer at Large

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NADKARNI NAMED NATGEO EXPLORER AT LARGE   The National Geographic Society has appointed famed University of Utah forest canopy researcher Nalini Nadkarni as a National Geographic Explorer at Large. A Professor Emerita at the School of Biological Sciences, Nadkarni, an ecologist who pioneered the study of Costa Rican rainforest canopies and an avid science communicator, will serve as […]

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Epiphytes Face Growing Threats

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Orchids, mosses, ferns—or epiphytes, defined as nonparasitic plants that grow on other plants—are crucial for Earth’s biodiversity and play essential roles in forests around the world, building habitat in trees for myriad other life forms, from bacteria and insects to birds and reptiles. However, the very attributes that have enabled epiphytes to thrive in forest […]

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Fall’s Flamboyance

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FALL’S FLAMBOYANCE   To many, Utah’s fall leaves are a dazzling display of nature’s beauty. To Eleinis Ávila-Lovera, the autumnal switch to reds, yellows, oranges and purples tells a chromatic story of survival. Eleinis Ávila-Lovera. Banner photo: Archie enjoys the fall leaves changing in Millcreek Canyon. Credit: Jessica Taylor “Whenever I see plants outside, I’m always […]

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Thliveris

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ANDY THLIVERIS: ‘REMEMBER THE UNDERGRADS’   In December 2022, Andrew Thliveris BS’83 made a special trip to Salt Lake City with his wife Lauren. They joined the School of Biological Sciences in a belated (due to the pandemic) remembrance of K. Gordon Lark who had passed away more than two-and-a-half years earlier in April 2020. […]

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Rowntree Right Whales

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DOING RIGHT BY RIGHT WHALES   More than 50 years ago, Victoria Rowntree, research professor of biology at the University of Utah, was invited by the animal behaviorist Roger Payne to visit his then-new right-whale research project at Península Valdés (PV) in Patagonia, Argentina. Victoria Rowntree, in the field. Banner photo: Instituto de Conservación de […]

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CLENCHED FISTS AND FULL BEARDS

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CLENCHED FISTS AND FULL BEARDS Humans have not evolved to do any one thing. We evolved to make tools. We evolved to tell stories. We evolved to explore and more. And one thing that some scientists are now coming to recognize is that we also evolved to fight — with each other. David Carrier is […]

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Spider mite toxin evolution

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HOW SPIDER MITES QUICKLY EVOLVE RESISTANCE TO TOXINS Although mites are arthropod-like insects, they have eight legs and are more closely related to ticks, spiders and scorpions. The two-spotted spider mite is tiny, hardly half a millimeter long, and is named for the pair of black spots on either side of its partially translucent body. […]

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MATHEMATICAL BIOLOGY ADDS UP

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MATHEMATICAL BIOLOGY ADDS UP The intersection between biology and math may seem like a large divide, but in reality, these disciplines gives rise to fascinating research approaches. Jody Reimer, an assistant professor at the U, has double appointments in biology and math. “Biology is very messy,” Reimer states. “There’s this feeling of wanting to find […]

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Stark Message from Maui

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A STARK MESSAGE FROM MAUI Earth’s rapidly changing climate is taking an increasingly heavy toll on landscapes around the world in the form of floods, rising sea levels, extreme weather, drought and wildfire. Also at growing risk are the values of the property where these hazards are projected to worsen, according to a new study by […]

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Tree-top Barbie Nadkarni

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WHAT THE INSPIRATION FOR ‘TREETOP BARBIE’ THOUGHT OF THE ‘BARBIE’ MOVIE The canopy scientist (a.k.a. “TreeTop Barbie”) and emerita professor of biology at the University of Utah talks about her unusual connection to the iconic doll.   Margot Robbie in Barbie. PHOTO: JAAP BUITENDIJK/WARNER BROS. Nalini Nadkarni, professor emerita of biology at the University of […]

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Shared Resistance in Breast Cancer

“Cancer cells are often thought of as maverick cells that break the rules and by doing so end up damaging or even killing their host,” says University of Utah professor Fred Adler. “But cancer cells in fact continue to depend on other cells in their environment to survive, particularly under the intense stress we place them […]

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Zundel Admin

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HERE COMES TROUBLE SHOOTING That portion of the foliage of trees forming the uppermost layer of a plant community is called the overstory. But just as critical to the health of that community is what’s called the understory: everything else in a tree down to its deepest roots. As with trees, so with universities, in […]

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Nadkarni-Bright Red Arrow

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WHEN THE ‘BRIGHT RED ARROW” TURNS EARTHWARD “[P]retty much all my adult life I’ve been on what I think of as riding this bright red arrow that will take me higher and faster and better with more achievements and more accomplishments, so that people will think, Oh my God, she’s really hot, she’s really worthwhile.” […]

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Nature for Everyone

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BRINGING NATURE TO EVERYONE A walk in the woods, in the desert, or even a city park can boost both your mood and your health — but access to nature isn’t always equal. Above: Nalini Nadkarni. Banner Photo: Austin Green (right), SRI Post-doc and SBS graduate leads a group “into the woods” Credit: Myra Gerst […]

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GADUSOL: A MORE “E-FISH-ENT” SUNSCREEN

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As temperatures rise, and outside activities become more popular, many people are thinking about protecting themselves from sunburns and melanomas, primarily using sunscreen. Marlen Rice. Banner Image: Jamie Gagnon and Marlen Rice. Credit: Todd Anderson   However, humans aren’t the only species that have to worry about UV damage. Many species use sunscreen, but not […]

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Nobel Winner Capecchi Discovers New Brain Mechanism

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The pandemic and its aftermath have raised anxiety to new levels. But the roots of anxiety-related conditions, including obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorder (OCSD), are still unclear. In a new study, University of Utah Health scientists discovered insights into the importance of a minor cell type in the brain — microglia —in controlling anxiety-related behaviors in laboratory […]

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Lissy Coley National Academy

“I first stepped foot in a tropical rainforest in 1975 and have been back every year doing research on how plants defend themselves against getting eaten by insects,” says Phyllis “Lissy” Coley, distinguished professor emerita of biology at the U. She is newly elected member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). NAS Members are elected […]

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Jon Wang

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Vulnerable forests and the carbon budget   Jon Wang is an Earth systems scientist and recently joined the faculty of the School of Biological Sciences as an assistant professor. Born and raised in California, Wang’s undergraduate degree took him across the country to Brown University where he studied biology and geology. “It was the major […]

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Rog Undergrad Mentor Award

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2023 OUTSTANDING UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH MENTORS The Office of Undergraduate Research has created a faculty award to honor mentors for their work with students. The Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, now in its inaugural year, is given to those who were selected by their college leadership and peers for their dedicated service to mentorship. Of the 420 mentors […]

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Anderegg Allergy Article

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If you’ve been itchy, congested, and sneezy for months, you’re not alone. This year’s spring allergy season started early, broke pollen-count records in some parts of the country, and is still going strong in many areas. In a May 9th article in TIME magazine William Anderegg, U Biology Associate Professor and Director of the Wilkes Center for Climate Science & Policy says […]

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Jesus Aguayo

Jesus Eduardo Aguayo’s  interest in Biology was fueled during his high school experience. He recalls sitting in his medical anatomy and physiology class learning about neurons when, suddenly, he learned something that would impact his life’s trajectory forever. Learning about the action potential of neurons was so fascinating that it was as if he was […]

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Humans @ the U: Jessica Venegas

“I was born prematurely at the University of Utah Hospital. My parents would tell me stories about how the doctors had to save my life. Growing up and carrying that really inspired me to be a doctor. I’ve always wanted to go to the U because that’s where I was born and ever since I […]

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Bailey Young

“A lot of people assume that pigeons are garbage birds and look at them with disdain,” says Bailey Young. “However, pigeons are actually really cool! There are over 300 different breeds with dramatically different phenotypic traits including feather color, eye color, flying patterns, beak and foot size and more.” The biology senior, ready to graduate […]

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Seeing the forest for the trees

SBS’s “Highly-Cited” researchers spur collaboration in forest science Banner Photo Credit: Rob DeGraff via Flickr The first scientific journal, still in print, was launched in 1665 by the Royal Society in London, but peer review and the ubiquitous citations we’ve come to expect in research documents are a relatively recent innovation. According to the Broad […]

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Remembering K. Gordon Lark

SBS gathered December 15, 2022 to remember the life and legacy of the late K. Gordon Lark, founder of the Department of Biology, now the School of Biological Sciences. The event, chaired by professor and former SBS chair/co-chair of SBS Neil Vickers, included prepared remarks by Baldomero “Toto” Olivera and Nobel laureate Mario Capecchi. Both […]

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Anatomy Education Relies on Body Donor Program

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I sat down in a fluorescent plastic chair in an ice cold, windowless room. I was a sophomore in college and it was my first lab experience at the University of Utah. Surrounding me, on big white tables, were the bodies of donors wrapped in plastic coverings. By Ashley Ikegami, BS’17 Nervously, the students gathered […]

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Paying it Forward: Clarissa Henry

It’s generally not a good idea (or even allowed) to take biochemistry as your first biology class. But that’s exactly what Clarissa Henry BS’95 did as a freshman at the U. “[I]t was so great,” she says, “that I changed my major from Chinese to biology.” The class Henry took was a section taught by […]

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A Serendipitous Path to Pharmacology

A RETROSPECTIVE VIEW by Baldomero Olivera I have no formal academic training in pharmacology. It’s no surprise, therefore, that my path to a research career in this field has been idiosyncratic. Ultimately, my increasing involvement with pharmacological science came about because it was the indispensable scientific discipline required. At critical moments in my scientific life, […]

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