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Letters from Galápagos #1

January 17, 2022 To whom it may concern,   Packing is an adventure. Getting ready to depart on a field expedition is always an adventure in and of itself. Amongst packing, COVID testing, homework, buying supplies, planning travel, and coordinating a study, we are all tired, and very ready to be on our way. Consistent […]

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Action against racism on campus

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January 14, 2022–From U of U Leadership: Dear campus community, We have an urgent vision for the U. Our collective vision calls for us to come together and say we will not tolerate what has long been intolerable. We remind our campus family that harm and fear continue to ripple through our community, especially our […]

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New Gene-editing Tools Detailed in Cover Article

The expanding CRISPER-Cas universe continues to provide new tools for manipulating genomes in animals. James “Jamie” Gagnon who currently holds the Mario Capecchi Endowed Chair at the School of Biological Sciences understands that embryonic cells “talk” to each other to coordinate the construction process. “Cells are master linguists – they use dozens of different languages, […]

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California mice eat monarch butterflies

This newly discovered mouse-butterfly interaction suggests that western monarch decline could disrupt ecosystems in unanticipated ways By Lisa Potter | Research Communications University of Utah Marketing & Communications Monarch butterflies possess a potent chemical armor. As caterpillars, they eat plants filled with toxic cardenolides that build up in their bodies and make them unpalatable to […]

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Beans-to-Genes Microbiology in the time of Covid

Last semester, Professor Colin Dale’s Biol 5275, Microbial Diversity, Genomics and Evolution (MDGE) lab/class was faced with an especially ambitious task. Students were challenged to isolate culture caffeine-degrading bacteria from environmental samples, perform molecular identification, sequence their genomes and identify the genes responsible for degradation of caffeine. They explored a diverse and interesting range of […]

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Ferocious fungus

In new paper, co-authored by SBS Professor, engineers discover what makes a tree-killing fungus so hard to put down. By Vince Horiuchi | public relations associate, College of Engineering University of Utah It’s called Armillaria ostoyae, and it’s a gnarly parasitic fungus with long black tentacles that spread out and attack vegetation with the ferocity […]

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Remembering Naomi Franklin, 1929-2021

SBS Professor EmeritaNaomi Franklin passed away on December 24, 2021 in Salt Lake City. She was 92. Colleague Larry Okun, also emeritus, described Franklin as “[a] complex character, stubborn and sometimes irascible on the one hand and extraordinarily caring and generous on the other.” He recalled how she frequently entertained at her home Biology newcomers, […]

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Desert shrubs cranked up water use efficiency to survive a megadrought

It may not be enough. Shrubs in the desert Southwest have increased their water use efficiency at some of the highest rates ever observed to cope with a decades-long megadrought. That’s the finding of a new study from University of Utah researchers, who found that although the shrubs’ efficiency increases are unprecedented and heroic, they […]

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2021 Year-End Message from the Co-Directors

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Moving Ahead with Biological Sciences Research programs carried out by Biology faculty have always been characterized by deep curiosity and scientific rigor; however, the locations where this work has taken place have been surprisingly variable. One of the first departments at the U, Biology and its faculty have traditionally occupied buildings close to Presidents Circle. […]

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The Science of Biological Data: Fred Adler

In an age when cross-disciplinary collaboration has become essential, especially in academia, Fred Adler puts his mathematical models where his mouth is. Multi-disciplinary work—in which academic silos are breached in the search for truth—is the hallmark of what Adler, who has a joint appointment in mathematics and biology, does. His is the kind of work […]

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SRI Year-End Campaign: $50K match

We invite you to help biology students be part of the Science Research Initiative. We want all students to be able to take advantage of the program this year and in the future. Please consider making a gift today. The College of Science will match all donations up to $50,000. The School of Biological Sciences […]

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“The 28 Day Cycle” Art Installation

“I made an impractical decision that I do not regret,” says Danielle Okelberry who goes by “Dani.” The UofU senior who is finishing up her art degree, slowed her graduation considerably by declaring herself a pre-med undergraduate. Truthfully, there are very few pre-med students at the U who are art majors. All the more unusual, […]

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#GivingTuesday

Today, November 30, 2021, is the national day of giving in the United States. Across the country #GivingTuesday is the hashtag folks are using to get the word out that, whatever you choose to donate to, today’s the day. The School of Biological Sciences (SBS) is no exception. SBS and the College of Science launched […]

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2007 Nobel laureate Mario Capecchi on this year’s award

Each year thousands of professors, members of national committees, Nobel laureates, and parliamentary assemblies lobby their candidates to the Nobel committee for the Nobel Prize. The results of this year’s selection were announced on Oct. 8 by The Norwegian Nobel Committee for research that the committee describes as “having conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” […]

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Early Riser: George Riser, Distinguished Alumnus

In 2017 George R. Riser, BS’1947, received the first Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Biological Sciences. It is an auspicious award for a truly auspicious man in part because of Mr. Riser’s sustained funding of the Riser Endowed Scholarship Fund which has provided annual scholarships to thousands of graduate and undergraduate students in […]

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Bill Gray Awarded Ty Harrison Service Award 2021

Three years ago after Ty Harrison passed away, the board of directors of the Utah Native Plant Society (UNPS) established the Ty Harrison Service Award to honor his memory of outstanding service to the organization. This year we are pleased to announce William R. Gray as the recipient of the Ty Harrison Service Award for […]

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Woodrat microbiomes: It’s who you are that matters most

More than diet or geography, evolutionary history has the strongest influence on bacterial gut communities in both wild and captive woodrats. Every mammal hosts a hidden community of other organisms—the microbiome. Their intestines teem with complex microbial populations that are critical for nutrition, fighting disease and degrading harmful toxins. Throughout their lives, mammals are exposed […]

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Cottam’s Gulch

One of the most tranquil spots at the University is Cottam’s Gulch, the small gully that runs behind the Crocker Science Center to University Street. The grassy, tree-lined area, with its meandering stone pathway and lone bench, is a perfect place to read, meditate, picnic, or enjoy exuberant birdsong. It’s a place rich in history, […]

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Nalini Nadkarni: A tree goes around the world 7 times a year

In October 2021, SBS’s Nalini Nadkarni, Professor Emerita, came to Barcelona to collect the NAT prize, which is awarded by the Museum of Natural Sciences to personalities who have excelled in disseminating scientific knowledge. By Bernat Puigtobella 10/29/2021 Top photo credit: Nalini Nadkarni © Marina Miguel/ Núvol   Known as the “Queen of the Forest […]

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The science of the sandworms of ‘Dune’

The giant creatures in Frank Herbert’s novel have an Earthly counterpart in the numerous nematodes. By Michael S. Werner | Special to The Tribune | Oct. 29, 2021 Top photo: (Chia Bella James/Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP) This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Timothee Chalamet, left, and Rebecca Ferguson in a scene from […]

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Rivers become bird corridors

In a dry year in the West, when the world turns crispy and cracked, rivers and streams with their green, lush banks become a lifesaving yet limited resource. New research from the University of Utah and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) finds that in dry years, birds funnel into the relative greenness of […]

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Ilham Batar: Creating the unimaginable

In the office of the UofU President, now, currently occupied by Taylor Randall, Presidential Interns are students provided with an unparalleled opportunity to learn from and collaborate with the president and other university administrators. In August 2018, Ilham Batar, BS’21, was enlisted in this prestigious group. “In May 2019, I was appointed as a co-leader […]

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Can Fungi Save the World?

Just below the surface of our world lies the vast, unexplored world of fungi. There are an estimated 5.1 million species of fungi weaved into the soil, water and other living organisms that inhabit our planet. Of those five million species, we’ve identified just over 70,000. Despite being just beneath (and sometimes on) our fingertips, the fungal […]

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Featured Art in SBS

The School of Biological Sciences has many feet of wall space to decorate, and occasionally it has snagged work, commissioned or bought, from notable Utah artists. For a time a large, vertical painting by the late modernist Douglas Snow hung in the atrium of South Biology (Bldg. 89), but was taken down after a time. […]

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Inflight Blood Meals on a Starry Night 

SBS’s Neil Vickers could tell you a great deal about turbulence–in his lab and in the broader world of a busy School of Biological Sciences. As Co-Director of the School, he juggles the administration of U Biology with his colleague Leslie Sieburth. This while keeping his lab in the Aline Skaggs Biology Building up and […]

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Student Veteran of the Year

The Student Veteran of the Year (SVOY) award is open for nominations. The award is presented annually by the University of Utah Veterans Support Center (VSC) to a U.S. Armed Forces service member or veteran enrolled at the university. The award recognizes academic achievement, community/campus service, and military accomplishments. A committee of peers selects the […]

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Crystal Cory: SBS Career Coach

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Career coaching is a little bit of hand-holding and a whole lot of at-your-fingertips resources. A little bit of asking the right questions of your client (and asking them at the right time) and the uncanny ability to help someone see how cool they already are. It’s a lot about helping someone find an occupational […]

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Nerd with a passion for the outdoors

Growing up on a hobby farm in the Pacific Northwest, Shelley Reich developed a keen interest in biology, especially genetics and animal behavior. She fondly recalls the imprinted ducklings that followed her around the farm, litters of Australian shepherd puppies her family raised, and the acrobatics of newborn calves not even 24-hours old. In addition […]

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SBS opens search for 2 new faculty members in plant bio

Assistant Professor – School of Biological Sciences University of Utah [pictured above, Talia Karasov, SBS Assistant Professor, studies how bacterial pathogens evolve and spread in plant host populations, and how hosts in turn evolve resistance.] We’re hiring. The School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah invites applications for two tenure-track faculty positions at […]

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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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Austin Green

I began my research career in 2013 as an undergraduate in the Şekercioğlu Lab at the School of Biological Sciences. At the time, my research interests were very broad. All I knew for certain was that I wanted to do lots of fieldwork, so I started a small-scale project in Red Butte Canyon using camera […]

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Kathleen Treseder

For Kathleen Treseder, HBS’94, the launching pad for her career in science and research was Borneo, the giant, rugged island in Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago. A Salt Lake City native and a first-generation college graduate, she didn’t know that Universities did research. When it came time to apply for a president’s scholarship at the University […]

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