Published on: February 09, 2015
In 2009, Overtoun Jenda, associate provost for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, attended a conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, held by the Southern Africa Mathematical Sciences Association (SAMSA). As the only representative from the United States, Jenda made a promise that he would increase the presence of American mathematical research in Africa, and capitalize on an opportunity to create U.S.-Africa collaboration through Auburn University and SAMSA. When he returned to Auburn, Jenda, along with Ash Abebe, A.J. Meir and Peter Johnson of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, together with southern Africa mathematicians, began to brainstorm and developed what would become the Masamu Program, meaning mathematics in the southern African region.
Published on: February 06, 2015
AUBURN UNIVERSITY — The Auburn University Board of Trustees voted today to change the name of the Department of Geology and Geography to the “Department of Geosciences.” The change is due to the ever-widening areas of expertise of the department’s faculty and the resulting increase in both interdepartmental and interdisciplinary instruction and research. “Geology and Geography are diverse fields, and the expertise of our faculty spans a broad range of both the natural and social sciences, bridging them perhaps as well as any other unit at Auburn University, which makes us well suited for interdisciplinary research and instruction,” said Mark Steltenpohl, chairman of the Department of Geosciences. “Faculty expertise and research activities contribute to a variety of Auburn’s strategic research areas, particularly in health, the environment, and energy, and we collaborate with faculty in many units across campus, including those in the colleges of Sciences and Mathematics, Agriculture, Engineering, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Education, and the schools of Nursing and Forestry and Wildlife.”
Published on: January 23, 2015
The College of Sciences and Mathematics, along with the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and the College of Architecture, Design, and Construction, hosted the South’s BEST, or Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology, robotics championship at Auburn University in December.
Published on: December 08, 2014
The Donald E. Davis Arboretum was recently listed in as one of the “50 Most Stunning University Gardens and Arboretums.” Listed at number 35, the Davis Arboretum is home to more than 650 species of plants native to the Southeastern United States. Auburn’s geographic position at the Fall Line, where the rocky uplands of Alabama meet the sandy coastal plains, allows the Davis Arboretum to display a diverse collection of plants that flourish both north and south of the Fall Line.
Published on: December 05, 2014
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – The results are in on Deepwater Horizon oil spill research conducted by an Auburn University postdoctoral researcher, and her study indicates microscopic animals at the base of the food web that were harmed during the 2010 oil spill have recovered. The researcher, Pamela Brannock of the Department of Biological Sciences in Auburn’s College of Sciences and Mathematics, or COSAM, together with a team from Auburn Professor Kenneth Halanych’s lab and the University of Texas San Antonio, gathered and analyzed sediment samples taken before and after the oil reached Dauphin Island. The samples provided a basis for comparison to assess how the microscopic communities of marine invertebrates that live between the sand grains, or meiofauna, fared the oil spill.
Published on: November 17, 2014
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Alabama could potentially be the new home of the Argentine Black and White Tegu, a large predatory lizard reaching 4 feet in length and more than 10 pounds. The tegus, native to South America, have made their way to southern Florida where they are rapidly flourishing. The lizards are known to eat small mammals, birds and most importantly, other reptile eggs, which presents a threat to alligators and the rare gopher tortoise, both native to the Southeast.
Published on: November 03, 2014
If Natasha Narayanan’s performance at the 2014 Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society is any indication of what lies ahead in her academic and professional career, she is headed toward a consummate future. Narayanan, a COSAM sophomore and Honors College student majoring in biochemistry, gave an oral presentation titled, “Streamlined Chemical Synthesis of Tricyclic Nucleic Acid Analogues for Antisense Technology” during the undergraduate symposium portion of the conference. In recognition of both her research and eloquence, Narayanan’s talk was selected as the best oral presentation in the organic chemistry division out of 60 total presenters.
Published on: August 19, 2014
Dr. Cary Gannon, a biomedical sciences graduate and board certified podiatrist, has developed a line of healthy, carcinogen-free nail care products that allows women to enjoy manicures and pedicures while nourishing their skin and nails. “I was selling a competitive product in my office that claimed to have healthy properties, but after much investigation, I realized it was just regular nail polish,” said Gannon. “I was really upset with their marketing and thought it was dishonest.” Gannon decided then that she would make her own product that promotes natural therapies and lacks the harmful chemicals. Soon, the Nashville-based company, AILA was developed.
Published on: August 14, 2014
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – A group of Auburn researchers has published a study that could overturn some long-held paradigms regarding spider web evolution. Because of similarities in behaviors associated with web construction and the complicated nature of the webs, it has long been thought that all orb-weaving spiders shared a common ancestor. The study shows that spiders that weave orb-shaped webs are not all closely related and that the orb web was likely not the pinnacle of web evolution.
Published on: August 07, 2014
AUBURN UNIVERSITY—An Auburn University research team has produced a new drug candidate that could one day slow or even stop the deadly Ebola virus. The discovery will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. The group, led by professor of chemistry and biochemistry Stewart Schneller, has designed a compound aimed at reversing the immune-blocking abilities of certain viruses, including Ebola. “In simple terms, the Ebola virus has the ability to turn off the body’s natural immune response,” Schneller said. “We have made a small tweak in compound structure that will turn that response back on.”
Published on: August 05, 2014
An Auburn graduate student and former "Gator Boy" who wrestled with alligators in Eufaula continues his research in Costa Rica; this time, with crocodiles. "In terms of behavior, crocodiles seem to be a lot gnarlier than alligators," said Chris Murray, a member of the Craig Guyer lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at Auburn University, who is investigating the physiological and ecological factors that affect crocodilians within that country. "They're larger, and don't tire out nearly as fast, if ever, in some instances. They have a lot of fight and they're more nimble and flexible than your average alligator." He is seeking solutions for crocodile population issues identified by a Costa Rican commission that studies the animals.
Published on: July 31, 2014
Biological Sciences Professor Troy Best co-authored a new book titled, "Mammals of Alabama." Best wrote the book with the late Auburn University Professor of Biological Sciences Julian Dusi, and it is the first and only exhaustive guidebook to Alabama's diverse mammalian fauna. Written for anyone with an interest in mammalian diversity within the state, the book serves as a guide to species identification and includes hundreds of photos and fun facts.
Published on: May 30, 2014
COSAM’s Office of Student Services welcomed a new academic advisor this month, Meredith Jones ’12. She received an undergraduate degree from COSAM in biomedical sciences and then attended Clemson University where she received a master of education with a focus in counselor education. “While I was a student, I worked for COSAM as a peer advisor. That was when my career path began to take a major shift; no longer did a future in dentistry excite me, but working with students gave me a new perspective and caused me to begin researching graduate programs that focused on higher education and student affairs,” said Jones. “On the first day of graduate school, our professors told us that 'no one ever gets their dream job out of grad school.' I, however, did! I am so excited to return to The Plains and to be working for the office that sparked my interest in advising!” In addition to serving as a COSAM Peer Advisor while she was an undergraduate, Jones was also an orientation intern for COSAM, a role that positioned her to advise incoming students on academic-related matters, such as curriculum and course scheduling, as well as a COSAM Leader. The COSAM Leaders are a group of exemplary COSAM students who serve as the official ambassadors for the college.
Published on: May 16, 2014
Three Auburn University Honors College students, including Jamesa Stokes, a senior physics major, have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships to continue their studies in the United Kingdom and Germany this summer and fall. Stokes will conduct research at the German Space Agency’s Institute of Structures in Design in Stuttgart, Germany. An Atlanta native, Stokes has completed internships with Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. In addition, she was a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholar to Reutlingen, Germany. Her research investigates the behavior of fiber-oriented ceramics during hyper-sonic flight in order to develop better thermal protection systems for spaceflight vehicles. “I studied in Germany in the fall of 2012, and it was my first time traveling outside of the country, so it was truly an amazing experience,” Stokes said. “Now I can go back and experience more of Germany while doing research that interests me at the same time.”
Published on: May 29, 2014
During the past five years, physics Professor Edward Thomas developed the mantra, "No stress, no stress, no stress." By repeating the phrase over and over, he had hoped to stave off any ill effects that might result from overseeing the creation of the new Magnet Laboratory at Auburn University, which included the development and delivery of a 6,000-pound superconducting magnet, the only one of its kind in the world. The new lab houses the Magnetized Dusty Plasma Experiment, a one-of-a-kind facility that will support plasma physics research for Auburn University students and researchers, as well as for a diverse team of national and international researchers who will come to Auburn to perform experimental and theoretical studies. More than a dozen Auburn students, including undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral-researchers, were involved in the design and implementation of the new laboratory, and as the research evolves over the next several years, Thomas envisions opportunities for a long line of undergraduate and graduate student researchers.
Published on: May 22, 2014
For more than a century, researchers have believed that sponges represented the earliest living lineages of the animal tree. Thanks to modern genomic sequencing techniques, scientists in Auburn's College of Sciences and Mathematics discovered that ctenophores, or comb jellies, are actually at the base of the animal kingdom. The research results have been published in the journal Nature and can be read at this link. "The placement of comb jellies at the base of the animal tree rewrites some of our very basic understanding of how animals first evolved on this planet," said Kenneth Halanych, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Auburn. "The new genomic data overturns 150 years of scientific theories about the early evolution of animals." Halanych and the team of scientists, including Kevin Kocot, postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Biological Sciences at Auburn, along with an international team of scientists led by Leonid Moroz, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Florida, have studied the complete genome of a comb jelly, Pleurobrachia bachei, known as the "Pacific sea gooseberry." They were able to show that the species is remarkably distinct from other animals in that the genetic mechanisms used in ctenophore nerves and muscles are different from those seen in other animals.
Published on: April 28, 2014
The National Academic Advising Association selected Elizabeth Yarbrough, Ph.D., and Kathryn Milly West for 2014 Region 4: Excellence in Advising awards. The awards are presented to individuals who have demonstrated qualities associated with outstanding academic advising of students. Yarbrough, who is the director of student services for COSAM, is the recipient of the NACADA Region 4 Excellence in Advising: Advising Administration award. She also received the Certificate of Merit of the Outstanding Advising Award - Academic Advising Administrator, which is a national recognition.
Published on: April 25, 2014
The annual Duncan Lecture was held on April 23, and featured Bradley M. Peterson, professor and chair of the Department of Astronomy at The Ohio State University and a member of the NASA Advisory Council’s Science Committee and chair of the Astrophysics Subcommittee. The title of his lecture was, “Solving the Quasar Mystery: A 50-Year Quest,” and featured discussion of quasars, which are among the most distant and intrinsically brightest objects in the universe, but also small and dense. Quasars are powered by spectacularly massive “black holes,” objects so dense that not even light can escape from them. Peterson related the story of how quasars and supermassive black holes and their role in the cosmos have come to be understood.
Published on: April 24, 2014
The 2013 Arboretum Photo Contest is over and it's time to announce the winners! Here they are, listed by category. Click on each image to view a larger version.
Published on: April 23, 2014
Stuart Loch, associate professor of physics, was selected as the recipient of the SGA Outstanding Faculty Member Award for the College of Sciences and Mathematics. The award is presented to one faculty member from each of the university's schools and colleges. Nominated by students, recipients are chosen for respect of their peers and students, excellence in teaching, and concern for and involvement with students.
Published on: April 18, 2014
The Littleton-Franklin Lecture in Science and Humanities was held on April 15 and featured Nobel Prize winner Frank Wilczek, Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The lecture was co-sponsored by the Department of Physics and the Office of the Provost. Wilczek’s talk was titled, “Expanding the Doors of Perception: The Physics of Color Vision,” and detailed his work in the area of particle physics.
Published on: April 17, 2014
Auburn University serves more than 800 teachers and upward of 25,000 K-12 students in an eight-county region through the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative. The AMSTI program is the Alabama Department of Education’s state-funded, K-12 education program, designed to initiate and sustain improved statewide mathematics and science teaching and learning.
Published on: April 09, 2014
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Auburn University and the Southeastern Conference announced today that Professor Geoffrey Hill of the College of Sciences and Mathematics has been honored with the SEC’s Auburn University Faculty Achievement Award for 2013-2014. “The 2014 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners are some of our nation’s most accomplished instructors, researchers and scholars,” said Dr. Jay Gogue, President of Auburn University and President of the Southeastern Conference. “It is my great pleasure to preside over an intercollegiate athletics conference that not only recognizes their work, but strives to support it as well.” Hill, an Alumni Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and curator of birds for the Auburn University Museum of Natural History, will receive a $5,000 honorarium and represent Auburn as the university’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year. The SEC Professor of the Year will be selected from 14 nominees representing each of the SEC universities.
Published on: February 14, 2014
Auburn students interested in an intensive study-abroad program in one of the world’s most lush and adventure-filled locations can take advantage of the Organization for Tropical Studies, which owns and operates three biological field stations in Costa Rica: La Selva, Las Cruces and Palo Verde. OTS is a non-profit consortium that includes 63 universities and research institutions from the U.S., Latin America and Australia. Auburn University is the only school in the state that is a member of OTS, and since joining the consortium in 1987, Auburn students have had access to educational, research and funding opportunities in Costa Rica that are not available to non-member institutions.
Published on: January 09, 2014
Over the past 20 years, Willis Hames, a professor in Auburn University’s Department of Geology and Geography, has seen his fair share of student athletes in his classroom. He teaches Physical Geology, a large, auditorium-style science class which fills up quickly because it’s open to students from diverse academic curriculums. Last semester, one of his students was Auburn University football star and instant legend, Chris Davis. It was Hames’ class that erupted in a spontaneous standing ovation in honor of Davis on Dec. 2, the Monday following the Iron Bowl; a game which ended with Davis returning Alabama’s missed field goal for a touchdown, bringing Auburn the victory. Hames recalls the standing ovation and notes there was a feeling of the extraordinary in the air, even before Davis walked into the classroom.