Interim Dean Search Update
The College of Sciences and Mathematics is pleased to announce two finalists for the interim dean search. The finalists are Charles Savrda, Professor, Department of Geology and Geography, Interim Dean, COSAM and Ulrich Albrecht, Professor, Department of Mathematics & Statistics, COSAM. Both finalists had an opportunity in early July to present to faculty, staff and students their vision regarding the future of COSAM. They have also visited with college and university administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumni. For more information, click HERE.
Biological Sciences News:
Articles Published in Ecology Letters and Symbiosis
The Department of Biological Sciences congratulates Professors Geoff Hill, Nanette Chadwick and Scott Santos for their respective cover articles in the July 2011 issue of Ecology Letters and Symbiosis. The symbiosis paper represents the work of a former master’s student, Moodi Roopin ’07, biological sciences. To read the articles, click HERE.
Biological Sciences professor gives presentation at Hawai‛i Volcanoes National Park
Biological Sciences associate professor Scott R. Santos (pictured right of center, blue plaid shirt) gave a presentation on Hawai‛i’s famous endemic shrimp, 'opae 'ula, or Halocaridina rubra, that are only found in anchialine pools. The name of the lecture was "Anchialine Pools: Uncovering the Hidden Secrets," and was presented at The Kïlauea Visitor Center at Hawai‛i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai‛i. Santos gave an overview of anchialine habitats, which are pools of water found along the coast with no surface connection to the sea itself. Anchialine habitats contain salt or brackish water, which fluctuates with the tides. Typically the habitats are land-locked open pools and cracks, and there are several found in the Volcanoes National Park along the eastern coast of the island of Hawai‛i. The Hawaiian Islands have the largest concentration of anchialine pools in the world with approximately 520. Due to coastal development or the introduction and spread of exotic species, many of the anchialine habitats have been altered or destroyed. Santos explained that understanding the biology of wildlife inhabiting anchialine habitats is paramount to developing sound management and conservation plans for these unique ecosystems. To further conservation education, the Kïlauea Visitor Center unveiled a new exhibit featuring a living anchialine pool that features native Hawaiian shrimp. For more information on Santos, click HERE.
Professor receives grant
Christopher J. Easley, an assistant professor who joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in August of 2008, was awarded a three-year grant totaling $383,786 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his research project titled, Cooperative Approaches for Aptamer Selection and Protein Detection.” Easley seeks to utilize the proximity ligation effect, a process that allows for sensitive high-capacity protein measurements, to select target-binding sequences (aptamers) from a random sequence library of single-stranded DNA. His laboratory will then use proximity assays to detect peptides and proteins secreted by small numbers of pancreatic islets or adipocytes (fat cells) in research related to diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Finally, Easley will share this knowledge with the public through collaboration with Auburn’s Science In Motion outreach program, serving large areas populated with groups underrepresented in science. For more information on Easley’s research, click HERE.
NOBCChE conference to be held at Auburn
The 2011 Southeast Regional Meeting of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) will take place at Auburn University on November 11 and 12. For more information on NOBCChE and the conference, visit the following link: www.nobcche.org
University professors secure time on supercomputer
A group of scientists from Auburn University are working with an international team on a research project titled, “Atomic and Molecular Collision Dynamics using Petascale Computing Systems.” Representing Auburn from the College of Sciences and Mathematics are: Physics Professors Michael S. Pindzola and Francis Robicheaux; Assistant Professor of Physics Stuart Loch; and Assistant Research Professor of Physics Connor Balance. College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science Assistant Professor Weikuan Yu is also on the team. The research will focus on the development of computational methods to solve Schrödinger and Dirac equations for atomic and molecular collision processes. The collision calculations will support light source experiments, stored ion experiments, controlled fusion experiments and astrophysical observations. The project was made possible through an award of 7,883,000 core-hours on the Cray XT5 supercomputer at the National Institute for Computational Sciences in Knoxville, Tenn. The Cray XT5, also called "Kraken," is ranked 11th in the world. The monetary value of the hours awarded is around $400,000.
Physics professor works to produce high-quality, low-cost solar cells
Associate Professor of Physics Minseo Park has received research funding from the Korea institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH). The title of the research project is "Development of Organic/Inorganic Hybrid Solar Cells based on ZnO Nanostructures and Polymers." The amount of funding is approximately $32,000. The proposed organic/inorganic Hybrid Solar Cell will exploit the flexibility and inexpensive nature of polymer materials and high electronic quality of inorganic semiconductor nanostructures. Park and his colleagues will synthesize ZnO nanorods and fabricate/test the hybrid solar cells. Successful implementation of the project will bring us an alternative way to produce high-quality, low-cost solar cells. For more information on Park, visit the following link: https://sites.google.com/site/test3456789or/
COSAM alumnus receives teaching award
Dr. Kenan Penaskovic ’00, Pre-medicine Microbiology, the attending psychiatrist and director of medical student clerkship at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently received the Devneil Vaidya Junior Faculty Teaching Award. The Devneil Vaidya award recognizes a junior faculty member who demonstrates excellence in teaching, mentoring and curricular innovations related to medical student education and is given by the Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry. Penaskovic’s wife, Bridget, also graduated from COSAM with a degree in Biomedical Sciences in 2001. Click HERE to read the full story of Penaskovis’s award.
COSAM alumni excel in medical school
Auburn University alumni accounted for 15 of the 69 spring 2011 graduates from the University of South Alabama (USA) College of Medicine. Of those, 10 were COSAM graduates and include the following:
-Dr. Lauren J. Platt (pictured), who received a five year orthopedic surgery appointment at the University of Missouri Columbia School of Medicine in Columbia, Mo. Honors include membership in Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Platt was also the recipient of the 2011 Dean's Award, which recognizes the highest scholastic grade-point average for the full four years of medical school. This is the highest honor bestowed on USA College of Medicine graduates. She also received the Glasgow-Rubin Achievement Citation, awarded for academic achievement to women who graduate in the top 10 percent of the class; the Outstanding Student in Anatomical Sciences, awarded to the student with the best performance in the four anatomical sciences (gross anatomy, histology, neuroscience, and development anatomy); and the William A. Gardner, Jr. Pathology Award, awarded for outstanding achievement in the pathology course.
-Dr. Andrew R. Grucza, who received an appointment in emergency medicine at the University of Alabama Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala. Grucza is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and the recipient of the Microbiology/Immunology Achievement Award for outstanding performance.
-Dr. Matthew R. Irvin, who received an appointment in family medicine at Florida Hospital Medical Center in Orlando, Fla.
-Dr. Robert A. Lockwood, who received an appointment in internal medicine at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. Lockwood is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and the winner of the Pharmacology Achievement Award for outstanding student performance.
-Dr. Sarah E. Stephenson, who received an appointment in anesthesiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, Colo.
-Dr. James Morgan Tucker, III, who received an appointment in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Ky.
-Dr. Micah R. Whitson, who received an appointment in internal medicine-emergency medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.
-Dr. Barry Dale Ballard, Jr., who received an appointment in general surgery at University of South Alabama Hospitals in Mobile, Ala.
-Dr. Katelyn V. Braswell, who received an appointment in obstetrics and gynecology at University of South Alabama Hospitals in Mobile, Ala.
-Dr. Christin Davis Taylor, who received an appointment in obstetrics and gynecology at University of South Alabama Hospitals in Mobile, Ala.
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Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs concludes Summer Bridge
On Thursday, June 30, the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs wrapped up the 2011 Summer Bridge program with an awards luncheon at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. The luncheon featured keynote speaker, Dr. Michael B. Williams. Williams is an Auburn-area cardiologist and graduate of Ohio State University (zoology) and the University of Michigan College of Medicine. He moved to Auburn in 1992 and has been active at Auburn University with membership on both the Foundation Board and COSAM Leadership Council. Additionally, his daughter, Jessica, is a May 2010 graduate of COSAM (biomedical sciences) and is a student at Emory University School of Medicine. Williamsadvised the Bridge Students to make the most of their college careers by prioritizing and getting involved on campus.
Following the keynote address, the 22 highly motivated incoming Auburn freshmen who participated in Summer Bridge received diplomas for completing the Bridge program. For more information on Summer Bridge, including a first-hand video account of how the program helped to prepare incoming minority freshman Alexis Jackson (pictured), click HERE.
Outreach Director featured on Auburn's homepage
COSAM's Director of Outreach, Mary Lou Ewald, was the featured Take Five interview on Auburn’s website during the week of July 18-22. To read Ewald’s interview, visit the Take Five archives HERE and select “Mary Lou Ewald.”
COSAM's Ed Thomas and Mary Lou Ewald assemble a team to conduct experiments on NASA's "Weightless Wonder" aircraft
Auburn University and Auburn City Schools joined together to form the “Flying Tigers” team. The team, comprised of six educators, will ventured to NASA Johnson Space Center‘s Ellington Field in Houston, Tex., on July 20 to conduct experiments aboard a modified Boeing 727 known as the “Weightless Wonder.” The aircraft provides weightlessness 18 to 25 seconds at a time by executing a series of about 30 parabolas – a steep climb followed by a free fall – over the Gulf of Mexico. The program, known as the Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program, gives students and educators an opportunity to propose, build and fly a reduced gravity experiment during the free falls, thus gathering data in the unique environment as they experience near-weightlessness. To read more about the Flying Tigers and their trip to NASA, visit the following link: http://wireeagle.auburn.edu/news/3696.
More information, such as video and photos, on the Flying Tigers riding the Weightless Wonder will appear in a future edition of e-Journey.
Auburn researchers pass milestones for patents, license agreements in a variety of fields
Auburn University researchers set university records last year for the number of U.S. patents and license and option agreements. During 2010, Auburn earned 25 U.S. patents, beating the second highest mark of 19 in 2007, and secured 25 new license and option agreements. Auburn researchers also cited 105 new invention disclosures, almost reaching the university's top score of 110 four years ago. New patents and inventions are in fields as diverse as advanced materials, biotechnology and environmental sciences.
Of the University’s numbers, COSAM accounted for 14 issued U.S. patents, trademarks and copyrights, and three license and option agreements. Additionally, COSAM had 18 non-disclosure agreements, memorandums of understanding, material transfer agreements or teaming testing in the year 2010. In all, these categories brought COSAM more than $500,000 in funding.
To read more about Auburn University’s 2010 patents and license agreements, visit the following link: http://wireeagle.auburn.edu/news/3704#more-3704%20
Student Services News:
Dates to remember
Several important dates are in August. The summer semester commencement will take place on Saturday, August 6 at the Auburn Arena. There will be two graduation ceremonies. COSAM’s ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. For more information on graduation, click HERE. Fall semester will begin on August 17.