Nicholas Giordano named dean of Auburn’s College of Sciences and Mathematics
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Following a national search, Purdue University Professor and Head of the Department of Physics Nicholas Giordano has been named dean of the Auburn University College of Sciences and Mathematics, effective Aug. 5.
“The experience Dr. Giordano brings from both the classroom and administrative perspectives will be very valuable not only to the college but the university as a whole,” said Auburn Provost Tim Boosinger. “We look forward to the level of leadership he will provide.”
Dr. Jessica McDonald, recipient of 2013-2014 Dr. Robert K. Butz Award for Excellence in Teaching
Dr. Jessica McDonald, recipient of 2013-2014 Dr. Robert K. Butz Award for Excellence in Teaching
SWSM Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Caley Allen
The Society of Women in Sciences and Mathematics has given its Outstanding Graduate Student Award to Caley Allen, who received her Ph.D. at the May commencement. Dr. Allen was a graduate student in the research group of Associate Professor Orlando Acevedo and will soon begin a postdoctoral fellowship at Georgia Tech.
Dr. John Dykes makes emergency trip to Panama to save two-day old infant
Dr. John Dykes, microbiology '05, is conducting a three-year fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Miami Children's Hospital. As a fellow, Dykes rotates through the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Echocardiography, and inpatient and consultation services. When needed, he assists in medical transport and flies with the specialized pediatric paramedic transport team to retrieve high-risk patients. Recently, he even made an emergency trip to Panama to pick up a two-day-old baby who was suffering from a complex congenital heart disease called Transposition of the Great Arteries, a condition where the major vessels leaving the heart are switched, and oxygenated blood cannot get to the baby's systemic circulation.
Arboretum honored for sustainability at first annual Spirit of Sustainability Awards
The Donald E. Davis Arboretum received a Spirit of Sustainability Award from the Auburn University Office of Sustainability. Winners were announced at the first annual Spirit of Sustainability Awards ceremony on April 16. The campus-wide awards program was established to recognize Auburn University students, faculty, staff and alumni that exemplify the Auburn spirit by demonstrating accomplishments promoting sustainability on campus or in the community at large.
Over the past several years, the arboretum has committed to educating the campus community and the public about the relationship between land use, land cover and the impacts of stormwater runoff. The arboretum implemented numerous low-impact development practices, including an integrated system of pervious parking and walkways, small- and large-scale rainwater harvesting systems, rain gardens, an innovative network of underground stormwater detention, and a self-guided Water Tour of these innovations.
Engleman discusses what to look for in the summer night sky, upcoming celestial events and tips
Do you want to learn more about the night sky? Nicole Engleman, a graduate student in physics at Auburn who has taught the astronomy lab, suggests two simple things people can do to enhance their sky-watching enjoyment: purchase a pair of binoculars and locate a start chart.
"The night sky is awesome. There is so much up there, so a star chart, whether you print one out or download one to your smart phone, helps you to know what you are looking at, which is really cool. Once you know you are looking at certain constellations, the night sky is 100 times more amazing," Engleman said. "And using a pair of binoculars is an inexpensive way to enhance your view of space without investing a lot of money in a telescope."
Engleman said that there are many easy objects to identify, such as the Big and Little Dipper, Polaris, also known as the North Star, which is found in the Little Dipper, and the fifth-brightest star, Vega, which is part of the Lyra constellation.
"Honestly, the summer sky is kind of boring compared to other times of year," Engleman said. "Orion is not even up there in the summer, and you can see it at other times of year. It's also not as easy to see as much in the summer because the atmosphere is humid. The moisture makes it more difficult to see the sky because water vapor reflects light."
COSAM opens Biodiversity Learning Center
On Friday, April 19, the College of Sciences and Mathematics hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony commemorating the opening of the new Biodiversity Learning Center. Construction of the Biodiversity Learning Center was made possible by a $3.5 million bond, and the 15,000 square-foot facility is located between Funchess Hall and Rouse Life Sciences Building on campus.
The Biodiversity Learning Center is the new home of Auburn University's Museum of Natural History. The museum includes hundreds of thousands of specimens representing the rich history of Alabama, the Southeast and beyond. For more than 25 years the museum collection was located in Funchess Hall and the Physiology Building on campus, and Auburn has maintained natural history collections for more than 50 years. The Biodiversity Learning Center represents years of dedication and planning by supporters of COSAM, including faculty, staff, administration and alumni.
Auburn Student Receives National Society of Physics Students Undergraduate Research Award
Patrick Donnan, Auburn Physics and Mathematics major, has been selected by the Society of Physics Students (SPS) as one of two students from the United States to present a paper at the 2013 International Conference of Physics Students (ICPS), August 15-21, in Ediburgh, Scotland.
ALPHA experimenters present novel investigation
The ALPHA collaboration at CERN has published a paper in /Nature Communications/ describing the first direct analysis of how antimatter is affected by gravity.
Paper by AU Faculty Member Featured by Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
A scientific paper by Prof. Allen Landers and co-authors titled "Probing the dynamics of dissociation of methane following core ionization using three-dimensional molecular-frame photoelectron angular distributions" has been picked by the Editorial Board of the Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics to feature within the Highlights 2012 collection due to its outstanding quality and impact within the field of AMO physics.
New Summer Course, "Survey of Multi-modality Molecular Imaging" to be offered.
Recently university approval was given to offer a 2 hr course for senior undergrads and graduate students called "Survey of Multi-modality Molecular Imaging." The course is a collaboration between Drs. Peter Panizzi (Pharmacy) Thomas Denny (Au MRI / Electrical Engineering), Ronald Beyers (Au MRI / Electrical Engineering), Raj Amin (HSOP), Michael Miller (OVPR / COSAM) and Anthony Moss (COSAM).
Fulbright Fellowship for James Barnett
Mr. James Barnett, an undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of our former colleague Dr. Susanne Striegler, has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for study in Spain. Later this year, Mr. Barnett will begin to conduct research at the University of Barcelona.
Behind the predictions at The Weather Channel: student group receives tour
Students in assistant professor Chandana Mitra's Climatology class in the Department of Geology and Geography visited The Weather Channel in Atlanta in March. The purpose of the trip was to engage students in learning opportunities outside of the classroom.
2013 Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lectureship for Emeritus Professor Worley
Auburn University’s Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lecturer for 2013 is Emeritus Professor S. D. Worley, author of over three hundred publications and patents, winner of numerous professional and scientific awards and innovator of antibacterial polymers with extensive commercial and public-health applications. Dr. Worley has maintained an active research group since his retirement from the faculty in 2009.
Chris Marlow was recently awarded the Alabama Geological Society's John G. Newton Scholarship for 2012.
Chris Marlow was recently awarded the Alabama Geological Society's John G. Newton Scholarship for 2012.
Congratulations are in order
Congratulations are in order
Geology and Geography Annual Picnic 2013
Geology and Geography Annual Picnic 2013
2013 Arboretum Photo Contest Winners
The 2013 Arboretum Photo Contest is over and it's time to announce the winners!
Auburn Professor Honored by The Journal of Chemical Physics
Professor Marsha Lester of the University of Pennsylvania, Editor of The Journal of Chemical Physics, has announced the top 20 reviewers for this publication in 2012. The list, which is based on the number, quality, timeliness and reliability of reviews, includes J. V. Ortiz, Ruth W. Molette Professor and Chairman of Chemistry and Biochemistry. According to Thompson Reuters, The Journal of Chemical Physics is the most highly cited publication in the fields of atomic, molecular and chemical physics.
Congratulations to Ryan Hile for receiving the 2013 David W. Icenogle Award for Outstanding Senior in Geography.
Congratulations to Ryan Hile for receiving the 2013 David W. Icenogle Award for Outstanding Senior in Geography.
Davis Arboretum receives 2013 Spirit of Sustainability Award
The Arboretum staff was honored at the Spirit of Sustainability Awards ceremony on Tuesday April 16, where they were recognized for their many activities and programs that promote sustainability. Curator Dee Smith (on right in photo) and staff members Patrick Thompson (on left in photo) and Teri Briggs (center) received a custom-designed ceramic bowl from Office of Sustainability Director Mike Kensler and Program Manager Matt Williams. Among other programs, the Arboretum has been involved with stormwater management demonstrations and collaborative projects over a number of years and with a wide range of campus partners.
John Gorden, Honors Professor of the Year
Assistant Professor John Gorden has been named Honors Professor of the Year by AU’s Honors Congress and will accept this award at the Honors Gala on April 19, 2013.
Branson Maynard – Seaborg Institute Research Fellowship at Los Alamos National Laboratory
Branson Maynard, a graduate student in the research group of Dr. Anne Gorden, has been awarded a Glenn T. Seaborg Institute Research Fellowship by Los Alamos National Laboratory.
COSAM Faculty: Request for information on research and restoration related to the Gulf of Mexico
The AU’s Gulf of Mexico Research and Restoration Initiative (GMRRI) requests information, interest and expertise from our faculty on projects that are related to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (DHOS) that occurred in April 2010. Submissions could include past, present and planned projects in all areas related to the damage assessment, monitoring of the environment, restoration of the region, and economic development as a result of the spill.
PGOP Fellowship for Charmaine Tutson
Charmaine Tutson, a graduate student advised by Dr. Anne Gorden, has been selected for a three-year President’s Graduate Opportunity Program Fellowship, according to an announcement by Dr. Overtoun Jenda, Associate Provost for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.
Night Swamp Walk taken by SCB
Auburn University’s chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) took a nighttime stroll in swamps at Tuskegee National Forest after our last meeting of the semester (April 8). Led by Ecology Lab Coordinator Shawn “Gator” Jacobsen and DBS faculty member Debbie Folkerts, 16 members identified frog calls, observed the eyeshine of spiders, found a variety of other invertebrate species both aquatic and terrestrial, and otherwise explored the nocturnal world for several hours on a warm spring evening.
Elizabeth Ndontsa, International Graduate Student of the Year
Elizabeth Ndontsa, who recently passed her oral examination for the Ph.D. degree under the supervision of Dr. Douglas Goodwin, has been named International Graduate Student of the Year in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Kathryn Milly West featured on ASCP web site
Kathryn Milly West, Coordinator of the Laboratory and Medical Technology in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was recently featured on the web site of the American Society of Clinical Pathology.
Wilkes 2013 NASA Volcanology Field Workshop
Congratulations to Cheryl Wilkes, who got into the NASA Planetary Volcanology Field Workshop in Hawaii
Donnan named a 2013 Goldwater Scholar
Patrick Donnan, an Auburn University Honors College student double-majoring in physics and music, has been chosen as a 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, an honor bestowed only to approximately 300 students nationwide each year. The scholarship is widely considered the most prestigious award in the United States for undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.
Ashford to share birding knowledge at wildlife refuge and late-summer festival
Dick Ashford, mathematics '66, will co-lead a trip to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge from May 30 to June 2 for the Klamath Bird Observatory. Malheur NWR is a world-renowned birding destination where participants will see bobolinks, sage sparrows and eastern kingbirds, and the area provides a breeding ground for the sandhill crane, Swainson's and Ferruginous Hawk and the prairie falcon, among others.
COSAM postpones Celebrating Biodiversity with E.O. Wilson
Due to an unforeseen emergency, it is with deepest regrets that COSAM must postpone the Celebrating Biodiversity with E.O. Wilson event that was scheduled for the evening of April 10th at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.
Saunders receives NSF grant
James Saunders, professor in the Department of Geology and Geography, received a three-year National Science Foundation grant for his research project titled, "Transport and Deposition of Metallic Nanoparticles as a Hydrothermal Ore-forming Process." The grant is supported by the Petrology and Geochemistry program and will allow Saunders to expand his research in the realm of metallic nanoparticle transport, particularly those involved in the formation of shallow deposits of gold and silver, which were the type of precious-metal ores commonly mined in the western U.S. in the 1800s.
Two Physics Majors Honored by Goldwater Scholarship Program
Patrick Donnan named a 2013 Goldwater Scholar and Tyler Sutherland named Goldwater Scholar Honorable Mention
Dr. Peng Zeng receives 2013-2015 Jack B. Brown Endowed Faculty Award
CONGRATULATIONS: Dr. Peng Zeng,
2013-2015 Jack B. Brown Endowed Faculty Award Recipient
Dr. Peng Zeng has been selected as the recipient of the 2013-2015 Jack B. Brown Endowed Faculty Award.
Bradley Merner to become Assistant Professor in Fall 2013
Dr. Bradley Merner, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Montreal, will become an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the fall 2013 semester. Dr. Merner, who obtained his doctorate from Memorial University in Saint John’s, Newfoundland, specializes in synthetic organic chemistry, compounds of medicinal importance and carbon nanostructures.
Nature article by Assistant Professor Mansoorabadi
Assistant Professor Steven Mansoorabadi is a co-author of an article entitled “Mechanistic studies of an unprecedented enzyme-catalysed 1,2 phosphono-migration reaction” which will be published in the April 4, 2013 issue of the prestigious journal Nature. Dr. Mansoorabadi joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Auburn University in August 2012.
Robotics Academy 2013 Registration Open!
Registration for the Robotics Academy taking place Summer 2013 is now open!
Our Traveling Graduate Students
Our graduate students John Asplund, James Hammer, and Joe Chaffee have been awarded $550 each by the conference organizer to attend and present at the Graduate Student Combinatorics Conference (GSCC), University of Minnesota, April 19-21, 2013.
Dana Lashley awarded inaugural Livant Graduate Fellowship
Dana Lashley, a Ph.D. student in the research group of Professor Stewart Schneller, has been named the initial recipient of the Peter Livant Graduate Fellowship, which was made possible by the generosity of one of Professor Livant’s former students. This fellowship will be awarded annually to an organic chemistry graduate student. Ms. Lashley’s research is on the organic synthesis of antiviral therapeutic candidates.
2013 Women of Distinction Faculty Leadership Award to Dr. Anne Gorden
Associate Professor Anne Gorden has received the 2013 Women of Distinction Faculty Leadership Award from the Auburn University Women’s Resource Center and will be honored at their Awards Luncheon on April 5 at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center.
Searching for evidence of life on the Red Planet
Has there ever been life on Mars? Shawn Wright, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Geology and Geography suggests we can only answer that question by looking in the right places, including deep craters on Mars.
Promotion and Tenure for Christopher Easley and Christian Goldsmith
Auburn University President Jay Gogue has approved promotion to Associate Professor and tenure for Assistant Professors Christopher Easley and Christian Goldsmith, effective in the fall semester of 2013.
Congratulations to Sarah Sheffield for winning the COSAM Graduate Research Award.
COSAM held the Dean’s Research Awards ceremony on March 6. The awards provide the dean with an opportunity to acknowledge outstanding COSAM faculty and students for their research and scholarly accomplishments.
SCB February meeting features Anima-Palooza by Jimmy and Sierra Stiles
Auburn University’s chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) held its February meeting on the 28th, and the 27 members in attendance were treated to a display of animals by DBS graduate students Jimmy and Sierra Stiles. The Stiles use their collection of animals for conservation education, and brought an assortment of salamanders, frogs/toads, turtles, lizards and snakes (plus a baby alligator) to the meeting. Jimmy and Sierra regaled the group with stories about the conservation significance of the collection, and we discussed our plans to for a workday weekend in March at Conecuh National Forest.
SCB participates in Conecuh National Forest work weekend on Indigo Snake Project
Auburn University’s chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) continued to volunteer to aid the Indigo Snake reintroduction effort in Conecuh National Forest. A small but dedicated band (4 students plus faculty advisor Boyd) helped Dr. Craig Guyer and his lab group remove snake pens that had been installed several years ago on the national forest for experimental purposes but had now outlived their usefulness. Despite very cool weather, during the 2 days on the site we almost completely removed hundreds of t-posts and hundreds of meters of hardware cloth fencing to help prepare the site for a prescribed burn during the coming months.
Prof. Lin Selected as a Changjiang Chair Professor
Coordinated by the Chinese Ministry of Education, Changjiang Scholars Program is one of the most prestigious higher education development programs of China provided by the Ministry of education and Li Ka Shing Foundation.
SCB pitches in to clear out invasive plants along Parkerson Mill Creek
Auburn University’s chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) joined in the Parkerson Mill Creek Showdown on the morning of Saturday, February 23. The event combined our 8 SCB members (see photo) with volunteers from the Davis Arboretum staff, Facilities Management, the Department of Horticulture, the AU Office of Sustainability, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, and the Alabama Invasive Plant Council. We spent several hours clearing invasive plants from the banks of Parkerson Mill Creek behind the McWhorter Center, and then enjoyed a chili lunch provided by the sponsoring groups.
2013 Arboretum Photo Contest - Deadline Extended
It's time to gather your entries for the annual Arboretum Photo Contest! Please enter those photographs that give us the amazing selection of images to choose from for our Arboretum calendar.
DBS holds 1st Annual Biology Trivia Contest
The 3 academic clubs in the Department of Biological Sciences, Marine Biology Club, Microbiology Club, and the Society for Conservation Biology, recently held a Biology Trivia Contest! Seen here are the winners of the trivia contest holding up their prizes. The grand prize awarded was a “Volcano Shrimp Ecocube” donated by Professor Scott R. Santos. Six teams participated in two evenings and competed in answering questions in 10 subject categories. Further events that combine the interests of all 3 academic clubs in Biology are planned for future years.
Mathematics professors recieve NSF grant for REU
The National Science Foundation has granted $202,758 to Overtoun Jenda and Peter Johnson, of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, for the purpose of conducting Research Experience for Undergraduates in Algebra and Discrete Mathematics programs during the summers of 2013, 2014, and 2015. Each program will run for 8 weeks, with 8 participants selected from all over the U.S. In the past, Jenda and Johnson have co-directed 9 such programs, under 3 different NSF grants. Over 25 papers produced by participants in these programs, either alone, or with each other, or in collaboration with faculty, have appeared in refereed mathematics journals or books.
U.S. Geoscience Enrollments and Degrees Grow Robustly in 2011-2012
Alexandria, VA – New data collected by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and published in Geoscience Currents 68 reaffirms a decade-long trend of continued growth in U.S. undergraduate enrollments in the geosciences during the 2011-2012 academic year.
Prof. Duin receives NASA funding
Professor Eduardus Duin is a co-investigator for a project funded by NASA on “Iron-sulfur clusters in the evolution of the Enzymatic Synthesis of RNA” in collaboration with scientists at the University of Arkansas and Ehime University in Japan.
IGP grant for Professors Goodwin and Calderon
Professor Douglas Goodwin and Professor Angela Calderon of Pharmacal Sciences have received funding for their Internal Grant Proposal, “Toward new antitubercular drugs: Uncovering mechanistically appropriate inhibitors of Mycobacterium tuberculosis shikimate kinase from natural products”.
IGP funding for Professors Easley, Shannon and Simonian
Professors Christopher Easley and Curtis Shannon of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Aleksandr Simonian of the College of Engineering have received funding for their Internal Grant Program proposal entitled “Surface Dynamics of a Highly Sensitive and Versatile Protein Quantitation Method, the Electrochemical Proximity Assay”.
Prison Outreach Award for Prof. Goodwin
Dr. Douglas Goodwin and his collaborators Ms. Kyes Stevens and Dr. Alan Wilson have received a Competitive Outreach Scholarship Grant Award for their proposal entitled “Bridging a Curriculum Gap in Prisoner Education: A Collaboration of Colleges Innovating Solutions”.
PASS Mentoring Program Update
Members of the Promoting Academic Success for Students (PASS) Peer Mentoring Program participated in an event to bring together friends, fellowship, and service on Jan. 21st.
K!DSPARK held Jan. 19 in Birmingham, AL
The 2013 K!dspark Conference “Explore the Future and Plan for Success” was held on Saturday, Jan. 19 at George Washington Carver High School in Birmingham, AL.
Featured article by Prof. Acevedo
An article on Hepatitus C Virus by Professor Orlando Acevedo and his former graduate student Sambasivarao Somisetti has been highlighted by the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling in a special issue on HCV therapies.
Logan Chair celebrated with recognition dinner
On Jan. 15, a dinner was held in recognition of Chris Rodger, the inaugural recipient of the Logan Chair, established by Don and Sandy Logan. Rodger is the associate dean for research and graduate studies for COSAM. The Logan Chair is designed to support superior faculty of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics who possess academic leadership in the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research and university and professional service, including outreach activities, within the department, with each category weighted equally. Additionally, the recipient of the Logan Chair is expected to work to strengthen and enhance mathematics, and serve as a positive role model for students and colleagues.
Dinner held in honor of Stewart W. Schneller chair
Kenneth Halanych, alumni professor and former coordinator of the marine biology program in the Department of Biological Sciences, is the inaugural recipient of the Stewart W. Schneller Chair, which was established by friends, alumni, students and colleagues in honor of Schneller. A dinner was held recognizing Halanych and Stewart Schneller, former dean of COSAM, on Nov. 5, 2012.
Tam invited as plenary speaker
Tin-Yau Tam has been invited as a plenary speaker of the 19th ILAS conference at Sung Kyun Kwan University, Suwon, KOREA, August 6 - 9, 2014. ILAS 2014 is one of the main satellite conferences of ICM (International Congress of Mathematicians). The conference organizers will provide him partial travel support.
The Provost’s office has selected Dr. Veselin Ruychev’s General Fee Equipment proposal for funding. To create a more interactive and safer environment for organic chemistry laboratory courses, Dr. Ruychev proposed the installation of a centralized multimedia system. Video monitors in each laboratory will be connected to a computer through which graduate teaching assistants can efficiently interact with many students simultaneously.
New antimatter method to provide ‘a major experimental advantage’
Prof. Francis Robicheaux is co-author of a study published in the Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics that describes a method for cooling trapped antihydrogen which they believe could provide ‘a major experimental advantage’ and help to map the mysterious properties of antimatter that have to date remained elusive.
Auburn University Scientists to embark on six-week Antarctic cruise
On Jan. 1, a team of scientists from Auburn University's College of Sciences and Mathematics will embark on a research cruise to one of the world's most secluded and mysterious places, Antarctica. The voyage will last approximately six weeks, during which time the team will explore the genetic diversity of marine organisms found in the waters surrounding Earth's southernmost continent.
Arboretum creates stormwater tour
The Donald E. Davis Arboretum is home to more than 500 species of native-Alabama plants. Many factors work to sustain the plant life in the arboretum, including sunlight and nutrients from the soil. Perhaps most important to plant survival, however, is water. Vegetation at the arboretum receives water from a variety of sources, including irrigation, and, most often, rainfall. While rainfall is a much needed resource for plant life, it can also be a destructive force on ecosystems, resulting in erosion and even death.
Drs. Shannon and Stanbury receive endowed Professorships
President Jay Gogue, Provost Timothy Boosinger and Interim Dean Charles Savrda presided at a ceremony on October 10, 2012 to recognize the award of several endowed professorships to members of the faculty. Among those honored were Professor Curtis Shannon and Professor David Stanbury of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Dr. Shannon now holds the Andrew T. Hunt Professorship and Dr. Stanbury now is the J. Milton Harris Professor.
Donald E. Davis Arboretum and Environmental Awareness Organization to host Native Plant Workshop
The Donald E. Davis Arboretum and the student-run Environmental Awareness Organization will co-host a native plant workshop, “Let us Help You Connect With Native Alabama,” on Monday, Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. in 112 Rouse Life Sciences Building.
SCB visits caves in North Alabama
Auburn University’s chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) visited caves in Jackson County Alabama for the third year in a row October 20-21, 2012. Led by Jim Godwin of the Alabama Natural Heritage Program, 9 members visited 5 caves on Saturday, seeing cave salamanders, cave crayfish, cave crickets, bats, and Allegheny woodrats (among other sights). On Sunday, we visited the Nature Conservancy’s Keel Mountain Preserve to see the federally endangered plant, Morefield’s Leatherflower, before returning to Auburn via the Talladega Scenic Drive to enjoy the fall foliage.
Auburn representatives at NOBCChE Conference in Washington D.C.
The National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, or NOBCChE, held the 39th Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. from Sept. 25 to 28. In attendance at this year’s conference were representatives from COSAM, including Vincent Ortiz, Ruth W. Molette Professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry graduate students Charmaine Tutson, president of the Auburn chapter of NOBCChE, PaviElle Lockhart, vice president of the Auburn chapter of NOBECChE, Dana Lashley, Cheryl Dejournette, Catherine Njeri and Elizabeth Ndontsa; and Bianca Evans, minority programs coordinator for the COSAM Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. Also at the conference from Au! burn was Zenda Davis, graduate student from the Department of Chemical Engineering.
The theme of the conference was, “STEMulating Innovation and Economic Growth Through Diversity.” At the conference, the team from Auburn University had an opportunity to hear guest lectures pertaining to cutting-edge topics in the fields of health, science and technology, including the keynote address given by Larry Robinson, Ph.D. Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate confirmed Robinson by unanimous consent to serve as assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. Robinson helps guide policy and program direction for NOAA’s conservation, protection and resource management priorities. The conference also included technical sessions that were meant to foster new ideas, as well as poster presentations.
Also at the conference were more than 60 universities, businesses and industry leaders in the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering that set up information booths. The booths allowed participants the opportunity to interact with representatives from these leading institutions, learn about career options and explore educational opportunities. Included among the leaders in chemistry and chemical engineering education were the representatives from Auburn, who hosted an exhibit, providing information on both COSAM and the College of Engineering, and the diverse opportunities and fields of study both colleges offer.
Additionally, Ortiz and Roberts were recognized with the 2012 NOBCChE President’s Award (pictured is Ortiz). Victor McCrary, president of NOBCChE, presented the awards. Ortiz and Roberts were recognized for initiating and supporting the Technology Education Partnership between Auburn University and NOBCChE, and for providing increased opportunities and a more receptive environment for under-represented students to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering.
Internal grant triggers interdisciplinary work and multiple projects
Luke Marzen, professor in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, or COSAM, and Art Chappelka, professor in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, or SFWS, spurred collaboration between Auburn University and the U.S. Geological Survey Alabama Water Science Center to produce an exact, three-dimensional model of the Toomer’s oaks. The model provided both a means of measuring the overall health of the trees, as well as documentation of the historic oaks. It was produced using a tripod-mounted laser scanner, also known as terrestrial light detection and ranging, or T-LiDAR. The T-LiDAR sends out a laser that scans anything within range and produces a three-dimensional replica.
SCB visits Gulf Coast Zoo, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, and Splinter Hill Bog
Auburn University’s chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) had its first-ever two-night field trip Sept. 28-30, 2012. Ten members left Auburn late Friday afternoon and drove to the Nature Conservancy’s Splinter Hill Bog, where we spent the night in their house located right on the Preserve. The next morning we drove to Gulf Shores to visit the Gulf Coast Zoo (where AU alum and former SCB member Jessica Larson now works). After lunch, we met with Dr. Mike Wooten of our department at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge to tour the beach and dunes, which are habitat for the federally-endangered Alabama Beach Mouse (found nowhere else in the world). We returned to the Splinter Hill house to spend the night, and then spent Sunday morning touring the pitcher plant bogs of the reserve to round out a very full weekend of conservation-oriented activities!
SCB hosts Wild Animal Safari at COSAM 2012 Open House
Auburn University’s chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) invited Wild Animal Safari (of Pine Mountain, GA) to bring some animals to COSAM’s Open House on Aug. 29, 2012 to help advertise our group and its activities. Safari staff brought a serval, a Burmese python, a tarantula, a blue and gold macaw, a spiny-tailed lizard, and a baby pygmy goat to the event. There was great interest from staff and students, and even Aubie posed (or played in the case of the serval) with some of the animals. Anyone interested in joining SCB can contact our President, Scott Clem (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Arboretum Days to feature diversity, creativity and clay
The fall 2012 Arboretum Days events will be held on Sept. 8, Sept. 29 and Oct. 13, at the Donald E. Davis Arboretum at 9 a.m. Arboretum Days is an approximately one-hour educational program designed for children ages 6 to 12 that features a nature-themed learning activity. The fall programs represent a series where each event builds on the next, however, programs can be attended separately. The final product of the series will be a permanent mosaic urn in the Arboretum featuring diverse insect and leaf creations done by Arboretum Days participants.
Consequences of the oil spill on the Gulf Coast environment revealed
Two researchers in Auburn University’s College of Sciences and Mathematics have delivered preliminary results of ongoing research into the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and results indicate potentially serious consequences for the environment. The researchers, Ming-Kuo Lee, Robert B. Cook professor of geology, and Ken Halanych, alumni professor of biological sciences, carried out two separate projects surveying different regions in the gulf, and in each location, effects of the oil spill are persistent. The research suggests the oil spill may have caused massive harm to the environment at a microscopic level, which in turn could have serious repercussions on the food chain in the long term.
New Assistant Professors Gorden and Mansoorabadi
Dr. Steven Mansoorabadi will join the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as Assistant Professor in August 2012. Dr. Mansoorabadi received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he worked with Prof. George H. Reed at the Institute for Enzyme Research.
2012 - 2013 Mathematics & Statistics Administrative Team
The 2012 - 2013 Mathematics & Statistics Administrative Team has been announced.
NOBCChE President’s Award for Ortiz and Roberts
Vincent Ortiz, Ruth W. Molette Professor and Chairman of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Christopher Roberts, Uthlaut Professor of Chemical Engineering and Dean of Engineering, will receive 2012 President’s Awards from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE). Dr. Victor McCrary, President of NOBCChE, will present these awards to Ortiz and Roberts at this organization’s Annual Conference in Washington DC on September 28, 2012. Roberts, formerly Chairman of Chemical Engineering, and Ortiz will be recognized for initiating and supporting the Technology Education Partnership between Auburn University and NOBCChE and for providing increased opportunities and a more receptive environment for under-represented students to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and of Chemical Engineering.
AubieSat-1 mission is a success
The Auburn University student-built satellite, AubieSat-1, was the first student-built CubeSat in the state to be accepted by NASA for launch. A “CubeSat” is a 4-inch, cube-shaped satellite that is used primarily for research. The satellite launched into space at 2:48 a.m. PDT on Oct. 28, 2011, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a NASA-sponsored Delta II rocket. For approximately eight months, AubieSat-1 orbited the globe, and numerous universities and individual ham radio operators signed up to help track the satellite. The first signal was received shortly after launch from Vigo University in Spain. The signal was heard as far away as Japan and as nearby as the University of Alaska, and daily information arrived to the AubieSat-1 team via an amateur radio operator named Mike Rupprecht, who lives in Germany.
NIH Grant for Assistant Professor Easley
Dr. Christopher Easley has received an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health for a project entitled “Interrogating Dynamics of Acute Secretion of Adiponectin Multimers from Adipose Tissue” in collaboration with Dr. Robert Judd, Associate Professor of Pharmacology.
Outstanding Dissertation Award
For the second time in three years, a graduate student affiliated with Emeritus Professors S. D. Worley of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Emeritus Professor Royall Broughton of the Department of Polymer and Fiber Engineering has won the Graduate School’s Outstanding Dissertation Award. This year’s winner is Idris Cerkez, who obtained his undergraduate degree in Turkey. The previous winner was Hasan Kocer, who now has an academic position in Turkey.
Physics student speaks at annual meeting
Senior Patrick Donnan was invited to give a talk at the 43rd annual meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics in Orange County, Calif., that was held June 4 - 8. Donnan, who is double majoring in physics and music, gave a presentation during the undergraduate session of the national meeting titled, “Calculations of Hyperfine Antihydrogen Spectroscopy.”
2012 - 2013 COSAM Leaders announced
The COSAM Leaders are an exemplary group of students who serve the college as its official ambassadors.
COSAM Graduate finalist for Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship
Two former Auburn student athletes are among six finalists for the 2012 Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship, the NCAA's highest academic award: 2010 COSAM honors graduate in chemistry Dan Mazzaferro; and Mary "Katy" Frierson, women's soccer, who graduated in 2011 from the College of Liberal Arts.
COSAM Announces 2012 Football Season Tailgates
COSAM will host three 2012 football season tailgates, and you are invited to attend.
COSAM student takes first place at SEC championship tournament
The fifth-ranked Auburn women's golf team won the Southeastern Conference Championship on Sunday, April 22, and Patricia Sanz, a senior in biomedical sciences, won the individual title at the championship tournament.
Society for Conservation Biology update
Members of Auburn University’s chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology, or SCB, participated in an invasive species cleanup project on April 22, in honor of Earth Day (pictured). Participants worked in Auburn to eliminate privet and other nuisance plants that were choking out native species.
SCB completes workday on Indigo Snake Reintroduction Project
SCB completes workday on Indigo Snake Reintroduction Project
The Auburn Tiger Trapdoor Spider – A new species discovered from a college town backyard
Researchers at Auburn University reported the discovery a new trapdoor spider species from a well-developed housing subdivision in the heart of the city of Auburn, Ala. Myrmekiaphila tigris, affectionately referred to as the Auburn Tiger Trapdoor spider, is named in honor of Auburn University’s costumed Tiger mascot, Aubie.
Annual festival held for students and teachers
On April 26, the Department of Outreach hosted AU Explore. AU Explore is an annual science and math festival offered to fifth- through eighth-grade students and their teachers.
SCB members help remove alien plants for Earth Day 2012
Eight members of Auburn University’s chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) joined Dr. Sharon Hermann of DBS and Dr. John Kush from Forestry and Wildlife Sciences for several hours of alien plant removal on Sunday April 22 (Earth Day 2012). The group enjoyed surprisingly cool weather and got a lot of plant removal done on a site on campus that is being restored to its native longleaf pine habitat type.
Long-time faculty member recognized for excellence
Lawrence Wit, associate dean for academic affairs for the College of Sciences and Mathematics, has been selected to receive one of two, 2012 Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award is a prestigious honor which recognizes those faculty members who demonstrate effective and innovative teaching methods, and a continuing commitment to student success through advising and mentoring inside and outside the classroom. The award carries a $10,000 stipend for each recipient. Emeritus senior administrators, Gerald and Emily Leischuck, established the endowment in 2005 to recognize the university’s teachers, and Auburn presented the first Leischuck Endowed Presidential Awards the same year.
2012 Arboretum Photo Contest Winners!
The Donald E. Davis Arboretum 2012 photo contest winners were announced on April 20. The contest, a collaborative effort between the arboretum and the Department of Art, featured nearly 100 entries that were judged in five categories including: Davis Arboretum, Birds and Mammals, Other Wildlife, Flora and Landscape. A People’s Choice award was also presented, allowing the public to participate.
NSF graduate research fellowships awarded to DBS students
Department of Biological sciences graduate students Alex Bentz, Nicole Garrison and Rebecca Koch each won a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The fellowship is the oldest fellowship of its kind and has a long history of recipients achieving high academic and professional success. GRFP fellows often become life-long scientific leaders and educators. Bentz's mentor is assistant professor Wendy Hood; Garrison is being mentored by professor Jason Bond; Koch's mentor is professor Geoff Hill.
COSAM Prepares: Shadowing opportunities for pre-health students
Job shadowing is critical for acceptance to professional school programs such as medical school and optometry school, and several medical offices in the Auburn area allow COSAM's pre-health students the opportunity to spend time alongside a physician, giving the student a chance to observe and learn what a career in medicine entails.
COSAM awards the 2012 Dean’s Outstanding Outreach Award
COSAM named two recipients of the 2012 Dean’s Outstanding Outreach Award, David King, professor of geology, and Ash Abebe, associate professor of mathematics and statistics. The annual Outstanding Outreach Award is given to COSAM faculty members with recent records of service and outreach performance that extend beyond normal expectations.
Halanych awarded NSF grant
Ken Halanych, professor of biological sciences, has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant along with his collaborator, Craig Smith of the University of Hawaii. The combined $800,576 of funding will begin in September of 2012 and allow Halanych and Smith, along with collaborators from five different countries, to continue their research on the diversity of deep-sea organisms.
COSAM Appoints New Associate Dean
Vince Cammarata, associate professor of chemistry, was appointed to succeed Larry Wit as COSAM's associate dean for academic affairs. Cammarata, who is an analytical chemist, received his Bachelor of Science from California Institute of Technology, his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and conducted post-doctoral work at the University of Minnesota.
Auburn University senior awarded Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany
Paul Bergen, a senior in COSAM double majoring in microbiology and German, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany for the 2012-13 academic year. At the Technical University of Munich, he will continue to pursue his research in microbiology."Paul is an inquisitive and engaging young man with a range of interests and activities that go well beyond the lab and range from the study of German politics, culture and language to being an active member of Auburn's nationally recognized mock trial team," said Paul Harris, associate director of the Auburn Honors College. "He will gain so much from his classes and interactions with German students and faculty and he will represent himself, Auburn University and the United States with distinction.
Auburn researchers play role in antimatter breakthrough featured in journal Nature
A recent scientific breakthrough could lead to changes in the world of antimatter physics, according to Francis Robicheaux, an Auburn University physics professor and member of ALPHA, the international team of scientists conducting the antimatter research.
Last year the ALPHA (Anti-Hydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus) team was able to trap and hold the antimatter version of the hydrogen atom. They have now accomplished the goal they set at that time of being able to measure the fundamental properties of antihydrogen.
An article in this week’s edition of the journal Nature, titled “Resonant quantum transitions in trapped antihydrogen atoms,” describes the progress made in that research.
The article reports that ALPHA has made yet another monumental step toward being able to make defendable and precise comparisons between atoms of matter and those of antimatter. Recently, Robicheaux and collaborators were able to measure the frequency needed to alter the magnetic properties of the antihydrogen atom by sending microwaves through the atom trap.
“This is the first baby step into doing great experiments with antihydrogen atoms,” Robicheaux said. “This is the first time any properties of antihydrogen have been measured with any type of precision.”
Gorden awarded Intramural Grant
Anne Gorden, associate professor of Chemistry, received an intramural grant from Auburn University’s Office of the Vice President for Research for $160,000. The grant was awarded based on her proposal, “Ultraviolet-visible/ Fluorescence Microspectrophotometer.” Collaborators on the grant include assistant professor Christian R. Goldsmith and associate professor German Mills, both of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, as well as Virginia A. Davis, associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering.
Funding from the grant will be used money to purchase an ultraviolet-visible/ fluorescence microspectrophotometer for the University to be housed in Chemistry. Gorden notes that not only will this machine be available for use by other departments, many of which have already shown interest, but it will also help attract additional funding to the University.
COSAM junior is "Ballin' for Books"
Blanche Alverson, junior in biomedical sciences and guard on Auburn's Women's Basketball team, has been named to the 2012 Southeastern Conference Women's Basketball Community Service Team. This is the second consecutive year Alverson has earned the honor. Alverson founded her own community service project this year, "Ballin' for Books."
Auburn University’s Donald E. Davis Arboretum earns national recognition for oak collection
As the College of Sciences and Mathematics Donald E. Davis Arboretum prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, it has other big news to also celebrate. The Auburn landmark has been recognized as a member of the North American Plant Collections Consortium, or NAPCC, Multi-Site Quercus Collection, or MSQC.
“This recognition of the arboretum's oak collection is really exciting for the university,” Dee Smith, curator of the Davis Arboretum, said. “It integrates Auburn University into a national organization of collections and increases the visibility of our research and conservation efforts.”
Auburn researchers: climate change plays major role in decline of blackbird species
Populations of the rusty blackbird, a once-abundant North American species, have declined drastically in recent years, and Auburn University researchers say climate change is to blame.
That’s the finding of graduate students Chris McClure, Brian Rolek and Kenneth McDonald published recently in the scientific journal Ecology and Evolution.
Under the direction of ornithology professor Geoffrey Hill, McClure, Rolek and McDonald studied the blackbird decline and wrote the paper “Climate change and the decline of a once common bird.”
The group analyzed rusty blackbird breeding data and climate indices and examined temperature oscillations in the Pacific Ocean, and concluded that climate change does in fact play a major role in the recent decline of the population.
Auburn University Space Program to launch state's first student-built satellite into space
Auburn's famous battle cry, "War Eagle," will be heard from space Oct. 27 when it is transmitted to earth from a student-built satellite known as "AubieSat-1."
The construction of the satellite is part of the Auburn University Student Space Program, and AubieSat-1 is the first student-built satellite in the state to be accepted by NASA for launch. The satellite will launch aboard a NASA-sponsored Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Once in space, the satellite will communicate with Auburn students in Morse Code, and the phrase "War Eagle" is the signal that the launch was successful and the satellite is in orbit and operating correctly.
Auburn University and Auburn City Schools educators fly in NASA's "Weightless Wonder"
Educators from Auburn University and Auburn City Schools floated like astronauts during a once-in-a-lifetime flight on NASA's "Weightless Wonder" aircraft. The team of six educators call themselves the "Flying Tigers," and as they floated, they conducted experiments that were set up in a clear plastic box to see how various objects and scientific concepts would alter under a reduced gravity environment. According to the team, words cannot accurately describe the feeling of being weightless.
AU Student Space Program featured on Alabama Public Television
Alabama Public Television did a feature on COSAM's Auburn University Student Space Program as they prepare for the launch of the first student-built satellite in the state, AubieSat-1.
Physics professor receives $2.1 million grant
Physics Professor and Director of the Plasma Sciences Laboratory, Edward Thomas, received an NSF award through the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program. This competitive program research training in our nation's institutions of higher education, museums, science centers and not-for-profit organizations. The total amount awarded to Thomas is $2.1 million, which includes a 30 percent cost-sharing by Auburn University. This project represents one of the largest MRI projects ever awarded to Auburn University.
Ph.D. candidate explores remote Guiana Shield
For the past several years, Lesley de Souza has focused her research efforts in a place so remote, it's nearly impossible to access: the Guiana Shield. A mountainous, forested region just north of Brazil, the Shield has no cities, cold drinks or showers. Instead, it welcomes visitors with attractions such as anacondas, piranhas, jaguars, venomous snakes and a tiny fish called a candiru that is rumored to invade humans by swimming up the urethra. de Souza knows that should she ever receive a poisonous snake or spider bite in the field, not much could be done; there is no medic standing by. But for her, the dangers are worth the rewards of researching the area's rich biodiversity.
Auburn University hosted residential science program for incoming freshmen
A group of 22 highly motivated incoming Auburn freshmen were on campus this summer during the month of June for the 15th annual Summer Bridge Program hosted by the College of Sciences and Mathematics.
The four-week residential program kicked off June 5, and engaged students from groups traditionally underrepresented in sciences, mathematics and engineering in activities designed to help them make a smooth transition from high school to the Auburn campus.
Geography professor helps preserve historic Toomer’s Oaks
Luke Marzen has been a geography professor at Auburn for 10 years. Originally from Iowa, Marzen said he has grown to love Auburn, especially the traditions surrounding university athletics.
“I have rolled Toomer’s corner a couple of times but more than anything, I like to go there after football wins and just enjoy the atmosphere,” Marzen said. “I was in Washington for the annual Meteorology Society meeting when the news broke that the trees had been poisoned. I was pretty shocked when I heard. My first thought was of trying to contact my former student, Dusty Kimbrow (’08), to do a scan of the trees.”
Physics professor involved in anti-matter breakthrough
Last year, an international team of scientists including Auburn University physics professor Francis Robicheaux made a scientific breakthrough by trapping and holding the anti-matter version of the hydrogen atom. When the discovery was initially announced, the team, known as ALPHA, had captured 38 atoms of antihydrogen, storing each for a mere sixth of a second. Since then, ALPHA has made significant progress by trapping 309 antihydrogen atoms, with some held for as long as 15 minutes.
Auburn University working to restore threatened species to native Alabama habitat
The copperhead is responsible for more venomous snake bites in the Southeastern U.S. than any other snake, and their populations are increasing. In south Alabama population growth of the copperhead may be due in part to the absence of the once-prevalent eastern indigo snake.
“Copperheads used to be a very rare snake to see in south Alabama,” said Professor and Herpetologist with Auburn’s Department of Biological Sciences Craig Guyer. “Now copperheads are the most commonly occurring snake in the region. Eastern indigo snakes eat other snakes, including venomous snakes like copperheads, and the decline of the eastern indigo snake has corresponded to an increase in copperheads.”
Dr. Christopher Easley discusses his diabetes research
Diabetes is a disorder of the endocrine system signified by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. and results in $174 billion in direct and indirect medical costs per year. Indeed, medical costs are more than two times greater for those with diabetes, due in part to a host of health problems that can result from the disease including: blindness and eye problems, kidney failure, limb amputation, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, pregnancy complications and depression.
The Society for Conservation Biology gets a behind-the-scenes tour of the Birmingham Zoo
The Birmingham Zoo's Indo-Chinese tiger, Kumar, weighs 230 lbs. As a means of monitoring the tiger's overall health, Kumar gets weighed twice a month by trained zoo keepers utilizing a strategic series of hallways and barriers, or holding area, connected to his exhibit. Indeed, all of the Birmingham Zoo's big cats are monitored in this fashion, and the Society for Conservation Biology, or SCB, got a behind-the-scenes look at how the system works.
Auburn Family Can Take Solace in Campus Trees
In the wake of the poisoning of Auburn University's beloved, more-than-a-century-old, tradition-rich oak trees at Toomer's Corner, Forestry graduate student Nicholas Martin believes the Auburn Family can take solace from the fact that it is the campus-wide collection of trees, and particularly those in the Donald E. Davis Arboretum, that will leave the most significant and lasting impact on current and future generations of Auburn students and the community.
Assistant Professor Orlando Acevedo receives Chemluminary Award
Assistant Professor Orlando Acevedo has received the Chemluminary Award from the American Chemical Society for his service in local and regional activities.
COSAM Student Awarded Rhodes Scholarship
Jordan Anderson, a senior in Biomedical Sciences, was recently awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, joining only three former Auburn University students with this recognition.