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Science News Releases

Biological Diversity Treaty Needs to Protect Diversity of Wild Species

Posted Thu, 12 Mar 2020 15:32:00 -0700

The proposed post-2020 goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity — a treaty signed by 195 countries — do not sufficiently consider genetic diversity, writes evolutionary biologist Paul Hohenlohe and his colleagues in a letter published in Science. The letter states that the goals focus on conserving the genetic diversity of livestock, domestic species and their wild relatives but should extend to all wild species, as the more genetic diversity a species has, the greater chance it has to adapting to changing environments. Read more

Biological Diversity Treaty Needs to Protect Diversity of Wild Species

Posted Thu, 12 Mar 2020 15:32:00 -0700

The proposed post-2020 goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity — a treaty signed by 195 countries — do not sufficiently consider genetic diversity, writes evolutionary biologist Paul Hohenlohe and his colleagues in a letter published in Science. The letter states that the goals focus on conserving the genetic diversity of livestock, domestic species and their wild relatives but should extend to all wild species, as the more genetic diversity a species has, the greater chance it has to adapting to changing environments. Read more

Tree Ring Grant Will Allow Look at Past Temperatures in Eastern U.S.

Posted Mon, 09 Mar 2020 16:05:00 -0700

U of I geographer Grant Harley and colleagues will be using tree rings to reconstruct summer air temperature in the Eastern United States, from North Carolina to maritime Eastern Canada. Past research has documented temperatures over the last roughly 120 years, and with the help of a $360,000 National Science Foundation grant, this new work will look back over the past 300-500 years of temperatures. This new study will help scientists understand temperature trends across the Northern Hemisphere and predict future climates. Read more

Tree Ring Grant Will Allow Look at Past Temperatures in Eastern U.S.

Posted Mon, 09 Mar 2020 16:05:00 -0700

U of I geographer Grant Harley and colleagues will be using tree rings to reconstruct summer air temperature in the Eastern United States, from North Carolina to maritime Eastern Canada. Past research has documented temperatures over the last roughly 120 years, and with the help of a $360,000 National Science Foundation grant, this new work will look back over the past 300-500 years of temperatures. This new study will help scientists understand temperature trends across the Northern Hemisphere and predict future climates. Read more

Quality Online Faculty

Posted Thu, 13 Feb 2020 16:19:00 -0800

U of I’s College of Education, Health and Human Sciences (CEHHS) launched a program in fall 2019 to support faculty with an external professional development opportunity to help them design effective and engaging online courses for students. The 16-week online course, offered in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, engaged 20 faculty from four colleges across campus in an authentic learning environment to experience pedagogical and technological best practices. The goal of this experience was to prepare faculty for the challenges of designing and teaching quality online courses. The program results in a formal certificate and badge that completing faculty are able to add to their credentials in teaching and learning. Read more

U of I Researchers Named as Some of the Most Influential of the Past Decade

Posted Thu, 05 Dec 2019 16:00:00 -0800

Four researchers from the University of Idaho, Jeffrey Hicke, John Abatzoglou, Luke Harmon and Paul Hohenlohe, have been recognized as being among the world’s most influential researchers of the past decade. The list, compiled by Web of Science Group, recognizes the work of influential researchers around the globe who have produced multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year. Read more

U of I Researchers Named as Some of the Most Influential of the Past Decade

Posted Thu, 05 Dec 2019 16:00:00 -0800

Four researchers from the University of Idaho, Jeffrey Hicke, John Abatzoglou, Luke Harmon and Paul Hohenlohe, have been recognized as being among the world’s most influential researchers of the past decade. The list, compiled by Web of Science Group, recognizes the work of influential researchers around the globe who have produced multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year. Read more

Dynamic Virtual Protein Project Wins International Award

Posted Thu, 05 Dec 2019 14:20:00 -0800

A University of Idaho team recently presented at the 25th VRST Symposium in Sydney, Australia, and won the Best Demo Award for their project "Dynamic Virtual Proteins: Visualization, Interaction and Collaboration in Virtual Reality." In the world of virtual reality, the Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST) is among the top 10 conferences in the world. The Dynamic Virtual Proteins project team consisted of Jean-Marc Gauthier, Virtual Technology and Design associate professor, Jagdish Suresh Patel, Department of Biological Sciences research assistant professor, and Ian McGrath, 2019 graduate of the College of Art and Architecture. The interdisciplinary research is part of a $6 million EPSCoR Track-2 grant from NSF and supported by the Institute for Modeling Collaboration and Innovation. Read more

Grad Student Develops Program to Increase Accuracy of Community Formation Processes

Posted Wed, 27 Nov 2019 13:29:00 -0800

Doctoral candidates Megan Ruffley, Katie Peterson and Bob Week recently published a paper in Ecology and Evolution titled "Identifying Models of Trait-Mediated Community Assembly Using Random Forests and Approximate Bayesian Computation." This publication is the second chapter of Ruffley's dissertation and the culmination of her lab rotation in Luke Harmon's lab. Ruffley designed a program called Community Assembly Model Inference, or CAMI. It uses a stochastic algorithm to simulate communities assembled under environmental filtering, competitive exclusion and neutral species assembly processes. The paper and the creation of the accompanying CAMI program involved students and faculty with a wide range of research areas and skill sets. Read more

Getting the Timing Right

Posted Fri, 22 Nov 2019 16:00:00 -0800

Undergraduate researcher Courtney Schreiner, from Scott Nuismer's lab, recently had her first paper published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology. Schreiner's paper highlights her research on the timing of vaccinations for wildlife populations. Read more

Jill Johnson, Biological Sciences, Receives NIH Grant

Posted Tue, 29 Oct 2019 13:28:00 -0700

Professor Jill Johnson, in the Department of Biological Sciences and the College of Science, has been awarded a four-year, $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. These funds will be used to better understand the basic mechanism of how the molecular chaperone Hsp90 interacts with other proteins, called clients, in order to regulate their function. Hsp90 is a global cellular regulator that controls the function of up to 15% of all cellular proteins, including many proteins that drive cancerous cell growth. Drugs that target Hsp90 block the function of cancer-causing proteins and stop tumor growth but are too toxic for general use. This award will allow Johnson and her collaborators at the University of Alberta and the Technical University of Munich to better understand Hsp90 function, paving the way toward development of more selective inhibitors of Hsp90 function that have fewer toxic effects. Read more

Study Provides First Step Toward Developing Inexpensive Diagnostic Tests to Assess Risk for Preterm Birth

Posted Fri, 25 Oct 2019 16:00:00 -0700

Department of Biological Sciences Distinguished Professor Larry Forney, in collaboration with researchers from Cornell University, the University of Sao Paulo, and other Brazilian universities, recently published a paper in the journal mBio which found that measuring levels of D-lactic acid and a protein called TIMP-1 may be a non-invasive, cost-effective way to assess the risk for preterm birth due to a short cervix. The study provides a first step toward the development of an inexpensive point-of-care diagnostic test to assess the presence of known risk factors for preterm birth in resource-poor areas. Read more

Celebration of Life for Robert Kirchmeier Research Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Oct. 12

Posted Wed, 09 Oct 2019 13:53:00 -0700

The Kirchmeier family invites former friends and colleagues of Bob Kirchmeier, research professor emeritus of chemistry, to a celebration of his life 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at Heyburn State Park. The park was one of Kirchmeier’s favorite places. The event will take place at the covered picnic shelter located just ahead of the Chatcolet boat docks and parking area, a little more than two miles from the park’s Visitor Center. In lieu of flowers, the Kirchmeier family suggests making a memorial donation to the Malcom and Carol Renfrew Chemistry Scholarship Endowment at the University of Idaho. Read more

Bacteria in the Human Vagina that Produce D-Lactic Acid Promote Resistance to Chlamydial Infections

Posted Tue, 08 Oct 2019 15:20:00 -0700

Department of Biological Sciences Distinguished Professor Larry Forney, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Maryland, recently published a paper entitled "The Cervicovaginal Microbiota-Host Interaction Modulated Chlamydia Trachomatis Infection" in the journal mBio that detailed their most recent study of the vaginal microbiome. These findings may enable the development of novel microbiome-based therapeutic strategies to protect women from infections and improve vaginal and cervical health. Read more

Energy Storage Technology for Space Travel Discussed at Next IRIC Lunch and Learn

Posted Tue, 10 Sep 2019 13:59:00 -0700

Herb Hess and Christine Berven, faculty in from the Colleges of Science and Engineering, led a team of students to design and build a flywheel energy storage system that can one day be used for space travel and extraterrestrial colonization missions. The team recently built a prototype of this device, which can generate and store energy from renewable sources like the wind and sun. Learn more about the operating principles of this system at the next IRIC Lunch and Learn presentation at noon Thursday, Sept. 19, in the IRIC Atrium, Moscow. Read more

Energy Storage Technology for Space Travel Discussed at Next IRIC Lunch and Learn

Posted Tue, 10 Sep 2019 13:59:00 -0700

Herb Hess and Christine Berven, faculty in from the Colleges of Science and Engineering, led a team of students to design and build a flywheel energy storage system that can one day be used for space travel and extraterrestrial colonization missions. The team recently built a prototype of this device, which can generate and store energy from renewable sources like the wind and sun. Learn more about the operating principles of this system at the next IRIC Lunch and Learn presentation at noon Thursday, Sept. 19, in the IRIC Atrium, Moscow. Read more

Back-to-Back Low Snow Years Will Become More Common, U of I-Led Study Projects

Posted Thu, 08 Aug 2019 10:21:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — Aug. 8, 2019 — Consecutive low snow years may become six times more common across the Western United States over the latter half of this century, according to a study led by the University of Idaho, leading to ecological and economic challenges such as expanded fire seasons and poor snow conditions at ski resorts. Read more

U of I Study: Thyroid Hormone Can Alter Color Vision in Zebrafish, Potentially in Humans

Posted Mon, 05 Aug 2019 13:43:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — Aug. 5, 2019 — Exposure to thyroid hormone can alter eye function in zebrafish, a result with implications for curing color blindness and retinal degeneration in humans. The University of Idaho study found the dosage of thyroid hormone in zebrafish could switch the type of opsin — proteins that support color vision — produced in individual eye cells called cones, likely influencing the animals’ color vision. Zebrafish and humans have similar genetics when it comes to color vision. Read more

Faculty Receive ORED Funding for Early-stage Collaborative Proposal Development

Posted Fri, 21 Jun 2019 15:38:00 -0700

The Office of Research and Economic Development congratulates the first awardees of ORED's Advancing Collaborative Efforts (ACE) program, which supports the acquisition of data, discussions about collaborative proposal ideas, and other activities that will result in the development of large, collaborative grant proposals. Nearly $98,000 in ACE funding was distributed. Read more

Mellisa Clemons Receives NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium Graduate Fellowship

Posted Fri, 14 Jun 2019 15:26:00 -0700

Congratulations to Mellisa Clemons of the Fuerst lab in the Department of Biological Sciences, who received a $25,000 NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium Graduate Fellowship for “Genetic Characterizations of Retinal Cell Signaling Proteins.” Read more

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