News

Two students will join the Bose Lab this summer through US Army funding

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High school student Aiyana Evers and Wash U undergrad Grace Choi will join the Bose Lab this summer for research funded by the US Army.

A tale of two skeeters Tyson Research Center biologists discover something positive about an invasive mosquito species

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“The extra energy put into fighting an infection, or lost to consumption by a parasite, can lead to changes in behavior in the host. That can change its ability to escape predation or compete for space and resources,” said Katie M. Westby, postdoctoral research associate at Tyson Research Center and first author of a new study published in the Journal of Animal Ecology. “Thus, if an invasive species reduces parasitism in a species in a community, it may indirectly affect other members of the community.”

Michael Bloomberg announces Midwestern Collegiate Climate Summit

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Michael R. Bloomberg announced May 16 the largest expected convening of Midwest universities focused on mitigating the effects of climate change and moving to a 100% clean-energy economy. The Midwestern Collegiate Climate Summit will be held in early 2020, bringing together leaders from Midwestern universities, local government and the private sector to drive measurable, local action on climate by leveraging the partnerships, innovations and talent from institutions of higher education. In parallel to the new global commitments made by federal leaders in line with the Paris Agreement, the climate summit will catalyze climate action commitments from all regional leaders and provide a support network to achieve new ambitious goals. Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide support for the operations of the climate summit.

Congratulations PhD graduates!

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Congratulations to our PhD graduates Cassondra Vernier, Zhen Peng, Dilys Vela, Chris Catano, Sam Powers, Michael Guzman, and Ben Wolf!

Mather wins Harrison D. Stalker Award

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Mather is majoring in biology, in the neuroscience track, in Arts & Sciences, with a minor in electrical engineering. His main research interests are systems neuroscience, brain dynamics and control, and signal processing. Mather conducted his thesis work, titled “Understanding the Breadth and Genetics of the Dictyostelium-Burkholderia Symbiosis,” under the direction of Joan Strassmann, the Charles Rebstock Professor of Biology. Outside of the laboratory, Mather was active as a contributing reporter for Washington University’s Student Life newspaper. He served as vice president of public relations and public relations team manager for the Washington University Student Union.

Hsu wins Spector Prize

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Hsu’s thesis was titled “Astrocytic Degeneration in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.” Reviewers praised his work for the design of the experiments, the technical excellence with which they were carried out and the incisiveness of Hsu’s interpretation of results.

Chin wins Quatrano Prize

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Chin’s research identifying the genetic networks that regulate complex social decision-making behaviors in insects stood out among this year’s nominees, evaluators said, in part because it yielded unexpected results. Her thesis was titled “The contribution of Williams Syndrome-related genes to Drosophila social behaviors uncovers an evolutionarily conserved genetic toolkit underlying animal sociality.”

Kathy Miller: reflections on retirement

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“I think teaching is a critical component of what we do,” Miller says. “All faculty should take pride in teaching and learn as much as possible about how people learn and how they can be effective and motivating teachers. It’s the same mind-set as one brings to research – a stance of life-long learning and experimentation, data collection, analysis, learning about what is known in the field and applying all those pieces to your teaching.” Though she looks forward to a retirement free of grant-related and academic deadlines, Miller says she looks back at the biology department as “a great place to ‘grow up’ as a researcher and teacher.”

Bob Blankenship: reflections on retirement

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“Founding and directing PARC for the nine years of its lifetime as a Department of Energy-supported Energy Frontier Research Center has been the most fulfilling aspect of my professional life,” says Blankenship. He also particularly enjoyed teaching Chem480/Bio4810, an intensive introduction to the field of biochemistry. In order to connect with the large class of 100-200 students, Blankenship would share stories and anecdotes about the history of ideas and key people from the field, many of whom he has met or knows personally. “Many, many times students have come to me later and told me how much they enjoyed these stories, as they humanized the subject and gave some sense of how difficult it is to really know something,” he says.

Biology Professors inducted into National Academy of Sciences

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Sarah Elgin, Viktor Hamburger Professor Emerita in Arts & Sciences, Jonathan B. Losos, the William H. Danforth Distinguished University Professor, and Richard D. Vierstra, the George and Charmaine Mallinckrodt Professor, all of the Department of Biology, were inducted into the National Academy of Sciences on Saturday, April 27, 2019. Their NAS membership is a recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, and it is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. Read more on The Source.

MySci's "From Sun to Food" earns Achieve award

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A mySci elementary curriculum unit, "From Sun to Food," has earned the highest award from Achieve, a national science curriculum rating organization, becoming the first K-5 unit in the nation to do so. MySci is led by Victoria May, executive director of the Institute for School Partnership and assistant dean in Arts & Sciences, and Jeanne Norris serves as curriculum coordinator.

Expanding solar power at Tyson Research Center: Three McKelvey School of Engineering students design sustainable power system for Tyson

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Washington University in St. Louis students Kyle Cepeda, Sarah Chen and Maya Coyle have learned about their field by going into the woods — the woods of Tyson Research Center. The trio, all seniors majoring in electrical and systems engineering (ESE) at the McKelvey School of Engineering, said that the university’s environmental field station located 20 miles southwest of the Danforth Campus has provided them an invaluable opportunity to study renewable energy and sustainable power systems — and help the center in the process by installing solar panels.

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