Campus Leaders Tour Morrill Science Center Renovations

On October 4, 2016, the Chancellor, Provost, and other campus leaders visited the Morrill Science Center to tour newly renovated spaces and see new enhancements in the Departments of Biology, Microbiology, and Geosciences. Renovations included new teachin equipment in the Intro and upper-level teaching laboratories as well as research spaces for faculty.

Katelyn Mullen ‘16 Travels to Italy to Present Research


Katelyn Mullen, a senior Biology major, is the recipient of a Biology Undergraduate Travel Award. She presented her research in a poster titled “New single-copy nuclear loci for scale insect’s systematics” at the International Symposium of Scale Insect Studies in Catania, Sicily this June. Katelyn works in the laboratory of Professor Ben Normark; he and Scott Schneider are coauthors on the abstract. She looks forward to presenting her research in this professional meeting and discussing her work with experts in her field. Congratulations, Katelyn!




Normark Named Fulbright Scholar

Biology professor Benjamin Normark was recently selected as a Fulbright scholar and will spend the fall 2016 semester in Mexico documenting the spread of the insect, cycad aulacaspis scale. It is an invasive species that threatens the country’s cycads, plants sometimes called “living fossils” because they have changed little in the last 280 million years.

Globally, says Normark, “Cycads are under unprecedented assault from armored scale insects and from the global nursery trade that sees cycads as commercially valuable ornamentals.” The plants superficially resemble palms, and are sometimes called ‘sago palms,’ but they constitute their own ancient branch of the plant family tree.

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Zoeller Named Public Engagement Fellow

R. Thomas Zoeller, professor in the Department of Biology, is one of seven faculty members from across five colleges and schools that have been named Public Engagement Faculty Fellows by the Public Engagement Project (PEP). They will draw on their substantial research record to impact policy, the work of practitioners and public debates. The fellows, who will receive a stipend and technical training in communicating with non-academic audiences, will also travel to Beacon Hill to share their research with lawmakers.

“Last spring’s inaugural fellows were very successful in getting their research into the hands of the media, policymakers and practitioner groups” said Amy Schalet, director of the Public Engagement Project. “And we are excited to be working with another accomplished group of scholars this year.”.

Zoeller studies the role of thyroid hormone and brain development and the ability of environmental chemicals to interfere with thyroid hormones to produce cognitive deficits in children. During his fellowship, Zoeller will develop tools and strategies to better communicate with non-science audiences including policymakers, health care professionals and the public.

The Public Engagement Project is a faculty-driven initiative building on a collaboration of the Center for Research on Families (CRF), Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA), and Institute for Social Science Research, (ISSR). The Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship has been made possible with funding from the College of Natural Sciences, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Provost’s Office and University Relations, as well as the collaborating centers and institutes.

Biologists Develop BeastCam for Shark Research

When biologist Duncan J. Irschick worked with sharks in Florida last spring, he longed for a simple, quick tool for creating 3-dimensional models of them, as well as the geckos he studies. So, he and colleagues developed a multi-armed platform that integrates several cameras plus a computer system to produce 3-D images. They call it the “Beastcam.”

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