Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Environmental Science Director presents research on lake ecology

On Friday, Nov. 18, Dr. Patricia Saunders, Associate Professor of Biology and Director of the Ashland University Environmental Science Program, presented a talk at Cleveland State University titled "How big zooplankton cope with life in a small lake."  Her audience was students and faculty of the CSU Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences. The presentation discussed a series of field projects completed over several years in collaboration with a number of AU biology and environmental science undergraduates. This work has established that some types of zooplankton are avoiding their predators by "hiding" during the day, and returning to the open-water areas of the lake at night. The site studied is a small, plant-rich kettle lake. Better survival of zooplankton is linked to improved water clarity in this and other lakes.  The trade-offs associated with such an energy-intensive response to predators are one focus of on-going studies.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ashland chemists publish research from international collaboration

Chemistry faculty members Dr. Brian Mohney and Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer have collaborated with a group of German scientists at the Free University of Berlin on a study showing that natural herbicides released by plant roots are transported by fungal hyphae in the soil. The research used a technique developed by Dr. Mohney and Dr. Weidenhamer and their students to monitor the movement of chemical compounds exuded by marigold roots. AU Alum Tricia Matz ’10 assisted with some of the laboratory analyses for this project. The paper, titled “The Fungal Fast Lane: Common Mycorrhizal Networks Extend Bioactive Zones of Allelochemicals in Soils”, has been published in the online journal PLoS One. Mycorrhizae are symbiotic fungi that help plant roots take up nutrients and water, and this is the first study showing that these compounds can move through the network of fungal hyphae in the soil and expand the zone of biological inhibition that these natural herbicides cause. This previously unrecognized phenomenon may be important in allowing exotic plant species which produce natural herbicidal compounds to invade new habitats.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Collegiate Leaders in Environmental Health (CLEH) Summer Internship Opportunity

CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR) are offering a 10-week (June 13-August 17, 2012) summer internship program for students who are passionate about the environment, interested in human health, and curious about how they are linked. During the course of the internship students are introduced to environmental health at the federal level through collaborative projects, experiential learning opportunities, individual environmental health presentations, journal clubs, field trips, brown bag lunches, and shadowing and mentoring relationships at CDC/ATSDR. Interns will be based at CDC/ATSDR’s Chamblee Campus and will be paid a stipend of approximately $600 a week during the course of the program.
Eligibility requirements include US citizenship or Permanent Resident with a green card, Fulltime enrollment at a college or university as a rising junior or rising senior by fall 2012, and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Application deadline is February 1, 2012. Visit program website for more information.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Neurobiology professor publishes new research paper

Dr. Cate Fenster, a visiting assistant professor of biology/toxicology, was the leading author on an article recently published in Brain Research Bulletin, an international peer-reviewed scientific journal. The article, entitled "Acute neuregulin-1 signaling influences AMPA receptor mediated responses in cultured cerebellar granule neurons", summarized a collaborative study conducted at the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology located at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. Contributing authors on the paper include NIH senior investigator, Dr. Andres Buonanno, and Dr. Detloff Vullhorst, also of the NIH.

 Neuregulin-1 is a growth factor important for normal brain development and function. Alterations in the gene that encodes for neuregulin-1 are associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Recent studies show that neuregulin-1 regulates the function of specific brain circuits that are abnormal in individuals with schizophrenia. Cate's work has implications for understanding how neuregulin-1 affects the function of these brain circuits and how these circuits become altered in schizophrenia.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Summer Research Opportunity at MetroHealth

The Edward M. Chester, MD Summer Scholars Program awards 15 collegiate undergraduate students the opportunity to spend ten weeks over the summer (June 1-August 3, 2012) in clinical laboratory research settings at MetroHealth Medical Center.
Established in 1981, the Chester Summer Scholars Program is an opportunity for pre-medicine and scientifically-oriented students to explore the potential for a career in medical research or academic medicine. This innovative program has become nationally recognized with students from more than 40 colleges and universities across the United States having participated.
Scholars are assigned to a MetroHealth medical staff researcher who has developed the project on which the scholar will work and who will supervise the progress of the scholar's learning experience.
Scholars spend the better part of each weekday participating directly in the research project activity. There are also opportunities for observation of surgery, hospital rounds, and other experiences at MetroHealth that are an integral part of the program. At the end of the ten-week experience, the scholars are required to prepare a project report for presentation.
Each recipient will receive a stipend award of $2,500. Supplies and equipment are provided by MetroHealth Medical Center. Parking is provided for the ten weeks.
To apply, you must be an Ohio resident or attend an Ohio college or university and must have completed the second year of undergraduate education in premedical or scientific studies.
Deadline to submit application is February 17, 2012. For details on the program and how to submit application, please see the program website.

Internship and Research Opportunities

The Science Education Programs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory provide paid opportunities for undergraduates, grad students, recent graduates, and faculty to participate in high-quality research alongside world-class scientists to solve real-world problems. Opportunities are available for internships and co-ops, research appointments, and sabbaticals. All opportunities are limited to scientific, technical, engineering, or mathematical fields. Individuals who choose an internship or research opportunity at ORNL are paired with world-class scientists to solve real-world problems. See the program website to view all available research opportunities.

Biochemistry major benefits from summer internship

This time of year is the right time to be looking for internship positions for next summer, and we will continue to highlight opportunities for students in postings on this blog. Brandon Barnes, a junior Biochemistry major, gained valuable experience at WIL Research Laboratories in Ashland last summer working on neurotoxicology studies. Brandon’s internship dealt with drug discrimination testing in rats. Brandon writes,

“The Drug Discrimination program used controlled substances so I witnessed central nervous system behaviors that may not have been seen elsewhere. While I wasn't testing, I helped biologists with other tasks and eventually took care of multiple rooms in a single day. After a month, the internship felt like a real job and sometimes I forgot it was even an internship. The internship was very demanding for the work load was heavy and deadlines had to be met. The work at will familiarized me with documentation and the paperwork side of biology as well as the methods. At WIL, I saw many different methods of testing and dosing procedures that I would have not seen without the internship. The knowledge and experience that I gained from this internship was incredible.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

ACS Nuclear & Radiochemistry Undergraduate Summer Schools

The Division of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology of the American Chemical Society (ACS) is sponsoring two INTENSIVE six-week summer schools (June 10, 2012 through July 20, 2012) in Nuclear and Radiochemistry for undergraduates. Funding is provided by the US Department of Energy.

The course will consist of lectures on the fundamentals of nuclear science, radiochemistry, and their applications in related fields. In addition to the formal instruction, the course will include a Guest Lecture Series and tours of nearby research centers at universities and National Laboratories. Students will meet and interact with prominent research scientists from universities and DOE national labs who are working in nuclear and radiochemistry, nuclear medicine, nuclear forensics, and related fields.

Fellowships include a stipend of $4,000, all tuition and fees, transportation to and from the summer school location, housing, books, laboratory supplies and transferable college credit.

Candidates should be undergraduates with an interest in nuclear science who are presently in their sophomore or junior year of study. They should have completed at least two years of chemistry, one year of physics and one year of calculus. Applicants must be US citizens.
Deadline for completed applications is February 12, 2012. Each summer school is limited to 12 students. Online application forms are available at: chemistry.missouri.edu/nucsummer/app.shtml

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Environmental science grad has a new blog

Karie Charlton (EVS/Biology '11) recently began working as an environmental educator with the Conservancy for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  You can now follow her adventures on Karie's new blog, Tales from the Trails, where she is posting beautiful photos and descriptions of the life she finds in our National Park just south of Cleveland, Ohio.

While at Ashland University Karie took her first blogging steps in our senior capstone course, where students practice their skills communicating science to the public.  This past year one of our environmental science courses used a new blog to share current news and research.  Blogging has become a valuable way to engage the public with science, and it is exciting to see some of our alumni taking part.