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Biological Sciences News

U of I Researcher to Study STIs Using Biomimetic Models of the Female Reproductive Tract

Posted Tue, 27 Apr 2021 15:25:00 -0700

Larry Forney from the Department of Biological Sciences will take part in a five-year grant of $7,875,379 that was awarded to an interdisciplinary team that also includes researchers from the University of Maryland, the University of Virginia and the University of Delaware. The project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, aims to develop innovative biomimetic models of the lower reproductive tract of women to study aspects of the sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by chlamydia and gonorrhea that are not achievable in humans or with the animal and cell models currently available. The ultimate impact of this research will be to improve public health by reducing the incidence of STIs in humans. Read more

Campus Can Crushers Recycle More Than 81,500 Cans Across U of I Campus

Posted Fri, 16 Apr 2021 11:13:00 -0700

This story by Lynsey Amundson was published by KIVI-TV in Boise on April 15. MOSCOW — With a grant from the University of Idaho biology engineer student, Addie White, created "Campus Can Crushers" to help Idaho become more recycle friendly. “They are highly durable metal can crushers in the shape of university logos," White said. "It’s a project I started at the University of Idaho because our recycling program was cut.” Read more

Two U of I Students Will Receive Prestigious Goldwater Research Scholarships

Posted Wed, 07 Apr 2021 13:54:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — April 7, 2021 — Two University of Idaho students were selected from a pool of 5,000 candidates nationwide to receive the prestigious Goldwater scholarship for the upcoming academic year. Read more

Forney Awarded Visiting Endowed Chair at University of Puerto Rico

Posted Mon, 22 Feb 2021 14:56:00 -0800

University Distinguished Professor Larry J. Forney has been awarded the Hispanics in Research Capability Visiting Endowed Chair in Health Disparities Research from the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus. Read more

Paper Explores Use of Shell Material to Gather DNA From Mollusks

Posted Fri, 19 Feb 2021 11:34:00 -0800

Kelly Martin, a biology doctorate student, and two faculty members, including Christine Parent, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Lisette Waits, distinguished professor in the College of Natural Resources, jointly produced a paper on mollusk shells that appeared in BioScience, a peer-reviewed science journal published by Oxford University. The paper explores the use of unconventional DNA sources from mollusks, which have the highest number of extinctions of any taxonomic group. Traditionally, mollusk shell material was used for morphological research. Not until recently has it been used in DNA studies. Successful recovery of shell DNA can help answer ecological and evolutionary questions and protect molluscan diversity, according to the paper. Read more

Biology Professor Recognized by Alma Mater for Success, Service and Leadership

Posted Wed, 17 Feb 2021 14:48:00 -0800

College of Science Professor Jim Bull has been recognized as the 2021 Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumnus by Texas Tech University College of Arts and Sciences, where he earned an undergraduate degree before earning his doctorate from the University of Utah. The award recognizes former teachers and students for their “innovation, community service and leadership, pursuit of excellence, public accountability and diversity.” Jim was also recognized for his “professional success and service to the community and representation of the university” as an “undeniable candidate for this prestigious honor.” Read more

Zebrafish May Hold Clues for Retinal Regeneration in Humans

Posted Thu, 19 Nov 2020 14:17:00 -0800

What can zebrafish do that humans can’t? They can regenerate damaged neurons in their retina for starters. Assistant Professor Diana Mitchell in the Department of Biological Sciences recently received $1.25 million of direct funding from the National Institutes of Health to study specialized immune cells called microglia and macrophages to determine if the function of these cells could help explain why zebrafish have this ability and humans don’t. Mitchell’s grant proposal was submitted through the Institute of Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies. Read more

WWAMI Faculty Awarded $99,000 NIH Grant to Research Underlying Causes of Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes

Posted Thu, 05 Nov 2020 15:00:00 -0800

Onesmo Balemba (PI, Department of Biological Sciences and dual appointment with WWAMI), Chantal Vella (Co-PI, Department of Movement Sciences and dual appointment with WWAMI) and Rayme Geidl (Co-PI, WWAMI, associate director of Clinical Education) were awarded a one-year, $99,000 National Institute of Health (NIH) grant through the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Diabetes Complications Consortium to explore novel causes of diabetes neuropathy (nerve dysfunction) and dysmotility (digestive system muscle dysfunction). The study will help improve understanding of the interaction between diet, the gut’s microbiome and the host. Read more

Diana Mitchell to Present at NIH Virtual IDeA PI Meeting

Posted Wed, 16 Sep 2020 15:10:00 -0700

Diana Mitchell, assistant professor, Biological Sciences, was selected to present her abstract entitled “Retinal Development and Regeneration from a Microglial Perspective” at the NIH virtual IDeA PI meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22. She was one of the few selected from 175 submissions to present. Read more

Diana Mitchell Receives NIH Grant

Posted Wed, 09 Sep 2020 14:59:00 -0700

Diana Mitchell, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, was awarded a $1.25 million R01 grant award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The research will span five years and seeks to determine the function of immune cell populations in the regeneration of the zebrafish retina. The work will reveal key roles of certain immune cell types in shaping the outcome of retinal regeneration to gain insight into why retinal regeneration happens naturally in the zebrafish, but not in other animals such as humans. Read more

U of I Students Receive National Science Foundation Research Fellowships

Posted Tue, 05 May 2020 13:35:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — May 5, 2020 — Four University of Idaho student-researchers have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Program Fellowships for 2020. Read more

U of I Announces Awards for Excellence to Faculty, Staff

Posted Fri, 24 Apr 2020 11:30:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — April 24, 2020 — The University of Idaho is pleased to announce the University Awards for Excellence for 2019-20 to faculty and staff Read more

University of Idaho Faculty and Staff Works to Develop Cure for COVID-19

Posted Mon, 20 Apr 2020 12:07:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — April 20, 2020 — The University of Idaho is working to identify a cure for coronaviruses, including COVID-19. Read more

U of I, Regional Universities Model Intervention Strategies for Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted Wed, 15 Apr 2020 17:04:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — April 15, 2020 — University of Idaho faculty are partnering with Boise State University, Idaho State University, Lewis-Clark State College and Washington State University to model intervention strategies across Idaho during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

Faculty Named Best Educators in General Education Areas

Posted Fri, 10 Apr 2020 16:58:00 -0700

Last May, the university was asked to name faculty to represent the best educators in the six general education areas referred to as “The Ways of Knowing” for the Idaho State Board of Education General Education Teaching Awards. The following were U of I’s nominees: Barbara Kirchmeier, English – written communication; Diane Carter, communication – oral communication; Kirk Trigsted, math – mathematical ways of knowing; Lisa Harmon, biology – scientific ways of knowing; Deborah Thorne, sociology – social and behavioral ways of knowing; and Javier Rodriguez, music – humanistic and artistic ways of knowing. Kirchmeier and Carter were recognized as statewide finalists for their work at the annual General Education Summit in Boise in October. Read more

Two U of I Students Named 2020 Goldwater Scholars

Posted Thu, 09 Apr 2020 13:44:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — April 9, 2020 — University of Idaho juniors Beth Hoots and Isabell Strawn have been named 2020 Goldwater Scholars. 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

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


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