OU Biology News


News Archive for 2004                                                             return to current news

November, 2004

  • Bon voyages:
    To Dr. Stephen Richter as he starts an Assistant Professor position in the Department of Biological Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University.
    To Dr. Aaron Best as he starts a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School.

October, 2004

  • Don Wilson received a 3 year $402,895 grant, "Computational, physiological and behavioral analysis of cortical adaptation in olfaction," from the National Science Foundation. This grant is a collaborative effort with Dr. Christiane Linster in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University. The proposed work will investigate synaptic mechanisms and functional consequences of a simple memory - sensory adaptation - using electrophysiological, behavioral and computation neural modeling techniques.
  • Liz Bergey received a three-year $105,000 grant entitled "Faunal Survey of Oklahoma Caves and Springs" from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. This award supports ongoing biodiversity surveys of these conservationally important habitats, where extensive use of groundwater and water pollution are serious threats. Cooperators include Dr. G. O. Graening of The Nature Conservancy and Dante Fenolio, a recent M.S. graduate from the Department.
  • Liz Bergey and Bill Matthews are Co-PIs on a new four-year, $2.9 million Environmental Protection Agency project entitled, "Design, Construction and Evaluation of a Passive Treatment System for Contaminated Mine Waters." The PI is Dr. Bob Nairn of the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science. Drs. Nairn, Strevett, and Knox of CEES will construct and evaluate a series of treatment ponds designed to remove metals and other toxicants from stream waters at the Tar Creek Superfund site. Drs. Matthews and Bergey will compare the fish and invertebrate faunas upstream and downstream of the treatment system as a mechanism of evaluating the success of the treatment. If successful, this project will be a model for further treatment at this and other mine drainage sites.

September, 2004

  • Laurie Vitt and Janalee Caldwell received a three-year, $316,000 National Science Foundation grant entitled "Survey and Inventory of the Brazilian Cerrado Herpetofauna." Don Shepard is the graduate student RA on this project, and Dr. Guarino Colli, a professor at the Universidade de Brasília, is the Brazilian collaborator. This award will allow Dr. Vitt and Dr. Caldwell to continue their collaborative work with Dr. Colli on biodiversity of the cerrado, a poorly known tropical grassland ecosystem that harbors a diverse but relatively unknown herpetofauna with a large number of endemic species. This region is critically threatened because of rapid and uncontrolled conversion to agriculture, particularly large-scale soybean production (http://www.biodiversityhotspots.org/xp/Hotspots/cerrado/?showpage=ConservationAction).
  • Biology welcomes its new graduate students! They are: Matt Dugas, Allison Fortner, Nadine Haalboom, Hong Hu, Jie Shao, Jonathan Shik, Lisa Wallace, Stephanie Warren, and Johnathan Whit

June, 2004

  • Randy Hewes received a four year $65,000 NIH grant, “Channels, Calcium and Peptide Secretion”, from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Dr. Hewes is a Co-PI on this award with Dr. Edwin Levitan, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The goal of this work is to understand mechanisms controlling neuropeptide secretory granule movements in neurons and endocrine cells through live-cell imaging of Drosophila nerve cells.
  • Richard Broughton, David Durica, Randy Hewes, and Larry Weider received a two year $179,921 grant, “A Capillary DNA Sequencer, Quantitative RT-PCR Machine, and Digital Phosphor/Fluorescent Imaging System for a Multi-User Molecular Facility in the Department of Biology," from the National Science Foundation. This grant funds the purchase of three major items of equipment for molecular core facilities in the Department of Biology.

May, 2004

  • New graduate student awards:
    Sunny Scobell received a $1,000 student travel award from the Society of Behavioral Neuroendocrinology and a $500 Robberson Travel Grant from the OU Graduate College to attend the SBN meeting in Lisbon, Portugal in July. Sunny also received $3,000 from the PADI Foundation for her pipefish work.

April, 2004

  • Liz Bergey, David Hambright, Randy Hewes, and Jeff Kelly received Junior Faculty Summer Research Fellowships from the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Liz Bergey received a new $25,000 grant from the Oklahoman Water Resources Institute.
  • New graduate student awards:
    1) Dan Spooner received a competitive $1,500 grant from the Conchologists of America for his research.
    2) Raelynn Deaton won a Howard McCarley Research Award from the Southwestern Association of naturalists for her research.
  • Ari Berkowitz received a four year $440,000 grant, "Selection and Generation of Rhythmic Motor Patterns by the Spinal Cord," from the National Science Foundation. This award supports Dr. Berkowitz's work on the electrophysiology, morphology, and pharmacology of neurons in the spinal cord neural circuits that generate locomotion and other rhythmic limb movements.
  • Associate Professor Doug Gaffin received the Regents’ Award for Superior Teaching.
  • Professor Janalee Caldwell received the Regents’ Award for Superior Research and Creative Activity.
  • Assistant Professor Richard Broughton received a Junior Faculty Summer Research Program Award from the University of Oklahoma Research Council.
  • Rickey Cothran received the University of Oklahoma Student Association’s “Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award”.
  • Heather Galbraith received the Faculty’s “Graduate Teaching Assistant Award”.

March, 2004

  • Rosemary Knapp received a three year $301,000 grant, “Androgen-Glucocorticoid Mediation of Behavioral Variation”, from the National Science Foundation. This award supports Dr. Knapp's work to investigate how androgens and the "stress" steroid cortisol interact to influence the expression of behavioral and morphological differences between two male reproductive morphs in sunfish.

February 2004

  • Randy Hewes received a three year $352,000 grant, “Genetic Regulation of Peptidergic Signaling”, from the National Science Foundation. This award supports Dr. Hewes' work on the Dimm basic-helix-loop-helix transcription factor and the role of this protein in the molecular pathways controlling neuropeptide levels in neural and endocrine cells.

January 2004

  • Daily from January 26 through February 6, Mike Kaspari shares ecological research live with approximately 2 million middle school students as a researcher with Jason Project XV: Rainforests at the Crossroads. This multidisciplinary program enables students and teachers to do field work from their classrooms using satellite and internet technology. The current expedition is to Barro Colorado Island, Panama, home of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. For more information on the Jason Project, visit www.jasonproject.org.
  • New Graduate student awards:
    1) Chris Leary - winner of the competition for best student poster presentation in the Division of Animal Behavior at the 2004 annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in New Orleans for his work on the mechanisms underlying satellite behavior in toads.
    2) Sunny Scobell - Sandpiper Technologies Equipment Grant for the 2004 field season for $4,000 timelapse videocamera to use in her work on endocrine mediation of female aggression in a sex-role reversed pipefish.



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