News Archive for 2008 return to current news
- The Oklahoma BioBlitz! will be at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge
& Great Salt Plains State Park, October 10-11. Scientists, educators,
volunteers, and dedicated enthusiasts from all across Oklahoma and the
surrounding states will be identifying and counting as many species
as possible in 24 hours. For more information, visit: http://www.biosurvey.ou.edu/bioblitz/BioBlitzabout.html.
- This year will mark the second joint meeting of GPLC and OTARG at
the University of Oklahoma Biological Station. The meeting in 2002 was
a tremendous success with students and academic and professional researchers
from over 20 educational, state, and federal institutions. The 2005
meeting, held in conjunction with the Texas River and Reservoir Management
Society, was even more successful. This year’s meeting promises to be
an even greater gathering of regional aquatic scientists and students,
with plans for great plenary and technical sessions covering a variety
of topics in ecology and evolutionary biology relevant to aquatic systems
in the Great Plains. For more information, read here (pdf) or email Dave Hambright ()
- A recent publication (entitled " Male Fish Deceive Competitors about
Mating Preferences") by Martin Plath, Stephanie Richter, and Ralph Tiedemann,
at the University of Potsdam, and Department of Biology Associate Professor
Ingo Schlupp was published in Current Biology (published
online ahead of print). See the press
release from Cell Press. This article was also featured in a news
story on August 5th in the Science section of the New York Times.
- Bing Zhang, Assistant Professor of Biology, received a three-year
$540,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. This project (entitled
“Genetic and proteomic analysis of protein sorting and retrieval
during synaptic vesicle endocytosis”) investigates the cellular
and molecular mechanisms by which synaptic vesicle proteins are recycled
after exocytosis. This study will be carried out in the fruit fly (Drosophila
melanogaster) using a combination of molecular genetics, biochemistry,
proteomics, and electrophysiology.
- A recent publication by Dr. Bing Zhang and his collaborators Dr. Nancy
Bonini and her students at U. Penn. (entitled "A Drosophila model
for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis reveals motor neuron damage by human
SOD1") has been selected as a Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) Paper of the Week (published
online ahead of print). JBC Papers of the Week highlight those that
the Associate Editors and Editorial Board Members believe "represent
the top 1% of papers reviewed in terms of significant and overall importance.
The papers are accompanied by a brief summary that explains the findings
of the paper and why it was chosen for this honor."
- Randy Hewes, Associate Professor of Biology, received a 4 year, $189K
grant (OU portion) from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders
and Stroke (NIH NINDS), “Calcium, Channels, and Peptide Secretion,”
as part of a three-lab collaboration with Dr. Edwin Levitan (University
of Pittsburgh) and Dr. David Deitcher (Cornell University). The goal
of this work is to understand mechanisms controlling neuropeptide secretory
granule movements in insulin-producing neurons and other neuroendocrine
cells. The project involves live-cell imaging of the movements of individual
secretory granules during axonal trafficking and during secretion in Drosophila cells in vivo.
- Ting Ting Gu has been accepted into the 2008 Neurobiology of Drosophila
course at Cold Spring Harbor, NY. The three-week course, which begins
in late June, is intended for researchers at all levels from beginning
graduate students through established primary investigators who want
to use Drosophila as an experimental system for nrevous system investigations.
- Gary Wellborn, Associate Professor of Biology and OU Biological Station,
recieved a three year $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation
to study, "Mechanisms of constraint in the evolutionary radiation
of a crustacean species complex." This project explores the processes
that give structure to evolutionary radiations, and contributes to our
understanding of mechanisms that underlie development and maintenance
of biological diversity.
- Associate Professor Mike Kaspari was named a President’s Associates
- At the Tribute to the Faculty!, the following Biology faculty were
recognized for their years of service at OU: 30 years, Penny Hopkins
and Doug Mock; 25 years, Bill Shelton; 21 years, Rich Cifelli; 20 years,
- Mike Kaspari, Associate Professor of Biology and Director of the EEB
Graduate Program, received a one year $22,000 grant from the National
Geographic Society to study "The Biogeography of Salt." NaCl is
both an essential compound for life and has a geography, generally declining
in availability as one moves inland. This project will explore how salt
in the forests of the Peruvian Amazon and coastal Panama shapes the
activity and life history of the microbes and invertebrates of the brown
- Phil Gibson, Associate Professor of Biology and Associate Professor
of Botany and Microbiology, received a one year $6,600 grant from The
Nature Conservancy to study population genetic diversity of the federally
endangered western prairie fringed orchid. His research will help identify
the best populations to be used as seed sources for reintroduction of
the species back into Oklahoma.
- Gary Schnell, Professor of Biology and Curator of Birds at the Sam
Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, has received $9,510 in funding
(“Georeferencing Bird Records”) from the National Science
Foundation through the University of Kansas to become an ORNIS (ORNithological
Information System) work center for georeferencing localities of specimens
in North American museum collections. Assigning standard geographic
coordinates will facilitate open access to combined specimen data (over
5 million specimens) and enhance the value of specimen collections.
Initial responsibility will be for georeferencing all Oklahoma specimens
in collections, after which other areas will be worked on as assigned.
- Congratulations to Nancy Blass, who will receive a Distinguished Performance
Award in the Staff Senate Awards Ceremony on April 22.
- The Department of Biology is again the largest major in the College
of Arts and Sciences, with 951 majors (as announced by Dean Bell in
the CAS Spring Faculty Meeting).
- Ingo Schlupp received a $27,667 National Science Foundation SEGR grant
to study "Effects of an extreme flood event on fish populations
in Tabasco, Mexico." Extreme natural events,
like major floods, are relatively rare and difficult to document because
they are unpredictable. It is clear, however, that they must have profound
effects on many facets of geology, flora and fauna.
- Randy Hewes, Associate Professor of Biology, received a 3 year $402,993
grant from the National Science Foundation,
to study "Molecular Mechanisms of Steroid Regulation in an Insect Endocrine
System." This study will examine how co-factors for a steroid
receptor can mediate cell-type specific expression of steroid hormone-responsive
genes. Through genetic experiments in the fruit fly, Drosophila
melanogaster, as well as molecular and biochemical assays, this
work will define the mechanisms by which a steroid receptor and associated
transcriptional cofactors control the expression of peptide hormone
gene expression in endocrine cells.
- Don Wilson, Professor and Assistant Chair of Biology received a 5-year,
$1,554,349 grant from the National Institute for Deafness and Communication
Disorders to continue his research on neural mechanisms of odor perception.
The work focuses on the role that neural ensembles play in discriminating
between complex and overlapping odor mixtures, similar to those animals
must deal with in finding food, mates and avoiding predators.