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Boston University Arts & Sciences

CAS News: August 2010
CAS Scientists Release Alarming Data on Bat Depopulation

A new study led by Boston University College of Arts & Sciences researchers predicts that one of North America’s most common bat species will be all but extinct in 20 years. A team including BU Postdoctoral Researcher Winifred Frick, BU Professor of Biology Thomas Kunz, and former BU PhD student D. Scott Reynolds (GRS’98) recently released a study documenting the rapid depopulation of little brown myotis, previously one of the most common bat species in North America. This species’ rapid population loss is being caused by an emerging disease affecting hibernating bats in eastern North America. The disease, called White-Nose syndrome (WNS), was first discovered in 2006 in New York State. WNS currently affects at least seven species of bats, including the little brown myotis. The group’s findings will be published as the lead story in the August 8 edition of Science magazine, with Frick the lead author of the paper.

Learn More $3 Million NSF Grant to Fund Softphone Research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded a $3 million grant to support a new research project at Boston University, “Securing the Open Softphone.” Five CAS faculty members – Mark Crovella, Sharon Goldberg, Steven Homer, Leonid Reyzin, and Nikolaos Triandopoulos – will be members of the research team that will study the new threats and promises of softphones – phones that are programmable with software.

Learn More Chemistry’s Grinstaff is BU’s First “Innovator of the Year”

Boston University Professor Mark W. Grinstaff has won the inaugural Innovator-of-the-Year Award from BU’s Office of Technology Development (OTD), recognizing a faculty member who translates research into innovations that benefit humankind. It was awarded at OTD’s first annual networking event, “Tech, Drugs, & Rock ‘n Roll,” the unofficial kickoff of a University-wide commitment to establish Boston University as the new hub of entrepreneurship in Boston.

Learn More BU Team Awarded $1.6 Million NIH Grant

An interdisciplinary team of Boston University professors recently won a $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop new ways to target protein-protein interactions with synthetic organic drugs. The project’s goal is to develop new approaches for discovering “drug-like” small molecule inhibitors against challenging protein-protein interaction (PPI) interfaces.

Learn More CAS Prof Wins Grant To Simplify Computer Network Analysis

Boston University Prof. Mark Crovella, professor of computer science in the College of Arts & Sciences, has been awarded a $450,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. Working with two graduate students, Crovella will use the funds to study ways of simplifying the graphs that are used to describe and understand complex networks.

Learn More Psychology Profs Win Competitive Department of Defense Grant

On July 16, the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Naval Research (ONR) presented a $1.5 million three-year grant to a team led by CAS Professor of Psychology Michael Hasselmo. The researchers on this Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) include Hasselmo, CAS psychology professors Chantal Stern and Howard Eichenbaum, three researchers at MIT, one at the University of Texas at Austin, and one at University College, London. The grant has the possibility of extension through a fifth year.

Learn More Freshwater marshes may not withstand hurricanes

A team of researchers including Boston University College of Arts & Sciences Professor of Earth Science Duncan FitzGerald, post-doc Zoe Hughes, and graduate student Nick Howes recently released findings suggesting that current plans to introduce fresh water to inland marshes around the Louisiana Gulf Coast may weaken protective coastal barriers, leaving inland regions more vulnerable to hurricanes. The team also included Ioannis Georgiou, Mark Kulp, and Michael Miner of the University of New Orleans and Jane Smith and John Barras of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center. Their paper has been accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Learn More Computer Scientist Wins Microsoft Research Fellowship

Boston University Prof. Evimaria Terzi, assistant professor of computer science in the College of Arts & Sciences, has been awarded a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship grant. Terzi and six other promising young researchers from around the world will share in a total grant distribution of $1.4 million. Terzi’s work also is featured in the current issue of Bostonia.

Learn More Turning Blood Into a Hydrogen Factory

Finally, a story to cheer both environmentalists and vampires: a CAS researcher is working on deriving clean fuel—from blood components. In fact, Sean Elliott’s work is so way-out intriguing that the associate professor of chemistry won a $100,000 grant from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA), one of the oldest foundations in the United States.

Learn More FYE: CAS Café I, Giving Freshmen and Faculty a Taste of Happiness

The CAS First Year Experience (FYE) will begin its second year this fall with a bang. We will once again host CAS Café, a series of enjoyable and intellectually stimulating events to which all CAS faculty and freshmen (and only CAS faculty and freshmen) are invited to share food, drink, and lively conversation. At the first CAS Café, scheduled Tuesday, September 7 from 4-6 p.m. in the GSU Small Ballroom, participants will discuss Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness. Interested students will receive copies of the book at Summer Orientation. Faculty members interested in participating may request a complimentary copy of the book by contacting casevent@bu.edu.

Faculty members also are strongly encouraged to take part in other first-week events, including Splash (Sunday, August 29 from 2:00–5:00 p.m. at Nickerson Field, featuring a sky-diving Rhett), The Commonwealth Avenue Street Fair ( Tuesday, August 31 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Marsh Plaza), and the Ice Cream Social for First-Year Students ( Wednesday, September 1 from 3:30—5:00 p.m at Marsh Plaza / Tsai Lobby if rain). The CAS FYE comprises a wide range of different events organized by the CAS Office of Student Programs and Leadership, many of which are aimed at giving our newest students the opportunity to get to know faculty and interact with them informally outside of class to give them the best possible start to the college careers.

Learn More
Upcoming Meetings and Events

CAS Chairs & Directors Orientation
Note that President Brown will be the lunch speaker.
New chairs and directors in the a.m., all chairs and directors in the p.m.

Matriculation is scheduled for Sunday, August 29 from 1-2:30 p.m. in Agganis Arena. Please respond with your regalia needs to casdean@bu.edu by August 6.

New Faculty Orientation (time and location to be announced)

Ice Cream Welcome for First Year Students (freshmen and faculty only)
3:30-5 p.m., Marsh Plaza (Tsai Lobby rain location)

CAS Café, "Stumbling on Happiness" by Dan Gilbert (freshmen and faculty only)
4-6 p.m., GSU Small Ballroom

Chairs' Calendar

Call for Proposals: Consolidating Part-Time Lecturers to Full-Time

We have implemented a program of faculty consolidations over the past few years to convert part-time Lecturer positions into full-time Lecturer slots in departments and programs that have relied on part-time faculty on a continuing basis to fulfill their undergraduate instructional mission. This consolidation program, which allows assignment of multiple courses or course sections to proven expert teachers and provides new positions with full benefits and a career ladder, is part of our overall effort to support high-quality undergraduate education.

To learn more about the part-time faculty consolidations, click here.

At Your Service: CAS Communications and Media Relations

The Office of Communications provides comprehensive media relations services to all CAS faculty and staff members. We encourage you to tell us about research, grants, book publications and any other news you have to share. If you’re not sure how to move forward with a story idea, please feel free to contact us. We’ll work with you to find the appropriate news channel, whether that involves drafting and distributing a media release or working with our colleagues at BU Media Relations and BU Today. To discuss a potential news item or to learn more about the media services available through the CAS Office of Communications, please call or email Patrick Farrell (617-358-1185/ pmfarrel@bu.edu) or Jeremy Schawb (617-358-1056/ jschwab@bu.edu).

Newsletter Archives


Professor of Political Science, Sociology, and Anthropology and Director of the Institute for the Advancement of the Social Sciences LIAH GREENFELD was recently appointed distinguished adjunct professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at Lingnan University, Hong Kong for a term of five years, starting May 2011. During yearly month-long stays, Professor Greenfeld will deliver public lectures, faculty/graduate seminars, and chair weekly research discussions with colleagues of the department. This is only Lingnan University’s second such appointment (the first being to Princeton economics professor Avinash Dixit).
Writing Program Lecturer MICHELLE HOOVER, an Iowa native, recently published her first novel, The Quickening. The novel follows two fictional Iowa farm women, isolated and very different neighbors who face a series of hardships together. She says her great-grandmother’s journal, which included family photos, sparked the idea. Click here to read a review from the Radio Iowa website.
Professor of Economics KEVIN LANG has been named a fellow of The Society of Labor Economists, the principal organization of academic labor economists. Founded to promote the study of labor economics and contributions of labor economics and labor economists, the Society publishes the Journal of Labor Economics, the premier journal in the area. Click here to view the press release.
African Studies Center Director TIMOTHY LONGMAN was interviewed recently on the World Vision website about the current political situation in Rwanda. Under President Paul Kagame, Rwanda has made progress in reconciliation, women’s rights, and economic development. However, disturbing reports have surfaced recently of journalists being arrested and political opposition leaders being murdered. Listen to the report.
In June, two chemistry faculty, JOHN PORCO and JOHN SNYDER , received the highly competitive BU Ignition Awards for their respective commercially promising projects to develop cancer and tuberculosis drugs. The Ignition Award Program provides funds to evolve BU research to the stage where it can be licensed, form the basis of a new company, or be used to create a new, non-profit social enterprise. Read the entire article on the Chemistry Department website.
In May, the Journal of Chemical Physics (JCP) named Professor of Chemistry JOHN STRAUB as associate editor in recognition of his outstanding achievements in chemical physics. He is handling manuscripts in experimental and theoretical areas of biochemical physics. The JCP is published by the American Institute of Physics.
Professor of Political Science and Chair-Elect of the Department of Political Sciences GRAHAM WILSON has been named president of the British Politics Group of the American Political Science Association (APSA). Wilson’s will serve as the group’s president for two years starting in September. Click here for the entire article.
Keep Us in the Loop

Let us know about news or upcoming events. Please send news items to cascom@bu.edu, or call Patrick Farrell at 617-358-1185. Announcements about upcoming events can also be submitted online.

For all matters regarding your alumni, please contact Associate Director of Alumni Relations Kirsten Lundeen at 617-358-5525 or Alumni Relations Coordinator Lauren Hall at 617-353-1060.

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