BU Biology faculty members Liz Co, Kathryn Spilios and Uwe Beffert were awarded a Learning Technologies Development Grant from BU’s Center for Teaching and Learning to fund two years of implementation of a cloud-based digital exam platform, ExamSoft. This technology, allows for easy creation and secure distribution of digital exams. The software uses military-grade encryption to securely store exam questions and data on question use and performance. Every exam question can be tagged for content, course, style, learning objective and Bloom’s level. Data can then be extracted to examine performance through different analytical perspectives. Most significantly, student reports encourage metacognition and study skills evaluation. The software can also be used to drive program assessment.
Drs. Co, Spilios, and Beffert have worked a great deal on advancing the use of learning technology within the Biology department, and we are excited to see how this grant enhances student learning!
Congratulations to the 2017 winners of the Warren-McLeod Graduate Fellowships!
Recipient of the year-long Warren-McLeod Fellowship:
Katelyn Mansfield – Gilmore lab (Biology)/ Characterizing the role for transcription Factor NF-kappaB in loss of symbiosis in the sea anemone Aiptasia pallida as a model for coral bleaching
Recipients of the summer Warren-McLeod Fellowships:
David Minkoff – Atema lab (Biology)/ The mechanisms and timing of imprinting and homing of landlocked Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) for restoration of a naturally reproducing population in Lake Champlain
Nicholas Ray – Fulweiler lab (Biology)/ The Changing Role of Oysters in Coastal Biogeochemical Cycling
Nathchar Naowarojna – Liu lab (Chemistry)/ Characterizations of C-S Bond in Ovothiol biosynthesis from sea urchin
In a study published on March 9 in the journal Cell, researchers used systems biology approaches to study the emergence of primordial metabolic networks, showing that early biochemistry could have arisen prior to the introduction of phosphate.
With BU Physics Professor Kirill Korolev, BU Biology Professor Daniel Segrè has been granted a $20,000 research award from the Hariri Institute. The funded project aims to develop a computational tool that can use microbial genomes to predict microbial interactions and ultimately ecosystem dynamics. Beyond prediction, this computational tool will be used to develop design principles for artificial communities and infer microbial interactions in medical and environmental microbiomes. The latter constitutes a major challenge faced by the microbiome research today as interactions are inferred from patterns of co-occurrence in cross-sectional data or temporal correlations in longitudinal data. The computational tool will constrain interaction types using genome-scale metabolic models and remove network motifs inconsistent with the need to co-localize in space. As a result, it will considerably improve the power of sequencing surveys to identify interactions. Congratulations to Professors Segrè and Korolev!
BU Biology Professor Jennifer Talbot has been awarded the Patricia McLellan Leavitt Research Fund in recognition of her ongoing and anticipated contributions in the area of microbial ecology and global change biology.
This award is designed to support research of one or more non-tenured junior faculty members, or graduate students, in chemistry or biology at the College of Arts and Sciences. The award’s founder, Patricia McLellan Leavitt, M.D., earned her BA (CAS) and MD degrees at Boston University. She spent her career as a practicing physician in the Boston area for over 25 years.
Dr. Talbot plans to use the funds to support her graduate students and postdoc to present their work at national and international conferences.
BU Biology Professor James Traniello has been chosen by the Animal Behavior Society as one of their 2017 Fellows. Fellows are ABS members who have engaged in research in animal behavior for at least ten years and who have made distinguished contributions to the field. His election will be announced in the next ABS Newsletter and at the annual meeting to be held this June in Toronto. Congratulations James!
Michelle Cilia, who received her BA in Biology from Boston University in 1999, has been named as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). About the award, President Obama said, “I congratulate these outstanding scientists and engineers on their impactful work,” President Obama said. “These innovators are working to help keep the United States on the cutting edge, showing that Federal investments in science lead to advancements that expand our knowledge of the world around us and contribute to our economy.”
After graduating from BU, Dr. Cilia continued on to earn a PhD from Watson School of Biological Sciences. She is currently involved in research with the USDA, the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, and Cornell University.
Jianguang Ni has been named a Boston University Center for Systems Neuroscience Fellow. Jianguang is completing his PhD at the Ernst Strungmann Institute for Neuroscience through the International Max Planck Research School for Neural Circuits and will be joining the laboratory of Jerry Chen later in 2017. Center for Systems Neuroscience Fellows are provided funding to use or develop new technologies in faculty laboratories. Jianguang will be integrating new optical imaging and electrophysiological methods to study the role of neuronal oscillations in long-range cortical networks. Congratulations Jianguang!
Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie, PhD student in the Primack Lab, recently received a two-year David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship from the Society for Conservation Biology to carry out postdoctoral research. Her project titled, “Conservation Challenges for Tundra Refugia under Climate Change: A Paleoecological Perspective on Subalpine and Alpine Vegetation in Maine” will be completed under the academic mentorship of Dr. Jacquelyn Gill at University of Maine and in partnership with Dr. Abe Miller-Rushing at the National Park Service.
BU’s NSF NRT UtB: Neurophotonics will be holding monthly seminars this semester on the first Wednesday of each month at the Boston University Photonics Center. These seminars will highlight neurophotonics research being conducted in NRT faculty member laboratories at Boston University.
On March 1, Professor Jerry Chen from the Biology Department and a Training Faculty member for the PhD in Neuroscience will discuss “Imaging the Brain Across Scales”. Prof. Chen will discuss how he became involved in neurophotonics research and then discuss his current research endeavors at BU. This seminar will be held at 11:30 am at the Boston University Photonics Center Conference Room 906. If you would like to attend this lecture, you may register here. Registration will reserve you lunch and a seat at the seminar.