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The Department of Biology mourns the loss of Edward S. "Ned" Hodgson
The Russell L. Carpenter Fund for Teaching and Research in
Michael Reed, Professor of Biology, has been selected to receive the 2013 Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Faculty Mentoring Award. This award recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding support of our graduate students from course completion through research and post-degree placement.
Associate Professor George Ellmore led two research students on a one-month research trip to Vietnam, from Dec 10 2012 to Jan 10 2013. Prof. Ellmore teamed with Mr. Charles vanRees (Biology Ph.D. student) and Ms. Mae Humiston (Senior Anthropology major) to improve the efficiency of family farms growing Dragon Fruit, a valuable export commodity for Vietnam. Our objective was to reduce costs associated with night-time lighting used to promote fruit growth in winter. In addition, we collected data on food autonomy and biodiversity associated with different crop management strategies, for both Dragon Fruit (in Binh Thuan Province), and ancient tree Shan Tuyet tea (in Yen Bay Province).
Our Tufts research team (Ellmore, vanRees, and Humiston) also presented a seminar on Biodiversity hotspots to students and faculty at Vietnam National University (VNU) Faculty of Science, Hanoi. We met with VNU President Prof. Mai Trong Nhuan to explore collaborative funding sources to support both projects over the near future, and in time to incubate collaborative projects on other systems, such as studies of medicinal plants and how to cultivate them.
The work was funded by the newly-instituted International Scholar Development Fund at Tufts, and Deans' Research Support at Vietnam National University Faculty of Science, Hanoi, where Prof. Ellmore has done collaborative work since 2011.
The Pechenik Lab (Prof. Jan Pechenik, Casey Diederich, 4th year graduate student, and Sam Bashevkin, A'14) was awarded a grant through the Sandler International Research Program which allowed them to travel to Chile for 25 days to conduct collaborative research at the marine lab of the Universidad Austral de Chile.
Professor Joanne Berger-Sweeney has been elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. Professor Berger-Sweeney is recognized for her research on the development of the brain, particularly the cerebral cortex which is responsible for higher cognitive functions such as learning and memory and language.
Assistant Professor Eric Tytell was the recipient of The Carl Gans Award presented at this year's SICB Annual Meeting in San Francisco. This annual prize is given to an outstanding young investigator for distinguished contributions to the field of comparative biomechanics. The Carl Gans Award is in recognition of Carl Gans' scientific career and editorial contributions to animal morphology, biomechanics, and functional biology.
Sergei Mirkin, Professor, White Family Chair in Biology, was a
keynote speaker at the International School for Young Scientist in
Molecular Genetics, which was held in December 2012 in Moscow
Region, Russia. The title of his talk was "Mechanisms of Expansions
of Simple DNA Repeats".
The National Science Foundation awarded Erik Dopman a $866,440 collaborative grant with Rick Harrison at Cornell to study the role of ecology in the speciation process. Ecological barriers, the result of divergent natural selection, are currently much studied, but the primary focus has been on organisms in which divergence is associated with the partitioning of habitats and resources. In contrast, temporal isolation, a phylogenetically widespread class of ecological isolation, has received relatively little recent attention. His research focuses on life cycle variation in strains of the European corn borer moth (ECB), and how genotypic and phenotypic variation in development rate impact patterns of genetic exchange in nature.
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