NEWEST: Several Receive Funding for Research Projects
Monday, February 25, 2013
Congratulations to Leann's tenure and promotion to Associate Professor!
Friday, February 15, 2013
Ian Woods received support purchasing essential products and fess for his and his students’ research project.
In short, funding will facilitate a crucial advance in his research program. The gold standard for expression localization in neuroanatomy is the use of two-color fluorescent labeling, to show overlap with marker genes whose expression patterns have been already clearly linked with specific regions of the brain. These experiments require both specialized reagents and access to sophisticated imaging facilities (e.g. a laser-scanning confocal microscope). Currently 8 students are researching in Ian;s lab; a majority of them are working towards perfecting the single-color technique so that they can then move to the more challenging (but technically similar) two-color method. Notably, this project will promote student access to cutting-edge equipment at a world-class imaging facility at Cornell.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Andy Smith. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, San Francisco, California, January 2013: “Double network gels and biological glues: a powerful new toughening mechanism”.
Limpets, marsh periwinkles and some terrestrial slugs produce remarkable glues that are gels. A key question has been how they can achieve tenacities on the order of several hundred kilopascals using only a dilute gel that is a modified lubricating mucus. Previous work has shown that the essential change is the addition of relatively small, cross-linked proteins. Nevertheless, highly cross-linked gels are typically brittle and fail easily. Molluscs may avoid this through the use of a “double network”. Recent work in materials science has found that combining two highly dissimilar, interpenetrating gel networks can increase gel strength by a factor of 100 to 1000 over the strength of the two gels separately. A prototypical double network gel combines a deformable network of very large polymers and a highly cross-linked network of much smaller polymers. Initial fracture occurs in the stiffer, highly cross-linked network. Fracturing the soft network as well, though, requires extensive deformation. This deformation damages the rigid network in a large volume surrounding the crack. This can increase the energy required to propagate the crack by several orders of magnitude. Such a mechanism is likely at play in molluscan adhesive gels given their structure. In fact, any biological gel containing proteoglycans or similarly large polymers in combination with smaller cross-linked proteins has the potential to operate this way. This talk will outline the structural and mechanical criteria for double network gels and consider the applicability of this mechanism to different biological materials.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Michael Kerchner, Jean Hardwick, and Jan Thornton. Presented, "Undergraduate Neuroscience Core Competencies and their effective use in Design and Assessment of Undergraduate Neuroscience Curricula". Society for Neuroscience meetings. New Orleans, LA. October 2012.
There has been a growing emphasis on the use of core competencies to design and inform curricula. Based on a faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN) workshop at Pomona we developed a proposed set of neuroscience core competencies. The six competencies were: (1) Independent thinking, selfmotivated learning; (2) Basic knowledge in neuroscience/Biology/Chemistry/Psychology; (3) Ability to think critically and integratively; (4) Quantitative skills; (5) Scientific inquiry including analytical/research skills; (6) Communication skills. Following the workshop, members of FUN were asked to complete an online survey to determine which core competencies are considered most essential. The results of the survey will be summarized. Among other patterns, there was general agreement among the survey participants that competencies in critical/integrative thinking and basic neuroscience knowledge were most essential. Backward Design processes will be described that can be used to design and assess undergraduate neuroscience curricula to insure that these core competencies are embodied among program graduates. Oberlin College will be used as a case study to describe the use of core competencies to help develop learning objectives, activities, and assessment measures for an undergraduate neuroscience major. Together the use of core competencies and Backward Design can help undergraduate programs to better define and assess their neuroscience curricula.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Leann Kanda received Ford funding support her research project, "Road and trail effects on wildlife movement in an urban forest fragment".