Thursday, 22 January 2015 08:50

Darwin Day Celebrations

The 21st Century . . . It’s Evolving

The Department of Biology, in partnership with the Department of Anthropology, will be hosting a series of free public events to celebrate Charles Darwin’s 206th birthday February 12-13.
Published in Announcements
Thursday, 11 December 2014 10:01

Journey to the Edge: Antarctic Exploration

Jim McClintock loves his job so much that he just can’t stay away from the office. Which is pretty impressive when you consider that one of his workspaces sits 6,898 miles away from Birmingham, at Palmer Station in Antarctica.
Published in Announcements
Ameen Barghi and Yoonhee Ryder have been named finalists for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.
Published in Announcements
Tuesday, 04 November 2014 15:13

Biology Classes

BiologyPhage Genomics II

Time: M/W 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Instructor: Denise Monti

Are you interested in hands-on research? Want to learn more about genomics and viruses? Phage Genomics II is a 4-credit, one-semester research course for undergraduate students. Didn't take Phage Genomic I? No problem. We will teach you everything you need to know to work in the lab and annotate a newly discovered virus.

If you are hard-working, enthusiastic, and want to be part of a research team, come join us every Monday and Wednesday from 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. Have questions? Please contact the course instructor, Dr. Denise Monti, at dmonti@uab.edu.
Published in Cool Classes
Monday, 28 July 2014 10:22

Real Research — Real Rewards

Biology major Quincy Jones and two other undergraduates were awarded prestigious Merck Fellowships for their research on aging and the brain.
Published in Announcements
Thursday, 24 July 2014 09:51

Garden of Ideas: UAB and Sustainability

Julie Price admits that her mind has been in the gutter lately. That's because she’s figuring out how to funnel the abundant rain that falls upon UAB and repurpose it for watering campus green spaces. “It doesn’t make sense to spend time and money to clean water for drinking and then throw it out on the lawn,” says Price, appointed UAB’s inaugural sustainability coordinator in 2013. “We’re taking a different stance and treating stormwater like a resource.”
Published in Announcements
Thursday, 01 May 2014 14:43

Winners Circle

Four faculty members win prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Awards

In a stunning achievement, four College faculty members were awarded CAREER Awards by the National Science Foundation. The recipients are Dr. Eugenia Kharlampieva, Chemistry; Dr. Karolina Mukhtar, Biology; Dr. Thamar Solorio and Dr. Ragib Hasaan, Computer and Information Sciences. The total value of the four prizes is $2,500,000.

From left: Dr. Euginia Kharlampieva, Dr. Karolina Mukhtar, Dr. Thamar Solorio, and Dr. Ragib Hasan.From left: Dr. Euginia Kharlampieva, Dr. Karolina Mukhtar, Dr. Thamar Solorio, and Dr. Ragib HasanThe NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development Program offers the Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

The College of Arts and Sciences last had a faculty member recognized in 2011, when Dr. David Hilton (Physics) was awarded $600,000 over five years for his work in coherent manipulation in quantum systems. UAB has never had four faculty honored in a single year.

Dr. Yogesh K. Vohra, professor and Associate Dean, notes that the number and value of this year’s awards is directly related to the College’s investment in faculty development and mentoring, since three of the four winners received grant money and coaching from senior College faculty before they embarked on the NSF CAREER grant process. “These things don’t happen in a vacuum,” says Dr. Vohra. “For Dr. Kharlampieva and Dr. Hasan, we funded a CAS Interdisciplinary Team Award for $30,000 each. Dr. Solorio received a Graduate Entrepreneurship Award for $10,000. So for spending $70,000 we have received more than $2.5 million in federal money in return. I would say that is a wise investment.”

Research Grants and Monetary Awards

Dr. Eugenia Kharlampieva
Title: Shape Responses of Ultrathin Hydrogel Microcapsules.
Award amount: $525,000

Dr. Karolina Mukhtar
Title: Regulatory Mechanisms of Pathogen-Mediated Cellular Stress Signaling in Arabidopsis: Taking Plant Molecular Biology to the Urban Garden
Amount: $1.1 million

Dr. Thamar Solorio
Title: Authorship Analysis in Cross-Domain Settings
Amount: $500,000

Dr. Ragib Hasan
Title: Secure and Trustworthy Provenance for Accountable Clouds
Amount: $485,000
Published in CAS Magazine Articles
Bliss Chang. Bliss ChangYou won’t find the “Fas pathway” on any hiking map, but thousands of researchers around the world are avidly studying the cellular receptor for clues that could have historic impact not only on disease but on science’s understanding of life and death.

One of those scientists is UAB senior Bliss Chang, with a double major in chemistry and biology and concentrations in biochemistry and molecular biology. In a nutshell, Fas is a chemical receptor on the surface of a cell that plays a role in a process known as “cell apoptosis,” a sort of pre-programmed death, as the body’s cells continuously die off to make room for new ones. If that Fas “switch” determines whether cells live or die, is it possible to turn it on and off in the lab? Could a new generation of oncology drugs kill off cancer cells internally by activating their apoptosis process?

“Research is a voyage into uncharted waters,” Chang says. ‘I’ve truly enjoyed the intellectual challenge posed by the various steps of a project. One of the key elements of a qualified researcher is the ability to troubleshoot a problem — and those problems don’t always come with a straightforward troubleshooting guide. They require thinking critically regarding an experiment, and analyzing in minute detail what might be causing a deviation from the desired result. The desire to succeed and obtain tangible results is what always motivates me forward.” Chang plans to enroll in a joint M.D./Ph.D. program and eventually to teach medicine at a leading medical research university.

Roxanne Lockhart. Roxanne LockhartRoxanne Lockhart knows first-hand how spinal cord injury can affect a family. So it’s no surprise that she’s gravitated toward molecular biology, a field that could hold the answer to therapies for brain and spinal cord traumas.

Lockhart was a senior in the Math and Science Department of the Alabama School of Fine Arts when she was assigned a senior research project. For her subject matter, she chose the work of UAB’s Candace Floyd, Ph.D.

“I was able to spend my senior year of high school working with Dr. Floyd, and I immediately loved conducting research,” says Lockhart. “And when she found out I was going to attend UAB, she said I could keep working in her lab.”

Now a senior biology major at UAB, Lockhart is studying the effect of a drug known as thiamet-G, that may have the effect of reducing the process of inflammation, a major factor in cells damaged by traumatic brain injury (TBI). Her studies are concentrated in molecular biology, with mentoring by Farah Lubin, Ph.D., in the Department of Neurobiology.

Her plans after graduation are to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. degree, and continue clinically relevant research in her field. She was recently honored by a Beckman Scholars award, an honor aimed at helping “exceptional students in the biological, chemical, and biomedical sciences learn how to conduct independent research in a nurturing environment.”

“When I graduate from UAB,” she says, “I plan to receive an M.D./Ph.D. degree and continue clinically relevant research.”
Published in CAS Magazine Articles
Yoohnee Ryder. Yoohnee RyderFrom a satellite, the nation of Fiji looks like two medium-sized islands, due east of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean. But looks can be deceiving.

There are actually 223 small islands (in geology-speak, an “archipelago”), and UAB Honors Program student Yoonhee Ryder recently spent six weeks getting to know one of them, named Vanua Levu, personally.

The Huntsville, Alabama, native was part of a group of students conducting an archaeological excavation in the area.

“It was an absolutely amazing experience,” Ryder says of the project. “I learned more in the six weeks than I ever have, including how to dig, do lab work, camp, cook over a campfire, take ‘ocean baths,’ and more.”

Her international interests also extend to the Middle East. She’s pursuing a double major in biology and anthropology, with minors in Middle Eastern studies and chemistry. She plans to spend time abroad doing humanitarian work, en route to her eventual goal of becoming a physician.

Ryder is one of 10 students chosen from the U.S. by the Clinton Presidential Foundation to “expand their educational and cultural horizons by studying in the Arab world.”
Published in CAS Magazine Articles
For most of us, Antarctica is a story of ice.

Huge, craggy mountains laced with jagged icy edges. Penguins perched on frozen knolls and ridges, fur seals, crabeater seals, and others fishing amongst the floes. And massive chunks of glaciers breaking off into the sea as the warming global temperature melts away the edges of our southernmost continent.
Published in Announcements
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