September 29th, 2014

Tribal Health Joins Forces the UM, SKC and UW to Address Childhood Obesity

The University of Montana (UM), the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) Tribal Health Department (THD), and Salish Kootenai College (SKC) as well as the University of Washington (UW) have joined forces to address the issue of childhood obesity on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Childhood obesity is a prime factor in diabetes development.
The three-year project is funded by a $90,000 grant from the National Institutes of Child Health and Development R13 Conference Series. It is entitled, “Partnerships to prevent childhood obesity on the Flathead Indian Reservation.”
“This is a collaborative effort of tribal and non-tribal entities and their families,” said Gyda Swaney, Director of Indians Into Psychology Program at the UM. “This is a planning grant to find out what the community wants and how feasible that is.”
“We will start the planning process that will help identify the need and interest in this,” said Brenda Bodnar, THD Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) manager. The project will be directed by a community advisory board made up of community leaders. “We will establish a stake holders committee and begin meeting on how to address the issues of obesity, and diabetes on the reservation.”
In the early 1990s health care professionals began to notice a rise in the incidence of diabetes in America. They noticed an alarming difference in the rate of diabetes between American Indian and the non-Indian populace. The incidence of diabetes among non-Indians is around 24 percent; among American Indians the rates soar upwards to 57 percent.
“We certainly will be targeting Native American youth at risk for diabetes as well as non-Native American youth on the reservation,” said Blakely Brown, UM. “Our other goal is to pull together all the different programs in the area working on child health issues.”
Throughout the next three years the project will bring together tribal, non-tribal people including parents, teachers, community leaders, and professionals and programs on the Flathead Reservation, and the faculty at the UM, to collaboratively develop and implement programs that reduce the risk of childhood obesity and diabetes on the reservation. Teams of will be meeting in different areas of the reservation to share information and ideas in the effort to identify and initiate new programs to address obesity and diabetes.
“Improving the health of youth and their families is primary focus of this grant,” Swaney said, adding that UM worked with THD, SKC, CSKT Council, area school boards, county commissioners, and several other organizations across the Flathead Reservation to develop the framework and approach for the capacity building project. “These partnerships, and others that will be established during the project, will enhance the community-based participatory focus of the project.”
• Primary Investigators are: Brenda Bodnar, THD Diabetes Prevention Program; Blakely Brown, UM; and Michael Tryon, SKC.
• Co-Investigators are: Annie Belcourt, Kari Harris, and Gyda Swaney of the UM.
• Advisors to the project are: Bonnie Duran, UW, and Tom Seekins, UM Rural Health program.
For more information and/or to participate, contact:
• Michael Tryon at:
• Blakely Brown at:
• Brenda Bodnar:

Reprinted from:

September 24th, 2014

Which NIH Grant-type is Best for You?

The NIH has three mechanisms for investigator-initiated research: The Research Project Grant (R01, PA-13-302); the NIH Small Research Grant Program (R03, PA-13-304); and the NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (R21, PA-13-303). While the names of opportunities gives some guidance, deciding which application type is the best fit for a given investigator can be a tough choice. There’s an excellent article in the SRACatalyst on the differences:

August 28th, 2014

FLBS in the News

"There’s a Big Leak in America’s Water Tower" National Public Radio’s ‘All Things Considered’ featured a story last night (8/27/14) on water, wildlife and climate change in Glacier National Park and the Crown of the Continent. Bio Station Director Jack Stanford, Bio Station Faculty Ric Hauer and Clint Muhlfeld, and former Bio Station researcher Joe Giersch were all interviewed. In short, water supply and its timing are changing and this is affecting ecosystems and species in the Northern Rockies. Follow this link to read or listen to the story:

August 25th, 2014

UM and Pacific Northwest Alliance Share AGEP Grant

Washington State University, the University of Montana, the University of Idaho and Montana State University will collaborate to create the Pacific Northwest Alliance: Collaborative Opportunities for Success in Mentoring of Students (PNW-COSMOS). These alliance schools will also partner with Salish Kootenai College, Montana Tech of the University of Montana, and Heritage University. This project was created in response to the NSF’s Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program solicitation (NSF 14-505) for the AGEP-Transformation (AGEP-T) track. The AGEP-T track targets strategic alliances of institutions and organizations to develop, implement, and study innovative evidence-based models and standards for STEM graduate education, postdoctoral training, and academic STEM career preparation that eliminate or mitigate negative factors and promote positive practices for URMs. The PNW-COSMOS project will develop, implement, and study a model of STEM graduate education focusing on underrepresented minorities (URMs), specifically those who are American Indians (AIs) and Native Alaskans (NAs).

This proposed AGEP-T project will be unique and will have potential to contribute to foundational knowledge about the recruitment, retention and graduation of doctoral AIs and NAs in STEM. The emphasis on culturally-relevant and culturally-immersive activities is a unique intervention approach for graduate students and their mentoring faculty in STEM; and what happens in this project may provide results that transform the way the field engages and works with URM graduate student in rural environments and in regions of the country where there are high percentages of AI and AN students. The lessons learned as this project progresses, and the ultimate results from the work, will provide information that will be beneficial to educators, administrators and policymakers, as well as the general public.

August 25th, 2014

Tuesday Toasts at Flathead Lake Brewing

Come join the Flathead Lake Biological Station at Flathead Lake Brewing Co. in Woods Bay.

Enjoy a summer evening with friends and family. Drink some delicious hand-crafted Montana beers. Eat some tasty food. And support the Bio Station’s research in the Flathead.

We hope to see you:

Tuesday August 26th (tomorrow!) from 5-8 pm.

$1 from each pint will kindly be donated by Flathead Lake Brewing Co. to the Bio Station.

More info: Contact Tom Bansak at 406-982-3301 X229 or

August 20th, 2014

UM and Symantec Academic Alliance

UM is the first university in the nation to be part of software giant Symantec’s Academic Alliances Program. Earlier this spring, Symantec made a $100,000 in-kind donation to UM that included a server, software, data and support for a two-week, big data-focused summer course. Business, computer science and law students are taking the course. We had a good meeting yesterday with Caroline and Larry from Symantec ( Although probably best known for its Norton antivirus software, Symantec provides a range of cybersecurity related products and services and has large data sets which may be of value to our students and faculty. Currently we are using Symantec software in an ediscovery course being taught by UM faculty member Joel Henry. There is a potential for a number of other courses including data center fundamentals, disaster recovery and data management and perhaps a course on developing malware protection schemes. Symantec also is active in research at their Mountain View, CA site and other sites around the country. There may be an opportunity for collaboration between their researchers and our faculty and students.

August 15th, 2014

Interview on Commercialization of Translational Research

Here is an interesting interview with Steve Blenk on commercialization in translational research. It focuses primarily on NIH funding in the biosciences area, but much of the conversation applies to translational research in general.

August 6th, 2014

New Research on Smoke

Dr. Robert Yokelson, UM chemistry research professor, along with key collaborators from Colorado State and Carnegie Mellon organized the most detailed measurements ever made of the chemical and physical properties of smoke.  The experiment involved about 40 scientists and took place in Missoula in October-November of 2012. The focus was a better understanding of how fires impact atmospheric chemistry, biogeochemical cycling, climate, health, and air quality. Yokelson co-authored this paper in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics on the trace gas emissions from peat, crop residue, biofuels, grasses and other fuels.

Numerous papers are in progress and many have already been published. As part of the project, a study appearing in Nature Geosciences describes a novel method to improve global model representation of smoke optical properties.An accessible explanation of the importance of this study has been released by project partner Los Alamos National Laboratories

Image caption: Wildfire fuel being burned in the fire laboratory as the aerosols from the top are being sucked into inlets and sampled at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Montana by Los Alamos and Carnegie Mellon University scientists. Photo courtesy of the University of Montana and U.S. Forest Service.

July 31st, 2014

UM WPEM on the History Channel

The Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism was in Thailand for an episode of Stan Lee’s Superhumans on the History Channel. The segment with Marshall Ulrich and Brent Ruby starts right around 21:00. And, at about 28:13 min, the #Omnibar logo makes a cameo.

July 15th, 2014

Togiak Archaeological and Paleoecological Project

Anna Prentiss, Professor in UM Anthropology, recently was awarded an NSF EAGER grant of $299,994 to initiate the Togiak Archaeological and Paleoecological Project. This is the first major study of human, climate, and marine/terrestrial resource relationships spanning the past 1,000 years in the northern Bristol Bay area of SW Alaska. Bristol Bay ecology is now a very hot topic in political, ecological, and economic circles.

The Togiak Archaeological and Paleoecological Project is a long-term study of Yup’ik Eskimo village establishment and growth, traditional subsistence variability, and technology in the context of climate change during the past 1000 years. With a research focus on the Old Togiak archaeological site, the project will contribute towards an enhanced understanding of the ancient history of the Bristol Bay Yup’ik people from the early Thule period through developments during the early Colonial period. It will also contribute to a deeper scientific understanding of relationships between human predation pressure, changing climate regimes and variability in key prey populations, especially emphasizing salmon and several species of pinnipeds. Research at the Old Togiak site will be conducted in collaboration with Togiak Traditional Council, Bristol Bay Native Association, and the descendent community.

The Old Togiak site is a house mound village consisting of one large mound stretching at least 130 meters in length adjacent to at least six other somewhat smaller mounds. Depressions on the surface of some mounds suggest an array of late-dating house structures and cache pits, in addition to some illicit modern excavations. Previous excavations at the Old Togiak site focused exclusively on the large mound and revealed deeply stratified deposits (at least four meters) that included indicators of house structures, clay-lined cache pits, possible outdoor activity areas, and shell midden material along with excellent preservation of organic artifacts and food remains.

This research will seek to reconstruct the history of the Togiak house mounds and develop an initial paleoecological model for the period of occupation. This will be accomplished by conducting extensive geophysical investigations emphasizing magnetometry, electrical resistivity, and ground penetrating radar. The geophysical work will be accompanied by geoarchaeological assessment of landform development and site formation processes. Finally, subsurface sampling across the site will be accomplished using a deep coring system from which samples for radiocarbon dating and paleoecological analysis will be extracted.

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