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.

July 1st, 2014

UM Hosts NORM’14

Congratulations to Nick Natale, the General Chair of NORM’14 — the regional ACS meeting held recently at UM in Missoula. The scientific programming and social events were a great success. The final count was 217 abstracts presented and 389 meeting registrants. Among those attending were Marinda Wu, immediate past president of the American Chemical Society (world’s largest single discipline scientific society) and six current national ACS governance, two former board members, and one member of CAS. This is about three times the usual governance attendance at a regional meeting.

June 25th, 2014

New Journal from UM

Check out a new journal that is co-curated by UM. Education’s Histories is the “methodologial grist for the history of education”. The journal is co-curated by Adrea Lawrence and Sara Clark.

June 24th, 2014

George Zoto UM Alum and Scientist

Had the opportunity to speak with an alumnus of the University of Montana during a gathering of ATO members from days past. George Zoto is Senior Environmental Analyst and he’s been with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for almost 30 years. He received a BA in Botany from the University of Montana. He’s currently working on cyanobacteria and on nitrogen in municipal waters. For those interested in his work please check out: Inter-municipal Watershed Planning and TMDL Implementation to Restore Embayment Water Quality in Cape Cod: Three Case Studies of Towns Sharing Coastal Watersheds.

June 23rd, 2014

Death of Noted Woman Scientist

Although she was not related to UM in any way, we should note the passing of Stephanie Kwolek. Ms. Kwolek was a chemist at Dupont and invented the technology behind Kevlar. As you probably know, Kevlar is a virtually bulletproof fiber that has saved thousands of lives in its use in bulletproof vests for police and the military. Ms. Kwolek died at age 90 on Wednesday in Wilmington, Deleware.

June 11th, 2014

Summer Undergraduate Research Program at UM

Center for Environmental Health Sciences- Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)

Since the summer of 2008, CEHS with funding from NIEHS/NIH has sponsored a 10-week summer research program that continues to provide undergraduates an experience that encourages them to consider environmental and biomedical careers. This year, from 26 applicants across the US, six undergraduate students were selected to perform research projects with the guidance of UM scientist mentors.

Sarah Kinsey from Missoula, Mont., attending University of Montana with mentor Dr. Elizabeth Putnam, will be working on “The Control of Protein Production Related to Lung Fibrosis.” Sarah will study the role that a matricellular protein called SPARC plays in the formation of fibrosis.

Elena Beideck from Saranac Lake, NY, attending SUNY Geneseo with Dr. Chris Migliaccio, will be working on “Evaluation of Nanomaterials for Potential Therapeutics.” Elena will focus on screening a wide variety of nanoparticles for potential use in cancer therapy.

Harley Fredriksen from Stevens Point, Wisc., attending University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point will be working with Dr. Yoon Hee Cho in “Evaluating Epigenetic Alterations by Multi-walled Carbon Nanotubes Exposure” focusing on evaluating epigenetic alterations by engineered nanomaterials exposure and developing epigenetic biomarkers to detect exposure and potential disease risk.

Katie Dorsett of Missoula, Mont., attending University of Montana with mentors, Drs. Kevan Roberts and Zeina Jaffar will be “Evaluating the Responses of Murine Natural Killer Cells to Airborne Allergens” focusing on the interaction between the common house dust mite allergen and NK cells.

Jaxie Friedman of Waccabuc, NY, attending Wesleyan University with mentor Dr. Fernando Cardozo, will focus on “Evaluation of Pesticides on Motor Behavior and Brain Neurochemistry” using a fruit fly model (Drosophila melanogaster) to evaluate changes in motor behavior and brain neurochemistry after exposure to pesticides linked to Parkinson’s Disease.

Andrew Closson of Hampden, ME, attending University of Maine with mentor Dr. Andrij Holian will be “Evaluating the Uptake and Processing of Nanoparticles in a Human Epithelial Cell Line (A549) using CellLight Reagents” by utilizing a human cell line with specific proteins and treated with engineered nanomaterials to delineate the mechanism of lysosomal membrane degradation.

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