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News, features and events from the College of Biological Sciences


Petri Dish: Trust Issues

Science is having a moment as the world looks to researchers to come to the rescue with COVID-19 treatments and, eventually, a vaccine. But this pandemic has exposed the tension between how science actually works and a public eager for immediate reassurance. While scientists around the world are working 24/7 to understand the coronavirus and share what they are learning as quickly as possible, the rush to publish may ultimately undermine scientific credibility as members of the media and others use provisional results to feed various narratives about the disease.

Checking in With Dean Forbes - May 2020

This spring is unlike any other we’ve experienced as a College to be sure, and much uncertainty remains as we plan and prepare for the future. Individually and collectively, we’ve navigated tremendous upheaval and continue to do so. But in the midst of it all, the CBS community continues to rise to the challenge and celebrate important milestones. Here are a few examples.

From New Jersey to the Northwoods

Russell Rothman made his way to Minnesota to study wolves and now he makes sure other graduate students can pursue their research goals.

Russ Rothman

“I know how important it is to be able to initiate the research with a little help," says Rothman, pictured with his dogs.

Answering the Call

Mary Kemen doesn't shy away from putting her medical training to use in difficult circumstances, including traveling to New York City to treat COVID-19 patients. 

Mary Kemen (BS Botany ’78, BS Biochemistry ’79, MD ’84) spent more than two weeks in April at a hospital on Long Island, N.Y., where 90 of the 400 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care. With elective procedures on hold at the hospital where she works in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the anesthesiologist had time to volunteer. 

2020 Teaching Assistant Award Winners Announced

The College recognizes four teaching assistants for their work in the classroom and lab with the 2020 Outstanding TA Award.

The College of Biological Sciences is proud to announce four recipients for its annual Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award in 2020. The award is given to teaching assistants who have shown excellence in teaching or other forms of instruction that enhance the educational experience of students in the College. This year’s recipients are:

Getting an EDGE on new way to engineer function into microbes

Imagine if you were editing an email and every time you tried to change a word, three other words would randomly change as well. That probably sounds like a frustrating and time-consuming way to compose anything useful. And it’s equally frustrating and time-consuming for biologists trying to study adaptation or edit the genes of organisms. Conventional approaches to mutation offer little opportunity to target individual genes without altering others as well.

Call for nominations: 2020 CBS Alumni Awards

Know a CBS alum who deserves recognition? Nominate them for a CBS alumni award!

College of Biological Sciences graduates go on to do great things in healthcare, industry, education and many other fields. We think our grads deserve accolades for their efforts. CBS alumni, faculty, staff and students are eligible to participate. You can even nominate yourself!

Making Sense of the Situation

Professor Susan Jones shares her thoughts on pandemics, past and present as part of student-led discussion series. 

With a background studying disease ecology and the history of science, Susan Jones holds a unique perspective in our challenging and ever-changing times. From the flu to the plague or the current spread of COVID-19,  Jones' research and worked has looked at the broader historical context and impact of pandemics and disease spread.