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February 2012


college news | research news | people | events | FYI

The University of Minnesota is asking the 2012 Minnesota Legislature for $4.1 million to build a new, year-round campus center at Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories. As you know the center is needed to replace obsolete and deteriorating classrooms and laboratories. We are encouraged that Governor Mark Dayton included full funding for the building in his capital budget. But that's just the first step. We all need to make our best effort to persuade the Legislature to do the same. To make this as simple as possible, we have worked with Government Relations to compose an "action alert." You may use this template to select key messages, add a personal comment or two, and send your letter. It's quick and easy.

Please compose and send your message now. The future of Itasca depends on you.


Say farewell to Kate VandenBosch

All CBS faculty and staff are invited to a farewell party for Kate VandenBosch, head of plant biology, on Monday, February 20 from 3-5 p.m. in the atrium of the Cargill building on the St. Paul campus. After 12 years as head of the Department of Plant Biology, Kate is leaving to become dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There will be a program at 4 p.m. Light appetizers, beer and wine will be served. 

CBS-IT now handling computer purchasing, $600 subsidy offered

A new college-wide computer purchasing policy has been introduced. Effective immediately, all computer purchases must be made through CBS-IT, which will offer comprehensive consulting service to help faculty and staff select a system. In addition, eligible faculty and staff will receive a $600 subsidy every four years toward the purchase of a computer. See the Subsidy Eligibility list for details. For more information about the subsidy, new services and the program visit the Technology Purchasing Services page.

PBIO program for K-12 teachers marks 20th anniversary

Funding for PSI-MN, a summer plant science investigation course for K-12 teachers, has been renewed by the MN Office of Higher Education for its 20th consecutive year, which is the entire time period the funding has been available. Sue Wick (PBIO) is the principal investigator; Emily Hoover (Horticulture) is co-PI.


Lighter side of CBS on Tumblr

CBS has added a Tumblr blog, The Random Sample, to its social media offerings to cover the lighter side of life at the college. Find out what Jeff Gralnick (Micro) listens to in his lab, what Will Ratcliff (EEB) would take to a desert island, and what Mark Borrello was doing in an "art shanty" on Medicine Lake. Plus share your activities and thoughts.

Diversity news + events

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David Zarkower and Tony Gamble (GCD) have been awarded a three-year, $630,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the evolution of vertebrate sex determination, using geckos as a model. The project will involve laboratory and field studies as well as public outreach, including an exhibit at the Bell Museum of Natural History.

Jeannine Cavendar-Bares (EEB) and colleagues have been awarded $670,000 from the National Science Foundation to study the phylogeny of oak trees in North America and South America in order to understand how oak trees evolve in response to habitat and climate changes. The project will integrate next-generation genomic (DNA) sequencing, plant physiology and direct study of plants. Results will be used to conserve forest biodiversity and ecosystems, and will be broadly disseminated through college-level, K-12 and public outreach.

IonE request for proposals

The Institute on the Environment is accepting proposals for mini-grants of $500-$3,000 to stimulate new collaborative, interdisciplinary research. The grants, which average $1,500, also provide administrative support and space for meetings and conferences. Proposals are due March 9. See submission guidelines


Graduate student Margaret Kosmala (EEB) has been awarded a one-year fellowship from the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) and the Smithsonian Institution. The fellowships, which carry a $30,000 stipend, allow graduate students to conduct research at the Smithsonian under the guidance of professional staff. She plans to work at the National Museum of Natural History studying the effects of experimental warming on the structure of an insect community.

For Love of Lakes, a new book by CBS alumnus and aquatic ecologist Darby Nelson, is a finalist in the Creative Nonfiction/Memoir category of the Minnesota Book Awards.

CBS undergraduate Rachel Nelson is one of 16 winners of the U of M's first annual student video competition. Her video, "Whose Match Are You?" focuses on increasing participation in a national registry for bone marrow donors to benefit young cancer patients. It was selected from among 83 videos chosen by 16,659 votes. She received a cash award of $1,000. The University of Minnesota Foundation plans to use the videos as part of a campaign to increase scholarship gifts.


February 23

Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah, From Slave Ship to Pirate Ship

CBS students, alumni, staff and friends are invited to attend a special lecture, reception and tour of the Science Museum of Minnesota's Real Pirates exhibition. The Biological Sciences Alumni Society is hosting the event. 5:30 p.m. reception; 6:15 p.m. lecture followed by tour. More information

Science Museum of Minnesota | St. Paul | $30-$49

March 1

Investing in Sustainability: Building Water Stewardship Into the Bottom Line

Mindy Lubber, an international leader in efforts by investors to lead and pressure multinational companies to adopt environmentally sustainable business practices, will deliver a free, public lecture as part of the Moos Family Lecture Series, sponsored by the Freshwater Society and the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences. Learn more and register to attend

St. Paul Student Center | St. Paul |  7 p.m.


Minnesota Cup

The Minnesota Cup, a statewide organization that seeks out aspiring entrepreneurs and their breakthrough ideas, will hold its 2012 competition in late March. Details