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CBS News - October 2013

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Foundations of Biology project receives Science award

The College of Biological Sciences has been awarded the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction by the journal Science. The award recognizes a semester-long project in which undergraduate teams propose a genetic engineering solution to a health, environmental or other socially relevant problem. Susan Wick (PBIO) was lead author of an article about the winning entry created by students in the Foundations of Biology course, which was published in the September 27 issue. Co-authors included CBS faculty members Mark Decker, David Matthes and Robin Wright.

Itasca $5K matching gift challenge heats up

Last month, CBS announced that a longtime Itasca supporter offered to match 10 new $5,000 gifts. Seven donors have met the challenge already, which means there are only three spots left that qualify for the matching funds. That leaves only $30,000 left to raise toward CBS’ part of construction costs for the new campus center. Donors who give qualifying gifts are not only doubling their contribution but also helping the college close the books on funding for the new center. Thinking about making a gift? Now is the time!

Provost names task force to explore potential new college

Provost Karen Hanson has named members of an advisory task force to explore the potential for a new college bringing together the College of Biological Sciences and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. The task force, which will examine the potential creation of a new college devoted to agriculture, natural resources, and environmental and life sciences, includes CBS-affiliated faculty members Gary Muehlbauer, Michael Sadowsky, David Bernlohr, Scott Lanyon and Daniel Voytas. The task force also includes CBS undergraduate Ron Kulhanek (EEB) and graduate students Carl Stenoien (EEB) Ambuj Upadhyay (MCDB&G). 

Community Fund Drive is in full swing - donate now through October 31

The University of Minnesota kicked off its annual Community Fund Drive earlier this month. Lisa Murillo (PBIO) is leading the effort (which includes a bake-off with department heads, October 18) to flip the college’s participation in the annual giving event from 19% to 91%. For more information, to donate online, and to see a list of prizes, visit the Community Fund Drive website.

Also of interest…


  • All manner of Mammas  Marlene Zuk served as an advisor on a film project about motherhood across species produced by Isabella Rossellini.

  • Student research @ CBS  CBS students talk about in their undergraduate research experience in this new video series.

  • Bioremediation boost  BTI recently launched a MNDrive-related cluster hiring effort designed to boost expertise around bioremediation.


Complex relationship between phosphorus levels, nitrogen removal in lakes

A study published in Science earlier this month points to a good news/bad news scenario for lake health that has long-term, global implications for pollution-control efforts. While many water-quality cleanup efforts focusing on the reduction of phosphorus have been highly effective, that success can also result in a decrease in microbial processes that remove nitrogen from water. The article, authored by Jacques Finlay (EEB) and co-authored by Gaston Small (University of St. Thomas) and Robert Sterner (EEB), suggests that human-caused acceleration of global nitrogen and phosphorus cycles have boosted nitrogen removal processes in small to medium-size lakes. But in many of Earth’s large lakes, these effects are reduced by successful control of phosphorus, resulting in nitrogen accumulation.


Reuben Harris (BMBB) and Dave Tilman (EEB) have been named to President Kaler’s Strategic Planning Workgroup. Members of the workgroup, who were nominated by their University peers, will help set priorities for the University’s next strategic plan.

Suzi Pyawasay (Student Services) received the Minnesota College Personnel Association's Voice of Inclusion Award, which recognizes initiatives or individuals who work toward inclusion for students and others in higher education.

Romas Kazlauskas (BMBB/BTI) will receive an honorary doctorate from Stockholm's Royal Institute of Technology Nov. 11. Kazlauskas, who collaborates with researchers at the institute, uses biological catalysts such as enzymes to create processes that are both efficient and environmentally friendly.

Laura Domine is the new program associate for Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories. Domine graduated from the U of M in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in history and worked in the American Studies department for more than four years before joining CBS.



Community Fund Drive "Great CBS Bake-Off"

Join CBS department heads, Gary "the Gourmet" Muehlbauer (PBio), Scott "Spice Man" Lanyon (EEB), and David "Beignet" Bernlohr (BMBB) as they create, bake, and present a CBS-themed cake in support of the Community Fund Drive.

257 BioSci | St. Paul | 1 p.m. | rsvp online


CBS Halloween party

The St. Paul Finance and Human Resources office is hosting a Halloween party. Stop by for a snack, meet the HR and finance teams, and see their new office space. Feel free to come in costume!

128 Snyder Hall | St. Paul | 1-2:30 p.m.


What's diversity got to do with teaching biology?

Biology professor Sehoya Cotner talks about how and why she integrates equity and diversity in introductory biology classes in the final installment of the CBS Bio-Diversity Brown Bag Series.

6-135 Jackson Hall | East Bank | noon | more info


Letting the light in: Providing environmental science to direct public policy

David Schindler, one of the world’s leading freshwater ecologists, will deliver a free public lecture on the tension – sometimes conflict – between science and public policy on environmental issues.

St. Paul Student Center | St. Paul | 7 p.m. | Register to attend


CBS Reflections From Abroad

CBS students share takeaways from their learning abroad experiences at this annual poster session and student panel discussion.

MCB Atrium (3rd Floor) | East Bank | 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.



New performance review process in the works

The College of Biological Science is upgrading current performance review practices with an eye to implementing a new process for spring 2014 annual performance reviews. Currently, a survey is being developed to gather staff and faculty feedback that will be used to help shape new review questions. We expect the survey will be ready within the next couple weeks.

IonE fellowship application deadline Oct. 25

Applications are now being accepted for Institute on the Environment (IonE) 2015 Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowships. Projects should adhere to the IonE mission of discovering solutions, educating leaders and engaging partners to focus on five themes: energy, food and land use, freshwater, population and development, and whole systems. Draft proposals are due October 25.