Scientist at Work: William Black

William Black As United States policymakers rue their nation's energy dependence and its geopolitical implications, and as the roads, railways, and air spaces of major metropolitan areas buckle under increased transportation demand, Indiana University Bloomington geographer William Black sees new opportunities for Americans to improve the way they (and their things) get from place to place. Retired but still publishing and working with graduate students, Black has recently completed a new book, Sustainable Transportation: Problems and Solutions, that stands as both a student primer for general transportation science and policy, but also an entreaty for thinking differently about all forms of transportation.  Full Story

IU receives $9.2 million from NSF to expand global networks and research


Indiana University has been awarded $9.2 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to lead two high-speed international network services. The awards provide IU with $4.6 million to continue the TransPAC3 network connection to Asia, and an additional $4.6 million for a new connection to Europe, named ACE -- America Connects to Europe. IU, in close cooperation with its national and international partners, will lead the implementation of these networks to connect scientists and researchers in the U.S. with their counterparts in Europe and Asia.

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Even mild immune reactions have significant energy costs, IU evolutionary anthropologist finds

RMR research

The energetic costs of fighting off simple respiratory infections result in heightened resting metabolic rates and lower testosterone levels in men, an Indiana University anthropologist shows in research pointed toward quantifying how immunological burdens and trade-offs play a role in human evolution. In a study that involved 25 young adult men infected with respiratory tract pathogens, IU Assistant Professor of Anthropology Michael Muehlenbein found that in the most extreme cases testosterone levels fell by more than 30 percent while resting metabolic rates (RMR) jumped by 14 percent. On average, the group experienced increased RMR rates of 8 percent and testosterone declines of 10 percent.

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Multimillion-dollar Defense Department grant targets microbial mutation

Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and the University of Southern California will receive as much as $6.25 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to study the constraints on mutation in microorganisms. IU Bloomington microbiologist Patricia Foster is the five-year project's principal investigator. Joining her as co-PIs are IU Bloomington genome biologist and National Academy of Sciences Fellow Michael Lynch, IU Bloomington bioinformaticist Haixu Tang, and USC microbiologist Steven Finkel. Foster is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and is widely considered an expert on bacterial mutation.

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IU, NISO receive Mellon grant to advance tools for quantifying scholarly impact from large-scale usage data


A $349,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to Indiana University Bloomington will fund research to develop a sustainable initiative to create metrics for assessing scholarly impact from large-scale usage data. IU Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing Associate Professor Johan Bollen and the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) will share the Mellon Foundation grant designed to build upon the MEtrics from Scholarly Usage of Resources (MESUR) project that Bollen began in 2006 with earlier support from the foundation.

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Getting young scientists into the science teacher pipeline

Noyce Interns

Science is playing a significant role in today's news, including hot-button topics such as toxic waste disposal, global warming, emerging diseases and dozens of other critical concerns. Faced with these issues, there has never been a greater need for excellent science teachers who can prepare the next generation of Americans to genuinely comprehend and effectively deal with these and other scientific challenges ahead. Producing science teachers who can keep up with rapidly advancing fields and can also inspire students is not an easy task. With a grant from the National Science Foundation's Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is challenging science majors -- individuals who enjoy and appreciate science -- to transfer their enthusiasm and knowledge to students in middle school and high school classrooms.

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Potential industrial and agricultural uses of Echinacea trump health claims


Echinacea purpura, or purple coneflower, has been used for hundreds of years as an herbal remedy to prevent or treat colds, and today it is among the most commonly used herbal medicines in North America. In spite of its popularity, however, scientific studies suggest the herb has little to no effect on the body's immune system. But the flower may have other uses. Researchers from the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis are investigating the possibility that Echinacea has other, potentially more important uses -- as a petrochemical or in agriculture.

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Previous issue

CTSI Summer Research Internship

The July 20, 2010, issue of Discoveries featured the young and old(er) scientists of the CTSI-SEED program, which pairs scientists-in-training with IU faculty scientists for educational purposes. Also included were stories about a new approach to treating late-stage ovarian cancer, bacterial survival strategies, a collaboration between IU and Cook Medical, rewriting the rules of particle physics, toxin-tolerant plants and fungi at mining sites, and a prestigious award for IU Bloomington chemist Erin Carlson.

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