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Updated: 5 hours 26 min ago

Tucson Mayor Celebrates Earth Day with UA’s Campus Arboretum

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 14:16

The UA Campus Arboretum hosted an Arbor Day event on April 22 to celebrate campus and community leaders for their excellence in promoting stewardship and conservation of urban trees. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild spoke about the city of Tucson’s 10,000 Trees Campaign and members of the arboretum taught attendees how to select and care for trees in the desert climate. Attendees also were given a special tour of the the wide variety of trees found on the UA campus. For more information visit: http://arboretum.arizona.edu/

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Campus NewsYouTube Video:  Tucson Mayor Celebrates Earth Day with UA's Campus Arboretum Video of Tucson Mayor Celebrates Earth Day with UA's Campus Arboretum Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: The UA Campus Arboretum hosted an Arbor Day event on April 22 to celebrate campus and community leaders for their excellence in promoting stewardship and conservation of urban trees. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild spoke about the city of Tucson’s 10,000 Trees Campaign and members of the arboretum taught attendees how to select and care for trees in the desert climate. Attendees also were given a special tour of the the wide variety of trees found on the UA campus. For more information visit: http://arboretum.arizona.edu/UANow Image: Date of Publication: Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Project Reduces Homecoming's Environmental 'Pawprint'

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 13:38

Project Pawprint used innovative research and student engagement to enhance the sustainability of the biggest UA event held every year: Homecoming. During Homecoming 2012, students involved in Project Pawprint collected baseline data related to the environmental impact of the event's energy usage, travel and accommodations, food and materials. For Homecoming 2013, they used that data to reduce the impact by setting up more carpooling and public transportation options and helping food vendors switch from Styrofoam to paper plates so that composting could be an option.

Find out more about Project Pawprint here. To learn more about Homecoming, which marks its centennial this year, visit the Homecoming website.

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Campus NewsYouTube Video:  Wildcat Planet. Project Pawprint Homecoming 2012 & 2013 Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: Project Pawprint used innovative research and student engagement to enhance the sustainability of the biggest UA event held every year: Homecoming. UANow Image: Date of Publication: Tuesday, April 22, 2014

UA Researchers are Creating Better Thermal-Imaging Lens From Waste Sulfur

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:24

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team has found.
 
The team successfully took thermal images of a person through a piece of the new plastic. By contrast, taking a picture taken through the plastic often used for ordinary lenses does not show a person’s body heat.
 
"We have for the first time a polymer material that can be used for quality thermal imaging – and that's a big deal," said senior co-author Jeffrey Pyun, whose lab at the UA developed the plastic. "The industry has wanted this for decades."
 
These lenses and their next-generation prototypes could be used for anything involving heat detection and infrared light, such as handheld cameras for home energy audits, night-vision goggles, perimeter surveillance systems and other remote-sensing applications, said senior co-author Robert A. Norwood, a UA professor of optical sciences.
 
The lenses also could be used within detectors that sense gases such as carbon dioxide, he said. Some smart building technology already uses carbon dioxide detectors to adjust heating and cooling levels based on the number of occupants.
 
In contrast to the materials currently used in infrared technology, the new plastic is inexpensive, lightweight and can be easily molded into a variety of shapes, said Pyun, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the UA.
 
The researchers have filed an international patent for their new chemical process and its application for lenses. Several companies have expressed interest in the technology, he said.
 
Norwood and his colleagues in the UA College of Optical Sciences tested the optical properties of the new lens materials and found they are transparent to mid-range infrared and result in lenses with high optical focusing power.
 
The team's discovery could provide a new use for the sulfur left over when oil and natural gas are refined into cleaner-burning fuels. Although there are some industrial uses for sulfur, the amount generated from refining fossil fuels far outstrips the current need for the element.
 
The international team's research article, "New infrared transmitting material via inverse vulcanization of elemental sulfur to prepare high refractive index polymers," is published online in the journal Advanced Materials.
 
Pyun and Norwood's co-authors are Jared J. Griebel, Dominic H. Moronta, Woo Jin Chung, Adam G. Simmonds, Richard S. Glass, Soha Namnabat, Roland Himmelhuber, Kyung-Jo Kim, John van der Laan and Eustace L. Dereniak of the UA; Eui Tae Kim and Kookheon Charof Seoul National University in Korea; and Ngoc Nguyen and Michael E. Mackay of the University of Delaware.
 
Research funding was provided by the American Chemical SocietyPetroleum Research Foundation, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the National Research Foundation of Korea, the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the State of Arizona Technology Research Initiative Fund and the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
 
Norwood said the new plastic is transparent to wavelengths of light in the mid-infrared range of 3 to 5 microns – a range with many uses in the aerospace and defense industries.
 
The new lenses also have a high optical, or focusing, power – meaning they do not need to be very thick to focus on nearby objects, making them lightweight.
 
Depending on the amount of sulfur in the plastic, the lenses have a refractive index between 1.865 to 1.745. Most other polymers that have been developed have refractive indices below 1.6 and transmit much less light in the mid-range infrared, the authors wrote in their paper.
 
Pyun and colleagues reported their creation of the new plastic and its possible use in lithium-sulfur batteries in 2013. The researchers have filed patents for that technology as well and several companies are interested.
 
Pyun and first author Griebel, a UA doctoral candidate in chemistry and biochemistry, were trying to transform liquid sulfur into a useful plastic that could be produced easily on an industrial scale.
 
The chemists dubbed their process "inverse vulcanization" because it requires mostly sulfur with a small amount of an additive. Vulcanization is the chemical process that makes rubber more durable by adding a small amount of sulfur to rubber.
 
To make lenses, Griebel poured the liquid concoction into a silicone mold similar to those used for baking cupcakes.
 
"You can pop the lenses out of the mold once it's cooled," he said. "Making lenses with this process – it's two materials and heat. Processing couldn't be simpler, really."
 
The team's next step is comparing properties of the new plastic with existing plastics and exploring other practical applications such as optical fibers

Writer: Mari JensenByline: Mari JensenByline Affiliation: College of ScienceHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: A UA-led research team has developed a new use for the sulfur left over from oil and natural gas refining: made into a plastic polymer, the material can be made into cheap and lightweight lenses for infrared-light detection devices. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Arizona Now

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 09:59

Arizona Now, the largest campaign in the University of Arizona's history, aims to reach a $1.5 billion fundraising goal. The public phase of the campaign was launched on April 11 with events such as lectures from researchers, tours of key campus buildings and labs. There was also the Expo of Excellence, which showcased student and researcher projects. 

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Campus NewsRelated Story Link: UA’s Arizona Now Campaign Aims to Raise $1.5 BillionYouTube Video:  Arizona Now Video of Arizona Now Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: Arizona Now, the largest campaign in the University of Arizona's history, aims to reach a $1.5 billion fundraising goal. The public phase of the campaign was launched on April 11 with events such as lectures from researchers, tours of key campus buildings and labs. There was also the Expo of Excellence, which showcased student and researcher projects. UANow Image: Date of Publication: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Research Proves Children Retain More Information When They've Napped After Learning

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 19:04

Sleep is essential in helping young children apply what they learn, according to new research by Rebecca Gómez, associate professor in the UA Department of Psychology. In this Q&A, she talks about her new work, which she presented at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society annual meeting in Boston on April 8 as part of a symposium on sleep and memory.

Dr. Gómez, in a nutshell, what is the goal of your research?

I look at how learning unfolds over time, with the goal of understanding how children learn overall. If we understand how infants and young children learn, if we understand the mechanisms of how the brain develops and supports learning, we will be in a better position to understand when learning goes awry. And obviously it is interesting in itself to understand how the brain develops. You have these little babies who are completely helpless when they're born, and by a year of age, they know words, they're standing and taking their first steps. How does the brain support that change? That's a mystery and the overall goal is to understand how they learn things like language and how memory develops over time.

Why do children as young as 6 months start forming rules about language, but don't talk for another year-and-a-half or so?

They can't. For one thing, their vocal apparatus is not developed enough, which is why we as adults have trouble understanding little kids when they start talking. It takes practice to articulate words. But through work by other researchers, we know that kids actually learn the meaning of some vocabulary as early as six months. At that age, they have a vocabulary of anywhere from 25 to 50 words. They learn common words like, say, hands and feet; they just can't articulate them.

They can understand the word "feet"?

They can. If you say 'feet,' they know what feet are; we can test that. They understand the meaning of very common things, which is remarkable. They are learning a lot about language long before they are ever taught. It's amazing. Less than 20 years ago, we didn't know kids could learn so rapidly and understand a lot more than they can say.

What experiments do you use in your research?

In our studies, the children listen to a made-up language they have never heard before. It's an artificial language with certain rules about how words are ordered, just like in a real language. The children listen to that for a short period of time, and then we test them by giving them new sentences from the artificial language that adhere to the rules, and sentences that violate the rules. We measure whether they can discriminate those two different types of stimuli.

Your study subjects can't express themselves like adults can. How do you work around that?

During the learning phase, the child is playing quietly while we expose them to recorded, spoken "sentences" of the artificial language over loudspeakers. They'd hear, for example, "Vot kicey jic. Pel wadim rud. Pel kicey rud." During those 8 minutes, they just get involved in their own thing, or they crawl around or play with toys. It is so amazing that all the while, they are learning. For the test, we take them to a booth where they are seated on their parent’s lap. To start the trial, we flash a light in front of the infant to get his or her attention. Then a light will flash off to the side, and as soon as the child looks in that direction, we start playing the language sample from that same side. We stop playback when the child looks away for two seconds. We do that for the duration of the test trials, and there will be an equal number of what we call legal test trials – following the grammar rules of the artificial language – and illegal test trials, where the rules are violated. We measure the average times of how long they keep their head turned toward the stimulus before they turn away.

 

 

In this research video, Rebecca Gómez’s team uses an established testing method known as the head-turn preference procedure to test subjects who are unable to express themselves verbally. 

What do you find?

The children listen longer to a legal string of words and turn away sooner when they hear an illegal string of words. They are discriminating between the two.

Why do you use an artificial language?

Because kids know so much about their language by the time we see them. So we have them listen to things they have never heard before if we want to study learning.

You just returned from a conference where you presented exciting results. Can you tell us more?

We found that sleep allows children to combine sentences that they hear spoken by other speakers. When we learn a language, we understand it regardless of who is talking to us. So one question we had was would children be able to generalize across talkers? If we gave the children three samples spoken in one female voice, and three examples spoken in a different female voice, they couldn't generalize when we tested them right after learning. But they can after sleep. It's like mom giving you a few different language examples, and grandma giving you a few other ones. Could you combine everything you were hearing? When we test the infants right after the learning phase, they don't seem to be able to do this, but after they nap, they can. This tells us that sleep is really critical for that learning to happen. The other important finding is that for generalization of language rules, even children as old as 3 years, an age when many of them transition out of naps, sleep seems to be really important for them to be able to generalize.

Does your research tell us about the role of sleep in adult learning?

It's still not completely understood why learning a second language is so difficult for adults. I think this work tells us it's the neural structures that kids have when they are very young that cause them to learn language in a very different way. A structure in our brain, the hippocampus, is critical for processing and storing new memories. In young children, the hippocampus is not completely connected with the other brain regions that are critical for learning. We think that young children learn more with their cortex. This makes them exceptionally good at learning the subtleties of sound patterns. As they become adults, the hippocampus takes over. This is a powerful, rapid-learning organ that may not be as dedicated to pattern learning as to other kinds of learning. Because learning the sounds of language, how they are distributed and ordered requires pattern learning, this could partially explain why we learn languages differently as adults.

Editor: Daniel StolteWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsExtra Info: 

Interested in having your child contribute to science? If your child is between the ages of 3 and a half months and 3 and a half years, please contact the University ofr Arizona Child Cognition Lab at 520-626-0278 or visit the lab's website

 

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Sleep is essential in helping young children apply what they learn, according to new research by Rebecca Gómez, associate professor in the UA Department of Psychology. In this Q&A, she talks about her new work, which she presented at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society annual meeting in Boston on April 8 as part of a symposium on sleep and memory.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Bobbi Brown Speaks at UA Global Retailing Conference

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 15:56

The University of Arizona's Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing hosted its 2014 Global Retailing Conference at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort April 10-11. About 300 people attended, including UA students and industry professionals. Speakers included UA alumnus and Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren, as well as Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot, and Bobbi Brown, founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. For a full list of speakers and more information, visit  http://www.globalretailingconference.org.

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Business and LawRelated Story Link: UA Global Retailing Conference Announces 2014 PresentersYouTube Video:  Bobbi Brown Speaks at UA Global Retailing Conference Video of Bobbi Brown Speaks at UA Global Retailing Conference Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: The University of Arizona's Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing hosted its 2014 Global Retailing Conference at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort April 10-11. About 300 people attended, including UA students and industry professionals. Speakers included UA alumnus and Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren, as well as Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot, and Bobbi Brown, founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. For a full list of speakers and more information, visit http://www.globalretailingconference.org.UANow Image: Date of Publication: Monday, April 14, 2014

Photo Gallery: Arizona Now and Spring Fling

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 14:16
Date of Publication: Monday, April 14, 2014

UA Scientists to Begin Construction on NASA Spacecraft that will Visit Asteroid in 2018

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 14:08

NASA has given the OSIRIS-REx mission, led by the University of Arizona, the go-ahead to begin building the spacecraft, flight instruments, ground system and launch support facilities. OSIRIS-REx is the first U.S. mission slated to send a spacecraft to a near-earth asteroid and collect samples.

The mission will focus on finding answers to basic questions about the composition of the very early solar system and the source of organic materials and water that made life possible on Earth. It will also aid NASA’s asteroid initiative and support the agency's efforts to understand the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects and characterize those suitable for future asteroid exploration missions.

The UA got the thumbs up on April 9 after a successful Mission Critical Design Review (CDR) for NASA’s Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx). The review was held at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Littleton, Colo., April 1-9. An independent review board, comprised of experts from NASA and several external organizations, met to review the system design.

"Successfully passing mission CDR is a major accomplishment, but the hard part is still in front of us – building, integrating and testing the flight system to meet our tight launch window," said Mike Donnelly, OSIRIS-REx project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

"It marks a major shift in our mission," said Ed Beshore, a scientist at the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and Steward Observatory, who is the mission's deputy principal investigator. "For all of us involved with OSIRIS-REx, it is a transition from designing the mission to implementing it. It means we are now cutting metal, building a spacecraft and writing software."

OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2016, rendezvous with the asteroid Bennu in 2018 and spend a year studying the asteroid before collecting a sample of at least 2 ounces (60 grams) of surface material and returning it to Earth for scientists to study in 2023.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center will provide overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission oversight for OSIRIS-REx. The UA will lead the effort, provide the camera system and science processing and operations center. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver will build the spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed by the Marshall Spaceflight Center.

"The OSIRIS-REx team has consistently demonstrated its ability to present a comprehensive mission design that meets all requirements within the resources provided by NASA," said principal investigator Dante Lauretta, a professor at the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. "Mission CDR was no exception. This is a great team. I know we will build a flight and ground system that is up to the challenges of this ambitious mission."

At the UA's Michael J. Drake building, staffing levels have ramped up to full capacity with the construction of the spacecraft's camera system and building the Science Processing Operations Center (SPOC). The Drake building is also where the office of the principal investigator (PI) is headquartered.

"The PI office is fully engaged in planning mission operations and ensuring the scientific integrity of the mission as well as overseeing the cost and schedule performance of the project," mission PI Lauretta said. "This office also will lead the analysis of the sample after the spacecraft returns it to the Earth in 2023."

"Missions like OSIRIS-REx consist of two major elements: the flight system – spacecraft and instruments – and the ground system," Beshore explained. "The CDR is as much an approval of our ground system as of the spacecraft."

Ground System Vital to Mission’s Success

"Once the spacecraft flies, it is under the control of the ground system," Beshore explained.

Ground system operations include planning scientific observations, designing and implementing spacecraft navigation, verifying that the spacecraft is safe at all times during its journey, programming the commands that control the spacecraft and transmitting them over the Deep Space Network, and retrieving data from the spacecraft, processing and analyzing it.

"Many ground system activities will take place right here in Tucson," Beshore said. "We will decide where we want to go, what data we want to acquire, and how to process the data once it starts coming down from the spacecraft."

Along with activity on the ground, the mission already is delivering considerable economic benefits to Arizona's economy. The camera system engineering and fabrication teams are fully operational, and SPOC is close to planned staffing levels. KinetX, a company based in Tempe, Ariz., is tasked with navigating the spacecraft, while the thermal emission spectrometer, OTES, is being built by Arizona State University, also in Tempe.

The public can follow mission progress on the OSIRIS-REx website and the PI blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. As part of its public engagement effort, people around the world are invited to submit their names to be etched on a microchip and placed aboard the spacecraft. After signing up with the  “Messages to Bennu” campaign, participants are able to download and print a certificate documenting their participation in the OSIRIS-REx mission.

OSIRIS-REx is the second NASA mission led by the UA. In May of 2008, the UA's Phoenix Mars lander touched down near the north pole of Mars, in the first Mars mission ever led by a university. Phoenix confirmed and examined patches of the widespread deposits of underground water ice and found evidence suggesting occasional presence of thawed water. The UA also operates the HiRISE camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has photographed the surface of the red planet in stunning detail. Other NASA missions involving UA scientists include the Cassini spacecraft studying Saturn and its moon Titan, the JUNO mission to Jupiter and the MESSENGER spacecraft orbiting Mercury.

Editor: Daniel StolteWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The UA-led OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission successfully passed NASA's Mission Critical Design Review, allowing the endeavor to proceed from the planning and design stage to building the spacecraft and developing the ground system in preparation for launch in 2016.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

UA Opera to Present 'The Magic Flute'

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 15:59

The University of Arizona Opera Theater is preparing for its spring production of "The Magic Flute," by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The production has a cast of more than 100 student singers, dancers and musicians and will feature costumes designed by Christopher Allen and elaborate sets designed by Sally Day. Performances are scheduled for April 10-13. To buy tickets or learn more, go here

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Arts and HumanitiesYouTube Video:  UA Opera to Present 'The Magic Flute' Video of UA Opera to Present 'The Magic Flute' Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: The UA Opera Theater is preparing for its spring production of "The Magic Flute," by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, to run from April 10-13. UANow Image: Date of Publication: Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Make the Most of Your Undergraduate Years

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 18:09

This time of year, if you were to ask a random sample of UA seniors what they plan to do after graduation, you would hear a lot of different responses: getting a job, going to graduate school, joining the Peace Corps and so on.

And if you asked a few more questions, you would likely hear interesting stories about how many times those graduates changed their major before deciding on the one, two or three degrees they ultimately earned, along with how they spent their summers and who was influential in their decision-making.

The types of experiences that help students achieve success in the job market upon graduation are the same as those that help them gain admission into graduate and professional schools and also nationally competitive programs.

Before deciding the next move, it’s important to plan.

  • Ask yourself the tough questions. Who am I? What are my skills? What do I like? What do I want to do?
  • Always strive to do well academically. Your GPA matters, especially at the beginning of your career. But what really matters is the depth and breadth of your knowledge and skills and your ability to apply and adapt that foundation to practical problems in your life and work over a lifetime.
  • Utilize the resources available to you. It's good to start with your friends and parents, and even Google. But don't stop there. Get to know your advisers and faculty members, and let them get to know you. Don't assume that those people and resources won’t help you. This is your future we're talking about.
  • Explore your interests by setting goals for yourself and seeking internships and research experiences. Again, this is about you and what you like and what you want to do with your life. It is likely that you will meet more professionals at the UA than you will ever meet in one place again who care about your individual success and are trained in and passionate about helping you achieve your goals.
  • Intentionally explore occupations, fields of study and work. How could you ever possibly know what exists out there for you if you do not explore?

As you are thinking about graduate school and work, how do you follow this sort of guidance? 

For first- and second-year students, focus on activities that reinforce academic success, that help you transition into campus life and let you explore your interests and values. For juniors and seniors, focus on building knowledge through your major coursework. Also be sure that you are practicing and refining your writing and critical thinking skills. Be sure to polish your resumes your personal statements, admission essays and interviewing strategies.

Rely on your academic advisers, who are a great asset for students at all stages of the undergraduate career. Among other things, advisers help explore coursework, research and internships options. Most students – and their parents – are committed to completing their undergraduate degrees on schedule and academic advisers help ensure that you stay on track toward degree completion while maximizing study, service or work.

Be sure to meet one-on-one with individual faculty members, which can be a huge benefit to students who are exploring work and graduate study. Faculty can help you explore topics in-depth and provide guidance about which graduate schools or professions would be a good fit. Faculty also help you identify research experiences for academic credit, pay or both. Chances are, if you approach a faculty member about something they are passionate about – and that you want to learn more about – you’ll be invited to pull up a chair and have a chat.

At UA Career Services, counselors also help with major and job exploration, as well as educational and career goal setting. The office hosts annual employer career and graduate school fairs, which are especially helpful to juniors and seniors. Career Services also helps students develop resumes and interviewing skills.

Whether you plan to go right to work after college or continue on to graduate school, you will benefit tremendously from undergraduate research, whether it be through independent study, volunteer work or part of a structured program for pay, credit or both. The added bonus is that you get to dig deeply into something you are really interested in or explore something entirely new. It also provides an outlet for creativity, a boost of confidence and clarifies you career goals. And the student-faculty mentor relationship provides many benefits to both you and your mentor, not the least of which is a highly personalized, meaningful basis for a reference for employment or letter of recommendation for graduate school. 

The UA's Graduate College has many programs to help you enhance your education through hands-on research experiences. You might be wondering why a graduate college would take such an interest in undergraduate students. It's because you are the biomedical researchers, social scientists, entrepreneurs and educators of the future, and the world truly needs you. The Graduate College is just doing its part to open doors for you and to keep UA a top destination for talented, diverse students just like you

The UA encourages all undergraduates to explore paid and unpaid internships as well as research experiences and to get involved in clubs and organizations. These are fun, practical ways for students to learn what they like and what they ultimately want to do after graduation. It also helps students develop interpersonal and practical skills and cultivate networks.

We call this engagement, and the UA is very serious about it.

Stephanie Adamson is director of recruitment for the UA Graduate College, which offers extensive support and opportunities for students to pursue graduate degrees in more than 100 different fields. Contact Stephanie Adamson at 520-626-0095 or adamsons@email.arizona.edu.

Categories: Teaching and StudentsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: StudentsStudent LifeGuest PostByline: Stephanie Adamson |UANow Image: Editor: La Monica Everett-HaynesInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Tuesday, April 8, 2014Medium Summary: Deciding whether to go to graduate school or into the workforce after graduation is a big decision. The UA has many resources available to help students make the right choice. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: Do you have grad school or a career in mind? These tips can help.

Ancient Fossil Reveals Oldest Known Circulatory System

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 14:31

An international team of researchers from the University of Arizona, China and the United Kingdom has discovered the earliest known cardiovascular system, and the first to clearly show a sophisticated system complete with heart and blood vessels, in fossilized remains of an extinct marine creature that lived over half a billion years ago. The finding sheds new light on the evolution of body organization in the animal kingdom and shows that even the earliest creatures had internal organizational systems that strongly resemble those found in their modern descendants.

"This is the first preserved vascular system that we know of," said Nicholas Strausfeld, a Regents' Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Arizona's Department of Neuroscience, who helped analyze the find.

Being one of the world's foremost experts in arthropod morphology and neuroanatomy, Strausfeld is no stranger to finding meaningful and unexpected answers to long-standing mysteries in the remains of creatures that went extinct so long ago scientists still argue over where to place them in the evolutionary tree.

The 3-inch-long fossil was entombed in fine dustlike particles – now preserved as fine-grain mudstone ­­– during the Cambrian Period 520 million years ago in what today is the Yunnan province in China. Found by co-author Peiyun Cong near Kunming, it belongs to the species Fuxianhuia protensa, an extinct lineage of arthropods combining advanced internal anatomy with a primitive body plan.

"Fuxianhuia is relatively abundant, but only extremely few specimens provide evidence of even a small part of an organ system, not even to speak of an entire organ system," said Strausfeld, who directs the UA Center for Insect Science. "The animal looks simple, but its internal organization is quite elaborate. For example, the brain received many arteries, a pattern that appears very much like a modern crustacean."

In fact, Strausfeld pointed out, Fuxianhuia's vascular system is more complex than what is found in many modern crustaceans.

"It appears to be the ground pattern from which others have evolved," he said. "Different groups of crustaceans have vascular systems that have evolved into a variety of arrangements but they all refer back to what we see in Fuxianhuia."

"Over the course of evolution, certain segments of the animals' body became specialized for certain things, while others became less important and, correspondingly, certain parts of the vascular system became less elaborate," Strausfeld said.

Strausfeld helped identify the oldest known fossilized brain in a different specimen of the same fossil species, as well as the first evidence of a completely preserved nervous system similar to that of a modern chelicerates, such as a horseshoe crab or a scorpion.

"This is another remarkable example of the preservation of an organ system that nobody would have thought could become fossilized," he said.

In addition to the exquisitely preserved heart and blood vessels, outlined as traces of carbon embedded in the surrounding mineralized remains of the fossil, it also features the eyes, antennae and external morphology of the animal.

Using a clever imaging technique that selectively reveals different structures in the fossil based on their chemical composition, collaborator Xiaoya Ma at London’s Natural History Museum was able to identify the heart, which extended along the main part of the body, and its many lateral arteries corresponding to each segment. Its arteries were composed of carbon-rich deposits and gave rise to long channels, which presumably took blood to limbs and other organs.

"With that, we can now start speculating about behavior," Strausfeld explained. "Because of well-supplied blood vessels to its brain, we can assume this was a very active animal capable of making many different behavioral choices."

Researchers can only speculate as to why the chemical reactions that occurred during the process of fossilization allowed for this unusual and rare kind of preservation, and as to why only select tissues were preserved between a few rare and different specimen.

"Presumably the conditions had to be just right," Strausfeld said. "We believe that these animals were preserved because they were entombed quickly under very fine-grained deposits during some kind of catastrophic event, and were then permeated by certain chemicals in the water while they were squashed flat. It is an invertebrate version of Pompeii."

Possibly, only one in thousands of fossils might have such a well-preserved organ system, Strausfeld said.

At the time Fuxianhuia crawled on the seafloor or swam through water, life had not yet conquered land.

"Terrible sand storms must have occurred because there were probably no plants that could hold the soils," Strausfeld said. "The habitats of these creatures must have been inundated with massive fallouts from huge storms."

Tsunamis may also be the cause for the exceptional preservation.

"As the water withdraws, animals on the seafloor dry," Strausfeld said. "When the water rushed back in, they might become inundated with mud. Under normal circumstances, when animals die and are left to rot on the seafloor, they become unrecognizable. What happened to provide the kinds of fossils we are seeing must have been very different."

The article, "An exceptionally preserved arthropod cardiovascular system from the early Cambrian," is published in Nature Communications. Strausfeld's co-authors are Xiaoya Ma, Peiyun Cong and Xianguang Hou of the Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology at Yunnan University in Kunming, China, and Gregory D. Edgecombe of the Department of Earth Sciences at the The Natural History Museum in London.

Editor: Daniel StolteWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: A fossil creature buried in an "invertebrate version of Pompeii" more than half a billion years ago reveals the first-known cardiovascular system in exquisitely preserved detail.Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Twisting Fate for a Once-in-a-Lifetime International Performance

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 17:56

In this blog post, Stephanie Brink, who graduated from the UA in December 2013, shares her love of opera, and speaks about the definitive moment that led to her chance to sing with other UA performers as part of an international invitation this May.

I was blessed to grow up in a musical family. My parents and brother are all professional musicians – my father is a professional opera coach, conductor and lecturer in music; my mother is a voice teacher and a church pianist and organist; and my brother is a freelance musician and piano teacher.

If I wasn't doing music, I don't know what I would be doing.

Choral music, in particular, is an area of great personal joy for me because there's nothing greater than creating such incredible art with your best friends.

Last spring, Bruce "Doc" Chamberlain informed the Arizona and Symphonic choirs of a prestigious invitation to perform Dvořàk's "Stabat Mater" for a Varna International Tour in Vienna and Prague. As I was staring down my graduation date – December 2013 – I approached Doc after the announcement and begrudgingly asked: "Why would you plan this trip when I'm leaving?" 

Doc told me he had no control over when the invitations come in, but also said he would do what he could to ensure that I could go on the trip. Doc is so supportive of all of us, and the Arizona Choir really feels like a family.

Bruce Chamberlain, fondly called "Doc." (Beatriz Verdugo/UANews)

I had intended to remain in Tucson after completing my degree to continue my vocal study, so remaining a member of the Arizona Choir was a no-brainer for me.

I could not be more excited to be a part of this trip.

The Dvořàk "Stabat Mater" is a beautiful work that I have loved learning and working on. I have had the honor this semester to be the alto soloist for the work, which has been personally challenging as well as a wonderful opportunity for me to get to sing an aria with an orchestra. We all have different tastes in music, but I happen to love almost all works from the romantic period. The orchestras were big and lush, and drama was definitely a priority for a lot of composers in that period. I love being dramatic. Of course – I'm an opera singer.

Doc runs a tight rehearsal schedule, which can be overwhelming at times. For example, we may rehearse a movement for only 20 minutes one week and not revisit that movement for another two weeks, and be expected to read through it with no mistakes.

Obviously, perfect read-throughs are rarities in the music world. As professional choral singers, we are expected to be able to sight-read quickly and mostly correctly, and also be able to fix our own mistakes.

Common mistakes include singing a step rather than a leap, singing the wrong note entirely, coming in at the wrong time, or not cutting off with the rest of the group. Most of these are little mistakes and shouldn't need to be addressed by the director, but sometimes there are difficult passages in the music that require specific phrasing or have a difficult rhythmic pattern that we need to break down as a group.

As harsh as this rehearsal process may seem, it has been proven to be highly efficient, and it is inspiring when we can learn an entire large-scale work in just three weeks.

Doc demands professionalism in all of his rehearsals, and our hard work and dedication definitely pays off.

I am constantly impressed and inspired by Doc's work ethic as well as the focus and hard work exhibited by my colleagues. It is such a pleasure to walk into choir every day and make music with such an amazing group of musicians.

And this trip hits particularly close to home for me because I have Czech heritage on my mother's side. My great-grandparents came to the U.S. from Bohemia and Moravia, the capital of which is, or was, Prague.

I am constantly impressed and inspired by Doc's work ethic as well as the focus and hard work exhibited by my colleagues. It is such a pleasure to walk into choir every day and make music with such an amazing group of musicians. This experience will aid in my professional development because I have a wonderful concert aria addition to my resume from a beautiful work that I hope to have the chance to perform again in the future. I am also able to forge many connections with colleagues in diverse fields throughout music and around the globe.

Stephanie Brink, a UA alumna, graduated in 2013 from the School of Music with a master's degree in vocal performance. During her studies, Brink sang with the Arizona Choir under the direction of Bruce Chamberlain and now is a volunteer with the group. Brink sings Alto I in the choir, and she is also the alto soloist for Dvořák's "Stabat Mater." She and a group of about 80 others from the UA have been invited to perform in May at the Wiener Musikverein in Vienna and the Dvořák Hall in Prague, which are among the most prominent stages in the world. 

Categories: Arts and HumanitiesThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: StudentsStudent LifeThe ArtsByline: Stephanie Brink |UANow Image: Editor: La Monica Everett-HaynesInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Wednesday, April 2, 2014Medium Summary: UA alumna Stephanie Brink, a volunteer member of the UA’s Arizona Choir, will perform on some of the world’s oldest and most prestigious stages in Vienna and Prague, along with other choir members. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: UA alumna Stephanie Brink is preparing for an international performance.

A New Ocean for the Desert

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 18:32

As I let the air out of my buoyancy vest and slip under the water of the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2 ocean, I hear a steady hum reminding me of the machinery working behind the scenes to filter the water and keep it a constant temperature of 74 degrees.

Below me, pale, dead coral heads emerge from the brown carpet of muck blanketing the bottom of this strange ocean. At 22 feet, I reach the sandy bottom. Behind a large acrylic window, people wave at me as I kick my fins and glide past them.

On the other side of the window, in Biosphere 2's Ocean Gallery, visitors peer into the murky green of what was once the only living coral reef in the Arizona desert. Enclosed under the huge greenhouse structure that is part of Biosphere 2, the "ocean" was one of several habitats intended to sustain a crew of scientists living and working inside the dome isolated from the outside world.

When the "enclosed missions" ended in 1994, the fragile ecology of the ocean habitat collapsed. The corals died and algae and bacterial mats took over, crowding out the reef.  

Marine life under glass: The Desert Sea

Now, a new initiative is underway to breathe life back into the 700,000-gallon ocean tank at Biosphere 2. But rather than re-creating a tropical coral reef modeled after what one would find diving in the Caribbean, the new ocean at Biosphere 2 will provide a glimpse into the sea that's closest to Southern Arizona – the Gulf of California, which stretches for a thousand miles from the mouth of the Colorado River to Mazatlan on the mainland of Mexico.

A video of the project is is available online.

"We are excited to share the story behind the Gulf of California, which makes this beautiful desert around us one of the world's most biologically diverse deserts," said Rafe Sagarin, the program manager in the UA College of Science who oversees the transformation of the Biosphere 2 ocean habitat. His vision is turning it into a living laboratory where schoolchildren and the public can learn about the many connections between the Gulf of California and the Sonoran Desert.

To make the new ocean a reality, Sagarin organized a workshop at the beginning of March, inviting a group that includes educators, aquarium experts, scientists and myself – something I have been very excited to be a part of, as my own travels have taken me to the Sea of Cortez and the desert around it during many explorations underwater and on land.

Our goal with this workshop is to move from dreamy ideas – big and small – gathered during a previous meeting, to workable ideas that can be illustrated and planned out going forward. For example, the group reached a conclusion that it would be better to drain the ocean habitat completely and remodel it rather than attempting to make changes with the water in place. This strategy might open up further research and education opportunities at Biosphere 2, with sustainable aquaculture facilities as one of the possibilities.

Reimagining an ocean

Of all the world's deserts, the Sonoran Desert stands out with its unparalleled richness and diversity of plants and animals. Yet, few realize that this diversity is in large part due to the presence of a sea just south of Arizona.

Without the Gulf of California, there would be no monsoon clouds bringing the rains to the parched desert in the summer months, Sagarin explained.

"Southern Arizona would look much different, were it not for the various species of animals and plants and the peoples and cultures that have moved between the gulf coast and the desert for thousands of years."

"We have this incredible ocean space that has been used for some great research, but is currently not being used to its full potential," Sagarin said. "We believe it could be better used for research, education and outreach all at once. So why not use it for what is relevant to this region?"

Sea turtles and giant squid

The new ocean will feature a rocky intertidal zone hugging a sandy beach, an underwater forest and a cactus-studded island. A variety of fishes, octopus, moray eels, stingrays, and possibly even sea turtles and giant squid may soon live in Arizona's only desert ocean.

The opportunity will allow marine scientists to perform experiments that would not be feasible in a real ocean. It also will foster education efforts so schoolchildren can learn about marine environments and visitors can discover important connections between the sea and the desert.

"True to Biosphere 2's mission of being a one-of-a-kind facility 'where science lives,' we will share this project with the public while it is in progress," Sagarin said.

A remodeled Ocean Gallery has just opened to the public, explaining the connection between the Sonoran Desert and the Gulf of California, following the exploits of past explorers, and laying out the plans for the finished "mini ocean."

Sagarin and his collaborators are looking at a wide range of funding options to provide support for the ambitious endeavor, including the National Science Foundation, nongovernmental organizations and foundations that have funded research and conservation projects in the gulf.

To get the project off the ground, Sagarin has launched a crowd funding campaign on Rockethub, with the purpose of not only raising funds, but awareness as well. This is the first time the University has officially sanctioned crowdfunding for a scientific project. 

"Ultimately, we hope to get individual donors excited about a really big science project that cannot be done anywhere else because there is no other facility in the world where you could do something like this," Sagarin said.

"It's a big audacious project," he added. "But this is exactly what Biosphere 2 was built to do and continues to do: address big environmental challenges."

Editor: elizabethbakerWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsExtra Info: 

Source:
Rafe Sagarin
rafe@email.arizona.edu
520-838-6133

UANews contact:
Daniel Stolte
stolte@email.arizona.edu
520-626-4402

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: UANews takes you on a scuba dive in the Biosphere 2 ocean, slated to become a living lab modeled after the Gulf of California, thriving with research and education opportunities.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

New Laser Technology Developed by UA Could Divert Lightning Strikes

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 18:17

Optical scientists at the University of Arizona and the University of Central Florida have developed a technology capable of sending high-intensity laser beams through the atmosphere much farther than was possible before. The research is still in the laboratory phase, but could one day guide electrical discharges, such as lightning, away from buildings.

Currently, high-intensity lasers, produced with modern technology essentially disappear over distances greater than a few inches or several feet at best when focused tightly, due to diffraction – the same effect that makes a stick seem to "bend" when dipped into water. This makes them too short-ranged for applications such as diverting lightning.

The breakthrough lies in embedding the primary, high-intensity laser beam inside a second beam of lower intensity. As the primary beam travels through the air, the second beam – called dress beam – refuels it with energy and sustains the primary beam over much greater distances than were previously achievable. The researchers’ results were published on March 23 in the journal Nature Photonics.

"Think of two airplanes flying together, a small fighter jet accompanied by a large tanker," said Maik Scheller, an assistant research professor in the UA College of Optical Sciences, who led the experimental work leading to the publication. "Just like the large plane refuels the fighter jet in flight and greatly extends its range, our primary, high-intensity laser pulse is accompanied by a second laser pulse – the "dress" beam – which provides a constant energy supply to compensate for the energy loss of the primary laser beam as it travels farther from its source."

The development of the new technology was supported by a five-year, $7.5 million U.S. Department of Defense grant – awarded to a group of researchers led by Jerome Moloney, a UA mathematics and optical sciences professor. Moloney is heading up the multidisciplinary, multi-institution research effort to investigate ultra-short  laser pulses, focusing on their effects in the atmosphere and ways to improve their propagation over many kilometers.

Improved understanding of the pulses would create the groundwork for a new class of robust laser beams that are more effective in overcoming scattering caused by atmospheric turbulence, water droplets in clouds, mist and rain, according to Moloney. Such beams could be used in detection systems reaching over long distances.

Unlike conventional lasers, the laser bursts used in this research pack extremely high energy into very short timespans on the order of a femtosecond; a billionth of a millionth of a second.

"Usually, if you shoot a laser into the air, it is limited by linear diffraction. But if the energy is high enough and condensed into a few femtoseconds, creating a burst of light of extremely high intensity, it propagates through the air in a different way due to self-focusing," Scheller said. "The problem is that as it also ionizes the air and creates a plasma, so the laser loses energy."

In other words, at some point the airplane runs out of fuel.

The filament doesn't go very far because of the energy loss that ultimately causes the laser to dissipate. The dress beam used in Scheller's research overcomes this limitation.

"We use two different kinds of beams: One is a focused central beam of high intensity that creates the filament. The other that surrounds it has a long range of almost constant intensity. As a result, the dress beam propagates in a nearly linear manner."

Similar to the principle of noise-canceling headphones, the energy loss of the primary laser beam and the energy supply from the dress laser beam cancel each other out. In the lab, the researchers were able to extend the range of filament lasers tenfold – from about 10 inches to 7 feet.

Simulations performed by Matthew Mills at the University of Central Florida have shown that by scaling the new laser technology to atmospheric proportions, the range of the laser filaments could reach 50 meters (165 feet) or more.

As the filaments travel through the air, they leave a channel of plasma in their wake – ionized molecules stripped of their electrons. Such plasma channels could be used as a path of least resistance to attract and channel lightning bolts. Ultimately, this technology could be used to control lightning bolts during a thunderstorm and steer them away from buildings.

Editor: elizabethbakerWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: New technology capable of sending high-intensity laser beams through the atmosphere much farther than was possible before could one day be used to guide lightning away from buildings.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Entrepreneurial Spirit Takes Over the Mall

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 15:00

Students from the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship presented their innovative new ventures for the very first time at the inaugural McGuire on the Mall event. The trade show allowed students to creatively present their ideas and get feedback from people outside their classroom. 

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Business and LawYouTube Video:  Entrepreneurial Spirit Takes Over the Mall Video of Entrepreneurial Spirit Takes Over the Mall Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: Students from the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship presented their innovative new ventures for the very first time at the inaugural McGuire on the Mall event. The trade show allowed students to creatively present their ideas and get feedback from people outside their classroom. UANow Image: Date of Publication: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Women's History Month: UA PhD Candidate Reflects on Influential Women

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 14:50

In honor of Women's History Month, UANews asked Jessica Edwards, a doctoral candidate in physical chemistry and astronomy, about women in her field. Edwards recalls an influential teacher, two members of the Harvard Computers group, and what she's learned from her faculty adviser.

Categories: Science and TechnologyThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: StudentsStudent LifeByline: Women's History MonthUANow Image: Include in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Thursday, March 27, 2014Medium Summary: In honor of Women's History Month, UANews asked Jessica Edwards, a doctoral candidate in physical chemistry and astronomy, about women in her field. Edwards recalls an influential teacher, two members of the Harvard Computers group, and what she's learned from her faculty adviser.Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: Jessica Edwards speaks about women in her field.

The Viruses You Don't Know About (Yet)

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 17:08

What happens when you bring a medical doctor, an immunologist and a marine biologist together to take medicine from the lab to the patients? Great things.

University of Arizona researchers have been awarded a $200,000 two-year seed grant by the Flinn Foundation through its Promoting Translational Research in Precision Medicine grants program to find out how a virus that flies under the radar of the body's immune defense may influence health, disease and even behavior. The goal of the seed grant program is to foster collaborative efforts between physician-scientists and bench researchers in order to translate findings more rapidly to actual patient treatments.

"Precision medicine" – also known as "personalized medicine" – is one of the strategic initiatives of the UA's Never Settle strategic plan, with considerable investments planned for new infrastructure and 50 new faculty hires over the next 10 years. Precision medicine aims at closing the gap that currently exists between scientific advances and clinical practice. The more researchers discover about the molecular mechanisms underlying diseases, the clearer it becomes that one treatment does not fit all. By integrating such knowledge with clinical data on individual patients, precision medicine entails tailoring treatments to individual cases and improving outcomes for the patients.

The unique research team consists of UA associate professor of medicine Ken Knox, who specializes in pulmonary medicine and has a strong track record in clinical and translational research; UA associate professor of immunobiology, BIO5 Institute member and biomedical researcher Felicia Goodrum, who is an expert in viral persistence; and UA associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and BIO5 member Matthew Sullivan, an expert in viral metagenomics.

The team will unravel which viruses make their homes in the lung without causing symptoms. Specifically, they will home in on one such virus, the cytomegalovirus, known as CMV, which belongs to the herpes virus family. 

The human body is home to a vast number of bacteria, viruses and fungi that collectively make up the human microbiome. Much of our microbiome does not cause disease, but rather is critically important to maintaining human health. Recent studies in humans document the enormous impact bacteria have on normal health (e.g., obesity), disease states (e.g., diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders), and even behavior. The role of viruses, by contrast, represents uncharted frontiers for study.

Human CMV is one of eight human herpes viruses and infects 60-90 percent of the population worldwide and, like all herpes viruses, persists in the infected host indefinitely by way of a latent infection. CMV’s primary infection of healthy individuals is typically asymptomatic and, therefore, goes completely unnoticed. When CMV is reactivated from latency to an active state of replication, there are life-threatening disease risks in immunocompromised people, including transplant and cancer patients. CMV infection is also the leading cause of infectious disease-related birth defects, affecting 1 percent of live births in the United States.

Persistent viruses represent emerging health threats that contribute to chronic inflammation, cellular stress and cancer risk. In addition, latent viral coexistence is just beginning to emerge in association with age-related pathologies, including atherosclerosis, immune senescence and frailty. Health costs of persistent viral infections, whether chronic or latent, can be significant.

Knox, Goodrum and Sullivan will study CMV as a model of persistent viral infection upon which to base questions related to how to specifically prevent lung infections.

Just as genetic makeup is different among individuals, so are their immunological reactions to invading viruses, which in turn influences how disease states manifest from individual to individual. By using advanced informatics to analyze metagenomic data sets from the study, the team will investigate correlations between the presence of human CMV and what scientists call the background virome: the "zoo" of viral populations present in a given individual.

“Translational research – moving discoveries from the lab to patient care – is a crucial element of precision, or personalized, medicine as well Arizona’s bioscience strategy,” said Jack B. Jewett, president and CEO of the Flinn Foundation, a philanthropic organization committed to improving the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. “This exciting collaboration among Drs. Knox, Goodrum and Sullivan is an outstanding example of a potentially groundbreaking research project that could ultimately yield great benefits to human health.”

“This study is extremely important and timely, as known and yet-to-be discovered viruses are undoubtedly influencing human health and contributing to disease states," said Janko Nikolich-Zugich, Elizabeth Bowman Professor in Medical Research and head of the UA Department of Immunobiology.

Fernando Martinez, MD, UA Regents’ Professor of Pediatrics and director of both the Arizona Respiratory Center and the BIO5 Institute, agreed, adding, "Defining the viruses present in the human lung will be an important step in expanding our knowledge base of the pulmonary virome. In addition, techniques used to identify viruses hold promise for rapid diagnostics and treatments."

Other members of the study team at the UA include PhD candidates Katie Caviness and Ann Gregory, senior research scientist Bonnie Poulos, Heidi Erickson, and Lance Nesbit. The current study also will examine viral reservoirs in the context of lung transplants and thus is likely to have broad implications for our understanding of pulmonary immunity and rejection.

Writer: Lisa Romero/BIO5 and Daniel Stolte/UANewsByline: Lisa Romero, BIO5 InstituteByline Affiliation:  and Daniel Stolte, UANewsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: A team of UA researchers has received a collaborative Flinn Foundation grant to discover what viruses colonize the lung and how they may influence general health and disease.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Bear Down With Pride

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 13:40

With March Madness underway, Wildcat fans have reason to celebrate. The University of Arizona encourages members of the campus community to cheer on the team, and to do it in a way that's both fun and safe. In this video, Arizona Athletics Director Greg Byrne encourages everyone to "Bear Down with pride."

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): SportsYouTube Video:  Bear Down With Pride Video of Bear Down With Pride Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: With March Madness underway, Wildcat fans have reason to celebrate. The UA encourages members of the campus community to cheer on the team, and to do it in a way that's both fun and safe. In this video, Athletics Director Greg Byrne asks fans to "Bear Down With Pride."UANow Image: Date of Publication: Monday, March 24, 2014

UA Encourages Wildcat Fans to Celebrate Safely and Bear Down With Pride

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 09:58

With March Madness underway, Wildcat fans have reason to celebrate.

The University of Arizona encourages members of the campus community to cheer on the team, and to do it in a way that's both fun and safe.

To encourage all UA men’s basketball fans to Bear Down With Pride, the University, in partnership with the UA Police Department and the Tucson Police Department, has launched an awareness campaign that encourages safe, smart and fun celebrations during the duration of the tournament.

"We know our students are excited to support the team and show their spirit. We earned – and deserved – a reputation this year for having student fans who are incredibly passionate and energetic," said UA Athletics Director Greg Byrne. "They make a big difference at the game and we're confident that will continue on campus and across Tucson as everyone keeps on showing their Wildcat pride."

UA Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, University Relations and UAPD, along with the Tucson Police Department, will use social media, e-newsletters, media relations and campus engagement to communicate with students and their parents, as well as Tucson fans, about celebrating responsibly as they revel in the team’s strides toward the Final Four.

"It's a great time to be a Wildcat," said UA President Ann Weaver Hart. "When our basketball team does well, it reflects well on everyone in our campus community. How our fans celebrate reflects on us too. That's why we want everyone to enjoy this moment, and to do it safely and responsibly."

Byrne will be repeating that message in the coming days. Students and employees can help him spread the message via social media by sharing the hashtag he's using: #BearDown With Pride.

Byrne also videotaped a special message to fans. Watch it below.

Editor: Pila MartinezByline: University CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: An awareness campaign launched by the UA, UAPD and TPD encourages smart, safe and fun celebrations during the NCAA tournament.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Breaking the Barriers of Space, the Boundaries of Language

Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:57

People around the globe can now read information that accompanies images of Mars captured by the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE). HiRISE, which is aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, captures images of the red planet in never-before-seen detail and resolution.

Earth’s people can read these descriptions in 16 languages, with the newest addition being Hebrew, thanks to the UA’s Beautiful Mars Project.

There are people across the world that want to learn about Mars but have little-to-no English skills,” said Ari Espinoza, HiRISE Project Coordinator. “The project is a unique way to speak to them in their language and let them in on what we’re seeing and learning about Mars. For educators, it’s another tool to spark interest with their students when they see their language describing the surface of another planet.”

“For Hebrew, it’s the same approach as with any of the languages we have: We want to start talking with other people, improve on what we’ve done and make it better,” Espinoza continued. “Each language poses its own challenge to express concepts clearly, but that’s also a part of what the project is about: How do I tell you something about Mars that’s understandable and makes you want to learn more?”

Other languages in the Beautiful Mars Project include German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Latin, Polish, Arabic, Chinese and Turkish.

Image captions can be read in these languages on HiRISE’s Tumblr and Twitter sites. So far, these sites are the only NASA resources available to the public in many of these languages, including Hebrew.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter – a project of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory launched in 2005 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. – is on a mission to seek evidence that water once existed on the surface of Mars over a long period of time.

Having exceeded the bounds of its primary mission, the orbiter remains above Mars while instruments aboard it, including HiRISE, continue to gather valuable scientific data and beautiful images of the Martian surface.

The images produced by HiRISE allow for both intense scientific analysis as well as detailed exploration of the Martian surface. Up to 20,000-by-60,000 pixels in size, the images are big enough to be murals on your living room wall.

The Beautiful Mars Project engages the public beyond the science community. Anyone fluent or semi-fluent in a language other than English can volunteer to help translate HiRISE image captions into another language.

The translated captions will be published along with the images on the HiRISE Tumblr and Twitter feeds. 

Editor: Pila MartinezWriter: Shelley LittinByline: Shelley LittinByline Affiliation: University CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: From the orbit of Mars to the screen of your computer, the UA’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment and Beautiful Mars Project brings you images of Mars in a variety of Earth languages, now including Hebrew.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: