• Greenhouse Collections Assistant and Museology graduate student, Kate Nowell, has received the American Public Gardens Association's Emerging Professionals Travel Award to attend the 2015 Longwood Graduate Symposium at Longwood Gardents, Kennett Square, PA.

    What a timely topic to explore as we transition to a new Building and Greenhouse!

    Congratulations Kate!


    To Preserve or Change: Redefining Heritage to Guide the Future

    New institutions have a responsibility to craft a meaningful story to pass on to future generations. Established institutions have a responsibility to maintain their time-honored traditions for the benefit and enrichment of the public. Or do they?

    The 2015 Longwood Graduate Program Symposium, To Preserve or Change: Redefining Heritage to Guide the Future, will explore revisiting a public garden or related institution’s heritage and planning for the future. Is it appropriate to maintain values set forth by previous generations, or reinterpret them to remain relevant?






    Wed, Feb 11 at 1 PM
  • Assistant Prof. Bingni Brunton has published in Nature, contributing both data collection and modeling work to a paper on decision making. The research involved recording the firing rates of neurons in rats performing decision-making tasks and suggests that contrary to current views, the premotor activity in the frontal cortex does not have a role in the accumulation process, but instead has a more categorical function. 

    Read the article here


    Figure 2Computing tuning curves that describe the relationship between neural activity and accumulated evidence

    Fri, Jan 23 at 1 PM
  • Caroline Stromberg and former doctoral student, Regan Dunn, have been published in Science for their research on plant fossils, using them to determine the tree cover and density of trees, shrubs and bushes in locations over time. The information that can be gathered from their methods is key for understanding the terrestrial ecosystem. 

    Read more about their work here

    This hemispherical photograph shows the tree canopy cover at a site in Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica. The corresponding forest profile (modified from Holdridge et al., 1971) gives a side profile of the forest’s density.Regan Dunn, U of Wash.

    Fri, Jan 16 at 4 PM
  • Matt McElroy, a grad student in the Leache lab, recently received the Raymond B. Huey Award for the best presentation in a symposium sponsored by the Division of Ecology and Evolution at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. The competition is open to graduate students who are presenting independent research in ecology and evolution. This year's competition was held in Palm Springs at the SICB conference. 

    Congratulations Matt!


    More on Matt's Research: Matt won the 3rd Annual Huey Award for presenting a portion of his dissertation on thermal adaptation in Puerto Rican Anolis lizards. Matt tested predictions from the Bogert Effect, a classic hypothesis described by Ray Huey, Paul Hertz, and Barry Sinervo (Huey et al., 2003). The Bogert Effect describes how thermoregulatory behaviors may buffer natural selection acting on thermal physiology. Thermoregulating species are able to maintain specific body temperatures despite inhabiting different thermal environments. The Bogert Effect predicts that gene flow should be high  - and divergent natural selection weak - for populations of thermoregulating species that span a thermal gradient. Matt tested these predictions in Anolis cristatellus, a thermoregulating species that inhabitats a range of thermal environments on Puerto Rico, including a xeric and hot scrub forest in the Southwest. Matt collected genetic data both island-wide, and along elevational gradients, and found support for a genetically distinct population in the SW that correlates with the xeric scrub forest. Matt also found that genes flow out of the SW xeric forest, and from low to high elevations, but not the other way around. These results are surprising, because the Bogert Effect predicts that there should be bi-directional gene flow between xeric and mesic populations of lizard. These results indicate that there may be strong selection against cool-adapted individuals in warm habitats, but only weak selection against warm-adapted individuals in cool habitats. Therefore, selection on physiological traits may play an important role in generating and maintaining diversity in tropical ectotherms. Furthermore, these results have important implications for conservation, as locally adapted populations in the xeric SW may become a source for adaptive alleles during global climate change. 

    Fri, Jan 9 at 9 AM
  • Jay Parrish has won this year’s UW Innovation Award in the biomedical sciences, providing two years of research support to further develop his creative ideas on the molecular basis of neuronal growth control, and the opposing phenomena of plasticity and robustness whose interplay is crucial for neuron function.

    "Neurons have stereotyped, cell type-specific electrical properties that are defined by the ion channels that they express. Remarkably, different combinations of ion channels can yield the same activity and neurons can dynamically rebalance ion channel levels to stabilize neuronal function. Very little is known about this form of homeostatic plasticity despite its importance for nervous system function and likely role in diseases with deregulated neuronal excitability, such as epilepsy. We plan to leverage the natural variation in channel expression between single neurons of the same type to identify compensatory relationships between ion channels. Recent advances in single cell transcriptomics and our proven expertise with whole transcriptome analysis of Drosophila motoneurons position us to test this hypothesis."

    Congratulations, Jay! 

    Wed, Dec 17 at 1 PM
  • Dr. Freeman received a nod from the Gates Foundation in their Postsecondary Success newsletter, reaching approximately 2,500 indiciduals across the nation. His active learning research is featured in the November/December issue: Lecture Hall vs. Active Learning.

    Mon, Dec 15 at 10 AM
  • Professor Keiko Torii has received the 31st Inoue Prize for Science for her work on elucidating the cell-cell communication and the mechanism of stomatal development in plants. The Inoue Prize for Science is one of the most prestigious prizes awarded to researchers under the age of 50 for outstanding achievements in basic research in natural science.

    Here's the award announcement -- original press releases are in Japanese


    Congratulations Keiko! 

    Thu, Dec 11 at 1 PM
  • Postdoc Sarah Eddy continues to be at the forefront of education, this time feautred in an enlightening article on how minority students learn and what can be done to improve overall learning. Adjusting traditional teaching models and promoting a more active learning environment significantly increases performance scores in minorities.

    Read the Atlantic article here

    Transforming a lecture into a more active experience is one possible way of fixing STEM's diversity dilemma.

    Jirka Matousek/Flickr

    Fri, Dec 5 at 10 AM