Faculty News and Notes

Ayres Hall

Ayres Hall

An article by Alison Buchan, an associate professor in microbiology, and graduate student Christopher Gulvik have been published in the June issue of Applied Environmental Microbiology. The article, entitled “Simultaneous Catabolism of Plant-derived Aromatic Compounds Results in Enhanced Growth for Members of the Roseobacter Lineage,” may be accessed here.

Similar to people, bacteria have preferences when it comes to the food they eat. In the study Buchan and her team conducted, marine bacteria called Roseobacters showed no preference when it comes to munching on difficult to degrade plant compounds. Buchan’s article suggests that by not being “picky eaters,” these organisms gain a competitive advantage in the environment and this helps explain their ecological success.

Three transportation graduate students have been awarded the National Science Foundation’s East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute Awards to participate in collaborative research with international faculty and students in host countries. The awardees are Stephanie Hargrove and Zane Pannell in civil and environmental engineering and Gengen He in geography. The students will conduct research they proposed with researchers in China and Japan over two months. Visit the National Science Foundation for more information.

During the spring semester, James Plank, electrical engineering and computer science professor, was awarded a 2012 IBM Faculty Award. The $30,000 award is highly competitive and recognizes the quality of an academic program and its importance to industry. Plank credits a collaboration with Jim Hafner, a researcher at IBM, with whom he worked on fault-tolerant storage systems for the award. To learn more, visit the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science website.

History professor Jay Rubenstein recently received the Phi Beta Kappa Ralph Waldo Emerson Award for his book Armies of Heaven. The award is given for scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity. Established in 1960, the award may recognize work in the fields of history, philosophy, or religion. For more information, visit the Phi Beta Kappa website.

Nathan Sanders, professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, has been appointed associate editor for the ecology domain of Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. The journal is a new, nonprofit, open access journal, founded by BioOne and supported by five US institutions including Dartmouth, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington.

Amber Woodburn, a doctoral student in civil and environmental engineering, has been selected to participate in the Eno Leadership Development Conference. She will be part of a small class of students, Eno Fellows, who are engaged in transportation policy. Only twenty students are chosen each year. Learn more about the program on the Eno Center for Transportation website.