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Young receives national award

Sara Young was one of 10 people who received the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) at ceremonies in Washington, D.C. An enrolled member of the Crow tribe, Young is the driving force behind three major programs that engage American Indian students in research at MSU. She is director of the American Indian Research Opportunities (AIRO) program at MSU and guides the MSU research mentoring programs of the Montana Apprenticeship Program (MAP), the Initiative for Minority Student Development (IMSD) Program, and Leadership Alliance. She also provides mentoring for American Indian students participating in the Montana Biomedical Research Network's Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) and collaborates with other programs that have American Indian students in summer and academic-year research internships.

MSU student met Nobel Prize winners

A doctoral student at MSU was chosen to travel to Germany to meet with Nobel Prize-winning scientists in biology and medicine. Katie Reardon of Burley, Idaho, was one of 17 graduate students in the nation who received a travel award to attend the 53rd Meeting of the Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany. Every year since 1951, Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, physics or physiology/medicine have gathered in Lindau to discuss major issues in their fields with students from around the world. Reardon is interested in using microorganisms to keep uranium from traveling through underground water. Her findings could someday be useful in the battle to clean up toxic waste sites.

Vice provost for undergrads hired

An accomplished musician with a refined vision of quality undergraduate education is the university's new Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education. Greg Young, the head of the MSU Department of Music and the founding director of the university's Undergraduate Scholars Program, will lead the undergraduate excellence initiative at MSU. The effort will further improve the MSU undergraduate experience by developing a student-centered learning environment distinguished by innovation and discovery. "The potential to further integrate research and teaching, to develop partnerships for innovative undergraduate programs, and to help strengthen the undergraduate curriculum, make this an exciting opportunity," Young said.

Major cosmos discoveries

Recent findings have put an end to the days of wild speculation about the origin of the universe, said Neil Cornish. A satellite that has been orbiting the sun for the past 1 1/2 years came back with such precise numbers that physicists no longer have to rely on vague notions, Cornish said after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced results from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). "It's going to really change the field in quite a major way," Cornish said. "It's going to take a while for people to digest it." Cornish, an MSU assistant professor of physics, is a collaborator of David Spergel of Princeton University, one of the principal researchers in the WMAP mission. The day after NASA reported its findings, Cornish headed for Princeton University to spend a few days brainstorming about the best way to use the new information.

Walter Fleming

MSU expert asked to write "Idiot" book

The book agent was no fool. He knew that a serious scholar who taught Native American history and culture might not respond to a request to write a book with "Complete Idiot" in the title. So the agent talked with Walter Fleming, head of Native American Studies at MSU, for quite a while before telling him that Alpha Books wanted him to write a book called "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Native American History." The book, released in April, is aimed at readers who aren't scholars but simply want to know more about Native Americans, Fleming said. Written in an informal style with subtitles like, "Put the Bones Back" and "Do You Speak Indian?," the book is meant to attract readers without showing disrespect for Native Americans.

$3 million for business

The MSU College of Business received a $3 million gift to begin planning for a new center for undergraduate business studies. The gift will fund the Gary K. Bracken Endowment for Excellence in Undergraduate Business Education. Bracken, a 1961 graduate of the college, was a former Sidney, Mont. resident and a long-time friend and supporter of the MSU College of Business. He passed away in April of 2001. Bracken was known as a visionary with regard to undergraduate education, excellence in teaching, and strong faculty-supported learning experiences for students.

MSU returns to Slamdance

A film made by Cindy Stillwell and Bill Neff, film professors at MSU, was accepted for screening at the 2003 Slamdance Film Festival, a prestigious film festival held concurrently with the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. "O Sprinklers!," a seven-minute short by Stillwell and Neff, was one of 50 films selected from more than 2,500 films submitted worldwide for screening. This was the second year in a row that a film made by Stillwell has been selected for the Slamdance Festival. Last year's film was "The First Story."

Failed shuttle mission had special meaning

MSU undergraduates who waited in Florida for the shuttle to return with their experiment are (from left) Stephanie Barton, Ailyn Perez-Osorio, Laura Eaton and Kristine Hale. (Jeannine Lintner photo)

Columbia's failed landing last February held special significance for a group of MSU scientists and students whose experiment was one of about 80 aboard the 16-day scientific mission. The group was in Florida awaiting Columbia's landing in order to begin post-flight analyses of its onboard experiments. With MSU microbiologist Barry Pyle were microbiologists Elinor Pulcini, Susan Broadaway, and Kelli Buckingham-Meyer, and undergraduate students Stephanie Barton of Whitefish, Kristina Hale of Bozeman, Laura Eaton of Sheridan, Wyo., and Ailyn Perez-Osorio of Billings. Former students Chad Deisenroth of Kalispell and Lori Richardson of Miles City traveled to Florida earlier in the mission but had returned to Montana before the tragedy. Originally scheduled to fly more than two years ago, the MSU experiment would have tested whether a common bacterium becomes more toxic in space.

Partnership forms for high-tech companies

A federal grant aimed at home-growing new high-tech companies in Montana rather than recruiting them from outside the state began last fall. The program creates a partnership among Bozeman's TechLink Center, which finds NASA and Department of Defense technologies for companies to commercialize; the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity; the MSU College of Business, which trains students in entrepreneurial skills; and the Technology Venture Center in Bozeman. In a nutshell, the partnership combines technology, talent, capital and know-how as a way of starting high-tech companies in rural states, said TechLink director Will Swearingen. The partnership is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Sonic toothbrushing

Users of the Sonicare toothbrush might be interested in knowing that research done at the MSU Center for Biofilm Engineering stands behind industry claims of a superior toothbrush. Specifically, biofilm scientists developed a lab model for assessing how well powered toothbrushing removes plaque. Dental plaque is a biofilm or a sticky cluster of bacteria that grow on surfaces. Joel Berg, vice president of clinical affairs at Philips Oral Healthcare, the maker of the Sonicare toothbrush, was on campus this year to talk about the research. Philips is one of more than 24 companies that work with the MSU center on biofilm problems. Others include Dow Chemical Co. and five companies in Montana.

Stegner collection debuts at MSU

One of the country's largest collections of publications written by and about the late Wallace Stegner was acquired by the Renne Library at MSU in late 2002. The collection includes correspondence and memorabilia as well as publications. Stegner was an author, historian, Western environmental writer, biographer, essayist and former director of the Stanford Writing Center. The MSU Wallace Stegner Collection includes nearly a thousand pieces of memorabilia, including letters to his publisher, books, journals and articles and is thought to be one of the largest public collections of Stegner material. The collection resulted from the acquisition of personal collections from Stegner scholars Nancy Colberg and the late T. H. Watkins.

MSU students to build another satellite

Students are working on a new satellite for the U.S. Air Force. MSU was one of 12 universities in the nation to receive a two-year, $50,000 grant through the University Nanosatellite Program. The grant allows MSU to assemble a team of students - mostly undergraduates - from a variety of disciplines to design and build a satellite the size of a one-pound loaf of Wonder Bread. Called a nanosatellite, the satellite will use what students learned when they built a tiny satellite known as MEROPE or the Montana EaRth-Orbiting Pico Explorer. When launched, the satellite will measure radiation associated with the Van Allen belts.

Tributary vital to whirling disease status

A thriving tributary between Helena and Great Falls seems to be the key as to why whirling disease hasn't decimated the rainbow trout population in the Missouri River, according to Montana researchers who've been predicting a collapse for years. The Dearborn River is a tributary of the Missouri River. It has whirling disease, but so far it's at such a low level and its young trout are so abundant that it appears to be making up for a crisis in another Missouri tributary, Tom McMahon said after completing a five-year study in collaboration with Steve Leathe of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP). McMahon is an associate professor in fish and wildlife management at MSU. The study looked at the Missouri River and three of its main spawning tributaries, the Dearborn River, Little Prickly Pear Creek and Sheep Creek.

MSU inventors Charles Spangler (left)
and Aleksander Rebane

New company forms to study potential cancer therapy

A discovery by a group of MSU scientists is the core of a new Bozeman business aimed at detecting cancers and treating them without surgery or chemotherapy. The company, Rasiris, Inc., was incorporated in May by MSU research chemist Charles Spangler with funding from Pacific Horizon Ventures, a Seattle venture capital firm. The investment means Rasiris can start a series of experiments that will test whether the new technology will do what its inventors think it will. The discovery exploits a treatment called photodynamic therapy. If all goes well, the project will move on to animal studies, human clinical trials and final FDA approval--a process that could last 7 to 11 years, Spangler said. Rasiris is located in the Advanced Technology Park near campus.

Life on Ice | Big things from tiny technology | Avalanche Research | Searching Through Hell
Genetics are key to those amber waves of grain | From the bone beds and back
Finding hope in hard times | Group rethinks radar with lasers and crystals | Foreword | Home
Student passion, purpose create "Way of the Warrior"
Chemistry sounded good until the sinus infections
Research Notes | Faculty and Student Awards | Research Expenditures for Fiscal Year 2003

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