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> Research, Creativity, & Technology Transfer >Publications >Research Report 2005 Table of Contents


Montana being “stretched apart”

Western Montana is earthquake country, but the frequent quakes in the area are usually moderately sized, like the one on July 25 centered north of Dillon, said David Lageson, an MSU geologist. Lageson, head of MSU's Earth Sciences Department and an expert in tectonics, said the area has "a whole lot of little faults rather than one big one like the San Andreas fault. Montana is being stretched apart," he said, adding that Yellowstone National Park's thermal features are the result of that expansion and that "the very bottom of the Yellowstone hot spot is 200 to 300 kilometers under Dillon." Lageson's research contributes to better seismic risk assessments in the region.

Mount Blackmore

David Lageson teaches a group of MSU graduate students on Mount Blackmore near Bozeman in July 2005.

Anne Devereux
Anne Devereux
Photo Courtesy Anne Devereux

Student to film former Soviet nuclear test site

Anne Devereux, a graduate student in MSU’s Science and Natural History Filmmaking program, won a Fulbright to make a documentary film in Kazakhstan. The film will focus on a former Soviet atomic testing site and the effects of nuclear proliferation. Devereux will travel to Kazakhstan early 2006 to make the film, examining the nuclear legacy and current status of the Semipalatinsk Test Site. The site is an 11,000 sq.-mile-area on the isolated steppe of Kazakhstan where the former USSR developed and tested its nuclear weapons. Devereux will live and work in the country for six-months.

Medical applicants gain acceptance

Eighty-three percent of medical school applicants from MSU’s Bozeman campus were admitted to medical school in 2004, compared with 47 percent nationally.
The statistics from the Association of American Medical Colleges are even better for MSU students who are also Montana residents. They were accepted to medical school 89 percent of the time. About one-third of MSU grads in medical school attend through the WWAMI Medical Education Program at the University of Washington Medical School. MSU applicants to osteopathic schools had an 83 percent acceptance rate. Those applying to dental schools had a 74 percent acceptance rate. Both were “well above the national average,” said Jane Cary, MSU health professions advisor.

MSU scientist advises international panel

Prion diseases such as chronic wasting disease in deer and mad cow disease in cattle occur around the world. To update its public health recommendations on prion diseases, the World Health Organization brought between 30 and 40 scientists to its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in September. MSU veterinary molecular biologist Richard Bessen was among them. He presented information on prion infection in skeletal muscle, which has implications for food safety. Another concern is prions in the blood. Two people worldwide have contracted human prion disease, called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, from blood transfusions. Bessen said the WHO panel will use the scientists’ reports to update information on the distribution of prion infectivity in human and animal tissues. This information was last reviewed about two years ago.

Susan Capalbo
Susan Capalbo
MSU Photo by
Erin Raley

$17.9 million grant aimed at climate change

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded $17.9 million to a multi-state partnership headed by MSU to further develop ways of capturing and storing greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, in underground geological formations, cropland and forestland. The regional coalition, called the Big Sky Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership, includes public- and private-sector research institutions, businesses and state agencies. It is part of a national network of such partnerships that is the backbone of the United States’ sequestration research. MSU economist Susan Capalbo, director of the partnership, said this work shows that MSU is becoming known as a leader in energy research. The grant will help America take a huge step toward significant greenhouse gas reduction while using coal and other fossil fuel resources, Capalbo said.

Students taught to ‘design like they give a damn’

While teaching at the MSU College of Architecture in 2005, internationally acclaimed architect Cameron Sinclair also transplanted his Architecture for Humanity to Bozeman. As a result, Sinclair involved MSU architecture students in AFH projects around the world. AFH is a nonprofit organization that provides design for international communities in crisis. Its slogan is “Design Like You Give a Damn.” One of the student projects, an adaptable 500-sq.-ft. home for Sri Lankan tsunami survivors, won first prize in the shelter category at a recent Scientific International Design competition. MSU’s American Institute of Architecture students raised $3,500 last spring for one of their projects, a proposed school for children of prostitutes in Calcutta as featured in the documentary “Born into Brothels.” Sinclair recently received a 2006 TED Prize, which carries a cash award of $100,000 to support a world-changing idea.

Sri Lanka: MSU Design

A drawing of a one-story home for a family in the Ampara region of Sri Lanka. MSU students Jason Andersen and Peter Andrews worked on the award-winning design with others from Architecture of Humanity.

Library receives Yellowstone collection

Last spring, MSU’s Renne Library received most of the
Aubrey M. Haines’ collection of historical documents and memorabilia
on Yellowstone National Park. The collection soon will be available to researchers, scholars and students. During 32 years with the National Park Service, Haines wrote six books and many articles. As the park’s first official historian from 1959-69, Haines scoured the park’s archives and beyond for Yellowstone’s cultural history. With the donation, MSU now has one of the finest collections of Yellowstone research in the
world, according to Kim Allen Scott, MSU special collections librarian
and university archivist.

Food Coupon
A food coupon book from Civilian Conservation Corps in Yellowstone National Park circa 1930, is among new items in a Yellowstone National Park historical donation from the Aubre M. Haines collection.

Bridgid Crowley
Bridgid Crowely

Helena student latest Goldwater Scholar

Bridgid Crowley, a Helena native majoring in biochemistry, received a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for undergraduate excellence in math, science and engineering. Crowley, along with 320 students in the nation, won the 2005-06 scholarship that pays up to $7,500 a year for two years of undergraduate education. Almost 2,000 applied and Crowley, with a 3.94 GPA, was the only Montana recipient. Crowley was the 44th MSU student to receive the award since the Goldwater program began in 1986. MSU is one of the top dozen institutions in the nation for producing Goldwater scholars along with Harvard, Princeton and Duke universities.

Student-doctor team wages war on wounds

Owing to poor circulation that afflicts many diabetics, foot sores can develop into painful skin ulcers. In severe cases, doctors might recommend amputating the foot, said Garth James, director of medical projects at MSU’s Center for Biofilm Engineering. But an MSU undergraduate’s work could lead to different wound treatments for diabetics. Ellen Swogger found that 60 percent of tissue samples from diabetics’ wounds had biofilms. Biofilms are sticky clusters of bacteria that resist antibiotics and other treatments. Dr. Randall Wolcott of the Southwest Regional Wound Care Center in Lubbock, Texas, began treating the ulcers with specific biofilm-fighting strategies after contacting the center for help. Center scientists are preparing a scientific paper on what they’ve learned so far, with Swogger as a co-author.

Researchers find answers to animal ID question

Montana researchers answered important questions raised by the proposed creation of a national livestock identification program. They now know it’s possible to scan electronic ear tags while animals are moving, that handheld wand-scanners work better than other scanners and that metal fences can interfere with scanners. They tracked cattle, with 90 percent accuracy, from a ranch in one state to a pasture in another state to a feedlot in a third. Researchers with the Montana Beef Network conducted three studies this year that produced those results, John Paterson, director of MBN and MSU Extension beef specialist, said. Based at MSU, the network operates in close partnership with the Montana Department of Livestock and the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

Oral History
Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Chrisman

Diane Cattrell (left) interviewed Eva France of Bozeman for an MSU oral history project focusing on the memories of Montana women.

Oral history project starts with Montana women

Nineteen MSU students chose female neighbors, relatives, church friends or other acquaintances to interview for an oral history project in women’s studies. Most of the women were from Montana, and each had to be at least a generation older than the student interviewing her. The women shared their first impressions of husbands, their most vivid memories from childhood, their memories of their mothers and their childhood chores. MSU history professor Mary Murphy created the class project, which is part of the university’s new Core 2.0 program. The oral histories will be housed in the MSU Renne Library, where the collection can build.

Site selected for new Native American Student Center

MSU will build a proposed $8-million Native American Student Center on the eastern edge of MSU’s Centennial Mall.
“Because American Indians place a great deal of emphasis on cardinal directions, the building will sit on the eastern side of campus,” said Henrietta Mann, special assistant to MSU President Geoff Gamble and professor emeritus of Native American Studies. She called it “a sacred position,” adding that ceremonial lodges always open to the east. The location “just felt right,” she said, especially after it served as the site of a tepee encampment during the 2005 MSU pow wow.
Sara Jayne Steen, dean of MSU’s College of Letters and Science, says the university is raising private donations to fund the 12,000-15,000 sq. ft. center.
“What we plan is a wonderful, inclusive building that will be different from other buildings on campus,” Steen said. “It will be beautiful and unique and a place to welcome Native students as well as bring to our non-Indian students a sense of the wonders of Native culture.”
Walter Fleming, head of MSU’s Department of Native American Studies, said that MSU has approximately 275 Indian students. Currently, the MSU American Indian Student Center is in the basement of Wilson Hall.
“It (the current meeting room) was built in the mid-’70s when Wilson Hall was built and when there were fewer than 25 Indian students,” Fleming said. “It has to be one of the most-used spots on campus.”
While approved by the Montana Board of Regents, the building will be funded entirely by private donations. Bozeman-area artist Jim Dolan and architect Dennis Sun Rhodes, a principal of AmerIndian architecture firm in Minneapolis, are helping spearhead the project.

MSU News Photo by Erin Raley

Rural drivers using cell phones cause accidents

Rural drivers using cell phones while driving are nearly four times more likely to cause automobile accidents than rural drivers not using cell phones, according to a recent study by the Western Transportation Institute based at MSU. WTI researcher Laura Stanley compares the level of distraction to driving while intoxicated. The study also showed that drivers are equally distracted with the hands-free calls as they are with hand-held.

Driving Simulator

Western Transportation Institute researcher Laura Stanley checks results of a driver-safety-cell-phone study at the MSU based center.

High school students spend summer on research

Through MSU’s summer Montana Apprenticeship Program, 21 Native American high school students from Montana researched a variety of science and engineering topics from a greenhouse wetland to Sony’s newest handheld video game. Sponsored jointly by MSU’s American Indian Research Opportunities and the Designing Our Community programs, the program introduces career options in science and engineering to students from rural communities. The teenagers spent mornings working on college prep activities that included math, chemistry, biology, engineering, writing and computer skills while afternoons were spent in labs with mentors. Funding comes from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Engineering Schools of the West Initiative.

Montana High Schoolers

Back row: Alayna Lefthand, Cinnamon Spear, Orlanda BirdinGround, Joen Wallace, Sophie Bouyer, Jade WalksAlong, Molly Spang, Antonio Farmer, Mary Jo Russell, Zhona Joi Tang, Rachelle Baker, Kelly Crawford, Chris Burdeau. Front Row: Sunny Whiteman, Mike Doyle, Frank Half Red, Blake Wombold, Davida Stewart, Glenn Tyson, Maria Russell.

Whirling disease researchers find hope in Montana reservoir

Rainbow trout in a Madison County reservoir gave a glimmer of hope to researchers trying to understand and stem whirling disease in Montana, said the state’s whirling disease coordinator. “Rainbow trout that swim in the Willow Creek Reservoir are significantly resistant,” said Richard Vincent of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks at Montana State University. Researchers haven’t found a solution for whirling disease in Montana, but the trout warrant continued study, Vincent said. The Montana Water Center, housed at MSU, recently dispersed $644,000 to ten research teams to study and conquer the complex disease. Whirling disease spread across most of the state since it appeared in Montana in 1994.

Leah Steinbach Elwell

Leah Steinbach Elwell, whirling disease researcher, sorts worm samples on the Madison River in southwest Montana.

Organic goes mainstream

Montana grain growers led the nation in organic wheat production in 2004. “Organic systems have their most competitive edge in semiarid areas during below-normal or normal rainfall,” said Perry Miller, MSU’s cropping systems researcher. That describes most of Montana most of the time. Over the past five years, Miller has conducted research in the Gallatin Valley that compares an organic winter wheat production system to two no-till winter wheat systems. This research suggests that organic cropping systems are surprisingly competitive for Gallatin Valley producers, especially during drought. Both the Montana Farm Bureau and the Montana Grain Growers Association memberships have voted to encourage MSU to apply for grants to expand organic crop production research.

Perry Miller & Jeff Holmes

Perry Miller with Jeff Holmes at the MSU Post Farm west of Bozeman in 2002.

Kristin Kiesel
Kristin Kiesel

Student finds voluntary labeling increased prices

When dairy companies voluntarily labeled milk as having no added bovine growth hormone, they increased sales and increased the price people were willing to pay for their product, an MSU master’s student found. Critics claimed that injecting dairy cows with the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone, rBGH, leads to a human health hazard. Because of the claims, some dairy companies began to voluntarily label their milk as having been produced without rBGH. Former MSU student Kristin Kiesel and MSU economists Dave Buschena and Vincent Smith published a study based on Kiesel’s master’s thesis in the May edition of the “American Journal of Agricultural Economics.”

Dan Heil
Dan Heil

Pedometers are popular, but accurate too?

Walking is one of the most-often-recommended forms of exercise for healthy adults, says Dan Heil, MSU exercise physiologist. And for walkers, pedometers are a way of keeping score. Heil designed a study to see how long three different pedometers would remain accurate under normal walking conditions. A common goal for walkers is 10,000 steps, or about four miles, a day. With that as a baseline, Heil found that one brand lasted about six months. Another lasted for 710,000 steps or 1.4 years, and the third brand tested was still accurate after 2.4 million steps or about 4.5 years of walking. Another test, this time of 15 brands or models, will be completed later this year.


Next ArticleYellowstone secrets buried in ancient mud
Next ArticleWireless technology hits the slopes, grabs students
Next ArticleFraud busters chase ghosts and phantoms
Next ArticleThinking lean produces big results for Montana companies
Next ArticleCommunity projects nail down lessons
Next ArticleDoctor to doctors: Don't forget the patient
Next ArticleDead cows, live crocs reveal dinosaur secrets
Next ArticleStudents hot on cold research
Next ArticleResearchers drive the extra mile for West Nile
Next ArticleOpportunities brew as malt barley moves into Montana



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