Why are so few women at top management levels? Richard Martell, an associate professor of
psychology at MSU, and his research team conducted a series of computer simulations to
demonstrate the forces that determine who does and does not advance in a typical Fortune
500 company. One finding was that the model of organizational mobility a company uses seems
to be most harmful to women. The tournament model, for example, places enormous weight
on factors like previous performance evaluations, time-in rank and speed of earlier
advancements. Even one failure to be promoted disqualifies a person from future opportunities
for promotions. Martell presented his findings last month at the annual conference of the
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
Bacteria sometimes take up residence on the surfaces of medical implants, such as
artificial hips. The bacteria can create a colony called a biofilm that can be hard to
treat with antibiotics. Scientists at the University of Washington have invented a way
to treat a plastic surface so that it releases a substance inside the body in the presence
of sound waves. Now the Center for Biofilm Engineering at MSU is partnering with the
Washington scientists to see if the method will work for preventing biofilm infections.
They envision coating an implant surface with antibiotics that would be released after
surgery. The National Science Foundation is funding the project.
For canola growers, the challenge is getting a canola plant from infancy to the teenage
years, so to speak. As a seedling, the crop is vulnerable to flea beetles and fungi,
said Bill Grey, an MSU adjunct assistant professor of plant sciences. Once past that
stage the plants with bright yellow flowers are pretty tough. Grey is studying treatments
that will protect the crop at its earliest stages from diseases like brown girdling root
rot. Canola, grown and processed for its oil, is a good rotational crop in Montana because
it can break the disease cycles found in small grain fields, Grey said. The project is
funded by the USDA.
Stomach ulcers, once thought to be caused by stress or spicy foods, stem from a bacterium
called Helicobacter pylori. Not all Helicobacter strains are alike, and some
cause more severe gastric diseases than others. Why is that? Bozeman high school teacher
Elizabeth Olsen will spend this summer and the next trying to find out. She'll work in
the MSU lab of microbiologist Mike Franklin sequencing the DNA of a gene that varies widely
between strains. Then she'll take the lab techniques she learned with Franklin and share
them with her high school students. Called Partners in Science, the project is funded
by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.
This will be the 30th season for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, an outdoor touring
company that has been crisscrossing the state since 1973. Tom Watson, assistant professor
in MSU's media and theatre arts department, is now making a documentary film about the
process. He has already filmed Joel Jahnke, artistic director for the company, as
Jahnke auditioned actors in Seattle and Chicago. Watson will continue by filming
rehearsals, set construction, costume fittings and performances in Montana, Wyoming
and Idaho. Filming will end around Labor Day. It will then take a few months to edit
his work, Watson said. Funding came from an MSU Scholarship and Creativity Grant.