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Donor Recognition

Crimson Laureate Donors

Thank you for your support of our vibrant community of scientists and mathematicians

Last updated - Oct. 2021


ASSOCIATES $100,000-$499,999
Gary L. and Ann Crocker
Crocker Catalyst Foundation
L. and J. Jones
Ronald* O. and Eileen Ragsdale

FOUNDERS CLUB $50,000-$99,999
G. W.* and Ida* Anderson
Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund
Raymond B. Greer
John P. and Margaret Simons
Willard L. Eccles Charitable Foundation

DESERET CLUB $25,000-$49,999
Frederick Adler and Anne Collopy
Joel M. and Frances Harris
George R. Riser
The Schwab Fund for Charitable Giving

PRESIDENT'S CIRCLE $10,000-$24,999
David Blair
Mitchell and Diana Johnson
Thomas Kursar* and Phyllis Coley
Stanton and Melanie McHardy
Dinesh and Kalpana Patel
Dinesh and Kalpana Patel Foundation
Don and Rebecca Reese
Kirk M. Ririe
T. Benny* and Gail Rushing
Gail T. Rushing Revocable Trust
Thomas and Kathlyn Thatcher
Travis Wager and Carrie Wager

PRESIDENT'S CLUB $2,500-$9,999
Scott Anderson and Cynthia Burrows
ARUP Laboratories
Nikhil and Chanda Bhayani
Carlos and Ann C.* Bowman
Rodney* and Carolyn Brady
The Rodney Brady Family Foundation
Dennis and Jean Bramble
Patrick Brennan and Carol Brennan
R. Harold Burton Foundation
Victor Cee and Holly Rausch
Charitable Flex Fund
Kathleen K. Church
Lawrence T. and Janet T. Dee Foundation
Sue Durrant
Thaddeus Eagar and Rebecca Uhlig
George C. and Lisbeth Elliott
Nicholas and Courtney Gibbs
Kenneth M. Golden
Mark Hammond and Ming Hammond
Jim Hanson
Eric Harwood and Melissa Harwood
John and Gale Haslam
Garrett Hisatake and Phuong Bui
Darren Housel
Jacobsen Lake Foundation
Heber Jacobsen and Christine Lake
Alexandrea Jee
Kenneth and Noriene Jee
Larry B. Krystkowiak
Roger and Doris Leach
George H. Lowe III
Larry Marsh
Edward Meenen
RJay Murray
Burak Over
Timothy Purcell and Jessica Purcell
Rocky Mountain Power Foundation
ReCor Medical, Inc.
Bryant and Betty Rossiter Trust
Bryant and Betty Rossiter
Susan Rushing
Kenneth Savin and Lisa Wenzler
Matthew Sigman and Deborah Burney-Sigman
David and Kimberly Sorensen
Neil and Tanya Vickers
Henry White and Joyce Garcia
Charles Wight and Victoria Rasmussen
Michael Wiley and Dana Cochran-Wiley

DEAN'S CIRCLE $1,000-$2,499
Peter B. Armentrout and Mary White
F. Reid and Margaret* Barton
Michael Bastiani and Denise Dearing
Christoph Boehme and Kristie Durham
Glenn and Reneé Buchanan
Andrej Cherkaev and Elena Cherkaev
Daniel and Kara Cherney
Paul and Denise Christian
Ryan and Charlotte Conlon
Roy Corsi
John and Sally Crelly, Jr.
Carleton DeTar and Laurel Casjens
Berton and Tiraje Earnshaw
L. Richard and Karen Feinauer
Cecelia H. Foxley
Joseph Gardella
Ed and Yvonne Groenhout
Xiaodong Jiang and Jia Wang
David and Lisa Kieda
Ruth Lofgren Irrevocable Trust
Dennis and Patricia Lombardi
Jeffrey and Allison Martin
David and Janna McKinney
Mark and Jennifer McLaws
Todd Mendenhall
Frank and Sharon Meyer
Mission Math Utah
Richard* and Frances Muir
Jerry Murry
Eric and Lora Newman
David and Marcia Nickell
Mark and Brenda Nielsen
Northrop Grumman
Anita M. Orendt
Gregory Owens and Crystal Owens
Anandan Palani
Thomas Robbins and Kathleen Clark
Carl* and Kathryn Robinson
Peter and Susan Rogers
George and Linda Seifert
Yifan Shi
Hyung and Young Shin
W. David Smith and Jerilyn McIntyre
Gerald Smith and Catherine Badgley
Cameron Soelberg
Jessica Swanson
TD Williamson Inc.
William and Vivien Terzaghi
Anh Truong
Egbertus VanDerHeiden
Chris Waters
Paul Watkins
Doju Yoshikami
Dean and Jane* Zobell

DEAN'S CLUB $500-$999
Mark Adamson and Nancy Tschiderer
Ntsanderh Azenui
Robert and Ann Beeching
BMO Harris Bank
Robert Cantrell
Liang-Yuan Chen
Steven and Kimberley Condas
Thomas and Carol* Dietz
Kevin Dockery and Kelly Reynolds
Richard and Linda Easton
Jaivime Evaristo
Douglas Fields and Anjali Fields
Jordan Gerton and Brenda Mann
Theodore and Tucker Gurney
Robert Guy
Brent Hawker
Raymond and Vernetta Jessop
Richard Johnson
Dane and Susan Jones
Erik and Nan Jorgensen
János Kollár and Jennifer Johnson
Minmin Lin and Hua Huang
Dan Little
Malcolm and Carole MacLeod
Noel E. Marquis
James and Kate Marshall
Samantha Marshall
David Marshall
Melvin and Linda Miles
Neil Morrissette
Kevin and Patty Moss
Phillip* and Ruth Novak
Mikio and Masayo Obayashi
Baldomero and Lourdes Olivera
Bob Palais and Micah Goodman
Timothy Parker
William Parmley
C. Dale Poulter and Susan Poulter
Lee and Dawn Roberts
George Rhodes
Jon Seger and Victoria Rowntree
Dennis and Barbara Sagendorf
Carina Sanchez
Mark Sherwood
Gregory and Jenny* Skedros
Eric and Cassandra Slattery
Shaoqing Song and Fuli Zhao
Gary and Jeanne Stroebel
Lawrence Thorne Sr.
TIAA Charitable Inc.
Jacob Umbriaco and Erin Umbriaco
Warner Wada
Jiang-Hua and Hanju Wang
Michael and Jan Weaver
Eric Weeks
Douglas and Kaye Wyler
Haoyu Yu
Zheng Zheng

Glenn and Lee Allinger
Albert and Christine Anderson
Edward and Florence Aoyagi
Zlatko and Vesna Bacic
Alexander Balk
Phillip and Michelle Barry
Richard and Shirley Behrendt
Robert and Sydney Bennion
Aaron Bertram
Darold and Sandra Bruening
Duane Burnett
Thure Cerling and Mahala Kephart
David T. Chuljian
Terry Chun and Kate Kwon
Robert Churchwell and Shelley Minteer
Richard Clark
Ruggiero Costanzo
Eric and Janice Del Mar
Arthur and Katherine Edison
Ron Estler
Aaron Fogelson and Deborah Feder
Denice Fujimoto
Jorge Garcia-Young
Karla Gilbert
Linda Goetz
Joseph and Karen Jensen
John and Inga Kenney III
Paul Kingsbury Jr.
Edwin and Kathryn Kingsley
Andrew Koppisch
Michael and Cathy Larsen
Mary Levine
Nelson Logan
Daniel Lundberg
Graeme Milton and John Patton
William and Jane Moore
William Mower
Marcus and Sara Nebeling
Richard Neville and Jane Torgerson
Allen and Anne Oshita
James L. and Bonnie Parkin
James and Margaret Parry
Steven and Elizabeth Pattison
David and Gloria Pehrson
Robert and Susan Peterson
Carl and Barbara Popp
Yam Poudel
Roger and Kathleen Pugh
Roger and Kathleen Pugh Family Trust
Thomas Richmond and Cynthia Squire
Andrew and Tiffany Roberts
Richard and Peggy Sacher
Dennis and Charlotte Sauer
David and Barbara Schultz
Mark Strohmeier
Dean and Samantha Stoker
Streeper, LLC
Dick and Elizabeth Streeper
David Suehsdorf and Janet Muir
Neal and Sheri Topham
Lane and Rhonda Wallace
Michael Weibel
David and Jennifer Wilson
Steven Yourstone

CENTURY CLUB $100-$249
Roger and Diane Aamodt
Butch Adams and Amy Davis
Thomas Alberts
D. Wain and E. Rebecca Allen
David Alston and Nancy Alston
Michelle Amiot
Karen Anderson
Les and Mary Anderson
Terrell and Virginia Andersen
Markus Babst
Brett and Ruth Barrett
Lisa Barnes
Jim and Kimberly Barton
Brent and Virginia Beall
Scott and Susan Bean
Tarlton and Lorie* Blair
Gary and Shanna Blake
L. Beth Blattenberger
David Bowling and Jacqueline Waring
Benjamin C. Bromley
Lynn Bohs
Carmen Buhler
Brent and Anita Burdett
Lamar and MarLynn Bushnell
Sandra Calman
Jessica Carey
David Carrier and Colleen Farmer
Michael Cavanagh
Pejman Chalezamini
Shenlin Chen
Carlos Chu-Jon
Rebecca Christman
Dale Clayton and Sarah Bush
Thomas Conover and Mitzi Conover
Jonathan and Cherie Constance
Marshall Coopersmith and Kathie Coopersmith
Mathew Crawley
Stephen and Nicola Dahl
Quang Dang
Steven Dean
Tommaso de Fernex
James and Monica DeGooyer
James and Lindsey DeSpain
James and J. Linda Detling
Marcia Dewolfe
William and Carolyn Dickinson
Roger Drickey
Richard Driggs
Jerry Driscoll
Stuart and Mary Dye
Alan and Vickie Eastman
Thomas Engar
Richard and Chariya Ernst
Christopher and Joanne* Erskine
Bradley Esplin
Larry and Wendy Evans
Donald Feener Jr.
Melanie Feeney
William Feldman
Hwa-Ping Feng and Diana Montgomery
Diego Fernandez and Valeria Molinero
Robert and Claire Fish
Max and Josephine Forsberg
Gameil Fouad and Gina Barberi
David Fox
Apple Gaffney
Juan Gallegos-Orozco
Garth and Sarah Garrison
Craig George
Stephen* and Jessica Gledhill
Maureen Godbout
Patricia Govednik
Scott and Shirlee Graff
Marnie Grisley
Michael and Laura Gruenwal
Heidi Hachtman
Robert Hargrove and Carolyn Hargrove
Kenneth and Michele Hartner
Grant and Carolyn Head
Bret Heale and Rebecca Noonan-Heale
Henryk and Malgorzata Hecht
William Heeschen and Judy Gunderson
Robert and Tina Herman
Leo Herr
William Hewitson
Jason Hoggan
Lloyd Holmes
Martin and Susan Horvath
Christopher House
Douglas and Charlotte Howe
Sean Howe
Hsiang-Ping Huang and Yuan-ping Lee
John Hughes and Judith Hughes
Paul and RosaMaria Hurst
Srikanth Iyengar
Richard and Jacqueline Jacob
Jeffrey and Sherry Jasperson
Randy and Mary Jensen
Richard and Aurora Jensen
Georgia Jeppesen
Gary and Cynthia Kanner
Siegfried and Ellen Karsten
Cheryl Keil
Jerold* and Lucinda Kindred
William and Janet Kinneberg
Jaqueline Kiplinger
Zoe Koch
Nicholas Korevaar
Sandor Kovacs
Sally Kursar
Roger and Sue Ladle
Armin Langheinrich
Michael and Julie Larson
Kerry Lee
The Lentz Living Trust
Elwood and Marion* Lentz Jr.
Yan Li
Xing Lin
John Longino and Nalini Nadkarni
J. Allen Lowe
William Love
Daniel Lujan
Neil Manning
Burton Markham* and Diane Bentley
R. Spencer and Susan Martin
Jeffrey Masters
Kevin McGowan
Michael and Loretta McHugh
Walter and Carol McKnight
Christopher and Jenette Meldrum
Nick* and Suzanne Mihalopoulos
Grayson Millard and Devan Lee
William Miller Jr.
Larry and Sharma Millward
Steve Mimnaugh
Paul Mora
Maria Moreno
Marvin and Sharron Morris
Bryce Nelson
Patience Nelson
Kevin and Filinita Nemelka
William and Raquel Nikolai III
William and Ruth Ohlsen
Morris and Jane* Page
Philip Paradis
Brandon and Kristin Park
Jordan and Aurelia Pederson
Larry and Mary Petterborg
Naina Phadnis
Jayson Punwani
Clark and Sherrie Rampton
Sterling Rasmussen
Rasmussen Family Trust
Barry and Michelle Rhodes
R. Reid and Marlene* Rimensberger
Shauna Roman
Mike and Susan Kay Root
Peter Rose
Alan and Cheryl Rothenberg
Andrea Russell
Brian and LeeAnn Russell
Harold and Deborah Rust
Robert Sanchez
Vernon Sandberg
Clifton and Sandra* Sanders
Pearl Sandick
Jeraldine Schumacher
Karl and Ellen Schwede
James Schwing
Robert Sclafani and Christine Roberts
Holly Sebahar
Cagan Sekercioglu and Tanya Williams
Anil Seth
Michael Shapiro and Mary Shapiro
Michael Siler
Richard Smith and Lynda George
Michael Smith
Richard and Diane Smookler
Timothy Snell
Glade Sorensen
Joshua Southwick
Darryl and Alycia Spencer
Philip and Maida Spjut
C. William and Margaret Springer
Daniel Steenblik and Abigail Bird
Richard and Sheila Steiner
Greg Stillman
Harold and Kay Stokes
Barry Stults and Connie Stults
Jocelyn Taylor
Duc Tran and Hien Do
John Unguren
United Technologies
Christian Ulmer
Adrian and Jamie Vande Merwe
Robert Van Kirk
Jaimie VanNorman
Tom Vitelli and Michele Swaner
Nathan Walker
Qiuquan Wang
Stephen and Elizabeth Warner
Terry White
Ross Whitaker and Kerry Kelly
Luisa Whittaker-Brooks
Thomas and Linda Wilkinson
Kaylynn Willden
Jon and Heather Wilson
Richard and Kristin Winterton
Peter Wong
Kevin Wortman
Heng Xie
York and Mary Ann Yates
Timothy and Rocio Zajic


*Indicates deceased

This list represents gifts of at least $100 made to any area in the College of Science including Departments, Centers, and Programs, between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Standard University group designations are used. We are extremely grateful for these and all of our generous supporters.


Cottam’s Gulch

Cottam's Gulch

One of the most tranquil spots at the University is Cottam's Gulch, the small gully that runs behind the Crocker Science Center to University Street. The grassy, tree-lined area, with its meandering stone pathway and lone bench, is a perfect place to read, meditate, picnic, or enjoy exuberant birdsong.

It's a place rich in history, too. Miriam Taylor Meads BS'36 and J. Walter "Walt" Woodbury BS'43 MS'47 PhD'50, both children of University professors, grew up in the homes opposite the gully in the 1920s. They remember it as an idyllic playground due, in part, to the abundance of neighbor children from other prominent University families—the Ericksens, Ballifs, Strongs, and Cowleses. With his friends, Woodbury played touch football in the gulch and rode bikes down one steep side and up the other. "We just had a blast," the retired University physiology professor says.

Meads attended the University from kindergarten through her college training and graduation in elementary education. "In the winter, Cottam's Gulch was a wonderful sleighing hill — beginning up by the Stewart School and going down to Dean Ericksen's driveway. The big hill had nice big bumps in it," she says.

In the 1930s the University proposed filling in the gully. Walter P. "Doc" Cottam, a University botany professor, early ecologist, and founder of Red Butte Garden, thought the gorge should remain a natural area. He prevailed and subsequently planted native and experimental trees, including a zelkova, a pagoda, a large cottonwood, and a giant sequoia. Clearly, Cottam's most important contributions are the oaks he hybridized and planted throughout campus. They stand as statues of his research work, and the gulch retains his name.

"Cottam crossed Utah live oaks, found in southern Utah, with our local Gambel oaks to produce hardy oaks that would hold their leaves through the winter," explains University arborist Ann Williams. "Each fall a man comes to the University to collect acorns from Cottam's hybridized oaks. He and his family grow them and sell them as 'Cottam's oaks.'

"For the last 70 years, the gulch has been used for a variety of purposes, ranging from sorority and fraternity parties to a backdrop for the theatre department's plays. However, it is its historical use as a campus kissing spot that best symbolizes the passion and peace of the place.

—Ann Jardine Bardsley BA'84

>> back <<


Campus Impact

Campus Impact

Transforming the Science Campus.

• Remodeled space: 40,729 square feet
• New space: 100,000 square feet
• Instruction and research space: 91%
• Faculty and staff offices : 9%
• Increase in undergraduate labs: 56%

Currently the departments of Physics and Astronomy and Atmospheric Sciences occupy space in five locations on campus: the South Physics Building; the James Fletcher Building; the Intermountain Network Scientific Computation Center; and the Center for Cell and Genome Science in the Crocker Science Center. The Department of Atmospheric Sciences is located in the Frederick Albert Sutton Building.

The South Physics Building and the Fletcher Building house the majority of the Physical Science programs. These buildings are inadequate for modern research and require ongoing and increased operational and maintenance costs, which will continue to escalate. The South Physics Building will likely be used for administrative offices, while portions of the Fletcher Building will likely be demolished.

The approved site is located south of the Crocker Science Center (completed in 2018) and includes a renovation of the 40,729 square-foot Stewart building and 100,000 square feet of new construction. Instruction and research space will consume 91% of the building, with the remaining 9% dedicated to faculty and staff offices.

Southwest view.

Overhead view.

Northwest view.

Cottam’s Gulch

One of the most tranquil spots at the University of Utah.

Read More

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The Stewart School

The Stewart School

The William M. Stewart School was established as a training school for school teachers (Normal School) at the University of Utah in 1891 and continued under the State College of Education and the Graduate School of Education.

The Stewart School was attended by children from kindergarten to high school age. The Stewart School closed in 1965. The building was named after William M. Stewart, the founder of the school.

Primex Analog Clock

1999 School Reunion

Stewart School graduates gather for old times' sake and stir fond memories of '30s.

A group of graduates returned Friday to the University of Utah campus, but it looked a lot different than when they completed classes there in 1933.

But the women, all in their late 70s or early 80s, found one structure, the William M. Stewart Building, looking much the same.Except for missing playground equipment that was outside the building many years ago and some structural changes inside, the ivy-laden building, built in the early 1900s, looked much the same. It is located south of the Utah Museum of Natural History.

The Stewart Training School, a laboratory school for University of Utah students preparing for a teaching career, was where the women either attended kindergarten or first through the ninth grades.

The building housed the school from 1919 to 1966, according to a plaque on the building. It currently houses the university's anthropology program. Many of the Stewart School students, including three of the women in the group Friday, were children of university faculty members.

"Everyone has heard of five-year, 10-year, 20- or even up to 50-year class reunions. But our gathering Friday was to celebrate 66 years. It's unusual for a group to get together after all that time," said Etta Lou Cowles Rose, 81, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Original tile floors.

A California resident for 54 years, Rose was the "catalyst" for the group getting together for lunch and a brief visit to the school.

The women say many of those who graduated with them in 1933 have moved away or died. They don't know the whereabouts of the rest. But the seven women, most of whom were childhood friends and who grew up in the same neighborhood near the university campus, say they like to keep in touch and to gather together as often as they can.

In 1988, a reunion of many of the former students of the school attracted about 600 to the campus, said Sarah Anne Nelson Jones, who took reservations for that gathering.

Besides Jones and Rose, those who graduated in 1933 and who gathered Friday for lunch or for a visit to the school, are: Gwen Colton Anderson, Betty Jean Neil Anderson, Jacqueline Allen Jeremy and Marsha Ballif Midgley.

Mary Ellen Taylor Jackson, who graduated from the school in 1936 and a close friend of the other women, joined the group.

Several of the women (six live in Salt Lake City) went on after attending Stewart School to attend East High School, the U. or other colleges or universities. Five are graduates of East High and the U.

A visit to the campus brought back many pleasant memories, but some in the group said getting around the campus and finding a parking spot wasn't easy.

"I don't know the university anymore. I get lost up here," said Rose, who toured the campus earlier in the week with a faculty member.

Midgley, 80, who serves on a number of organizations at the U., is a resident of Salt Lake City and more acquainted with how to find her way around on the large campus.

The Cowles Building is named after Rose's father, LeRoy E. Cowles, who was U. president from 1941 to 1945.

Ballif Hall, a men's residence hall, is named after Marsha Ballif Midgley's father, Dean John L. Ballif. He was dean of men at the university.

Mary Ellen Taylor Jackson's father, A. LeRoy Taylor, was dean of the School of Mines and Engineering.

Jackson said she gets together three or four times a year for lunch with quite a large of number of those with whom she graduated in 1936.

"One thing I remember about Stewart School is that the teachers really spent a lot of time getting acquainted with the students. We felt we were really important to them."

- Originally published by Douglas D. Palmer in the Desert News.

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Darwin’s Pigeon “Enigma”

Darwin’s short-beak enigma

Charles Darwin was obsessed with domestic pigeons. He thought they held the secrets of selection in their beaks. Free from the bonds of natural selection, the 350-plus breeds of domestic pigeons have beaks of all shapes and sizes within a single species (Columba livia). The most striking are beaks so short that they sometimes prevent parents from feeding their own young. Centuries of interbreeding taught early pigeon fanciers that beak length was likely regulated by just a few heritable factors. Yet modern geneticists have failed to solve Darwin’s mystery by pinpointing the molecular machinery controlling short beaks—until now.

In a new study, biologists from the University of Utah discovered that a mutation in the ROR2 gene is linked to beak size reduction in numerous breeds of domestic pigeons. Surprisingly, mutations in ROR2 also underlie a human disorder called Robinow syndrome.

“Some of the most striking characteristics of Robinow syndrome are the facial features, which include a broad, prominent forehead and a short, wide nose and mouth, and are reminiscent of the short-beak phenotype in pigeons,” said Elena Boer, lead author of the paper who completed the research as a postdoctoral fellow at the U and is now a clinical variant scientist at ARUP Laboratories. “It makes sense from a developmental standpoint, because we know that the ROR2 signaling pathway plays an important role in vertebrate craniofacial development.”

The paper published in the journal Current Biology on Sept. 21, 2021.

Mapping genes and skulls

Two domestic pigeon breeds photos facing each other, the left one has a very short beak, big black eye, white feathers on the head with a crest sticking up. The right pigeon has gray brown feathers on the head with a red eye ball, and a beak that's about twice as long as the other birds.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sydney Stringham

Old German Owl (left) and Racing Homer (right) domestic pigeon breeds.

The researchers bred two pigeons with short and medium beaks—the medium-beaked male was a Racing Homer, a bird bred for speed with a beak length similar to the ancestral rock pigeon. The small-beaked female was an Old German Owl, a fancy pigeon breed that has a little, squat beak.

“Breeders selected this beak purely for aesthetics to the point that it’s detrimental—it would never appear in nature. So, domestic pigeons are a huge advantage for finding genes responsible for size differences,” said Michael Shapiro, the James E. Talmage Presidential Endowed Chair in Biology at the U and senior author of the paper. “One of Darwin’s big arguments was that natural selection and artificial selection are variations of the same process. Pigeon beak sizes were instrumental in figuring out how that works.”

The short- and medium-beaked parents produced an initial F1 brood of children with intermediate-length beaks. When the biologists mated the F1 birds to one another, the resulting F2 grandchildren had beaks ranging from big to little, and all sizes in between. To quantify the variation, Boer measured beak size and shape in the 145 F2 individuals using micro-CT scans generated at the University of Utah Preclinical Imaging Core Facility. 

“The cool thing about this method is that it allows us to look at size and shape of the entire skull, and it turns out that it’s not just beak length that differs—the braincase changes shape at the same time,” Boer said. “These analyses demonstrated that beak variation within the F2 population was due to actual differences in beak length and not variation in overall skull or body size.”

An animation of the skulls of birds showing the variety of beak lengths from short to long.


High-resolution scans of the grandchildren of the Racing Homer and German Owl cross. The animation shows the variety of beak lengths from shortest to longest.

Next, the researchers compared the pigeons’ genomes. First, using a technique called quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping, they identified DNA sequence variants scattered throughout the genome, and then looked to see if those mutations appeared in the F2 grandkids’ chromosomes.

“The grandkids with small beaks had the same piece of chromosome as their grandparent with the small beak, which told us that piece of chromosome has something to do with small beaks,” said Shapiro. “And it was on the sex chromosome, which classical genetic experiments had suggested, so we got excited.”

The team then compared the entire genome sequences of many different pigeon breeds; 56 pigeons from 31 short-beaked breeds and 121 pigeons from 58 medium- or long-beaked breeds. The analysis showed that all individuals with small beaks had the same DNA sequence in an area of the genome that contains the ROR2 gene.

“The fact that we got the same strong signal from two independent approaches was really exciting and provided an additional level of evidence that the ROR2 locus is involved,” said Boer.

The authors speculate that the short-beak mutation causes the ROR2 protein to fold in a new way, but the team plans to do functional experiments to figure out how the mutation impacts craniofacial development.

Headshots of domestic pigeon breeds. The left four have short beaks, the right four have medium or long beaks.

PHOTO CREDIT: Thomas Hellmann, adapted from Boer et al. (2021) Current Biology

Representative images of individuals representing short beak (left four birds) and medium or long beak (right four birds) pigeon breeds (image credit: Thomas Hellmann). Short beak pigeons, from left to right: English Short Face Tumbler, African Owl, Oriental Frill, Budapest Tumbler. (B) Medium/long beak pigeons, from left to right: West of England, Cauchois, Scandaroon, Show King. The short-beak birds all had the same ROR2 mutation.

Pigeon enthusiasts

The lure of the domestic pigeon that mesmerized Darwin is still captivating the curious to this day. Many of the blood samples that the research team used for genome sequencing were donated from members of the Utah Pigeon Club and National Pigeon Association, groups of pigeon enthusiasts who continue to breed pigeons and participate in competitions to show off the striking variation among breeds.

“Every paper our lab has published in the last 10 years has relied on their samples in some way,” said Shapiro. “We couldn’t have done this without the pigeon breeding community."


by Lisa Potter - originally published in @theU

Internship Events

Internship and Career Events

Next Event

Career Trek WITH The Natural History Museum of Utah
Friday, April 8, 2022
12:30 pm-2:00 pm

Event Flyer:

NHMU Career Trek flyer

Join NHMU Entomology  & Mycology staff to learn more about the museum, museum careers, available jobs & internships and the collections themselves.

Attendees will meet at the Museum at 12:30 pm. Dress requirements are casual. Refreshments will be provided.

Due to current COVID conditions, the number of attendees will be limited. Registrations are on a first-come-first-serve basis, but we will also maintain a waitlist in case of cancelations. Register here.  The registration deadline is 12:00 pm on Thursday, April 7 2022. No registrations will be accepted past that date and time.

*If you have any questions about the event, please contact Jacqueline Broida at


Career Trek Registration
Select the Career Trek you would like to attend. (If you are interested in multiple treks, please submit one form for each.)

Your Information



Your Major(s)
COVID-19 Agreement

Huntsman Cancer Institute

Community Outreach and Prevention Education
Program Internship

Community Outreach and Prevention Education Program Internship

Huntsman Cancer Institute is seeking applicants for the Community Outreach and Prevention Education Program Internship.

Selected interns will join an established team devoted to creating long-term solutions to prevent cancer and improve the health of individuals, families, and communities—especially those disproportionately affected by cancer. Interns assist with planning, organizing, implementing, and evaluating projects in collaboration with community partners across Utah. Projects focus on cancer risk factors, prevention and screening, vaccination, and lifestyle behaviors. Interns also represent Huntsman Cancer Institute at community health and screening events; engage in statewide coalition work; provide in-person and virtual health education; and collaborate with researchers and clinicians.


Undergraduate and graduate students with a degree in public health, health promotion and education, health sciences, community outreach/engagement, or other relevant field is preferred.

New interns are accepted 3 times per year:

• Spring: January-April (deadline to submit October 31)

• Summer: May-August (deadline to submit March 31)

• Fall/Winter: September-December (deadline to submit July 15)


Interested students should email their application to Nathaniel Ferre at

Applications must include:

• Resume

• Cover letter (include internship requirements and expectations)

• Two letters of recommendation

• Availability

Jim Hanson

Jim Hanson

Jim Hanson’s (BS Physics ’85) path to the University of Utah and college was different from most students. When he graduated from high school, Hanson had little interest in attending college and no clear goal as to what he wanted to do with his life. He worked odd jobs until he got tired of living out of his car.

Finally, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and trained as a jet engine mechanic. He was stationed in New Mexico for nearly three years. Although he was doing well, he still had no real direction until he was offered an opportunity to train as a flight engineer.

Flying meant a lot of training: physiological demands, understanding performance metrics, learning aircraft systems, and attending survival schools, but once he made the decision his life changed. He was assigned to a weather reconnaissance squadron whose primary duty was to monitor compliance with the nuclear test ban treaty. These missions took his squadron to all corners of the world. His squadron was nicknamed the “Pole Vaulters” because of the many Arctic missions that took them over 90 degrees north latitude. “Military flying was exciting enough by itself and being in the company of highly educated professionals opened my mind to so many new possibilities and opportunities that I had never considered,” said Hanson.

Although Hanson loved what he was doing, he realized that a university degree would open many more doors. He had family in Salt Lake City and was a Utah resident, so the U was the logical choice for his education when he left the Air Force. “Initially, I thought I could schedule my classes early or late enough and still manage a full day of skiing, but I quickly realized that if I wanted to get through college, I had to commit to studying and forget about skiing for a while,” he said.

Experiences at the U

His experiences at the U made all the difference. “When I look back, I realize my time at the U not only changed the direction of my life professionally, it fundamentally changed the person I would become later in life,” he said. “To see the doors that education opened for me and the opportunities that resulted from it has been remarkable. I’m eternally grateful for having received not only a valuable education but also for having developed an intense desire for learning that has sustained me and enriched my life.”

One of his favorite professors was the late Dr. Lynn Higgs, a physics professor, who also served as the Physics Department advisor. Hanson isn’t sure he would have graduated without Higgs’s mentoring. He particularly enjoyed the Introduction to Modern Physics course taught by Christopher Stone, who was a graduate assistant at the time. Dr. Stone is still with the department, serving as associate professor (lecturer). Hanson remembers that Stone had a gift for teaching matched only by his enthusiasm for the subject. Another favorite was the late Dr. Fritz Luty, who taught an optics course.

Being at the U felt like a new lease on life for Hanson after experiencing some difficult years. In retrospect, Hanson believes he had to learn things the hard way. “I appreciated my college experience a lot more when I was older than if I had started at the U right out of high school,” said Hanson. “Physics wasn’t an easy major, but I was much more focused on my studies having been out in the world and having seen the value of a formal education and, especially, the limitations for not having one.”

Navy Career

Following graduation from the U in June 1985, Hanson was offered a chance to become a naval officer. He was advised that it might be a year or more before he could attend Naval Officer Candidate School (OCS) so he continued taking classes at the U and even started a master’s program in electrical engineering before leaving for OCS in June 1986. He received his naval commission in September 1986 and spent the next four years at sea. He found being a naval officer, especially a junior one, was as challenging as anything he had ever done up to that point. “Whenever we were confronted with adversity or a crisis, which was fairly often, we told ourselves that it was just another chance to excel.” said Hanson. “Funny as the expression seemed at the time, I’ve realized that often I’ve learned the most when faced with adversity or failure.” He elected to transfer to the Naval Reserve at the end of his first tour at sea, primarily so he could complete the master’s degree he had started four years earlier.

After he completed the degree in 1993, Hanson accepted a civilian engineering position with the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) in Coronado, California. He was happy to be back in San Diego since he had spent much of his time there in the Navy. The Naval Air Station at North Island also had a great flying club, and Hanson gave countless airplane rides in the T-34B trainers to friends and co-workers. Later, he accepted a senior engineering position with the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (now known as the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) in Japan. He had traveled to Japan many times during his military career, but actually living there was an unforgettable experience, and Japan remains one of his favorite places.

Sept. 11, 2001 and Retirement

September 11, 2001 became a defining moment for all Americans. For Hanson it meant returning to active naval service, where he served in various operational and senior staff positions, mostly overseas, for the next 13 years until he retired from the Navy after 28 years of commissioned service in 2014. During this period, Hanson received a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

Following his retirement, Hanson returned to full-time civilian employment in San Diego. As the propulsion and power team lead for the NAVAIR, he managed a large team of engineers, technicians, and contractors tasked with supporting naval aircraft.

Life as a Navy civilian was very different than being on active duty. “At times it seemed like managing civilians was a lot like herding a bunch of feral cats; it required a whole new set of management skills,” said Hanson. “Yet, I was truly fortunate to be associated with such highly motivated and gifted individuals and still maintain contact with many of them following my retirement.” His organization actively supported STEM (Science, Technical, Engineering and Mathematics) initiatives in the local San Diego area, and mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers was one of the more rewarding aspects of his work.

Advice for Students

Hanson recently moved from San Diego back to Utah after a 30-year absence. As much as he loves the beaches and weather in Southern California, he is a skier at heart. He’s delighted to live within 15 minutes of Snowbasin.

Hanson believes there has never been a more exciting time to be a scientist, mathematician, or engineer. “A degree in physics gave me a solid foundation for every endeavor I pursued,” he said. “It also instilled in me the ability to think critically and reason effectively in all facets of my life.”

“Everyone hears that life is a journey and it’s true,” said Hanson. “At the end, it really is the journey you’ll remember. Enjoy the ride and make the most of it, maintain a sense of humor, and try not to take anything personally. Believe in yourself and never stop learning.”

Hanson spends time skiing, climbing, and trekking in far-flung parts of the globe. He has traveled to nearly 40 foreign countries and lived in several during the course of his military or civilian duties. One of his favorite places is Norway, where his grandparents immigrated from. Except for 2020, he tries to spend a couple months in Norway each year. He reads, mostly non-fiction. “What I read is not as important as why I read,” he said. “I think my studies at the U left me with an insatiable curiosity to explore and dig deeper, regardless of the subject.”

by Michelle Swaner first published at

A Gateway to Knowledge

A Gateway to Knowledge

The U of U is Utah’s number one educator of science students. Every engineer, every nurse and doctor, every scientist and chemist, every bio lab technician and statistician created in this university must first pass through the College of Science in preparation for a STEM-based career. In 2017, 49% of STEM degrees awarded by Utah System of Higher Education institutions were from the University of Utah. The Atmospheric Sciences Graduate Program is the only one in the state.

We are creating rare, valuable job skills at the College of Science, and we need to expand this cross-disciplinary science and math education. In short, this new Science Center will revitalize the University of Utah campus, and is vital if Utah is to build its national potential as a leader in science.

Programs such as the new Science Research Initiative provide our students with the real-world research experience that is so valuable in today’s economy. SRI participants graduate with a huge advantage over their counterparts in other programs.

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