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Donor Recognition

Crimson Laureate Donors

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

Last updated - June 2020

 

BENEFACTORS $1 MILLION +
Gary L. & Ann Crocker

PATRONS $500,000-$999,999
Ronald O.* & Eileen Ragsdale
The Sorenson Legacy Foundation

ASSOCIATES $100,000-$499,999
Rodney H.* & Carolyn H. Brady
Thomas Kursar* & Phyllis D. Coley
Michael & Sally S. Hunnicutt
T. Benny* & Gail T. Rushing
John P. & Margaret A. Simons
Ryan J. & Jennifer Warner Watts

FOUNDERS CLUB $50,000-$99,999
Willard L. & Ruth P. Eccles Foundation
Raymond B. Greer
Frances N. & Joel M. Harris
Ole T. & Martha F. Jensen
Ruth Lofgren*
Preston* J. & Phyllis* R. Taylor
Taylor Family Revocable Trust

DESERET CLUB $25,000-$49,999
David F. Blair
John Marcell Davis
Martin & Ragnhild Horvath
Dinesh C. & Kalpana Patel

PRESIDENTS CIRCLE $10,000-$24,999
Anonymous
ARUP Laboratories
Scott L. Anderson & Cynthia J. Burrows
Carleton DeTar & Laurel Casjens
Frederick R. Adler & Anne Collopy
Stephen G. & Susan E. Denkers Family Foundation
Naomi C. Franklin
Henry S. White & Joyce Garcia
Sidney J. & Marian C. Green
Mitchell T. & Diana M. Johnson
David B. & Lisa Goldstein Kieda
Jerry Anthony Murry
Batubay Hamit Ozkan
George R. Riser
Victoria J. Rowntree & Jon Seger
Thaddeus B. Eagar & Rebecca A. Uhlig
Neil & Tanya M. Vickers
Michael R. & Jan Weaver

PRESIDENTS CLUB $2,500-$9,999
Millard Alexander
Anonymous
Peter L. Ashdown
David G. Murrell & Mary C. Beckerle
Nikhil K. Bhayani
BioFire Diagnostics, LLC
Alexandre Boldyrev
Carlos* & Ann Bowman
Patrick Brennan & Carol D. Blair Brennan
Garrett M. Hisatake & Phuong Ngoc Bui
R. Harold Burton Foundation
Kathleen K. Church
Adella Serin Croft
Lawrence T. & Janet T. Dee Foundation
Sue M. Durrant
Edna & James Ehleringer
George & Lissa Elliot
David R. Carrier & Colleen G. Farmer
Joseph A. Gardella
Kenneth M. Golden
Scott A. & Larisa V. Zhilyakova Gore
Jim Hanson
Byron L. & Judy C. Hardy
Eric Harwood & Melissa Mitchell Harwood
Gale A. & John L. Haslam
Darren Wayne Housel
R. Kent & Terri N. Jex
Kenneth D. & Sandra D. Jordan
Paul & Darice Koo
Heber Jacobsen & Christine Lake
Dennis L. & Patricia A. Lombardi
George H. Lowe III
Larry L. & Leslie Marsh
Mark D. & Jennifer McLaws
Edward A. Meenen
Herbert I. & Elsa B. Michael Foundation
Robert Churchwell & Shelley D. Minteer
Mission Math Utah
Diego P. Fernandez & Valeria Molinero
RJay Murray
Jerry Rees & Lynda S. Nelson
Jeffrey A. & Teresa A. Nichols
Mark T. & Brenda Nielsen
Alan P. Peterson
PRA Health Sciences
Timothy J. Purcell & Jessica Shepherd Purcell
Kirk Max Ririe
Rockwell Collins
Rocky Mountain Power Foundation
Matthew S. Sigman & Deborah L. Burney-Sigman
Angela & Mark H. Skolnick
The Skolnick Foundation
David P. & Kimberly K. Sorensen
John E. Straub
Douglas J. N. Taylor
William B. & Vivien G. Terzaghi
Thomas F. & Kathlyn Thatcher
Utah STEM Action Center
Egbertus D. VanDerHeiden
Xiaodong Jiang & Jia Wang
Mary Ann & Peter B. White
Douglas L. & Kaye W. Wyler
XMission L.C.
Shaoqing Song & Fuli Zhao

DEANS CIRCLE $1,000-$2,499
Constantine P. Georgopoulos & Deborah Ang
Anonymous
Tarlton J. & Lorie L.* Blair
Scott K. Carter
Pejman Mahboubi Chalezamini
Lane C. & Paula W. Childs
Paul E. & Denise R. Christian
Carlos A. Chu-Jon
Thomas C. Robbins & Kathleen A. Clark
Ryan J. & Charlotte Conlon
Lawrence J. & Judy Kei Cook
Michael J. Bastiani & Denise Dearing
Sidney Paul Elmer
Cecelia H. Foxley
William E. Buhro & Regina Faye Frey
Donald Ned & Mary Ann Garner
David P. Goldenberg
Kameron Goold
Maciej & Anna Gutowska
Raymond R. & Vernetta B. Jessop
Erik Mathias & Nan Jorgensen
Charmaine Keck
Daniel V. Kinikini
Craig V. & Linda M. Lee
Kristin Erickson Levinson
Ryan & Meghan Looper
Marin Community Foundation
Noel E. Marquis
Jeffrey M. & Allison J. Martin
Maria Navas Moreno
Frances & Richard* Muir
Stanley A. & Jane S. Mulaik
Kevin Wendell & Filinita Tupou Nemelka
Eric & Lora B. Newman
Clifford W. & Susan A. Nichols
Rick D. & Denise Nydegger
Anita M. Orendt
Burak Over
Gregory Steven Owens & Crystal D. Owens
Michael J. Pelletier & Christine C. Pelletier
Robert G. & Susan G. Peterson
Bernard T. & Marsha W. Price
Kevin P. Dockery & Kelly Reynolds
Carl L.* & Kathryn S. Robinson
Peter E. & Susan E. Rogers
Bryant W. & Betty Rossiter
Susan K. Rushing
George G. & Linda A. Seifert
Norman J. Dovichi & Susan L. Sharpe
Cameron J. & Melanie T. Soelberg
TD Williamson Inc.
Richard Neville & Jane Ellen Torgerson
Jacob T. Umbriaco & Erin L. Umbriaco
Jorge Rojas & Gabriela M. Vargas
Christopher Waters
Paul T. Watkins
Kenneth A. Savin & Lisa A. Wenzler
H. Ross & Katherine Workman
Workman Nydegger
Heng Xie
Doju Yoshikami
Dean H. & Jane H.* Zobell

DEANS CLUB $500-$999
Thomas Kelly Alberts
Anonymous
Iwona Anusiewicz
Charles H. & Judy J. Atwood
Ntsanderh C. Azenui
Zlatko & Vesna Bacic
Keld Lars Bak
F. Reid & Margaret H.* Barton
Dennis M. & Jean C. Bramble
Benjamin C. Bromley
Glenn S. & Renée L. Buchanan
Emily Ann Carter
Daniel Patrick & Kara Cherney
Frederic Marsh & Dulce Civish
Samuel J. Cole & Mary G. Furlow-Cole
Mark G. & Linda L. Conish
John E. & Sally P. Crelly Jr.
John C. & Laurie N. Dallon
Donald D.* & Jane G. Dennis
Christoph Boehme & Kristie Dawn Durham
Berton A. & Tiraje Earnshaw
Richard & Linda Easton
Richard D. & Chariya A. Ernst
Larry A. & Wendy Evans
Zhigang Zak & Wenfang Bian Fang
John R. & Terry-Lee Fitzpatrick
Craig D. George
Michael E. & Elizabeth S. Gibson
Bob Palais & Micah Goodman
Ed & Yvonne Groenhout
Tulle Hazelrigg
Henryk & Malgorzata F. Hecht
Daisy Germaine Hewitt
Robert W. Van Kirk & Sheryl Hill
Michelle Jen
Aaron Paul & Chantel Lucile Jenkins
Richard H. & Aurora Jensen
János Kollár & Jennifer M. Johnson
Michael D. Johnson
Anne Hamner & Cheryl Lynn Keil
Thure E. Cerling & Mahala Kephart
William B. Lacy
David Ryan & Laura Lowther
Jordan M. Gerton & Brenda K. Mann
Alexander Gibson McCray
Michael J. & Loretta H. McHugh
Clifton D. McIntosh & Terrie T. McIntosh
James C. & Michele H. McRea
David S. & Viera I. Moore
Neil P. Morrissette
Robert A. Sklar & Brenda L. Moskovitz
William R. Mower
Christopher P. Murdock
Patience A. Nelson
Aaron Y. & Holly A. Nelson
Ruth L. & Phillip J.* Novak
Earl M. & Alesa Ohlson
Roger & Kathleen Pugh
Justin D. Anderson & Lorena D. Purissimo
Jack B. & Itha W. Rampton
Gary L. & Norma D. Ranck
Natalie N. Rasmussen
Cheri Smith Reynolds
Barry B. & Michelle Rhodes
Harold M. & Deborah Jean Rust
David H. & Barbara Schultz
James W. Sewell
Patricia Sharkey
Mark H. Sherwood
Stewart Shuman
Megan V. Sinner
Shane E. Smith
Dean J. & Samantha Stoker
Richard Dean & Elizabeth Blackett Streeper
Eric M. Peterson & Karen C. Thomas
Zeev Valentine Vardeny
Warner Wada
Feng Wang
Jiang-Hua & Hanju Wang
Michael L. Shields & Rachelle Wirth
York J. & Mary Ann Yates
Sean R. Young
Ted Allan & Debra Young

COLLEGIATE CLUB $250-$499
Adobe
Anonymous
Karen L. Anderson
Jeffrey L. & Kathleen T. Anderson
Dawn Aoki
Edward I. & Florence Aoyagi
David Owen Baumann
Austin F. & Dale O. Bishop
L. Beth Blattenberger
Kathleen Merry Chaudhry
Landon R. Clark & Erin Anne Shaw Clark
Chad & Kimberly Peterson Coates
Steven John & Kimberley Condas
Marcia Cook
Roy & Elaine Corsi
Ruggiero S. Costanzo
Ronald W. Day & Mava Jones Day
Steven J. Dean
R. Bruce & Debby Dickson
Nicholas C. Gunn & Gretchen Jane Domek
James Shannon Doyle & Lisa S. Doyle
Arthur & Katherine Edison
Mohamed M. & Joyce F.* El-Mogazi
Donald Feener
Karla Jean Gilbert
Roy W. Goudy
Patricia Elena Govednik
Mark Hammond & Ming Chen Hammond
Alex & Louise Butler Hardman
Harry G. Hecht
Minmin Lin & Hua Huang
Jeffrey H. & Sherry N. Jasperson
R. Bradley & Vangie Jensen
John W. & Inga Kenney III
Antonios G. Koures & Anupama Kushawaha-
Koures
Elizabeth Marie Kralik
Elwood I. & Marion B.* Lentz Jr.
Daniel W. Lundberg
Malcolm & Carole J. MacLeod
Jed B. & Kathryn G. Marti
Fritz J. Knorr & Jeanne L. McHale
Kevin Wight McJames
Lindsay G. Miller
Graeme Milton
William L. & Jane Ehardt Moore
Marvin L. & Sharron Lee Morris
William D. & Ruth B. Ohlsen
Larry Okun
Allen K. & Anne Oshita
James L. & Bonnie D. Parkin
James E. & Margaret A. Parry
Steven & Elizabeth Grace Pattison
Zackary Johannes & Karli Rachel Plenert
Clark B. & Sherrie W. Rampton
Ilya B. Reznik & Riley Lorimer-Reznik
Lee K. & Dawn L. Roberts
Andrew George Roberts
Brian G. & LeeAnn W. Russell
Dennis B. & Barbara H. Sagendorf
Pearl Elizabeth Sandick
Dennis T. & Charlotte J. Sauer
Patrick A. & Deborah F. Shea
Peter E. Silas & Stephanie B. Silas
Piotr & Joanna Skurski
Jerilyn S. McIntyre & W. David Smith
Scott Smith
Nathan Frederick Dalleska & Eileen M. Spain
Thomas G. Richmond & Cynthia Squire
Claude Karim Tabet
Michael L. Taylor
Ye Tian
Zhiwei Liu & Aihua Tong
Jared M. Vargason
Lane J. & Rhonda L. Wallace
Michael A. Weibel
Steven A. & Catherine N. Werner
Vernon D. Sandberg & Carol A. Wilkinson
Mary A. Young
Steven Yourstone

CENTURY CLUB $250-$499
Roger L. Aamodt
Randy Adachi
D. Wain & E. Rebecca Allen
Glenn D. & Lee Allinger
Terrell N. & Virginia L. Andersen
Albert G. & Christine M. Anderson
Les C. & Mary E. Anderson
Gameil Taher Fouad & Gina Barberi
Jim & Kimberly M. Barton
Scott W. & Susan T. Bean
Richard & Shirley Behrendt
Douglas Neal & Karen Holt Bennion
Robert S. & Sydney B. Bennion
Burton L. Markham* & Diane L. Bentley
Douglas Bergman
George Howze* & Katharine O. Biele
Jay R. & Kathleen L. Blain
Gary M. & Shanna H. Blake
Casey Carlo & Jiliane M. Brandol
William & Julie Breckenridge
William O. Wilson & Carmen R. Buhler
Ryan Gregory Bullett & Kelly S. Bullett
Michael J. Cavanagh
Grzegorz & Barbara Chalasinski
Shenlin Chen
Brigham V. & Marsali M. Cheney
David T. Chuljian
Kip Smith & Monica D. Clement
Stephen L. & Nicola G. Dahl
Michael D. Darley
Harold A. & Sonja M. Decker
Celeste Veronica Delrio
James K. & J. Linda Detling
Alan D. & Vickie Muir Eastman
Christopher F. & Joanne Lewis* Erskine
Wei Jiang & Chenxi Fang
Briant J. & Glenna R. Farnsworth
Aaron L. Fogelson & Deborah Susan Feder
Christopher Bradford Fox
Kimberly Geisler
Stephen M.* & Jessica T. Gledhill
Keith M. Gligorich & Olena M. Gligorich
Bridget L. Gourley
Fletcher & Sally Gross
Brian & Mary Wohl Haan
Robert J. & Carolyn B. Hargrove
Angela Harper
Carol Ann Harper
David G. & Jean Hart
Kenneth C. & Michele Taylor Hartner
Grant E. & Carolyn C. Head
Bret Heale & Rebecca Noonan-Heale
Emily C. Heider
E. Ronn & Nancy Decker Heiner
Robert K. & Tina R. Herman
William C Hewitson
Barton T. & Elizabeth E. Hoenes
Christopher House
Douglas H. & Charlotte R. Howe
Hongbo Tang & Yufeng Huang
Charles B. & Janet Hubley
John Hughes
Paul Rollins & RosaMaria Hurst
Alan Can-Hung & Nancy Huynh
Joseph & Karen Jensen
Georgia A. Jeppesen
Isaac Benjamin Johnson
Ronald L. & Mary Sue Johnson
Paul E. & Constance B. Johnston
Gary S. & Cynthia Kanner
Jennifer Pei-Chen Kao
Siegfried G. & Ellen G. Karsten
James P. & Kristine Keener
Roy A. & Marilyn L. Keir
Walter J. & Kelly S. Keller
James Kelley & Carolyn O. Kelley
Matthew T. & Autumn Kieber-Emmons
Ed & Marsha Kilgore
Paul I. & Eileen L. Kingsbury Jr.
Peter A.* & Carole Koren
Carol Korzeniewski
Robert O. & Judy R. Kron
Lawrence R. & Sally L. Kursar Sr.
Roger O. & Sue Ann H. Ladle
Armin P. Langheinrich
Rolf Eric & Lucinda K. Larsen
Michael Craig & Cathy Larsen
Franklin M. & Joan T. Leaver Jr.
Kerry L. & Ann J. Lee
Xiaoqin Cao & Zhongjian Li
Wei Li
Jason A. & Linda E. Lillegraven
Marilyn Loveless
Hai-Bo Wang & Jun Lu
Anthony F. & Jennifer Ann Lund
Vance Andrew & Heidi R. Lyon
Chaoxiong Ma
Ming-Jun Lai & Lingyun Ma
Lynn R. & Pamela Mahoney
Russell L.* & Estelle S. Marlor
James U. & Sylvia B. Mathis
Walter L. & Carol L. McKnight
Thomas C. & Linda B. McMillan
Frank G. & Sharon R. Meyer
William E Miller
Larry K. & Sharma B. Millward
Steven Mimnaugh
Hwa-Ping Feng & Diana L. Montgomery
Earl & Sharlene Mortensen
Marcus P. & Sara Nebeling
William & Raquel Nikolai
Vanessa Blue Oklejas
Larry J. & Carol Page
Dong Pan
David N. & Gloria Pehrson
Carl J. & Barbara Popp
Douglas Samuel & Jeannie M. Prince
Li & Hope Z. Qi
Urvin Shah & Kavita Reddy
David J. & Earnestine M. Remondini
Robert Anselmo Sclafani & Christine M. Roberts
Jack D. Morris & Glenda M. Rose
Peter E. Rose
Alan S. & Cheryl Ruth Rothenberg
Richard M. & Marilynn Rytting
Richard & Peggy D. Sacher
Robert A. Sanchez
Richard P. Savage Jr. & Mary Savage
William D. Schraer
Jeraldine Schumacher
Kimberly R. Schuske
James Lloyd Sferas
Richard B. & Harriett Sher
Yifan Shi
Ki Joon & Akiko K. Shin
William Thomas & Susan D. Silfvast
Richard A. & Diane R. Smookler
Don & Barbara B. Snyder
Glade V. Sorensen
Philip J. & Maida H. Spjut
Michael Henry & Ruth C. Stevens
Harold T. & Kay Stokes
Gary G. & Jeanne A. Stroebel
Barry M. Stults & Connie C. Stults
Joseph Subotnik
Edward Yu & Helen Sun
Tom Vitelli & Michele A. Swaner
Pete W. & Diane T. Temple
Robert B. Roemer & L. Irene Terry
Roy M. Piskadlo & Ellen Tolstad
Thomas E. & Susan Tomasi
Sylvia D. Torti
John C. Tully
Christian A. & Laura J. Ulmer
John F Unguren
Chi S. Van
Jayson A. Punwani & Jaimie VanNorman
Gregory Alan VonArx
Jennica Waldman
Reed H. & Catherine Walsh
Gang Wang
Qiuquan Wang
Ruping Deng & Xiaoli Wang
M. Bruce & Claire L. Welch
Luisa Whittaker-Brooks
Paul Landry Wiggins
Eliot J. & Susan Wilcox
Bonnie B. Wilkerson
Cagan Sekercioglu & Tanya Williams
Kenneth & Betty J. Wireman
Yung-Cheng Yang
Charles Jui & Tamara Young
Timothy R. & Rocio Zajic
Daniel Ryan Wik & Gail Zasowski
Steve M. & Shari Zinik
Dylan Zwick

 

*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 January 1, 2019 and May 1, 2020. Standard University group designations are used. We are extremely grateful for these and all of our generous supporters.

 

Jordan Herman, PhD’20

WWJHD?


Few encounter a fer-de-lance snake and walk away unscathed. While working in Costa Rica recent School of Biological Sciences (SBS) graduate Jordan Herman (PhD’20) moved closer to observe a toucan dismembering the green iguana it was having for lunch. When the bird took off and dropped half of it, Herman picked up the iguana’s tail and realized she had nearly stepped on the coiled and camouflaged pit viper at her feet. As the bird returned to finish its meal, Herman stood still, suddenly stuck between an intimidating toucan and the venomous snake. She escaped the dangerous situation by offering up the tail and backing away slowly.

For Herman, this moment earned her “a new appreciation for how cool and terrifying nature can be.”

Herman originally came to the SBS graduate program in 2014 from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. Her research has been focused on the fitness consequences that mockingbirds experience when they are co-exploited, how the co-occurring parasites interact with each other, and the roles that host defenses play in these species interactions.

An associate in the Clayton-Bush lab, Herman thrives in the outdoors and has always been captivated by birds. While working as a field assistant in the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, she became hooked on parasitic nest flies and their endemic bird hosts. This interest, in turn, brought her to Argentina, where she worked on the effects of parasitic nest flies and brood-parasitic cowbirds on their shared host, the chalk-browed mockingbird.

Her passion for the outdoors extends to her adopted home of Utah. When she isn’t backpacking all over the Intermountain West, you can find her spending time in her Salt Lake City garden with her four chickens–Dotty, Penguin, Mungo, and Jerry. Currently, she and her partner Joey have also been treating themselves to sushi takeout from Sapa, a local Asian fusion restaurant where, she says, “you can still order mussel shooters!”

Outside of her research, Herman has also made a lasting impact in SBS where she is grounded in a close-knit community of biologists with wide-ranging research interests. As a mentor, she has soared by offering strong support and advice to those around her. “Jordan’s unwavering sense of self allows her to be a generous mentor,” explains fellow graduate student, Maggie Doolin (Dearing lab), “and one of the most consistent sources of truth and support I’ve encountered anywhere throughout my life. She is one-of-a-kind,” continues Doolin, “and I’m lucky to have had her welcome me to the SBS grad program for all things life and science.” When asked what the best advice Herman herself has received in graduate school, she replies, “Publish early!” You can find Herman’s publications in journals like Ecology and the Journal of Avian Biology.

Clearly an expert in field research, Herman uses her knowledge to give back to her community. “Given the amount of field research, field courses, and outdoor recreation that happens in SBS, our community has a major need for wilderness preparedness,” she says. This need gave rise to Herman’s involvement in developing the biennial subsidized Wilderness First Aid course which is available to students, faculty, and staff in the SBS. A future goal is to expand this program to more personnel across the College of Science.

Jordan Herman, PhD, is truly a force of nature. Next time you’re stuck between an intimidating toucan and a camouflaged pit viper, remember to ask yourself, WWJHD?:  What would Jordan Herman do? The School of Biological Sciences is indebted to Jordan Herman. She will always have a place here among the wide variety of birds and lifelong friends nestled at the base of the Wasatch Mountains.

 

by Andy Sposato

Andy is a graduate student in the Gagnon lab and co-founder of the LGBTQ+ STEM Interest Group in the College of Science.

Presidential Scholar

Presidential Scholar


Pearl Sandick

Pearl Sandick one of Four U Presidential Scholars named.

Four faculty members—a pharmacologist, a political scientist, an engineer, and a physicist—have been named Presidential Scholars at the University of Utah.

The award recognizes the extraordinary academic accomplishments and promise of mid-career faculty, providing them with financial support to advance their teaching and research work.

The 2020 recipients are: Marco Bortolato, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the College of Pharmacy; Jim Curry, associate professor and director of graduate studies for the Department of Political Science in the College of Social and Behavioral Science; Masood Parvania, associate professor and associate chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering; and Pearl Sandick, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and associate dean of the College of Science.

“These scholars represent the exceptional research and scholarship of mid-career faculty at the University of Utah,” said Dan Reed, senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “They each are outstanding scholars and teachers in their fields of specialty. Their scholarship is what makes the U such a vibrant and exciting intellectual environment.”

Presidential scholars are selected each year, and the recipients receive $10,000 in annual funding for three years. The program is made possible by a generous donor who is interested in fostering the success of mid-career faculty.

Pearl Sandick

Pearl Sandick, a theoretical particle physicist and associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, studies explanations for dark matter in the universe—one of the most important puzzles in modern physics.“I love that my work involves thinking of new explanations for dark matter, checking that they’re viable given everything we know from past experiments and observations, and proposing new ways to better understand what dark matter is,” she said. “I find this type of creative work and problem solving to be really fun on a day-to-day basis, and the bigger picture — what we’ve learned about the Universe and how it came to look the way it does — is just awe-inspiring.”

She has given a TEDx talk and been interviewed on National Public Radio’s Science Friday. Sandick is passionate about teaching, mentoring students and making science accessible and interesting to non-scientists. In addition to the Presidential Scholar award, she has received the U’s Early Career Teaching Award and Distinguished Mentor Award.

“One of the great joys of working at the U is our commitment to engaging students at all levels in research,” Sandick said, “and I’ve been thrilled to work with amazing undergraduate and graduate students.”

by Rebecca Walsh first published in @theU

11 Billion Years

 

 


Professor Kyle Dawson

11 billion years of history in one map: Astrophysicists reveal largest 3D model of the universe ever created.

(CNN) A global consortium of astrophysicists have created the world's largest three-dimensional map of the universe, a project 20 years in the making that researchers say helps better explain the history of the cosmos.

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), a project involving hundreds of scientists at dozens of institutions worldwide, collected decades of data and mapped the universe with telescopes. With these measurements, spanning more than 2 million galaxies and quasars formed over 11 billion years, scientists can now better understand how the universe developed.

Image courtesy of SDSS

"We know both the ancient history of the Universe and its recent expansion history fairly well, but there's a troublesome gap in the middle 11 billion years," cosmologist Kyle Dawson of the University of Utah, who led the team that announced the SDSS findings on Sunday. "For five years, we have worked to fill in that gap, and we are using that information to provide some of the most substantial advances in cosmology in the last decade," Dawson said in a statement.

Here's how it works: the map revealed the early materials that "define the structure in the Universe, starting from the time when the Universe was only about 300,000 years old." Researchers used the map to measure patterns and signals from different galaxies, and figure out how fast the universe was expanding at different points of history. Looking back in space allows for a look back in time.

"These studies allow us to connect all these measurements into a complete story of the expansion of the Universe," said Will Percival of the University of Waterloo in the statement.

The team also identified "a mysterious invisible component of the Universe called 'dark energy,'" which caused the universe's expansion to start accelerating about six billion years ago. Since then, the universe has only continued to expand "faster and faster," the statement said.

Image courtesy of SDSS

There are still many unanswered questions about dark energy -- it's "extremely difficult to reconcile with our current understanding of particle physics" -- but this puzzle will be left to future projects and researchers, said the statement.

Their findings also "revealed cracks in this picture of the Universe," the statement said. There were discrepancies between researchers' measurements and collected data, and their tools are so precise that it's unlikely to be error or chance. Instead, there might be new and exciting explanations behind the strange numbers, like the possibility that "a previously-unknown form of matter or energy from the early Universe might have left a trace on our history."

The SDSS is "nowhere near done with its mission to map the Universe," it said in the statement. "The SDSS team is busy building the hardware to start this new phase (of mapping stars and black holes) and is looking forward to the new discoveries of the next 20 years."

 

Adapted from a release by Jordan Raddick, SDSS public information officer
Also published in @theU, Spectrum Magazine, CNN, Forbes, and more.

 

HIV Microscopy

HIV Microscopy


Ipsita Saha, graduate research assistant

Pioneering method reveals dynamic structure in HIV.

Viruses are scary. They invade our cells like invisible armies, and each type brings its own strategy of attack. While viruses devastate communities of humans and animals, scientists scramble to fight back. Many utilize electron microscopy, a tool that can “see” what individual molecules in the virus are doing. Yet even the most sophisticated technology requires that the sample be frozen and immobilized to get the highest resolution.

Now, physicists from the University of Utah have pioneered a way of imaging virus-like particles in real time, at room temperature, with impressive resolution. In a new study, the method reveals that the lattice, which forms the major structural component of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is dynamic. The discovery of a diffusing lattice made from Gag and GagPol proteins, long considered to be completely static, opens up potential new therapies.

When HIV particles bud from an infected cell, the viruses experience a lag time before they become infectious. Protease, an enzyme that is embedded as a half-molecule in GagPol proteins, must bond to other similar molecules in a process called dimerization. This triggers the viral maturation that leads to infectious particles. No one knows how these half protease molecules find each other and dimerize, but it may have to do with the rearrangement of the lattice formed by Gag and GagPol proteins that lay just inside of the viral envelope. Gag is the major structural protein and has been shown to be enough to assemble virus-like particles. Gag molecules form a lattice hexagonal structure that intertwines with itself with miniscule gaps interspersed. The new method showed that the Gag protein lattice is not a static one.

The Saffarian Lab in the Crocker Science Center

“This method is one step ahead by using microscopy that traditionally only gives static information. In addition to new microscopy methods, we used a mathematical model and biochemical experiments to verify the lattice dynamics,” said lead author Ipsita Saha, graduate research assistant at the U’s Department of Physics & Astronomy. “Apart from the virus, a major implication of the method is that you can see how molecules move around in a cell. You can study any biomedical structure with this.”

The paper published in Biophysical Journal on June 26, 2020.

Mapping a nanomachine.

The scientists weren’t looking for dynamic structures at first—they just wanted to study the Gag protein lattice. Saha led the two year effort to “hack” microscopy techniques to be able to study virus particles at room temperature to observe their behavior in real life. The scale of the virus is miniscule — about 120 nanometers in diameter—so Saha used interferometric photoactivated localization microscopy (iPALM).

First, Saha tagged the Gag with a fluorescent protein called Dendra2 and produced virus-like particles of the resulting Gag-Dendra2 proteins. These virus-like particles are the same as HIV particles, but made only of the Gag-Dendra2 protein lattice structure. Saha showed that the resulting Gag-Dendra2 proteins assembled the virus-like particles the same way as virus-like particle made up regular Gag proteins. The fluorescent attachment allowed iPALM to image the particle with a 10 nanometer resolution. The scientists found that each immobilized virus-like particle incorporated 1400 to 2400 Gag-Dendra2 proteins arranged in a hexagonal lattice. When they used the iPALM data to reconstruct a time-lapse image of the lattice, it appeared that the lattice of Gag-Dendra2 were not static over time. To make sure, they independently verified it in two ways: mathematically and biochemically.

80 nm sections of cells (2020 Biphys Journal) - Saha & Saffarian

Initially, they divided up the protein lattice into uniform separate segments. Using a correlation analysis, they tested how each segment correlated with itself over time, from 10 to 100 seconds. If each segment continued to correlate with itself, the proteins were stationary. If they lost correlation, the proteins had diffused. They found that over time, the proteins were quite dynamic.

The second way they verified the dynamic lattice was biochemically. For this experiment, they created virus-like particles whose lattice consisted of 80% of Gag wild type proteins, 10% of Gag tagged with SNAP, and 10% of gag tagged with Halo. SNAP and Halo are proteins that can bind a linker which binds them together forever. The idea was to identify whether the molecules in the protein lattice stayed stationary, or if they migrated positions.

Rendering of Gag molecules proteins diffusing across a virus-like particle - Dave Meikle/Saffarian Lab

“The Gag-proteins assemble themselves randomly. The SNAP and Halo molecules could be anywhere within the lattice—some may be close to one another, and some will be far away,” Saha said. “If the lattice changes, there’s a chance that the molecules come close to one another.”

Saha introduced a molecule called Haxs8 into the virus-like particles. Haxs8 is a dimerizer—a molecule that covalently binds SNAP and Halo proteins when they are within binding radius of one another. If SNAP or Halo molecules move next to each other, they’ll produce a dimerized complex. She tracked these dimerized complex concentrations over time. If the concentration changed, it would indicate that new pairs of molecules found each other. If the concentration decreased, it would indicate the proteins broke apart. Either way, it would indicate that movement had taken place. They found that over time, the percentage of the dimerized complex increased; HALO and SNAP Gag proteins were moving all over the lattice and coming together over time.

A new tool to study viruses.

This is the first study to show that the protein lattice structure of an enveloped virus is dynamic. This new tool will be important to better understand the changes that occur within the lattice as new virus particles go from immaturity to dangerously infectious.

Saveez Saffarian and Ipsita Saha

“What are the molecular mechanisms that lead to infection? It opens up a new line of study,” said Saha. “If you can figure out that process, maybe you can do something to prevent them from finding each other, like a type of drug that would stop the virus in its tracks.”

Saveez Saffarian, professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the U, was senior author on the paper.

 

by Lisa Potter first published in @theU

Also published in Eurekalert
 

Student Visas

International Students


F1 Visa Update

July 14, 2020 - Update for International Students

Proposed changes in visa restrictions for international students have been rescinded, and visa qualifications will return to the standard set in the spring of 2020. International students are now able to register for classes that best suit their pathway to a degree, regardless of whether the class will be held online or in-person.

The College of Science remains committed to supporting you and helping you reach your academic goals and maintain your visa status under the current Immigration guidelines. The University of Utah continues to monitor this situation and will provide ongoing updates as new information becomes available.

I encourage you to reach out to your academic advisors or, in the case of graduate students, your department’s graduate program coordinator, with any questions or concerns that you may have.

We value the strength and diversity of our international student community, and we will continue to do whatever possible to support you during your academic career in the College of Science.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Peter Trapa


Debate 2020

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Masks for U

Spread the word, not the virus.

As faculty, staff and students slowly return to campus we are asking everyone in the community to take the utmost caution to avoid the spread of COVID-19. This includes wearing face coverings and maintaining appropriate physical distancing. The university will be providing face coverings to all faculty and staff to help make this possible.

Print & Mail Services will distribute the masks directly to departments. We hope to have the masks delivered in two weeks. Check with your department staff for availability.

The University is launching a campaign to remind people of the importance of wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing. The campaign features members of the campus community wearing appropriate face coverings with messaging about how to stay safe while on campus.

Departments will be able to place orders with Print & Mail Services for posters, A-frames, floor signs and other items with the campaign messaging. You can also get more information about staying safe on campus here.

We are all anxious for things to return to normal. However, that cannot happen until we stop the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in the greater Salt Lake City area.

We can do that by coming together and protecting ourselves and each other with just a few small changes to our normal routines.

Remember, we are all One U.



>> HOME <<

Forest Futures

Forest Futures


Know the risks of investing in forests.

Given the tremendous ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, some governments are counting on planted forests as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions—a sort of climate investment. But as with any investment, it’s important to understand the risks. If a forest goes bust, researchers say, much of that stored carbon could go up in smoke.

In a paper published in Science, University of Utah biologist William Anderegg and his colleagues say that forests can be best deployed in the fight against climate change with a proper understanding of the risks to that forest that climate change itself imposes. “As long as this is done wisely and based on the best available science, that’s fantastic,” Anderegg says. “But there hasn’t been adequate attention to the risks of climate change to forests right now.”

Meeting of Minds

William Anderegg

In 2019, Anderegg, a recipient of the Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, convened a workshop in Salt Lake City to gather some of the foremost experts on climate change risks to forests. The diverse group represented various disciplines: law, economics, science and public policy, among others. “This was designed to bring some of the people who had thought about this the most together and to start talking and come up with a roadmap,” Anderegg says.

This paper, part of that roadmap, calls attention to the risks forests face from myriad consequences of rising global temperatures, including fire, drought, insect damage and human disturbance—a call to action, Anderegg says, to bridge the divide between the data and models produced by scientists and the actions taken by policymakers.

Accumulating Risk

Forests absorb a significant amount of the carbon dioxide that’s emitted into the atmosphere—just under a third, Anderegg says. “And this sponge for CO2 is incredibly valuable to us.”

Because of this, governments in many countries are looking to “forest-based natural climate solutions” that include preventing deforestation, managing natural forests and reforesting. Forests could be some of the more cost-effective climate mitigation strategies, with co-benefits for biodiversity, conservation and local communities.

But built into this strategy is the idea that forests are able to store carbon relatively “permanently”, or on the time scales of 50 to 100 years—or longer. Such permanence is not always a given. “There’s a very real chance that many of those forest projects could go up in flames or to bugs or drought stress or hurricanes in the coming decades,” Anderegg says.

Forests have long been vulnerable to all of those factors, and have been able to recover from them when they are episodic or come one at a time. But the risks connected with climate change, including drought and fire, increase over time. Multiple threats at once, or insufficient time for forests to recover from those threats, can kill the trees, release the carbon, and undermine the entire premise of forest-based natural climate solutions.

“Without good science to tell us what those risks are,” Anderegg says, “we’re flying blind and not making the best policy decisions.”

Mitigating Risk

In the paper, Anderegg and his colleagues encourage scientists to focus increased attention on assessing forest climate risks and share the best of their data and predictive models with policymakers so that climate strategies including forests can have the best long-term impact. For example, he says, the climate risk computer models scientists use are detailed and cutting-edge, but aren’t widely used outside the scientific community. So, policy decisions can rely on science that may be decades old.

“There are at least two key things you can do with this information,” Anderegg says. The first is to optimize investment in forests and minimize risks. “Science can guide and inform where we ought to be investing to achieve different climate aims and avoid risks.”

The second, he says, is to mitigate risks through forest management. “If we’re worried about fire as a major risk in a certain area, we can start to think about what are the management tools that make a forest more resilient to that disturbance.” More research, he says, is needed in this field, and he and his colleagues plan to work toward answering those questions.

“We view this paper as an urgent call to both policymakers and the scientific community,” Anderegg says, “to study this more, and improve in sharing tools and information across different groups.” Read the full paper @ sciencemag.org

 

 

by Paul Gabrielsen first published in @theU

 

Dean’s Update

From the Dean


June 12, 2020

Dear College of Science Community,

In the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, the country continues to respond to racial injustice and the oppressive systems that enable it.  To be clear, the College of Science stands in solidarity with the Black community, and supports the University in its efforts to address pervasive racism.

In recent days, I have heard from many of you about actionable ideas to advocate for equity for all. Effective action requires sustained dialog, and I will continue to listen to your ideas, as I formulate plans of action with your department chairs.  I am committed to working with all of you to implement and sustain meaningful change toward a better, more equitable future.

 

Sincerely,

Peter Trapa

 

 

 


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