Meet Jessica Ray, an animal science major from Michigan State University who is participating in UM’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program through the Center for Environmental Health Sciences. She’s working toward her goal of conducting environmental toxicology research by studying the emerging concern of nanoparticles as an environmental contaminant. Working with UM mentors Yoon Hee Cho and Gini Porter, Ray is developing expertise in topics including epigenetics and nanomaterials. Read more about Ray’s summer at UM.
James “Jim” Elser, an internationally renowned freshwater ecologist, will become the next director of the University of Montana’s century-old Flathead Lake Biological Station. UM President Royce Engstrom announced July 29 that Elser had accepted the position. Elser, a lake ecologist who serves as a Regents’ Professor at Arizona State University, was selected for the position after an extensive international search. He will succeed Jack Stanford, who will remain director until Elser arrives. Read more about the new director.
The Flathead Lake Biological Station’s research boat, the Jessie B., returned to its dock recently after a six-month absence. The welded-aluminum hull on the station’s refurbished boat now houses two new diesel engines, high-performance outdrives and 540 horsepower. The refurbishment added 140 horsepower and gave the Jessie B. the ability to carry 13,500 pounds in fuel, people and equipment for research missions on Flathead Lake. Read more about the refurbished Jesse B. in the Bigfork Eagle.
UM researchers Sarj Patel and Tom Rau are among six final winners nationally to receive $500,000 from the Head Health Challenge I, a program sponsored by General Electric Co. and the National Football League. Their work aims to speed diagnosis and improve treatment for mild traumatic brain injury. Winners were selected from an initial group of 16 challenge winners who were chosen from more than 400 entries from 27 countries. Read the news release.
The annual "State of the Climate" report released Thursday said 2014 was the warmest year on record going back 135 years. Temperatures continued to rise, and glaciers kept shrinking. The impact has been dramatic in Greenland, the huge ice-covered island between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans. University of Montana glaciologist Joel Harper has been camping each summer on Greenland's ice sheet, studying how glaciers and ice move. CBS News reports on the changes Harper and others are seeing.
UM’s Wildlife Biology Program has named Chad Bishop as its new director. Bishop, who previously served as assistant director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, takes over on Aug. 1. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Montana State University, a master’s degree in wildlife resources from the University of Idaho and a doctorate in wildlife biology from Colorado State University. Read more about Bishop.
Meet Samantha Couture, an environmental health major from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, who is participating in UM’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program through the Center for Environmental Health Sciences. Working with mentors Chris Migliaccio and Kevin Trout, she is studying macrophage biology in relation to medical devices and nanomaterials. Read more about her research and the SURP Program.
The Crown Reporting Project at UM pairs students from the graduate program in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism with seasoned editors as they pursue stories in the Crown of the Continent region. While the students report stories in the field, their mentors recommend sources, edit drafts and help publish the final product. Learn more about the Crown Reporting Project here and read one student’s latest dispatch from the field here.
Maggie Honig is excited to be exploring her interest in environmental chemistry and toxicology this summer as she participates in UM’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program through the Center for Environmental Health Sciences. Honig is majoring in environmental studies at Binghamton University in New York but this summer she’s in Missoula working with UM mentor Mark Pershouse to research the PTEN tumor suppressor gene as it applies to mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Read more about Honig’s summer research at UM.
The science of wildfires often pits academics against forestry professionals. Carl Seielstad, an associate research professor at the University of Montana, has built a career bridging the divide through his work in the trenches as well as in the lab. Now the former smokejumper is helping change fire policy forever. For starters, Seielstad says, you’ve got to fight fire with fire. Read more about Seielstad's career path in Dartmouth’s alumni magazine.
Last year, a semi-trailer deposited nearly 1,000 boxes of material for the Archives and Special Collections at UM’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library from Max Baucus’ career as a politician, a tenure that began in the U.S. House in 1978. Natalie Bond, who has been organizing the new Max Baucus Collection since December, said it will be among the largest archival collections at the library. Read more about the task of archiving Baucus’ papers in the Missoulian.
Upstairs in a corner of the Natural Sciences building on campus, curator Shannon Kimball watches over some 129,000 pressed plant specimens in the University of Montana Herbarium, an organized collection that's little known and growing by the day. The oldest specimen, a plant from Mexico, is from 1834. Read more in the Missoulian.
While some Missoulians were still eating their breakfast on Monday, two dozen Montana high-school students taking part in a health career summer camp were wrist-deep dissecting the heart of a pig. The summer camp, called MedStart, is designed to give high-school juniors and seniors a chance to explore health careers and the various programs offered at colleges in Montana. The MedStart camp in Missoula is sponsored by the Western Montana Area Health Education Center at UM. Read more about MedStart.
Honey bee exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides has been a growing concern. Now Jerry Bromenshenk will lead a team at UM examining the long-term health consequences of exposure of honey bee colonies to dust emitted during planting of neonicotinoid treated corn seeds. This is the first study that plans to follow the health and survival of honey bees long after interaction with corn dust to better understand how honey bee health throughout the year relates to early season corn planting. Read more about Bromenshenk’s latest study.
Anya Jabour is a professor in academia who recently jumped into show business. Jabour, who teaches history at UM and serves as co-director of its program in women's gender and sexuality, got an unexpected phone call recently when a representative for a new historical PBS drama asked her to be on set in Virginia while the crew shot the first season's six episodes. Read more in the Missoulian about Jabour’s new role as historic consultant.
Biochemistry major Laura Fisch is excited to spend the summer exploring her interest in environmental toxicology through UM’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program at the Center for Environmental Health Sciences. Fisch is working with UM mentors Andrij Holian and Don Anderson to research methods for studying the effects of nanomaterial exposure in relation to cell health and inflammation. Read more about Fisch’s summer at UM.
When not teaching and free from meetings, Ashley Ballantyne can be found on his computer, scrolling through carbon readings from around the globe. He searches for patterns, ones that will illuminate the carbon dioxide cycle between Earth’s surface and atmosphere. This cycle is complex, evolving and difficult to grasp. The closer bioclimatologists like Ballantyne can get, however, the more precisely they can make predictions for a warming world. Read more about Ballantyne’s work in Research View.
Two UM researchers who in 2014 won a $300,000 award from the National Football League and General Electric are in the running for an additional half-million dollars in research funding in 2015. Sarj Patel and Tom Rau, of UM's Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, are trying to identify blood-based biomarkers indicating how the brain reacts following a brain injury. The Missoula Independent reports on the latest grant Patel and Rau are seeking.
Rosalyn LaPier, assistant professor of environmental studies at UM, recently was appointed a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. In exchange, LaPier will bring her own outside expertise and knowledge to the Smithsonian, which includes more than 25 years of experience working with Blackfeet elders researching ethobotany and traditional ecological knowledge. Read more about LaPier’s work with the Smithsonian.
From HIV prevention to a runner’s gait to elementary school physical education, UM’s Health and Human Performance Department makes a significant impact on the well-being of the people of Montana and beyond. The department centers on three distinct programs: community health, exercise science and health enhancement. HHP has become so popular it ranks second in students enrolled. Read more in the Montanan magazine.
UM researcher Sarah Certel says that tiny fruit flies could provide keys to understanding how brains are capable of producing aggression. Members of her lab study videos of daily boxing matches held in a tiny arena. She hopes this fruit fly fight club may lead to improved therapeutic drugs for conditions in which aggression is manifested, such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s or attention-deficit disorder. Read more in Research View.
Seeing Montana’s intellectually disabled population lead healthier lives is the focus of an upcoming initiative launched by UM’s Rural Institute. The institute held a training meeting for facilitators of a pilot project titled “14 Weeks to a Healthier You” earlier this month in Helena. The program focuses on personalized diet and exercise programs for those with intellectual development disorder. Read more in the Independent Record.
The University is one step closer to turning a discovery into a drug. Promentis Pharmaceuticals Inc. has announced it will enter an exclusive agreement with UM to commercialize a discovery made by a team of UM faculty scientists that has the potential to treat brain cancer and possibly other disorders of the central nervous system. It took almost two decades of experimentation to arrive at two related breakthroughs. Read more in the Research View newsletter.
A team of UM students has built a mobile-phone app that allows beekeepers to record the sound of their colony to determine whether it’s healthy or not. The Android app was developed by computer science students Seth Welch, Quinton Greenhagen, Kyler Commers, Andreas Freiburg, Seth Hovenkotter and Matthew Detrick as part of their senior capstone project under the direction of UM software engineering professor Joel Henry. Read more about the bee app in the Missoulian.
The state of Montana is offering new $1,000 scholarships to in-state high school graduates who major in science, technology, engineering, math or health care at a Montana college. Graduating seniors who are interested should act fast. The Legislature set aside $400,000 to kick off the scholarships this year, and already 200 high school students have started the application process, Sheila Newlun, Montana University System scholarship coordinator, said Tuesday. Read more in the Bozeman Chronicle.
A vast swarm of cicadas are starting to crawl out of the ground after 13 or 17 years spent underground. When they greet daylight for the first time, they devote themselves to weeks of frenzied sex and cacophonous song, before dying en masse. But the cicada’s weird lifestyles have also left them with a different legacy. It’s so weird that when UM researcher John McCutcheon first discovered it, he thought he had made a technical error. The National Geographic blog Phenomena reports.
With 18 students accepted into medical schools this year, the Pre-Medical Sciences Program at UM reached an acceptance rate of 64 percent – 20 points higher than the national average of 44 percent. The pre-med program has seen a steady increase in the number of students admitted into medical programs the past several years. Mark Pershouse, Pre-Medical Sciences Program director, credits the steady increase to a task force formed in 2008 to improve pre-medical advising. Read more about UM’s pre-med program.
“In the backyard of a woodsy home, small birds flitted to and from the yard’s feeder. They were oblivious to a curious stand nearby, topped by a curtain that was painted to resemble bark. Erick Greene, a professor of biology at UM, stepped away from the stand and stood by the home’s backdoor. He pressed the fob of a modified garage-door opener. The curtain dropped, unveiling a taxidermied northern pygmy owl.” The New York Times reports on Greene’s latest research.
UM graduates Ryan Bell, Brinna Boettger and Dylan Gomes recently received Fulbright Scholarship award notifications for the coming year. Bell was awarded a coveted Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship. Boettger earned a prestigious English Teaching Assistant Fulbright Scholarship. Gomes earned a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant to study bats at the Max Planck Institutes in Germany. Read more about UM’s latest Fulbright awardees.
The amount of care parents provide their young varies greatly across the animal kingdom, particularly among songbird species, who spend anywhere from 20 percent to nearly 100 percent of daylight hours warming eggs in their nests. A team of researchers led by Thomas Martin, senior scientist and professor at UM’s Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, set out to discover why. Read more about the results of the study, which will appear in an upcoming issue of The American Naturalist.
Some fire scientists burn down hillsides. Some burn up whole fire policies. Ron Wakimoto has done both, developing research that helps save the lives of firefighters and helps return fire to the woods after a half-century of fighting to keep it out. Last week, he wound up more than three decades of teaching fire science at the University of Montana’s School of Forestry. Read more about Wakimoto in the Missoulian.
Patience and persistence are beginning to pay off for UM Professor Mark Grimes, whose research about the behavior of cell proteins in childhood cancer recently was published by the Public Library of Science Computational Biology. In his quest to understand the childhood cancer called neuroblastoma, Grimes started at the subcellular level. As a cell biologist, he wanted to understand why cancer cells behave differently than other cells. Read more about Grimes’ research.
UM Professor John Kimball is among a group of researchers nationwide who are contributing data to the National Climate Assessment. Prominent researchers nationwide are tasked to provide scientific data that ultimately can help decision makers understand and respond to climate change. Each technical team will take on a specific indicator of climate change. Based out of Missoula, Kimball is on the technical team that is working on data related to phenology. Read more about Kimball’s work.
University of Montana student Ellen Ipsen will hop across the pond this summer to attend the Fulbright UK Summer Institute for Undergraduates, a program that fosters relations between the United States and United Kingdom and teaches American students more about the UK. Ipsen, a sophomore from Missoula majoring in history, will examine the topic of slavery and the Atlantic heritage while studying at the University of Bristol’s Fulbright Institute in southwest England. Read more about Ipsen’s Fulbright.
Two graduate students talk about the state-of-the-art toxicology research they are conducting at UM’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences. For more information, visit https://cehsweb.health.umt.edu/.
This Saturday, thousands will gather in Caras Park to celebrate the 23rd annual Garden City BrewFest. But alcohol wasn't always such a widely embraced social driver. Last year, University of Montana history professor Kyle Volk published “Moral Minorities and the Making of American Democracy,” which examines the long history of America's temperance movement and the birth of minority rights language among early anti-prohibitionists. The Missoula Independent sits down with Volk to discuss his new book.
What are the ecological consequences of this accelerated drilling activity? Researchers at UM have conducted the first-ever broad-scale scientific assessment of how oil and gas development transforms landscapes across the U.S. and Canada. Their work was published April 24 in an article titled “Ecosystem services lost to oil and gas in North America” in Science. The article concludes that oil and gas development creates significant vegetation loss of rangelands and croplands across broad swaths of central North America. Read more about the study.
UM student Hope Radford won a second $5,000 Udall Scholarship, which will support her studies for the 2015-16 academic year. Her award marks the 38th time a UM student has earned this prestigious scholarship. Radford, a junior from Colorado Springs, Colorado, is majoring in resource conservation with minors in climate change studies and international development studies. She spent spring term studying sustainable agriculture in Chile and Argentina and plans a career in sustainable international agriculture. Read more about Radford.
An upstart technology firm founded in Missoula plans to create 10 new jobs over the next two years to handle the growing demand for its data-mining software. Joel Henry, a law and computer science professor at UM, co-founded Agile Data Solutions in 2013 to help sift through mountains of legal data. Agile currently employees 12 people, all of them UM graduates and interns. The firm is looking to grow its workforce to 22 people. Read more about Agile’s growth.
One of the biggest buzzwords in health care right now is pharmacogenetics, also known as personalized or precision medicine. As interest and investment in personalized medicine increases, UM Associate Professor Erica Woodahl stands in a prominent position. She's currently the only person in the continental United States doing pharmacogenetic research on an indigenous population. The Missoula Independent reports on Woodahl’s groundbreaking work.
Many scientists assume that the growing level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will accelerate plant growth. However, a new study co-written by UM researchers suggests much of this growth will be curtailed by limited soil nutrients. The end result: By the end of the century, there may be more than an additional 10 percent of CO2 in the atmosphere, which would accelerate climate change. The study recently was published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Read more about the study.
Restoration work in Montana is creating job growth. Statistics show an eight percent rise in such employment in Montana in 2013. That's according to Cara Nelson, associate professor of restoration ecology at UM, who talked about the growth of restoration work during her presentation at the three-day restoration conference called the "Symposium on Riparian Restoration in a Contaminated Environment: Lessons Learned and Challenges in Moving Forward." Read more about the restoration industry in the Montana Standard.
Wild yaks live on the roof of the world, a frosty high-elevation plateau north of the Himalayas. Conservation biologist Joel Berger, UM professor and researcher, wanted to find out how climate change might affect yaks, so he paid them a visit. Listen to Berger’s latest adventure in a new podcast from The Adaptors titled “Yak Life.”
UM sophomore Rachel Dickson recently learned she earned a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, the top national award for undergraduate research in science, math and engineering. Dickson is UM’s 16th Goldwater Scholar. The Barry Goldwater Excellence in Education Foundation trustees awarded 260 scholars this year. Dickson is a sophomore from Missoula majoring in biology and environmental studies. Read more about Dickson’s latest accomplishment.
If McDonald’s is looking for a new image, Brent Ruby might have a suggestion: The Happy Sports Recovery Meal. Take a plain burger and medium Coke. Yes, you can have fries with that. Then advertise that the meal works just as well for recovery as fancy fitness food. As an added benefit, the marketing would actually be backed by science. Ruby, a UM exercise physiologist, is the brains behind a new study. Outside magazine reports on Ruby’s latest findings.
With passenger counts and airline service on the rise, Missoula International Airport is looking to learn more about its customers and why they’re choosing to fly to the Garden City. To accomplish that, the airport is working with UM’s School of Business Administration to create a passenger survey. The information would be mapped and presented in a big-data effort driven by graduate students in computer science. Read more about the collaboration in the Missoulian.
Trenton Starkey, a 25-year-old senior pursuing a degree in management information systems at UM’s School of Business Administration, isn’t stressed about finding a job after he graduates like most of his peers. He’s already had recruiters emailing him and making him offers, and he’s accepted a "cloud engineering" position with Microsoft. Starkey is one of seven UM students who will be the first to graduate with a certificate in data analytics in May. Read more about UM’s big data certificate.
Bark beetles have long been culling sickly trees in North American forests. But in recent years, they've been working overtime. Prolonged droughts and shorter winters have spurred bark beetles to kill billions of trees in what's likely the largest forest insect outbreak ever recorded, about 10 times the size of past eruptions. "A doubling would have been remarkable," says UM entomologist Diana Six. "Ten times screams that something is really going wrong." Mother Jones magazine joins Six in the field to learn more.
Medical professionals from across the country met at UM over the weekend to try to solve the health care problems of rural communities by innovating fresh ideas. The event, called Hacking Rural Medicine, included a competition called a “rural medicine hackathon” where teams developed ideas for a new tool or product to help solve a problem experienced by the rural medical community. Read more about the event in the Missoulian.
Diana Six parked at the edge of a pine forest in southwestern Montana’s Big Hole Valley. Beneath snow-tipped peaks, lodgepole pines in four different colors draped the hillside—a time line of carnage. The gray ones had died in 2009. Light red trees, still holding needles, had succumbed in 2011. Darker, auburn trees had perished in 2012. Even the seemingly healthy green trees, said Six, a ponytailed, bodybuilding, beer-brewing entomologist at UM, were not what they seemed. National Geographic reports.
One ecosystem where scientists would most like to understand the effects of changing freeze/thaw cycles is boreal forests. But we know very little about how these forests are changing. That’s about to change. By the end of April, NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive mission, or SMAP, will begin monitoring the frozen or thawed state of the landscape north of 45 degrees north latitude every two days. UM Professor John Kimball is a member of the team that developed SMAP. Read more about his work.
A ratty osprey soared over the Clark Fork River, a giant fish caught between its talons. A few feet away, another osprey watched from her nest. Her partner hadn’t returned home for the summer and she was ready to mate. The raptor, named Iris, called the male over. Erick Greene, a UM wildlife biology professor, watched the scene from below. He knew he was witnessing something rare, something great. The Montana Kaimin reports on Greene’s osprey project.
Hank Green, Internet Guy. Even if you don’t know who he is, there’s a good chance he has helped teach your kids or the kids of someone you know how photosynthesis, mitosis and biological molecules work, among a great many things. Truth be told, he’s an online video master. And Green, who holds a master's degree in environmental studies from University of Montana, loves science. U.S. News and World Report talks with Green about his success.
Researchers at the University of Montana, Princeton University, Stanford University and Rutgers University, among others, are collecting new measurements of tropical forests to gain a better understanding of how they respond to seasonal climate variations. The new information helps predict how the global tropics may react to future climate change. These findings are detailed in a paper titled “Photosynthetic seasonality of global tropical forests constrained by hydroclimate,” which was published in Nature Geoscience this month. Read more about the research.
In June 2013, western Montana had no resident physicians. This July, 30 doctors will be at work in the Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana, along with nine core faculty, more than 100 community faculty, and five staff. The doctors work at St. Patrick Hospital, Community Medical Center, Partnership Health Center, Flathead Community Health Center, and Kalispell Regional Medical Center. Read more about the UM’s medical residency program.
Technicians in the U.S. Forest Service’s new lab building can spot the presence (or absence) of specific fish in a whole river drainage from a cup of water. They can trace the family tree of a sage grouse from a tail feather. Don’t get them started on what they can tell when a grizzly bear poops in the woods. The new lab at UM can produce those answers at a scale that’s cost-effective, reliable and defensible. Read more about the new lab.
The College of Forestry and Conservation announces the appointment of Ruth Ann Swaney as coordinator of the Native American Natural Resource Program. Swaney is an enrolled tribal member of the Three Affiliated Tribes on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Swaney also has family from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana. She holds a master’s degree in organismal biology and ecology from UM and is working on a doctorate in society and conservation. Read more about Swaney.
UM has been selected as Montana’s host site for “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare,” a national traveling exhibition of one of the world’s most treasured books – the Shakespeare First Folio. The Folger Shakespeare Library, in partnership with Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, is touring the exhibition in 2016. Final touring dates will be announced in April. Read more about UM’s chance to host the First Folio.
Professors researching at UM have turned to the Berkeley Pit's fungi as a potential building block in the cure for cancer. In their lab, Andrea Stierle tracks data on her computer while her husband, Don Stierle, writes the couple’s findings in a lab notebook. They sit together, surrounded chemical hoods, scattered petri dishes and graduated cylinders. Read more about the Stierles’ research in the Montana Kaimin.
Children with a passion for science, technology, engineering and math – often referred to as STEM – can be found around Western Montana. Based on Chamber of Commerce data, Montana is tenth in the nation in STEM growth. But that doesn't mean there's no room for improvement. The University of Montana makes an effort engage young students in STEM fields while also drawing top-notch college students in the same areas of study. KPAX-TV reports on the future of STEM in Montana.
A pair of UM researchers has become a regular sight in some of the most remote communities in the U.S., both in the Lower 48 and the far north. Blakely Brown, a professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance, and Desirae Ware, a program manager with the Center for Environmental Health Sciences, have spent years traveling to rural Native American communities in Montana and Alaska to pursue unique research opportunities. Read more in Vision, UM’s research magazine.
It's understandable if you're unaware of the hidden planetarium beneath the Native American Center. The project has been in the works since 2013, but the astronomy department has kept it pretty quiet, preferring to introduce it to the public gradually. The lack of fanfare has nothing to do with its quality, however. Though the domed room housing it is not enormous, the equipment's capabilities are stellar. The Montana Kaimin reports on UM’s planetarium.
UM College of Forestry and Conservation student Stephen Jenkins fromBigfork and recent forestry graduate Jena Trejo from Marcola, Oregon, were first runners-up in the Barrett Foundation Business Concept Challenge. The challenge recognizes business ideas that solve natural resource challenges in America’s national forests. Jenkins and Trejo developed a business plan to convert logging slash and other wood waste into methanol and liquid carbon dioxide through a mobile gasification unit. Read more about their business plan.
TEDxUMontana returns for a second year, and the theme of this year’s event is language. Tickets are now on sale. The event will take place from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, in the Dennison Theater. Learn more and purchase tickets at http://www.umt.edu/tedx.
When the body turns against itself, it can strike with debilitating and deadly accuracy. The war raging inside people with autoimmune disorders can be devastating, and the current gold standard of care involves complete demilitarization of the body’s defenses by highly immunosuppressive drugs. But now UM researchers are developing a more targeted response. Read more about the advancements taking place in Professor David Shepherd’s lab in Vision, UM's research magazine.
It’s not easy being a male Onthophagus nigriventris dung beetle. When they’re not jostling for space around a pile of excrement, they’re trying to mate with females while ensuring no other male does the same. It’s a relentless endeavor for which they’ve developed a helpful tool: weapons. It’s the evolutionary consequence of these weapons that interests Doug Emlen, a biologist at UM. Read more about Emlen’s research on animal weaponry in the Montanan.
City smog lowers children’s IQ. This is among findings from a recent UM study that found children living in cities with significant air pollution are at an increased risk for detrimental impacts to the brain. Findings by UM Professor Dr. Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, MA, MD, Ph.D., and her team of researchers are detailed in a paper titled “Decreases in Short-Term Memory, IQ and Altered Brain Metabolic Rations in Urban Apolipoprotein ε4 Children Exposed to Air Pollution.” Read more about the research.
Missoula schoolchildren became flames and trees Tuesday during “Fire Speaks the Land,” an interactive dance performance at UM that taught students about fire science. CoMotion Dance Project used the presentation to launch its fourth season performing for and with students all across western Montana. Through the production, students learned how fire burns in different types of forests and how it impacts the landscape. Learn more about the CoMotion Dance Project in the Missoulian.
Less than a decade ago, autism wasn’t on many people’s radar. Back then it was diagnosed at about 1 in 10,000 children. Now it’s 1 in 68. With the growing need for services, three educators at UM have spearheaded and implemented programs and projects that aim for autism intervention. The educators hope to make real-world impacts on Montana communities, as well as provide practical experience for UM students in the field. Read more in Vision, UM’s annual research publication.
UM is one step closer to turning a discovery into a drug. Promentis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. recently announced it will enter an exclusive agreement with UM to commercialize a discovery made by a team of UM faculty scientists that has the potential to treat brain cancer and possibly other disorders of the central nervous system. The team includes professors Richard Bridges, Sarjubhai Patel, Nicholas Natale, Philippe Diaz and Charles Thompson. Read more about UM’s agreement with the pharmaceutical company.
Last fall, UM student Rebecca Collins completed 12 credits of independent study on the Camino de Santiago, a medieval pilgrimage in southern France and northern Spain. Equipped with knowledge from her interdisciplinary studies on pilgrimage history, European pilgrimage literature and nature writing, she walked the Camino de Santiago herself and do nature writing of her own. In this Global Leadership Initiative blog post, Collins reflects on her journey.
The consensus is in: Birds are living dinosaurs. But how that epic evolutionary leap took place remains one of science’s greatest mysteries. Evolutionary biologists like Ashley Heers represent the next generation of researchers. She is using the latest video and computer modeling technology to study this evolutionary mystery. Heers recently completed her Ph.D. with Kenneth Dial at the UM’s Flight Laboratory, probably the world’s leading research center on bird aeronautics. Aubodon Magazine reports in this month’s cover story.
M. Sanjayan once held a 9-foot shark in the Caribbean as it gave birth. It was all in a day’s work for the world-renowned scientist and UM research faculty member who just completed a five-year project with PBS and National Geographic that took him to 29 countries. The series, “Earth – A New Wild,” airs Wednesday nights on PBS in February, beginning with a double episode this week. Read more about Sanjayan in the Missoulian and watch the PBS series trailer here.
The sun hadn’t risen yet, but Tanner Saul was up. He unzipped his tent and stepped out into the chilly morning, still unable to see the African landscape surrounding him. Saul, a sophomore wildlife biology major at the University of Montana, spent the entire six-week winter break studying a medium-sized wild cat, the caracal, in Cape Town, South Africa. The Montana Kaimin reports on Saul’s adventure.
The University of Montana’s Global Leadership Initiative is a four-year fellowship that provides students unique experiences through a community. GLI enriches academic learning by combining practical experiences with classroom education. Learn more about UM's unique GLI program in this video.
Researchers in UM’s Center for Work Physiology & Exercise Metabolism recently teamed up with Heatsheets to study the effectiveness of the capes marathon runners receive after crossing the finish line. Learn how their research is improving the post-race experience in this video.
Marilyn Marler soon will trade the grasslands and wildflowers of Mount Sentinel for the wetlands and crocodiles of Vietnam. In late February, Marler, the Missoula City Council president, heads to Cat Tien National Park on a prestigious Fulbright award. The UM naturalist will spend the month of March as a Fulbright specialist in a U.S. Department of State program that promotes relationships "between U.S. scholars and professionals and their counterparts" overseas. Read more about Marler’s assignment.
When astrobiologists contemplate life on nearby planets or moons, they often suggest such life would be simple. But from such simple life, more complex lifeforms could eventually come to be. That's what happened here on planet Earth. How did the chemistry evolve to get life to where we are today? What transitions took place? Frank Rosenzweig, an evolutionary geneticist at UM, is looking into such questions over the next five years with funding from the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Read more about his research on Space.com.
During the early-morning hours on Tuesday, Jan. 29, NASA will launch a satellite that will peer into the topmost layer of Earth's soils to measure the hidden waters that influence our ecosystems weather and climate. UM Professor John Kimball is among the team of researchers involved in the project. He developed algorithms that will digest the vast amount of data collected by the satellite. Read more about Kimball’s work with NASA.
In a recent study, UM and Montana Climate Office researcher Jared Oyler found that while the western U.S. has warmed, recently observed warming in the mountains of the western U.S. likely is not as large as previously supposed. His results, published online Jan. 13 in Geophysical Research Letters, show that sensor changes have significantly biased temperature observations from the Snowpack Telemetry (SNOTEL) station network. Read more about Oyler’s findings.
From horns to claws, teeth and talons, the animal kingdom features many natural weapons. But UM evolutionary biologist Doug Emlen wanted to know why, in some rare cases, animals develop weapons that are dramatically outsized for their bodies. His research found the same story—an evolutionary arms race pushes animal weapons to the extreme. North Carolina Public Radio host Frank Stasio talks with Emlen about his new book “Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle.”
When astrobiologists contemplate life on nearby planets or moons, they often suggest such life would be simple. From such simple life, more complex life forms could eventually come to be. How did the chemistry evolve to get life to where we are today? What transitions took place? Frank Rosenzweig, evolutionary geneticist at UM, is looking into such questions over the next five years with funding from the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Read more about Rosenzweig’s research.
From his lab in Missoula, Nate McCrady watches the stars. The UM associate professor of astronomy and his team of research students received a $1.125 million grant from NASA last year. The grant funded a telescope purchase and three years of research work, allowing them to participate in Project MINERVA, a collaborative effort between four universities that will be examining the planets surrounding nearby stars to look for ones that are similar to Earth. Read more about McCrady’s exciting research.
After four years of investigating, planning, politicking and decision-making, UM has a new data center. It doesn’t look like much from the outside—a big white box sitting beneath a slanted metal roof near UM’s heating plant. It’s what will happen inside the box that will be remarkable. “We’re going from arguably the worst data center in higher education to perhaps the best,” says Tony Jablonski, Associate CIO for IT’s central computing services. Read more about UM’s new data center.
A big year for Rivertop Renewables has gotten even bigger. The Missoula producer of biodegradable chemicals received a $26 million cash infusion from outside investors in the spring. Then, the company announced recently that its first commercial manufacturing plant is under construction. "What's really cool about this is that it's technology that was developed by Dr. Don Kiely at the University of Montana," says CEO Mike Knauf. Read more about Rivertop's success in the Missoula Independent.
The residents of Riverside Health Care Center in Missoula are receiving Christmas cards from across the country thanking the staff and residents for hosting an online streaming camera placed next to an osprey nest in the care center’s parking lot. UM wildlife biology Professor Erick Greene heads the Montana Osprey Project, which includes the osprey nest webcam at Riverside. Thousands of webcam viewers keep tabs on the popular birds. Read more about the osprey project community.
Toxicology graduate students at the Center for Environmental Health Sciences are involved in extracurricular activities at the University of Montana and with regional and national organizations. Three current students share their experiences in this video.
A saber-toothed cat snarls, ready to pounce from the front cover of “Animal Weapons,” a new book that’s getting a lot of notice from both the media and the science world. The artist and UM alumnus Helenan David Tuss teamed up with writer and UM Professor Doug Emlen to illustrate the animal kingdom’s amazing array of extreme weaponry. Read more about how Tuss met Emlen while earning his bachelor’s degree in science and a minor in art from UM.
“First light” marked a new dawn for UM astronomy on Dec. 16. UM astrophysics Associate Professor Nate McCrady, along with a team of researchers, achieved “first light” on Tuesday – a term used to describe successfully taking first observations from a telescope. McCrady traveled from Missoula to Mount Hopkins, Ariz., to oversee the installation of UM’s new 0.7-meter telescope by crane at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory. Read more about UM’s new telescope.
A Missoula-born osprey has become a celebrity among birdwatchers on the Gulf Coast of Texas. As a chick, the bird was tagged with a blue leg band bearing the designation “M8” by UM wildlife biology Professor Erick Greene and his team of researchers. In September, Sally Mitchel of Rockport, Texas, photographed the bird, saw its band and reached out to Greene and his team. Read more about the rare sighting of a banded bird.
Education changes lives and those lives change the world. At the University of Montana, we see it daily. Our students come from every conceivable background and embrace challenge, grow as individuals and, ultimately, thrive.
On Dec. 9, Rivertop Renewables announced its first commercial production plant that will be located in Virginia. They work with glucaric acid, which is a naturally occurring sugar acid that's never been produced on a commercial scale. That will soon change when Missoula’s Rivertop Renewables opens up a new factory in Virginia. Rivertop is based on the work of work of UM Professor Emeritus Don Kiely. NBC Montana reports on the company’s recent growth.
The average day hiker in Glacier National Park is unlikely to notice the dwindling stonefly population. But trout are. The western glacier stonefly is one of the few flies to hatch throughout the winter. Now the rare aquatic insect is under threat, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey say, as a result of loss of glacial ice. USGS biologists teamed up with scientists from UM to study the imperiled insect. Their findings recently were published in Freshwater Science.
UM students studying big data have a new tool coming their way. The IBM Power Systems Organization recently granted a scale-out POWER8 processor-based server to the University, which will allow UM students to run IBM InfoSphere Streams software on a state-of-the-art platform that will aid student learning. The grant was part of IBM’s Shared University Research Awards, a competitive, worldwide, equipment award program. Read more about new server at UM.
Growing up in Montana, Dan Baca had an amazing view of the stars, but he had no idea the stars were in his future. Today, the 2003 UM graduate is working with NASA on the Orion spacecraft that made its first launch Thursday. Baca is a member of the team that ran a full mission simulation in mid-November for Orion’s launch, testing pre-launch through ascent, orbit, entry and splashdown/recovery. Read more about Baca’s unique career path.
The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at the University of Montana promotes better understanding of Asia, U.S. relations with Asia, and ethics in public affairs in the spirit of Sen. Mike Mansfield and his wife, Maureen. This video, shown to the Montana University System Board of Regents on Nov. 20, 2014, highlights the impact of the Mansfield Center across the state of Montana and beyond.
Two UM professors and one associate professor recently were named 2015 Fulbright Scholar Program awardees by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. All three teach in UM’s College of Humanities and Sciences. The Fulbright Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Read more about UM’s Fulbright Scholar awardees.
UM geosciences Professor George Stanley, who directs the UM Paleontology Center, has been named a Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Stanley was awarded the distinction for his work in paleobiology of invertebrates, especially the evolution of reef forms. His research has clarified the evolution of reefs and of modern coral lineages. Read more about Stanley’s latest award.
UM is reviewing its programs and expects to grow its emphasis on research and health care while injecting the humanities into all academic pursuits, school officials said Monday. Meeting with the Missoulian’s editorial board, UM President Royce Engstrom and other school leaders repeated their plans for the global century – steps that include a close review of existing programs and how the school can meet the state’s needs amid a shifting economy. Read more about Engstrom’s plans.
University of Montana Professor of restoration ecology Cara Nelson just returned from Kuwait where she worked with scientists at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research to develop effective strategies for restoring arid land ecosystems. As chair of the Society of Ecological Restoration, Nelson was in Kuwait to sign a memorandum of understanding with KISR to work together on restoring Kuwait’s arid lands. Read more about Nelson’s recent work in Kuwait.
Animals have developed horns, claws, and teeth to defend themselves, but what is the advantage of a bulky crab claw that weighs half as much as the entire animal, or 14-foot-wide antlers on the extinct Irish Elk that stood seven feet tall? UM Professor Doug Emlen, a biologist and author of the new book “Animal Weapons,” describes the evolutionary arms race that pushes these animal weapons to the extreme on “Science Friday.”
In 2009 the southern Bitterroot Valley’s elk herd—for years one of the state’s most productive populations and a source of pride among local hunters—was in a free fall. Ideas surfaced from all quarters on what was causing the decline. But most local hunters thought they knew the reason: wolves. Researchers from UM joined forces with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to develop a three-year study. The results surprised everyone. Learn what the study found in the Montana Outdoors magazine.
Biology Professor Ragan “Ray” Callaway, an internationally renowned ecologist, has been nominated to become UM’s 10th Regents Professor. Upon approval by the Montana Board of Regents during its Nov. 20-21 meeting, Callaway’s new title will be Regents Professor of Ecology. Regents Professor is the top rank awarded to faculty members in the Montana University System. They must demonstrate unusual excellence in instruction, scholarship and service, as well as distinctive impact through their work. Read more about Callaway’s nomination.
“On a still-sweltering evening in Tanzania more than a decade ago, my colleagues and I crouched around a fresh pile of elephant dung to witness an epic struggle of wills,” writes UM Professor Doug Emlen in a New York Times Magazine article published Oct. 31. Emlen studies animal weaponry, and is the author of the new book, “Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle.” Read his full article on the animal arms race here.
For Gordon Luikart, animal feces is a key reason why his research is among the most cited in the country. In the UM ecologist's Ph.D. research he tested the DNA of big horn sheep, found in feces, feathers and urine, to see if they had gone through a “genetic bottleneck,” then developed tests to identify problems like diseases and inbreeding. Luikart recently was named one of Reuters' "Most Influential Scientific Minds." Read more about Luikart’s research in the Montana Kaimin.
UM is the 26th top degree producer for Native American students in the nation, according to the Diverse: Issues in Higher Education list, “2014 Top 100 Degree Producers.” The study names UM 40th in the nation for Natives receiving undergraduate degrees, 48th in the nation for master’s degrees, 19th for doctoral degrees and 12th for professional degrees. From summer 2013 to spring 2014, UM conferred 129 degrees upon Native American students. Read more about the ranking.
UM students Stephen Jenkins and Jena Trejo are finalists in the Barrett Foundation Business Concept Challenge for their proposal to convert forest slash to methanol. The challenge encourages and rewards innovative, market-based solutions to natural resource issues. Jenkins and Trejo, both forestry majors, are working to develop a gasification unit that can convert forest products left after thinning and logging into a methanol biofuel. Read more about their idea on the College of Forestry and Conservation website.
Ray Callaway’s research investigates the catastrophic consequences of some exotic plants in North America. The UM ecologist's original research on plant facilitation, found that over time, plants develop traits to compete with each other, which increases diversity. Callaway has taught ecology and biologoy for 22 years and was recently named one of the Most Influential Scientific Minds by Reuters. Read more about Callaway in the Montana Kaimin.
For the third year in a row, UM is ranked among the top 350 universities worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. UM is ranked in the 301-350 level of the 2014-15 list. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings are the most comprehensive global rankings of higher education institutions, using 13 performance indicators to examine a university’s strengths against its core missions: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. View the rankings here.
Hyeok Yun, a UM undergraduate student from South Korea, is gaining a wider perspective on how art therapy and counseling are impacted by disability research. Under the direction of Craig Ravesloot, a research professor at UM’s Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, Hyeok’s work is exposing her to other issues too. Ravesloot also is learning valuable lessons to help him better connect with the South Korean culture. Read more about their cross-cultural exchange.
Every day Steven Running photographs the entire world. Running uses NASA satellites to measure plant health around the world. One of his publications has been cited 6,666 times by other researchers in the business. The large amount of citations has earned the University of Montana ecology professor a distinction as one of the world's "Most Influential Scientific Minds" by Reuters. Read more about Running’s latest accolade in the Montana Kaimin.
The University of Montana is a national leader in research on wildlife biology, ecology, forestry and areas related to the planet on which we live. Recently we have extended our reach into outer space. A spate of major research awards demonstrate the expertise that many of our faculty have in space-related research. UM Vice President for Research and Creative Scholarship Scott Whittenburg details some of UM’s latest research developments on his blog.
The Elouise Cobell Land and Culture Institute at the University of Montana officially opened its doors Oct. 10. The institute is located in The Payne Family Native American Center. The institute provides flexible classroom designs, advanced distance-learning platforms and a multiscreen theater room that will emphasize storytelling traditions in Native American culture. It occupies the entire garden level of The Payne Family Native American Center. Read more about Cobell’s legacy at UM.
A team led by University of Montana researcher Frank Rosenzweig has been selected for a five-year, $8.9 million NASA grant to study how life evolved and became more complex on Earth. Read more about the grant here.
Rebecca Manners, a UM postdoctoral researcher, will receive $375,000 to explore a solution for managing limited water resources in the southwestern U.S. Learn more about her research in this video.
Why do bull elk grow such big antlers? How come whitetail deer antlers have tines growing off a single main beam, while mule deer antlers fork? And why don’t either of them flatten out like moose antlers? UM biologist Douglas Emlen can tell you all about that first question, and he loses sleep at night pondering the others. His new book on this topic, “Animal Weapons,” hits bookstore shelves Nov. 11. Read more about Emlen’s work and his book.
Kelly Conde, a 2013 graduate of the master’s program in Environmental and Natural Resource Journalism at UM, recently received a prestigious award for her story “The Damage Done.” The Society for Environmental Journalists awarded Conde second place for Outstanding Feature Story. Her in-depth article about the impact of oil drilling and the subsequent water contamination on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation was the capstone of her master’s work. Read more about her award. Read Conde’s article.
Annie Belcourt, a University of Montana College of Health Professions & Biomedical Sciences assistant professor, has accepted an invitation from Harvard University to be a JPB Environmental Health Fellow for the next three years. The fellowship will allow Belcourt, a faculty member in pharmacy practice and public health, to extend her work in environmental health while developing new collaborative research projects aimed at tribal populations in Montana. Read more about Belcourt’s fellowship.
Last spring UM Professor Laura Dybdal and Shawn Grove, director of UM VETS Office, partnered with Dan Libby, executive director of the national Veterans Yoga Project, to implement a Mindful Resilience Training for student veterans. Participants reported life improvements and now Dybdal and Grove are expanding it. On Oct. 7, Libby will deliver a lecture at UM and hold training sessions for local health care works and student veterans. Read more about the program and the upcoming lecture.
Private support at the University of Montana gives students and faculty countless opportunities to partner together. Learn about three student-faculty partnerships underway at UM, and how scholarship support has helped these students thrive.
Like polar bears, muskoxen and yaks are modern metaphors for climate change. UM Professor Joel Berger faces sub-zero temperatures and travels across Arctic and alpine tundra to understand why populations of these species are changing, and what we can do about it. His work, setting in motion a new enthusiasm applying science to conservation actions, is why Berger has advanced as a finalist for the 2014 Indianapolis Prize.Watch this video to learn more. Watch this video to learn more.
Missoula College has received a nearly $8 million federal grant to give more students an opportunity for educations in health care fields and ultimately fill much-needed, high-paying jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor announced Sept. 29 that 15 two-year community colleges and tribal colleges in Montana will receive a combined $15 million to improve and expand health care training opportunities, and the grant will be administered by Missoula College UM. Read more about the Montana HealthCARE grant.
UM doctoral student Wylie Carr’s research takes him to places where the oceans are rising, the deserts are drying or the ice is melting. Once there, he finds people working on climate change and shows them a short video about climate engineering, then interviews them. Climate engineering, also known as geoengineering, is a controversial, futuristic way for humanity to artificially cool the planet. But it isn’t science fiction. Read more about Carr’s work.
UM recently launched a new Web portal called the American Indian Gateway. The American Indian Gateway provides access to University websites that feature academic programs with a Native focus, research related to American Indian communities, American Indian faculty and staff members, student programs and clubs, Alumni Relations, the University’s Strategic and Diversity Plans, and current news and events across campus and within the Missoula community. Find the American Indian Gateway portal here.
After UM Ph.D. student Michelle Grocke received a Fulbright Scholarship and a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Award last spring, she headed to Nepal to get acquainted with her research field sites. She will spend 11 months examining the impact of new road construction on the agriculture, nutrition and overall well-being of the people who reside in the remote Humla District. Read a Q-and-A with Grocke to learn more about her experiences in Nepal.
The stunning array of weaponry brandished by male animals—be they antlers, horns, mandibles, spurs, or claws—is driven by each species’ individual fighting style, University of Montana scientists have revealed. The finding, which may solve a long-standing evolutionary puzzle, is thanks to perhaps the most impressive weapons proliferator of them all, the male rhinoceros beetle—also the world’s strongest animal. National Geographic's “Weird and Wild” blog reports on the latest findings from UM researchers Doug Elmen and Erin McCullough.
The University of Montana received a $1.5 million boost Friday, making UM’s College of Education and Human Sciences the gifted education hub of Montana and the Northern Rockies. Missoula residents and UM graduates Suzanne and Dave Peterson pledged $1.5 million to the school, funding a professorship that will specialize in gifted education and advanced learning in the classroom. The donation will also fund research into how best to motivate gifted children to succeed. Read more about the Petersons' generous gift.
The University of Montana is ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities across the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. In the 2015 Edition of U.S. News’ Best College rankings, UM tied for 194th place. The University last made the list two years ago, when it was ranked 199. UM is the only Montana institution to make it onto the top 200 list this year. Read more about the U.S. News & World Report ranking.
From antlers to horns, humans have long been fascinated by animals’ ability to defend themselves with their natural-born weapons. Researchers at the University of Montana recently discovered each species’ weapons are structurally adapted to meet their own functional demands of fighting.
Pollution in many cities threatens the brain development in children. Findings by UM Professor Dr. Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas and her team of researchers reveal that children living in megacities are at increased risk for brain inflammation and neurodegenerative changes, including Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. The study found when air particulate matter and their components such as metals are inhaled or swallowed, they pass through damaged barriers, and can result in long-lasting harmful effects. Read more about Calderón-Garcidueñas’ research.
University of Montana President Royce Engstrom delivered the annual State of the University Address on Aug. 22, 2014, in which he outlined institutional priorities for the coming year and introduced new faculty members and administrators. Watch the address and see other UM videos on UM's YouTube channel.
Give him some time. Brendan Brady has gotten handy at so many things in the seven years he’s lived with the deadly degenerative disease known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It’s only a matter of time before the 35-year-old Havre man will be able to literally stare down a bucket of ice water onto the likes of Julie Doerner. Read more about how the MonTECH program at UM’s Rural Institute is helping Brady and others.
A new international study is giving scientists more insight into understanding the process of the domestication of animals. Jeffrey Good, an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Montana, is one of the co-authors of the study. Good worked with an international team of scientists on the report trying to better understand the genetic changes that transform wild animals into domesticated ones. Read more about Good’s study.
Fall semester began Aug. 25 with a flurry of activity on campus and all over Missoula. The Peers Connection Network in the Office for Student Success captured some of excitement this week and the many adventures that lie ahead for UM students in this video.
Two is company, three is a crowd. But in the case of the cicada, that’s a good thing. A recent discovery in a University of Montana research lab found that there are actually three bacterial symbionts producing the nutrients cicada need to survive, whereas previously there was only believed to be two. Their work was published in the Aug. 28 issue of Cell. UM microbiologist John McCutcheon explains in this video.
The northern arm of the Rocky Mountains is sometimes called “the crown of the continent,” and its jewels are glaciers and snowfields that irrigate large parts of North America during spring thaw. But the region is getting warmer, even faster than the rest of the world. University of Montana researchers are studying what these changes mean for glaciers, wildlife and people. NPR’s All Things Considered reports.
With the right connections in place and the power of a good idea, a new business can move fast. Just ask Matt Gangloff and Andrew Burrington, who have seen an influx of funding and interest since the duo won the School of Business Administration’s Fall 2013 Business Plan Competition and founded New Leaf Environmental Monitoring. Read more about their product, which provides a low-cost way to monitor how natural gas from fracking operations impacts human health.
Former smokejumper and UM associate professor Charles Palmer had two goals after he read a newspaper article in 2003 about five men who died in the Waldron Creek wildfire west of Choteau on Aug. 25, 1931: Provide headstones for the three men without them and to write a book about the incident. The first goal will be met at an Aug. 24 memorial service and dedication ceremony. Read more about Palmer’s project.
According to a “Smart Rating” developed by FindTheBest, Montana has the best overall colleges in the U.S. FindTheBest used a weighted average of rankings from U.S. News & World Report and Forbes, along with data from the National Center for Education Statistics, to determine each state’s smart rating. Click here to see a map of how FindTheBest ranked each state.
UM President Royce Engstrom will deliver his annual State of the University Address and host the official groundbreaking for the new Missoula College building on Friday, Aug. 22. The public is invited to both events. During his State of the University Address, Engstrom will outline institutional priorities for the coming year and introduce new faculty members and administrators. Following the address, the Missoula College groundbreaking will take place on East Broadway. Read more about both events.
UM is the first university in the nation to be part of software giant Symantec’s Academic Alliances Program. Earlier this spring, Symantec made a $100,000 in-kind donation to UM that included a server, software, data and support for a two-week, big data-focused summer course. Business, computer science and law students are taking the course. This week, Symantec executives are at UM to see the the eDiscovery Law and Practice course in action. Read more about this unique partnership.
Each year, a handful of outstanding students are selected to participate in the 10-week Summer Undergraduate Research Program at UM’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences. This summer, Andrew Closson, an honors student from the University of Maine, was one of six undergraduates was selected. Closson is conducting research with mentors Andrij Holian, SURP adviser and CEHS director, and Ray Hamilton. Read more about Closson’s research.
The Global Leadership Initiative at the University of Montana creates an opportunity for students to ask some of the most pressing questions of the 21st century while gaining the skills necessary to find the answers. Launched in 2011, the first class of GLI Fellows is now nearing their senior year at UM, with students wrapping up the global experiences of their junior year. Read about their worldly adventures on the GLI blog, Beyond the Classroom.
Bill Moore said his father, Bud Moore, taught him lessons of the wild he didn’t even know he’d learned until later. By making the late conservationist’s journals and letters, reports and notes, speeches and photos and even his voice available to the public through the University of Montana archives, his son said he hoped others will glean some things too. Read more about the Bud Moore collection at the Mansfield Library.
As a biochemistry major, Katie Dorsett is interested in the connections between human diseases and environmental science. This summer, she is participating in UM’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program through the Center for Environmental Health Sciences. Dorsett is working with mentors Zeina Jaffar and Kevan Roberts to study the role certain cells play in the development of asthma. Read more about her research.
UM archaeological field school students, graduate student research assistants and First Nations partners worked together this summer to expose ancient house floors in Housepit 54 at the Bridge River archaeological site in British Columbia. The site is a housepit village in the Middle Fraser Canyon with 80 houses and occupation dates spanning the mid-19th century back to nearly 2,000 years ago. Learn more about UM’s work at the Bridge River site.
A semitrailer carrying the legacy papers of former U.S. Sen. Max Baucus arrived at the University of Montana on Monday, bolstering the school’s already robust legislative collection. Crews spent Monday transferring 21 pallets containing more than 900 boxes of Baucus’ papers to the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, where the files will be sorted, archived and eventually made available for research. Read more about the Baucus papers at UM.
Meet Elena Beideck, a visiting honors student from the State University of New York at Geneseo. Beideck is participating in UM’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program and conducting research with mentor Chris Migliaccio, a faculty member in UM’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences. Over the course of the summer, they are researching the potential therapeutic uses of nanomaterials. Read more about Beideck’s project and the Summer Undergraduate Research Program at UM.
Over the past five decades, Jack Stanford has grown intimately familiar with the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. As the longtime director of the Flathead Lake Biological Station, Stanford has led research efforts with his wife, Bonnie Ellis, and their team of scientists who all together are carrying on the legacy of Dr. Morton J. Elrod. Stanford recently spoke about the importance of the world’s cleanest lakes.
Three UM faculty members are lauded in the recent publication “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” for publishing the greatest number of highly cited papers between 2002 and 2012. UM Regents Professor of Ecology Steven Running is listed in the Geosciences section and Associate Professor of Conservation Ecology Gordon Luikart and biology Professor Ragan Callaway are listed in the Environment/Ecology section. Read more about the professors’ ranking.
Meet Jaxie Friedman, a visiting honors student from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. Friedman is participating in UM’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program and conducting research with mentor Fernando Cardozo-Pelaez, a faculty member in UM’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences. Over the course of the summer, Friedman and Cardozo-Pelaez are researching the neurochemical and behavioral effects that pesticides can cause in the brain in order to better understand Parkinson’s disease. Read more about Friedman’s research at UM.
UM received unprecedented private support in fiscal year 2014, with donations totaling $53.7 million. This is a $16.3 million increase over the previous record, set in 2008. In July 2013, the UM Foundation set out to raise an extra $45 million for students over a three-year period. After one year, the “Investing in Student Success” initiative has received $22 million. Read more about how alumni and friends and joining the UM Foundation to invest in student success.
The official title of the seminar was “Recent Advances in Applying Genetics and Genomics to Conservation,” but it was really about family. Dozens of scientists who started their careers under the wing of UM geneticist Fred Allendorf came to celebrate his influence at the North American Congress for Conservation Biology in Missoula on Monday. Read more about how Allendorf and his former students have made vast contributions to conservation management.
On a switchback overlooking the Missoula Valley, UM visiting Professor Robert Pal knelt down and pulled a Jim Hill mustard plant – aka tumbleweed – from the arid soil alongside the trail. The plant’s stems included tens of thousands of seeds waiting to burst forth and proliferate. Pal, a botanist and ecologist from the University of Pecs in Hungary, recently arrived at UM on a Marie Curie Fellowship. Read more about what Pal found on Sentinel.
Assistant Professor Ryan Mizner has designed a cutting-edge device that makes patients lighter as they do physical therapy to recover from knee injuries or even severe brain injuries. His Bodyweight Reduction Instrument to Deliver Graded Exercise (BRIDGE) device offers consistent vertical force no matter what the movement. He earned a grant from the Foundation for Physical Therapy to conduct a double-blind study with 30 patients recovering from knee surgery. Read more about the device.
Meet Harley Fredriksen, a visiting honors student from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Fredriksen is participating in UM's Summer Undergraduate Research Program and conducting research with mentor Dr. Yoon Hee Cho, a faculty member in UM's Center for Environmental Health Sciences. Over the course of the summer, Harley and Cho are researching changes in DNA that man-made nanomaterials can cause in order to better understand the genetic and health impacts of nanomaterial exposure. Read more about Fredriksen's project here.
In recent weeks the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, better known as ISIS, has emerged as a major insurgency. Evidence now suggests they are using illicit antiquity trafficking to fund their growth and arm their members. Such profiteering fits well with a longstanding pattern in the region, says Thomas Livoti, a Ph.D. student at UM who is studying the impact of counterinsurgencies on archaeological sites. Read more about Livoti’s work in this National Geographic article.
Reed Humphrey, director of UM’s School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, has accepted the position of dean of the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences. Humphrey will begin his new role as dean on July 1. He replaces Dean David Forbes, who recently retired after leading the college for many years. Read more about Humphrey and his new role.
UM alumna and Assistant Professor Annie Belcourt (Otter Woman) is approaching health disparities among Native American populations from many angles. She’s working to improve indoor air quality in Nez Perce and Navajo communities. She helps community members promote health by telling their own stories through digital media, and she’s actively involved in bringing more Native Americans into academia. This article explores Belcourt’s interdisciplinary work.
With his boxes packed and a picture of his golden retriever on the computer screen, David Forbes is already dreaming of life’s next chapter, one that will allow time for golf and a trip to Europe with an uncertain return date. Forbes, dean of the University of Montana’s College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences, will retire at the end of this month, marking the end of a 26-year career. Read more about Forbes’ successful career at UM.
As a human biology and psychology major, Sarah Kinsey is very interested in the connections between human health and environmental science. This summer, she is participating in UM’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program through the Center for Environmental Health Sciences. Kinsey is working with mentor Liz Putnam to study the role a specific protein plays in the development of lung fibrosis after exposure to asbestos that may lead to future asbestosis treatments. Read more about her research.
UM is part of a new national network that recently received a three-year, $2.4 million grant to increase the number of indigenous Americans obtaining advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has formed a three-year collaboration with the Montana University System; as well as the University of Alaska, the University of Arizona and Purdue University. Read more about the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership.
Only a dozen men ever have experienced the one-sixth gravity of the moon as they walked across the lunar surface and into history. But for patients who find themselves in UM Assistant Professor Ryan Mizner’s low-gravity environment, the goal isn’t to slip the “surly bonds of Earth” and walk amongst the stars. They simply want to walk again. Read about Mizner’s new physical therapy invention.
Graduate student Matthew Ferguson is spending his summer conducting research at UM’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences. His goal is to understand the cause of health effects due to the inhalation of small particles in the air, known as particulate matter. Ferguson is currently investigating seasonal differences on the health effects of outdoor particulate matter, and how home wood stove usage influences particulate matter levels. Read more about Ferguson’s research.
A new study led by the Wildlife Conservation Society says that in wild yak societies, it's the mothers that are the real climbers. The study found that mothers with young venture on steeper terrain and slightly higher elevation than either males or females without young. Study authors expect that this strategy is an adaptive way to avoid predators and to access more nutritious food. Read more about the study, which was co-written by UM Professor Joel Berger.
A current exhibit at the Mansfield Library titled “Women in Montana Politics” features photographs and documents from well-known early 20th century suffragists along with information on contemporary activists and politicians. Archives specialist Carlie Magill and fellow Archives Specialist Kellyn Younggren spent nearly three months curating the exhibit, which is featured in display cases on the fourth floor of the library, as well as online. Read more about the exhibit in the Montanan magazine.
It’s been a busy spring for Internet sensations Iris and Stanley, a pair of adult osprey who have captured the attention of viewers from around the world thanks to a high-resolution camera installed by UM researchers. The pair returned to their Hellgate Canyon nest in April, and Iris laid three eggs on May 5, 8 and 11. All three chicks hatched in mid-June. Watch a livestream of the Hellgate nest here and follow the Montana Osprey Cams on Facebook.
George Stanley Jr. has gone retro. Stanley is a geoscience professor and paleontologist at UM. He learns and teaches prehistoric life. He is also the director of the school's Paleontology Center. Its fossil collection is mammoth. While modern Missoula is Stanley's home, ancient volcanic islands are his place. Read about how Stanley’s work takes him to remote Canadian mountain ranges, central China and more.
Learn more about the Flathead Lake Biological Station, UM's unique ecological research and education center located in Yellow Bay on Flathead Lake. For over 100 years, FLBS scientists have conducted research focused on the Crown of the Continent ecosystem while educating college students and the public through academic programs and community outreach.
His American students call him “Gee-Wiz” - and now the chemistry wizard’s science experiments have delighted New Zealand kids in Wellington. Professor Garon Smith, 67, is on sabbatical from his job as a chemistry lecturer at UM, and is making the most of his sight-seeing and tramping trip to Middle-earth by touring schools with his bag of tricks. Read more about Professor Smith’s travels across New Zealand.
This February, Provost Perry Brown announced UM’s new Brain Initiative. UM already is known for the bench research it conducts through the Montana Neuroscience Institute, a collaboration with St. Patrick Hospital, and the National Institutes of Health-funded Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience. But this new project would consolidate brain research from across the University. Read more about the Brain Initiative in the spring issue of the Montanan, UM’s award-winning magazine.
On June 2, UM hosted its annual Retirees Luncheon, where former UM faculty and staff members came together to socialize and recognize the newest crop of retirees. More than 65 people retired from UM this year, including Vernon Grund, who served as UM’s associate dean for research and graduate education for the College of Health Professions & Biomedical Sciences. Vernon was instrumental in establishing what has become one of the strongest and most widely recognized research units on campus. Read more about this year’s retirees.
Brent Ruby is the head researcher at UM’s Department of Work, Performance and Exercise Metabolism. Enthusiastic and wonkish, he is exactly what you want a scientist to be. His lab is stocked with treadmills and high-end bicycles, but also mid-century modern furniture and an iPhone amplifier he made out of a wooden box and what appears to be a gramophone horn. Ruby is either a shameless huckster or the real deal. Read more about Ruby’s work in Headwall magazine.
On June 2, UM hosted its annual Retirees Luncheon, where former UM faculty and staff members come together to socialize and recognize the newest crop of retirees. More than 65 people retired from UM this year, including Dan Pletscher, who led the UM Wildlife Biology Program for nearly 20 years. Dan built one of the nation’s most prestigious research and teaching programs in wildlife biology and management. Read more about this year’s retirees.
The spring semester was just coming to a close when Patrick O’Connor received the news: UM Department of History doctoral candidate will be the first George M. and Jane I. Dennison Doctoral Fellow. O’Connor’s research focuses primarily on the social, political and intellectual histories of 19th-century America. The fellowship honors former UM President George Dennison and his wife, Jane, for the many contributions they made to the University. Read more about the first Dennison Doctoral Fellow.
An estimated 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes occurred against persons with disabilities in 2012. Improved relations between the law enforcement and the disability communities are needed to reduce and respond effectively to criminal victimization of people with disabilities. UM Rural Institute Researcher Rosemary Hughes and retired police Sgt. Michael Sullivan recently presented a highly informative and well-attended webinar with compelling reasons for increasing law enforcement training in responding to crime victims with disabilities. Read more about the webinar.
UM College of Forestry and Conservation fire science Professor Ron Wakimoto recently received the Biswell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Fire Ecology. The AFE gives up to three lifetime achievement awards each year to individuals who have made a significant contribution to fire ecology and management in the U.S. and have inspired and mentored a generation of fire ecologists. Read more about Professor Wakimoto’s award.
A new article by researchers from UM asserts that climate warming is increasing the hybridization of trout – interbreeding between native and non-native species – in the interior western United States. Specifically, rapid increases in stream temperature and decreases in spring flow over the past several decades contributed to the spread of hybridization between native westslope cutthroat trout and the introduced rainbow trout across the Flathead River system. Read more about the study.
The 2014 summer season starts with a celebration for Flathead Lake as UM’s Flathead Lake Biological Station has exceeded its $1 million goal to match a lake monitoring challenge grant. In late 2011, FLBS began a three-year campaign to raise a $1 million endowment to match a pledge for its Flathead Lake Research and Monitoring Program. Hundreds of families, foundations and businesses came through with gifts large and small. Read more about the successful campaign.
A new paper co-written by four UM researchers finds that humans have more than doubled tropical nitrogen inputs. Benjamin Sullivan, a researcher working with UM College of Forestry and Conservation Professor Cory Cleveland, led the team that looked at the nitrogen cycle in tropical rain forests. Sullivan and his colleagues used a new method to demonstrate that biological nitrogen fixation in tropical rain forests may be less than a quarter of previous estimates. Read more about what Sullivan's team found.
For the second year running, the Center for Environmental Health Sciences continues to sponsor a series of Pilot Grants in order to provide support to early career investigators or established researchers exploring new research areas in the environmental health sciences. Currently funded pilot grants include focuses on lung cancer, potential treatments of asthma, epigenetics, and the health effects of wood/tobacco smoke exposure. Read more about the work UM scientists are doing with their Pilot Grants.
UM has received a $45 million cooperative agreement award from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency announced May 16. The five-year research award is the largest in the history of UM. Under the agreement, UM will help the Corps study and solve environmental and cultural resource problems across the nation and will assist in implementing land and water ecological restoration, maintenance and training for optimal management of public resources. Read more about the $45 million award.
UM has awarded Tom Seekins its Americans with Disabilities Act Award for 2014. The ADA Award honors individuals whose contributions advance education and employment opportunities for people with disabilities at UM, and who carry on the spirit of the ADA. Seekins is a professor of psychology and director of the Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities. Read more about Seekins’ award and the great work he does.
A mistake made by a Ph.D. student in a UM lab nearly a decade ago is now on the brink of mid-stage clinical trials as a potential treatment for traumatic brain injury. It all started when a research assistant in David Poulsen‘s neuroscience research lab was doing an experiment that involved using high doses of methamphetamine to create brain damage in small animal models. Read more about Poulsen’s research.
Steve Running, Regents Professor of Ecology at UM, is a convening lead author on the forests chapter of the Third National Climate Assessment. The report, released May 6 by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, is required by Congress as an update on the current status of climate, observed changes and anticipated trends for the future in the United States. The chapter prioritizes the biggest impacts to forests from climate change. Read more about what Running found.
Students in the University of Montana's Athletic Training Program discuss their experiences and how the curriculum prepares them to practice as Certified Athletic Trainers.
Nathaniel Levtow has had an exciting semester. The UM religious studies professor is the recipient of a Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Levtow will spend a semester conducting research at the American Academy in Berlin, where he will have the opportunity to engage in dialogue with American and German academic, corporate, cultural and political leaders. Read more about Levtow’s unique research.
As a professor at UM, Joel Berger makes his living in classrooms. But his real passion is outside, in some of the most inhospitable places on earth. Berger has done research across five continents, including the Arctic region of Alaska, the Tibetan Plateau, and Mongolia. His friend and fellow conservationist Clayton Miller says Berger is the kind of guy who would follow his heart - practically to the ends of the earth. Read more about Berger and his work.
Kevin Trout is a Ph.D. student in UM’s Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences who studies the inflammatory reaction to implantable medical devices. “I chose to attend graduate school at the University of Montana for the training to become an effective researcher and independent scientist,” Trout says. “At UM, outstanding faculty in the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences make the success of each individual student a priority.” Read more about Trout’s research.
This will go down as a record-breaking year for fundraising at UM. The UM Foundation has received $37.4 million in donations and pledges this fiscal year, which began July 1. This breaks a record set in 2008, when fundraising totaled $36.7 million. This year’s total comes from 10,000 individual gifts. “We are tremendously grateful to all who have contributed this year,” said UM President Royce Engstrom. Read more about the recent donations to UM.
When Joel Henry stepped away from his job teaching computer science at UM to attend law school, he couldn’t know that his interest in searching piles of electronic legal data would spin into a new company. But with the support of the Technology Transfer Office at UM, and backed with the school’s support, Henry’s new business has won high reviews. Read more about how Agile Legal Technology.
One day last summer, Michael LeMoine, a Ph.D. candidate in fisheries biology at UM, carried a nondescript cardboard box into the Missoula FedEx office. Inside it was a jar of ethanol containing a single specimen of a new species of sculpin. The woman at the counter asked LeMoine for the value of the contents. He hesitated, considering. Read more about how UM researchers helped discover a new species.
Data impacts all of our lives, from how businesses cater to our demands to how governments allocate resources. Missoula is home to several companies and organizations that work with big data, including UM. That’s why a group of forward-looking folks have organized the first-ever Big Data Week in Missoula, set for May 5-9, with the Montana Cyber Triathlon at UM kicking things off on Saturday, May 3. Read more about Big Data Week.
When you think of animals at risk, muskoxen probably don't leap immediately to mind. Unless you're Joel Berger. The UM professor of wildlife conservation studies the effects of climate change on large mammals, such as musk¬oxen and wild yaks. He's also one of six finalists for the Indianapolis Prize, a $250,000 award given every two years by the Indianapolis Zoo. Read Berger’s recent interview with the Indianapolis Star.
The best way to spark collaboration among journalists, scientists and conservationists might just be to corral them on a Rocky Mountain Front ranch. Researchers, conservation advocates, journalists and journalism students gathered at the Boone and Crockett Club’s Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch near Dupuyer over Easter weekend to examine barriers to effective storytelling on scientific research and large-landscape conservation in the Northern Rockies. Read more about the 2014 Story Lab Retreat.
From Missoula classrooms to the Peruvian rainforest, UM Professor Erick Greene’s work makes an impact on students and his colleagues. So much so, that he received the 2014 UM College of Humanities and Sciences Award for Teaching Across the Curriculum. A professor in the Division of Biological Sciences who has been with UM for 23 years, he is known as a talented, passionate and accomplished educator. Read more about Greene’s award-winning work.
UM student Mara Menahan has earned another prestigious award. This week it was announced that Menahan is a recipient of the Truman Scholarship, a national award that provides top U.S. university student leaders up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school. Menahan is a Davidson Honors College student who majors in environmental studies and geography with minors in climate change studies and wilderness studies. Read more about UM’s 14th Truman Scholar.
Two Missoula scientists have patented an innovative new way to combat infections from a common and potentially dangerous bacteria, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, often called MRSA. Their company, Wintermute Biomedical, is one of the only biomedical research facilities in Missoula and they’ve been using a $60,000 grant from the Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology to fund their testing. Read more about two UM alums are developing.
UM Professor Carl Seielstad recently earned the 2013 Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award from a national interagency wildfire committee. The award is given to firefighters who are exceptional mentors and leaders. In selecting him for the honor, the National Wildfire Coordinating Group leadership subcommittee noted Seielstad’s visionary leadership. He is the first UM faculty member to receive the honor. Read more about Seielstad’s award.
If Hollywood made movies about philosophers the way it does athletes, then UM’s top finish in the national ethics bowl might fall in the class of “Rudy,” “Rocky III” or, even better, “The Natural.” While their underdog story isn’t likely to appear in a theater near you, the UM team took top honors last month at the 18th annual International Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Read about the feat that could rank as this year’s Cinderella story.
A few years down the road, if you find your wine glasses coming out of the dishwasher spotless, you might have Missoula scientists to thank. And you might thank them if your car is immune to rust from road deicers while you’re at it. Rivertop Renewables, a local company that produces chemicals from natural plant sugars, announced this week it had raised $26 million in capital from several major investors. Read more about Rivertop.
Max Baucus, Montana’s longest-serving U.S. senator, has departed to become ambassador to China, but a significant portion of his legacy will remain with UM. On April 10, Baucus announced he would donate his official papers to UM’s Archives and Special Collections. In addition, the Baucus Institute for Public Policy and Service will be established at the UM School of Law if approved by the state Board of Regents. Read more about Baucus’ donation.
UM's Lubrecht Forest is an 28,000-acre experimental forest 30 miles east of Missoula. In addition to providing a living classroom for UM students, it is open to the public and offers lodging and miles of trails for cross-country skiing and hiking. Learn more in this short video produced by UM's media arts students.
Six Montana sports professionals departed for China March 30 for a three-week sports diplomacy exchange. The trip is part of a grant to UM’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center through the SportsUnited Division of the U.S. Department of State. The Mansfield Center project uses sports as a means to support underserved populations in China, including ethnic minorities and youth with disabilities. Read more about the sports diplomacy exchange.
Meet Jennene Lyda, a graduate student working with the Center for Environmental Health Sciences in UM’s Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Lyda studies the way genetics and the environment can lead to the progression of diseases, with a focus on Parkinson’s disease. This condition is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, and is projected to rise. Read more about Lyda’s research.
UM recently welcome a new round of international students as part of the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program, a government-funded initiative to send 100,000 Brazilian students to study in science-related disciplines at universities around the world. The first round of Brazilian students arrived at UM in spring 2012, and enrollment has since increased. Read more about the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program at UM.
Community and connections are an intentional mission to foster successful startups at Montana Enterprise Technology Center. Now that the center’s office space is full with nine promising companies, it is continuing to explore how it can expand to serve more startups, said Joe Fanguy, director of technology transfer for UM who also heads up MonTEC. Read more about the local businesses that have taken up residence at MonTEC.
The Montana Board of Crime Control recently awarded the University of Montana Criminology Research Group a Certificate of Outstanding Program award to recognize its contributions to public safety, crime prevention and victim assistance to the state. The Criminology Research Group, part of the Social Science Research Laboratory within UM’s College of Humanities and Sciences, accepted the award on March 14. Read more about the award.
Hundreds of families, foundations and businesses have stepped up to the plate to help the Flathead Lake Biological Station meet a $1 million fundraising challenge. With more than $560,000 in donations in the past two years, FLBS is more than halfway to its goal of matching a grant for the Flathead Lake Monitoring Program. Read more about the FLBS fundraising challenge.
Blackstone LaunchPad at UM is here to help students with an entrepreneurial dream seize opportunity. "If we can empower people to try, then great things will happen," says UM Director of Technology Transfer Joe Fanguy.
UM has published a new e-magazine titled Crown of the Continent and the Greater Yellowstone. Filled with stunning photos and informative stories about the Glacier and Yellowstone park regions, the 78-page magazine is online at http://bit.ly/OoQ4ya. Articles discuss mountain goats, Montana landscapes, land use, a 93-year-old ranger, grizzly bears, explorers, wolves, wilderness and much more, including a book review and art section. Read the latest issue of the e-magazine here.
UM has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights to ensure educational accessibility for people with disabilities. The resolution agreement outlines a comprehensive set of policies and procedures so all electronic and information technology at UM can be used by the blind and other students with disabilities. Read more about UM’s commitment to accessibility.
UM Associate Professor Nate McCrady is part of a new project called Minerva that is on the hunt for rocky planets similar to the Earth around 100 nearby stars. The project involves four telescopes, each worth about $250,000 and owned by a different institution. McCrady says the telescopes will work together — flying in formation — to create the power of a telescope with a 1.4-meter mirror. Read more about the Minerva project.
The Montana Board of Regents on March 7 approved a proposal by UM to open the Neural Injury Center, empowering students with traumatic brain injury and other neural injuries to access support and services from departments and colleges across campus. The NIC is not a physical space as yet, but rather a collaborative of expertise on campus and an extension of UM’s ongoing, interdisciplinary Brain Initiative. Read more about the Neural Injury Center.
A UM alumnus has committed $1.5 million of his estate to the College of Forestry and Conservation. The gift from Earle Layser and his late wife, Pattie, of Alta, Wyo., will endow a professorship in conservation biology and policy. The position will be called the Earle and Pattie Layser Endowed Distinguished Professorship in Conservation Biology and Policy. Read more about the Laysers’ generous gift.
Set to a space-age countdown from 10 to one, the Blackstone LaunchPad program took flight at UM on Thursday, opening its doors to the “21st Century Montana Entrepreneur.” Held before a crowd estimated at 150 people, the anticipated opening drew the “who’s who” of the Missoula business community, along with city officials, students, regents, administrators and Blackstone Foundation representatives. Read the Missoulian story.
UM Professor Chris Palmer recently received a Fulbright-Brazil Scientific Mobility Program award. Palmer will travel to São Carlos, Brazil, in 2015 to study at the University of São Paulo Institute of Chemistry. Palmer is an analytical chemist specializing in the development of novel polymeric materials for application in microscale liquid phase separations and in the application of separation methods to environmental analysis. Read more about Palmer’s Fulbright award.
Meet Traci Brown, a graduate student working with the Center for Environmental Health Sciences in UM’s Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Brown studies the effects of obesity on lung inflammation after exposure to particles such as asbestos, with the goal of shedding light on the effect of poor diet on the health and function of the lungs. Learn more about Brown’s research.
Genetic testing has confirmed the presence of a new fish species in Idaho and Montana rivers. Cedar sculpins are small, prehistoric-looking and tasty to trout. The discovery was a collaborative effort between UM postdoctoral student Mike Lemoine, UM faculty members Lisa Eby and Mike Schwartz, and the U.S. Forest Service. Read more about cedar sculpins.
UM wildlife conservation Professor and John J. Craighead Chair Joel Berger has been named a finalist for the 2014 Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation. Selected from 39 nominees, Berger is one of six scientists in the running for the $250,000 prize, which recognizes outstanding achievements on behalf of the world’s most endangered species. Read more
UM graduate student Forrest Jessop was recently awarded the PhRMA Pre-doctoral Fellowship in Toxicology to assist dissertation research focused on chronic inflammatory diseases of the lung. The award is highly competitive as the PhRMA Foundation only funds approximately 10 students a year. Jessop’s award indicates the caliber of his work at UM, and also reflects the high level of training and support the CEHS Toxicology Graduate Studies program provides. Read more
Researchers at UM’s Rural Institute are doing more than just responding to the nation’s agenda on health and disability; they are setting the agenda. Kathleen Humphries, a nutrition researcher at the Rural Institute and the UM School of Public and Community Health Sciences, is among national leaders identifying what we know and what we need to know to reduce health disparities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Read more
The National Park Service and the country’s leading wildlife experts are developing a plan to conserve migrating wildlife as it moves through protected areas. Unveiled in a paper published last week in Conservation Biology, the plan details the need for more collaboration between the NPS, governments and landowners. UM Professor Joel Berger is the new paper’s leading author. Read more
A recent study by UM faculty and graduate students found that wolf predation of cattle contributes to lower weight gain in calves on western Montana ranches. This leads to an economic loss at sale several times higher than the direct reimbursement ranchers receive for a cow killed by wolves. The study was published Jan. 10 in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Read more
The patient room at Partnership Health Center is full on a weekday morning, the doctors racing about in close conversation with young family medicine residents fresh out of medical school. But the hurried pace and care given patients is a good sign. One year after launching, the Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana is off and running. Read more
Graduate student Rupa Biswas explored several universities that conduct research on toxicology before choosing UM. “The research in Pulmonary Toxicology and Immunotoxicology at UM intrigued me and soon I was very eager to be part of the toxicology graduate program at the Center for Environmental Health Sciences,” Biswas says. Today she’s preparing for a career at a toxicologist while researching exposure to crystalline silica that leads to pulmonary inflammation and Silicosis. Read more
It doesn’t look like much right now – a sparse room with rows of folding tables, empty walls and outgoing Macintosh computers. But come spring, this room on the ground floor of the Interdisciplinary Science Building on the University of Montana campus will undergo a transformation, placing it on the cutting edge of solving today’s technological challenges. Read more
New research co-written by UM scientists finds steep declines in the worldwide populations and habitat range of 31 large carnivore species. The analysis, published Jan. 9 in Science, shows that 77 percent of the studied species – including tiger, lion, dingo and puma – are decreasing in number. Associate Professor Mark Hebblewhite and Professor Joel Berger, both of the UM College of Forestry and Conservation, co-wrote the study. Read more
UM Climate Change Studies student Rudy Baum has created a 16-page guide to the science of climate change. “The science of climate change doesn’t have to be overly technical,” Baum writes. “The purpose of this guide is to explain, in plain English, the underlying physical science of global climate changeor.” Read “Climate Change: Science and Solutions” here.
Despite the October government shutdown, 2013 was a good year for Montana tourism according to preliminary findings by UM’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research. More than 11 million nonresidents visited Montana and spent nearly $3.5 billion in the Treasure State. Nonresident visitation was up 2 percent over 2012. Read more
Entrepreneurship startup communities are being touted as the next new thing in economic development across the country—especially in the high-technology and information technology sectors. A study by the Kauffman Foundation recently found that among small metropolitan areas Missoula had the largest increase in technology industry startups between 1990 and 2010. Read the report.
Steve Running, UM Regents Professor of Ecology, recently was ranked one of the top 20 most productive authors worldwide in remote sensing research. The ranking analyzed citations of remote sensing research between 1991 and 2010. Of the top 20 authors, Running was ranked first in geographical influence, third in five-year citations and first in five-year citations per article. Read more
UM Professor Brent Ruby recently was featured in an episode of "Freaks of Nature" on the Weather Channel. Ruby is director of the Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism and studies the limits of human endurance in extreme heat. The episode features ultramarathoner Scott Jurek running in the WPEM environmental chamber on campus and in Death Valley while Ruby collects data. Read more
Meet Bryan Simmons, a graduate student working with the Center for Environmental Health Sciences in UM’s Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Simmons studies a specific signaling molecule that regulates the function of cells in our immune systems. Read more
While the scars left by the Lolo Creek Complex fire have gone from black to white in recent weeks, the memories left by the summer conflagration are still fresh. On Wednesday, with the fire’s charge through the wildland-urban interface serving as a conversational backdrop, a group of policymakers and fire scientists met at UM to explore ways of making sure it doesn’t happen again. Read more
UM’s Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences recently earned the highest possible marks from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The accreditation evaluated 42 professional education programs across four colleges and schools. Review findings emphasized the college’s outstanding leadership, assessment system and innovative use of digital learning models, noting that the programs are poised for tremendous growth. Read more
A real estate agent whose success depends upon the beauty and health of Flathead Lake is contributing to continuous lake monitoring. Dusty Dziza, owner of Flathead Lake Land & Home in Kalispell, puts aside a percentage of her commissions from Flathead Lake property sales for the University of Montana Flathead Lake Biological Station. She donated more than $1,000 this fall. Read more
A recent article in a professional psychology journal recognized UM’s doctoral program in clinical psychology as one of 10 accredited programs that has “exceptionally good outcomes for its students.” UM psychology Associate Professor Bryan Cochran said this is in part because of the program’s combination of theoretical and practical training. In addition to conducting research, students are trained in providing psychotherapy services under one-on-one supervision. Read more
Meet Luke Montrose, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Center for Environmental Health Sciences at UM. He investigates the impact of indoor air pollution on the immune pathway that is thought to cause asthmatic symptoms. “I recognize the importance of pursuing scientific research that will have translatable and meaningful impact on strategies and policies to protect human health,” Montrose said. Read more
It’s cold in Western Montana right now and expected to get colder this weekend. But UM forest entomology and pathology Professor Diana Six says this prolonged and uncomfortable deep freeze probably won't be enough to kill the mountain pine beetles that have surged in recent years and left a swath of dead and dying forest in their wake. Montana Public Radio reports.
UM senior Kim Ledger, a biology major with an emphasis in ecology, won the student poster competition award in the category of Environmental Science, Sustainability and Green Technology at the annual conference of the National Collegiate Honors Council in New Orleans Nov. 6-10. Ledger, a Goldwater Scholar and a Davidson Honors College student, was recognized for her poster, “Impacts of a global invader, Solidago canadensis, at home and away.” Read more
Anthropologist Kimber McKay challenges our culture's definition of marriage by sharing stories from her field work in Nepal's northwestern Himalayan district of Humla.
Exercise Scientist Steven Gaskill, Ph.D., has ideas about how to design a school day that includes a lot more movement and a lot more learning. He explained his ideas during his TEDx talk at UM in September.
Entomologist and Professor Diana Six tells the story of how a little beetle has ecologically and economically altered North America's forests during the TEDxUMontana event.
A proposed Neural Injury Center at UM will help veterans identify issues caused by neurologic injuries and connect them with community resources. It also will provide collaboration and communication between researchers to study the science behind the mental problems veterans can face. UM’s Faculty Senate approved the NIC last week. Read more
Chris Comer, a neuroscientist and dean of UM’s College of Arts and Sciences, shares what new research reveals about our brain and literary imagination during his TEDxUMontana talk in September.
During TEDxUMontana, art history and criticism Professor Rafael Chacón explores what a DNA test reveals about his own family’s migration story, and shares his understanding of the broader cultural ramifications of genetic testing in our time.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded nearly $10 million to an academic, industry and government consortium to study the major challenges in using insect-killed trees as a sustainable feedstock for bioenergy. UM will receive more than $1 million over five years to help study the issues related to using forest residue, including beetle-kill trees, as a feedstock in biofuel production. Read more
Millions of landmines remain buried below ground in former warzones around the world. Each year, they injure and kill thousands. Fox News recently visited Missoula to interview UM researcher Jerry Bromenshenk about his work training honey bees to detect landmines. Bromenshenk uses the bees, along with laser and GPS technologies, to locate the explosives with little or no risk to humans. Watch the report here.
With their signature plumage rivaled only by the beauty of their migratory mountain homes, it’s easy to see why harlequin ducks have captured the hearts of countless birdwatchers and casual observers alike. Warren Hansen has made these magnificent birds the focal point of his life for the past three years, studying harlequins in Glacier National Park for the thesis of his wildlife biology master’s program at UM. Read more
For the past few weeks, reporters from Montana Public Radio and Montana PBS, along with students in the journalism school at UM, have been talking to Montanans about climate change. The interviews – and a lot of research – culminated this past week in a “Climate Week” series of programs that aired on public radio and television, and were posted online. Read more
Three researchers at UM recently received grants from the ALSAM Foundation. One grant will fund a collaborative two-year study of inflammation by Andrij Holian, director of UM’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences. Another grant will fund research by Nick Natale and Howard Beall, professors in UM’s Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, who are researching treatments for a highly malignant form of brain cancer. Read more
UM students and faculty conducting research on Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” have an exceptional new resource available through the Mansfield Library. The library recently acquired a detailed facsimile of the Ellesmere Manuscript, a beautiful, illuminated edition produced in the early 15th century. Read more
UM’s Mansfield Library has a new service, ScholarWorks, for preserving, showcasing and making freely available the intellectual and creative scholarship of faculty, students and staff. ScholarWorks is a search engine optimized for online discovery, making UM’s scholarship highly visible and easy to find, cite, share and use. Read more
A team of UM forestry students set down the trail in the low light of this canyon to showcase their work restoring a stand of outlying forest to an earlier time. In a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the city and the School of Forestry and Conservation, students have spent the past month thinning this shaded draw in an effort to restore its health. Read more
The University of Montana recently was ranked in the top 300 universities worldwide, but one factor of that ranking stands out: UM is in the top 25 percent of universities for the scholarly accomplishments of its faculty. UM scored a 74.6 for citations of research and creative scholarship in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Read more
The independent living movement in South Korea is young, vibrant and ready to make the nation accessible for all people with disabilities. In August, Craig Ravesloot, director of Rural Health Research for the Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities, supported that vision by conducting facilitator training in Seoul. Read more
UM doctoral candidate Ryan Bracewell recently was appointed a predoctoral fellowship through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Food Research Initiative. The fellowship recognized Bracewell’s research on a bark beetle and fungal symbiosis with a $77,000 award. Bracewell examines how the western pine beetle interacts with two mutualistic fungi critical to the beetle’s success and survival. Read more
As a doctoral student in UM’s Department of Counselor Education, Tara Smart remains focused on her passion: advocating for children and helping others to understand the unique needs of special education students. Thanks to the vision and funding of some generous UM alumni, Smart is first recipient of UM’s Intermountain Children’s Home Doctoral Fellowship. Read more
UM’s Wildlife Biology Program recently appointed an interim director and a new student adviser. Winsor Lowe will lead the program for the next two years, and Darr Tucknott joins the staff as student adviser. Lowe, a professor in the program for eight years, replaces Dan Pletscher, who retired in June. Read more
For the second year in a row, UM has been ranked among the top 300 universities worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. UM is ranked in the 276-300 level of the 2013-14 list – as it was last year – and is the only Montana university on the list. Read more
UM President Royce Engstrom today announced that the East Broadway site will be the location for the new Missoula College building. Engstrom made his selection after months of public comment, meetings and forums with interested UM students, University employees, elected officials and community members. Read more
The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation recently awarded UM students a $15,000 grant to work with Five Valleys Land Trust to restore a 290-acre property at the confluence of Rock Creek and the Clark Fork River. UM’s Wildland Restoration Program students will use the funds to plan and implement restoration at the site. Read more
UM’s is home to the unique Wilderness and Civilization Program, an inspiring and demanding academic program that each year immerses a small group of students in the study of wildland conservation and the human-nature relationship. Check out the blog by this year’s students to follow their educational adventures in the classroom, the community and the backcountry. Read more
The Online College Database recently ranked UM 43rd on its “50 Colleges Advancing Women in STEM” list. UM offers 66 science, technology and math programs, and the 450 women enrolled in them make up 56 percent of STEM students. The list identifies higher education institutions that graduate a high number of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Read more
College of Forestry and Conservation faculty members Alex Metcalf and Carl Seielstad led a hazardous fuels treatment project at Lubrecht State Experimental Forest last week. The thinning work reduced fuels around the recreational and lodging facilities at the forest. Seielstad and student Jenny Smith talked about the work in an interview with ABC Fox Montana.
A grant from the National Science Foundation will bring greater bandwidth to UM, boosting research projects with big-data needs while setting the groundwork for future upgrades. The $500,000 grant will bring high-speed bandwidth to the Clapp and ISB buildings on campus, providing 10 gigabit potential to researchers in three major studies. Read more
The first comprehensive report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 2007 will be released this week and it's expected to confirm that humans are causing global warming. Regents Professor of Ecology Steve Running speaks with Montana Public Radio News Director Sally Mauk about what to expect from the new report. Read more
UM photojournalism and multimedia Associate Professor Jeremy Lurgio's project “Lost & Found Montana” recently was named one of 20 “Best of 2013” projects by American Society of Media Photographers. Lurgio tells the stories of 18 Montana towns on the edge of extinction through photographs, an interactive Web site, a multimedia exhibit and magazine publication. Read more
Peruvian Ambassador Harold Forsyth on Monday announced a cooperative agreement with UM’s College of Forestry and Conservation that will send American students to the woods and rivers of the South American nation and vice versa. Read more
A new facility at UM will allow students to learn about cybersecurity and use “big data” to solve real-world problems. On Monday, UM announced plans to open a Cyber Innovation Laboratory in collaboration with state technology companies. Read more
The first TEDxUMontana event will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 19, in the Masquer Theatre of the Performing Arts and Radio/TV Center at UM. Tickets for TEDxUMontana are sold out, but you can still be part of the conversation at public viewing events. Find a listing of viewing locations here.
From heavy-hitting keynote speakers to ambassadors from some of the world’s most dynamic economies to breakout sessions with industry leaders, there is something for everyone at the 2013 Montana Economic Development Summit taking place in Butte on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 16-17. Organized by Sen. Max Baucus, the goal of the summit is to boost trade opportunities for Montana and create new jobs. Watch the summit live here.
The Wildlife Biology Program was recently named one of the University of Montana's "Programs of National Distinction." This recognition comes with additional funding that is being used to strengthen this renowned program for the benefit of students.
Research shows that children with disabilities experience more social isolation, higher obesity rates and as pedestrians, they are five times more likely to be hit by a vehicle when compared to children without disabilities. Helen Russette, a University of Montana graduate student studying public health, hopes to change those statistics. Russette is part of a team at UM that is developing a toolkit for identifying school routes that increase pedestrian safety, accessibility and inclusivity. Read more
Five UM departments and programs recently teamed up to create a resource website for potential and current graduate students in the biomedical, cellular, biochemical and chemical sciences. The site is a collaboration that offers students a one-stop shop to find information about programs, potential faculty mentors and the world-class research happening at UM. Read more
The effects of climate change often happen on a large scale, like drought or a rise in sea level. In the hills outside Missoula, wildlife biologists are looking at a change to something very small: the snowshoe hare. Life as snowshoe hare is pretty stressful. For one, almost everything in the forest wants to eat you. Alex Kumar, a graduate student at the University of Montana, lists the animals that are hungry for hares. NPR reports.
The UM College of Forestry and Conservation will celebrate its centennial this year with three days of events. All alumni and friends of the college are invited to events taking place Sept. 19-21. The college formally opened on Sept. 8, 1914, with 25 students and one degree program. It since has grown to offer five undergraduate degrees, four academic minors, five master’s of science degrees and three doctoral programs to nearly 1,000 students. Read more
The University of Montana made the top 100 in a list of universities ranked by research, service and social mobility. Washington Monthly magazine, a nonprofit publication, gave UM an overall ranking of 90th among 284 schools. The national magazine rates schools based on their contribution to the public good through recruiting and graduating low-income students, producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs, and encouraging students to give something back to their country. Read more
University of Montana Regents Professor of Ecology Steve Running has been appointed to the NASA Advisory Council Science Committee and chair of the Earth Science subcommittee within that council. Running chairs the Earth Science subcommittee, which will join other subcommittees in Astrophysics, Heliophysics and Planetary Science under the Advisory Council. Read more
UM President Royce Engstrom delivered his annual State of the University on Aug. 23 to an audience of faculty, staff, students and community members. Engstrom introduced several new administrators and student leaders, shared a variety of stories about academic distinction and success taking place at UM and outlined some of the milestones the University will work toward during the 2013-14 academic year. Read the text of his speech here.
Robert Yokelson, an atmospheric chemist at the University of Montana, is trying to learn more about how smoke from wildfires affects the climate. Scientists are still working to understand how clouds and smoke interact, he explains. As wildfires rage in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, Yokelson is taking to the air to sample the smoke as part of a NASA campaign to better understand how pollution affects climate. Read more
A new paper co-written by UM associate professor Mark Hebblewhite details ecological changes caused by a loss of Arctic sea ice. The paper concludes that the loss of sea ice obviously will impact the marine food web and the marine mammals that depend on sea ice habitat. Other major ecological changes in adjacent land-based habitats and species also will occur because of warming oceans. The findings were published in the Aug. 2 issue of Science magazine. Read more
The U.S. Army has awarded University of Montana researcher Dave Poulsen a $1 million grant to further develop a drug that limits damage caused by traumatic brain injuries. Researchers in Poulsen’s lab have shown that low doses of methamphetamine given to rodents within 12 hours after a traumatic brain injury or stroke significantly reduce brain damage and impairment. The Army grant will advance preclinical development studies of the drug in preparation for Phase I/II human clinical trials. Read more
Using data collected from India, Mongolia and China’s Tibetan plateau, a team of international researchers that includes UM Professor Joel Berger have found a disturbing link between the global cashmere trade and declining native wildlife species occurring there. Several endangered large mammals, such as the kiang, Tibetan gazelle, Przewalski gazelle, chiru and saiga, as well as the iconic snow leopard, which co-exist with cashmere producing goats in the deserts and grasslands of Central Asia, are being driven to the edge of survival. Read more
For the past several years, MonTECH Director Kathy Laurin and her staff have been compiling accessibility information for Montana public recreation lands. During the summer of 2013, Lee Bastian, who recently retired as a regional park manager for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, evaluated the accessibility of recreation sites in western Montana. They found that many sites could be improved through simple upgrades and maintenance efforts. The result is many more outdoor recreation options for individuals with disabilities. Read more
Three out of a dozen new grants awarded Wednesday by the Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology will go to the University of Montana to help support research capable of spawning economic development. UM received nearly $350,000 from the state board to push three separate projects, including one aimed at applied biomedical research and another to develop equipment used for environmental monitoring. Read more
Findings from a large-scale ice drilling study on the Greenland ice sheet by a team of University of Montana and University of Wyoming researchers may revise the models used to predict how ice sheets move. The work was published in Science on Aug. 15 in a paper titled “Basal Drainage System Response to Increasing Surface Melt on the Greenland Ice Sheet.” Read more
University of Montana President Royce C. Engstrom will outline institutional priorities for the upcoming academic year during his annual State of the University address at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 23. The public and members of the media are invited to the event, which will be held in the Montana Theatre of UM’s Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center. Read more
Omnibar – a new kind of energy bar hitting the market this fall – is the product of a meeting between a Blackfoot rancher looking for a new market for his grass-fed beef, and a former elite endurance athlete turned exercise science researcher convinced there was a better way to fuel hungry muscles. Read more
Geography Professor Sarah Halvorson talks about how a field-based course offered at UM creates a space for students to engage in meaningful ways with place.
Research aimed at product development could play an increased role at UM in coming years, as the University strives to become a top-tier research institution and an economic driver for the region. Scott Whittenburg, hired last December as the vice president of research and creative scholarship, said UM will work to expand its research into areas that promise economic growth – a move that could bring new collaborations to western Montana, including funding, businesses and jobs. Read more
The seventh National Smokeless and Spit Tobacco Summit is taking place at the University of Montana this week. The summit focuses on prevention and research about smokeless tobacco. Hundreds of people from around the country are attending the summit, which features more than 70 presentations. UM’s College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences is hosting the event, which is the only national conference of its kind. Read more
Nathaniel Levtow is one of a handful of scholars who can read the cryptic words engraved on tablets and boundary stones from the ancient Near East. This summer, the UM religious studies professor traveled first to Jerusalem and then to the Louvre in Paris, where he studied early inscriptions that include boundary stones and law codes from the excavations of Susa, once ancient Iran. Read more
People with developmental disabilities are among those most likely to experience interpersonal violence, according to new research by Rosemary Hughes of The Rural Institute at UM and her colleagues in Oregon. The team recently used a community-based participatory research approach to fully include people with developmental disabilities as equal research partners. Individuals with developmental disabilities helped to design the research, gather the survey data and most importantly, interpret the results. Read more
UM anthropology Associate Professor Kelly Dixon is among a team of volunteers documenting artifacts at Ghost Cave at Pictograph Cave State Park near Billings. The cooperative project aims to take a more comprehensive and detailed look at the state park and record inscriptions left behind by Works Progress Administration workers who excavated Ghost and Pictograph caves from 1937 to 1941, inscriptions that are now considered of historical value. Read more
Does making a ball move without touching it, dissecting a sheep brain, making slime or controlling an underwater robot sound fun? All of those pursuits – and more – will be possible at spectrUM’s new, soon-to-open downtown Missoula location. Families will be able to enjoy more of the best of what spectrUM has offered at its current location on the University of Montana campus, as well as new exhibits and activities made possible by the expanded space. Read more
The limits of human endurance, and the study thereof, are challenged by many factors: physical and mental fitness, terrain, heat, even the willingness of a test subject to provide a rectal thermometer reading in the field. UM Professor Brent Ruby and his fellow researchers at UM’s Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism have turned their frustration at losing data into a simple, modern solution: an app. Read more
By all appearances, Maria Fernanda is a normal 13-year-old girl. She comes from a good family, lives in a neighborhood with trees and dogs and attends a good school. She has a high IQ and is clinically healthy. There’s just one problem: The Mexico City air she breathes is sabotaging the development of her brain. Fernanda is one subject being researched by Dr. Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, an associate professor at UM’s College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences studies air pollution and brain development in Mexico City. Read more
NASA recently awarded a $1.125 million grant to researchers at the University of Montana to explore, among other things, whether there is life on other planets. UM will join with three other universities around the country to take part in "Project Minerva," which will use an array of four telescopes to research so-called "exoplanets". Astrophysics Associate Professor Nate McCrady will lead the effort at UM. In this feature interview, McCrady talks with Montana Public Radio News Director Sally Mauk about the study of exoplanets. Listen to the interview here.
New published research by UM bioclimatology Assistant Professor Ashley Ballantyne models the influence of sea ice on the Arctic. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations recently reached 400 parts per million for the first time since three million years ago. During that era, Arctic surface temperatures were 15 to 20 degrees Celsius warmer than today’s surface temperatures. Ballantyne’s findings suggest that much of the surface warming likely was due to ice-free conditions in the Arctic. Read more
UM osprey researchers have honored a member of the osprey-cam community by naming the two chicks being reared near Missoula in memory of Peggy Taylor Miles. She was an avid osprey-cam viewer and helped start the Facebook group Friends of the Osprey. After a battle with ovarian cancer, Taylor Miles died in March, but donations in her honor have poured in to the Montana Osprey Project. On July 18, her daughter and family (pictured above) helped collect samples. Read more
The American Society of Mammalogists recently awarded UM Wildlife Biology Professor and Craighead Chair Joel Berger the 2013 Aldo Leopold Conservation Award. The award honors well-established individuals who have made lasting contributions to the conservation of mammals and their habitats. “I am motivated by conservation and finding ways to protect our planet’s spectacular diversity,” said Berger, who is shown radio-collaring a musk oxen. “This means understanding systems and species, their challenges, and proffering solutions.” Read more * Radio interview
Plants take in and store carbon dioxide as they grow. As the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere increases, researchers want to know if plant growth can keep pace with and take up more of this new CO2. To grow faster, plants also need nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous in balance with the amount of new CO2. New research led by Cory Cleveland, a UM professor of terrestrial biogeochemistry, examines where plants might be expected to grow more based on access to nutrients. Read more
NASA recently awarded UM researchers a grant to support a $1.125 million project to help build a dedicated observatory to detect Earth-like exoplanets. Minerva is an array of four telescopes and a purpose-built, state-of-the-art spectrometer capable of detecting small, rocky planets in orbit around nearby stars. The goal of is to find exoplanets in the “habitable zone” – the region around a star where conditions are suitable for the presence of liquid water. Read more
UM researchers with Bee Alert Technology Inc. suspect a one-two punch of an insect virus and a fungal pathogen is the leading culprit for Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious malady killing honeybees across the country. “We’ve done lab infections with it, and it works, and we’ve done captive colony infections in a closed environment, and it works,” said Colin Henderson, a Bee Alert project manager. “We’re doing three flying colonies this summer.” Read more * Related Video
For the first time ever, a Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) at a Montana university has been granted a Phase 3 award from the National Institutes of Health. The $5 million, five-year, Institutional Development Award went to the Center for Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Montana. Part of UM’s College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences, CEHS employs about 50 people who study environmental impacts on human health. Read more
As its name implies, the sage grouse lives in sagebrush country, the rolling hills of knee-high scrub that's the common backdrop in movie Westerns. Pristine sagebrush is disappearing, however, and so are the birds. Biologists want to protect the sage grouse, but without starting a 21st century range war over it. So they've undertaken a grand experiment in the American West, to keep the grouse happy, as well as cattle ranchers and the energy industry. Biologist David Naugle, a sage grouse expert at the University of Montana, is part of that experiment. NPR reports.
There's a dangerous but basic equation behind the killer Yarnell Hill wildfire and other blazes raging across the West this summer: More heat, more drought, more fuel and more people in the way are adding up to increasingly ferocious fires. UM researchers Steve Running and Carl Seielstad, along with other experts, discuss climate change and wildfires in a Huffington Post article. Read more
If you love the outdoors and are looking for an adventure while contributing to the scientific study of Montana’s remote wilderness areas, then you might be interested in a citizen science backpacking trip with The Wilderness Institute at the University of Montana. The free trips are designed to pair volunteers with experienced guides as they trek into the remote and rugged landscape to study everything from noxious weeds to trail and campsite conditions. Read more
University of Montana senior Kellee Glaus has always enjoyed science and this summer, she’s participating in UM’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program, where she’s taking part in groundbreaking cancer research. “Helping to prove that the PTEN Tumor Suppressor Gene and its cascading pathway is active in Mesothelioma would be a big breakthrough in the treatment of this intensive form of cancer,” Glaus says. “Hopefully this would help to improve the lives of patients with this terrible disease.” Read more
UM sophomore Jameson Boslough is an aspiring microbiologist participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program at UM. “As a native Montanan, I’ve always appreciated the role of the environment in shaping our lives and our health,” Boslough said. “The summer program at the Center (for Environmental Health Sciences) offers an incredible opportunity to integrate these aspects in a lab setting.” Read more
The Davidson Honors College at the University of Montana recently selected three outstanding research projects for the annual $4,000 DHC Student-Faculty Summer Research Award. The three teams, selected from about a dozen applicants, received funding that is split evenly between the student and their faculty mentor to help cover their summer research project expenses. Read more
As a pre-med student majoring in exercise science, UM senior Cara Saxon has always had a fascination with the intricate systems of the human body. This summer, she discovered a project that combines her interests in immunology and inflammation with a rapidly growing technology that has great potential in the field of regenerative medicine. Saxon is pursuing that project through UM’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program, which is sponsored by the Center for Environmental Health Sciences. Read more
Carla Dove got her B.S. in wildlife biology from the University of Montana in 1986. Now she works at the Smithsonian as an ornithologist and a forensic expert of sorts. But unlike most forensic scientists, who help identify perpetrators of crimes, Dove identifies victims. And the victims in this case are birds. Learn more about her fascinating work in this report from National Public Radio.
Mealybugs only eat plant sap, but sap doesn’t contain all the essential amino acids the insects need to survive. Luckily, the bugs have a symbiotic relationship with two species of bacteria to manufacture the nutrients sap doesn’t provide. The net result: The bacteria get a comfy mealybug home, and the bugs get the nutrition they need to live. University of Montana microbiologist John McCutcheon and his research partners recently had their work on this subject published in the June 20 issue of Cell, a prestigious scientific journal. Read more
Time capsules were meant to be opened, and the one from 1967 discovered during the recent renovation of the Elrod Building at the University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station was. Now, they’re going to add some items from 2013 and put it back where they found it. Read more
As an aspiring medical student, Emilie Jacobsen is very interested in learning about and researching the effects of the physical, biological and chemical environments on human health. This summer, she is participating in UM’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program through the Center for Environmental Health Sciences. Emilie is working with mentors Andrij Holian and Ray Hamilton to study inflammasome activation in response to engineered nanomaterials. Read more
Fifteen Montana University System undergraduates have received summer internships to research climate science-related projects at sites throughout Montana. The Institute on Ecosystems students will work with faculty at the University of Montana and Montana State University on a variety of projects, studying everything from elk, marmots and snowshoe hares to Ponderosa pines and microscopic cyanobacteria. Read more
Incoming University of Montana forestry graduate student Anna Bergstrom recently was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The Fellowship provides three years of tuition, a stipend and travel to two conferences. Read more
The Center for Environmental Health Sciences continues its rich tradition of providing undergraduate students with relevant experience in conducting biomedical research at UM. Through the Summer Undergraduate Research Program students are paired with a faculty mentor and participate in an ongoing research project in the environmental sciences during a 10-week intensive summer program each year. Read more
In the mountain meadows on the southern edge of the Bitterroot Valley, wildlife researchers were all about being efficient as they stalked tiny elk calves hidden away by their mothers over the past couple of weeks. Assistant Professor Mark Hebblewhite of UM’s Wildlife Biology Program is leading this portion of the study. Read more
With an eye on its future and respect for its past, UM’s College of Forestry and Conservation celebrates a century on campus this year. The cover story of UM’s alumni magazine, the Montanan, takes a look back at why the college has thrived and where it’s headed next. Read more
Dan Pletscher has worked at UM for 29 years, the past 19 as director of the Wildlife Biology Program. Under Pletscher’s watch the program now is ranked second nationally by Academic Analytics, and the University recently named it one of the three Programs of National Distinction. “It’s the students I’ll miss most about the job,” he said. Read more
Emily Graslie, the 23-year-old UM graduate who became a YouTube sensation with her “The Brain Scoop” videos for the University’s Zoological Museum, has landed a new job as curiosity correspondent for Chicago’s Field Museum. She will produce 50 episodes a year in her new role. Read more
Joe Fanguy, UM director of technology transfer, led University efforts to take on full management of the MonTEC business incubator in 2011. MonTEC now has an anchor tenant in Rivertop Renewables, and Fanguy has updated the incubator’s business model to channel more support services to start-up companies. Read more
Kay Unger earned her Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University and joined the Department of Economics at UM in 1978. Professor Unger was a successful and popular teacher, and her research, which was published in notable journals, covered areas such as health and gender economics, agriculture and banking. Her proudest accomplishment was bringing child care services to campus, a lasting project in which she played a vital role. Professor Unger is one of 50 2012-13 retirees. Read more UM retiree stories here.
The drama at Missoula-area osprey nests continues this season with a stolen nest, a tragic death, a jealous mate and - just this week - the hatching of eggs. University of Montana biologist Erick Greene and his team of researchers are recording those developments and more as they monitor some 200 osprey nests around western Montana. Webcams mounted on two of the nests provide the public with round-the-clock viewing opportunities. Read more
The National Native Children’s Trauma Center at the University of Montana has received a donation from a former editor of Vogue magazine as an expression of support for the center's longstanding commitment to work in Indian Country.The donation was made by Babs Simpson, a renowned magazine editor, intrepid traveler and influential fashion model. Simpson became one of the most recognized figures in Vogue magazine after joining the publication in 1947. Read more
Explore planets, nebulae, star clusters and distant galaxies during eight upcoming free public observing nights at the Blue Mountain Observatory. The events are family-friendly, and children are welcome. The observatory, located atop Blue Mountain at an elevation of 6,300 feet, is operated by the University of Montana. Read more
Two University of Montana students have earned Chateaubriand Fellowships to carry out collaborative research in a French laboratory in Clermont-Ferrand. Steven McDaniel is a graduate student in UM’s Medicinal Chemistry Program and Jaydene Topenio McDaniel is a student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program. Read more
University of Montana researchers, in partnership with Missoula’s Providence St. Patrick Hospital, will use a new funding award to investigate how the hospital discharge process affects the treatment outcomes of patients from rural areas and to explore ways to improve those outcomes. Read more
Trust, understanding and respect. Those are three vital foundation components for medical research in Indian Country. That is the route UM School of Pharmacy researchers and the Montana Cancer Institute took when putting feelers out about genetic research they wanted to do related to cancer among members of the Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai Tribes. Read more
A team of scientists, including University of Montana Professor Steven Running, have developed the Drought Severity Index, which uses NASA satellite imagery to better localize drought conditions. Local Meteorologist Russ Thomas of KPAX news reports. Read more
Today, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed the resolution of two investigations into the University of Montana’s handling of allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment, and we announced our collaborative agreements moving forward. Read more
Three University of Montana graduate students will depart for India on May 14 to work with Indian students and faculty on a research exchange. The three UM students, all Native Americans, will study issues related to climate change and socioeconomic change in tribal populations in India. In the fall, three Indian graduate students will come to UM for six weeks to learn about tribal culture in Montana. Read more
Newly released county population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show significant growth in Montana’s northeastern oil patch, according to a University of Montana researcher. Jim Sylvester, an economist at UM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, said that Richland County, which contains Sidney, was among the fastest growing counties in the country with estimated growth of 6.6 percent during the past year. Read more
Since its creation 75 years ago, University of Montana’s Wildlife Biology Program has educated thousands of students. In this video produced by Conservation Media, Professors Dan Pletscher, Kerry Foresman and Dick Hutto discuss the history of wildlife biology at UM and the legendary educators who helped build the program into the world-class school that it is today.
University of Montana students and faculty collaborated across disciplines to create a multimedia piece featuring narration, computer music, dance and animation that artistically translates how the sounds of the rivers influence waterway ecosystems. “Sounds of Rivers: Stone Drum,” which will be showcased in the annual UM “Dance in Concert” production, illustrates how science and fine arts can come together to document valuable research and tell a compelling story. Read more
A team of students and instructors from Missoula College UM tested the limits of an energy-efficient vehicle they spent several months building when they traveled to a national competition last year. The team – led by Brad Layton, director of MC’s Energy Technology Program, and energy tech student Grant Myhre – raced its aluminum-framed, solar-powered car in the Shell Eco Marathon in Houston last spring. Layton says participating in such competitions inspires students to put knowledge into practice and also connects them with the much wider worlds of research, innovation and business. Read more
Jumping from a plane into the choking smoke of a wildland fire takes utter mental focus. Anxiety about what might go wrong can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For most of the decade that Charles Palmer served as a Missoula-based smokejumper for the U.S. Forest Service, he kept that mental clarity. Now in his sixth year teaching in UM's Department of Health and Human Performance, Palmer maintains a keen interest in what makes wildland firefighters tick. Read more
Nate McCrady, known by many as the UM assistant professor of astronomy who shares his love of the stars with visitors during the Blue Mountain Observatory public viewing nights, recently won the first University of Montana College of Arts and Sciences Award for Teaching Across the Curriculum. His talent as an educator and seemingly unbound enthusiasm and energy have garnered him high praise from colleagues and students alike, who describe him as dedicated, challenging and involved. Read more
The University of Montana unveiled its new logo and brand identity to employees April 30 in the University Center Theater during an internal event hosted by UM’s Office of Integrated Communications. “This always has been a great University,” said Mario Schulzke, UM’s assistant vice president for marketing. “We just really needed a fresh storytelling platform to be able to communicate to the public all of the amazing things that are happening here on a daily basis.” Read more
Throughout her career, UM Professor Janet Finn repeatedly has explored, captured and given voice to the often-overlooked stories of women and their unique contributions to society. In her most recent book, “Mining Childhood: Growing up in Butte, 1900-1960,” Finn turns her attention to children and what childhood once was like on “The Richest Hill on Earth.” Finn will host a presentation and book signing at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at Fact & Fiction bookstore in downtown Missoula. Read more
The ospreys have returned to their nests in western Montana and bird watchers can once again observe their nesting behavior via two webcams. UM researchers Erick Greene and Heiko Langner use the cameras on osprey nests to collect data on prey fish numbers, species and sizes. Join hundreds of viewers from around the world by viewing the live webcam streams here.
University of Montana graduate student Kellie Carim studies bones that reveal the ages and life histories of trout. It’s her way of fighting for a native species. Read more
It’s difficult to know what exactly the effects of pesticides on humans are, since many people don’t understand when they have been exposed. University of Montana Professor Chuck Thompson is working to change that. Thompson studies chemical toxicology and neurochemistry at UM. He's working with Jon Nagy to develop a simple, inexpensive field test that can help people determine if they are experiencing a reaction to pesticide exposure. Read more
Normally, digging holes in Yellowstone National Park violates federal law, but for the past five summers University of Montana archaeologist Doug MacDonald and his students have been doing just that. They are surveying and evaluating archeological sites surrounding Yellowstone Lake to reveal the lives of people who lived as long as 9,000 years ago. Read more
Estimates produced by The University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research show that 10.8 million people visited Big Sky Country, an increase of 2 percent from 2011. Spending by those visitors increased about 15 percent from the year before, totaling $3.27 billion. Read more
Every year, millions of visitors to Yellowstone National Park traverse the boardwalk of Grand Prismatic Hot Spring to observe the pool’s boiling blue center. For the past few years, those tourists have been joined by researchers from the University of Montana Division of Biological Sciences who are studying the hot spring in an attempt to unlock the mysteries underlying the unique innovation of photosynthetic bacterial life at extreme temperatures. Read more
The predicted decrease of winter snowpack due to climate change might inconvenience winter recreationists, but for mammals that change coat color during the cold months to blend in and survive, the consequences could be much graver. L. Scott Mills, a professor in the University of Montana College of Forestry and Conservation, will publish an article on this topic in the April issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more
There are around 14 million domestic yaks in the world, but nobody knows how many wild yaks there are. They're a vulnerable species. UM Professor Joel Berger lead an expedition to the Tibetan plateau last November and December to get a better yak count and start to figure out how they're going to respond to climate change. Read about it in Scientific American.
Local lore claims that downtown Missoula has quite the history—underground. It's a subject that has caught, and held, the attention of Missoulians for decades. In an attempt to document that lore, a group of fifteen graduate and undergraduate students in UM's Department of Anthropology worked this past fall to investigate, catalog and photograph Missoula's historic and fabled underground. Read more
Innovation and imagination are the cornerstones of research and creative scholarship at the University of Montana. UM is celebrating research, creative scholarship and entrepreneurship during “II2013 –Innovation and Imagination 2013,” a week of activities held April 10-17. All events are free and open to the public. Read more