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 Halverson 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