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Paper Explores Use of Shell Material to Gather DNA From Mollusks

Paper Explores Use of Shell Material to Gather DNA From Mollusks

This research isn’t associated with IMCI but Christine Parent and Lisette Waits are both IMCI participants and we love touting good news.

Kelly Martin, a biology doctorate student, and two faculty members, including Christine Parent, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Lisette Waits, distinguished professor in the College of Natural Resources, jointly produced a paper on mollusk shells that appeared in BioScience, a peer-reviewed science journal published by Oxford University. The paper explores the use of unconventional DNA sources from mollusks, which have the highest number of extinctions of any taxonomic group. Traditionally, mollusk shell material was used for morphological research. Not until recently has it been used in DNA studies. Successful recovery of shell DNA can help answer ecological and evolutionary questions and protect molluscan diversity, according to the paper.

Biology Professor Recognized by Alma Mater for Success, Service and Leadership

Jim Bull is an essential IMCI participant. He is a member of our Internal Advisory Committee (IAC) and participates in several working groups. The U of I is lucky to have him! View the original press release here.

February 17, 2021

College of Science Professor Jim Bull has been recognized as the 2021 Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumnus by Texas Tech University College of Arts and Sciences, where he earned an undergraduate degree before earning his doctorate from the University of Utah. The award recognizes former teachers and students for their “innovation, community service and leadership, pursuit of excellence, public accountability and diversity.” Jim was also recognized for his “professional success and service to the community and representation of the university” as an “undeniable candidate for this prestigious honor.”

When Jim, an evolutionary biologist, joined the U of I faculty in fall 2019, he was the first National Academy of Sciences (NAS) member to be affiliated with an educational institution in Idaho. He was elected to NAS in 2016. The academy is a nonprofit, private society of scholars charged by Congress to provide the nation objective and independent counsel on scientific and technological matters.

Jim specializes in the evolution of viruses and sex determination. He served on the Science board of reviewing editors for 13 years, chaired the National Institute of Health’s Genetic Variation Evolution Study Section for two years and is an American Academy of Arts and Sciences member.

Working Group on Belief Formation

Working Group leader: Holly Wichman

Group members: Jeff Bailey, Bert Baumgaertner, Jim Bull, Traci Craig, Florian Justwan, Craig Miller, Dilshani Sarathchandra

Originated: January 2021


Working Group on Belief Formation explores how beliefs and opinions are formed. This is approached from a multidisciplinary perspective. One goal is to foster logical thinking in our students.

Watershed Geography and Carcinogenicity

Working Group leader: Alan Kolok

Group members: Naveen Joseph

Originated: January 2021


This group is focused upon evaluating the relationship between water quality in surface and groundwater and its links to adverse human health impacts, particularly cancer.

Song Gao is Seminar Speaker January 14

Song Gao is Seminar Speaker January 14

Please mark your calendars and plan to attend the first Seminar Series of the year.

Mapping Multiscale Human Mobility Changes and Geospatial Modeling of COVID-19 Spread
presented by

Dr. Song Gao,
Director of Geospatial Data Science Lab, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thursday, January 14, 2021, 12:30 pm PST via Zoom.
(Email IMCI or IBEST for the Passcode.)

Abstract: To contain the COVID-19 spread, one of the non-pharmaceutical interventions is social distancing. An interactive web-based mapping platform that provides up-to-date mobility information on how people in different counties and states reacted to the social distancing and stay-at-home orders was developed by the GeoDS Lab at UW-Madison. The web portal integrates geographic information systems (GIS) and daily updated human mobility statistical patterns derived from large-scale anonymized and aggregated smartphone location big data in the United States. A mobility-augmented compartmental epidemic model is developed to help monitor COVID-19 spreading dynamics, inform public health policy, and deepen our understanding of human behavior impacts under the unprecedented public health crisis.