News » Archives » 2012

Notre Dame and St. Patrick’s County Park team up on new cutting-edge environmental facility

Author: Notre Dame News

St. Patrick's County Park

The University of Notre Dame and St. Joseph County Parks are launching a new partnership to build a cutting-edge environmental research and education facility at St. Patrick’s County Park. The new facility will be called the Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility (ND LEEF) at St. Patrick’s County Park.

Construction will begin this spring on a field-based environmental research facility that will allow Notre Dame scientists, graduate and undergraduate researchers, visiting scholars and other area academic institutions to study the interrelationships of land, water and wetland ecologies in the face of environmental change.

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Notre Dame biologists tackling big question in evolution

Author: Arnie Phifer

Rhagoletis pomonella

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame, the University of Iowa and Cornell University have been awarded collaborative grants totaling $1.1 million from the National Science Foundation to answer a fundamental question: As a new species evolves, how, and to what extent, do other species that depend on it evolve as well?

In this case, the targets of study are a fruit fly — specifically the apple maggot fly — and some of its deadliest predators, parasitic wasps.

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We're on the map

Author: Sara Brown


The interactive campus map now has a new “Green Tour” overlay. This layer allows students, staff, faculty, and guests to better understand where sustainability initiatives are happening on campus and to utilize the physical campus as a learning experience.

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Director of the Vatican Observatory presents Nieuwland Lecture

Author: Shelly Goethals

funesOn Wednesday, February 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the Carey Auditorium of the Hesburgh Library, Fr. Jose G. Funes, S.J. will present "Why Science and Faith Matter to Each Other." This is sponsored by the Nieuwland Lecture Series.

Father Funes participates in the unique work for the Catholic church in Rome: the Vatican Observatory. In this lecture, he will speak about this crossroads of science and faith and how important it is to promote dialogue between them.

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March of Dimes funds Wingert to study congenital kidney defects

Author: Faith Hagedorn


The March of Dimes has awarded a $150,000 grant to Rebecca Wingert, assistant professor in Department of Biological Sciences for her research on the genetic causes of congenital kidney defects. The grant, the Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award, is a prestigious and highly competitive one intended for young scientists at the beginning of their independent careers.

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Aprahamian named chair of APS nuclear physics division

Author: Shelly Goethals


Ani Aprahamian, the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Physics, has been elected chair of the American Physical Society's Division of Nuclear Physics. APS is the second-largest organization in the field, chartered “to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics.” It publishes a number of journals, conducts extensive education and outreach programs, and is active in public and governmental affairs. The Division of Nuclear Physics is composed of scientists and educators who study fundamental problems related to the nature of matter – the properties of nuclei and of their ultimate constituents, quarks and gluons.

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Patent law program gains approval

Author: Kevin Zeise

Patent Law

A new graduate program designed to fill the need for registered patent agents will admit its first class this fall after gaining approval in late January. The one-year program, a Master of Science in Patent Law, will train students with a science or engineering background with the additional skills necessary to pass the Patent Bar exam.

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Annual undergraduate scholars conference scheduled

Author: Shelly Goethals


The 6th College of Science Joint Annual Meeting (COS-JAM) will take place in Jordan Hall on Friday, May 4, 2012, as part of the 5th Undergraduate Scholars Conference. The intent of COS-JAM is to highlight the research achievements of undergraduate students conducting scientific research at the University of Notre Dame.

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Professor honored for environmental-justice work

Author: Kevin Clarke

Kristin Shrader-Frechette

By now, most people are aware of the environmental effects of air or water pollution. University of Notre Dame philosopher and scientist Kristin Shrader-Frechette has devoted herself to bringing to light a less known concern: the inequitable distribution of pollution’s human toll.

“Polluters ‘target’ poor and minority communities to locate noxious facilities because they know that residents often are unable to defend themselves,” she says.

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Explosion on sun being felt on Earth

Author: Shelly Goethals

The Solar Dynamics Observatory captures an M8.7 class flare in a handout photo released by NASA (NASA, REUTERS / January 23, 2012)

A massive explosion on the sun has made its way to Earth. In the past, solar flares have knocked out complete power grids and can affect our technology. So what can we expect from this one?

It's a phenomenon that's been happening on the sun for eons — massive explosions send magnetic fields and atomic particles hurling into space. On occasion, they can hit Earth.

"So what's happened, there was a solar flare that ejected a large amount of material off the surface of the sun a couple of days ago, actually, and it's only now just arriving at the Earth," said Chris Howk, a physics professor at Notre Dame.

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Notre Dame researchers publish new findings on aging pediatric bruises

Author: Rachel Fellman and Marissa Gebhard

Researchers study bruising using spectroscopic measurement

A multi-university research group which includes several University of Notre Dame faculty and graduate students, has recently published a paper detailing new work on the analysis and dating of human bruises. The research, which is funded by the Gerber Foundation, will have particular application to pediatric medicine, as bruise age is often key evidence in child abuse cases.

Using a combination of modeling and spectroscopy measurements, the researchers have advanced our understanding of the changing composition of aging bruises and developed new tools for detailed biomedical studies of human skin tissue.

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Four College of Science faculty members named AAAS fellows

Author: William G. Gilroy


Four College of Science Notre Dame faculty members have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in honor of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

AAAS, founded in 1848 as a nonprofit association, is the world’s largest scientific society and publisher of the prestigious journal Science.

The new Notre Dame AAAS fellows are: Mark Alber, Vincent J. Duncan Family Professor of Applied Mathematics, concurrent professor of physics and computer science and engineering, director, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Biocomplexity and adjunct professor of medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine;  Margaret Dobrowolska, Rev. John Cardinal O’Hara, C.S.C., Professor of Physics; Jacek Furdyna, professor of physics, Aurora and Thomas Marquez Professor of Information Theory and Computer Technology and professor of physics; and Gary Lamberti, professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences.

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Bullock to serve as Indiana CTSI liaison

Author: Indiana CTSI

Andrew Bullock - Harper Cancer

Andrew Bullock, Ph.D., MBA, managing director of the Mike and Josie Harper Cancer Research Institute at the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed as a liaison for the Indiana CTSI at Notre Dame.

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Lieberman and Duffield receive Indiana CTSI 2011 Fall Core Pilot Grants

Author: Indiana CTSI

indiana clinical and translational science institute logo

The Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute has announced the recipients of its biannual program to provide small grants to investigators whose project will benefit from to access cutting-edge scientific expertise and technology. Two of the faculty are from the College of Science. Giles Duffield, assistant professor of biological sciences, and Marya Lieberman, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, have received awards.

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Environmental sciences major co-organizes student peace conference

Author: Marissa Gebhard


Erik Helgesen, a senior environmental science major and peace studies minor, is organizing the University of Notre Dame's annual Student Peace Conference with Nhu Phan. Phan, a management consulting and Japanese major and peace studies minor. The conference will take place on March 30-31, 2012, at the Hesburgh Center for International Studies.

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Notre Dame researchers report fundamental malaria discovery

Author: Pamela Tamez and William Gilroy


A team of researchers led by Kasturi Haldar and Souvik Bhattacharjee of the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases has made a fundamental discovery in understanding how malaria parasites cause deadly disease.

The researchers show how parasites target proteins to the surface of the red blood cell that enables sticking to and blocking blood vessels. Strategies that prevent this host-targeting process will block disease.

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Notre Dame physicists use ion beams to detect art forgery

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Accelerated ion beams used to reveal counterfeit art work

University of Notre Dame nuclear physicists Philippe Collon and Michael Wiescher are using accelerated ion beams to pinpoint the age and origin of material used in pottery, painting, metalwork and other art. The results of their tests can serve as powerful forensic tools to reveal counterfeit art work, without the destruction of any sample as required in some chemical analysis.

Their research is featured on the front cover of the current issue of Physics Today in an article titled, “Accelerated ion beams for art forensics.”

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Jones receives Lindeman Award

Author: Yolonda Wiens


Stuart E. Jones, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has received the Raymond L. Lindeman Award from the leading professional organization Advancing the Science of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO). The award, started in 1987, honors an outstanding paper written by a young aquatic scientist. Jones’s paper, “Dormancy contributes to the maintenance of microbial diversity,” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in 2010.

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Former Notre Dame coach and breast cancer survivor to speak for Pink Zone luncheon

Author: Marissa Gebhard


Sharon Drake Petro, former head coach of Notre Dame women’s basketball and women’s tennis, will be the featured speaker at the Pink Zone luncheon on Feb. 12 (Sunday) at 12:30 p.m. at the Purcell Pavilion at Notre Dame.

The luncheon will precede the annual Notre Dame women’s basketball Pink Zone game at 3:30 p.m. that day and is organized by the College of Science to recognize researchers and physicians in the fight against cancer.

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Physics Ph.D. alumnus launches video series of scientists

Author: Shelly Goethals


César Hidalgo, who earned a Ph.D. in Physics at Notre Dame in 2008, has started an online video series of scientists, “Cambridge Nights: Conversations About a Life in Science.” The series is produced at the M.I.T. Media Lab that he joined last year. Hidalgo is the ABC Career Development Professor at The Media Lab and a faculty associate at the Center for International Development at Harvard University.

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Hybrid silkworms spin stronger spider silk

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Silk made with spider silk sequences

Research was published this week showing that silk produced by transgenically-engineered silkworms in the laboratory of Malcolm Fraser Jr., professor of biological sciences at University of Notre Dame, exhibits the highly sought-after strength and elasticity of spider silk. This stronger silk could possibly be used to make sutures, artificial limbs and parachutes.

The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and highlighted for their breakthrough in the long search for silk with such mechanical properties.

Watch Video Video

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2012 ND REU program now accepting applications

Author: Shelly Goethals


The University of Notre Dame's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program, which celebrated 25 years in 2011, provides opportunities for undergraduate students to experience hands-on participation in research in many areas of physics. Rising juniors or seniors, can come to Notre Dame and work with a professor for ten weeks and will help this professor with his or her work, or work on an independent experiment. The REU program give students valuable research experience, to help you decide if physics research is the right career path for them.

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