News » Archives » February 2013

Tundra fires become more widespread

Author: Jon Cartwright, Environmental Research Letters

Adrian Rocha

Tundra fires are important because they have the potential to switch regions from being climate-cooling – thanks to their reflective white surface – to climate-warming. With this in mind, Adrian Rocha at the University of Notre Dame, US, and colleagues have sought to estimate how the carbon footprint of Alaskan wildfires has changed over the past half-century. His research was published in Environmental Research Letters.

Read More

Lighten Your Footprint for Lent

Author: Rachel Novick

Jesus statue

A campus Lenten Carbon Fast calendar provides guidance for those who wish to pursue daily activities and challenges to both reduce their carbon footprint and increase awareness about the impacts of energy use.

Read More

Don Lincoln featured as a "hero in education" on Daily Edventures

Author: Stephanie Healey

Don Lincoln at CERN. Photo courtesy of

Don Lincoln, adjunct professor of physics and staff scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, was the featured “hero in education” on the Daily Edventures blog on February 23. The blog features an educator every day for 365 days and comes from Microsoft Partners in Learning, a global wide initiative focused on improving teaching and learning by helping educators and school leaders connect, collaborate, create and share ideas so students can reach their full potential.

Read More

Irish Innovation Fund established to assist student-led start-ups

Author: William G. Gilroy

Solar Panels

A new $3.5 million fund at the University of Notre Dame has been established to help launch student-led ventures and further strengthen the educational component of the University’s ESTEEM Graduate Program.

The funds for the program will be from gifts made to the University by John Jeuck, the former dean of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, in honor of his close personal friend, Philip J. Purcell III, a member of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees.

The ESTEEM (Engineering, Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship Excellence Master’s) Program is the first multidisciplinary graduate program in Notre Dame’s history. Developed in collaboration with the College of Science, the College of Engineering and the Mendoza College of Business, and housed at the University’s state-of-the-art Innovation Park, ESTEEM provides science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-educated students an unparalleled opportunity to deepen their technical talents while also learning the business and innovation skills they need to commercialize research and bring new ideas and technological advancements to market.

Read More

Alber leads cancer modeling session at AAAS annual meeting

Author: Jessica Stoller-Conrad

Mark Alber

From the election to the economy, mathematical and computational models have been gaining mainstream recognition for their successes in predicting human behavior – and now similar models may be used to predict the behavior of cancer cells in the human body. 

A session at the recent 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting organized by Mark Alber, the Vincent J. Duncan Family Professor of Applied Mathematics at Notre Dame, addressed several roles of mathematical modeling in cancer research.  Alber also moderated a discussion among leading mathematical and computational biologists on multi-scale models used in cancer research.

Read More

Zachary Schultz named a 2013 Cottrell Scholar

Author: Stephanie Healey

Zachary Schultz, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry

Zachary Schultz, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been named a 2013 Cottrell Scholar. Cottrell Scholar Awards are given to early-career professors who have developed excellent research programs and excellent approaches to undergraduate teaching.  Schultz’s award will be effective July 1, 2013.


Read More

Science and Engineering Fair scheduled for March 2

Author: William G. Gilroy


The Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair will take place Saturday (March 2) at the Stepan Center at the University of Notre Dame. The event is open to the public at 1:30 p.m. and parking is available in the D lot east of the Stepan Center at the corner of Wilson and Stepan drives.

The fair will feature science, social science, engineering and mathematics projects by students in grades three through 12 from public and private schools in St. Joseph, Elkhart, Fulton and Marshall counties.

Read More

Water on the Moon: It’s been there all along

Author: William G. Gilroy and Nina Welding


Looking at pictures of the Moon, even from the historic “giant leap” photograph, it is easy to understand why scientists used to think of it as a big dust ball. However, “conventional wisdom” has been changing over the years. This is largely due to the information garnered from missions such as NASA’s 2009 Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (L-CROSS) lunar-impact probe, as well as new scanning technologies and more precise measurements, which have been facilitated by enhanced instrumentation and improved analytical detection limits, on samples returned to Earth following the Apollo missions.

In a paper published in the Feb. 17 issue of Nature Geoscience, researchers show that they have detected significant amounts of water in the samples of the lunar highland upper crust obtained during the Apollo missions. The lunar highlands are thought to represent the original crust, crystallized from a mostly molten early Moon that is called the lunar magma ocean.

Read More

Notre Dame forum brings K-12 educators and researchers together

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Collaborating for Education and Research Forum

The sixth annual Collaborating for Education and Research Forum will gather STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) education and research professionals from 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 23) in the Jordan Hall of Science at the University of Notre Dame.

Glenda Ritz, the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, will give a keynote presentation at 9 a.m., and will join a panel discussion titled, “On the Road to High Quality Instruction: Creating a Culture of Support for Teachers.”

Educators will learn about the strategic plan for the new Michiana Science and Technology Center, as well as additional STEM education and research opportunities for students and educators.

Read More

Stargazers gather at the Jordan Hall Observatory to view passing asteroid on Friday

Author: Stephanie Healey

Asteroid 2012 DA14

Over 50 people braved the cold temperatures to gather at the Jordan Hall of Science Observatory to catch a glimpse of the Asteroid 2012 DA14.   The 150 foot (50 meter) in diameter asteroid passed earth at 19,000 mph (31,000 km per hour) on Friday, February 15, 2013. The asteroid came closer to Earth than any satellite currently orbiting the planet and is the only celestial body to pass this close to Earth in recorded history. 

Read More

New Notre Dame research paper offers insights on 'ecological speciation'

Author: William G. Gilroy

Leaf galls of B

A new paper by researchers at the University of Notre Dame provides new insights into speciation, which is the evolutionary process by which new biological species arise.

The research team, which was headed by Scott P. Egan, a research assistant professor with the Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics Initiative, and included Glen R. Hood, Gabriel DeVela and James R. Ott, investigated a special case of speciation, known as “ecological speciation,” in which new species arise as a result of populations adapting to different environments.

Read More

Graduate students Jordan Scott and Katherine Ward earn ASBMB awards

Author: Stephanie Healey

Jordan Scott & Katherine Ward

Biochemistry graduate students Jordan Scott and Katherine Ward have earned an American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) travel award to present their research at the ASBMB annual meeting in Boston this April. Scott and Ward both work in the lab of Robert Stahelin, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine – South Bend and adjunct assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame. 

Read More

Mark Suckow receives PROSE Award

Author: Tommasina Domel


The Laboratory Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Hamster, and Other Rodents, edited by Mark A. Suckow, research professor of biological sciences, has won the 2012 Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) for Best Single Volume Reference in Science.

Sanctioned by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM), The Laboratory Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Hamster, and Other Rodents is a 1,268-page textbook that teaches about animals used in research including rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils and other rodents.  The book discusses the animals’ basic biology, anatomy, physiology, behavior, infectious and noninfectious diseases, husbandry and breeding, common experimental methods, and use of the species as a research model.

Read More

Notre Dame study explores potential benefits and threats of nanotechnology research

Author: Arnie Phifer

Kathleen Eggleson

Every day, scientists learn more about how the world works at the smallest scales. While this knowledge has the potential to help others, it is possible that the same discoveries can also be used in ways that cause widespread harm.

A recent article in the journal Nanomedicine, born out of a Federal Bureau of Investigation workshop held at the University of Notre Dame in September 2012, tackles this complex “dual-use” aspect of nanotechnology research.

Read More

Astronomers discover Jupiter-Saturn-like planets in distant solar system

Author: William G. Gilroy

David Bennett

The simultaneous discovery of two exoplanets slightly smaller than Jupiter and Saturn by an international team of astronomers that includes David Bennett from the University of Notre Dame gives astrophysicists an important clue that solar systems like ours might be quite common.

The report, to be published in the Feb. 15 issue of the journal Science, describes the series of observations that began March 28, 2006, when a collaboration known as Optical Gravitational Microlensing Equipment (OGLE) detected a signal, possibly due to a planet in microlensing event OGLE-2006-BLG-109, that the researchers had discovered and announced two days earlier.

After the OGLE group announced this possible detection of a planetary system via e-mail, other astronomers from the Microlensing Follow-Up Network (MicroFUN), Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics (MOA) and Probing Lensing Anomalies NETwork (PLANET) collaborations also began intensive, round-the-clock observations of this event. The combined data from these four groups revealed a series of brightness variations over the ensuing 11 days that indicated that two planets orbit a star half the mass of the sun located 5,000 light years from Earth. This star, called OGLE-2006-BLG-109L, and its planets were discovered using a technique known as gravitational microlensing.

Read More

Innovation Park completes third year of operation

Author: Arnie Phifer



"Cultivating marketable innovations in an inspirational environment" continues to be the mission of Innovation Park at Notre Dame. These innovations span a broad spectrum of industry sectors, including mobile applications and cloud computing, nanotechnology, sustainable energy and micro-fluidics, as well as socially sustainable ventures, but all share the common theme of being a driving force for constructive change. 



Read More

Students solve case in 'CSI'-style project

Author: William G. Gilroy


Watch Video Video

Visitors to the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library on a recent day most likely thought they’d wandered into location filming for a “CSI” or “NCIS” television episode. Yellow crime scene tape surrounded a library study area, and a team of what appeared to be crime scene experts scoured the site for evidence.

However, the dramatic scene had an academic purpose. First-year students enrolled in a “Forensic Chemistry” course taught by chemistry and biochemistry professor Marya Lieberman worked the Hesburgh Library crime scene as the capstone experience for the class.

Read More

Talk Science seminar discusses research from undergraduate students and faculty

Author: Rachel Cotton, '14

Talk Science seminar

Scientia, the Undergraduate Journal of Scientific Research, hosts a monthly seminar series entitled, Talk Science. Held in the Jordan Hall of Science Reading Room in a fun and informal setting, Talk Science is a time and place for building camaraderie among science undergraduate students and faculty. Junior chemistry major Ansel Nalin and Prof. Stuart Jones both gave presentations on their research to 35 students at the most recent Talk Science seminar on Thursday, February 7.

Read More

Pink Zone Luncheon honors researchers, clinicians, survivors

Author: Gene Stowe and Stephanie Healey


Mary Hesburgh Flaherty, a 1979 Notre Dame alumna and two-time breast cancer survivor, spoke about her experience with cancer at the third annual Pink Zone Luncheon on Feb. 2. Each year the luncheon is hosted by the College of Science and the Notre Dame women’s basketball team to honor breast cancer researchers, clinicians, and survivors and their supporters.

Read More

MurphyKate Montee named a 2013-2014 Churchill Scholar

Author: Stephanie Healey

Murphy Kate Montee

The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States has selected MurphyKate Montee as a Churchill Scholar for the academic year 2013-2014. She will use the scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom for her Master of Advanced Studies (Part III) in Theoretical Mathematics with a focus on geometry and topology. 

Read More

Jennifer Tank receives Leopold Leadership Fellowship

Author: Stephanie Healey

Jennifer Tank

Jennifer Tank, The Ludmilla F., Stephen J., and Robert T. Galla Professor of Biological Sciences, has been named a Leopold Leadership Fellow. The Leopold Leadership Program was founded in 1998 by the Stanford Woods Institute at Stanford University to fill a critical gap in environmental decision making. The goal of the program is to further the development of sustainable policies and practices by getting scientific knowledge into the hands of government, nonprofit, business leaders, and the public.

Read More

Dorms to compete in energy-saving 'Megawatt Madness'

Author: Notre Dame News

Megawatt Madness

This month, students on the University of Notre Dame campus will experience a new kind of dorm energy competition. Megawatt Madness will match up dorms in head-to-head competitions to see which residence hall can implement the most energy-saving practices. Dorm match-ups will rotate each week. The competition runs for three weeks, from Feb. 4 (Monday) through Feb. 24 (Sunday), giving every dorm a good shot at being a winner.

“Each dorm gets to start over and play a new opponent each week, so the structure of the competition really keeps students engaged,” says Kate Christian, vice president of GreeND, which is sponsoring the competition. “At the end of the competition, your dorm will have a menu of prizes to choose from if a hall has won one, two or all three competitions. The more wins, the bigger the prize.”

Read More