Friday, November 16, 2012

Michiana Science and Technology Center, Inc.

Michiana Science and Technology Center, Inc. (MSTCi) is a local organization designed to support and foster interest in science, technology, engineering, and math.  They plan to occupy the downtown Ivy Tower.

Just last week they offered an event called "How does it work?" at the South Bend Union Station.  Professor Doug McMillen was there demonstrating chemistry by taking a look at the water-absorbing ability of polymers found in diapers.  MSTCi plans for two events in the Spring: "Energy" and "What's new in science, math, and technology?"  Dates have not been announced.  For more information about MSTCi please visit their website or Facebook page.  The South Bend Tribune reported on last week's events; click here for their story.

Start thinking about summer research

If you are graduating this year then you should have already started applying for graduate school or looking into the job market.  But those of you who still have one or more fine years of schooling left can get busy too.  Research experience is important in securing admission and fellowships for graduate study.  There are opportunities for research during the fall, spring, and summer.  
Each summer some students work with familiar professors on campus - and a select few get funded by a campus SMART grant.  But many more opportunities are available off campus at larger institutes and are known as REUs - Research Experience for Undergraduates.  REUs serve to educate undergraduate students across the nation and also to advertise the sponsoring university as a potential graduate school to the top-notch undergraduate who gains the lucky summer position.  The University of North Texas is offering one such REU.  You can read about it here to get an idea about REUs in general.  REUs not only combine valuable experience with a paycheck - they often provide housing as well. There are many more opportunities so start Googling and contact your professors.

Friday, November 9, 2012

IU South Bend students help fruit growers fight virus

IU South Bend students once again make an impact with research.   As the only biochemist in our faculty, Professor Gretchen Anderson is in charge of two semesters of biochemistry lecture and one semester of biochemistry laboratory.  In addition to using standard laboratory experiments, she gives her students the opportunity to tackle real-world problems.  In recent years their efforts have taken an agricultural turn.  The tomato ring spot virus infects more than just tomatoes and is a serious threat to orchards.  Work with Dr. Bill Shane of the Michigan State University Extension Center has shown that the virus can be detected in dandelions growing around the tree. It is much easier to work with soft dandelions than the hard bark and roots of fruit trees. Furthermore, the method is completely non-destructive - for the tree, at least. 

Click here to read the full story written by Professor Anderson for the South Bend Tribune.