News

2014

Faculty, staff, and students celebrate at the Summer Institute closing ceremony.

Twenty-two students and one faculty member from Shanghai Normal University in Shanghai, China, spent two weeks at the University of Missouri through the Department of Communication’s Summer Institute in July. This is the second year the program has been offered; it is sponsored by the Department of Communication, the International Center, the Confucius Institute, and the Asian Affairs Center.

Matthew Stiens, senior percussion performance major

Matthew Stiens, a senior percussion performance major in the School of Music, received the 2014 TorQ Percussion Seminar Composition Competition grand prize for his composition, an exciting piece called “Eristic.” TorQ is a highly regarded Canadian quartet, known for their engaging performances. They will play “Eristic” at the TorQ Percussion Seminar Finale Concert July 27.

Michael Yonan, associate professor of art history

Inspiration can strike anywhere, but sometimes a new environment and invigorating conversations can help foster creativity. Michael Yonan, an associate professor of art history, enjoyed both during his six-month stay in Sweden during the spring semester. Yonan was selected as a fellow of the highly regarded Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) from a competitive field of international applicants.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – For the past few years, flash mobs have been featured in viral videos as good-natured choreographed dancing or singing events. Recently in urban areas, several of these events have turned violent. J.

Carl Gerhardt, Curators’ Professor of Biological Sciences, analyzes frog calls

Male tree frogs are especially open and transparent on first dates. Their mating calls tell female tree frogs everything they need to know to make a good match. Carl Gerhardt, Curators’ Professor of Biological Sciences, who is also a Thomas Jefferson Award recipient, has devoted much of his career to listening to these calls.

Nate Hofer, assistant professor of religious studies

Nate Hofer, an assistant professor of religious studies, will spend the next year doing what he loves most—researching and writing. Hofer has been granted funding and research space from the John W. Kluge Center in the Library of Congress and from the AnneMarie Schimmel Kolleg, a center affiliated with the University of Bonn in Germany.

Heidi Appel, investigator at MU’s Bond Life Sciences Center and senior research scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and Rex Cocroft, a professor of Biological Sciences in MU’s College of Arts and Science, found that plants create chemical responses specifically to predator chewing vibrations.

As the cabbage butterfly caterpillar takes one crescent-shaped bite at a time from the edge of a leaf, it doesn’t go unnoticed.

This tiny Arabidopsis mustard plant hears its predator loud and clear as chewing vibrations reverberate through leaves and stems, and it reacts with chemical defenses. Plants have long been known to detect sound, but why they have this ability has remained a mystery.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The evolution of language in humans continues to perplex scientists and linguists who study how humans learn to communicate. Considered by some as “operant learning,” this multi-tiered trait involves many genes and modification of an individual’s behavior by trial and error. Toddlers acquire communication skills by babbling until what they utter is rewarded; however, the genes involved in learning language skills are far from completely understood.

J. Brian Houston

J. Brian Houston, assistant professor of communication, received a 2014 Provost’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award, which is presented to junior faculty members who demonstrate superior research and creative activity.

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— Completing an agreement signed in 2011, the University of Missouri and the Missouri Symphony Society announced today that MU has purchased the Missouri Theatre for $3.7 million. Acquiring the Missouri Theatre will save the university an estimated $57.8 million in future construction costs. Additionally, the Missouri Symphony Society will continue to use the venue for offices and performances.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Many languages spoken in Africa do not have a written tradition, and relatively few are well documented. In rural western Kenya, the oral traditions of several distinct varieties of Luyia, a cluster of Bantu languages of Kenya and Uganda, remain largely unstudied. With increasing pressure from the more widespread languages of Swahili and English, there are potential threats to the longevity of these languages.

Michael Marlo and Harun Inyanje Masambu, a Tiriki consultant for the storytelling project, standing near the Yala River in Luyialand.

Why should you say “the round blue ball” instead of “ball blue round the”? Native speakers have the rules of their language engrained in them from a very young age. But a non-native speaker must ask, “What are the rules?” Answering that question leads to a broader one, “How and why do languages vary in the rules they have?” Studying closely related languages can tell us important details of how languages vary, which sheds light on the nature of human language.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – This summer, the University of Missouri hosts the 30th gathering of the Missouri Scholars Academy (MSA). During the program, approximately 330 Missouri high school students will have the opportunity to participate in the comprehensive educational experience that, the end of the summer, will boast more than 9,500 alums.

Ricardo Holdo

The University of Missouri has named Ricardo Holdo, assistant professor of biological sciences, as recipient of the 2014 Provost Outstanding Junior Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award.

The annual award is presented to a junior faculty member on campus who demonstrates superior research and creative activity.

For 103 years geology students have been enjoying world-class geology field training at the University of Missouri's Camp Branson Field Laboratory located in the Wind River Range near Lander, Wyo. This year, the Geological Society of America (GSA) recognized the program with the GSA/ExxonMobil Field Camp Excellence Award. This $10,000 award is given each year to a geology field camp to assist with the summer field season. It is based on safety awareness, diversity, and technical excellence.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The 1918 Flu Pandemic infected over 500 million people, killing at least 50 million. Now, a researcher at the University of Missouri has analyzed the pandemic in two remote regions of North America, finding that despite their geographical divide, both regions had environmental, nutritional and economic factors that influenced morbidity during the pandemic. Findings from the research could help improve current health policies.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The human body is full of proteins called enzymes that help nearly every function in the body. Scientists have been studying enzymes for decades in order to learn how they work and how to create better drugs and medical treatments for many ailments. Now, University of Missouri researchers have completed a 3-D map of an enzyme called Proline utilization A (PutA). PutA facilitates metabolism by adding oxygen to molecules.

Noah Heringman

Noah Heringman, a professor in the English department, and his family will pack their bags this summer and travel from Columbia to the Research Triangle Park of North Carolina to spend a year at the National Humanities Center (NHC). Heringman was selected as a fellow of the NHC from a competitive field of 362 applicants.

Edward S. Buckler

MU alum Edward S. Buckler has been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Tom Phillips joined the faculty in the Division of Biological Sciences in 1986.

The University of Missouri has named Tom Phillips, professor of biological sciences, as the recipient of the 2014 Maxine Christopher Shutz Award and Lecture for Distinguished Teaching.

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