Christmas came early this year for the Museum of Anthropology.  An anonymous donor gave 700 stone tools from Africa and Europe to the museum.

James Birchler, Curators’ Professor of Biological Sciences

James Birchler, Curators’ Professor of Biological Sciences, was recently selected as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) for his distinguished contributions to the field of cytogenetics, a branch of science that examines the structure and function of cells, especially chromosomes.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – A new study from University of Missouri and Virginia Tech researchers is challenging accepted ideas about how ancient soft-bodied organisms become part of the fossil record. Findings suggest that bacteria involved in the decay of those organisms play an active role in how fossils are formed—often in a matter of just a few tens to hundreds of years.

Pyritized Conotubus specimens  Photo credit: Yaoping Cai, Northwest University, Xi'an China

The mountains of the Ningqiang area, in the southern Shaanxi province of south China, are a paleontological gold mine. James Schiffbauer, assistant professor of geology, collected a variety of samples from a specific locality in this region, known as the Gaojiashan Lagerstätte, to aid in his ongoing paleobiology and taphonomy research.

Jerry Atwood, Curators’ Professor of Chemistry

Jerry Atwood, Hank Foley, and Silvia Jurisson have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Election as an AAAS fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year, 401 members were awarded the honor by AAAS as a result of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Cytogenetics is a branch of science that studies the structure and function of cells with a focus on the chromosomes found within the cell. Often, plant cell researchers can be limited in their experiments due to the lack of methods available to study these complex structures.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology, or the use of microscopic structures to diagnose, image, treat and prevent disease. Current problems in nanomedicine include understanding and anticipating the potentially toxic impact these nanostructures have on the body and the environment once they’re released.

The Price of Thirst

During the school year, Professor Karen Piper teaches classes on climate change fiction and postcolonial literature. During the summer, she travels the globe conducting research. For the past seven years, she has been gathering information for her latest book, The Price of Thirst.

The Empire Rolls

Roller derby has become increasingly popular in North America in recent years. Trudy Lewis, professor of English, enjoys watching her friends on the CoMo Derby Dames team—she is inspired by women’s spaces. As she learned more about the culture of roller derby in the Midwest, she knew she had found the setting for her next novel.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Chemistry is a branch of physical science studying composition, structure and properties of matter.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Nuclear medicine is the branch of medicine that uses radioactive materials to provide diagnostics and treatments for cancer. Often, standard protocols involve using radioactive isotopes developed to image as well as weaken cancer cells in the body.

Melvin Platt, chair of the Department of Art and professor of music

After retirement, some people choose to travel or begin a new hobby. Melvin Platt, chair of the Department of Art, will be taking on a new responsibility; he was recently selected to be the District Governor for Rotary District 6080, which encompasses most of central and southern Missouri, from 2017 to 2018. A longtime member of the Rotary Club of Columbia, Platt served as club president from 2012 to 2013. Platt is also a longtime leader at MU.

Billboard in Copenhagen during the UN Climate Change Conference.  Photo by Michael Urban, chair and associate professor of the department of geography.

Climate change policy is a hot topic in the news lately. After the United Nations Climate Conference earlier this year, the U.S. and China finally recently reached an agreement. Outside observers often wonder: how do these negotiations work? MU students gained some new insight into all the complexities of climate change policy in Geography 1600. This class on climate change, science, and public policy is taught by Michael Urban, chair and associate professor of the department of geography.

Fares Akremi is a senior majoring in political science and geography.

Fares Akremi, a senior majoring in political science and geography, was selected from hundreds of applicants as one of 12 Rhodes Scholar finalists in the Midwest region. The Rhodes Trust Scholarship is a highly competitive scholarship program that gives graduating U.S. seniors the opportunity to pursue graduate study at the University of Oxford.

The Missouri Review

The dedicated staff members at The Missouri Review carefully read more than 12,000 submissions each year to find the best stories, essays, and poems to fill four issues annually. Since its founding in 1978, The Missouri Review has become one of the most highly regarded literary magazines in the United States. It has a reputation for finding and publishing the very best writers first, and this year was no exception. 

A Piano Recital

Peter Miyamoto, associate professor of piano, once endured a three-hour lesson about three lines of music.  It was grueling, but he says, “I learned everything I know about music in that one lesson.” From an early age, he has devoted time, energy, talent, and passion to piano performance, and the hard work is paying off.

The new study measured the abundance and biomass of the Southern Redback Salamander (Plethodon serratus) in the Ozark Highlands in Missouri.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In the 1970s, ecologists published results from one of the first whole-forest ecosystem studies ever conducted in Hubbard Brook, New Hampshire. In the paper, scientists reported that salamanders represent one of the largest sources of biomass, or food, of all vertebrates in the forest landscape.

Professor Philip and Ms. Betty Jen recently established an endowment to support faculty research in the Division of Biological Sciences.

When Philip Jen joined the faculty in the Division of Biological Sciences in the mid-1970s, he received a mere $2,000 to kick-start his research on bat sonar systems. With those scant funds, he was able to generate the data he needed to land a prestigious five-year career grant from the National Institutes of Health and then even more federal grants.

Ian Worthington, Curators’ Professor of History

Ancient history scholars and archaeologists are placing bets on who was buried in a massive marble-walled tomb that was recently discovered in northern Greece at Amphipolis. The tomb is the largest ever found in the area and dates between 325 and 300 B.C., not long after Alexander the Great died in 323. Archaeologists are working swiftly to uncover any and all clues in the tomb that may help scholars find out who was buried there.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Glycogen storage disorders, which affect the body’s ability to process sugar and store energy, are rare metabolic conditions that frequently manifest in the first years of life. Often accompanied by liver and muscle disease, this inability to process and store glucose can have many different causes, and can be difficult to diagnose.


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