Emily Puckett, a doctoral candidate in the Division of Biological Sciences, has devoted her research to ecological pressures that influence animal populations. Specifically, she uses molecular genetic tools to study the evolution of populations of American black bears. Her dissertation is titled, “Phylogeography and Population Genetics of the American Black Bear (Ursus americanus).” But black bears aren’t Puckett’s only interest, she also loves to dance.  

Mark Wilkins, BA ’90 political science

When Mark Wilkins, BA ’90 political science, isn’t climbing Mt. Everest in Nepal, Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, or Mt. McKinley in Alaska, he works as a private wealth adviser for Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking and Investment Group. At Merrill Lynch, Wilkins and his team manage more than $600 million for 24 families. Wilkins loves his job and says, “Wealth management is all about leadership.”

Trey Makler, junior oboe and composition major

Trey Makler, a junior oboe and composition major in the School of Music, received the 2015 Sinquefield Composition Prize for his chamber ensemble piece, “Elysium” (click to listen). Every year, the Sinquefield Composition Prize is awarded to the top composition student at MU.

Robert “Bob” Fulstone

Robert “Bob” Fulstone is being recognized as the St. Louis Area Veteran of the Year for his long support of America’s veterans. Fulstone is quick to say, “This award isn’t my award, it’s our award. It belongs to the people at the Veterans Business Resource Center, the United Services Organizations (USO), and other groups that help veterans.”

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is used in a variety of consumer products, such as water bottles, dental composites and resins used to line metal food and beverage containers, and also is used in thermal paper cash register receipts. Now, research conducted at the University of Missouri is providing the first data that BPA from thermal paper used in cash register receipts accounts for high levels of BPA in humans.

Red Socks and the Guitar

This summer, MU undergraduate and graduate classical guitarists will have the opportunity to study abroad in Chartres, France, from July 22 through Aug. 5. The unique study-abroad program is sponsored by the University of Missouri International Center and the School of Music.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Neurons are electrically charged cells, located in the nervous system, that interpret and transmit information using electrical and chemical signals. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have determined that individual neurons can react differently to electrical signals at the molecular level and in different ways—even among neurons of the same type.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Mizzou Alumni Association (MAA) will honor 14 outstanding faculty and alumni at its 47th annual Faculty-Alumni Awards Ceremony on Oct. 10 in the Reynolds Alumni Center. The Distinguished Service Award, Distinguished Faculty Award and 12 Faculty-Alumni Awards will be presented to outstanding MU faculty and alumni.

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Lesa Beamer, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is accustomed to teaching students about science using powerful microscopes, not pipe cleaners. But when she was given the opportunity to teach third-grade students at Lee Elementary about viruses, she knew she wanted to integrate her science lesson with the school’s art curriculum.

Professor Michael Budds

As a musicologist, Michael Budds has devoted his career to the subjects of American music, the history of African-American music, and music in Victorian England. He studies famous musicians all the time, but he has never considered himself to be hall-of-fame material.

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— For more than a century, hundreds of thousands of historical artifacts dating back to before the founding of Rome have been stored in crates in the Capitoline Museums of Rome, where they have remained mostly untouched.

Dr. Grant Connette (Ph.D. ’14)

Salamanders spend the vast majority of their lives below ground and surface only for short periods of time and usually only on wet nights. When they do emerge, salamanders can be spotted not only on forest floors but also up in trees and on other vegetation, oftentimes climbing as high as 8 feet up. Given their infrequent appearances aboveground, it has never been clear to biologists why salamanders take time to climb vegetation.

This wheel-thrown and altered earthenware bowl was created by Professor Bede Clarke in 2014.

After several decades spent creating and teaching art, Bede Clarke is known for his broad exploration of the field of ceramics. He resists the idea that an artist needs to have a single signature style. Instead, Clarke loves to switch things up, and he isn’t afraid to try new techniques. “I’m driven by a desire to understand things,” says Clarke. “I follow my nose and get into a lot of mischief, and I really relish that aspect of this creative discipline.”

J. Chris Pires, associate professor of biology and Bond Life Science Center researcher

Brassica plants have been bred for centuries and result in produce and products diverse enough to show up in supermarkets all over the world. Brassica napus, more commonly known as rapeseed or canola, can be used to make one of the most common vegetable oils. Until now, very little has been known about the origin of this kitchen staple.

John C. Walker

The University of Missouri Board of Curators recently appointed John C. Walker, director of the Division of Biological Sciences, as a Curators’ Professor. The appointment is awarded to faculty in recognition of exceptional research accomplishments and service to the university.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Boron deficiency is one of the most widespread causes of reduced crop yield. Missouri and the eastern half of the United States are plagued by boron deficient soil and, often, corn and soybean farmers are required to supplement their soil with boron; however, little is known about the ways in which corn plants utilize the essential nutrient.

The Society of Fellows is a competitive fellowship program specifically for undergraduate students offered through the Kinder Forum on Constitutional Democracy, a new initiative at the University of Missouri that will promote excellence in teaching and scholarship about American constitutional and democratic traditions.

The Kinder Forum on Constitutional Democracy is a new initiative at the University of Missouri that will promote excellence in teaching and scholarship about American constitutional and democratic traditions. Core faculty members from several different disciplines have been working together to coordinate the Kinder Forum’s official launch this fall.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – This fall, the University of Missouri departments of history and political science will unveil a new program to support excellence in the teaching and study of American constitutional and democratic traditions. The Kinder Forum on Constitutional Democracy includes initiatives for undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty.

Mary K. Shenk, associate professor of anthropology, is the new director of the Life Sciences and Society Program.

“Some of my favorite things in academia are organizing events and writing grants,” says Mary K. Shenk, associate professor of anthropology. Shenk will have the opportunity to do more of both in her new role as director of the Life Sciences and Society Program (LSSP) in the Bond Life Sciences Center.


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