new machine designed by A. Suits

This apparatus, designed by Prof. Suits and graduate student Chandika Amarasinghe and fabricated in the Department of Physics & Astronomy Machine Shop, allows his team to study collisions in molecular beams in vacuum. The beams are going almost the same direction so that the relative velocity between them can approach zero, like two cars moving the same direction on the highway. Reseachers can then take “pictures” of the scattering patterns when the collision happens. The team's current experiment uses four different powerful lasers to prepare the molecules in a single quantum state and then detect them after the collision.


The University of Missouri recently was awarded two highly coveted Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) awards from the Department of Defense (DoD), making MU one of only three higher education institutions in the nation to receive more than one award. The University of Washington and Massachusetts Institute of Technology also received two of the 24 MURI grants awarded this year from a pool of 295 proposals.

Marjorie Skubic, left, Giovanna Guidoboni

Marjorie Skubic, left, Giovanna Guidoboni and a team at the University of Missouri are currently working to develop a standardized model to interpret the results of a ballistocardiogram that could provide an additional approach for early detection of various cardiovascular diseases.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Every heart beat sends blood flowing throughout the human body. While an electrocardiogram uses a contact approach to measure the electrical activity of the heart, a ballistocardiogram is a non-contact way of measuring the mechanical effect of the blood flow through the cardiovascular system.

Senior Associate Dean Cooper Drury

College of Arts and Science Senior Associate Dean Cooper Drury, a professor of political science, has been named the Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) Distinguished Scholar of 2019 by the International Studies Association (ISA). The award was presented to Drury at the ISA’s annual conference, held in Toronto in March. ISA, founded in 1959, has over 6,500 members worldwide and is the most respected and widely known scholarly association dedicated to international studies.

Francis Quad and Jesse Hall

Four faculty researchers in the College of Arts and Science have received national fellowships this semester, allowing them to concentrate on their research projects and publications in collaboration with other researchers and scholars in their fields. Fellowships typically provide stipends covering salary, travel expenses, publication expenses, and living expenses for up to one year.

a and s banner

Professors, teaching assistants, and student advisers at the University of Missouri often receive accolades for their work—from their school or college, from campus administration, or from the university system. Instructors and advisers in the College of Arts and Science consistently say the award that means the most to them is the one from students—the Chalk Awards, presented by the College of Arts and Science Student Council each semester.

Mark Fauser and Burt Reynolds

Mark Fauser on stage with his long-time friend and mentor Burt Reynolds. Fauser says he wrote his book Because of Burt to "let the world know what a generous heart he had."

For people growing up in the 1970’s, Burt Reynolds was ubiquitous, starring in popular movies, appearing on nightly talk shows, and popping up in a variety of commercials. For a five-year period, Reynolds was the nation’s biggest box office star, anchoring hits like Deliverance, The Longest Yard, and Smokey and the Bandit.

MU columns

Each year, the University of Missouri System President’s Awards are presented on behalf of President Mun Choi to faculty members across the four campuses of the UM System. These highly competitive awards recognize faculty who have made exceptional contributions in advancing the mission of the university.

Haley Kranstuber Horstman

Haley Kranstuber Horstman and her team hope the study’s findings will encourage couples to “co-cope” with the experience by using metaphors and other descriptive phrases when talking about miscarriage.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – “Lost gift.” “Cataclysm.” “Death of a loved one.” “Emptiness.” “Chaotic movement.” “Rock.” “Guard.” “Repairman. “Secondary character.” Researchers at the University of Missouri say men often use descriptions such as these to cope with their partner’s miscarriage and to describe their role in the experience.

Curators’ Distinguished Professor James Birchler

James Birchler is a Curators’ Distinguished Professor in the Division of Biological Sciences.

The Maize Genetics Executive Committee has announced that University of Missouri Professor James Birchler will receive the 2020 Barbara McClintock Prize for Plant Genetics and Genome Studies.

The announcement was made in St. Louis, MO, on March 15 during the 61st annual Maize Genetics Conference.

Shawn Christ

Shawn Christ, an associate professor of psychological sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science, and his team saw in previous studies that younger children with autism had more difficulty with visual distractions as compared to their same-aged peers without autism. This impairment was not observed for older adolescents and adults with autism. In the current study, the team was able to narrow the age range and confirm the previous findings.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The ability to block out the noise and focus on a specific task is a crucial skill in daily life. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that early childhood, before the age of 10, represents a critical time when children with autism have particular difficulty with this ability and would benefit from intervention addressing this weakness.

Associate Professor Brian Silvey

Brian Silvey has led a dedicated and outstanding career by educating a diverse set of students for almost a decade at the University of Missouri. Silvey’s commitment to his students’ success has created strong relationships with those he has inspired over the years. He has taught an array of classes while at MU and stands out as someone who adapts easily when going from teaching graduate music education courses to basic music skills for non-majors.

CAFNR/A&S Career Fair 2019

Hundreds of MU students, dressed in professional business attire and carrying their résumés, visited the Spring 2019 CAFNR/Arts and Science Career Fair in Brewer Fieldhouse this afternoon to talk to the more than 120 employer representatives about internships, fellowships, or future employment.

Esterhazy Quartet

Assistant Professor of Cello Eli Lara (left), Assistant Professor of Violin Julie Rosenfeld, Professor of Violin Eva Szekely, and Professor of Viola Leslie Perna are the current members of MU’s Esterhazy Quartet, which celebrates its 50th anniversary March 4 at Whitmore Recital Hall.   

On Monday, March 4, the School of Music’s Esterhazy Quartet will mark its 50th anniversary on the MU campus with a concert at the Whitmore Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Building beginning at 7:30 p.m. Two of the composers the quartet has collaborated with for many years have written original pieces for the evening.

Tarkow, Middleton, Okker, Wojak, Dennis

Distinguished Service Honoree Ted Tarkow (left), Distinguished Alumnus Michael Middleton, Dean Patricia Okker, Distinguished Alumna Angie Wojack, and Distinguished Alumnus Gregory Dennis pose for a group photo at the 38th Annual Arts and Science Banquet at the Reynolds Alumni Center Feb. 22.

A groundbreaking doctor, a civil rights attorney, a talent agent for artists, and a beloved professor each was honored by the College of Arts and Science at the college’s 38th Annual A&S Banquet at the Reynolds Alumni Center Feb. 22. Dean Patricia Okker presented plaques recognizing three Distinguished Alumni: Gregory Dennis, BA ’76 biological sciences; Michael Middleton, BA ’68 political science, JD ’71; and Angie Wojak, MFA ’92.

maize paints

The researchers developed paints for all ten chromosome pairs in maize and, as proof of concept, applied each chromosome-specific paint to chromosomes isolated from root tip cells. Here, chromosome 10 is painted in red, showing the specificity of the tool.

A team of scientists led by MU maize geneticist James Birchler has designed a tool for scientists to paint whole chromosomes in plants different colors. The method is described in a paper published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Assistant Professor Daive Dunkley

The national theme for Black History Month this February is Black Migrations, which emphasizes the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities.

Associate Professor of Physics Gavin King

What do you know about cells, the fundamental structural unit of plant and animal life? All living cells have membranes that protect cellular integrity while controlling the flow of information and materials into and out of cells. A major component of cell membranes is lipid molecules, which form bilayered structures, while most of the work done inside cells is performed by proteins, linear molecules built from 20 different amino acids.

Associate Professor Sean Franzel

Associate Professor Sean Franzel, seen here in Budapest, Hungary, will spend a year in Germany researching his new book after receiving a Humboldt fellowship.

An associate professor of German will spend a year in Germany after receiving a Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers. Sean Franzel will begin part of his year-long fellowship at the Free University of Berlin this July and then complete the fellowship in 2021.

Professor of Chemistry Arthur Suits

Prof. Suits and his team found is that spin flips between magnetic and nonmagnetic forms can happen very efficiently in the course of a chemical reaction as the products separate after reaction if they are two “radicals”—molecules with at least one unpaired electron each.

An unexpected discovery in Professor Arthur Suits’ chemistry lab could have implications for manufacturing more efficient solar cells and improving photodynamic therapies for treating cancer, and it may contribute to research into quantum computing. At the heart of the discovery is the spin of electrons. Molecules are either nonmagnetic or magnetic depending on whether two electrons are paired with opposite spins or unpaired with same spins.


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