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UW Research and Economic Development Day Sets Schedule of ‘Lightning Talks’

May 12, 2017
man seated at desk with computer
Xiaohong Liu, a UW professor of atmospheric science and the Wyoming Excellence Chair in Climate Science, will participate in the first session of lightning talks during UW’s Research and Economic Development Day Thursday, May 18. His presentation is titled “Wild Fires Melt the Snow on Rocky Mountains Through Smoke Darkening Effects.” (UW Photo)

Thirty-eight University of Wyoming faculty members are scheduled to participate in “lightning talks,” or science in five minutes, during UW Research and Economic Development Day Thursday, May 18, from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. in Rooms 129 and 133 of the Classroom Building.

This event is designed to celebrate the university’s history of research and economic development endeavors of its faculty and staff. At the same time, it plans to honor Bill Gern, who has been instrumental in these ventures. Gern, UW’s vice president for research and economic development, will retire, after 38 years of service, at the end of June.

“The event will showcase the breadth and quality of research occurring at UW, and highlight UW’s efforts in developing Wyoming’s economy,” says Bryan Shader who, along with Angela Faxon, Scott Seville and Brent Ewers, organized the event.

The event will feature four sessions of lightning talks, a poster session, a keynote speaker over lunch and a concluding reception for Gern from 4:30-6 p.m. in the west lobby of the Classroom Building.

A tentative schedule for the lightning talks -- with names of presenters, their department or specialty, and topic title -- is as follows:

Session 1 -- 8:30-9:30 a.m.

-- Brent Ewers, EPSCoR/Botany, “Bill Gern and Wyoming EPSCOR: A Partnership with Lasting Impact on UW and the State.”

-- Jon Benson, WTBC, “Encouraging Entrepreneurship and Invention.”

-- Carolyn McCracken-Flesher, English, “The First Humanists on Mercury?”

-- David Anderson, Chemistry, “Some Like It Cold: Chemistry Near Absolute Zero.”

-- Emma Jane Alexander, Shell 3-D Visualization Center, “Showcase of 3-D Visualization and Virtual Reality Applications Supported by the Shell 3-D Visualization Center.”

-- Jonathan Naughton, Mechanical Engineering, “Experiments to Support Numerical Model Validation.”

-- Ellen Currano, Botany/Geology and Geophysics, “Time Travel with a Shovel.”

-- Steve Buskirk, Zoology and Physiology, “Explaining Evolution by Hand.”

-- Xiaohong Liu, Atmospheric Science, “Wild Fires Melt the Snow on Rocky Mountains Through Smoke Darkening Effects.”

Session 2 -- 10:30-11:30 a.m.

-- Mike Cheadle, Geology and Geophysics, “Exploring the Bottom of the Oceans.”

-- Merav Ben-David, Zoology and Physiology, “Who Pushed the Button?”

-- Jeff Hamerlinck, Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center, “Ubiquitous GIS -- The R&D of Web Mapping in Wyoming.”

-- Naomi Ward, Molecular Biology/Botany, “Mining the Mouse Micro Biome.”

-- Jonathan Fox, Veterinary Sciences/Neuroscience, “Targeting Brain Mitochondria in a Mouse Model of Huntington's Disease.”

-- Al Rodi, Atmospheric Science, “The Right Stuff.”

-- Cynthia Weinig, Botany/Molecular Biology, TBD.

-- Lawrence Schmidt, Geoscience Library, and Chad Hutchens, UW Libraries, “Making UW’s Data Useful.”

-- Baskaran Thyagarajan, Pharmacy, “TRPV1 Fuels a Fire in Fat.”

-- Michael Pierce, Physics and Astronomy, “Next Generation of Really Big Telescopes and the Amazing Science We Plan to Do with Them.”

man standing next to large tube like object
Michael Pierce, a UW associate professor of physics and astronomy, will make a lightning talk presentation, titled “Next Generation of Really Big Telescopes and the Amazing Science We Plan to Do with Them.” (UW Photo)

Session 3 -- 1:15-2:15 p.m.

-- Brandon Gellis, Art and Art History, “The Tangibility of Virtual Space.”

-- Bart Geerts, Atmospheric Science, “Orographic Snowfall, Snowpack and Streamflow in a Changing Climate or Else.”

-- Jill Kline, Wyoming Small Business Development Center, “Small Business Development Programs for Faculty and for Wyoming Citizens.”

-- Nolan Goetzinger, English, “From Metaphor to Metamorphosis in Willie Cole's D-Force Tiji Wara.”

-- Robert Hall, Zoology and Physiology, “River Ecology Meets Big Data.”

-- Hannah Jang-Condell, Physics and Astronomy, “Exoplanet Research Enabled by Wyoming Resources.”

-- Robert Kelly, Anthropology, “Finally! We Can Measure Changes in Prehistoric Populations.”

-- Ye Zhang, Geology and Geophysics, “New Discovery of Hydrological Connectivity and Implication for Water Resources Management in the Mountain West.”

-- Snehalata Huzurbazar, Statistics, TBD.

Session 4 -- 3:15-4:15 p.m.

-- Amy Banic, Computer Science, TBD.

-- David Walrath, Mechanical Engineering, “Manufacturing Works to Diversify!”

-- Paul Flesher, Religious Studies, “Can You Hear Me Now? Acoustical Engineering Insights into Ancient Synagogue Worship.”

-- Bruce Parkinson and John Hoberg, Chemistry, “A New Class of Functional Materials.”

-- Eugene Watson, “Innovation and Tech Transfer.”

-- Mark Gomelsky, Molecular Biology, “Photo-Activated Designer Cells for Cell-Based Therapies.”

-- Don Jarvis, Molecular Biology and GlycoBac LLC, “Virus Versus Virus: Using Insect Virus-Host Systems to Fight Human Viral Diseases.”

-- Qianquan Sun, Neuroscience, “Lighting the Brain with Optogenetics.”

-- Dorothy Yates, Office of Research and Economic Development, “Facial Similarities Among Superstars.”

Each session of lightning talks will include nine or 10 discussions, and each five-minute talk will take a quick motivational peek at a research topic on which a faculty member is working. The goals of the lightning talks are to spark discussion, foster collaborations and provide an overall view of UW’s research efforts. Informal, collaborative discussions for participating faculty members are scheduled 9:30-10:15 a.m. and 2:15-3:15 p.m.

man standing behind lit tubes
Mark Gomelsky, a UW professor of molecular biology, will make a lightning talk presentation, titled “Photo-Activated Designer Cells for Cell-Based Therapies.” (UW Photo)

“This will be a celebration of the tremendous research and economic development activities taking place at UW,” says Shader, who encourages faculty, staff and the public to attend. “The lightning talks will provide a fun, easily accessible way to gain an appreciation for the types of grand challenges that motivate UW faculty, and the ways that their insights and solutions into these challenges impact Wyoming and the nation.”

Carlos Martinez del Rio, a UW professor and Wyoming Excellence Chair in the Department of Zoology and Physiology, will be the lunch keynote speaker. He will discuss UW research and economic development, and where it might be headed in the future. His talk, titled “Research at UW: A Humboldian/Bill Gernian Model?,” is scheduled from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

A poster session also will be available for both faculty members and UW students to display and discuss their scientific research. Poster presenters and project titles are as follows:

-- Erin Bush, TBD.

-- Mary Jo Cooley Hidecker, Communication Disorders, “Cerebral Palsy and the Importance of Communication.”

-- Mary Samidh Chakraborty, Pharmacy, “TRPV1 and Mitochondrial Quality Control: A Cross-Talk to Abate Fatty Liver.”

-- Lynne Ipina, Mathematics, “Beauty and Joy of Computing in Wyoming.”

-- Annalisa Picorelli, Statistics, “Picturing the Future: Nomograms to Predict Survival of Cystic Fibrosis.”

-- Baskaran Thyagarajan, Pharmacy, “TRPV1 Fuels a Fire in Fat.”

-- Elizabeth Traver, EPSCoR/WyCEHG, “Soil Heterogeneity on an East Versus West Facing Slope.”

-- Kate Welsh, Secondary Education, “Putting You in Your Place: The PLACE (Place Learning and Civic Engagement).

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