PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
Herbarium News - New web site goes live!
March 04, 2011 from MU Herbarium website
The new herbarium MU web site goes live! With nearly 40,000 specimens in the database (out of 650,000+!), the web site is a valuable resource for anyone doing floristic or taxonomic research. Watch for many upgrades over the next few months as we add to the capabilities of the site.
A scholarship fund for the Botany Dept. was established by Lynn Temple and Tim Pistell in 2009.
August 2010 from The Miami University Office of Development
Lynn Temple (Elkhart, Indiana) and Tim Pistell (Shaker Hts, Ohio) first met at Miami University in a Botany lab the Fall of 1966. Lynn began her studies as a Math major, switched to Elementary Education and was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. Tim began his studies as a Pre-Law major, switched to Accounting, and was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Tim graduated in April, 1969 having secured a scholarship to Case Western Reserve Law School. Lynn was only a junior but left Miami early so they could be married on August 30, 1969. Lynn subsequently completed her undergraduate degree at Kent State University.
Both Tim and Lynn were able to pursue their undergraduate educations at Miami due to a combination of summer jobs, part-time jobs at Miami and scholarship and grant money they were awarded based upon academic achievements. The scholarship and grant money changed their lives forever. Both are now interested in helping to secure Miami students pursuing degrees in Botany, who have demonstrated dedication and academic merit in this field. They believe that the future existence of mankind and its quality of life will be highly dependent on mankind's awareness, respect and care for plants.
From left to right, Dr. Kathy Millar, Dr. John Z. Kiss, Dr. Prem Kumar preparing space experiment at NASA Ames Research Center in California.
Space shuttle Endeavour to deliver Miami botanist's experiment to international space station
02/01/2010 from MU E-REPORT
When the scheduled Feb. 7 launch of the space shuttle Endeavour takes place, it will deliver the Tropi-2 payload containing the research led by Miami University botany professor John Kiss to the International Space Station (ISS).
The research, which focuses on understanding how light and gravity affect plant growth, means plants may be able to be used in regenerative life support on Mars or the moon, according to Kiss. Future astronauts could be able to grow plants as part of life support systems on long-term space missions, according to NASA.
After running two six-day experiments on the ISS, Tropi-2 will return to Earth in the space shuttle Discovery.
Tropi-2 is a semi-autonomous space-based experiment to study Arabidopsis thaliana (the thale cress) seedling sprouts to observe their response to light and gravity at a cellular level.
"Specifically, the seeds will be grown in various levels of gravity including microgravity-or the weightlessness experienced on the ISS - is well as gravity levels on the moon and Mars," Kiss said.
Tropi-2 is a continuation of the Tropi-1 experiment, also led by Kiss, performed on the ISS in 2006 - the first experiment to be performed on the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) in collaboration with the European Space Agency. Once on board, Tropi experiments will be performed automatically inside the EMCS, requiring minimal involvement from ISS crew members. NASA astronauts Jeff Williams and T.J. Creamer will handle the Experiment Containers, prepared by Kiss and his team, from placement into the EMCS through transfer to a freezer on the Discovery.
Kiss has been awarded more than $1 million by NASA for Tropi. Richard Edelman, director of Miami's The Center for Advanced Microscopy & Imaging at Miami University, and Melanie Correll, assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida, are co-principal investigators of the project. In the past four years, Kiss's research has involved eight undergraduate students, two graduate students and two post-doctoral scholars at Miami.
For more information about the Tropi-2 mission, go to http://spacebiosciences.arc.nasa.gov/STS130.html.
Hayley Kilroy (circled) with graduate students and Prof. Gorchov.
Miami student among winners of international film competition
08/14/2009 - from MU E-REPORT
Research at Miami University on how fungal spores travel in order to survive received national attention at the beginning of the year. Now the video of the research has won an award in an international competition by ChloroFilms, a project designed to encourage creative ways to learn about plant biolog.
Hayley Kilroy, a botany major who graduated from Miami in May 2008, is among the competition's second place winners for "The Fastest Flights in Nature: A Fungal Opera." The video shows a montage of the fungus's amazing launches, which have the fastest recorded acceleration in nature, set to Verdi's "Anvil Chorus." The video is designed to artistically showcase the abilities of fungi, which are much less studied than plants and animals.
The video took place in Miami botany professor Nicholas Money's lab with high-speed cameras running at up to 250,000 frames per second to capture the blisteringly fast movements. The research was published in the January 2009 and September 2008 issues of Public Library of Science ONE and was funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
Kilroy set the movements to music and a fungal opera was born.
ChloroFilms is a nonprofit project with grant support from the American Society of Plant Biologists, the Botanical Society of America and the Canadian Botanical Association. The objective is to promote the creation of fresh, attention-getting and informative video content about plant life. To view all winners, visit http://www.chlorofilms.org/indes.php?module=Pages&func=display&pageid+13.
Four seniors receive Young Botanist Awards
05/28/2009 - from MU E-REPORT
Four senior botany majors from Miami University were awarded the Young Botanist Award, Certificate of Special Achievement, from the Botanical Society of America (BSA): David Farler of Fairfield; Jane Hopkins of Springboro; Amelia Huerta of Oxford; and Michael Schwieterman of Celina.
The award recognizes outstanding graduating seniors in the plant sciences and encourages participation in the BSA. Recipients, nominated by faculty at their universities, are selected based on academic performance, involvement in research, leadership, and interest and potential for a career in botany.
The Miami students were among 29 awardees from 17 schools. More Miami botany students have won recognition by the BSA for the Young Botanist Award than any other department in the country, according to the department of botany. In the past 10 years, they have received 22 of the 182 Young Botanist Award Certificates of Special Achievement.
Faculty advisers to the students are: for Farler-Carolyn Keiffer and John Kiss; for Hopkins-John Kiss; for Huerta and Schwieterman-Susan Barnum.
A full list of Young Botanist Award recipients is available online at Young Botanist Award.
2009 Botany Scholarship Recipients
The Botany Department announced its scholarships and awards at the annual Sigma Xi banquet, on April 16th. Scholarship and award recipients are listed below.
Arthur T. and Anna Evans Scholarship - Outstanding Botany Sophomore, Junior, or Senior
Hannah E. Beyer
Andrew T. Fielding
Kimberly D. Francis
Alex E. Harkess
Hannah J. Philippsen
Evan J. Rose
Margaret A. Vincent
Robert P. Wessel
Rebecca M. Williams
Bruce Fink Scholarship - Outstanding Botany Undergraduate Major
Jessica N. Sullivan
Grace E. S. Wessel
Kimberly Lohmeier Ingersoll Scholarship - Outstanding Botany Female Senior
Jillian M. Hertzberg
William E. Wilson Scholarship - Outstanding Botany Major
Jane A. Hopkins
Heimsch Graduate Award in Botany - Outstanding M.S. and Ph.D. student in Botany
Yunluan Cui - M.S. student working with Dr. Nicholas P. Money
Melanie A. Link-Perez - Ph.D. student working with Dr. R. James Hickey
Yingjia Shen - Ph.D. student working with Dr. Qingshun Quinn Li
Young Botanist Award - Outstanding graduating seniors in the plant sciences and to
encourage their participation in the Botanical Society of America.
Jane A. Hopkins
Dr. John Z. Kiss and a group of students who attended the conference in Peoria, IL.
Undergraduate wins award
Jane Hopkins, a senior Botany major, won an honorable mention for her talk "TROPI: a spaceflight experiment to study phototropism." The talk was at the American Society of Plant Biologists, Midwestern Section in Peoria, IL in March 2009. The regional sections of the American Society of Plant Biologists have a strong focus on undergraduate and graduate students presenting their research results.
The Fungal Mechanics lab at a meeting at Penn State University. Left to right: Yunluan Cui and Levi Yafetto (graduate students), Dr. Mark Fischer (collaborator from the College of Mount St. Joseph), Jessica Stolze-Rybczynski (graduate student with baby Thad), Dr. Diana Davis (College of Mount St. Joseph), Dragana Trninic (undergraduate), and Dr. Money.
Researchers discover why fungal spores vary in shape
03/03/09 -Columbus Dispatch Article
01/13/09 - from MU E-REPORT
Fungal spores come in all shapes and sizes - a different one for each of the 15,000 known varieties of mushrooms. It turns out the various forms are no accident, but a necessary means of survival.
Miami University botany professor Nicholas Money, his students, and collaborators from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, documented with high-speed video cameras that the shape of the spore determines how far it travels through air, which is critical to the survival of the fungus. The research, published last week in Public Library of Science (PLoS) ONE, was funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
"Biologists who specialize in studies on fungi have spent the last 200 years cataloguing the wonderful shapes of mushroom spores but had no idea why each species produced a different kind of spore," Money said.
According to Money, the reason that spore shape is so important is that it affects the behavior of a tiny drop of fluid on the spore surface. This drop moves over the spore surface within one millionth of one second, and this powers the launch process.
"For the first time, we have a way to make sense of the amazing variety of spores from a mechanical and an evolutionary point of view," Money said.
Other Miami authors of the research include graduate students Jessica Stolze-Rybczynski and Yunluan Cui and botany professor Henry Stevens.
Money and other researchers in his lab also published in the September issue of PLoS ONE their findings that spores appear to accelerate faster than any other living thing on the planet. The researchers used high-speed cameras running at up to 250,000 frames per second to capture the blisteringly-fast movements.
The NIH is interested in having other researchers use Money's insights to develop methods of fungal control. For more information, contact Money at (513) 280-1160 or email@example.com.
Miami graduate student receives best paper award
12/10/2008 - from MU E-REPORT
Aaron Kennedy, a doctoral student in botany at Miami University, is co-author of a paper that received the 2008 Richard and Minnie Windler Award. The award is given annually for the best paper in plant systematics published in Castanea, the quarterly publication of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society.
Kennedy's paper, with co-author Gary Walker, professor of biology at Appalachian State University, appeared in the Dec. 2007 issue of Castanea. Their paper, "The Population Genetic Structure of the Showy Lady's-Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium reginae Walter) in its Glaciated and Unglaciated Ranges," demonstrates that populations of Showy Lady's-Slipper Orchid (C. reginae) from previously glaciated sites harbor higher genetic diversity than populations from unglaciated sites. Most studies have revealed higher levels of genetic diversity in unglaciated ranges.
This geographic pattern of population genetic structure is highly irregular among organisms with disjunct ranges, according to the study authors. "We attribute this pattern in C. reginae to the presence of abundant open wetland habitat near advancing glaciers that served as refugia for diverse northern populations that were well positioned to recolonize open wetland habitat after final recession of Pleistocene glaciers," say Kennedy and Walker.
Kennedy is working with adviser Linda Watson (former chair and professor of botany) on his doctoral research "Evolution of mycorrhizal association in myco-heterotropic Hexalectris Raf. (orchidaceae). He was previously a master's student of Walker's.
Miami botany graduate students have won the Windler Award three years in a row: previously, Matthew Sewall won it in 2007 and Kerry Heafner won it in 2006.