COSAM Today is a newsletter that provides alumni and friends of the Auburn University College of Sciences and Mathematics, or COSAM, with a smart way to stay on top of the latest news and updates from the college.

Friday, January 26, 2018


Tiger Giving Day - 24 Hours for One Big Family

Tiger Giving Day is Auburn University’s 24-hour fundraising event held on Feb. 21, 2018. All funds donated (100 percent) will go toward the project you choose. And, unlike other crowdfunding sites, donations will be immediately allocated to the specified project – whether the project meets its funding goal or not. This year, COSAM will sponsor two Tiger Giving Day projects. One project will provide resources to install LED lighting by the Davis Arboretum pond, and the other will contribute to a new 3D printer for the COSAM Office of Outreach. To participate, all you have to do is visit on February 21 and support one of our projects. In the meantime, help us spread the word by joining and sharing our COSAM Tiger Giving Day Facebook event page!


Early career chemist named 'The Future of Biochemistry'

Steven Mansoorabadi, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, appeared on the cover of the journal Biochemistry in a special edition titled, “The Future of Biochemistry.” The issue highlights 44 early career scientists from around the world who are “combining an ever diversifying set of skills and backgrounds to tackle problems of biochemical relevance.”

Mansoorabadi was featured for his work in exploring mechanisms for combating coastal red tides, which wreak havoc on the environment and cost the U.S. more than $80 million per year in revenue loss, healthcare expenses, and more. “It’s very costly both to tourism and the seafood industry, and is harmful to humans and marine life,” said Mansoorabadi.

A paper on his research was also published in the journal Biochemistry and was co-authored by Mansoorabadi and two students who were working in his lab when the research was originally conducted. Patrick H. Donnan was an undergraduate at the time of the study and is now a first-year graduate student in Mansoorabadi’s lab, and Phong D. Ngo received his doctorate under the direction of Mansoorabadi and is now working at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.


Biology graduate student turns class assignment into high-impact journal article

Ryan Weaver, a doctoral candidate in biological sciences, published a paper in the journal Nature Communications titled, “Carotenoid metabolism strengthens the link between feather coloration and individual quality.” The research was the result of an assignment in a graduate-level course taught by Alan Wilson, professor in the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences and co-author on the study. Wilson required the students to conduct research that would hone the meta-analytic techniques learned in class. The result was a major research study conducted by an interdisciplinary team of scientists from Auburn University and the Universidade de São Paulo.


Auburn hosts Annual Conference for Alabama and Mississippi Project Lead the Way Affiliates

Auburn University serves as the Project Lead The Way, or PLTW, engineering and biomedical sciences affiliate university for the state of Alabama. PLTW is a national program that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers by stimulating an engaging classroom environment that empowers students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in an evolving world. PLTW at Auburn is directed by Mary Lou Ewald, Director of COSAM’s Office of Outreach.

On Jan. 22, the Alabama/Mississippi PLTW Annual Conference was held at Auburn University. The conference provided professional training for educators and recognized outstanding teachers and administrators during an awards ceremony. To see photos of the award recipients, visit the COSAM Facebook page.


Krystal Lockett selected for 2017 Mobile Bay 40-under40

COSAM alumna Krystal Lockett, biomedical sciences ’09, was named as one of Mobile Bay’s 2017 Class of 40 under 40. The honor recognizes 40 professionals who are under 40 years old and demonstrate strong leadership.

With over 15 years of experience volunteering, serving and working in the healthcare industry, Lockett has demonstrated a dedication to care giving matched by very few. The nurse practitioner currently works as a travel nurse in numerous cities and was recently presented with the Moment of Quality Award for outstanding work while on assignment at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans. She is also co-owner with her mother, Gloria Lockett, of a growing sitting service designed to match elderly clients with compassionate caregivers. Lockett is also a certified Zumba instructor.


Boshell diabetes research day to feature COSAM faculty researchers

On Feb. 16, the Boshell Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research Program at Auburn University will host the 11th Annual Boshell Program Research Day at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

The event brings together more than 175 researchers from throughout the U.S. to collaborate on research related to diabetes and the role of obesity in its development. The day-long event includes research presentations and expert speakers, and culminates with a dinner and special guest speaker.

Featured during the program will be COSAM’s Elizabeth Schwartz, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, who is studying the impact of infection on metabolic demand. Christopher Easley, the C. Harry Knowles Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will also be highlighted during the Boshell research event. Easley utilizes microfluidics to study secretion from adipose tissue.


Celebrating 25 years of service

COSAM students and faculty recently attended a retirement reception honoring Gwen Kirk, office supervisor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Kirk has worked at Auburn University for 25 years, 16 of which were in COSAM. Her last day at Auburn will be January 31. We wish her all the best in retirement.

To view a photo gallery of the retirement reception, visit the COSAM Facebook page


Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Paul Glisson

We had the chance to reach out to Auburn alumnus Dr. Paul Glisson, a physician and chief medical officer with Baptist Health Care. Dr. Glisson had a lot to say about his career and how his experiences at Auburn helped shape his success in the Healthcare industry.


Merner receives Thieme Chemistry Journal Award

Bradley Merner, the James E. Land Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was named a recipient of the 2018 Thieme Chemistry Journal Award. The Thieme Chemistry Journal Award is presented every year to up-and-coming researchers worldwide who are in the early stages of their independent academic career as assistant or junior professors. The awardees are selected exclusively by the editorial board members of the journals SYNTHESIS, SYNLETT, and SYNFACTS who watch for promising, young individuals working in chemical synthesis and catalysis or closely related areas of organic chemistry.

“It is an honor to be a recipient of this award,” said Merner. “Some of my synthetic (organic chemistry) heroes are recipients of this award, and to be included in this list is a great feeling.”

COSAM congratulates Merner on his most recent achievement.


Gorden to present at COSAM Science Café at Mama Mocha’s

The College of Sciences and Mathematics Office of Outreach will host the January Science Café on Tuesday, January 30, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m, at Mama Mochas Coffee Emporium located at 414 S. Gay Street. The Science Café provides an opportunity for the community to discuss cutting-edge scientific topics with an Auburn University scientist.

The January Science Café will feature guest scientist Anne Gorden, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Gorden’s presentation is titled, “It’s Not Easy Being Green: Chemistry and Sustainability.” During the discussion, she will provide insight into the role chemistry plays in cutting energy and waste costs.

The event is free and open to all ages. No scientific background is required to participate in the Science Café, and no question is too silly to ask. For more information, contact Josh King at 334-734-1182, or by email at

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