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January



COSAM Student Spotlight: Natalie Williams

Natalie Williams collects tardigrades, or 'water bears', for research during her NASA Internship in Huntsville.

01/11/2022

A native of Huntsville, AL, Williams’ interest in science, along with her ties to Auburn University, were evident at a young age. Her father, Tom, is an engineer and graduate of Auburn, so she grew up in an environment conducive to scientific interests. She even vividly recalls details of a trip to Cape Canaveral, FL, sitting atop her father’s shoulders while watching a shuttle launch. “I still can visualize the large clock that counted down the launch, and as a child, I wanted to work in Mission Control,” Williams said.  The combination of growing up in an Auburn family and her brother Robert's experience in COSAM led Williams to choose Auburn for her undergraduate studies. As a suggestion from Robert, Williams, still a high school senior, reached out to AU Biological Sciences Professor Dr. Mark Liles to learn more about COSAM's Microbiology program. Williams joined the Liles lab during her freshman year at AU and discovered new opportunities in science that were 'out of this world'! In the Liles lab, Williams and a team of undergraduate and PhD students actively collaborate with scientists from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the Jet Propulsion Lab to provide NASA with data that will aid in determining a 'go or no go' launch decision for the Europa Lander Mission.  Students explore aquaculture, soil microbiology, novel antibiotic discovery, astrobiology, and metagenomics in the Liles lab. According to Williams, "It is a great opportunity for collaboration among peers and provides exposure to many different program areas!"  Research Focus:  Prevention of terrestrial microbial contamination from Earth to Europa during NASA’s Europa Lander Mission, using rocket motor adhesives that are found to kill spore-forming bacteria.  COSAM Accomplishments & Awards:  • NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Internship in Propulsion Department  • MicroSURP Internship at The University of Texas Health Science Center  • Awarded NASA-ROSES Grant  • 1st Place Poster Award in STEM category at AU Virtual Research Symposium  • Dean’s Research Award Recipient  COSAM Involvement:  • Microbiology Club  • Undergraduate Research Ambassador  Advice for Students:  "Dr. Mark Liles has taught me that many of our best choices and opportunities in life are the ones we may stumble upon. Take time to discern decisions, but don't discount an opportunity just because you didn't necessarily seek it out yourself. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone - that opportunity may change your life."  "We tend to move toward things that are somewhat familiar to us, but try to remain open to exploring other areas of interest that may be unfamiliar to you at first. COSAM has many opportunities worth seeking out, and it's never too late to change direction if you stumble upon a new path that interests you."  Favorite COSAM Memories:  "Some of my greatest memories of COSAM are from Microbiology Club Field Trips. We had the opportunity to play with baby goats, travel to a winery, and even stay overnight at the Tennessee Aquarium underneath the shark tank!"  Beyond Auburn:  Williams plans to apply for medical school and is open to a wide range of careers in the medical field.  Questions for Natalie? Email her at nrw0007@auburn.edu.     Click on the timeline to view a larger image.  

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Researchers Switch Off Gene to Switch On Ultraviolet in Butterfly Wings

Info: The male species of the orange sulphur butterfly (Colias eurytheme, top right) is the only one to display UV iridescence in nature. The female of the same species (top left) and both the female and male of the clouded sulphur butterfly (Colias philodice, bottom left and right) do not display UV iridescence due to the presence of a speciation gene on a sex chromosome.  Credit: Vincent Ficarrotta and Arnaud Martin/ The George Washington University


01/11/2022

New study reveals important observations on how species evolve distinctive traits critical to evolutionary success

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New $500,000+ NSF award enhances emerging quantum research cluster at Auburn University

Wencan Jin sets up the autocorrelator that can retrieve the short pulse durations for example, 50 femtosecond.

01/25/2022

Impactful Instrumentation: Wencan Jin uses his ultrafast laser lab in the Department of Physics to conduct 2D magnetic materials research with a $523,200 National Science Foundation (NSF) award.

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Student teams display robotics, STEM and teamwork skills at 2022 SCORE Showdown

Welcome to the SCORE Showdown

01/25/2022

On January 18-20, 2022, student robotics teams from across the nation were able to put hours of hard work to the test as they competed in the 2022 SCORE Showdown held at Great Wolf Lodge in LaGrange, GA. Hosted annually by the Southeastern Center of Robotics Education (SCORE) and in partnership with the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation (REC), the event is a premier VEX robotics tournament where school teams across three age levels – elementary, middle and high school – get to showcase innovative robots that they’ve built by competing in a series of qualifying and final matches.

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DMS PhD alum Feng Bao ('14) receives NSF CAREER grant

01/21/2022

Feng Bao, a 2014 PhD graduate of DMS, has just been awarded an NSF CAREER grant for the project “CAREER: An Efficient Computational Framework for Data Driven Feedback Control.” Feng, currently an assistant professor of mathematics at Florida State University, was advised by Profs. Yanzhao Cao and AJ Meir. This is the first ever NSF CAREER award for FSU’s Department of Mathematics.

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First Post-Bacc student at Auburn gains research experience in computational biology

01/18/2022



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COSAM Leaders attend 2022 CIVSA Student Development Institute in Washington, D.C.

COSAM Leaders at the U.S. Capitol

01/18/2022

From Jan. 6-8, 2022, three students from the COSAM Leaders student organization, accompanied by two COSAM faculty and staff, attended the 2022 Collegiate Information & Visitor Services Association (CIVSA) Student Development Institute in Washington, D.C. In conference sessions, COSAM Leaders learned valuable ways that the student organization can increase its diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, as well as ways to increase its social media presence.

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