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Astronomy students conduct research with Discovery Channel Telescope

Several UT students had the opportunity last fall to observe and collect data on celestial objects in a way that most astronomers don’t get to experience until well into their professional careers.

In a recent visit to the Lowell Observatory’s Discovery Channel Telescope located outside of Flagstaff, Ariz., Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of the UT College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy, and her class had the opportunity to observe a number of stars, planetary nebulae and galaxies.

UT students Jessica Moore, left, Anthony Howarth, center, and Megan Banks posed for a photo last fall with Lowell Observatory’s Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona.

UT students Jessica Moore, left, Anthony Howarth, center, and Megan Banks posed for a photo last fall with Lowell Observatory’s Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona.

The telescope was conceived and built by the historic Lowell Observatory, where Pluto was discovered, using private funds, led by a major contribution from the Discovery Channel. It was completed and dedicated in 2012.

UT, Boston University and the University of Maryland joined in a scientific partnership with the Lowell Observatory to conduct research using the Discovery Channel Telescope, with UT joining in 2012. In subsequent years, the partnership grew to include Northern Arizona University and Yale University.

For three years, Bjorkman has taken her undergraduate Observational Astronomy class for hands-on experience with the 4.3-meter telescope. Last fall, student travel and observation was made possible by support funds from the Helen Luedtke Brooks Endowed Professorship of Astronomy.

While the class gets the opportunity to work with the 1-meter telescope at the Ritter Observatory on campus for most of the semester, the much larger Discovery Channel Telescope allows for significantly more detailed images of a wider range of objects. It is the fifth largest telescope in the continental United States and one of the most technologically advanced, and its location within the Coconino National Forest offers the clear dark skies that are crucial for observing the cosmos.

“I try to integrate the use of the Discovery Channel Telescope with everything else we do in the class,” Bjorkman said. “They learn the basic techniques of observing at our own Ritter Observatory, and they learn about the process, we talk about all the techniques, and they prepare their own mini-research project. During the semester, we talk about the different instruments that astronomers use.”

Bjorkman explained the camera on the Discovery Channel Telescope, called the Large Monolithic Imager, makes it easy to take data even on very faint and distant objects. Each student is required to select an object in the sky to observe during the visit, and that object becomes the focus of his or her final project.

“For my project, I chose a reflection nebula, NGC 7023,” said Jessica Moore, a senior astronomy student. “This experience helped me with the project by letting me gather my own data. I was able to see everything that goes into an actual science image from start to finish. It also gave the data some passion because we are the ones collecting it.”

Graduate students also are able to request time at the telescope, and one joined Bjorkman’s class. Cody Gerhartz, a fifth-year graduate student working with Bjorkman toward a doctorate in physics with a concentration in astrophysics, is monitoring a set of hot stars with gaseous disks that are found in star clusters. Through long-term observations, he’s working to determine more information about the processes of formation and evolution of the disks.

“I was among the first group of students from UT to get to experience the Discovery Channel Telescope and have since been out there around seven times,” he said. “Trips to the telescope are always a great break to the norm, getting out of the office and into some truly beautiful locales, not to mention the chance to look at a true dark sky. An opportunity like this is not something everyone has, making the Astronomy Department at UT a unique experience.”

Additionally, Bjorkman is working on some of her own research with Dr. Noel Richardson, a postdoctoral research associate and UT alumnus. Bjorkman’s interests are focused on stars with disks of gas around them. Some of the stars lose the disks and later grow new ones, she explained, but no one knows why. She has been observing approximately 10 star clusters with these features and monitoring the stars in the clusters to find evidence of the changes.

“We want to understand the process,” Bjorkman said. “What goes on to cause a star to lose a disk or grow a new one?”

Richardson had the opportunity to work on some of his own research as well — specifically a supernova that was discovered about six months ago: “This particular star was a massive star that underwent a large ejection of matter earlier in the year. Until recently, astronomers did not know that such ejections could occur near the end of a massive star’s lifetime.”

Previously, Richardson observed the star as it exploded from an observatory in Quebec, but he was unable to continue observing it as it went behind the sun. Through his research at the Discovery Channel Telescope, he’s been able to confirm that it is acting like a supernova now, and the observations collected will help determine if the explosion created any dust.

Bjorkman said that while the opportunity to use a new telescope is exciting, the partnership aspect of the agreement also is extremely beneficial to the University.

“Through this partnership, we’ve built relationships and collaborations with our colleagues and astronomers and their students at all these other institutions, which is really good,” she said. “It builds good relationships and collaborative opportunities for the University nationally and internationally.”

Ice age science: UT geologist receives national fellowship for glacier, climate change research

For 26 years, Dr. Timothy Fisher has clocked countless helicopter hours flying to frozen lakes across Canada and the northern United States to study the effects of ancient glaciers.

“We are learning from past global climate change to predict what might happen in the future,” Fisher said. “I have disproven common assumptions in the scientific community by coring into the bottom of snow and ice-covered lakes for sediment samples to reconstruct and understand conditions on planet Earth more than 10,000 years ago.”



One of the world’s largest geological societies recently honored The University of Toledo geology professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences as one of the best in his profession by electing him as a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA), an association with more than 26,000 members in 115 countries. The association promotes geoscience research, discovery and stewardship of the Earth.

“This is quite an honor,” Fisher said. “The GSA fellowship carries weight over the quality of my work to reconstruct past positions of receding glaciers and glacial lake levels to decipher whether there is a relationship with climate records in the Greenland ice cores. This adds more confidence to what I do, and perhaps I will be more aggressive applying for research grants.”

Fisher was nominated for his “significant contributions to the understanding of Glacial Lake Agassiz, the Great Lakes and associated environments,” according to the GSA award. “His field work, which spans several Canadian provinces and northern states, has led to publications that change the way we think about the history of some of the predominate landscapes of North America.”

“I am very pleased to congratulate Dr. Fisher on his election as a Fellow of the Geological Society of America,” Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of the UT College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, said. “His selection is a recognition of his outstanding work in improving our understanding of glacial landscapes, including our own Great Lakes. It also provides additional evidence of the excellent faculty members we are fortunate to have here at The University of Toledo.”

Dr. Timothy Fisher and fellow researchers used a hydraulically assisted Livingstone corer to recover sediment cores from lake ice on Skeptic Lake in Ontario. Conducting the work were, from left, Dr. Tom Lowell, professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati; Fisher; and UT graduate students Henry Loope and Bruce Skubon.

Dr. Timothy Fisher and fellow researchers used a hydraulically assisted Livingstone corer to recover sediment cores from lake ice on Skeptic Lake in Ontario. Conducting the work were, from left, Dr. Tom Lowell, professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati; Fisher; and UT graduate students Henry Loope and Bruce Skubon.

Fisher has written 67 peer-reviewed publications to argue ideas in his areas of specialty, including the history of Great Lakes sand dunes and how they serve as a record of climate variability. One article published in the Journal of Paleolimnology recently was named one of the top 10 most cited papers in the scientific publication in 2014.

Fisher’s main research focus has been on the problems of a long-gone glacial lake in north-central North America known as Lake Agassiz, which filled with meltwater at the end of the last glacial period over an area more than three times larger than the modern Great Lakes combined.

“Lake Agassiz doesn’t exist anymore. Remnants of the glacial lake are in Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba,” Fisher said. “The controversy lies in where all of that freshwater went at the end of the last ice age. Did it drain into the Arctic or North Atlantic oceans, slow down the Gulf Stream and trigger rapid climactic shifts in the Northern Hemisphere? That’s now unlikely because the drainage outlet routes are too young. My age control data from coring lakes leads me to believe it’s possible that much of the freshwater from Lake Agassiz evaporated.”

The scientist is working to document a chronology of when and how glaciers retreated to understand the relationship between lake levels and past climate changes.

“I am working on big questions, such as if that relationship is cause and effect,” Fisher said. “This is background for trying to understand climate change in the future.”

As debate rages worldwide over warming temperatures, Fisher said. “We won’t see a similar glacial cycle again. The chemistry of Earth’s atmosphere has forever changed with the steady influx of greenhouse gases.”

Click here to read more about Fisher and his research.

UT to dedicate new research lab created with help of $250,000 gift from Shimadzu

The University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will celebrate the dedication of a new state-of-the-art research laboratory created with the help of a leading scientific instrument company Thursday, Jan. 28, at noon in Health Education Building Room 103 on Health Science Campus.

UT President Sharon L. Gaber, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Dean Johnnie Early and a representative from Shimadzu Scientific Instruments will give remarks at noon followed by an open house for the Shimadzu Laboratory for Pharmaceutical Research Excellence.

Shimadzu donated more than $250,000 to help UT pay for several new instruments, including a mass spectrometer that is capable of analyzing samples with a high degree of accuracy and unmatched speed.

“This donation will help UT train the scientists of tomorrow with cutting-edge technology,” Phil Martin, life science account manager with Shimadzu, said. “The liquid chromatograph mass spectrometer can analyze a wide array of sample types, including biological and environmental, with great speed, accuracy and ease-of-use. The LCMS-8050 will open new avenues of teaching and research, including drug discovery and metabolism, disease biomarkers, and oxidative damage to DNA. This technology also can be used to monitor water quality and detect dangerous algal toxins in Lake Erie faster and with more accuracy than other techniques.”

“Shimadzu’s goals are very strongly aligned with UT’s in striving to best prepare the next generation of pharmacists, researchers and scientists to improve the world,” Gaber said. “On behalf of The University of Toledo, I want to extend sincere thanks to them for their generous contributions and collaboration.”

“Through this partnership, state-of-the-art equipment for pharmaceutical analysis will be available to students, faculty and members of the corporate sector, all with the support of trained and knowledgeable experts in the area of pharmaceutical research,” Early said.

Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (Columbia, Md.) is the American subsidiary of Shimadzu Corp. (Kyoto, Japan). A global leader in analytical technologies, Shimadzu is proud to produce its most innovative technology in America. The LCMS-8050 is built in Shimadzu’s U.S. manufacturing facility, located in Canby, Ore.

“The company has a history of identifying researchers who are doing cutting-edge work at institutions poised to make an impact on the training of students,” Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, UT associate professor of medicinal and biological chemistry, said. “I have been delighted to work with Shimadzu over the years to make this relationship a reality.”

Clinical trial at UTMC paves way for FDA-approved drug

The University of Toledo Medical Center is participating in a clinical study with a cholesterol medication that has been approved by the FDA.

The evolocumab injection, also known by the name brand Repatha-Amgen, is for patients who cannot get their LDL cholesterol low enough with other treatment options. It works best when combined with a healthy diet and statin therapy.



“The evolocumab injection is an effective drug for patients who have very high cholesterol, but statins, such as Lipitor, and following a healthy diet aren’t working for them,” said Dr. Mujeeb Sheikh, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and principal investigator for the clinical trial. “Cholesterol is a big problem for many patients. It is the root cause for coronary disease. If we can reduce cholesterol, patients are less likely to need stents and other medical procedures.”

The nationwide 18-month clinical trial, which ends in December, includes patients from UTMC who have not been able to reduce their cholesterol with traditional treatment options. Once the double-blind study is complete, they will receive the medication free of cost.

“This is a powerful drug that can reduce cholesterol by 50 or 60 points by simply giving yourself three injections per months,” Sheikh said. “This is a game-changer. I plan to prescribe it to my patients.”

Dr. John Jenkins, director of the FDA’s Office of New Drugs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a written statement that “Cardiovascular disease is a serious threat to the health of Americans, and the FDA is committed to facilitating the development and approval of effective and safe drugs to address this important public health problem.”

Sheikh is glad that UTMC can offer people the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. In addition to free medication, they can contribute to the growth of science.

“We are conducting a lot of research at UTMC, and patients can benefit from these cutting-edge developments,” Sheikh said. “We are proud to be a part of important experimental therapies that can improve health care in our city, in our region and even nationwide.”

Stressed out? UT researcher suggests floating as a way to relax

A University of Toledo mental health counselor says that people aren’t taking time to relax and enjoy life these days, in particular during the hectic holiday season.

While that might seem like nothing new, Thomas Fine, associate professor of psychiatry, said floating is making a comeback as an alternative mode of relaxation.

Thomas Fine was recently quoted in a Time magazine story about floating as a therapy for stress.

Thomas Fine was recently quoted in a Time magazine story about floating as a therapy for stress.

“If you are looking for ways to deal with stress, I would consider floating as a stress management activity,” Fine said. “Floating is so relaxing. The buoyancy of the water allows your muscles to relax. As your muscles relax, your mind begins to shut off.”

Fine, who started researching flotation in the 1970s with UT colleague Dr. John Turner, professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, said that it is promising that this once “hippie thing” is gaining credence as a possible source of relaxation. Fine was recently quoted in a Time magazine article about floating as a therapy for distress.

Through the 1990s, Fine and Turner published studies on floating. Scientifically known as flotation Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique (REST), their studies looked at subjects who participated in eight 40-minute float sessions in salt water at skin temperature.

“In several studies, we saw improvements in blood pressure, mood, pain and muscle tension as a result of the regular experience of deep relaxation that accompanies frequent flotation experiences,” Fine said.

Isolation tanks, which are lightless and soundproof, designed for flotation relaxation are as close as Detroit.

“Interestingly enough, people want to relax, but don’t want to take the time to relax or make the drive to experience the best relaxation of their life,” Fine said. “What makes our research still relevant today is that the stress that humans are experiencing continues to ramp up as we become more immersed in technology. When I first started studying floating, we didn’t have smartphones or emails. We could go on vacation without having to check in at work or respond to questions or concerns. We live in a world filled with stress and overstimulation.”

Fine, who presented at the Portland Float Conference in August, recognizes that not everyone will be able to experience an isolation tank, but yoga and meditation are activities that can produce similar results.

“You could also get into bed and put a pillow under your head and a pillow under your knees and lie there with no light and no sound for 30 minutes,” he said. “If you did that, you would be starting to approach the deep relaxation experienced by those who float.”

Med student presents at national neurosurgery conference

Fourth-year medical student Justin Baum is preparing for a career in neurosurgery by getting exposure at national conferences.

His latest presentation focused on one of two main ways to treat aneurysms: microsurgical clipping. Baum made a case for clipping rather than the alternative endovascular coiling method because clipping, although more invasive, offers a much lower chance for the aneurysm to grow back.



Baum, with the help of Dr. Azedine Medhkour, associate professor of neurosurgery at The University of Toledo, presented the video titled “Clipping of an Unruptured Middle Cerebral Artery Aneurysm Complicated by a Wide Neck and Incorporation of the Temporal Artery” at the annual meeting of the American College of Surgeons in October in Chicago.

Baum said Medhkour has served as his mentor for the past four years. The video of the procedure, which was performed at UT Medical Center, demonstrated a clipping technique where the retraction of the brain is minimized.

“Whenever possible, it is good to limit retraction because it can cause unnecessary trauma to the brain, which can lead to brain swelling, focal strokes or seizures,” Baum said.

Medhkour said Baum is making connections that will help him secure a residency after he graduates in May.

“Justin is one-of-a-kind when it comes to intellectual prowess and hard work,” Medhkour said. “He has had many works accepted at national and international conferences — work that is normally presented by senior residents or attending neurosurgeons.

“They call him ‘Dr. Justin,’ even though he tells everyone he is a fourth-year medical student,” Medhkour said. “At UT, we encourage our medical students to be more aggressive and scholastic. Our students should be prepared for academia early on as we have some of the brightest minds on campus. I think Justin is a good example of someone doing just that, and he will be an excellent neurosurgeon in the near future.”

In May, Baum also gave a presentation on “Traumatic Lung Injury and Multiple Organ Trauma Effects on Traumatic Brain Injury Patients” at the annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in Washington, D.C.

Astronomy researcher receives grant to study star lifecycles

A University of Toledo astronomer’s research will help shed light on two poorly understood stages in the lifecycle of a star cluster — just before they are born and very soon after they form.

Dr. Rupali Chandar, UT associate professor of astronomy, is the principal investigator for “The Birth and Death of Stellar Clusters: Uncloaking the Roles of Stars, Gas and Physical Environment in Nearby Galaxies,” a study that was recently awarded a $270,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.



“This new funding from the National Science Foundation will allow me and my team to answer some fundamental questions about star cluster formation and dissolution in nearby galaxies,” Chandar said. “We will take advantage of key new observations from premier ground-based telescopes in order to build on previous results based on data taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. A better understanding of the full lifecycle of star clusters, from birth to death, has important implications for many areas of astronomy.”

Star cluster formation is one of the most fundamental processes in galaxies, and occurs over an incredibly diverse range of environments and physical conditions, far broader than those found in the Milky Way alone, Chandar said.

Observations from the National Science Foundation’s new Atacama Large Millimeter Array, the most expensive ground-based telescope in operation, enable direct study of clouds in distant galaxies covering a much wider range of physical conditions than our nearest neighbors. The properties of these clouds, when compared with those of young star clusters in the same galaxy, provide important clues to understand the efficiency with which stars and clusters form under different physical conditions, she said.

“Dr. Chandar’s research grant is particularly noteworthy given the very competitive nature of research in the field of astronomy. Our faculty compete with colleagues from around the country for funding from federal agencies like the National Science Foundation,” said Dr. William Messer, UT vice president for research. “Dr. Chandar’s success in garnering support for studies of star formation builds on our strong reputation in the natural sciences and provides exciting research and training opportunities for our students.”

The grant also will support Girls in Science, which is an all-day outreach event aimed to foster middle school girls’ interest in science through age-appropriate, hands-on activities.

“This grant award highlights the excellent work being done by Dr. Chandar and her team. The project will address the most fundamental questions about how star clusters form in galaxies, improving our understanding of the processes that led to our universe today,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of UT’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “It will expand our astronomers’ and students’ use of the most cutting-edge international astronomical facilities in the world such as the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, while simultaneously leveraging the strength of UT’s partnership with the Lowell Observatory and the Discovery Channel Telescope. It also continues our tradition of bringing the joy of discovery to our community through outreach, such as the Girls in Science program, to help inspire the next generation of scientists.”

Professors assessing financial damage from water crisis

The memories of last year’s water crisis in and around Toledo are still fresh in the minds of most residents, and the anxiety about a repeat event in 2015 is high.

But two University of Toledo professors are hard at work at one of the critical issues surrounding last year’s three-day event: What was the economic impact of the 2014 Toledo water crisis on the local economy?

Aug.24.FA.inddDr. Andrew Solocha, professor in the Department of Finance in the College of Business and Innovation, along with Dr. Neil Reid, director of the UT Jack Ford Urban Affairs Center and professor of geography and planning in the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences, are researching that very issue, funded by a grant from the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago. They began their research in May and will have an initial impact report by the end of August.

“Lake Erie is an enormously important resource,” Solocha said. “I didn’t know anything about the science behind this, but I was really concerned about what happened here last year, and so I volunteered my time for this research. We envision a series of reports, the first one in August about the three days from last year, and then other reports over time.

“My training is in economics, data and model building, and for this research and report it is essential to have someone with experience in both business and economics because we have to interpret this data, find out what the data is saying to us; sometimes it doesn’t say anything at all. We have to go and interview people, and people can be confused or have misinformation. This is a work in progress, and we don’t yet know where all the answers are to make this complete.”

“One of the main challenges in doing this research is getting reliable data,” Reid said. “Often in the research we do, you can go to a public data source like the census and use data that has been collected in a systematic fashion. But with unanticipated one-off events like this, there are no data that are systematically collected.

“So it becomes like doing a jigsaw puzzle, but one in which you have to go out and find all the data pieces,” Reid said. “And, unfortunately, many of the pieces are either very hard to find or may not even exist. Our task here is to find as many of the pieces as possible and put them together to paint as complete a picture as we possibly can.”

“We need to be able to assess what the damages — all the damages — are. We know several sectors that were impacted by the 2014 water crisis, including hospitals, the food processing industry, restaurants, tourism and consumers, plus we will probably see an impact on housing,” Solocha said.

“But there may be impacts that we can’t see, and there could be a long-term impact. For example, people who typically go to Lake Erie beaches who have decided that now they can’t go there in the future because of the negative publicity for the region.

“Of course, there was also good news, such as the charities that came out, mobilized and helped,” he observed. “For example, the American Red Cross brought in water for people, and the National Guard distributed water and food.”

Solocha added, “The University of Toledo has been fantastic in helping us with this project, as have other organizations such as the United Way of Greater Toledo. It is absolutely critical that people know we are working on this report and that they help us.”

If you have information you would like to share about the economic impact of the 2014 water crisis, contact Solocha at Andrew.Solocha@utoledo.edu or Reid at Neil.Reid@utoledo.edu.

Students helping TARTA revamp downtown routes

For some time, the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority has been working to change their routes downtown — and they’re getting some help from students at The University of Toledo.

Right now, TARTA is working on finding a way to replace its five-station bus loop downtown with a single bus terminal. To do this, TARTA is considering route proposals from Taslima Akter and Jonathon Ousky, two UT grad students.

Dr. Bhuiyan Alam, associate professor of geography and planning, center, posed for a photo with graduate students Taslima Akter and Jonathon Ousky, who put together new route proposals for TARTA for the Community Planning Workshop class.

Dr. Bhuiyan Alam, associate professor of geography and planning, center, posed for a photo with graduate students Taslima Akter and Jonathon Ousky, who put together new route proposals for TARTA for the Community Planning Workshop class.

“It may seem small,” said Dr. Bhuiyan Alam, associate professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, “but given that TARTA is the sole public transportation system in Lucas County and since it involves 12 major blocks in the heart of the city, changing this plan and the proposal given by the students is very important and will have a long-term impact on downtown Toledo.”

Akter and Ousky are part of a planning workshop class led by Alam. For a semester, they analyzed data from TARTA and came up with proposals for changing most of the routes that would lead into the downtown hub.

“We could change whatever we wanted, but our main concern was to reduce the route length,” Akter said.

And the students were successful in that sense — if TARTA accepts their proposal, they could save up to 46 hours of driving time each week. This would have an impact on the amount of time riders spend on buses, as well as the amount of gas used by TARTA.

“It could be convenient for both TARTA and the passengers,” Akter said.

Alam has taught this course for six years, with the exception of 2014 when he was on sabbatical. Each year, he tries to get his students involved in projects that have real impacts on the local community.

In the past, students in this course have researched predicted impacts of community hub schools on their students and communities, land-use classification and suitability analysis of walkability and bikeability in Toledo’s uptown district, brownfield redevelopment potentials in Toledo, and streetscape planning of Broadway Street in Toledo. This year, he approached TARTA, where officials were open to receiving help from students.

Throughout the semester, the students worked and met with TARTA officials to create their proposal. TARTA gave the students suggestions, reviewed drafts of routes, and answered their questions.

“It’s been a really nice experience for me to work with TARTA, and I’m surprised by how much they helped us to complete the project,” Akter said.

Though no plans have yet been finalized for TARTA’s downtown hub, administrators have a wealth of ideas for routes to use thanks to the efforts of these two students.

For more information on Alam’s Community Planning Workshop class, email Bhuiyan.Alam@utoledo.edu.

Professor receives high honors at national conference

Having received many awards over the years, the most recent one is the cherry on top of the sundae for a University of Toledo professor of chemistry and biochemistry.



Dr. Jared Anderson was named the recipient of the 2016 Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award sponsored by the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh. Each year the society solicits nominations and recognizes one individual with outstanding achievements in the fields of analytical chemistry and applied spectroscopy within 10 years after receiving his or her PhD. Anderson earned his doctoral degree in 2005 from Iowa State University.

“This is probably the most prestigious award I’ve won because I know there’s a lot of other very deserving candidates out there at a number of other universities in the world that get nominated,” Anderson said. “Since there’s a timeline, it has to be 10 years or you’re no longer eligible, and they only give one award a year; that makes the competition very fierce.”

But Anderson said he couldn’t have done it without his research team: “It’s certainly a great, great honor. But the award would not be possible without my research team. I’ve amassed a truly tremendous research team here at UT. Their hard work and dedication to promoting our science resulted in this award.”

Anderson will receive the honor during the Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award Symposium held in his honor at the 2016 conference, which will be in Atlanta in March. He will be presented with a scroll and a cash award at the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh Awards Reception and Dinner. Several of Anderson’s colleagues, including Dr. Jon Kirchhoff, Distinguished University Professor and chair of UT’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, will speak about the great work he has done over the past 10 years.

In addition to receiving the award, Anderson will have the opportunity to present some of his work at the symposium — namely his research in new methods to extract and preserve the structure of nucleic acids.

“It’s still a very large challenge for those working with DNA and RNA to extract those compounds from a very complicated cellular matrix and store those under appropriate conditions without degradation of the nucleic acid,” he said. “We’re working on developing novel materials that allow us to extract those materials, but then also store the molecules at room temperature or different conditions that will prevent degradation.”

The research has been funded by a National Science Foundation grant totaling $400,000.

“Good science is being done here at the University,” he said. “It’s awesome to get this award because it shows that UT is regarded. If the committee didn’t believe UT was a good school, I don’t think they’d have chosen me. This proves we are doing great work.”