Field research is limited by location and availability of equipment. Taking samples back to a lab for testing is time consuming and costly, as is the equipment used to perform the tests. Miniaturized devices are portable versions of an entire instrumental platform and provide practical field solutions for environmental and medical testing in rural areas and for research in places as remote as outer space. These miniaturized total analytical systems contain valves and pumps to direct samples through analytical processes, such as sample preparation, separation, and detection.
Lisa Holland, an associate professor in the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry at West Virginia University, believes that smart nano gels overcome current barriers to lab-on-a-chip systems. She leads a team of researchers in developing the smart nano gels and adapting them to meet the needs of mobile labs.
“When you put a working valve in a manufactured chip with moving parts, both the cost and failure rate increase. Suppose there are no moving pieces in the device and the on-board fluid is the smart part then it’s as simple as filling, programming, running and refilling the material for each test,” said Holland.
Nano gel is a smart material that can be added to a substance without changing the chemical makeup of that product. The smart material forms a gel at temperatures above 24 degrees Celsius, but behaves like a fluid below that temperature. By using temperature change as a way to control the movement of the liquid in the tube, valves and moving parts are no longer needed for chemical separation.
These miniature nano gel labs make it relatively easy to do research in the field. If the researcher needs to close channels or trap a sample in a certain location, he or she would simply have to raise the temperature to create a fluid lock with the gel. When continuing the movement of the material, the researcher would then lower the temperature making the nano gel substance liquid.
“If you replace internal machinery with a smart material, then only external temperature control is required. We call this a non-mechanical device because of the lack of moving parts,” Holland explained. “Now the device has become incredibly unsophisticated, which means it is much easier to mass produce and fabricate and the failure rate decreases dramatically.”
This technology can radically improve research that relies on miniaturized lab-on-a-chip technology. It can revolutionize testing in rural areas in the medical and environmental fields, where the use of expensive, high-tech lab equipment is simply not an option. For example, if a creek’s wildlife is affected by a pollutant, instead of sending a sample to a lab and waiting for results to see what the contaminant is and where it is coming from, the water can be tested at various locations along the creek and results concluded within hours. Similarly, if blood tests are needed quickly, they can be done using this technology.
“You can do the same tests on the large instrument I have in my lab, but the investment is a minimum of $65,000just for the instrument. That’s not including the cost of someone who knows how to use the machine,” Holland explained. “The raw cost of this new material is exceedingly less, and it’s portable and very simple to use.”
Lab-on-a-chip technology is so portable and cost-effective; Holland and her team believe that advancing technology through miniaturized devices will transform everyday life. They also appreciate that microfluidic devices can change the K-12 classroom, and according to Holland “inspiring the next generation of innovators is also important”. Holland says that microscale separations and fluidics are ideal topics for the sixth, seventh and eighth grade science classroom, because at that age students begin the process of career identity.
“We used a lot of things that were already in the classroom to do the experiments,” Holland explained. “We outfitted a middle school lab for less than $2,000.”
“Results are easy to produce and understand, and more importantly the experiments are fun. The kids gain an interest in the technology and consider the possibility of a career in science,” Holland said. “It’s a way to bring very sophisticated science to schools, small hospitals and rural areas.”
Holland’s collaboration began in the Jefferson County school system. With the expertise of Professor Jeffrey Carver, assistant professor of science education curriculum and director of STEM Education Initiatives in the WVU College of Education and Human Services, Holland plans to share the experience with others. Teachers like Sharon Athey of Wildwood Middle School and Denise Gipson of Jefferson High School are working with Carver and Holland to develop and integrate microfluidic experiences into the curricula. The results of this partnership are shared with other educators and scientists through local and national presentations, and by submission to the National Science Digital Library so that it is freely available online.
Holland’s nano gel research is supported by a recent grant of $405,783 from the National Science Foundation. The T.R.E.K. program is supported by a National Science Foundation Research Infrastructure Improvement (NSF-RII) grant obtained by collaboration among Marshall University, West Virginia State University, West Virginia University and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Division of Science and Research.
For more information, contact Lisa Holland, at 304-293-0174 or Lisa.Holland@mail.wvu.edu
The West Virginia University Department of English in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences will present its 2013 Summer Seminar in Literary and Cultural Studies June 6-9. Dr. Richard Sha, professor of literature at American University, will lead the seminar, “Romantic Science and the Romantic Imagination.” The event will officially begin with a free, public lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 6 in 130 Colson Hall.
Registration is required for the rest of the seminar, which is open to students, faculty, and independent scholars. The seminar will include five, two-hour sessions in Stalnaker Hall, concluding at noon on Sunday, June 9.
Romantic science and the Romantic imagination have long been understood as enemies. This seminar explores the reasons for the clash, and argues for a rethinking of both terms. Far from being objective, Romantic science reveled in the emotions and desires, so much so that matter was imagined as having feelings just like (and about) people. If the linkage of science and feeling gave science an ethics, however, it threatened to mire science in subjectivity. The Romantic imagination actually helped to develop the scientific method, forcing scientists to discipline their wayward speculations into something like knowledge.
Figures to be covered include Coleridge, Kant, Keats, Byron, the Shelleys, and the Scottish novelist Elizabeth Hamilton; as well as the scientists Joseph Priestley, Humphry Davy, and Michael Faraday. The aim of the seminar will be to think about what has been gained and lost by pitting science against imagination.
Seminar registration costs $280 for students and $380 for faculty and community members. Rooms for seminar attendees are available in accessible Stalnaker Hall. Participants can choose single or double occupancy. Local hotels are close by for those who prefer non-dormitory housing. For more information, visit http://english.wvu.edu/centers-projects/summer-seminar.
For more information, contact Adam Komisaruk, at 304-293-9724 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Scientist and West Virginia University alumna Jennie Hunter-Cevera will be recognized Sunday with the highest honor an institution can bestow an honorary degree.
Hunter-Cevera, whose career in pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries spans 22 years, will be honored during the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate commencement ceremony. The honorary degree is reserved for eminent individuals with national or international reputations.
She is the founder of Hunter and Associates, a consulting firm focusing on finding integrative solutions to complex problems in the life sciences arena that include sustainability issues.
Hunter-Cevera founded The Biotic Network and Blue Sky Laboratory and spent five years as the head of the Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
In addition, Hunter-Cevera served for 10 years as the president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute. Most recently, she was executive vice president of discovery and analytical sciences, government relations, public relations and corporate development at RTI International.
Hunter-Cevera holds 15 patents in natural products and enzymes. She specializes in screen design for the discovery of natural compounds in the areas of human therapeutics, nutraceticals, biodefense, sustainable agriculture, bioremediation and biocatalysis for industrial processes in the food and clothing industries.
Named one of Maryland’s Top 50 Influential People and Top 100 Women, Hunter-Cevera’s other award recognitions include the Porter Award from the American Society for Micriobiology (ASM) for distinguished research in microbial systematics and taxonomy. She also was elected as a SIM fellow, a member of the ASM Academy of Microbiology and an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow.
Hunter-Cevera completed her bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in microbial ecology from WVU. She earned her doctorate in microbial physiology and biochemistry from Rutgers University. Because of her outstanding academic and professional achievements, she has been named a WVU Distinguished Alumni and Nath Lecturer.
Hunter-Cevera will receive her honorary degree at the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate commencement at 2 p.m. Sunday, at the WVU Coliseum.
Visitors to http://honorarydegrees.wvu.edu/ can view the history of honorary degrees at WVU, from 1873 to the present.
For more information, contact University Relations/News at 304-293-6997
Helen Holt, West Virginia’s first female secretary of state, to receive honorary degree
U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-New Jersey, will deliver the address at the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences’s doctoral and master’s degree commencement ceremony this Sunday.
The ceremony will double as a family affair as his mother Helen Holt, West Virginia’s first female secretary of state, will receive an honorary degree.
“Representative Holt has an outstanding set of accomplishments in science, innovation, government and leadership and has become a forceful and effective voice in support of education, health and social justice, alternative sources of energy and international arms of control,” Dean Robert H. Jones said.
Rep. Holt is a resident of Hopewell Township, N.J., and has represented central New Jersey in Congress since 1999. Born in Weston, W.Va., he inherited his interest in politics from his parents. In addition to his mother’s political career, his father Rush Holt Sr. was the youngest person ever elected to the U.S. Senate, at age 29.
Holt serves on the Committee on Natural Resources, where he serves as the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, and on the Committee on Education and the Workforce.
In 2011, Holt beat Watson, IBM’s computer system, in a simulated round of “Jeopardy!” at an event to promote innovation. He holds the distinction of being a five-time champion on the program.
From 1989 until he launched his 1998 congressional campaign, Holt was assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, the largest research facility at Princeton University and the largest center for alternative energy research in New Jersey.
Holt earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Carleton College in Minnesota, and earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in physics at New York University.
During her marriage to Rush Holt Sr., Helen Holt was his principal adviser. After his death in 1955, she was appointed to fill his unexpired term. She was appointed secretary of state in 1957, becoming the first female to serve in the position. Following her two-year tenure as secretary of state, Holt served as assistant commissioner of public institutions. In 1960, President Eisenhower appointed her to create a program establishing standards that would eliminate unsafe, inefficient nursing homes. Through Holt’s mortgage insurance program at the Federal Housing Administration, and later the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she established nationally high standards for the care of the elderly and oversaw the construction of 1,000 modern long-term healthcare facilities with more than 100,000 beds. She was reappointed by six subsequent presidents.
Holt’s honors and accomplishments include officer roles with the American Association of University Women, Zeta Mu Epsilon, Tri-Delta, Business and Professional Women’s Clubs and Executive Women in Government. She was selected Daughter of the Year by the West Virginia State Society and received the International Year of the Woman Achievement Award. She also received West Virginia Woman of the Decade and was recognized as one of the Fifty Women who have Made a Difference by the International Association of Women.
Born in rural Illinois in 1913, Holt studied at Stephens College and the Marine Biological Laboratory. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology from Northwestern University and was inducted into Sigma Xi. She taught biology at National Park College in Forest Glen, Md., and Greenbrier College for Women in Lewisburg, W.Va.
The doctoral and master’s degree commencement ceremony is 10 a.m. Sunday, at the Creative Arts Center.
Students and their families are encouraged to visit the Commencement website http://graduation.wvu.edu/commencement for event updates, as well as information about photography, lodging and traditions.
For more information, contact University Relations/News at 304-293-6997.
In its second year, the WVU WiSE Awards support faculty initiatives and student scholarships with the goal of helping women successfully navigate careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
Jennifer Hawkins, assistant professor in the department of biology and Amy Weislogel, assistant professor in the department of geology and geography each will receive $3,750 to pursue their research. Alison Sears, a graduate student in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and Nicole Shamitko-Klingensmith, a graduate student in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, each will receive $1,250 to support their work.
Hawkins said she will use the award to assist in the discovery of plant genes and gene networks that promote positive plant-microbe interactions. Her research, she said could ultimately result in increased soil carbon sequestration.
“We hope our findings will lead to the development of environmentally friendly agricultural practices for many of our major cereal grain crops.”
Weislogel’s award will support research that potentially could aid in energy exploration, carbon sequestration, and reconstructing global change and earth’s history.
“Through my work, I want to promote a better understanding of earth’s history and the implications of that history for resource distribution,” she said.
Sears, a graduate student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will use her funds to attend the American Geophysical Union’s 46th Annual Fall Meeting in San Francisco. While attending the conference, Sears will deliver her research results targeting the improvement of water supply and land use of reclaimed surface mine sites in Appalachia.
“The long-term outcome of my research will be to provide evidence that accurately designed retention ponds can maximize beneficial land use of the reclaimed sites by creating a wetland area for wildlife and vegetation, perennial stream flow to support aquatic life, or treatment retention ponds to treat contaminated surface water runoff,” she said.
Shamitko-Klingensmith, a graduate student in the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry, plans to use her funding to attend the 58th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society in San Francisco. There she will have the opportunity to present her research findings related to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
“As we age, the physical properties of our cells change, and these changes are often associated with increases in cholesterol, oxidative damage and cytoskeleton abnormalities,” she said.
“My research is focused on how these changes influence a cell’s vulnerability to toxicity associated with the b-amyloid peptide, which plays a prominent role in Alzheimer’s disease.”
The WiSE Giving Circle brings together alumnae and friends who seek to impact the field of science by encouraging and mentoring young women in their pursuit of professional careers within the National Science Foundation-funded STEM disciplines science, technology, engineering and math. The giving circle is an internal program that was developed simultaneously with WVU’s National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant, which seeks to “increase the participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers.”
The 2013-2014 WiSE Awards are funded by WiSE annual membership and donations, The Hall-de Graaf Endowment for Women in Science & Engineering, The Research Trust Fund Hall de Graaf Science & Engineering Fund and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.
Independent Publisher has selected two West Virginia University Press books as gold medal recipients in its 2013 “IPPY” Awards contest.
Centerville by Karen Osborn is a gold medal winner in IPPY’s Popular Fiction category, while Steven L. Stephenson’s A Natural History of the Central Appalachians is the gold medalist in the Mid-Atlantic Best Regional Non-Fiction category.
The Independent Publisher Book Awards were conceived in 1996 as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry. The awards bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles produced each year, and reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing. With 382 medalists chosen from 5,200 total entries, the 2013 IPPY Award winners are unique and distinguished. This year, “IPPY” medals were given to entrants from 44 US states and Washington DC, 5 Canadian provinces, and 8 countries overseas.
In Karen Osborn’s Centerville, it is 1967 at the end of a long, hot summer. On a Saturday afternoon in this sleepy Midwestern town, a disaffected husband enters a busy drugstore where his estranged wife works and sets a bag with a homemade bomb on the floor. Outside the drugstore, a fourteen-year-old girl places her hand on the door, then inexplicably turns away and keeps walking. Moments later, standing safely inside a bowling alley with her best friend, she hears a sound like thunder. With one devastating explosion, the town is changed forever. In the next few days, four lives become entwined, as the townspeople face sudden loss and new, unpredictable realities. Set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement and the escalating Vietnam War, Centerville forms an engrossing meditation on the complex questions that arise in the wake of senseless violence.
A Natural History of the Central Appalachians by Steven L. Stephenson thoroughly examines the biology and ecology of the plants, animals, and other organisms of this region of eastern North America. With over 120 images, this text provides an overview of the landscape of this region, including the major changes that have taken place over the past 300 million years; describes the different types of forests and other plant communities currently present in Central Appalachia; and examines living systems ranging from microorganisms and fungi to birds and mammals. Through a consideration of the history of humans in the region, beginning with the arrival of the first Native Americans, A Natural History of the Central Appalachians also discusses the past, present, and future influences of human activity upon this geographic area.
Both Osborn and Stephenson will be honored for their accomplishments at the 17th annual “IPPY” Awards Ceremony and Reception on May 29, 2013 in New York, New York. Learn more about Independent Publisher and the “IPPY” Awards contest. To learn more about West Virginia University Press, visit www.wvupress.com.
West Virginia University Press is pleased to announce the publication of Book of Emperors: A Translation of the Middle High German Kaiserchronik by Henry A. Myers. This book is Volume 14 of the Medieval European Studies series, which is edited by Patrick W. Conner, Professor Emeritus of English at WVU.
Siegfried Christoph, Professor of German, University of Wisconsin, Parkside calls Book of Emperors “A significant contribution in History, Cultural Studies, and German Studies.”
The Kaiserchronik (c.11521165) is the first verse chronicle to have been written in a language other than Latin. This story recounts the exploits of the Roman, Byzantine, Carolingian, and Holy Roman kings and rulers, from the establishment of Rome to the start of the Second Crusade. As an early example of popular history, it was written for a non-monastic audience who would have preferred to read, or may only have been able to read, in German. As a rhymed chronicle, its combined use of the styles of language found within a vernacular epic and a factual treaty was a German innovation.
The Book of Emperors is the first complete translation of the Kaiserchronik from Middle High German to English. It is a rich resource not only for medieval German scholars and students, but also for those working in early cultural studies. It brings together an understanding of the conception of kingship in the German Middle Ages, from the relationship between emperor and king, to the moral, theological, and legal foundations of claims and legitimacy and the medieval epistemological approaches to historiography.
This translation includes a substantial introduction that discusses the historical and philological context of the work, as well as the themes of power and kingship. Each chapter begins with a brief introduction that distinguishes historical truths from the epic fiction found within the original text.
Henry A. Myers is Professor Emeritus of History at James Madison University.
To order this title or to learn more about this book or any WVU Press title, visit www.wvupress.com or phone (800) 621-2736.
Book of Emperors by Henry A. Myers
May 2013 / 416pp
PB 978-1-935978-70-1: $44.99
West Virginia University Press is pleased to announce the publication of Hillside Fields: A History of Sports in West Virginia by Bob Barnett.
West Virginia’s championship teams at West Virginia University and Marshall and athletic superstars like Jerry West and Mary Lou Retton are familiar to all, but few know the full, untold story of sports in the Mountain State. Hillside Fields: A History of Sports in West Virginia chronicles the famous athletic triumphs and heart-breaking losses of local heroes and legendary teams, recording the titanic struggles of a small state competing alongside larger rivals.
Hillside Fields provides a broad view of the development of sports in West Virginia, from one of the first golf clubs in America at Oakhurst Links to the Greenbrier Classic; from the first girls basketball championship in 1919 to post Title IX; from racially segregated sports to integrated teams; and from the days when West Virginia Wesleyan and Davis & Elkins beat the big boys in football to the championship teams at WVU, Marshall, West Virginia State and West Liberty. Hillside Fields explains how major national trends and events, as well as West Virginia’s economic, political, and demographic conditions, influenced the development of sports in the state. The story of the growth of sports in West Virginia is also a story of the tribulations, hopes, values and triumphs of a proud people.
Bob Barnett taught sport history at Marshall University in West Virginia for 35 years. He has published over 300 articles in publications such as Saturday Evening Post, American National Biography, the Washington Post, Sports Heritage, and the Dallas Cowboy News, has been a section editor for the Journal of Sport History and the Encyclopedia of Appalachia, and has written two documentaries for West Virginia Public Television. Barnett is the author of Growing Up in the Last Small Town: A West Virginia Memoir.
To order this title or to learn more about this book or any WVU Press title, visit www.wvupress.com or phone (800) 621-2736.
Hillside Fields: A History of Sports in West Virginia by Bob Barnett
May 2013: 352pp
PB 978-1-935978-67-1 :$22.99
ePub 978-1-935978-69-5: $22.99
The Andromeda and Triangulum galaxies, neighbors to the Milky Way, are constructed of an immense number of stars. But a new study, led by a West Virginia University graduate student, has revealed a never-before-seen cluster of gas clouds between the galaxies that could potentially fuel the formation of more stars.
The study is in this week’s issue of Nature, a weekly journal that highlights original and groundbreaking research in science.
Lead author Spencer Wolfe, a graduate student in the WVU Department of Physics, and assistant physics professor Daniel (D.J.) Pisano worked with researchers from Case Western Reserve University, the University of Maryland and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
The astronomers detected the clouds using the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, W.Va.
Although previous observations of the Local Group, a galaxy group that includes the Milky Way, have indicated the possible presence of diffuse hydrogen gas between its members, this is the first time there has been such a detailed view.
“The question we’re trying to answer is in what way is the Local Group and its members evolving,” Wolfe said. “A lot of people tend to forget that when they see pictures of the Milky Way that we’re embedded in it. If it’s evolving, we’re going to evolve with it so understanding the details of how galaxies like the Milky Way can acquire new gas and keep forming stars is important.”
Observations completed by the group have shown that portions of the gas are clumped together mimicking dwarf galaxies. Dwarf galaxies, are relatively small collections of stars bound together by gravity. They can contain anywhere from a few thousand to a few million stars. The telescope also was able to track the motion of these newly discovered clouds.
“The study would not be possible without the unique capabilities of the Green Bank Telescope,” Pisano said. “Its combination of sensitivity, resolution and its unique optical design were all critical for this study. There are no other telescopes currently operating or planned that will be as capable of doing this type of work as the GBT.”
Through their observations, the astronomers suggested the clouds represent a previously unrecognized source of hydrogen gas that could lead to future generations of star formation.
“It is a remarkable thing that there are still new things to discover in the back yard of our own galactic neighborhood,” said Stacy McGaugh, a professor of astronomy at Case Western Reserve University and co-author of the study.
“I’m fond of saying it is a big universe with lots left to discover; apparently that’s still true of our own ‘little’ corner of the universe.”
Read the full study in Nature: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12082.
For more information, contact D.J. Pisano, at 304-293-4886 or email@example.com
West Virginia University Figure Skating Club President Angela Kreger and two club members, Shaun Adams and Gina Geils, coached junior members of the Mason-Dixon Figure Skating Club to an impressive eight-medal showing at the 30th Annual Mt. Lebanon Invitational May 4-5 in Pittsburgh.
Kreger’s student Terezia Galikova, from Morgantown High School, won the Pre-Preliminary A Free Skate, Adams’ student Kelcie Britton, from Mountaineer Middle School, triumphed in the Artistic-Preliminary, and Geils’ student Heather Carpenter earned gold in the Artistic-Beginner.
In addition, Kreger’s student Rebecca Brazaitis, a first-time competitor from North Elementary, earned silver in Free Skate-No Test A and in Beginner Jumps and her student Grace McCusker, likewise a first-time competitive skater, from Mountainview Elementary, finished third in the Free Skate-No Test A competition. Carpenter also won silver in Jumps Pre-Preliminary and bronze in Spins Pre-Preliminary and Britton won silver in Compulsory Moves-Preliminary A.
Kreger, a master’s student in WVU’s nursing program, noted that because the Morgantown Ice Arena is closed for the season (it will reopen in August), the skaters coached by WVU Figure Skating Club members have been carpooling to practice at rinks in Pittsburgh.
“This is a talented and dedicated group,” Kreger said.
“The girls worked so hard and blew their coaches’ minds at competition,” said Adams, a student at Fairmont State University. “Every single skater medaled and had the opportunity to stand proudly on the podium.”
The Mason-Dixon Figure Skating Club is based at the Morgantown Ice Arena and includes students from WVU as well as students in Monongalia and Preston County schools. At the Mt. Lebanon Invitational, its skaters competed against skaters from the Beaver County (Penn.) Figure Skating Club, the Blade Runners of Bethel Park (Penn.), the Johnstown (Penn.) Figure Skating Club, the Pittsburgh Figure Skating Club, the Skating Club of Mount Lebanon (Penn.), the Winterhurst (Ohio) Figure Skating Club, and the Youngstown (Ohio) Phantoms Figure Skating Club.
“The WVU Figure Skating Club led the only contingent from West Virginia to the Mt. Lebanon Invitational,” said Mark Brazaitis, a WVU professor of English and advisor to the club. “The fact that skaters coached by WVU club members won eight medals is a testament to the incredible job Angela, Shaun, and Gina do.”
For more information contact, contact Mark Brazaitis, at 304-293-9707 or Mark.Brazaitis@mail.wvu.edu
Check http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/ daily for the latest news from the University. Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.