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College of Science Video Highlights

A collection of videos that highlight some of the amazing research that is taking place in the USU College of Science.

USU Geologist Gets to the Bottom of the Cambrian Explosion, Trilobite Evolution in Grand Canyon

Sedimentary rock layers at the bottom of Grand Canyon have long entombed a geologic record of a period of evolutionary frenzy some 540 million years ago known as the “Cambrian Explosion.” During this biologic shift, which marks the beginning of the Cambrian Period, a burst of new animal life emerged, or at least ‘visible life’ emerged, including trilobites and other animals that made a hard skeleton.

Fossil Finding: USU Faculty Uncover New Genus and Species

USU Uintah Basin faculty members Benjamin Burger, associate professor of geology, and Lea Ann Jolley, instructor of biology, discover a pig-like animal that lived 47 million years ago.

True Colors: USU Biologists Explore Evolution of White Coloration of Velvet Ants

Driving across the arid American Southwest, one views miles upon miles of scrubby creosote bushes. Well-adapted to the hot, thirsty landscape, the evergreen shrub, also known as greasewood, chaparral and gobernadora, produces tufts of fluffy, white fruit capsules. Living among the plants are similarly fluffy white insects, difficult to distinguish from the fruit, that are, in fact, a species of wasps known as Thistle-down velvet ants.

Researchers Discover First Known Oral Venom Glands in Amphibians

Utah State University biologist Edmund ‘Butch’ Brodie, Jr. and colleagues from São Paulo’s Butantan Institute report the first known evidence of oral venom glands in amphibians. Their research, supported by the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, appears in the July 3, 2020, issue of iScience.

Dr. Willy Lensch - 2017 Snack Chat Presentation

Harvard Medical School Chief of Staff, Dr. Willy Lensch, addresses students regarding his research, his career's meandering path, and the "Things He Knows". Recorded in September 2017 for the College of Science's first Snack Chat in ESLC 130, Dr. Lensch talks about his past, his adventures as a first-generation college student, and the life lessons he picked up along his way to Cambridge, MA.

Professor Lisa Berreau - 2019 Researcher of the Year Highlight

Dr. Lisa Berreau's research uses small molecule chemistry and designer molecules to address important challenges in biomedicine and advance mechanistic understanding of chemical reactions involving oxygen. Besides her extraordinary success in funding her research she has also received awards from the National Science Foundation to bring major kinds of instrumentation to Utah State University.

Professor Alexis Ault - 2018 Researcher of the Year Highlight

Alexis Ault's research focuses on theromochronology, which is defining the time-temperature histories of minerals. Her research on this front is revolutionizing the kinds of questions that geoscientists can answer. She has received a National Science Foundation CAREER award to develop thermochronologic and textural tools to identify past earthquakes, and another award to support a program she developed to engage middle school students in earthquake research. Her department head, Joel Pederson, referred to Alexis as the “fiery gravitational center” for geology in driving forward the new research emanating from the department.

Professor Zachariah Gompert - 2017 Researcher of the Year Highlight

Zach Gompert's work with butterflies highlights the messy field of study that is evolutionary biology. Working on models of lineage that demonstrate hybridization across generations, Dr. Gompert hopes to show people that biodiversity is a complex term that can benefit from hybridization.. 

David Farrelly - 2016 Researcher of the Year Highlight

David Farrelly is a theoretical and computational chemist who arrived at Utah State University in 1991. He works in the general area of chemical dynamics and his interests are in developing new classical and quantum mechanical techniques to explain the properties of matter under extreme conditions. Most recently his work relates to the behavior of molecules and molecular clusters trapped in very small droplets of superfluid helium at temperatures within less that a degree of absolute zero. 

JR Dennison - 2015 Researcher of the Year Highlight

Professor JR Dennison describes some of the work he is engaged in while working with NASA to build a replacement for the HUBBLE space telescope. He's focused on understanding why and when particles discharge in space, and how that affects other particles on a larger scale.

Professor Michelle Baker - 2014 Researcher of the Year

Michelle Baker (Biology) was honored as one of Utah State University's 2014 Researchers of the Year. Her research focuses on the chemistry of water in rivers and watersheds in Utah. In this video she explains current concerns and considerations that her team is working to more fully understand, and what "healthy water" is.

Professor Nathan Geer - 2013 Researcher of the Year

Nathan Geer (Mathematics and Statistics) talks about what it's like to research in his field, and highlights some of the joys he finds in his work.

Alexis Ault - Sunrise Session November 2019

Dr. Alexis Ault of Utah State University's Department of Geosciences discusses the Wasatch fault and how it informs geologists and seismologists about earthquakes.

Joe Wilson - Sunrise Session July 2019

While Utah is known as the Beehive State, most people don’t realize that over 1100 different kinds of bees can be found in Utah. This means that Utah is home to over 1/4 of all the bee species known from the US and Canada. In his talk, Dr. Joseph Wilson will introduce many of these bees that call Utah home and discuss the role they play in both agricultural and natural landscapes. As a hotspot of bee biodiversity, Utah, with its numerous national parks, national monuments, wilderness areas and other protected lands can provide refuge for bees and other pollinators. Dr. Wilson will describe the bee community known from the original GSENM and explore how the changes to the monument might affect the bee community found therein.

Lisa Berreau - Sunrise Session February 2018

Dr. Lisa Berreau discussed her research into the possible therapeutic effects of Carbon Monoxide and CO-releasing molecules (CORMs).

Professor Alvan Hengge -  D. Wynne Thorne Lecture - 2016

Dr. Alvan Hengge highlights some of the research he's done over his academic career with phosphate chemistry. In this humorous lecture, Hengge discusses the implications of his work on human biology, and his long-term relationship with a protien called PTP. 

Professor Alan Hengge - D. Wynne Thorne Highlight - 2015

Alvan Hengge (Chemistry and Biochemistry) has been named the recipient of Utah State University's 2015 D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award. An avid supporter of undergraduate research involvement at USU, he didn't begin his own career in research until he entered his PhD program at the University of Cincinnati. He and his lab are currently looking at the chemical details by which chemical reactions take place.

Professor Jim Evans - 2014 D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Awardee

Jim Evans (Geology) has been named the recipient of Utah State University's 2014 D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award. Named after USU's first vice president for research, the D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award is given to an individual on the USU campus who has completed outstanding research in his or her career. The award is given annually to one outstanding university researcher who is recommended by a committee of peers, all previous award recipients. Nominees are evaluated for the significance and quality of their research and creative achievement and recognition by national and international experts.

Professor Lance C. Seefeldt - D. Wynne Thorne Lecture - 2013

Lance Seefeldt, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Utah State University, is the recipient of the 2012 D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award, USU's highest research honor. Dr. Seefeldt presented the annual D. Wynne Thorne Lecture during USU's Research Week 2013.

Professor Lance Seefeldt -  2019 Graduate Mentor of the Year

Dr. Seefeldt began his career at Utah State University in 1993 and became a full professor in 2002. While at USU, Lance has received continuous federal funding including NSF and NASA awards, to help support his research and his graduate students. 

Professor Alexander Boldyrev - 2017 Graduate Mentor of the Year

Alexander Boldyrev (Chemistry and Biochemistry) was named the recipient of Utah State University's 2017 Graduate Mentor of the Year Award. Dr. Boldyrev talks about catalysis, analytical chemistry, and how he guides his graduate students while allowing them as much investigative freedom as they need to succeed.

Professor Jim MacMahon - 2015 Graduate Mentor of the Year

Jim MacMahon (Biology) has been named the recipient of Utah State University's 2015 Graduate Mentor of the Year Award. Dr. MacMahon talks about graduate research, and how he believes faculty members are collaborators as much as they are teachers at USU.

Amy Moser - TEDx 2016 Presentation

Every rock has a story – a unique history that brought it from the depths of the Earth to the surface. Putting these pieces together is critical for understanding everything from earthquakes, to mountain ranges, and geologic time. That, is where I come in. As a geologist, it’s my job to understand how these rocks came to be exactly where they were sitting when I found them. And it turns out, these stories are important for more than just science.

Joseph Wilson - TEDx 2016 Presentation

There is a growing movement around the world to “save the bees.” Unfortunately, misunderstandings about what a bee is and what a bee’s needs are can lead to misguided efforts to save them. Much of the movement has focused on honey bees or bumble bees but has ignored the other 95% of bee species, many of which are important pollinators in our wild lands and in agricultural settings. In order to truly save the bees, we first need to understand them.

Professor David Brown - TEDx 2014 Presentation

In his talk, David Brown will introduce you to a friend of his, a regal and inspiring being whose tutelage has given him more chances to improve than all the self-help books in any bookstore—math. Math is misunderstood, and the root of this misunderstanding is unfortunately as deep as a dandelion’s and its effects are as insidious as racism or ignorance when they are given the power to adjudicate or direct policy. Dave will deliver a message that, if heeded, will change the shape of things to come in every facet of human life from culture to education.

Tatiana Soboleva - Ignite USU Presentation

Widely known as a toxic gas, carbon monoxide (CO) has been found to exhibit beneficial health effects such as acting as an anti-inflammatory and vasodilation agent. Two methods are currently used to deliver CO gas for cellular and animal studies including inhalation and administration of CO-releasing molecules (CORMs). While inhalation of CO gas can lead to hospitalization and presents risk to induce high levels of carboxyhemoglobin, the development of CORMs has become the preferred alternative. Although, metal carbonyls are by far most applied CO donors in biological studies, they exhibit spontaneous reactivity, variable cellular uptake and limited chemical amenability. To address the current limitations and needs of the CORM field in detailed biological studies so needed for the development of future therapeutics, this research focuses on the design and characterization of organic (flavonol-based) and highly controlled smart molecules that release CO gas in cells on demand.

Cam DeBruler - Ignite USU Presentation

Cam's research focuses on harnessing renewable energy in a the flow battery, which show promise in meeting the requirements of scalability, price, and safety for a large scale implementation. Engineering a powerful, safe and inexpensive flow battery is the next step in renewable, environmentally conscious electricity.

Amy Moser - Ignite USU Presentation

"My research as a Utah State graduate student stems from an experience-fostered passion for geology. From fossilized sand dunes to tectonic plate boundaries, the rocks and other geologic phenomena I witness and research are so incredibly exciting to me. My graduate research on the San Andreas Fault has allowed me to turn my passion into profession, not only getting to do what I love every single day but also having opportunities to share my work with others. This is the story of how I became so excited about rocks, and why I am so passionate about helping others understand just how cool rocks are." - Amy Moser

Jonathon Koch - Ignite USU Presentation

"I think graduate school is a time to learn how to communicate our craft of choice to a broader audience, not just to academics. For the past 6+ years I have been involved with USU Insect Tours, an insect science education program geared towards preK-6 students in Northern Utah. Through USU Insects Tours I had the opportunity to advocate for bees and other insects to Utah’s young aspiring entomologists through hands on investigations. It is my hope that by getting up close and personal to our six-legged pollinator champions, these young investigators will make decisions in the future that positively impact pollinators, and ultimately the biodiversity of our planet." - Jonathon Koch