From Senegal to the Smithsonian
A spear-shaped hunting tool used by savanna chimpanzees in Senegal and provided by Jill Pruetz, associate professor of anthropology, is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of History in Washington, D.C. The spear is displayed with two other original tools made by chimpanzees: a stone anvil and hammerstone with oil palm nuts, and an ant-dipping utensil. Pruetz’s discovered that the chimps at her Senegal site are the first non-humans to routinely use primitive spear-shaped tools to hunt other vertebrates.
Nettleton blazed the statistical genomics trail to make sense of all that data
Dan Nettleton is a statistical genomicist. The Laurence H. Baker Chair in Biological Statistics collaborates with Iowa State plant and animal scientists and graduate students to design experiments and statistically analyze the results. His work is in demand. Advances in DNA microarray and DNA sequencing technologies revolutionized how scientists study a complex process called gene expression. The new technologies kick out so much genetic information that statistical analysis is needed to make sense of what’s important and what’s not. In comes Nettleton. He blazed the statistical genomics trail, applying existing statistics principles to the biological sciences, and sometimes creating new methods. He helped bring statistical analysis to biology as one of the first people to work with life scientists.
New polymer structures for use as ‘plastic electronics’
Chemist Malika Jeffries-EL says she’s studying doing structure-property studies so she can teach old polymers new tricks. Those tricks improve the properties of certain organic polymers that mimic the properties of traditional inorganic semiconductors and could make the polymers very useful in organic solar cells, light-emitting diodes and thin-film transistors. Jeffries-EL is working with a post-doctoral researcher and nine doctoral students to move the field forward by studying the relationship between polymer structures and the electronic, physical and optical properties of the materials. (Photo by Bob Elbert)
Opera great, ISU faculty member Simon Estes helps Iowa students
Simon Estes has come back to his roots. The renowned opera singer and Iowa native has been awarding scholarships to deserving high school seniors, a result of his 99-county Iowa Roots & Wings concerts. Estes, adjunct professor of music at Iowa State and F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Artist in Residence, sings at the concerts and features a local school choir. ISU students also regularly perform with him. Estes was born and raised in Centerville, Iowa. His family was economically poor, but rich in love and faith, he said. “I always thought that if I was blessed, I’d help other young people so they wouldn’t have to struggle as I did financially,” he added.
Sanchez to text next-generation neutrino detector
Physicist Mayly Sanchez is working to develop the next generation of detectors to pick up the trail of neutrinos, subatomic particles that are among the most abundant in the universe. She’s part of a large research team making plans to shoot the world’s most intense beam of neutrinos from Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, underground through Iowa, all the way to a former gold mine in South Dakota. Her aim is to see how the neutrinos change over the 800-mile distance. She hopes to help determine the role neutrinos played in the evolution of the universe.