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Natural Sciences & Mathematics

News & Events

News Archive


Dr. Jennifer Hoffman, Physics and Astronomy, was invited to present at the University of Wisconsin Space Place about Supernova explosions

Dr. Hoffman gave an interesting talk about supernova explosions for the Space Place program at University of Wisconsin. Check it out, "SUPERNOVA EXPLOSIONS ARE WEIRDER THAN YOU THINK".

Emma Biesiada, Junior, Biochemistry major, received prestigious fellowship from the Environmental Protection Agency

Ms. Biesiada will be working with Dr. Alex Huffman, see more.

Physic alumna, Debra Callahan (BS 1985) was elected 2014 Fellow of the American Physical Society on Plasma Physics

Debbie Callahan is a group leader for Inertial Confinement Fusion Target Design at Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL).  She was elected fellow for her innovative design and modeling of hohlraums for Inertial Confinement Fusion and leadership in the execution of hohlraum experiments on the National Ignition Facility.
Among other awards that she has received is the 2012 John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research. If you want to know more about Debbie click here.

2014 NSM Faculty & Staff Awards were announced on December 10th. Congratulations!
  • Excellence in Research Faculty Award: Martin Margittai, Chemistry & Biochemistry
  • Excellence in Teaching Faculty Award: Steve Iona, Physics and Astronomy
  • Outstanding Faculty Service Award: Mark Siemens, Physics and Astronomy
  • Outstanding Junior Faculty Award: Jing Li, Geography & the Environment
  • Outstanding Staff Service Award: Liane Beights, Mathematics
Professor Emeritus Aharon Goldman, Physics & Astronomy, makes Thomson Reuters' "The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2014" list.

NSM’s Physics & Astronomy Professor Emeritus Aharon Goldman is recognized in the Reuters’ Thomson Reuters’ “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2014” list, which is populated by scientists from top research institutions worldwide, including many Nobel Prize laureates.

Dr. Davor Balzar, Physics and Astronomy, was invited to join the Colorado-Japan working group to bring carbon ion cancer radiotherapy to Colorado.
Professor Jac Nickoloff leads the working group; Dr. Nickoloff is the head of the Colorado State University’s Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences. This group includes researchers from the CU Health Sciences Center, Colorado School of Mines, and Japan National Institute of Radiological Sciences.

This kind of treatment offers fewer side effects and less damage to healthy tissues and organs than traditional radiation therapy. This makes it particularly suitable for treating areas in brain, neck, and pancreas.

You can find this story at Colorado Public Radio.

2014 STEMosphere hosted again at DU. Thanks to our wonderful faculty, graduate and undergraduate students who made kids and adults wonder.
STEMosphere is an event designed to spark interest in STEM and is open to the public.  Visitors include teachers, students, parents, and grandparents. The University of Denver, Natural Sciences & Mathematics has participated since its beginning. Click here for an insight of the day's happenings. Special thanks to NSM faculty and graduate students for participating in this event and inspire future scientists and mathematicians.
2014/15 NSM Dean's Doctoral Fellows


  • Andrew Fullard, Physics & Astronomy
  • Bulat Khaliullin, Chemistry & Biochemistry
  • Hui Miao, Biological Sciences

The Dean's Fellowship was established in 2010 and has been funding doctoral students from all of our disciplines, domestic and international. The students are nominated by their departments. This fellowship funds students for one year. 

  • 2013/14 Recipients: Dmitry Kuznetsov, Chemistry & Biochemistry; Yi Xie, Biological Sciences
  • AY12-13: Jixiao Li, Jiangye Miao, Chemistry & Biochemistry; Manisha Shrestha, Physics
  • AY11-12: Sarah McCall, Geography & the Environment; Jared Burde, Timothy Vanderleest, Physics & Astronomy
  • AY10-11: Amir Siraj, Geography & the Environment; Gabriel Enrique Girón, Mathematics; Zhelin Yu, Chemistry & Biochemistry;
Environmental Science Undergraduate Student, Jill Hamilton traveled to Nevis with her University's Partners in Scholarship research grant.

She did research dives into the reef, conducting interviews with fishermen and government officials to find solutions to create more sustainable fishing habits on the island.  The main focus of her study was the negative effects of overfishing on the reefs and fish populations. Read more about her research here.

Biology Graduate Student, Gregory Sproull has received a Fulbright research grant to study in Poland.

His research project will track historical patterns of the effects of bark beetles on Norway spruce trees in hopes of determining the key environmental cues affecting vulnerability to attack. Here is a link to the full article.

Congratulations to Allegra Reiber, Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics. She has received the 2014 DU Faculty Pioneer Award.

Chosen for her exemplary dedication and contributions to, and on behalf of, the University. Recipients of the faculty Pioneer Award exemplify dedication to the University above and beyond expectations.

Senior Biology student, Ryan Holly has been awarded the 2014 DU Student Pioneer Award. Congratulations!

To receive this award a student must exemplify outstanding integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

1864 DU Service Challenge - Approx 100 DU students from Conservation Biology classes giving back to the community

The Greenway Foundation, Denver Parks + Recreation, and the City and County of Denver hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking in conjunction with Spring RiverSweep as part of the improvement projects to be completed in and along the South Platte River over the next two years.  Students volunteer helping with numerous projects including trash removal, crusher-fine based trail construction, painting, graffiti removal, tree protection, willow harvesting or relocation and more.
See pictures here.

Women in STEM event brought a panel of STEM Women Professionals to share their journey to success

The Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science (RSECS) and the Division of Natural Sciences & Mathematics organized this first event series.  This event featured a panel of community STEM professionals:

  • Carol Sturman, Founder and President, Sturman Industries
  • Susan Sharp, Environmental Control & Life Support; Senior Staff Systems, Certified Principle Engineer; Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle Program, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company
  • Elizabeth Suarez, Director of HERS Denver Summer Institute, Colorado Women's College
  • Mair Churchill, Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology and Director, Program in Structural Biology and Biochemistry, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Jacqueline Smith, double major in Geography and Biology, is featured in DU Magazine

"I realized I wanted to work with population health, which is public health. I would rather focus on the needs of populations than the needs of individuals," she says. In summer 2013, Jacqueline Smith journeyed to Dehradun, India, to work at Bella Health, a nongovernmental organization that empowers women to make informed family-planning and reproductive health choices. Read her story here.

Amir Siraj, PhD candidate, Department of Geography & the Environment, has published an article in Science Magazine

"Altitudinal changes in malaria incidence in highlands of Ethiopia and Colombia." Authors: Siraj. A.S. , Santos-Vega. M, Bouma. M. J, Yadeta D., Ruiz Carrascal D., Pascual. M.  The study, based on an analysis of records from highland regions of Ethiopia and Colombia, suggests that future climate warming will result in a significant increase in malaria cases in densely populated regions of Africa and South America, unless disease monitoring and control efforts are boosted and sustained. Science, March 7, 2014 (Vol. 343 no. 6175 pp. 1154-1158). Read full text here.

Dr. Dinah Loerke, Physics and Astronomy, received the 2014 Cottrell Scholar Award

This award is presented to early career faculty who are committed to excel at both research and teaching. Research Corporation for Science Advancement, Interim President Jack Pladziewicz, notes, "It may well be that not all research faculty can do this simultaneously and early in their careers, but the very best can."

Dr. Michael Daniels, Geography and the Environment, has received the Fulbright Scholar Award for his research in the Czech Republic

Mike has just received a research scholarship to study in the Czech Republic next year as part of his planned sabbatical. Mike will be conducting his research while based at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague on the topic of "Soils, sediments, and the legacy of medieval agriculture in Czech pluzina landscapes."

Dr. Scott Nichols, Biological Sciences, is one of the featured researchers in "DNA to DIVERSITY" exhibit at University of Colorado-Museum of Natural History
This new exhibit in the McKenna Gallery will explore the emerging science of "Evo Devo" - short for Evolutionary Developmental Biology, which has revolutionized scientists' understanding of the mechanics of evolution.  Exhibit opened on February 20th.  Dr. Nichols' molecular biology research using sponges to understand the evolution from single-celled to multicellular organisms is part of this exhibit.
Drug Policy as Conservation Policy: Narco-Deforestation - Drug Trafficking is taking a toll on Central America's biodiverse forests.

A new article published in the journal Science, co-authored by a United Nations University researcher, provides compelling evidence that flows of drugs through the Americas are directly related to deforestation rates in North America's most biodiverse and biosensitive region. The article, "Drug Policy as Conservation Policy: Narco-Deforestation" is the result of collaboration between researchers at the UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and four US universities: Ohio State University, Northern Arizona University, University of Denver and University of Idaho.

The article spotlights forest loss in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC), a cross-border initiative established in 1998 to link ecosystems and bio-conservation efforts in Mexico and Central America while promoting sustainable social and economic development. But the stakeholders and policy mechanisms that support these efforts are increasingly in conflict with drug trafficking organizations.

Remote forests, such as those of the MBC, are prized conservation areas — but they are also the golden spike in the drug trade, providing ideal transit hub locations for clandestine airplane landing strips and hidden roads. The researchers note that "by infusing already weakly governed frontiers with unprecedented amounts of cash and weapons", drug trafficking is able to "narco-capitalize" other resident stakeholders in these remote forests, such as ranchers and oil palm growers.

The result is a "militarization" of forests where drug profits can be laundered through land purchases and agricultural conversion of protected forest areas. Much of the social burden from this corruption and violence falls on indigenous groups and smallholder farmers. 

The article is available on the Science website here.



  • Spring 2015 classes start March 23, 2015
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