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Diego Pons (Geography & the Environment) uses tree rings to successfully reconstruct Guatemala's climate (4/13/17)

Pons' research ties together climate change, coffee production and community engagement in Guatemala, a country heavily dependent on subsistence agriculture and highly vulnerable to climate change. Read more: Using Tree Rings to Reconstruct Guatemala's Climate (DU Newsroom)

Alvaro Arias (Math) partners with alum to teach schoolchildren math basics (4/3/17)

Arias and DU alum Aditya Nagrath (BS ’01, PhD ’08) have teamed up to develop an online math game for children. Read more: DU Professor, Alum Partner to Teach Kids Math (DU Newsroom)

Bob Dores (Biological Sciences) and student researchers look at hormones and stress response (3/22/17)

What can sharks and rays teach us about human hormones and stress response? Quite a lot, it turns out. Read more: Evolution and endocrinology (DU Newsroom)

Department of Geography & the Environment to host Colorado Geographic Bee (3/16/17)

On March 31, 100 of Colorado's top geography students in grades four through eight will gather in Sturm Hall to test their knowledge. Read more: Colorado Geographic Bee Comes to DU (DU Newsroom)

Boulder Daily Camera features editorial by Paul Sutton (Geography & the Environment) on higher ed privatization (3/4/17)

Sutton warns of the dangers of privatization within our public university system. Read more: Paul C. Sutton: The road to idiocracy (Boulder Daily Camera)

Robin Tinghitella (Biological Sciences) studies interplay of mate choice and evolution (3/1/17)

For Tinghitella, the fact that animal mate choice is inherently interesting makes it the perfect hook for introducing students and the public to the complexities of evolutionary biology. More: The Personal Lives of Crickets (DU Newsroom)

Dan Linseman (Biological Sciences) highlighted for his collaboration with students in researching ALS and Alzheimer’s (2/13/17)

Led by Linseman, a team of undergraduate and graduate researchers is trying to determine how nutraceuticals — food components used for medicinal purposes — might protect the neurons in the brain that underlie neurodegenerative diseases. More: DU Undergrads Tackle Real-World Problems (DU Newsroom)

Student art on display at Boettcher West (2/7/17)

Senior Anna Walsh, who participated in the winter interterm travel course Geographies of South Africa, remade the South African Rand to capture her impressions of the country for her final project. More: Remaking the Rand: Student's art from South African interterm trip on display at Boettcher West (DU Newsroom)

Second Annual NSM Chili Cook-Off Winners! (1/27/17)

Congrats to all winners at the Second Annual NSM Chili Cook-Off! After thorough taste-testing and deliberation by participants, this year’s champions are as follows:

Vegetarian Mild – Jennifer Mitchell (Biological Sciences)
Vegetarian Spicy – Nancy Sasaki (Dean’s Office)
Meaty Mild – Karen Escobar (Dean’s Office)
Meaty Spicy – Keith Miller (Chemistry & Biochemistry)

Thanks to all chefs and tasters for participating!

Scott Barbee (Biological Sciences) presents at Brain Rounds lecture (1/27/17)

On January 27, Scott Barbee (Biological Sciences) explained why we use fruit flies to study genetic disorders in people at the "Brain Rounds" monthly lecture in translational science sponsored by DU's Center for Professional Development. More about Brain Rounds.

Dave Patterson (Biological Sciences) named Fellow of AAAS (12/13/16)

Dave Patterson, whose research has contributed to our understanding of Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and more, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. More: DU Professor Receives Prestigious Award (DU Newsroom)

2016 NSM Annual Awards Ceremony (12/2/16)

Congrats to Natasha Dobrinen, Eric Boschmann, Nic Ormes, Mei Yin, and Randi Flageolle! NSM faculty and staff gathered at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality on December 1 to recognize another year of outstanding accomplishments, while enjoying great food and a live jazz band. Read summaries from the winners' nominations below.

Research Award - Natasha Dobrinen (Mathematics)

Natasha has had a remarkable research year. Her NSF grant was just renewed for another three years, and she spent much of the fall 2015 quarter as an invited fellow at the Isaac Newton Institute at the University of Cambridge. In 2016, she had four papers published, all in top journals. She has two more papers currently accepted, and has submitted another with her postdoc, Dan Hathaway. In addition, Natasha has given nine invited addresses at major conferences in her field over the course of the year. She also serves as a research mentor.

Teaching Award - Eric Boschmann (Geography & the Environment)

Eric devotes tremendous time and talent to being an excellent teacher. Last year he developed a new travel course on the urban geographies of New York City, added a separate graduate student meeting to his urban landscapes course, and created new lab exercises for several geography courses. He receives top scores on his course evaluations, earns repeated praise from students, and is actively involved in advising and mentoring. Students describe him as an effective communicator who is knowledgeable and passionate about the course material.

Faculty Service Award - Nic Ormes (Mathematics)

Nic continues to be a model of how to balance service at all levels, from the departmental to the public. He serves as faculty advisor for the Math Cub and the Mortar Board Society, as chair of the NSM Faculty Committee, and as the Math Department’s Undergraduate Coordinator. He belongs to the NSMentoring Program's advisory group and served on the Academic Diversity Council. Nic is also the local liaison for Math Counts, a middle school math competition hosted at DU. He volunteers at the Julia Robinson Math Festival and coaches the Math Team and Lego Robotics Team at Willow Creek Elementary.

Junior Faculty Award - Mei Yin (Mathematics)

Mei has had an excellent year. Her research continues to be supported by her NSF grant. She has published two papers in excellent journals, has three more accepted, and has one submitted. She gave seven invited presentations at various meetings and colloquia. She is co-PI on a major conference grant. Mei co-sponsors the DU chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics. She sits on the department’s Graduate Committee and Howe Lectureship committee, and serves as a mentor for the NSMentoring Program.

Staff Service Award - Randi Flageolle (Biological Sciences)

Randi is absolutely essential to the functioning of the Department of Biological Sciences. In addition to her many duties to keep one of the largest academic departments on campus operating, she is always willing to help any student, faculty or staff member who walks into the department. From organizing the holiday party and chili cook-off to the pie contest, Randi loves to bring together faculty and students at events where there is always laughter and sharing. Her understanding of how to wrestle information out of Banner as well as out of stubborn faculty is second to none! She is truly the glue which holds the department together.

Phil Danielson (Biological Sciences) on JonBenet Ramsey's DNA tests (11/1/16)

Danielson is one of three forensic experts who recently examined the results of Ramsey’s DNA tests, which are the focus of a new investigative report by Colorado media. More: DU Professor Studies JonBenet Ramsey's DNA Tests (DU Newsroom)

NSM community celebrates Bridge Community Garden (10/20/16)

Students, faculty and staff, and community members gathered in DU's Bridge Community Garden on October 17, a beautiful autumn day, to celebrate the garden's second season. More: Community Garden Harvest Party Marks a Bountiful Year (DU Newsroom)

VIDEO: Sandra Eaton and Gareth Eaton (Chemistry & Biochemistry) on making real-time measurements of oxygen in a living body (10/14/16)

A team of chemists is working to change the way that researchers measure oxygen in a living body. The resulting images of tissue physiology could provide valuable information about medical conditions. More: Real-time measurements of oxygen in a living body (DU Newsroom)

VIDEO: Dan Linseman (Biological Sciences) on traumatic brain injuries (10/13/16)

Linseman is collaborating with the Graduate School of Professional Psychology to study the impact of traumatic brain injuries on aging adults. More: Innovative approach to studying traumatic brain injuries (DU Newsroom)

VIDEO: Brian Michel (Chemistry & Biochemistry) on drug development for kidney disease (10/12/16)

Thanks to a pilot grant from DU's Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging, a collaborative team of researchers is working to improve current pharmaceutical treatments for chronic kidney disease. More: Drug development for chronic kidney disease (DU Newsroom)

Sandra Eaton and Gareth Eaton (Chemistry & Biochemistry) are collaborating with biotechnology company to develop commercial imager (9/27/16)

A decades-long project is bearing fruit as technology invented at DU is poised to enter the commercial market in 2017. The instrument has implications for medical research and much more. Read more: Making Innovation at DU Available to the World (DU Newsroom)

Natasha Dobrinen (Mathematics) wins an NSF grant for abstract theory research (9/916)

Natasha Dobrinen has been awarded a three-year NSF Research Grant for her study, "Ramsey Theory, Set Theory, and Tukey Order." The grant is Dobrinen's second on the subject, which develops the theory of structures at the interface of three fields of mathematics. Ramsey theory focuses on the conditions under which order must appear. Set theory deals with the formal properties of sets as units without regard to the nature of their individual constituents, serving as an axiomatic foundation for all of mathematics similarly to the way that geometry is developed from a collection of postulates. Tukey order is a means of comparing relative strengths of different structures. The project finds connections between and strengthens these areas of mathematics, leading to new theory and a better understanding of mathematical structures.

Dinah Loerke (Physics & Astronomy) takes a close look at cell mechanics in tiny ocean creatures (9/2/16)

Loerke and colleagues are studying epithelial tissues in sea squirts. Because these same tissues line the organs, cavities and blood vessels of human bodies, the research has implications for medical challenges such as cancer and wound healing. Read more: Sea Squirts: Weird, Wacky and Loved By Scientists (DU Newsroom)

Anna Sher (Biological Sciences) presents at TEDxMileHigh (8/3/16)

What can invasive plants can teach us about leadership? Anna Sher's TEDx talk has the answer.

Mark Siemens and Sam Alperin (Physics & Astronomy) take a close look at the optics of “twisted light” (8/3/16)

The faculty-student team aims to demonstrate simple and inexpensive ways to generate and measure twisted light. Read more: Physics With a Twist (DU Newsroom)

Taylor Firman (Physics & Astronomy) featured in Office of Graduate Studies profile (8/2/16)

Taylor Firman, who's earning a PhD in the Molecular & Cellular Biophysics Program, examines randomness in gene networks in order to shed light on previously unexplored areas of research in quantitative biology. Read more: Graduate Citings: Tales from the Field – Taylor Firman

DU partners with Sweden's University of Lund for biological sciences degree (7/26/16)

A new collaboration between DU and the University of Lund will allow biology students to spend their first three years at DU, followed by two years at LU. In the process, they'll earn a bachelor's degree from DU and master's from LU. Learn more: DU Partners With One of the World’s Oldest Universities (DU Newsroom)

NSM faculty host summer science camp for DPS middle school girls (7/20/16)

Sixteen middle school girls from Denver Public Schools are on campus catching insects, building circuits, writing computer code and making new friends. Read more: Science and Fun: DU hosts summer camp for middle school girls (DU Newsroom)

Whitley Lehto (Biological Sciences) wins NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant for epigenetics study on stickleback fish (7/14/16)

Lehto has been awarded an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, making her the first student in Biological Sciences to receive the award. She'll now be able to take her three-spined stickleback fish research to the next level. Read more: Like Father, Like Daughter: Doctoral researcher looks at stickleback fish epigenetics (DU Newsroom)

Bob Stencel (Physics & Astronomy) weighs in on Juno space probe (7/7/16)

"If it turns out Jupiter is denser than lead, that would be a surprise. If it turns out Jupiter is the consistency of a Hostess Twinkie cake, that would be a surprise.” Read more about Bob Stencel's take on the Juno space probe in NASA’s Juno Space Probe Makes It to Jupiter's Orbit (DU Newsroom)

Martin Margittai (Chemistry & Biochemistry) takes a close look at Alzheimer's disease (6/30/16)

Learn more about Martin Margittai's research on protein build-ups in the brain that are related to Alzheimer's disease: Fight Against Alzheimer’s Comes to a DU Lab (DU Newsroom)

New recruitment video highlights Environmental Science major (6/23/16)

Learn more about the Environmental Science major offered by the Department of Geography & the Environment in this new video from Undergraduate Admissions: Environmental Science at DU (YouTube)

NSM hosts the 2016 Front Range Cytoskeleton Meeting (6/7/16)

On June 7, more than 100 researchers from the Front Range and beyond gathered in Olin Hall for the 2016 Front Range Cytoskeleton Meeting, organized by Todd Blankenship in Biological Sciences. The event, which included a keynote address by Bruce Goode of Brandeis University, featured speakers and a poster session. The meeting covered the roles that actin and microtubule cytoskeletons play in cell physiology and human disease processes.

Schuyler van Engelenburg (Biological Sciences) awarded Boettcher Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Award (6/7/16)

Schuyler van Engelenburg has been awarded a $235,000 Boettcher Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Award. He is the first University of Denver researcher to receive this honor, which was granted to only 10 Colorado scientists this year. Read more in Biology professor named one of 10 Boettcher Investigators (DU Magazine).

Anna Sher (Biological Sciences) co-authors conservation biology textbook (6/1/16)

Anna Sher is co-author of the newly-released "An Introduction to Conservation Biology," first edition, published in April 2016 by Sinauer Associates Press. She joined Richard Primack in authoring this new textbook that combines the readability of Primack's "A Primer of Conservation Biology" with the depth and coverage of his larger textbook, "Essentials of Conservation Biology." The text, which will replace both of these best-selling series, is suited for a wide range of undergraduate courses, as both a primary text for conservation biology courses and as a supplement for ecological and environmental science courses. For the new book, Anna added hundreds of new examples, citations, and figures, balancing foundational literature with the most current scientific findings and technologies for data collection.

Keith Miller (Chemistry & Biochemistry) lends scientific expertise to analyzing Egyptian mummies (5/31/16)

Keith Miller is part of an interdisciplinary team collaborating with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to study 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummies. Read more: Secrets From The Tomb (DU Newsroom)

Congrats to all 2016 NSM Graduate Student Award Winners and Nominees (5/26/16)

NSM honored its 2016 Graduate Student Award Winners at the Annual Spring Picnic on May 25.

Excellence in Research Award Nominees: Nitika Dewan (Chemistry), Thomas French (Math), Lukas Sawle (Physics), Diego Pons (Geography), Whitley Lehto (Biology)

Winner: Diego Pons

Excellence in Teaching Award Nominees: Ginelle Rahman (Chemistry), Wesley Fussner (Math), Rachel Bennet (Physics), Joe Quintana (Geography), Emily Wilkinson (Biology)

Winner: Wesley Fussner

Excellence in Service Award Nominees: John Haynes (Chemistry), Drew Ash (Math), Tristan Wolfe (Physics), Grace Kellner (Geography), Elizabeth Barnes (Biology)

Winner: Elizabeth Barnes

2016 Pioneer Award Winners (5/20/16)

A number of NSM faculty and students were honored at the 2016 Pioneer Awards, held May 19 at the Cable Center.

William T. Driscoll Master Educator Award
Nancy Lorenzon

Faculty Advisor of the Year
Nancy Lorenzon

Inclusive Excellence – Respect for Difference Award
Ron Sidwell

American Chemical Society Outstanding Organic Chemist
Madison Schackmuth

James Balafas Award in Organic Chemistry
Colton Petty

Outstanding Freshman in General Chemistry
Sarah McDonald

Outstanding Senior Biochemistry Major Award
David Wideman

Outstanding Senior Chemistry Major
Florence Bachrach

Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry
Daniela Battaglioli

Eleanor L. Campbell Memorial Award in Mathematics
Madeline Doering

Herbert J. Greenberg Award in Mathematics
Zachary Adams

Outstanding Students in Mathematics Award
Aurora Simoneau
David Chan
Samantha Brooker
Kiet Lu

Outstanding Senior in Physics & Astronomy
Cameron Hickert
Brian Alpert
Sierra Ashley
Alisha Karatsoupa
Sam Kerber
Jack Maurer
Andrew Torres
Chris Racz

Thomas M. Stephen Memorial Award
Cameron Hickert

Outstanding Student Award
Cameron Hickert Faculty

Faculty Pioneer Award  
Ronnie Pavlov

Watch Andy Goetz (Geography) discuss what the new train to DIA means for Denver and DU (video)

Andy Goetz, co-author of the book "Denver International Airport: Lessons Learned," was featured in a video on the DU website explaining the significance of RTD's new train to DIA. Watch A Line & DU on YouTube.

Phil Danielson (Biological Sciences) presents on genome technology to Mile High Club of Denver

Phil Danielson delivered a talk, titled "Personalizing Medicine: What YOUR Genes Can Tell Your Doctor," to a meeting of the Mile High Club of Denver on May 16. Speaking before an audience of about 150 attendees, he presented advances in genome technology that are transforming medicine and enabling doctors to practice medicine in a manner that is customized and targeted to the unique genetics of each patient. Since its founding in 1902, the Mile High Club has brought together many of Colorado’s most accomplished individuals and thought leaders to help shape and contribute to a better society for Colorado.


Excellence in Research Faculty Award: Phil Danielson, Biological Sciences

Excellence in Teaching Faculty Award: Verl Mururgaverl, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Outstanding Faculty Service Award: Rebecca Powell, Geography & the Environment

Outstanding Junior Faculty Award: Mark Siemens, Physics & Astronomy

Outstanding Staff Service Award: Barbara Stephen


Excellence in Teaching Award: Stephen Moss, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Excellence in Research Award: Laurel Cepero, Biological Sciences

Excellence in Service Award: Mollie Doerner, Geography & the Environment


The Graduate Student Government selects two graduate students to receive the Distinguished Graduate Community Leader Award (DGCLA) each month. These students display exemplary leadership skills and are actively engaged with the community (whether here on campus or outside of DU). They demonstrate excellent work ethic as well as dedication to their research and role as a graduate student. Finally, they also exhibit good character, hard work and inclusivity. DGCLA winners are selected through a peer-nomination process. To nominate a colleague, email [email protected] with a 250-500 word statement describing why the nominee deserves to be an DGCLA winner. We will interview the winners and publish feature stories on the DU website and an email blast. We will also celebrate the award winners at different events throughout the school year.


The Dean's Office just wanted to thank those who helped make the Denver Public School science fair a success. There were over 380 posters and 1000 people who attended the science fair at Gates Fieldhouse. The families loved being on a college campus and said it made the event seem more official. We will be looking into hosting it again next year but wanted to thank those involved this year. Thank you to our Faculty: Jack Kinnamon, Barbekka Hurtt, Keith Miller, Nancy Sasaki, and Michelle Moran-Taylor. Thank you to our Graduate Students: Nathan Duval, Jennyfer Mitchell, Brent Horowitz, Emily Wilkinson, Whitley Lehto, Ginelle Rahman, Chris Aretz. Also a huge thanks to the Society of Physics Student and the Chemistry Student Organization for hosting tables with activities to keep the little ones engaged while waiting for results. These tables had more folks at them then they could handle and they did a fabulous job. Thank you all for giving your time and your expertise, you made a difference in a young scientist's world! See pictures


"This is going to revolutionize crime fighting": In his presentation about forensic science, biology professor Phil Danielson opened by talking about the cases of Timothy Masters and Clarence Moses-EL, two Colorado men released from prison after new forensic evidence showed they did not commit the crimes of which they were convicted. “Not only were their convictions based on incomplete or inaccurate science,” he said, “but the actual perpetrators remained free and continued to commit crimes.” Danielson talked about the difficulties forensic scientists face — specifically unreliable DNA results from bullet casings and potential false positives in body-fluid analysis — and the work that he and his students are doing to develop better crime-scene technology. A project funded by the U.S. Army, he said, will greatly improve the reliability of rape kits, and will extend the time necessary to collect fluid samples from two or three days to eight. Using human genome sequencing technology, Danielson said, he and his students also are adapting existing DNA sensor technology to create mobile crime scene analysis that by 2017 will allow investigators to obtain DNA results from 70 percent of bullet casings as opposed to nearly zero percent today. “This is going to revolutionize crime fighting,” he said. “If we had this technology years ago, there’s a good chance the jury could never have reached a conviction [in the Clarence Moses-EL trial].”


The award, notes Andrei Kutateladze, dean of DU’s Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, is one of the most prestigious “in the field of sustainability, clean air and climate change.” This award is named for Arie J. Haagen-Smit, a former biochemistry professor at the California Institute of Technology and the first chairman of the CARB. Known to many as the father of air pollution control, Haagen-Smit conducted research that demonstrated that California’s smog and ozone problems mostly resulted from previously unknown photochemistry. Learn more about Don Stedman's award and work.

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: "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.

Sustainability on the Front Range - Thursday, Nov 7, Ben Cherrington Cyber Cafe, 12-­2 p.m.

Join this series of cross-­‐curricular dialogues about sustainability-­‐focused research and teaching at University of Denver. This session will feature a panel with representatives from units across campus whose research and teaching ranges focuses on sustainability issues in the Front Range and across Colorado.  Click here for details.

Keeping it Real! Weather Balloon Launch Summer/Fall 2013

The Department of Geography and the Environment used Weather Balloon Data Collection Equipment to collect real data which is used as part of their weather lab.  Supported by NSM Technology Enhancement Grant. Watch video here.

Biology Major, Laleobe Olaka, is one of three 2013 Puksta Scholars at DU.  This program helps students interested in working for the public good. See her story here.
The Hubble Space Telescope' Allocation Committee approved Rachael Tomasino's research proposal in early June. Rachael is a PhD candidate in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and works with Dr. Toshiya Ueta

This is Rachael's first PI proposal "Co-latitudinal Radial Veloctiy Profile Confirmation Via Differential Proper Motion of the Bipolar", and was successful. Her preliminary research work has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal with Dr. Ueta and Dr. Ferguson as authors as well.

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a cooperative program of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to operate a space-based observatory for the benefit of the international astronomical community.

The Telescope Allocation Committee (TAC), organized by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), reviews and evaluates the submitted proposals for HST Observing, Archival & Theoretical Research. Participation in this program is open to all categories of organizations, both domestic and foreign, including educational institutions, profit and nonprofit organizations, NASA Centers, and other Government agencies.

Dr. Matthew Taylor, Geography, was awarded the 2013 William T. Driscoll Master Educator Award.

The William T. Driscoll Master Educator Award is given annually to a faculty or staff member for excellence in teaching and/or mentoring inside and/or outside of the classroom.

Dr. Steve Iona, Physics & Astronomy, was awarded the 2013 Faculty Pioneer Award

This award is given to an individual whose dedication to our University and its students is beyond measure.  The faculty is chosen for his exemplary dedication and contributions to, and on behalf of, the University.

Dr. Susan Sadler, Biological Sciences, was awarded the 2013 Outstanding Student Organization-Advisor Award

This award recognizes advisors who have made outstanding contribution to the organization they work with.

The Department of Geography & the Environment received the 2013 Community Engaged-Department of the Year award
The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning gives this award to a department that demonstrates outstanding commitment to the public good.
Welcome Dr. Eduardo Gonzalez, a new post-doc in Dr. Anna Sher's lab.  Drs. Gonzalez & Sher have received a Marie Curie fellowship, congratulations!

Dr. Gonzalez was awarded a Marie Curie fellowship (268,555 Euros =approx $350,000) with Dr. Sher to develop models to describe and predict patterns of riparian restoration success in the US and Europe.  Dr. Gonzalez received his PhD from the University of Alcala in Madrid in 2010 and has had post doctoral appointments in Toulouse and Quebec. He has 18 publications in peer-reviewed journals in the field of riparian ecology. 

STEMosphere was hosted at DU on May 4: Dr. Jane Goodall was the guest speaker followed by STEM creative and fun hands-on, minds-on activities! 

Experiences included soldering, making mini succulent planters out of bottle corks, watching robots made by kids battle each other (under water!), racing CO2-powered cars, learning about anatomy by layering clay to create realistic models, simultaneously deepening your knowledge of chemistry and tempting your tastebuds with Colorado culinary inventions – and so much more! The Division of Natural Sciences & Math participated and Drs. Keith Miller, Nancy Sasaki, Julie Morris, and Alvaro Arias had some fun demonstrations for the kids. More than 4,000 people stopped by the Magness Arena, Hamilton Gymnasium and all over the bridge.

NSM Newsletter Winter 2013

Keep up-to-date with what's going on in NSM.  Click here for a downloadable newsletter. 

Dr. Gordon Lithgow from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging visited DU

Dr. Lithgow's presentation was one of the lecture series organized by the Departments of Biological Sciences & Chemistry & Biochemistry. At the Buck Institute, world-class scientists work in a uniquely collaborative environment to understand how normal aging contributes to the development of conditions specifically associated with getting older such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, cancer, stroke, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Dr. Mark F. Bozeman (BS '77) was selected our 2013 Master Scholar

Dr. Bozeman met with Dr. Andrei Kutateladze, NSM Dean, Drs. Sandra & Gareth Eaton, Chancellor Emeritus Dwight Smith. 
Masters Program serves as a way to connect alumni directly with current DU students. Successful alumni professionals are nominated and selected by their divisions to be "master scholars." These alumni are then invited to participate in lectures or teach courses during a regular day in the academic schedule of their department. Through direct contact with faculty and student groups, alumni
share their expertise and insights on various career fields. The scholars also serve on one of two University-wide panels where they present information about their career paths to alumni and students from a variety of departments.  Masters Program allows students to learn about the different ways a University of Denver education can be applied in the years after college, and offers alumni an
opportunity for lifelong learning. 

Biology team works to help those with genetic diseases

Professor David Patterson, Director of the Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, and graduate student Nathan Duval are collaborating on a handful of projects that could improve what Duval calls "the health-span" in people contending with an array of genetic diseases and disorders. See full story here.

Dr. Anna Sher, Department of Biological Sciences, and spouse Fran Simon received the 2013 Queerific Activist Award

Dr. Anna Sher and Fran Simon received the Queerific Activist Award from the DU LGBTIQ & Ally communities in honor of their contributions to furthering Inclusive Excellence at and beyond the University of Denver.  This award recognizes leadership in raising awareness and making positive change at DU. Click here for pictures.

Dr. Matthew Taylor, Department of Geography, receives Public Good Award.

Dr. Taylor receives Public Good funds for his proposal "Creating a Public Web-Based Geographic Information System to Support Communal Decision Making along Nicaragua's Pacific Coast, in the amount of $9,000.

Professor Dan Linseman, Biological Sciences, continues research on ALS and Lou Gehrig's disease

Book edited by Dr. Anna Sher and Dr. Martin Quigley published - "A Case Study of Ecological Change in the American West"

"With 44 of the world's top Tamarisk researchers, Drs. Anna Sher and Martin Quigley have assembled the first comprehensive book on this important woody genus in the western United States. This tremendously valuable book is a must have for all who study or manage Tamarix." -- Mike Dombeck, Chief Emeritus, U.S. Forest Service. Congratulations!

18th Annual DU Women's Conference - Women in Science

NSM hosted a session at the 18th Annual Women's Conference entitled "Lipstick to Lab Coats".  The successful session included testimonials from various female faculty and graduate students about how their interests in STEM began and what factors contributed to their decision to remain in the STEM area.  Thanks to everyone who participated!

Campus of Integrity Award for 2012-2013 given to the University of Denver

The University of Denver has won the 2012-2013 Campus of Integrity Award from the prestigious International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI). This award acknowledges a campus-wide (or larger) effort to promote and/or maintain the values of academic integrity and is the highest award presented annually during the ICAI's international conference. DU was recognized because of the three-year efforts of the University's Honor Code Advisory Council (HCAC) to promote academic integrity across campus. HCAC co-chairs Dr. Michael Kerwin (Associate Professor, Department of Geography and the Environment) and Kristin Olson, (Director, Student Conduct), along with undergraduate student Lauren Johnson (B.S. Candidate in International Business) accepted the award on February 27, 2013 at the annual ICAI conference in San Antonio, TX.  Congratulations!

Sean Shaheen, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded the Research Corporation for Science Advancement Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award

Sean Shaheen received this award for the amount of $25,000 to support his project titled "Supramolecular Non-Fullerene Electron Acceptors for Organic PVs - Pathway Towards 20% Efficient Cells at a Cost less than $0.5/W".  Congratulations!

NSM Newsletter Winter 2013

Keep up-to-date with what's going on in NSM.  Click here for a downloadable newsletter. 

1st Annual NSM Awards Ceremony - Awardees 2012 - Congratulations!
  • NSM Award for Excellence in Research - Dr. Gareth Eaton, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • NSM Award for Excellence in Teaching - Dr. Michael W. Kerwin, Department of Geography and the Environment
  • NSM Award for Outstanding Service - Dr. Keith Miller, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • NSM Award for Outstanding Junior Faculty - Dr. Shannon Murphy, Department of  Biological Sciences
Dr. Lisa Randall, Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University presented at DU on April 15
DU Physics & Astronomy was excited to welcome Dr. Lisa Randall. As part of the American Physical Society's April Meeting, Prof. Randall was the recipient of the Andrew Gemant Award from the American Institute of Physics. This award recognizes the accomplishments of a person who has made significant contributions to the cultural, artistic, or humanistic dimension of physics given annually. Click here for pictures of the event.
2013 Colorado Geographic Bee was hosted at DU on April 5

The winner of this year's Colorado Geographic Bee was Pranit Nanda from Aurora Quest, K-8.  In second and third places were Sanat Mehta, Littleton Academy Charter School, and Vinu Harir, Nevin Platt Middle School.  Congratulations!

Professor Moras Shubert dies at age 100 - Our condolences to his family.
Former biology Professor Moras Shubert, who died Dec. 10, at age 100, lived a rich and productive life. Read more ...
1st Annual NSM Awards Ceremony - Awardees 2012 - Congratulations!
NSM Award for Excellence in Research - Dr. Gareth Eaton, Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryNSM Award for Excellence in Teaching - Dr. Michael W. Kerwin, Department of Geography and the EnvironmentNSM Award for Outstanding Service - Dr. Keith Miller, Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryNSM Award for Outstanding Junior Faculty - Dr. Shannon Murphy, Department of  Biological Sciences
Don Stedman receives $100,000 award from the Coordinating Research Council

The University of Denver's spectroscopic motor vehicle emissions remote sensing system FEAT (Fuel Efficiency Automobile Test) has been monitoring emissions around the USA since the early 1990s. Average emissions have gone down remarkably while the fractional contribution of the few grossest emitters has gone up. With this program, supported by the Coordinating Research Council, we will return to sites in Chicago, Tulsa and Denver where we will obtain an even longer history of these measurements. For our previous publications on this subject see the FEAT web site Also view article on the DU Magazine regarding Dr. Stedman's work on emissions' tools detection at this link.

Robert Dores receives Faculty Service Award at Convocation

On October 17, DU honored Dr. Robert Dores, Biological Sciences, with the Faculty Service Award.  This award is given to a faculty member in recognition of outstanding service to the university, the community, or the profession.

  • Robert Dores
ESRI Conference attracts 16,000 attendees - ESRI is the world leader in GIS software

Several faculty and staff members from the Department of Geography attended the annual ESRI User Conference and Academic Education Fair in San Diego during the week of July 23-27. ESRI is the world leader in geographic information systems (GIS) software, and this year there were over 16,000 attendees at the conference, up by 23% over last year. The Department of Geography and University College co-sponsored a booth in the exhibit hall to market our on-campus and online masters degree and certificate programs in geographic information science. Nearly 600 attendees stopped by the DU table for information, and over 200 expressed an interest in applying to our programs.   The Department of Geography also hosted an Alumni & Friends reception at the conference that was attended by nearly 200 people.

Geography Ph.D. Student Gary Lavanchy wins EPA STAR fellowship
Spring 2012: Geography Ph.D. Student Gary LaVanchy was recently awarded an EPA STAR fellowship.  This is a three-year award with a value of $126,000 to support his research in Nicaragua into water conflicts and to model aquifers along the Pacific coast. This is a highly competitive award. This year, 80 students across the USA received the fellowship. This represents 5% of the application pool.  Gary joins Geography Ph.D. Student, Joe Hoover, who received the fellowship last year.
Recent faculty promotions-2012


  •  Frederic Latremoliere, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics
  •  Daniel Linseman, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
  •  Paul Sutton, Professor, Department of Geography and the Environment
  •  Toshiya Ueta, Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Windstorm damages Meyer-Womble Observatory at Mt. Evans

A vicious windstorm swept over Mount Evans in January, tearing a 700-pound door off the Meyer-Womble Observatory and leaving the telescope exposed to the winter elements.  See more here.

The New York Times Science Blog: Geography Professor Matthew Taylor's research in Guatemala

Geography Professor Matthew Taylor conducts research investigating climate change and droughts in Guatemala with DU students.  His research there with his colleagues from Columbia University and Universidad del Valle, Guatemala, Dr. Kevin Anchukaitis and Dr. Edwin Castellanos,  was recently highlighted in the New York Times Science Blog.  To read the updates please visit

Professor Sean Shaheen named Scialog Fellow

Physics and Astronomy professor Sean Shaheen has been named a Scialog Fellow by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) in support of his research proposal "Energy Pooling as a Novel Thermodynamic Mechanism for Organic Photovoltaics." Learn more about Scialog Fellows here.

Professor Todd Blankenship gives TEDxDU presentation

Biological Sciences professor Todd Blankenship shares his research on the biology of shape in his TEDxDU presentation "Why We're Long: The Biology of Shape."

University receives support to develop research program on aging

Betty Knoebel, widow of Denver food services pioneer Ferdinand "Fritz" Knoebel, has given the University of Denver (DU) $17.5 million, among the largest gifts in its history. DU will use the gift to establish the Knoebel Center for the Study of Aging and to support the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM) in the Daniels College of Business. Read more on DU Today.

Professor Dan Linseman is advancing research on Lou Gehrig's disease

Armed with grants from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Biological Sciences professor Dan Linseman has devoted the last three years to unraveling the mysteries of Lou Gehrig's disease. Read more.