Tag Archives: portland

‘Life as Research Scientist’: Jo Varner, Biologist

Jo Varner, University of Utah biology doctoral student, is currently conducting research on how small mammals like Pikas are coping with Earth’s warming climate. Her study is concentrated on Pikas in the Columbia River Gorge area in the U.S, which is an unusual habitat for this species. Recently we had the opportunity to talk to Miss Varner about her research, why it is important and how life as a research scientist is. Here is what we learned from Miss Jo Varner:

Q. Let us start with your research topic. What is your research area? Will you please tell us a bit more on this? What did you find?

Jo Varner: Glad to talk with you! Broadly, I am interested in how climate change is impacting animals, particularly in sensitive environments like the high mountains. Specifically, I am working with American pikas, which are a small mammal closely related to rabbits. Pikas are typically restricted to high elevation mountains in western North America. They appear to be very sensitive to climate change in parts of their range, but in other parts they seem to be less vulnerable. (more…)

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Spider Venom Reveals New Secret

Venom of the brown recluse spider causes a reaction in the body that is different from what researchers previously thought, a discovery that could lead to development of new treatments for spider bites.

University of Arizona researchers led a team that has discovered that venom of spiders in the genus Loxosceles, which contains about 100 spider species including the brown recluse, produces a different chemical product in the human body than scientists believed.

The finding has implications for understanding how these spider bites affect humans and for the development of possible treatments for the bites. (more…)

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UW Nautilus Expedition May Have Spied New Species

A University of Washington research team has captured color photographs of what could be a previously undocumented species of chambered nautilus, a cephalopod mollusk often classified as a “living fossil,” in the waters off American Samoa in the South Pacific.

“This is certainly a new taxon, but we are not sure if it is a new species, subspecies or variety,” said UW paleontologist Peter Ward, who led the expedition to Samoa and Fiji.

“The Samoan nautiluses are large for the genus, brightly colored, and very, very rare,” he said. (more…)

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Chromosome Painting: Discovering beauty in DNA

Everyone has a genetic story.

For artist Geraldine Ondrizek, an art professor at Portland’s Reed College, her story begins with the tragic loss of her child to a condition caused by a genetic anomaly. It’s a story that starts with her efforts to piece together her family’s genetic history and that has brought her, in the years since, to a beautiful intersection of science and art that today defines the very essence of her work.

Since 2001, Ondrizek has worked with geneticists and biologists to gather images of human cellular tissue and genetic tests relating to disease, ethnic identity, and the depiction of genetically inherited conditions. (more…)

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Stun Guns Not Safe for Citizens, But Benefit Police, Study Finds

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The use of stun guns by police significantly increases the chances of citizen injury, yet also protects the officers more than other restraint methods, according to the most comprehensive research to date into the safety of stun guns in a law enforcement setting.

William Terrill, lead researcher on the project and Michigan State University criminologist, said the federally funded research presents a dilemma for police agencies weighing use of the controversial weapon. Nationally, some 260,000 electronic control devices, or stun guns, are in use in 11,500 law enforcement agencies. (more…)

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Lecture or Listen: When Patients Waver on Meds

*According to a new analysis of hundreds of recorded office visits, doctors and nurse practitioners typically issued orders and asked closed or leading questions when talking to their HIV-positive patients about adherence to antiretroviral therapy. Attempts at problem-solving with patients who had lapsed occurred in less than a quarter of visits.*

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Take your medicine, Doctor’s orders. It’s a simple idea that may seem especially obvious when the pills are the antiretroviral (ARV) drugs that add decades to the lives of HIV-positive patients. But despite the reality that keeping up with drug regimens is not easy for many patients, a new analysis of hundreds of recorded doctor’s office visits finds that physicians and nurse practitioners often still rely on lecturing, ordering, and scolding rather than listening and problem solving with their patients. (more…)

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The Cloud Makes a Big Difference to Small Businesses

REDMOND, Wash. — What do a customized wheelchair, an all-natural bar of soap, a calming yoga class for kids, an engaging community magazine and international relief supplies organization have in common? These products and services are all delivered by small businesses to a growing customer base.

Each business also happens to be among the winners in the Microsoft Office 365: Ready for Work Contest. The business owners have several traits in common, including a passion for their work, a strong desire to help people, and a deep resolve to approach challenges with unique products and services. (more…)

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RJI Researcher Identifies Promising Online News Sites, Seeks to Make Them Stronger

COLUMBIA, Mo. – As local online news services become more numerous, discussions regarding their quality and stability have increased as well. Michele McLellan, who served as a 2009-2010 Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) Fellow at the University of Missouri, has found dozens of online news sites that are gaining traction. She says it is vital for the future of the news industry to identify these promising sites.

(more…)

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