SBI Newsletter Header

July 2008

SBI/ESB-IGERT Summer Workshop Held June 15-17

Dan Arp and Mark Nielsen.

About 50 scientists gathered in Newport to present and discuss their research at the fourth annual subsurface biosphere workshop. This was the last year that the event was co-sponsored by the Earth's Subsurface Biosphere Interdisciplinary Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program (ESB-IGERT).

Click here to read a summary about the workshop...


In the News

One to One - As students explore opportunities, mentors provide personal support - (OSU Terra Magazine, Summer 2008) An article on mentoring at OSU includes a feature on former ESB-IGERT student Shawn Starkenburg and Peter Bottomley, professor of microbiology and soil science.

Laser fluorescence could find life on Mars (Science Daily, 6/24/08)  - A team of scientists from the United States and the United Kingdom has developed a technique using ultraviolet light to identify organic matter in soils that they say could be used to document the existence of life on Mars. Chemical compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, often are found on comets, meteorites and in space between the stars, and are considered candidates for being one of the earliest forms of organic matter in the universe. Like living organisms, these molecules fluoresce when excited by ultraviolet light, making them an ideal target for using this new technology, according to Martin Fisk, a professor of marine geology at Oregon State University and a co-author of the study. See also the OSU Press Release on this topic.


Upcoming Events

July 8-11, 2008. College of Health and Human Sciences Summer Institute on Research Methods - It includes an introductory course: Multilevel Modeling Using Mplus, and an advanced course: Latent Growth Curve Modeling Using Mplus. The introductory course is taught by Alan Acock and Lesa Hoffman and the advanced course is taught by Alan Acock, Scott Hofer and Lesa Hoffman.

July 14, 2008. Early bird registration deadline for the Joint Annual Meeting Celebrating the International Year of Planet Earth - Meeting is of The Geological Society of America (GSA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) and more. The meeting will be October 5-9 in Houston, TX.

July 21, 2008. Deadline to submit abstracts for the AGU Chapman Conference on Biogeophysics. The meeting will be held October 13-16 in Portland, Maine. “Biogeophysics” is a rapidly evolving Earth science discipline concerned with the geophysical signatures of (1) microbial cells themselves in the Earth, (2) the interaction between microorganisms and subsurface geologic media, and (3) alteration of the physical properties of geologic media as a result of microbial activity. The objective of the Chapman Conference is to define the current state of the science, identify the critical questions facing the community and to generate a roadmap for firmly establishing biogeophysics as a critical subdiscipline of earth science research.

Link to a calendar of other related events...


Opportunities for Students

Associateship Programs at National Energy Technology Laboratory Methane Hydrates Fellowship Program (NETL/MHFP) - 2008 - "The Methane Hydrate Fellowship supports highly qualified postgraduate students in the advancement of Methane Hydrate science. In particular; interest is in advanced geological and geophysical projects that will provide improved methods and tools for real time, remote or in situ detection, characterization, and appraisal of gas hydrates occurrence and distribution in nature as well as their production potential as an energy resource. Interest is in projects that provide an improved understanding of the processes that control hydrate stability and their potential role in global climate including formation of Methane Hydrates in permafrost and seafloor settings and the fate of dissociated hydrates through sediments, the water column, and into the atmosphere." See also other National Academies Research Associateships on other topics and at other host laboratories. Next deadline: August 1, 2008.

GE & Science Prize for Young Life Scientists - For applicants who were awarded a PhD in molecular biology during 2007. "For the purpose of this prize molecular biology is defined as "that part of biology which attempts to interpret biological events in terms of the physicochemical properties of molecules in a cell". To apply, submit a 1,000 word essay on your work. There will be one grand prize and four regional prize winners." The winners will fly to Stockholm for the award ceremony, meet some of the Nobel Prize laureates, have their PhD profiled in the online version of Science, and receive $25,000 or $5,000 for regional winners. Deadline: August 1, 2008.

Humboldt Research Fellowship - "This fellowship for postdoctoral researchers allows you to carry out a long-term research project (6-24 months) you have selected yourself in cooperation with an academic host you have selected yourself at a research institution in Germany." Applications accepted at any time.


Funding Opportunities for Faculty

Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) - Proposals addressing the research areas of interest for the Air Force Research Laboratory will be considered, see AFOSR-BAA-2008-1. "The Natural Materials and Systems program goals are to study, use, mimic, or alter how natural systems accomplish their taskings. Nature has used evolution to build materials and sensors that outperform current sensors (for example, a spider's haircells can detect air flow at low levels even in a noisy background). The research will encompass four general areas: sensory mimics, natural materials, natural/synthetic interfaces, and physical mechanisms of natural systems under environmental distress. Areas of interest include: the mechanisms for survival and protein stability in extremophilic archaea, fundamental studies of bacterial sporulation, and enzymatic engineering for faster catalysis in anti- material designs." AFOSR plans to make approximately 25 $100k/yr 3-yr awards for FY 2009. Proposals due: July 22, 2008.

NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program - "This program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the NSF's most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education." Proposals due July 22-24, 2008.

EPA NCER Innovative and Integrative Approaches for Advancing Public Health Protection Through Water Infrastructure Sustainability - "This program is seeking applications to develop advanced concepts for linking public health protection with water infrastructure sustainability. Innovative and integrative approaches are sought for monitoring, modeling, operation, and management of drinking water distribution and storage systems and wastewater collection systems that can lead to improved water quality and reduced health risks." Potential funding per award of up to a $600,000 for three years. Proposals due July 29, 2008.

NASA ROSES Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology Program - "Research in this program is centered on the origin and early evolution of life, the potential of life to adapt to different environments, and the implications for life elsewhere. The areas of research emphasis in this solicitation are as follows: Planetary Conditions for Life, Prebiotic Evolution, Early Evolution of Life and the Biosphere, and Evolution of Advanced Life." Notice of intent due July 28, 2008; full proposals due September 19, 2008.

NSF Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) -

  • Environmental Engineering - "This cluster focuses on research on innovative biological, chemical, and physical processes used alone or as components of engineered systems to restore the usefulness of polluted land, water, and air resources."
  • Environmental Sustainability - "This program supports engineering research that seeks to balance society’s need to provide ecological protection and maintain stable economic conditions. Research is encouraged to advance the next generation of water and wastewater treatment that will decrease material and energy use, consider new paradigms for delivery of services, and promote longer life for engineered systems."
  • Fluid Dynamics - "This program supports fundamental research and education on mechanisms and phenomena that govern fluid flow. Topics include: hydrodynamic stability; transitional flows and turbulence; Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluid mechanics; sediment transport, waves and coastal engineering; multi-scale, multi-phenomena models and computations; bio-fluid mechanics, micro and nanoscale flow phenomena, and microfluidics."
  • Particulate and Multiphase Processes - "This program supports fundamental and applied research on mechanisms and phenomena governing particulate and multiphase processes, including granular and granular-fluid flows, particle/bubble/droplet interactions, aerosol science and technology, suspensions, micro- and nano-structured fluids, self- and directed-assembly of nanostructures, and related instrumentation and diagnostics."

Proposals due September 15, 2008.

The SBI has funding available for proposal development and maintains a list of external grant opportunities related to the subsurface biosphere.

This newsletter is distributed by OSU's Subsurface Biosphere Initiative - an interdisciplinary consortium of faculty and students who share interests in underground ecosystems. The newsletter is distributed through the SBI email lists. To subscribe or unsubscribe, go to Questions, comments and newsletter topics may be sent to the Newsletters are also available on the Web at