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April 1, 2009
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SBI Research Feature: Brian Wood Explains Upscaling

Photo of Brian Wood.Microbiologists often gather data at the cellular or subcellular level – scales so small it can be hard to relate the understanding gained to the more complex environments of colonies of cells living in natural and engineered systems.  Environmental engineering professor Brian Wood focuses on this problem – he uses a process called upscaling to synthesize microscale observations and use them to better predict macroscale behaviors. Read a Web interview where Brian explains upscaling, describes some of his research and explains how upscaling can make a contribution to studies of the subsurface biosphere.


Save the Date

The SBI will hold its annual summer workshop on Thursday and Friday, July 23 and 24 at the Lasells Stewart Center.   Please plan to attend!   Watch this newsletter and the SBI Web page for details.



OSU Engineering Student Named Fulbright Scholar (OSU News and Communications Services, 3/16/09) – Danielle Jansik, a graduate student in environmental engineering at Oregon State University, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and will study next year in Denmark. Jansik, from Milwaukie, Ore., received a bachelor’s degree in geology from OSU in 2006, and will conduct research on pollution movement through soils during her year abroad.


Upcoming Events

Monday, April 6, 4:00-5:00 p.m., ALS 4000. It Breathes! Interpreting, Measuring and Modeling Soil Respiration, SBI/CSS Seminar. Speaker: Claire Phillips, PhD candidate, Forest Science, OSU. Host: Markus Kleber.

Wednesday, April 8, 3:30-4:30 p.m., ALS 4001. Exploring the Energy Landscape: Disorder, Dynamics, and Protein Function, CGRB Seminar. Speaker: Peter Wright, Department of Molecular Biology, The Scripps Research Institute. Host: Andy Karplus.

Monday, April 13, 4:00 p.m., ALS 4000. Radiocarbon and Soil Organic Matter Turnover(SBI/CSS seminar). Speaker: Chris Swanston, Director, Northern Institute of Applied Carbon Science; Research Ecologist - Climate, Fire, and Carbon Cycle Science Research, Northern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Houghton, Michigan. FMI: Markus Kleber.

Monday, April 20, 4:00-5:00 p.m., ALS 4000. Defining the "Quality" of Soil Organic Matter, SBI/CSS Seminar. Speaker: Mark Johnson, Research Soil Scientist U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Corvallis. Host: Markus Kleber.

Monday, April 27, 4:00-5:00 p.m., ALS 4000. Temperature Dependence of Soil Organic Matter Turnover, (SBI/CSS seminar). Speaker: Francesca Hopkins, senior PhD student from UC-Irvine. Host: Markus Kleber.

Monday, May 4 4:00 p.m., ALS 4000. Biochemical Perspectives on Soil Organic Matter Structure, Humification, and Function in Soil Processes (SBI/CSS Seminar). Speaker: Dan Olk, Soil Scientist, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Aimes, Iowa. FMI: Markus Kleber.


Conference Information

July 5-10 2009, University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA. 1st International Conference on Nitrification. The first International Conference on Nitrification (ICoN1) is meant to be the start of a tradition of bringing together investigators and students at all levels to discuss the most recent concepts in nitrification research. The meeting will present and discuss reports on the ecology, physiology, biochemistry, molecular genetics, genomics, metagenomics, transcriptomics and evolution of ammonia- and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria and archaea, and their roles in the nitrogen cycle. Abstracts due: May 29, 2009. Some travel grants are available.

July 26 - 31, Waterville Valley, NH. Gordon Research Conference on Archaea: Ecology, Metabolism and Molecular Biology. Expands on a number of emerging topics highlighting new paradigms in archaeal metabolism, genome function and systems biology; information processing; evolution and the tree of life; the ecology and diversity of archaea and their viruses; and industrial applications. Brings more than 35 internationally renowned speakers who will review the current state of progress and knowledge in the field of the metabolism, molecular biology and ecology of archaea. Applications for this meeting must be submitted by July 5, 2009, but early application is recommended.

September 2 - 5, 2009, Rome, Italy. EuroBiofilms2009 1st European Congress on Microbial Biofilms. This event aims to provide the large number of European scientists involved in the field of microbial biofilms with a valuable forum for a multidisciplinary scientific exchange of information with colleagues coming from all over the world. Abstracts due April 15, 2009.

Link to a calendar of other related events...


Opportunities for Students

Summer 2009 SBI Undergraduate Internships - The program provides up to $4,000 to help faculty support a summer intern. It focuses on, but is not limited to, under-represented minority and women students. The SBI Web site has examples of past internship projects. Applications for internships are now being accepted and will be reviewed on receipt. Application by April 30, 2009, is encouraged. FMI:

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Entrepreneur Postdoctoral Fellowship - The new program will train scientists to commercialize their technology innovations into start-up businesses. Participants will receive training on how to evaluate their research for marketplace potential and will learn the process of taking promising research forward for commercialization. Fellows receive a one-year stipend plus a travel and conference stipend to attend a business or entrepreneurship conference. The candidate must have received either a Ph.D. or M.D. and be in a postdoctoral research position by the start of the fellowship program to be eligible. Deadline:  May 1, 2009.

NASA Planetary Science Summer School - There will be two sessions: July 20-24 and August 3-7, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. Science and engineering recent PhDs, post-doctoral and doctoral students with a strong interest in careers in planetary exploration are encouraged to apply.  The student teams will develop the equivalent of an early concept study responsive to a typical NASA Announcement of Opportunity for robotic missions, prepare a presentation for a proposal authorization review, present it to a review board, and receive feedback.  At the end of the week, students will have a clearer understanding of the relationships among mission design, cost, and schedule, and the trade-offs necessary to stay within cost and schedule while preserving the opportunity to acquire high-quality science.  Partial financial support is available. Applications due May 1, 2009.

Opportunities for Faculty

(listed by due date)

Applications due April 15, 2008. ASM Indo-US Professorships in Microbiology

Description: This Professorship encourages partnerships between the United States and India. Sponsored by the Indo-US Science & Technology Forum, the program enables microbiologists in India and the United States to visit institutions in the other country to teach an interactive short course on a topic in any of the microbiological disciplines (Teaching Professor), microbiologists in India to participate in an interactive short course on a topic in any of the microbiological disciplines, or conduct a research project in partnership with colleague in a research facility in the U.S. (Research Professor). Open to ASM members and non-members alike.
Funding Details: Typical award is $4,000. Up to eight Professorships offered per program year.

Applications due April 15, 2008. ASM International Professorship Program.

Description: These programs provide funding to ASM members from the US, who are scientifically recognized in his/her area, to teach a hands-on, highly interactive short courses on single topics in the microbiological sciences at institutions of higher learning in Asia, Africa or Latin America. There are programs in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Faculty may apply for travel funds and some other expenses.
Funding Details: Funds from ASM must be matched by the hosting institution but may be in-kind contributions such as housing and administrative support, etc.

Preproposal due: 28 April 2009. NASA ROSES Terrestrial Ecology Solicitation: NNH09ZDA001N-TE (Full Proposal due: 12 June 2009).

Description: NASA Terrestrial Ecology research addresses changes in Earth’s carbon cycle and ecosystems using space-based observations. The goals of NASA’s Terrestrial Ecology research are to improve understanding of the structure and function of global terrestrial ecosystems, their interactions with the atmosphere and hydrosphere, and their role in the cycling of the major biogeochemical elements and water. This program of research addresses variability in terrestrial ecosystems, how terrestrial ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles respond to and affect global environmental change, and future changes in carbon cycle dynamics and terrestrial ecosystems. The research approach combines (i) use of remote sensing to observe terrestrial ecosystems and their responses; (ii) field campaigns and related process studies to elucidate ecosystem function; and (iii) ecosystem and biogeochemical cycle modeling to analyze and predict responses.

30 April 2009. NSF Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation 2009.

Description: The Directorate for Engineering at the National Science Foundation has established the Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) to serve a critical role in focusing on important emerging areas in a timely manner. The EFRI Office is launching a new funding opportunity for interdisciplinary teams of researchers to embark on rapidly advancing frontiers of fundamental engineering research. For this solicitation, we will consider proposals that aim to investigate emerging frontiers in the following two specific research areas: (1) BioSensing & BioActuation: Interface of Living and Engineered Systems (BSBA), and (2) Hydrocarbons from Biomass (HyBi). EFRI seeks proposals with transformative ideas that represent an opportunity for a significant shift in fundamental engineering knowledge with a strong potential for long term impact on national needs or a grand challenge. The proposals must also meet the detailed requirements delineated in this solicitation.

1 May 2009. Hyland R. Johns Grant Program, Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund (TREE Fund).

Description: The mission of the TREE Fund is to identify and fund projects and program that advance knowledge in the field of arboriculture and urban forestry to benefit people, trees, and the environment. Proposals in these priority areas are more likely to be funded, but all proposals will be considered. 1) Root and Soil Management, managing roots includes soil management; 2) Planting and Establishment; 3) Plant Health Care; and 4) Risk Assessment and Worker Safety.
Funding Details: Between $10,000 and $25,000.

14 May 2009. EPA Small Business Innovative Research.

Description: SBIR seeks to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector by strengthening the role of small business concerns in meeting Federal R&D needs. Topic areas of interest include Green Building Materials and Systems; Innovation in Manufacturing; Nanotechnology; Greenhouse Gases; Drinking Water and Water Monitoring; Water Infrastructure; Air Pollution; Biofuels and Vehicle Emissions Reduction; Waste Management; and Homeland Security. For more info, contact Stacey Passwaters at Refer to Sol# PR-NC-09-10319. This solicitation received funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Funding Details: 25 contract awards anticipated.

Preproposal due: 15 May 2009. NSF Engineering Research Centers (ERC) (Full Proposal due: 15 July 2009).

Description: The Gen-3 ERCs will: 1. Advance discovery and build bridges from science-based discovery to technological innovation to realize transforming engineered systems. 2. Partner with foreign universities and provide unique opportunities for research and learning collaboration that will prepare U.S. engineering graduates for leadership in innovation in a global economy. 3. Form teams of faculty and students who are diverse and talented individuals who will prepare diverse and talented domestic and international graduates who can function in a global world where research, design and production efforts cross national borders. 4. Function with transforming engineering education programs that rest on partnerships with pre-college institutions to attract students to engineering and strategically impart in engineering graduates the capacity to create and exploit knowledge for technological innovation. 5. Function with partnerships with industry and other users, organizations devoted to stimulating entrepreneurship and innovation at the local level, and small firms engaged in the ERC's research program to speed translation of research results to innovation.

21 May 2009. NSF Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI).

Description: This program seeks to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for all undergraduate students. The program supports efforts to create new learning materials and teaching strategies, develop faculty expertise, implement educational innovations, assess learning and evaluate innovations, and conduct research on STEM teaching and learning. The program supports three types of projects representing three different phases of development, ranging from small, exploratory investigations to large, comprehensive projects.

1 June 2009. NSF Hydrologic Science.

Description: Hydrologic Sciences focuses on the flow of water and transport processes within streams, soils, and aquifers. Particular attention is given to spatial and temporal heterogeneity of fluxes and storages of water and chemicals over a wide range of scales, to geolimnology and to interfaces with the landscape, microbial communities, and coastal areas. Studies may also deal with processes in aqueous geochemistry and with the physical, chemical, and biological processes within water bodies. Study of these processes requires expertise from many basic sciences and mathematics, and proposals often require joint review with related programs.

29 June 2009. NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences - Research Coordination Networks in Biological Sciences (RCN).

Description: The goal of this program is to encourage and foster interactions among scientists to create new research directions or advance a field. Innovative ideas for implementing novel networking strategies are especially encouraged. Groups of investigators will be supported to communicate and coordinate their research, training and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, institutional, and geographical boundaries. The proposed networking activities should have a theme as a focus of its collaboration. The focus could be on a broad research question, a specific group of organisms, or particular technologies or approaches.

Preproposal due: 30 June 2009. NASA NSPIRES ROSES New Investigator Program in Earth Science (Full Proposal due: 31 August 2009).

Description: All NIP proposals must contain both a research element that addresses one of the topical areas identified below, as well as a significant program of education and public outreach (E/PO) activities and/or interdisciplinary endeavors from which the community of practitioners in Earth, space, and environmental sciences can benefit. The research Focus Areas appropriate for the NIP are: Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems, Climate Variability and Change, Water and Energy Cycle, Atmospheric Composition, Weather, and Earth Surface and Interior.
Funding Details: $80-$120K per year for a period of up to three years.

30 September 2009 (deadline extended). DOE Science Financial Assistance Program, Biological and Environmental Research Program.
Description: All grant applications should address one or more of these measures: Life Sciences: Provide the fundamental scientific understanding of plants and microbes necessary to develop new robust and transformational basic research strategies for producing biofuels, cleaning up waste, and sequestering carbon. Environmental Remediation: Provide sufficient scientific understanding such that DOE sites would be able to incorporate coupled physical, chemical and biological processes into decision making for environmental remediation and long-term stewardship. Climate Change Research: Deliver improved scientific data and models about the potential response of the Earth's climate and terrestrial biosphere to increased greenhouse gas levels for policy makers to determine safe levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This program received supplemental funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The SBI has funding available for proposal development and maintains a list of external grant opportunities related to the subsurface biosphere.

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