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November 1, 2011
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Disease-Fighting Drugs from the Subsurface Biosphere

Photo of Elisa Alphandary and Poster.Attendees of the SBI internship poster session in September had the opportunity to see Elisa Alphandary’s poster on “Drug Discovery from Soil Bacteria,” which detailed her study on the potential use of soil bacteria in the subsurface biosphere for medicinal uses. Her project was part of a larger search for new antibiotics and drugs to fight human diseases led by her SBI internship mentor Taifo Mahmud, associate professor of medicinal chemistry in the College of Pharmacy. According to Taifo, soil bacteria was first identified as producers of antibiotic substances in the 1940s, and since that time over 3,000 antibiotics have been isolated from these organisms. From microbial colonies collected from the soils of Indonesia’s rainforests, he has isolated compounds that could become the basis for new antibiotics and drugs to fight cancer. Read more in Terra about Taifo's research.

Rick Colwell Speaks on the Census of Deep Life

Last month OSU professor Rick Colwell (COAS) spoke on the Census of Deep Life at the meeting of the Geological Society of America. The goal of the project is to quantify and classify microbes that dwell deep beneath both continents and oceans, from around 6 to 60 miles (10 to 100 kilometers) within the Earth's crust. Read more about the project.

Upcoming Seminars

The following events may be of interest to the Subsurface Biosphere community. If you would like to add an event to this list, please send your announcement to You can also link to the seminar schedules for related departments and programs.

Wednesday, November 2 3:30 - 4:30 pm. Refreshments at 3:15 pm. Microbial Seed Banks: Ecological and Evolutionary Implications of Dormancy (CGRB Seminar Series) Jay Lennon, W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University. Held on campus at OSU ALS 4001. FMI: Dave Myrold

Thursday, November 3 4:00PM. In Search of Interactions Between Ammonia-Oxidizing and Nitrite-Oxidizing Bacteria (Department of Botany and Plant Pathology Fall 2011 Seminar Series). Dr. Luis Sayavedra-Soto, Senior Research Associate Professor, BPP, OSU Held on campus at ALS 4001. FMI: Jeff Stone 737-5260.

Wednesday, November 9 7:30pm. Get Rich and Save the World, or Else: Challenges and Opportunities in a Warming World (2011 Thomas Condon Lecture: Richard Alley). Alley is the Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences and associate of the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at The Pennsylvania State University. The lecture is sponsored by the OSU Department of Geosciences and College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences. Held on campus at La Sells Stewart Center. OSU Austin Auditorium. FMI: COAS Calendar.

Conference Information

Monday, May 21 - Thursday, May 24, 2012. Eighth International Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds. This conference focuses on innovative application of existing or new technologies and approaches for characterization, treatment, and monitoring of chlorinated and other recalcitrant compounds in various environmental media. Abstracts due July 31, 2011. Held at Monterey, CA. FMI:

Opportunities for Students

New course! Ed Brook and Julie Pett-Ridge are offering a new class this winter on Global Biogeochemical Cycles (cross-listed as CEOAS/CSS 699) TR, 1-2:50 in ALS 3006 for 3 credits. For more information, contact Julie Pett-Ridge.

Undergraduate Research, Innovation, Scholarship and Creativity (URISC). This program supports undergraduate research activities. Information contact: Debbie Delmore at Application deadline is November 21, 2011.

2012 American Society of Microbiology Scientific Writing and Publishing Institute - Senior-level graduate students and early-career postdoctoral scientists receive four days of hands-on intensive training in scientific writing and publishing under mentorship of ASM Journal editors and reviewers. The Institute will be held at ASM Headquarters in Washington, DC on March 22 - 25, 2012. Applications due December 1, 2011.

DOD Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program.Scholarship for service program for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The program aims to increase the number of civilian scientists and engineers working at DoD laboratories. Applications due December 1, 2011.

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) Fellowship. Applications due December 1, 2011.

Fall 2012 EPA Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowships For Undergraduate Environmental Study - Eligible students will receive support for their junior and senior years of undergraduate study and for an internship at an EPA facility during the summer between their junior and senior years. The fellowship provides up to $19,700 per academic year of support and up to $9,500 of support for a three-month summer internship. Applications due December 12, 2011.

ASM Undergraduate Research Capstone. The ASM Committee on Minority Education invites undergraduate students from under-represented minority groups to apply for the ASM Undergraduate Research Capstone, a program that helps participants pursue graduate or professional training by providing them with opportunities to present their microbiological-sciences-related research. Applications for the 2012 capstone are being accepted until December 15, 2011. Applicants must submit abstracts to the ASM General Meeting, as capstone awards are contingent upon abstract acceptance to this event. A detailed description of the capstone program and an application form are available from

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) - Three year doctoral fellowships for degrees in many fields including biosciences, geosciences, engineering and others. Applications due December 16, 2011.

2012 Summer Internships at Idaho National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory. See website for more details.

Opportunities for Faculty

(listed by due date)

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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