Wooster, OH, United States
Wooster, OH, United States

The College of Wooster is a private liberal arts college primarily known for its emphasis on mentored undergraduate research. It enrolls approximately 2,000 students, and is located in Wooster, Ohio, United States northeast of Columbus, the state capital). Founded in 1866 by the Presbyterian Church as the University of Wooster, it was from its creation a co-educational institution. The school is a member of The Five Colleges of Ohio and the Great Lakes Colleges Association. As of June 30, 2014, Wooster's endowment stood at approximately $271 million.Wooster is one of forty colleges named in Loren Pope's influential book Colleges That Change Lives, in which he called it his "...original best-kept secret in higher education." It is consistently ranked among the nation's top liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News and World Report. In US News' "Best Colleges 2014", for the 12th year in a row, Wooster is recognized for its “outstanding” undergraduate research opportunities and its senior capstone program, known as I.S. Only two schools have been named to both lists in each of the past 12 years: Wooster and Princeton University. Wikipedia.

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News Article | April 4, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

Mental health isn't exactly one of the things that come to mind when the topic of climate change is discussed - more often, the environmental, health, economic, and sometimes even political impacts of climate change are in the spotlight, whereas mental health is pushed aside or not discussed at all. A collaborative study is now revealing that not even mental health is safe from the global effects of climate change. Following a 2014 report on the mental health effects of climate change, a collaborative study between the American Psychological Association and nonprofit organizations Climate For Health and EcoAmerica discusses the issues surrounding the mental health impacts of climate change. No, they do not mean the political aspect or the conflicts between believers and deniers. The study focuses on the impact of climate change on the individuals directly affected by its effects such as drought, floods, wildfires, and even displacement due to rising sea levels. Such disastrous events could lead to people losing their homes and family members, and being completely displaced from their normal lives. From these events arise not just physical injuries and economic damage. The researchers found that those directly impacted by the effects of climate change experienced extreme stress, trauma, loss of control, and long-term post-traumatic stress disorder. What's more, researchers found that the stressors brought about by the effects of climate change, whether directly or indirectly experienced, can lead to an impaired mental health, causing anxiety and depression. In fact, the simple matter of hearing about disasters and the negative impacts of climate change - such as the refugee crisis brought about by a combination of drought and political struggle - can trigger feelings of fear, stress, uncertainty, and vulnerability. "We know that the Syrian refugee crisis is partly attributable to climate change, to drought in the area, and when you have to leave your home that can of course be stressful. It also disrupts the community. People don't tend to move all at once. They disperse and those social connections are an important source of strength that can protect your mental wellbeing," said Susan Clayton, a psychologist at the College of Wooster and co-author of the report. Essentially, the report emphasizes how the effects of climate change are pushing the human spirit almost to its breaking point, whether internally as an individual or as dispersed communities forced to live apart. Mental health practitioners are encouraged to respond to the seriously growing issue and address the link between mental health and climate change by becoming climate-literate professionals and leaders in their own professional communities. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Rodriguez-Palacios A.,College of Wooster
Animal health research reviews / Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases | Year: 2013

Many articles have summarized the changing epidemiology of Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) in humans, but the emerging presence of C. difficile in foods and animals and possible measures to reduce human exposure to this important pathogen have been infrequently addressed. CDIs have traditionally been assumed to be restricted to health-care settings. However, recent molecular studies indicate that this is no longer the case; animals and foods might be involved in the changing epidemiology of CDIs in humans; and genome sequencing is disproving person-to-person transmission in hospitals. Although zoonotic and foodborne transmission have not been confirmed, it is evident that susceptible people can be inadvertently exposed to C. difficile from foods, animals, or their environment. Strains of epidemic clones present in humans are common in companion and food animals, raw meats, poultry products, vegetables, and ready-to-eat foods, including salads. In order to develop science-based prevention strategies, it is critical to understand how C. difficile reaches foods and humans. This review contextualizes the current understanding of CDIs in humans, animals, and foods. Based on available information, we propose a list of educational measures that could reduce the exposure of susceptible people to C. difficile. Enhanced educational efforts and behavior change targeting medical and non-medical personnel are needed.

Lynn S.E.,College of Wooster
Hormones and Behavior | Year: 2016

This article is part of a Special Issue "Parental Care". Although paternal care is generally rare among vertebrates, care of eggs and young by male birds is extremely common and may take on a variety of forms across species. Thus, birds provide ample opportunities for investigating both the evolution of and the proximate mechanisms underpinning diverse aspects of fathering behavior. However, significant gaps remain in our understanding of the endocrine and neuroendocrine influences on paternal care in this vertebrate group. In this review, I focus on proximate mechanisms of paternal care in birds. I place an emphasis on specific hormones that vary predictably and/or unpredictably during the parental phase in both captive and wild birds: prolactin and progesterone are generally assumed to enhance paternal care, whereas testosterone and corticosterone are commonly-though not always correctly-assumed to inhibit paternal care. In addition, because endocrine secretions are not the sole mechanistic influence on paternal behavior, I also explore potential roles for certain neuropeptide systems (specifically the oxytocin-vasopressin nonapeptides and gonadotropin inhibitory hormone) and social and experiential factors in influencing paternal behavior in birds. Ultimately, mechanistic control of fathering behavior in birds is complex, and I suggest specific avenues for future research with the goal of narrowing gaps in our understanding of this complexity. Such avenues include (1) experimental studies that carefully consider not only endocrine and neuroendocrine mechanisms of paternal behavior, but also the ecology, phylogenetic history, and social context of focal species; (2) investigations that focus on individual variation in both hormonal and behavioral responses during the parental phase; (3) studies that investigate mechanisms of maternal and paternal care independently, rather than assuming that the mechanistic foundations of care are similar between the sexes; (4) expansion of work on interactions of the neuroendocrine system and fathering behavior to a wider array of paternal behaviors and taxa (e.g., currently, studies of the interactions of testosterone and paternal care largely focus on songbirds, whereas studies of the interactions of corticosterone, prolactin, and paternal care in times of stress focus primarily on seabirds); and (5) more deliberate study of exceptions to commonly held assumptions about hormone-paternal behavior interactions (such as the prevailing assumptions that elevations in androgens and glucocorticoids are universally disruptive to paternal care). Ultimately, investigations that take an intentionally integrative approach to understanding the social, evolutionary, and physiological influences on fathering behavior will make great strides toward refining our understanding of the complex nature by which paternal behavior in birds is regulated. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: OFFICE OF SPECIAL PROGRAMS-DMR | Award Amount: 287.89K | Year: 2016

The purpose of the Wooster REU site is to enable undergraduates and faculty to work closely together on original, publishable research involving a broad range of materials science, physics, and chemistry projects. Wooster is a liberal arts college long recognized for its mentored undergraduate research. The faculty have designed on-going research programs that are both innovative and accessible to undergraduates. Dedicated and individualized mentoring in the tools, techniques, and process of research trains and inspires young students to persist in science while contributing to publishable research. The site specifically targets beginning students, often having completed just one year of college, and often from institutions where research opportunities are scarce; it encourages the full participation of women and underrepresented groups by providing a vibrant supportive environment, and it has partnered with nearby two-year colleges to recruit students who might otherwise not major in a science or even complete college. Each student takes ownership of an individual project, conducts original research, and becomes a practicing scientist through the research project, oral and poster presentations, and written reports.

The purpose of the Wooster REU site is to provide an environment for young students to learn the tools and techniques of scientific research while working closely with a faculty mentor on exciting and publishable research projects. The research spans a broad range of fields including condensed matter, granular materials, nanowires, spatiotemporal pattern formation, light-emitting polymers, quantum optics, nonlinear dynamics, and astrophysics. It uses experimental, computational, and theoretical techniques. Highlights include controlling spatio-temporal dynamics with noise and disorder, experimentally realizing arrays of one-way coupled oscillators, and understanding granular flows using bead piles. Research projects are intentionally designed so that even novice undergraduates can make significant scientific contributions. Past summer research has contributed to 32 scientific papers involving 54 undergraduate coauthors in journals such as Physical Review. Results have been featured twice on the cover of the American Journal of Physics and in news stories in Physical Review Focus and Nature News. Student researchers are trained in research skills including critical thinking, data analysis, and scientific writing.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING | Award Amount: 74.10K | Year: 2014

1336062 / 1336165 / 1336604

Urbanization has resulted in many aquatic ecosystems becoming impacted by effluent discharges from wastewater treatment plants. In recent years, treated wastewater effluent has been identified as a pathway for endocrine active compounds, including hormones and pharmaceuticals, to enter aquatic ecosystem with adverse effects for the health of exposed fish populations. Despite these dramatic alterations to pre-industrial conditions, effluent dominated systems sustain many fish species and are used by the human population for recreation. Updates to the wastewater infrastructure supplying these urban aquatic ecosystems cannot accomplish restoration to pristine condition, and instead need to strive for the greatest cost-benefit of the infrastructure investment. This project explores the idea that large-scale wastewater infrastructure improvements will reduce overall endocrine active compound concentrations in an effluent dominated urban aquatic ecosystem and, thus, will enhance the sustainability of fish populations despite continued presence and inputs of these compounds. A case study will examine the efficacy of upgrading two major wastewater treatment plants in the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area to disinfection (Ultraviolet (UV); chlorination/dechlorination). This aquatic ecosystem has been the focus of intense biological and chemical study for several years and provides a unique opportunity to assess (i) how two approaches to effluent disinfection will reduce endocrine active compound loads in the final effluent; (ii) how estrogenicity, a measure of the total biological activity in the system, is affected by the upgrades to two treatment plants contributing roughly 50% of all effluent in the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area; (iii) how the two treatment technologies (UV vs. chlorination/dechlorination) compare in their efficacy of removing endocrine active compounds from the final treated effluent; and (iv) how adverse biological effects in exposed fish will be mitigated.

This project will address an understudied area in the environmental sciences that has a direct impact on the majority of our population, which resides in urban areas with effluent dominated ecosystems. The ability to study the effects of two disinfection technologies side-by-side in two size-matched urban wastewater treatment plants will provide efficacy information to wastewater treatment plant engineers and will help guide investment into future infrastructure upgrades. Urban ecosystems will benefit from a better understanding of how technology can help to reduce the environmental loads of endocrine active compounds and provide for sustainable fish populations.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: PALEOCLIMATE PROGRAM | Award Amount: 146.48K | Year: 2015

Generally, this award aims to apply a novel analytical technique to a millennial-scale tree-ring data from existing and newly-obtained sample archives to yield reconstructions of past temperature variability closely linked to dominant modes of climatic forcing, such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The researchers are targeting three climatically-sensitive regions where tree-ring width (RW) records of this length are available in existing sample archives from the Gulf of Alaska in southern Alaska, Sukakpak in northern Alaska, and northwestern Canada (Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta). The resulting climate reconstructions will be compared with climate model outputs to examine spatiotemporal patterns in response to climate forcing (particularly volcanoes), identify uncertainties, and test hypotheses regarding internal and forced modes of variability.

This award will generate a suite of novel, maximum latewood density (MXD) chronologies for these sites using the Blue Intensity (BI) parameter, which is substantially less costly and labor intensive yet retains the accuracy and resolution of traditional MXD techniques. There are few sub-millennial to millennial scale MXD-based chronologies currently existing for this vast region. The researchers argue that the resulting BI chronologies, based on living and subfossil wood material, will yield robust records of past climatic extremes, trends and shifts in past temperature, spatiotemporal expressions of internal Pacific variability, as well as details regarding the external climate forcing over northwestern North America for the past millennium.

The research project has broad impact in four key aspects, namely:

First, this project will synthesize a network of climatically-sensitive tree-ring records from across northwestern North America to yield high-resolution, strongly calibrated reconstructions on past climate variability from intra-seasonal to Decadal to Centennial time scales. These dendroclimatic reconstructions will mainly be developed using existing data that will be processed to extract new information using the new BI technique, along with the development of field temperature reconstructions. Tree-ring data will be compared to model output and other proxy records and made available to the modeling community. This research will help advance a broader understanding of the long-term variability of climate over the past millennium for one of the most rapidly changing regions of the globe.

Second, scientific results from the project will be archived and provided to the scientific community through the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) and International Tree-Ring Data Bank (ITRDB).

Third, as appropriate, the researchers will engage with native groups in Alaska. In the past, the PIs have interacted extensively with northern communities by involving native peoples in research and plan to continue to do so for this project. The potential research outcomes could have relevance to native populations and the data and interpretations will be available to relevant communities (community groups, e.g. Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Cooperative, http://www.taiga.net/coop/index.html).

Fourth, the project will support undergraduate and graduate students as part of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program and the student program at The College of Wooster. The support of undergraduate students would allow for an early experience in research.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ANALYSIS PROGRAM | Award Amount: 23.96K | Year: 2017

This award provides funding to help defray the expenses of participants in the the Summer Symposium in Real Analysis XLI that will be held June 18-24, 2017, on the campus of the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. For additional information, see one of the following two websites:


This annual conference, which began in 1978 and of which the 2017 meeting will be the forty-first installment, is considered to be the premier conference of its type by the members of the real analysis community. The featured speakers in the 2017 event include Bruce Hanson, Mikhail Korobkov, Assaf Naor, and Artur Nicolau. They will address topics ranging from differentiability properties of functions to the geometry of Banach spaces. The program allows ample time for junior mathematicians to present their work.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 343.70K | Year: 2016

With this award from the Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) and support from the Chemistry Research Instrumentation Program (CRIF), Professor Paul Bonvallet from College of Wooster and colleagues Judith Amburgey-Peters, Mark Snider, Sarah Sobeck and Spring Knapp have acquired a 400 MHz NMR spectrometer equipped with a broadband probe. This spectrometer allows research in a variety of fields such as those that accelerate chemical reactions of significant economic importance, as well as the study of biologically relevant species. In general, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is one of the most powerful tools available to chemists for the study of the structure of molecules. It is used to identify unknown substances, to characterize specific arrangements of atoms within molecules, and to study the dynamics of interactions between molecules in solution or in the solid state. The results from these NMR studies have an impact in synthetic organic/inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry, forensics and biochemistry. This instrument is an integral part of teaching as well as research performed by undergraduate students via independent student research and traditional academic coursework.

The award is aimed at enhancing research and education at all levels, especially in: (a) synthesizing small-molecule analogues of the phospholipid phosphatidylserine; (b) designing supramolecular chemistry of light-activated molecular containers, (c) studying dehydrogenative coupling reactions to improve atom economy in organic synthesis, (d) studying diastereoselective syntheses using multi-component reactions, (e) elucidating enzymatic mechanisms in nicotinate biodegradation by aerobic bacteria, and (f) probing the influence of the molecular environment on the photochemistry of ultraviolet absorbers.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 107.41K | Year: 2014

PI: Lehman

PI: Dahmen

This collaborative project aims at understanding the effect of cohesion on the avalanche statistics in granular materials, and at predicting or minimizing catastrophic avalanches. Experimental results obtained with simple granular bead piles with tunable cohesion will be compared with the predictions of simulations and theoretical models.

The project will systematically study the effects of cohesion on the statistics of slip avalanches on bead piles. Past work has focused on the dynamics of non-cohesive granular materials; new preliminary results show that cohesion can lead to catastrophic effects that cannot be treated as a small perturbation to the non-cohesive studies. The College of Wooster has developed a unique experimental apparatus utilizing magnetic fields to systematically vary the cohesion between steel beads, and the University of Illinois has developed an analytical mean-field model with one shear-stress weakening parameter to model the effects of cohesion on granular materials. The collaborative effort between the two institutions will explore the universal (i.e. detail-independent) effects of cohesion on avalanches and will identify the experimental tuning parameters that determine the size and probability of the catastrophically large avalanches. The experimental system consists of beads that are slowly dropped onto a conical pile that occasionally avalanches. The analysis focuses on statistical properties of the avalanches, such as the probability of particular avalanche sizes and durations, the time between avalanches, and size and recurrence time of the largest events. All of these properties are measured as a function of the amount of cohesion, the amount of initially added energy, the size of the pile, and other experimental parameters. The analytical part of the project uses tools from the theory of phase transitions and the renormalization group to derive predictions for the intermittent avalanches.

Cohesion is relevant to a wide variety of avalanching systems, and these results could ultimately be used to minimize the occurrence of hazardous, catastrophic avalanches in these systems. Understanding the effect of cohesion will also allow better control over the flow of powders, sands, building materials, and agricultural grains.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: RSCH EXPER FOR UNDERGRAD SITES | Award Amount: 44.51K | Year: 2016

This REU Site award to the College of Wooster (Wooster, OH), Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, OH), Kenyon College (Gambier, OH) and Earlham College (Richmond, IN) will support 16 students for 9 weeks during the summers of 2016-2018. This project is supported by the Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI) in the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) and the Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences(SBE). The research theme in the broad area of neuroscience include projects such as genetic model systems, neuromodulation, cellular responses to neurotrauma, rodent behavioral assessment, and cognitive and stress neuroscience. Participating labs are located in Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology departments. The diverse student research projects span the biological and social sciences, including gene expression studies during nervous system development in Drosophila, regulation of sodium channel expression in lamprey neurons, the effect of nitric oxide synthase on olfactory neurons in the fleshfly, computational modeling of the microglia-astrocyte-neuron system, and studies of action video games (AVGs) on executive functioning and perceptual ability. All of these projects contribute to important basic and applied research with the AVG project providing a thorough scientific investigation of effects and potential transfer of acquired skills to other contexts using a combined behavioral and psychophysiological approach. Students will participate in a full-time, mentored, team-based research project. A 3-day opening workshop will introduce students to the research theme, development of research plans, and data management. In addition, students will be trained on the responsible conduct of research. Participants will gather weekly either virtually or at one of the participating institutions for research updates, demonstrations, and professional development in writing CVs, attending and presenting at scientific meetings, local outreach, career planning, and applying to graduate programs. Students will present their findings at a research symposium at the conclusion of the program. Housing, a stipend, and meal and travel allowances will be provided. Students will be selected based on their interest in research, academic record, and other factors.

It is anticipated that a total of 48 students, primarily from schools with limited research opportunities, will be trained over a period of 3 years. Students, especially those from groups that are typically underrepresented in science, are encouraged to apply. Students will learn how research is conducted, data analyzed, and results presented to both scientific and public audiences.

A common web-based assessment tool used by all REU programs funded by the Division of Biological Infrastructure (Directorate for Biological Sciences) will be used to determine the effectiveness of the program. Students will be tracked after the program in order to determine their career paths. Students will be asked to respond to an automatic email sent via the NSF reporting system. More information about the program is available at http://nsfreuneuroscience.voices.wooster.edu, or by contacting the PI (Dr. Amy Jo Stavnezer at ajstavnezer@wooster.edu) or the co-PI (Dr. Jennifer Yates at jryates@owu.edu).

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