Normal, IL, United States
Normal, IL, United States

Illinois State University , founded in 1857, is the oldest public university in Illinois, United States; it is located in the town of Normal. ISU grants a variety of doctoral degrees, emphasizes teaching, and encourages faculty to conduct additional research. ISU is also recognized as one of the top ten largest producers of teachers in the US according to the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. The ISU athletic teams are members of the Missouri Valley Conference and the Missouri Valley Football Conference and are known as the "Redbirds," in reference to the state bird, the cardinal. Wikipedia.

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Gershman S.N.,Illinois State University
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2012

Nuptial food gifts function to enhance male fertilization success, but their consumption is not always beneficial to females. In decorated crickets, the spermatophore transferred at mating includes a gelatinous mass, the spermatophylax, which is consumed by females after mating. However, females often discard spermatophylaxes shortly after mating, whereupon they terminate sperm transfer. We hypothesized that females discard gifts based on their assessment of the gift itself, and specifically the composition of free amino acids. We tested this hypothesis by comparing spermatophylaxes discarded by females after mating with those that were destined to be fully consumed, and employed multivariate selection analysis to quantify the strength and form of multivariate sexual selection operating on the free amino acid composition of gifts. The analysis yielded a saddle-shaped fitness surface with two local peaks. Different amino acid profiles appear to elicit continued feeding on the spermatophylax either because they offer the same level of gustatory appeal, or because they differentially affect both the gustatory appeal and texture of the spermatophylax. We conclude that the gustatory response of females to males' nuptial food gifts represents an important avenue of post-copulatory mate choice, imposing significant sexual selection on the free amino acid composition of the spermatophylax.

Payne J.E.,Illinois State University
Applied Energy | Year: 2010

This study discusses the various hypotheses associated with the causal relationship between electricity consumption and economic growth along with a survey of the empirical literature. The survey focuses on country coverage, variables selected and model specification, econometric approaches, various methodological issues, and empirical results. The results for the specific countries surveyed show that 31.15% supported the neutrality hypothesis; 27.87% the conservation hypothesis; 22.95% the growth hypothesis; and 18.03% the feedback hypothesis. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

This paper examines the new forms of regulation and resistance accompanying the expanding extractive frontier in Andean Peru. It does so through an analysis of a process of community mobilization at the Pierina gold mine in the region of Ancash that was aimed at transforming the conditions under which area residents labored at the mine. The article documents the complex ways in which the emergence of neoliberalized forms of resource governance has affected the terrain of mining-related sociopolitical struggle at Pierina, both allowing the mining firm to consolidate authority in the arena of mine-community relations, while also establishing certain conditions for residents to pursue their interests collectively. An analysis of the Pierina case suggests that efforts to forge more just and equitable political economies of mineral development must not only challenge the neoliberalization of resource governance, but also confront the underlying socio-ecological contradictions of contemporary capitalist resource development. © 2012 The Author. Antipode. © 2012 Antipode Foundation Ltd.

Steiger S.,Illinois State University
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2011

Although chemical communication is the most widespread form of communication, its evolution and diversity are not well understood. By integrating studies of a wide range of terrestrial plants and animals, we show that many chemicals are emitted, which can unintentionally provide information (cues) and, therefore, act as direct precursors for the evolution of intentional communication (signals). Depending on the content, design and the original function of the cue, there are predictable ways that selection can enhance the communicative function of chemicals. We review recent progress on how efficacy-based selection by receivers leads to distinct evolutionary trajectories of chemical communication. Because the original function of a cue may channel but also constrain the evolution of functional communication, we show that a broad perspective on multiple selective pressures acting upon chemicals provides important insights into the origin and dynamic evolution of chemical information transfer. Finally, we argue that integrating chemical ecology into communication theory may significantly enhance our understanding of the evolution, the design and the content of signals in general.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Chemical Synthesis | Award Amount: 320.00K | Year: 2015

With this award, the Chemical Synthesis program is supporting Professor Timothy Lash at Illinois State University to explore the synthesis, characterization, and reactivity of porphyrin-like macrocycles. Porphyrins are large-ring heterocycles which possess many valuable properties and have applications in materials science, catalysis and medicine. Porphyrins are widely distributed in nature as catalytic sites in enzymes. Far less research has been reported on porphyrin-like macrocycles or porphyrinoids even though these systems demonstrate properties that complement those of true porphyrins. This research will lead to more efficient routes to carbaporphyrinoid systems, in which one nitrogen is replaced by carbon, and will also provide access to new classes of porphyrin analogues. These projects will improve our understanding of fundamental chemistry concepts such as aromaticity. The new porphyrinoids may find applications in the preparation of fine chemicals, since metalated derivatives can be used to construct catalysts for chemical synthesis. Broader impacts of this research lie in applications of these new substances and in student training. The target compounds have potential medicinal applications as photosensitizers in photodynamic therapy. These projects provide an excellent environment for training undergraduates and M.S.-level graduate students in the field of organic synthesis. Students will be exposed to the multidisciplinary nature of modern scientific research.

In this research, synthetic routes to novel carbaporphyrins and related porphyrinoids, including neo-confused porphyrins, carbachlorins and dicarbaporphyrinoids, will be developed. Further application of the [3 + 1]-variant on the MacDonald reaction will allow the synthesis of porphyrinoids with pyranone, phenalene, pyrene and benz[f]indene units, and these studies will be extended to the preparation of fused carbaporphyrinoid dimers. A new synthetic approach to carbaporphyrinoids will also be developed using carbatripyrrin intermediates. This strategy will allow more direct access to carbaporphyrins, heterocarbaporphyrins and dicarbaporphyrins starting from indene or cyclopentadiene. Carbachlorins have been little studied to date, and new routes to dihydroporphyrinoids will also be developed. Carbachlorins have useful properties in their own right and may also act as precursors to carbaporphyrins. Furthermore, syntheses of adj-dicarbaporphyrins will be investigated using a base catalyzed MacDonald [2 + 2]-approach and attempts will be made to prepare tri- and tetracarbaporphyrinoid systems. The properties of this new collection of macrocycles will be investigated.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: AMO Theory/Atomic, Molecular & | Award Amount: 200.00K | Year: 2015

During the last years numerous laboratories worldwide have begun to develop high-powered laser systems to create electromagnetic radiation pulses that are so energetic that new avenues to probe and control the states of matter can be tested soon. The research team at Illinois State University plans to accompany these developments with ab initio computer simulations that can provide microscopic insight into the relativistic interaction of electrons and positrons with photons with full temporal as well as spatial resolution. A better understanding of these fundamental processes might open new ways to control atomic, chemical and even biological processes on very short time scales. An important mission for the grant is also to give undergraduate students the opportunity to gain research experience. This educational experience provides them with important skills including working as a team, gaining the endurance, intellectual flexibility and experience to tackle serious research problems, and communicating results in conferences and publications.

The computer simulations are obtained by solving the coupled set of Dirac-Maxwell equations of relativistic quantum electrodynamics on a numerical space-time grid. These non-perturbative large-scale calculations are very CPU time consuming but have become possible due to recent progress in the development of specialized numerical algorithms for massively parallel computers. The calculations are performed in Illinois and also at the XSEDE supercomputer cluster in Texas. A specific goal of the current grant is to simulate for the first time the laser-field induced electron-positron pair-creation process for a general situation for which the attractive Coulomb force between the two created particles is taken into account. Preliminary simulations for simplified model systems suggest that our present theoretical understanding of this process might need to be revised as this (so far neglected) inter-particle force might play a major role for the dynamics.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 1.44M | Year: 2016

With funding from the National Science Foundations Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, ISUs Noyce Scholarships for STEM Teachers of Under-Represented Groups is recruiting undergraduate STEM majors in agriculture, biology, chemistry, earth and space science, mathematics, physics, technology & engineering and preparing them to become grades 6-12 Science or Math teachers. The project will fund 40 Scholars over 5 years, with $10,000 scholarships in their junior and senior year as Noyce Scholars along with the opportunity to earn a $3000 research internship during their junior year (as a paid intern in one of the universitys research laboratories) and a $1560 teaching internship during the summer (co-teaching a STEM summer camp to 6-8th graders from the Valley View School District). Illinois State University (ILU) is partnering with Joliet Junior College (JJC) and Valley View School District of the Chicago Unified School District to both recruit sophomore STEM majors from the junior college and ISU to become NOYCE Scholars (earning both a degree as a STEM major and a secondary teaching credential) and to interest junior high students in STEM teaching as a career. The primary objectives of this project are to: increase the number of students from under-represented groups seeking a STEM major and a secondary credential, increase the transfer rate of students from JJC to ISU to seek a STEM secondary credential, develop Noyce Scholars conceptual knowledge of STEM in order to effectively implement the Next Generation Science Standards, develop Scholars skills in teaching a diverse student body, develop Scholars understanding of the nature of science, develop Scholars self-efficacy toward STEM teaching, and increase middle school students interest in attending college and pursuing a STEM career.

Ninety-four percent (94%) of the 50 graduates from a previous ISU Noyce program (centered on urban high needs schools in the city of Chicago) are still teaching in these high-needs urban schools. The current project will enable ISU to use the lessons learned from that urban based project to expand their efforts to serve a suburban high-needs district and to benefit a student population whose importance is just beginning to be realized, students from groups currently underrepresented in the STEM teaching field who might not have otherwise considered attending ISU and/or seeking a secondary teaching credential to teach a STEM discipline. Furthermore, it will support two new partnerships: one between ISU and a diverse, high-need school district that previously had few interactions with ISU and another between ISU and Joliet Junior College, which should increase the transfer rate from one of Illinoiss largest community colleges to ISU. Assessment activities will feature a quasi-experimental design. Experimental groups will comprise ISU Noyce Scholars and summer camp participants while comparison group will comprise ISU non-Noyce scholars and non-summer camp participants, respectively. ISU non-Noyce Scholars will be recruited from their teacher education programs in STEM disciplines. The summer camp comparison group will be recruited from middle school students who did not attend the camp. A mixed-method (quantitative and qualitative data collection) approach will be used to provide a comprehensive analysis of the effectiveness of the project, and provide an in-depth interpretation of the overall results.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 1.45M | Year: 2017

The Midwest Regional Robert Noyce Connections convening will strengthen connections among funded Noyce projects in the Midwest region through expanding impact from the local areas influenced by the individual projects to a larger region throughout the Midwest. The Midwest region includes more than 62 active Noyce projects across 15 states (Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin). Specific goals of the project include: (1) increasing the personal and professional connections among Midwest Noyce project members and Noyce Scholars across the region and (2) enhancing the scholarship of teaching and learning among Noyce projects and scholars. Project goals will be accomplished through facilitating an annual regional Noyce conference in 2017, 2018, and 2019 in addition to a suite of year-round networking activities for Robert Noyce project personnel and participants in the Midwestern region.

The three conferences will bring together Noyce investigators, pre-service and in-service Noyce Scholars, school district personnel, and project evaluation and assessment experts to share lessons learned and use lessons learned to impact the larger Noyce community. Each annual conference will draw approximately 200 participants from the Midwest region. Year-round activities will support the building of strong communities of practice by providing additional opportunities for Noyce personnel and Noyce Scholars to learn and communicate with one another through social networking and other connecting activities. This project will provide a continuing opportunity for the STEM education community to develop high quality evidence-based communities of practice in areas of high need via the annual Midwest Regional Noyce Connections in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: AMO Theory/Atomic, Molecular & | Award Amount: 105.00K | Year: 2015

The study of atomic collisions provides important information about one of the fundamental forces of nature. The results of atomic collisions research are widely used in fields such as plasma physics, astrophysics, biophysics, and many other areas. In addition to providing a better overall understanding of heavy-ion collisions, which is the principal focus of the effort, this work will bring a well-known technique from other areas of physics into atomic and molecular collisions research, and possibly lead to additional overlap and collaborations between the atomic collisions community and other related fields. Another important aspect of this project is the inclusion of undergraduate students in cutting-edge research. By participating in this project, students will gain valuable hands-on research experience through code development and data analysis. They will also present their results at regional and national conferences, which will hopefully give them a more global view of scientific research.

The few-body problem is one of the most fundamental, unsolved problems in physics. When more than two particles interact through the Coulomb force, the dynamics of the system cannot be described exactly. As a result, theory must resort to approximations, and any discrepancies that result between theory and experiment must be a result of the approximations. A comparison of current theoretical models with recent experimental results reveals some striking limitations of the current models. In particular, the dynamics of collisions in which some of the collision fragments are found in a full 3-dimensional geometry is not understood. The underlying mechanism behind these 3-dimensional collisions is known to be a result of quantum mechanical effects, but current theories cannot accurately describe the collision dynamics. The objective of this project is to develop a novel quantum mechanical theoretical model for the study of ion-impact atomic collisions through the use of the path integral technique. The path integral method is a well-known technique used in other areas of physics, but has not been applied to the study of heavy-ion collisions. This particular technique will allow for the inclusion of important quantum mechanical interactions, as well as provide an intuitive understanding of particle trajectories during the collision.

The technical details of the project include the development of a computational model using the path integral method for ionization and capture processes with heavy-ion projectiles. The method will utilize an expansion of the Lagrangian around the classical path, where the deviation from the classical path represents the quantum fluctuations of the particle. For electron capture collisions, the role of the projectile-nuclear interaction and target electron correlation will be studied. Electron capture collisions with high projectile energy and large scattering angle will also be studied with the objective of better understanding the Thomas mechanism, and determining if possible diffraction effects exist in these collisions. For ionization processes, collisions in which the ejected electron is found outside of the scattering plane will be studied, with a focus on projectile-nuclear interactions and the role of close collisions between the projectile and the target nucleus.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Genetic Mechanisms | Award Amount: 264.65K | Year: 2016

This project investigates two genes in the fungus Neurospora crassa, one that kills fungal spores and another that prevents spore killing. While these two genes can be thought of as forming a poison and antidote system, their purpose is unclear. Are they beneficial for the fungus or are they detrimental? It seems they have formed a selfish partnership whose killing and resistance properties allow the two genes to be transmitted to every one of the organisms offspring, even when only one parent of a mating pair possesses the genes. The primary goal of this project is to determine how these genes, poison and antidote, achieve this remarkable feat. Additionally, the two genes appear to have driven a major reorganization of the chromosome in which they reside. Therefore, a secondary goal of the project is to investigate the hypothesis that selfish genes are major drivers of genome reorganization in eukaryotic organisms. The primary goal will be pursued by a team of scientists, graduate students, and undergraduate students at Illinois State University in Central Illinois, while the secondary goal will be pursued by the same team in collaboration with evolutionary biologists based in Sweden. In addition, a GK-12 STEM teacher from Central Illinois will assist with the project. Not only will this provide valuable research experience to the teacher, the PI and the teacher will design inquiry-based learning activities for GK-12 classrooms that involve experimentation with N. crassa and other harmless microorganisms.

The two genes under investigation in this study are rfk, the N. crassa spore killing gene, and rsk, the resistance gene. Although the boundaries of the rfk killing gene have not been precisely defined, the killing function has been tracked to a 1500 base pair fragment of DNA on the third chromosome of a strain called Sk 2. The rsk resistance gene is found on the same chromosome. Different rsk alleles exist in nature, and not all of them provide resistance to rfk. Additionally, rsk possesses features typical of protein-coding genes. For example, it possesses a clearly identifiable start codon, stop codon, and open reading frame. This is in stark contrast to the killer gene, which does not have obvious protein-coding features, and thus could produce either a toxic non-coding RNA or a toxic protein. The first aim of this project is to differentiate between these two possibilities and gather evidence on the mechanism of spore killing. First, six previously isolated rfk mutants will be sequenced to produce a catalog of mutations that disrupt killing; second, RNA sequencing will be employed to map transcripts from a functional rfk locus and to determine the global transcriptional changes associated with killing; third, the full-length rfk transcript will be cloned with Rapid Amplification of cDNA End (RACE) technology; fourth, site-directed mutagenesis will be used to determine if random insertion mutations are more disruptive of killing than random point mutations; fifth, a group of six point mutations, which are known to disrupt killing when all are found within the same rfk allele, will be repaired to determine which combination of the six is critical for loss of killing; and sixth, protein chimeras will be produced from resistant and non-resistant versions of RSK to determine which parts of the resistance protein are critical for function. The second aim of this project is to perform the same set of experiments on a different strain called Sk-3. Together, the two aims of this proposal will define the borders of the killing gene, determine if the killer gene product is a toxic RNA or a protein, provide a catalog of mutations that disrupt spore killing, identify transcriptional changes associated with the spore killing mechanism, and identify critical regions of the protein required for resistance, all for Sk-2 and Sk-3, two models of selfish gene function and evolution.

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