Newport, WA, United States
Newport, WA, United States

The University of Puget Sound is a private liberal arts college located in the North End of Tacoma, Washington, in the United States. It is the only national, independent undergraduate liberal arts college in Western Washington.Puget Sound offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Education, Master of Occupational Therapy, and Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees. The college draws approximately 2,600 students from 44 states and 16 countries. It offers 1,200 courses each year in more than 50 traditional and interdisciplinary areas of study.In 2012 Puget Sound was named one of 40 schools nationwide in the college guide Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. The guide cites the college's dynamic curriculum, close interaction between students and professors, ideal location, and enduring success of its alumni as qualities that set it apart from other schools.Ties to The United Methodist Church remain, though the college is no longer officially affiliated with the church and the board of trustees is independently elected. Wikipedia.


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Madlung A.,University of Puget Sound
Heredity | Year: 2013

Polyploidy, the condition of possessing more than two complete genomes in a cell, has intrigued biologists for almost a century. Polyploidy is found in many plants and some animal species and today we know that polyploidy has had a role in the evolution of all angiosperms. Despite its widespread occurrence, the direct effect of polyploidy on evolutionary success of a species is still largely unknown. Over the years many attractive hypotheses have been proposed in an attempt to assign functionality to the increased content of a duplicated genome. Among these hypotheses are the proposal that genome doubling confers distinct advantages to a polyploid and that these advantages allow polyploids to thrive in environments that pose challenges to the polyploid's diploid progenitors. This article revisits these long-standing questions and explores how the integration of recent genomic developments with ecological, physiological and evolutionary perspectives has contributed to addressing unresolved problems about the role of polyploidy. Although unsatisfactory, the current conclusion has to be that despite significant progress, there still isn't enough information to unequivocally answer many unresolved questions about cause and effect of polyploidy on evolutionary success of a species. There is, however, reason to believe that the increasingly integrative approaches discussed here should allow us in the future to make more direct connections between the effects of polyploidy on the genome and the responses this condition elicits from the organism living in its natural environment. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Sylling P.W.,University of Puget Sound
Medical Care | Year: 2014

BACKGROUND:: The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) began implementing a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model of care delivery in April 2010 through its Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) initiative. PACT represents a substantial system reengineering of VHA primary care and its potential effect on primary care provider (PCP) turnover is an important but unexplored relationship. This study examined the association between a system-wide PCMH implementation and PCP turnover.METHODS:: This was a retrospective, longitudinal study of VHA-employed PCPs spanning 29 calendar quarters before PACT and eight quarters of PACT implementation. PCP employment periods were identified from administrative data and turnover was defined by an indicator on the last quarter of each uncensored period. An interrupted time series model was used to estimate the association between PACT and turnover, adjusting for secular trend and seasonality, provider and job characteristics, and local unemployment. We calculated average marginal effects (AME), which reflected the change in turnover probability associated with PACT implementation.RESULTS:: The quarterly rate of PCP turnover was 3.06% before PACT and 3.38% after initiation of PACT. In adjusted analysis, PACT was associated with a modest increase in turnover (AME=4.0 additional PCPs per 1000 PCPs per quarter, P=0.004). Models with interaction terms suggested that the PACT-related change in turnover was increasing in provider age and experience.CONCLUSIONS:: PACT was associated with a modest increase in PCP turnover, concentrated among older and more experienced providers, during initial implementation. Our findings suggest that policymakers should evaluate potential workforce effects when implementing PCMH. © 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: PLANT FUNGAL & MICROB DEV MECH | Award Amount: 229.55K | Year: 2011

Plants produce flowers to complete their life cycle and to reproduce. Flower development requires genetic and structural changes in the tip of the plant shoot as the plant transitions from its vegetative to its reproductive stage. During this time, gene expression patterns also determine the overall arrangement of the flowers, called the inflorescence, into single organs, unbranched or branched clusters, or into compound structures. In most, but not all plant species, the reproductive branches terminate their growth after flowers have given rise to fruits. Our recent study of the oil seed plant Swedish thale-cress (Arabidopsis suecica), a species that normally produces single flower spikes, showed that under certain light conditions this termination is reversed and multiple compound flower spikes are instead produced. The central aim of this project is to understand the genetic mechanisms for this abnormal behavior. Using molecular techniques, including in situ hybridization, gene expression will be compared in normal and abnormal floral tissues, to determine if and how the different distribution of flower development genes leads to the differences in floral architecture. The hypothesis tested is that both strength of gene expression and the distribution of the gene products (the proteins) within the developing inflorescence are responsible for these changes. Understanding the genetic pathways controlling inflorescence development in commercially important oil seed plants could be applied to efforts to enhance seed yield. Creating types with more favorable inflorescence architectures might be useful in biofuel production, for example.

This project will provide outstanding training opportunities for undergraduate students. The project will be led by the University of Puget Sound, a primarily undergraduate institution, in collaboration with the University of Washington, and Heritage University, a minority-serving college in central Washington state.


The goal of the Life-Maker-Space incubator network is to create a unique learning environment for undergraduates to have a concept-to-creation-to-community experience, where they will learn biological principles in the classroom, design experiments to test hypotheses, prototype solutions for innovative ideas and create tools for implementation. Student learning will go beyond the classroom and involve engagement with the community and local schools to foster active exchange of resources, skills and experiences. This environment will be created through access to equipment from 3D-Printers to small electronics, via community-based workshops with designers, engineers and scientists, and opportunities to prototype designs developed in classrooms.

Maker-Spaces has been shown to encourage the drive for innovation and the production of novel tools. This Life-Maker-Space will provide a novel way to engage students in life-science education, where they will be exposed to hands-on innovation, design practices and technology. Undergraduate biology students will be provided with opportunities to work on real world applications through nuanced problem solving while collaborating with a wide range of people ranging from designers to engineers and community members. Undergraduates will learn to explain concepts to as well as collaborate with and mentor younger counterparts. This initiative will bring scientific work to the larger community and allow young students to interact with a non-academic audience in a safe environment. It will also allow students to think about how science fits within the larger context of the community.

A collaborative effort by the University of Puget Sound, the Tacoma Art Museum and the Science and Math Institute, The Life-Maker-Space will be a place where undergraduate and K-12 students can become innovators - applying their life-science knowledge towards developing novel instrumentation, prototypes and technologies that are affordable, educational and scalable. A shared space is envisioned where young life scientists will learn alongside engineers, designers and artists; an open space where knowledge and resources will be shared with the partners, local schools and the community; an innovative space - where new ideas will be tested and implemented.

This project is being jointly funded by the Directorate for Biological Sciences and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Division of Undergraduate Education as part of their efforts to address the challenges posed in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action (http://visionandchange/finalreport/).


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: MODULATION | Award Amount: 560.00K | Year: 2013

Neurons releasing Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) in the brain are the main controllers of reproduction and reproductive behavior in most vertebrates, including humans. Reproductive health, fertility and behavioral problems have been linked to abnormal development and function of the GnRH neuronal system. There is increasing evidence that endocrine disrupting chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA) - a synthetic estrogen in our environment - have deleterious effects on the reproductive systems and behaviors in many species. This study addresses how GnRH neuron development, physiology and reproductive behavior, are altered by chronic exposure to low levels of BPA. This project will use transgenic fish models, having GnRH neurons tagged with green fluorescent proteins, to address effects of chronic BPA exposure on: a) embryonic GnRH neuron development, b) physiology of adult GnRH neurons, and c) mating and social behavior. Experiments will use neural electrical recordings, confocal imaging, immunohistochemistry and behavioral observations. The project will result in understanding how endocrine disruptors modulate the GnRH system and suggest potential solutions for reproductive problems like ovarian dysfunction, miscarriages, pre-term births, precocious puberty and Kallmans syndrome.

This study will be the first to address the impact of BPA on GnRH neuron development, physiology, and function, in conjunction with whole animal behavior. Data and protocols from the study will be available to the academic community and the general public via the University of Puget Sound archives and the lab website (http://sidslab.wikispaces.com/). Undergraduate researchers will receive broad neuroscience training at the cell, circuit, and whole-animal levels, with ecological perspectives. K-12 students will be involved in intensive workshops, ongoing collaborative observational studies and regular seminars through outreach at public schools. The plan is to Excite, Educate, Engage by making participants excited about science, educated about neuroscience and the impact of environmental toxins, and engaged with the community and the environment.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: PLANT GENOME RESEARCH PROJECT | Award Amount: 625.62K | Year: 2014

PI: Andreas Madlung (University of Puget Sound)

Senior Collaborators: Lars Tomanek (California Polytechnical University - San Luis Obispo) and Lukas Mueller (Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research)

Plants respond both to external environmental and internal signals to optimize physiological processes that allow them to access water and nutrients from the ground and optimally orient their bodies for photosynthesis in three-dimensional space. Many developmental decisions are made within the first hours of emergence of the seedling from the ground. These decisions are in direct response to the seedlings environment, particularly with respect to the available light. Both light quantity and quality are sensed using elaborate light receptor mechanisms, which translate the obtained information into various growth responses. One of these light receptors is called phytochrome, which consists of a light-sensing molecule called the chromophore and an attached protein called the apoprotein. A small family of genes encodes multiple types of phytochrome apoproteins that can bind to additional identical or very similar molecules. These protein complexes can bind to DNA and direct the transcription of genes, thus ultimately allowing for a multitude of physiological responses in the plant. This project will use a genome wide approach to directly compare transcriptional and proteomic changes in tomato seedlings and several phytochrome mutants during early development. It is expected that this project will reveal novel functions of the lesser-studied phytochrome genes, and identify new interactions of light-response genes, both on the transcript and the protein level during early seedling responses to light.

Tomato is both a major agronomic crop and a model organism for the study of fleshy fruits. Understanding the molecular underpinnings of light-mediated responses during seedling establishment may in the future improve breeding or engineering of plants with enhanced structural integrity, optimized architecture, earlier (or later) flowering, and increased yield. Work on this project will be conducted primarily by undergraduates, and explicitly include students currently underrepresented in the sciences through a collaboration with Heritage University, a minority serving institution in central Washington. This project will provide these students with research experiences and training opportunities. Training workshops in molecular biology will also be held in rural Washington State to enhance educational opportunities in this remote area. Biological materials generated by this project will be publically available from the lead institution on request. Raw data will be made available to the public via appropriate, freely accessible repositories that include the NCBI Short Read Archive (SRA; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sra/) and Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo/) and the Sol Genomics Network (SGN; http://solgenomics.net/).


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: TECTONICS | Award Amount: 66.48K | Year: 2012

We are utilizing multiple disciplines in the Earth Sciences to better understand processes associated with the subduction of oceanic ridges at convergent plate boundaries. In particular, we are studying a well-preserved example of ancient ridge subduction in the Pacific Northwest, where we have an unprecedented opportunity to document a 20 million year history of ridge subduction phenomena from development of sedimentary basins to magmatism and metamorphism in the middle crust. This ancient example thus offers a critical compliment to studies of modern ridge subduction systems where deeper processes must be evaluated indirectly. We are testing a model of the changing position of the ridge from approximately 60 to 40 million years ago, a period that marks the transition from the Mesozoic North Cascades arc to modern Cascadia. We are also addressing several central questions for ridge subduction. 1) How do fore-arc sedimentary basins respond to changes in stresses and strains that accompany ridge subduction and jumps in the positions of oceanic ridges? 2) How is deformation, such as faulting, partitioned in space and time across the continental margin during ridge subduction? 3) What are the diagnostic geochemical features of magmas within a convergent margin after ridge subduction. As part of our research, we are using a geographic information system to reconstruct the distribution of geological features during the interval of 60-40 million years. We are making the digital paleotectonic and paleogeographic maps and data derived from this study available to other researchers and educators in order to allow others to build upon and supplement our efforts. In summary, this multidisciplinary collaborative research should provide significant contributions to understanding of processes associated with ridge subduction, a fundamental plate tectonic process, and the effects of ridge subduction on the Eocene tectonic evolution of the Pacific Northwest. Our project involves a collaboration between several universities of diverse character, including San Jose State University, University of Puget Sound, Northern Arizona University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Involvement of graduate and undergraduate students is a critical component of this project. Several undergraduate students are participating in the research. Their involvement includes participating in the geologic fieldwork, conducting individual research projects, traveling to other universities to use analytical facilities not available at their home institutions, and the preparation of undergraduate theses based on their research. The results are of the research are also being integrated in geologic classroom curricula as part of an advanced undergraduate course at the University of Puget Sound where students are studying the rocks collected during this study as part of a semester-long class project. Results of the research are being disseminated at professional society meetings (including student presentations on their research) and the peer-reviewed scientific literature.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: SEDIMENTARY GEO & PALEOBIOLOGY | Award Amount: 105.88K | Year: 2013

Technical description: The goal of this project is to test three models of faunal change in response to biotic and abiotic forcings during the transition to the modern grassland ecosystem in the Great Plains over the last 4.5 My: the Red Queen, the Court Jester, and the Equilibrium Theory of Island Biogeography. In doing so, we will answer four specific research questions: 1) Do long-term changes in local habitat or climate control taxonomic diversity dynamics? 2) Does climate change associated with the onset of Northern Hemisphere glaciation at 2.5 Ma impact diversity dynamics or the ecological structure of communities? 3) How do catastrophic events (major ashfalls) impact diversity dynamics and ecological structure of communities? 4) How are immigrant species accommodated in the ecological structure of the contemporary community? We will analyze diversity dynamics with an existing database of species occurrences in the Meade Basin, SW Kansas in relation to reconstructions of local paleoecology, paleoenvironment, and paleoclimate. We will characterize ecological structure of communities with body sizes estimated from tooth dimensions and trophic categories reconstructed from carbon isotope compositions of tooth enamel using laser ablation isotope ratio mass spectrometry and a novel combination of morphometric analyses based on high resolution microCT scans. Interpretation of paleodiet proxies will be constrained by isotopic and morphometric analyses of modern species with known diets and habitats from existing museum collections and live trapping in grasslands around Meade, KS. Paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic reconstructions will be based on a comprehensive suite of proxies measured on paleosol carbonates and bulk sediment samples collected in stratigraphic association with known fossil sites and major ashfalls: carbon isotope ratios of bulk organic matter, carbon and hydrogen isotope ratios of leaf wax n-alkanes, lignin phenol ratios, plant phytolith assemblages, carbonate clumped isotope paleothermometry, and paleosol elemental geochemistry and mineralogy. Paleoclimate proxies and isotopic data will be compared to output of regional scale, isotope-enabled paleoclimate simulations under various forcings. Finally, we will construct ecological niche models for modern mammal species and genera in the region and use paleoclimate model output to test how climate change may have forced range shifts and taxonomic turnover in the Meade record.

Non-technical description: Understanding the origin of modern communities is a fundamental goal of ecology, but reconstructing the history of communities that include species with stratigraphic durations on the scale of hundreds of thousands to millions of years necessarily requires data from the fossil record. Similarly, inferences about the paleoecology of past communities are most robust when informed by data from both living and fossil populations of extant species. Despite the logical connections between ecology and paleoecology, relatively few studies have bridged the gaps in the characteristic observational timescales and methodologies of these disciplines to achieve a comprehensive view of the long-term evolution of specific modern communities. The need to bridge these disciplinary gaps is increasingly pressing in the face of anthropogenic climate change and uncertainty about the magnitude and direction of responses by local communities. This project will examine the ecological, environmental, and climatic context of the origin of the modern small mammal community in the grasslands of the central USA over the last five million years. We will test the effects of both biological and non-biological factors on long-term taxonomic turnover and ecological change in a stratigraphic sequence of local communities using a combination of ecomorphology, biogeochemistry, paleoclimate modeling, and biogeography. This project will link evolution, ecology, and paleoecology with biogeochemistry to trace the emergence of a modern ecosystem over geological time.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Environmental Chemical Science | Award Amount: 230.99K | Year: 2013

The Environmental Chemical Sciences Program in the Chemistry Division at the National Science Foundation supports the research of Professor Steven Neshyba at the University of Puget Sound. The research project supports laboratory and theoretical studies into the surface morphology of rough crystalline ice. It is known that when ice crystals in atmospheric clouds (such as cirrus clouds) develop rough surfaces, the clouds tend to reflect more light. Critical details about this roughening remain elusive. This Research in an Undergraduate Institution (RUI) award will grow ice crystals inside a variable pressure scanning electron microscope, which will allow characterization of surface morphology at a resolution not possible using light microscopy. These investigations will assess the response of roughening to variations in temperature, vapor supersaturation, and impurities at the ice-vapor interface, and will provide the basis for modeling the shortwave scattering properties of such crystals. In terms of theory, an integrated molecular dynamics and reaction-diffusion approach to simulating the dynamics of viscinal ice-vapor interfaces will be developed. These simulation results will be used to test hypotheses about the mechanism of formation, morphological properties, and light-scattering consequences, of rough ice.

Undergraduates at the University of Puget Sound, as well as science teachers from Sammamish High School, will be engaged in the research as co-investigators and co-authors of scientific publications, and through collaboration with researchers at the Institute for Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. High school teachers will be funded to do research in Dr. Neshybas laboratory. This will help them to develop problem-based learning modules in their classrooms.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 347.12K | Year: 2015

With this award from the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) and Chemistry Research Instrumentation and Facilities (CRIF) programs, the University of Puget Sound will acquire a liquid chromatography mass spectrometer system (LC/MS). The system will be used to analyze the composition of samples obtained from various sources including those obtained from environmental and biological origins. Liquid chromatography (LC) separates a mixture into its individual components. Mass spectrometry (MS) then ionizes the components and determines their mass by measuring the mass to charge ratio (m/z) of the ions. This is a widely used analytical tool to identify what is the composition of a mixture or material. The instrument will be used by students in their research, training them with sophisticated, modern instrumentation. Students in laboratory courses will be trained in its use. In addition to its impact on the scientific curriculum at Puget Sound, the instrument will play a central role in a planned collaboration between Puget Sound and the Tacoma Science and Math Institute (SAMI), a magnet STEM high school.

This award has a environmental and biochemical research focus. The proposal is aimed at enhancing research especially in areas such as (a) probing changes in lipid expression in biofilms exposed to antimicrobial peptides; (b) quantifying illicit drugs and pharmaceutical metabolites in wastewater; (c) carrying out comparative transcriptomic and proteomic analysis of phytochrome responses in plants; (d) examining the role of bisphenol A in the modulation of the reproductive neuroendocrine system; and (e) assessing the correlation between trophic level and bioaccumulation of persistent organic pollutants at abandoned sawmill sites in the Puget Sound.

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