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Lexington, VA, United States

Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts university in Lexington, Virginia, United States.Washington and Lee's 325 acre campus sits at the heart of Lexington and abuts the Virginia Military Institute in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Allegheny Mountains. The rural campus is approximately 50 miles from Roanoke, Virginia, 140 miles from Richmond, Virginia, and 180 miles from Washington, DC.Washington and Lee was founded in 1749 as a small classical school by Scots-Irish Presbyterian pioneers, though currently the University maintains no religious affiliation. In 1796, George Washington endowed the struggling academy with a gift of stock. In gratitude, the school was renamed for the first United States President. In 1865, General Robert E. Lee served as president of the college until his death in 1870, prompting the college to be renamed as Washington and Lee University. Washington and Lee is the ninth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the second oldest in Virginia.The University consists of three academic units: The College; the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics; and the School of Law. The University hosts 23 intercollegiate athletic teams which compete as part of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference of the NCAA Division III. Wikipedia.

The health insurance exchange is the centerpiece of the insurance reforms created by the Affordable Care Act. The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is intended to create a marketplace for small, and perhaps eventually large, employers to purchase health insurance for their employees. This paper introduces a collection of articles that illuminate the need for small-business exchanges and discuss how they will function. The paper also describes the difficulties these exchanges will face, as well as the opportunities they will offer to states, employers, and individuals. The success or failure of small-business exchanges may well hinge on how states choose to address these challenges.

Liebgold E.B.,University of Virginia | Brodie III E.D.,University of Virginia | Cabe P.R.,Washington and Lee University
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2011

The local resource competition hypothesis and the local mate competition hypothesis were developed based on avian and mammalian systems to explain sex-biased dispersal. Most avian species show a female bias in dispersal, ostensibly due to resource defence, and most mammals show a male bias, ostensibly due to male-male competition. These findings confound phylogeny with mating strategy; little is known about sex-biased dispersal in other taxa. Resource defence and male-male competition are both intense in Plethodon cinereus, a direct-developing salamander, so we tested whether sex-biased dispersal in this amphibian is consistent with the local resource competition hypothesis (female-biased) or the local mate competition hypothesis (male-biased). Using fine-scale genetic spatial autocorrelation analyses, we found that females were philopatric, showing significant positive genetic structure in the shortest distance classes, with stronger patterns apparent when only territorial females were tested. Males showed no spatial genetic structure over the shortest distances. Mark-recapture observations of P. cinereus over 5 years were consistent with the genetic data: males dispersed farther than females during natal dispersal and 44% of females were recaptured within 1 m of their juvenile locations. We conclude that, in this population of a direct-developing amphibian, females are philopatric and dispersal is male-biased, consistent with the local mate competition hypothesis. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Bateman T.S.,University of Virginia | Hess A.M.,Washington and Lee University
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

Scientific journal publications, and their contributions to knowledge, can be described by their depth (specialized, domain-specific knowledge extensions) and breadth (topical scope, including spanning multiple knowledge domains). Toward generating hypotheses about how scientists' personal dispositions would uniquely predict deeper vs. broader contributions to the literature, we assumed that conducting broader studies is generally viewed as less attractive (e.g., riskier) than conducting deeper studies. Study 1 then supported our assumptions: the scientists surveyed considered a hypothetical broader study, compared with an otherwise-comparable deeper study, to be riskier, a less-significant opportunity, and of lower potential importance; they further reported being less likely to pursue it and, in a forced choice, most chose to work on the deeper study. In Study 2, questionnaire measures of medical researchers' personal dispositions and 10 y of PubMed data indicating their publications' topical coverage revealed how dispositions differentially predict depth vs. breadth. Competitiveness predicted depth positively, whereas conscientiousness predicted breadth negatively. Performance goal orientation predicted depth but not breadth, and learning goal orientation contrastingly predicted breadth but not depth. Openness to experience positively predicted both depth and breadth. Exploratory work behavior (the converse of applying and exploiting one's current knowledge) predicted breadth positively and depth negatively. Thus, this research distinguishes depth and breadth of published knowledge contributions, and provides new insights into how scientists' personal dispositions influence research processes and products. © 2015, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

With this award from the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program, Drs. Watson, LaRiviere, Stewart, Erickson, Turner and ten colleagues from the Departments of Biology, Psychology, Physics and Engineering, and Computer Science, along with the Programs in Neuroscience, Biochemistry, and Environmental Sciences at Washington and Lee University (W&L), Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and Mary Baldwin College (MBC) will acquire an Olympus Fluoview 1000 (FV1000) Spectral Confocal Live Cell System for research and training across the sciences. This confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) will form the foundation of the newly created communal microscopy, imaging, and computational core of a projected Interdisciplinary Quantitative Science Center that is part of a long-range, grant-funded initiative at W&L which promotes mathematical modeling, bioinformatics, and data analysis. The confocal microscope will enable fifteen researchers from three schools to expand their ability to detect, quantify, and localize gene products and to study biological structures, thereby expanding the scope of existing research agendas and developing new as well as collaborative research opportunities. Specifically, the confocal microscope will facilitate and impact the following areas: 1) the study of different aspects of synaptic connectivity and influences on neuronal wiring in the brain and central nervous system, 2) eukaryotic nonfunctional ribosomal RNA decay pathways, 3) effects of hormone regulation in the developing cardiovascular system and sexual differentiation, 4) mechanism of Ca++ regulation, 5) reconstruction of glandular morphology of terrestrial invertebrates, 6) ultrastructural analysis of single-celled eukaryotes, 7) rapid assessment of otolith structure in new fish species, 8) comparison of the formation of dense core secretory granules cells, 9) localization of nitrogen-cycling microorganisms on freshly harvested fine roots and organic matter and 10) image segmentation and analysis studies.

Confocal microscopy is a technique that allows a three dimensional high resolution image acquisition of live or fixed specimens. By attaching fluorescent dyes (fluorophores) to biological specimens, cells and sub-cellular components can be identified with a high degree of specificity amid non-fluorescing material. Moreover, several target molecules can be visualized simultaneously with multiple fluorophores emitting light at differing wavelengths. Using image analysis software, the acquired serial optical sections are then rendered to generate a clean high resolution three-dimensional reconstruction of the specimen in which all out-of-focus light has been rejected. The result is an exceptionally clean high resolution image of a biological specimen that can reveal the presence of a single molecule. This instrument is critical for the study of biological structures and will have a transformative effect on how emergent young scientists are trained at W&L, VMI, and MBC. The CLSM will provide cutting edge tools for faculty to carry out their research projects and provide microscopy training and research opportunities to undergraduate students from three rural primarily undergraduate institutions. Using the teacher-scholar model, which seamlessly integrates research with discovery-based laboratory course work, W&L and VMI, will take full advantage of this instrumentation to promote further research integration into courses, to expand undergraduate programmatic research opportunities, and to promote student and faculty collaborations within and between departments and institutions.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 112.71K | Year: 2012

This project links networks of undergraduate ecology courses to carry out a collaborative, hands-on research project focusing on a large-scale analysis of habitat requirements for amphibians. For many students, this project is their first experience working with large data sets, and the projects methods are designed to sharpen the highly transferable skills (i.e., data integration and analysis) necessary for doing science in the digital age. Students in each course match United States Geographical Service data on amphibian populations from their own region with habitat data from Google Earth. Their data are submitted to a shared database that is analyzed to determine amphibian-habitat associations.

Intellectual merit: The project provides useful information on the effects of land use on amphibian populations in the U.S. It also augments an important public database by adding habitat and landscape data for each amphibian survey location.
Broader impacts: From an educational perspective, this project provides an authentic research experience for up to 400 students from a diverse group of schools including two-year colleges, public research universities, and historically minority-serving universities. Assessment of the project focuses on the effects of a collaborative research experience on students interest in science, student attitudes about science, and student retention in science programs.

This project is being jointly funded by the Directorate for Biological Sciences, Division of Biological Infrastructure and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Division of Undergraduate Education as part of their efforts toward Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education.

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