Biological Sciences Academic Forums

The Biological Sciences Department's mission is to prepare biology majors for the next step in their careers; to educate and train the next generation of biological scientists; to provide all students at CSU, Chico with an opportunity to learn how science is done and to learn about important, significant, and relevant biological knowledge needed by citizens; to contribute to the expansion of our knowledge about biology; and, to serve as a resource of biological expertise for the campus and surrounding community.

Biological Sciences Seminars

Chinook Salmon Restoration: A Species on the Edge

Dr. Steve Blumenshine
Department of Biology
CSU Fresno

The Chinook salmon is culturally, economically, and resourcefully important to the Pacific Northwest. The majority of the fish come from Alaska but they can travel as far south as Fresno, California. Dr. Steve Blumenshine focuses this presentation on the conservation efforts surrounding salmon and how they interact with the environment throughout their vast range. He explains the research he and his team completed over 7 years in the San Joaquin River at the southern end of the range and the threats the species faces. 53 minutes | View Now

Stone-agers in the Fast Lane: Flowing Down the River Denial

Dr. Michael Abruzzo
Professor Emeritus
CSU Chico

Dr. Michael Abruzzo retired from the Department of Biological Sciences at CSU Chico in 2004. He now spends most of his professional time helping the lay public understand science and the importance of science in their lives. His public presentations are built on the central theme that humans are a part of the environment, not apart from it. Dr. Abruzzo’s research and publications primarily focus on human chromosomal abnormalities, especially the fragile X syndrome. This presentation specifically focuses on the continuing changes of genes and environment. Presentation time: 1 hour & 9 minutes | View Now

Sexual interactions induce early death in nematodes: strategies and counter-strategies

Dr. Lauren Booth
Brunet Lab
Department of Genetics
Stanford University

Dr. Lauren Booth is interested in aging and the variables that influence how an organism ages. She prefaces the presentation by stating what the science community already knows: aging and lifespan is directly influenced by genetics and environment. Her next step in understanding aging was conducting research regarding an organism’s social environment also influences its lifespan and aging process. Sexual interactions are a vital part of an organism’s life and have a profound impact on the aging process. The research was done on nematodes. Presentation time: 58 minutes | View Now

Fire Regime Alteration in Natural Areas

Michelle Coppoletta
Sierra Casacade Province
USDA Forest Service

Managing public lands today is increasingly difficult in the face of climate change and changing wildfire regimes. Michelle Coppoletta describes the need to restore a key ecological process. Her research took place with colleagues in research natural areas (RNAs), which are a specific type of protected area in California. Ms. Coppoletta offers three solutions to the ongoing wildfires; the need to reduce fuels before the next wildfire, develop wildfire management strategies before they burn, and consider proactive restoration to increase resilience to future disturbance. Presentation time: 46 minutes | View Now

Plant Evolutionary Biology

Dr. Ben Blackman
Department Plant & Microbial Biology
University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Ben Blackman describes his lab's major interests where his group tries to understand the molecular mechanisms and evolutionary forces by which populations adapt to their environments and through which new species arise. Dr. Blackman’s lab also attempts to determine if these principles of abundant complexity can be described by fundamental equations and quantitative genetics. Presentation time: 1 hour, 2 minutes | View Now

Stem Cells, Gene Editing, and the Future of Biology

Dr. David StachuraVideo still linking to presentation.
Department of Biological Sciences, CSU, Chico

Dr. Stachura and his students primarily study the molecular control of blood cell development. In this presentation, he explains why they are interested in how hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) proliferate and differentiate into progenitors and mature functional blood/immune cells. While they are interested in how blood cells are made and differentiate, they also have an interest in the dysregulation of these cells and their role in hematopoietic disease. Presentation time: 57 minutes | View Now

FTIR Spectroscopic Imaging Technique and its Applications

Dr. Zahrasadat Alavi
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
CSU Chico

Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Micro-spectroscopic Imagining is an emerging technique for the biochemical analysis of tissues and cellular materials. It provides objective information regarding the holistic biochemistry of a cell or tissue sample and has been applied in many areas of medical research. Dr. Zaharasadat Alavi describes the technique as a resource for expanding phenotypes and other important research. Presentation time: 55 minutes | View Now

Fertile Underground: How Soil Microbes Provide Solutions for Agriculture and the Environment

Jessica Chiartas
PhD Candidate, Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources
UC Davis

Some might think dirt is useless and disgusting but it is actually very important to our ecosystem and environment. In this presentation, Jessica Chiartas explains how soil microbes can be the solution to various agricultural and environmental issues. She breaks down the actual compounds and organic matter of the soil for the audience to understand what is in the ground beneath them. Chiartas would like to further her research to understand how we can use this knowledge to strengthen root systems, soil, and other important agriculture. Presentation time: 1 hour | View Now

Memory Decline: Mechanisms and Treatments

Dr. Kodeeswaran Parameshwarn
Department of Biological Sciences, CSU, Chico

Dr. Kodeeswaran Parameshwaran is a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. In his first major presentation on campus, he shares his research project centered on understanding the molecular and physiological mechanisms of memory decline. Particularly, he is interested in studying memory defects arising from exposure to psychoactive substances during early stages of life. He discusses memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, developmental nicotine exposure, and traumatic stress. Presentation time: 1 hour, 1 minute | View Now

Molecular dynamics simulation as a tool to study C-terminus residue motion of Norwalk virus capsid

Dr. Mahendra B. Thapa
Department of Physics, CSU Chico

Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation of protein helps to study motion and its development with time which may not be studied experimentally. Because of the tremendous advancement in hardware and software computer technologies in recent years, longer and more realistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of a protein are possible now in reasonable periods of time. In this presentation, Dr. Thapa explains how he has used molecular dynamics to conduct research on the Norwalk virus, a major cause of epidemic gastroenteritis in humans. Presentation time: 46 minutes | View Now

Studying Waterfowl Ecology in the Pacific Flyway: New Technology Leads to New Insights

Mike Casazza
USGS Western Ecological Research Center

Decorative ImageWildlife biologist Mike Casazza presents his research findings on California waterfowl. Mike discusses the movement of waterfowl and what they are learning from their movement. In the second half of the presentation he looks at the nesting ecology of birds in the Suisun Marsh. His targeted research studies provide critical species information to land managers responsible for maintaining diverse and healthy wildlife populations. Presentation time: 1 hour, 2 minutes | View Now

Using Remote Sensing and Targeted Water Sampling to Understand AI Risk for Commercial Poultry

Dr. Maurice Pitesky-DVM, MPVM, Dipl ACVPM
Assistant Specialist in Cooperative Extension UC Davis, Veterinary Medicine

Decorative ImageDr. Maurice Pitesky describes how remote sensing and targeted water sampling can be used to understand Avian Influenza risk for commercial poultry. Dr. Pitesky is a faculty member at University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) specializing in Poultry Health and Food Safety Epidemiology. He teaches at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and he provides consulting services for farmers throughout California and beyond. Presentation time: 50 minutes | View Now

Using Drosophila Melanogaster to Indentidy Chemicals That Confer Risk of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Dr. Kimberly Mulligan
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Sacramento State University

Decorative ImageDr. Kim Mulligan shares her research utilizing drosophila melanogaster (a species of fly) to identify chemicals that confer risk of neurodevelopmental disorders. The long-term goal of her research is to identify and characterize gene-environment interactions that affect neurodevelopment using drosophila melanogaster as a model. Dr. Mulligan teaches and conducts research at California State University, Sacramento. Presentation time: 1 hour | View Now

Beavertails, Enablers, Jammers: Highlights of a Sabbatical

Dr. Don Miller
Faculty, Biological Sciences Department, CSU, Chico

Decorative Use: Image from highlights of a sabbatical presentationIn a presentation on aphids, Professor Don Miller of Chico State shares his research findings and personal adventures during his sabbatical in Taiwan. In the course of his time there, Professor Miller attended the 7th International Symposium on Cecidology and agreed to host the next one in Chico of 2022. In addition, he wrote scholarly articles, created an Entomology Interpretive Plan for the Gatweay Science Museum, and gathered physical specimens in Arizona and California. His academic work is focused on ecology, evolution, and conservation. Join Professor Miller on his aphid adventure! Presentation time: 41 minutes | View Now

Engaging Young Children in Science and Literacy Learning: One Biology Majors Career Path

Dr. Char Moffit
School of Education CSU, Chico

Engaging Young Children in ScienceWhen it comes to science, how are kids educated in our schools? Why are districts restricting the amount of science we teach? Dr. Char Moffit, a biology major strived to expose her students to hand-on science as much as she could. By brining in caterpillars, sea urchins, and other organisms to study, she changed the direction of science education in the district, sparking an interest in kids to learn more about how the world works. Moffit shows how giving children personal experience with biology and other sciences can change their lives, inspiring them to dig deeper and ask the important questions. Presentation Time: 58 minutes | View Now

Biomedical Optical Imaging and Machine Learning for Cancer and Disease Detection

Dr. Hassan Salehi
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department CSU, Chico

Decorative image; Biomedical optimal imaging Dr. Salehi describes different machinery used to detect cancer and other diseases. From ultrasounds to lasers, detecting and locating diseases in the body is a complicated process. Salheli explains the most commonly used systems, the basic structures and how they work, as well as benefits and drawbacks of each optical imaging system. He also recounts how these systems were developed and tested, and when each system should be used. Presentation time: 50 minutes | View Now

A New Platform for Discovery of Novel HIV Host-Pathogen Interactions

Joe Hiatt, MSTP V
University of California, San Francisco
Lab of Alex Marson MD, PhD

Decorative use: Image from HIV Host-Pathogen Interactions presentationJoe Hiatt explains the basic background, lifecycle, and risk levels for HIV. This worldwide epidemic starting in the 80’s was a deadly virus. Though it is still dangerous, scientists have developed methods to fight HIV more effectively. By targeting the host cells in our body rather than the virus itself, we can more easily fight the epidemic. Hiatt explains immunity to HIV, and why this happens. He also addresses how the medical community can further investigate genes and how this relates to the HIV virus. Presentation time: 53 minutes | View Now

Genes in Streams - Comparative population genetics informed demographic patterns of a desert fish assemblage

Tyler Pilger
Researcher, FISHBIO

Decorative Use only: image from genes in streams presentationHow do the genes of different fish compare and connect to others? Tyler Pilger shows how disturbances in population genetics can drastically change the direction of populations in areas. From genetic drift among fish populations to comparative landscape genetics, Pilger compares genetics across populations and generations of fish in New Mexico. Presentation time: 55 minutes | View Now

Environmental Physiology of the Salton Sea

Dr. Brian Sardella
Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences CSU, Stanislaus

Decorative Use: Image from environmental physiology presentationThe salinity of water greatly affects fish. Their bodily systems, and even their very cells differ between saltwater and freshwater fish. Not only do the salinity levels differ in the ocean, but enzymes, temperatures, density, all determine the fish species in an area. Dr. Brian Sardella explains how the Salton Sea’s salinity and pollution in particular must be stabilized. He reveals how because the fish and other wildlife are dying, the Salton Sea has a limited amount of time. Presentation time: 56 minutes | View Now

CRISPR/Cas9 tools for gene knockout and knockin in diverse cell types and their application to human T cells

Theodore Roth
PhD Candidate Univeristy of California, San Francisco

Video still linking to presentation.Theodore Roth, a PhD student at UC San Francisco explains much of his work and research on Gene editing (knocking one sequence out, and another sequence in) using CRISPR. Utilizing Cas9 proteins along with CRISPR sequences allows for accurate knockouts and even implantation of sequence corrections, becoming the basis for therapies and burgeoning treatments. Mr. Roth’s research in gene editing and immunology creates a fascinating framework for this lecture on CRISPR/Cas9 interactions. Presentation time: 1 hour | View Now

Lachancea thermotolerans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae in sequential fermentation to produce sour beer/wine hybrids

Dr. Maria E. Moutsglou
Fermentation Scientist, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Video still linking to presentation.New styles of beer are cropping up everywhere! But what really goes into making a tasty new brew? Maria E. Moutsoglou, Ph.D, a fermentation scientist at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., takes us along as guests on her real-life journey of creating a wine-beer sour hybrid, with the malty backbone of beer and the tart clarity of a nice wine. 

Dr. Moutsoglou covers the process in detail—why did she choose the yeasts and fermentables she did? What was the desired end result? How did she and her colleagues test along the way to ensure favorable flavors? What lessons were learned, and what might be an interesting idea for “next time”?

If you’ve ever marveled at a great glass of beer or wine, or been interested at the science and rigor that goes into making a new product, this in-depth process review is for you! Presentation time: 56 minutes | View Now

Potholes in the Road to Critical Thinking: Understanding Your Biases

Richard Block
CEO, Santa Barbara Zoo

decorative use only: image from potholes in critical thinking slideshow presentationRich Block examines common mistakes made by many people and organizations, including how zoo critics routinely ignore readily accessible information, letting their biases interfere with our ability to think critically when it comes to important issues. Block explores three specific cases that examine how biases shaped the views and behavior of zoo critics. Rather than defending zoos themselves, he looks deeper into how information is used, abused, and ignored in communicating about zoos. Block opens our eyes to the miscommunication and misperceptions in our information-consumed society. Presentation Time: 1 hour | View Now

Vertebrate Flight: A Tale of Motion, Morphology, and Muscle

Dr. Joseph Bahlman
Assistant Professor CSU, Sacramento

Decorative image: photo from the tale of motion presentationA bird soaring through the air looks elegant, and moves seemingly without effort to its final destination. But with a bit of exploration, Dr. Joseph Bahlman of Sacramento State shows us that flight is a complex ballet of effort expenditure battling the forces of gravity, drag, and wind. Dr. Bahlman discusses physical challenges and hurdles that flying vertebrates encounter, and shares data on how these creatures overcome their environments to fly. Presentation time: 53 minutes | View Now

Facilitative pollinator sharing decreases with floral similarity in multiple systems

Dr. Melissa Ha
Department of Biology and Ecology, Yuba College

Interactions between species can vary with context. Dr. Melissa Ha investigated how indirect competition and facilitation between plant species that share pollinators vary with plant density, co-flowering neighbor identity, and flowering season using experimental pollination arrays of the California annual plant Clarkia unguiculata. Overall, she found strong evidence that the outcome of pollinator-mediated interactions depended on the species of co-flowering neighbor and preliminary evidence that these interactions varied over the season. Presentation time: 28 minutes | View Now

Time: The Missing Dimension of Tropical Forests

Mariby Cruz
Undergraduate Student, CSU, Chico

Measuring TreesMariby Cruz is a senior at Chico State. She has spent the past three summers researching trees tropical forests in Costa Rica. In this presentation she presents her and her colleagues’ ground breaking research on how to measure a tree’s rings and age, without cutting the tree down. Presentation time: 38 minutes | View Now

Identifying Unknown Microbial Metabolites Circulating in Human Blood

Will Van Treuren
Graduate Student, Sonnenburg Lab, Stanford University

decorative image: image from metabolites in blood presentationWill Van Treuren presents the work he is doing as part of his doctoral thesis at Stanford University. He notes that there are 40 million microbes in the human body, with 99.9 percent of them located in the oral cavity, large intestine, and small intestine. His research focuses on the microbes found in the intestines. Van Treuren explains that because human blood concentrates metabolic waste products from cells, this has led him to explore two research questions: (1) Are there microbial analogues of inborn errors in metabolism? (2) Can humans acquire a community whose metabolites cause disease? Presentation Time: 1 hour, 1 minute | View Now

Droplet & Microfluidic Technologies for Multi-Parameter Single Cell Analysis

Kara K. Brower
Graduate Student, Fordyce Lab, Stanford University

Decorative use only: image from droplet presentationKara Brower shares her thesis research as she works toward her PhD in bioengineering at Stanford. Her overall goal is “to engineer new technologies to analyze cells in a more detailed way.” In this presentation, Ms. Brower focuses on her two major projects: spectrally encoded beads and “droplet-in-droplet” emulsions. She and her lab colleagues have extended their efforts outside of Stanford through collaboration with companies in Silicon Valley. Presentation Time: 55 minutes | View Now

Using Physiological Measurements to Manage Declining Fish Populations

Dr. Christine Verhill
Faculty, Montana State University

Decorative ImageTo begin her presentation, Dr. Christine Verhill, defines physiology: “How the biochemical processes and anatomy of the body interact to maintain a living organism.” She then defines the physiological measurements and explains how she is using them to effectively control and enhance fish populations. She notes that the environment in which the fish live affects these measurements. Dr. Hill puts this information in the context of why preserving steady populations of fish species is vital to the health of the environment. Presentation Time: 56 minutes | View Now

Teaching Environmental Education through Contentious Environmental Issues

Dr. Mark H. Newton
Faculty, CSU, Chico Department of Science Education

Decorative ImageDr. Mark Newton feels strongly about the importance of scientific literacy in a population, citing the quote, “Democracy is enhanced when all citizens are equipped to confront and evaluate socio-scientific issues knowledgably and rationally.” (Hodson, 2009, p. 6). He expresses concern that, according to the National Science Foundation, only 7.6 percent of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the United States in 2015 were in the natural sciences. Dr. Newton then presents a pedagogical model for science education – the use of contentious environmental issues. For an example of this, he uses the topic of the reintroduction of wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains of the United States. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 1 minute | View Now

Using Ecological Genomics to Identify Genes Responsible for Heat Tolerance in an Era of Global Warming

Dr. Lani Gleason
Faculty, Sacramento State University

Dr. Lani Gleason PresentationDr. Lani Gleason is a marine biologist whose research in ecological genomics focuses on an intertidal marine snail. In this presentation, she begins by explaining how global warming threatens intertidal organisms, and how the gene flow opposes local adaptation to that climate change. She then discusses her research about how changes in gene expression and sequence between the snail’s Northern California and Southern California populations explain local adaptation to heat stress. Presentation Time: 48 minutes | View Now

Diaspore Dispersal by Wasps of the Genus Vespula

Dr. Dylan Orion Burge
University of California Los Angeles

Diaspore DispersalDr. Burge describes how he stumbled on to an odd behavior of Vespula wasps. He collected calycanthus seeds in Northern California and then set them out to dry; when he returned several were missing. Carnivorous Vespula wasps were carrying the seeds off. Listen as Dr. Burge describes his step-by-step research into this interesting insect/plant relationship. Presentation Time: 57 minutes | View Now

Energetics in ectotherms: Metabolic scaling, climate change, and swimming kinematics

Dr. Nicholas Carey
Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University

Mopalia muscosaDr. Carey reviews his research around the globe from anchovy movement to chitons to metabolic rates. The unifying theme of his research is looking at different organisms' energetics under different conditions, such as climate change and ocean acidification. Presentation Time: 60 minutes | View Now

From Micro to Macro: The Trophic Regulation of a Multispecies Protective Mutualism

Dr. Elizabeth Pringle
Faculty, University of Nevada, Reno

In this presentation, Dr. Elizabeth Pringle explains – and provides examples of – mutualism in the natural world. She defines “mutualism” as an interaction between species in which both species benefit. She lists four kinds of mutualism – animal-mediated seed dispersal, pollination, nutritional, and protective. She illustrates the concept with an example of protective mutualism: ants defending plants that they use for nesting or for food against the plants’ natural enemies, by swarming and biting the enemies. This presentation is only available to Chico State students, staff, and faculty. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 2 minutes | View Now

Early Years of the Department of Biological Sciences: Biology before Vesta Holt

Dr. Ailsie McEnteggart
Faculty Emeritus, Department of Biological Sciences, CSU, Chico

The Early Years of the Department of Biological SciencesThe Biological Science Department at CSU, Chico – as well as the University's other natural science departments – is housed in a large, three-story building named Vesta Holt Hall, known informally as Holt Hall. But who was Vesta Holt and what is her place in the history of science education at CSU, Chico? In this presentation, Dr. Ailsie McEnteggart shares photos that are well over 100 years old of downtown Chico and the Chico Normal School, which later became CSU, Chico. From the opening of the Normal School in 1889 until 1899, there was only one instructor to teach all science courses. There were more instructors by the time Vesta Holt arrived in 1926, but during her 32 years at what was Chico State College, the science programs grew. When she retired in 1958 she held the title of Natural Sciences Division Chair. Presentation Time: 51 minutes | View Now

The Evolutionary Basis of Premature Migration in Pacific Salmon Highlights the Utility of Genomics for Informing Conservation

Dr. Michael Miller
Faculty, Department of Animal Science, UC Davis

The Evolutionary Basis of Premature MigrationDr. Michael Miller has been researching how genetics can be used to understand variations in natural populations, and how that information can be used to inform conservation strategies. He has studied various salmonid species – such as steelhead and Chinook salmon – of Oregon and Northern California. Dr. Miller first explains how the Endangered Species Act works in terms of genetic groups within a species. He then explains how steelhead and salmon populations, while sharing the same genetic relationships within each species, become adapted to the condition of specific rivers. He states that one approach to the preservation of salmonid species is to think in terms of conservation units – that is, the protection of each local adaptation. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 6 minutes | View Now

Low 25-Hydroxyvitamin D, Myofascial Pain, Low Magnesium, and Soft Water

Jane M. Hightower, MD
California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco

Low 25-Hydroxyvitamin DDr. Jane Hightower, a CSU Chico alum, has been researching a possible relationship between soft water and myofascial pain. “Soft water” has been treated in such a way that most of the minerals have been removed, which is the case with most tap water. Dr. Hightower defines “myofascial pain” as pain caused by hyperirritable points located within a taut band of fascia (skeletal muscle), which causes local tenderness or referred pain when compressed. Soft water has a very low magnesium level, and low magnesium is associated with Vitamin D deficiency. These deficiencies are also associated with heart disease and cancer. Dr. Hightower concludes with some pros and cons – and raises important questions – regarding hard vs. soft water. Presentation Time: 43 minutes | View Now

Biological Sciences Career Day - Ecology and Natural Resources Panel

Jody Gallaway, Darren Minier, Linnea Hanson, John Sandberg

Biological Sciences Career DayFour professionals share how their college degrees in biological sciences have led to fulfilling careers in the field of Ecology and Natural Resources. Jody Gallaway received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from CSU, Chico and owns an environmental consulting company in Chico. Darren Minier is an animal behaviorist at the Oakland Zoo. Botanist Linnea Hanson is retired from the US Forest Service. John Sandberg works in an aquatic bioassessment lab, where he evaluates the health of specific bodies of water. Presentation Time:  1 hour, 6 minutes | View Now

Gliding Motility in Filamentous Cyanobacteria

Dr. Doug Risser
Faculty, University of the Pacific

Gliding Motility in Filamentous CyanobacteriaCyanobacteria are a phylum of bacteria that obtain their energy through photosynthesis. They are very versatile organisms. Dr. Risser’s talk is about one aspect of their versatility – their ability to move. Cyanobacteria take the shape of filaments that look like tiny worms under a microscope. Dr. Risser explains that they have developed their ability to move in order to look for light. These bacteria form structures of various shapes and sizes, which have been found in fossilized form. Dr. Risser states that by studying the structures, including how and why they form, potentially can provide information about life forms in the distant past. Presentation Time: 51 minutes | View Now

Sterol Biosynthesis in the Bacterial Domain

Dr. Paula Welander
Faculty, Earth System Science, Stanford University

Dr. Paula Welander is a microbiologist who also teaches earth sciences. Not surprisingly, she starts with the question, “How is it that a microbiologist is working in the earth sciences?” Dr. Welander’s field is geobiology which, as its name implies, looks at the interface between geology and biology. She notes that microbial life has dominated Earth for billions of years. Her presentation goes on to discuss her research in trying to determine how microbial life survived billions of years ago, during an era when there was a very different environment that, for example, contained very little oxygen. Presentation Time: 47 minutes | View Now

Antioxidant Supplementation, Muscle Damage, Oxidative Stress, and Leukocyte Apoptosis

Dr. Feng He
Faculty, Kinesiology Department, CSU, Chico

Dr. Feng He is working toward a better understanding of exercise-induced muscle damage and DOS (delayed onset of muscle soreness). The focus of this presentation is the muscle soreness that begins approximately two days after exercise, especially after a person suddenly engages in more strenuous exercise than he or she is used to doing. Dr. He discusses the roles of oxidants and antioxidants in exercise and of apoptosis (the death of cells that occurs as a normal and controlled part of an organism’s growth or development). She also shares her conclusions and suggests possible areas for future research. Presentation Time: 46 minutes | View Now

Chemical Characterization of California Chardonnay Grapes for Estimation of Quality; Internship Opportunities

Dr. Michael Cleary
Chemist, E & J Gallo Wineries
Brian Menconi & Genessee Carini
CSU, Chico chemistry graduates, E & J Gallo Wineries, Healdsburg, CA

Chemical Characterization of California GrapesA lot of chemistry goes into winemaking. In fact, every year Dr. Michael Cleary of Gallo Wineries meets with CSU, Chico chemistry students to talk about the science of winemaking. He also lets them know there are careers in the wine industry that make use of their scientific knowledge. Dr. Cleary explains that winery scientists are involved in experimental research, maturity monitoring, and harvest benchmarking. Metrics used to determine quality include taste, aroma, mouthfeel, and phenolics (the depths of light to which grapes have been exposed). The chemistry of these attributes reveal regional trends and assist with decisions such as what dates to harvest.

Brian Menconi and Genessee Carini are both CSU, Chico chemistry grads employed by Gallo. They present an overview of internship opportunities at 12 Gallo wineries in California and Washington State. Depending on the winery, interns engage in multiple aspects of the wine business – lab analysis, tasting, cellar work management, inventory control, and more. Presentation Time: 53 minutes | View Now

The Value of Natural Reserves in Field-Based Research

Dr. Don Miller
Faculty, Biological Sciences Department, CSU, Chico

The Value of Natural Reserves in Field-Based ResearchBiological Sciences students and faculty at CSU, Chico, are fortunate to have an incredible natural laboratory in their own back yard – the 3,950-acre Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve. Chico State Professor Don Miller shares photos from the reserve to illustrate the research work he and others are doing there. He explores the value of conducting field research in the life sciences at this and other reserves. In addition to the Big Chico Creek reserve, he notes that the Eagle Lake Field Station in Lassen County also has been associated with CSU, Chico; the field station was established by Chico State faculty in 1964. He finishes his presentation by telling students about how they can volunteer for the Outdoor Education programs held at the Big Chico Creek Reserve for students in grades K-12. Presentation Time: 51 minutes | View Now

Factors Affecting Honeybee Queen Mating & Reproduction

Dr. Elina Lastro Nino
Assistant Specialist in CE, Department of Entomology & Nematology, UC Davis

Factors Affecting Honeybee Queen Mating and ReproductionDr. Elina Lastro Nino directs the E.L. Nino Bee Lab at the UC Davis Honey Bee Research Facility. In addition to research, the lab offers workshops and classes and is developing a pollinator education program for children (grades 3-5) and a master beekeeping program. In this presentation, Dr. Nino focuses on the lab’s research on the queen bee, which is the only reproductive female in a colony, and the loss of colonies due to the failure of the queen’s reproductive ability. Because the bee’s role as a pollinator is crucial to plant food production, Dr. Nino and her colleagues hope that a better understanding of what regulates bee reproduction can help improve queen health and the development of quality breeding programs. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 1 minute | View Now

Developmental Exposure to DDT Impairs the Molecular & Physiological Control of Brown Adipose Energy Expenditure Leading to Insulin Resistance

Michele La Merrill, Ph.D., MPH
Department of Environmental Toxicology, UC Davis

Development Exposure to DDTDr. Michele La Merrill has been studying the question: Could chemicals in the environment cause metabolic syndrome? Metabolic syndrome is a very widespread, growing public health problem that may be present when a human or animal has three or more of these symptoms: obesity, elevated fasting glucose, elevated cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, and hypertension. She notes that while average body weight and obesity has been rising in humans, it has also been rising in animals. Dr. La Merrill’s research is focused on one toxic pollutant – the pesticide DDT. Although DDT has been banned in many places, it was widely used when much of today’s human adult population were children. She explains DDT’s possible effects on developing organisms. Presentation Time: 42 minutes | View Now

Fecal Matter Transplant as a Means of Restoring a Healthy Gut Flora

Peter Bangsund, MD
Department of Gastroenterology/Hepatology, Enloe Medical Center, Chico, CA

Fecal Matter Transplant as a Means of Restoring a Healthy Gut FloraDr. Bangsund explains that clostidium difficile (aka C.diff) bacterial infections, which cause serious problems in the intestinal tract, are becoming increasingly prevalent and more resistant to antibiotics. To underscore the seriousness of these infections, he points out that in 2011 alone, this common pathogen caused 500,000 infections and 29,000 deaths. What was considered an unconventional method of treatment is becoming more and more widely used: the introduction of fecal matter from a healthy donor into the patient to promote the growth of normal colonic flora or a “healthy bacteria population.” Patients have been helped by this procedure; as a result, states Dr. Bangsund, it is becoming a standard of care for treatment of antibiotic-resistant C.diff infections. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 1 minute | View Now

Activation of a Rice Immune Receptor by a Bacterial Peptide

Dr. Rory Pruitt
Post-Doc Fellow, Ronald Lab, UC Davis

Activation of a Rice Immune Receptor by a Bacterial PeptideRice is an important source of food for half of the world’s population. In this presentation, Dr. Rory Pruitt explains that two of the major factors that have dramatically improved rice production in the past 50 years are the introduction of new, high-yielding varieties of rice and the adoption of nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Ironically, these advances have also come with unexpected consequences. One of those consequences is the widespread rise of Bacterial Blight, as some of the new rice varieties were susceptible to it, while the nitrogen fertilizers promoted its growth. The Ronald Lab, where Dr. Pruitt works, has devoted research time to find ways to control rice infections, starting in the 1990s with discovering what genes are responsible for resistance to the bacteria. Dr. Pruitt then presents more recent findings. Presentation Time: 46 minutes | View Now

Chemical Contaminants & Health of Fishes in Urban Coastal Regions

Dr. Kevin Kelley
Interim Associate Vice President, Research and Sponsored Programs, CSU, Chico

Chemical Contaminants and Health of Fishes in Urban Coastal RegionsDr. Kevin Kelley begins his presentation by stating that the San Francisco Bay Area and the Southern California coast are “among the world’s most highly intensive interfaces between large human populations and marine-estuarine environments.” He then cites some eye-opening numbers – for example, 20 million-plus people live in the area from Los Angeles to San Diego, with three of the largest wastewater treatment plants in the world sending one billion gallons a day into the Pacific Ocean. Human activity produces numerous contaminants, including pharmaceuticals, detergents, herbicides, pesticides, flame-retardant chemicals, and more. Dr. Kelly is researching which of these environmental contaminants have a negative effect on wildlife even after going through the treatment process, by studying endocrine and tissue responses. An example is the effect of environmental estrogens on male fish. Presentation Time: 53 minutes | View Now

The Quest for Fulfillment: Drosophila Nervous System Development

Dr. Steven Robinow
Associate Dean, College of Natural Sciences, CSU, Chico

The Quest for Fulfillment: Drosophila Nervous System DevelopmentDr. Steven Robinow researches the genetic principles of neural development by studying the brain development of drosophila (a genus of small flies, belonging to the family Drosophilidae, often called “fruit flies”). Among other things, in this presentation, he explains the role of nuclear receptors in the activation of gene reception and looks into mutant phenotypes. A major purpose of Dr. Robinow’s research is to provide insights into the transcriptional networks regulating interneuron development. Presentation Time: 54 minutes | View Now

A Natural Approach to Human Pathogen Suppression - Can Biodiversity Fill the Gaps?

Matthew S. Jones
Ph.D. Candidate, Washington State University

A Natural Approach to Human Pathogen SuppressionMatthew Jones presents alternatives to one-crop agricultural practices. He starts by explaining that research has shown that when there is a lack of diversity caused by human cultivation, there are more pathogens, including insect outbreaks. Jones then lists the different types of diversity that some farmers are using and their benefits. He discusses and shares photographs of techniques that are starting to be used, including intercropping, companion planting, hedgerows, agroforestry, riparian habitat restoration, animal/plant interactions, and others. Not only are these techniques more environmentally sound, Jones says, but they can help farmers gain more ecological and economic stability. Presentation Time: 56 minutes | View Now

The Human Microbiome: Effects of Epinephrine on Microbiome and Biofilm

Dr. Robert Crawford
Faculty, CSU, Sacramento

The Human MicrobiomeDr. Robert Crawford and his student lab assistants at CSU, Sacramento study microbiomes and how they affect wound healing, with an emphasis on diabetic foot ulcers that can be extremely difficult to treat. More specifically, they are looking closely at the effects of the hormone Epinephrin on increased bacterial grown and enhanced biofilm formation in such infected wounds. Dr. Crawford states that he hopes more knowledge about this area will help to develop new therapies to aid wound healing. Presentation Time: 59 minutes | View Now

Incorporating Rapid Evolutionary Change Into Management Decision-Making: The Role of Connectivity

Dr. Marissa Baskett
Department of Environmental Science and Policy, UC Davis

Incorporating Rapid Evolutionary ChangeHumans play a major role in every ecological system on Earth. Sometimes one can see human domination very easily and in other cases not so easily. If humans are the dominant ecological force, then humans are the world's greatest evolutionary force. Dr. Baskett explores whether rapid evolution should be considered in management schemes known as “Evolutionarily Enlightened Management." This brings up the question: When and how should evolution affect management decisions? Presentation Time: 60 minutes | View Now

Applied Evolutionary Biology to Address Global Challenges

Dr. Scott Carroll
Institute for Contemporary Evolution, Davis and Department of Entomology and Nematology, UC Davis

Applied Evolutionary Biology to Address Global ChallengesThis is a time of rapid global change, which means current biological science students will see great changes in their lifetimes. Dr. Scott Carroll illustrates this by sharing general information about changes in land use and human population over the past 300 years. He uses the word “Anthropocene” to describe these changes – Anthropocene is a new geologic chronological term for an epoch that begins when human activities have had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. Then, Dr. Carroll uses the example of the Soapberry Bug and its responses to change to provide insight into how rapid contemporary evolution could occur. This insect species are able to quickly adapt to a changing environment by utilizing new plant species as food sources. Presentation Time: 56 minutes | View Now

The Selectivity of Membrane Proteins Towards Individual Phospholipids

Dr. Arthur Laganowsky
Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University

Selectivity of Membrane Proteins Towards Individual PhospholipidsLipids are a large and diverse group of naturally occurring organic molecules that include: fats; waxes; sterols; mono-, di-, and triglycerides; fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E, and K); and others. Dr. Laganowsky, a former CSU, Chico Biological Sciences major, discusses his revolutionary research methods for determining interaction at the atomic level between membrane proteins and the lipids called phospholipids. A variety of techniques, including x-ray crystallography, are required to observe the tiny interactions that take place. These techniques have developed a new approach to understanding the effects of lipid binding on membrane proteins. Presentation time: 53 Minutes | View Now

Merging Systemics and Ecology to Study Soil Specialization in California Jewelflowers

Dr. N. Ivalu Cacho
Faculty, UC Davis

Merging Systematics and Ecology to Study Soil SpecializationHow are certain plants supported only by certain soils? Are plants that are soil-specialized poorer competitors – or are they better defended? Dr. N. Ivalu Cacho studies California Jewelflowers to search for the answers to these and related questions. The jewelflowers tend to grow in bare environments with thin layers of soil. Dr. Cacho and her researchers field-collect raw soils from sites where the species grow, and from sites where the plants do and do not have native grass neighbors of different species. Underlying her work is Dr. Cacho’s interest in exploring the Earth’s extensive biological diversity. Presentation time: 37 minutes | View Now

Divergent Antiherbivore Syndromes in the Tarweeds

Dr. Billy A. Krimmel
PERT Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Entomology, University of Arizona

Divergent Antiherbivore Syndromes in the TarweedsDr. Billy Krimmel studies how plants maximize their fitness using resistance techniques by focusing on a common California weed. The tarweed is native to California; it historically played a part in the survival of indigenous people, as the seeds were used by the Pomo Indians as a source of food. Today, hikers know it as an annoying plant that sticks to their pants and socks. The tarweed is part of a group of species known as “Sticky Plants." As Dr. Krimmel explains, the tarweed is covered with hairs, which have microscopic bubbles at their ends. When something, such as a predatory insect, touches the bubble, it pops and a sticky liquid is excreted, along with a strong odor. This makes the plant surface inaccessible, and dead insects sometimes can be seen stuck to the surface of tarweeds. Presentation time:  1 hour, 1 minute | View Now

Chikungunya Virus: global spread, mechanisms of emergence, and predicting epidemic variants

Dr. Lark L. Coffey
Faculty, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

Chikunguya VirusWhen humans are infected with the Chikungunya virus, which has no vaccine, they suffer from fever, muscle pain, arthritis-like joint pain, and rash. Dr. Lark Coffey’s interest in vector-borne diseases, especially newly emerging viruses, led her to study Chikungunya. She explains that this virus is an arbovirus, meaning it has an arthropod vector and vertebrate reservoir. In Africa and Asia, where major outbreaks have originated, mosquitos spread the virus primarily through non-human primates and rodents. In conclusion, Dr. Coffey notes how scientists can use the tools at their disposal to study virus mutations and predict their epidemic variants. Presentation time:  1 hour, 5 minutes | View Now

Pathogenesis of RNA Viruses in High-Risk Populations - Influenza

Dr. Stacey Schultz-Cherry
Member, Department of Infectious Diseases and Deputy Director, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Pathogenesis of RNA Viruses in High Risk PopulationsDr. Schultz-Cherry starts her presentation by explaining the science of what happens when a human is infected with influenza. From there, she presents a fast-paced overview of the flu, including interspecies contagion (such as Avian Flu, and the recent discovery that cats can get the flu from their owners), history (including the pandemic of 1918), the role of vaccines, and how the disease is tracked, both within the U.S. by the Center for Disease Control and globally by the World Health Organization. She then focuses in on her recent research that shows links between obesity and increased severity of symptoms from influenza viruses. Presentation Time:  1 hour, 5 minutes | View Now

Biological Sciences Career Day

Applied and Lab Sciences Panel

Biological Sciences Career DayFour professionals talk about the varied careers they have pursued after earning degrees in the biological sciences. They each give presentations about their work and answer questions from the student audience. Nicole Crouse is a microbiologist who has worked at New Clairveaux Winery, using her microbiology background to properly ferment and age the wine. Christine Stahl is director of the clinical lab at Oroville Hospital. Dr. Colleen Milligan is a forensic anthropologist who is associated with the CSU, Chico Forensic Anthropology program. Dr. Linda Lewis is an infectious diseases epidemiologist with Butte County Public Health. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 7 minutes | View Now

Biological Sciences Career Day

Pre-Professional Panel

Biological Sciences Career DayThe members of the panel in this presentation include Dr. Jennifer Parrish, a physician at Mission Ranch Primary Care, Chico; Steve Edgar, a pharmacist from Apothecary Options compounding pharmacy, Chico; Dr. Dorian Dodds, dentist, Chico; and Dr. Tori Letner, veterinarian, Valley Oak Veterinary Center. Each panelist gives a 10-minute presentation about his or her work and then answers questions from the audience. At the end of the recording, all four panelists engage in a group discussion with each other and with the audience. Presentation Time:  1 hour, 18 minutes | View Now

Bioremediation of Environmental Pollutants - Three Case Studies

Dr. Larry Hanne & Dr. Larry Kirk
Faculty, Department of Biological Sciences, CSU, Chico

Bioremediation of Environmental PollutantsTwo CSU, Chico Biological Sciences faculty members use three case studies to explore biological methods to lessen the effects of various pollutants. The first case involves the chemical methyl parathion, which is used to control insects in a wide range of crops.  The second case study looks at ways to remediate jet fuel contamination at Beale Air Force Base.  In the last study, possible biological methods to enhance the degradation of bioplastics are presented. Presentation Time:  55 minutes | View Now

One Health: Understanding and Addressing Emerging Infectious Diseases

Linda S. Lewis, DVM, MPVM
Epidemiologist, Butte County Public Health Department

One Health: Understanding and Addressing Emerging Infectious DiseasesMs. Lewis begins by explaining the “One Health” concept. This approach to public health recognizes that human health, animal health, and ecosystem health are all linked. The goal is to improve the health and well-being of all species by collaboration among physicians, veterinarians, and other scientific health and environmental professionals. In this context, Ms. Lewis presents some of the origins of emerging infectious diseases, including species jumping, genetic shifting, infections related to mass food production, environmental changes, and technology. She then points out that at least 61%t of all human pathogens are zoonotic – that is, they are naturally transmissible between vertebrate animals and humans. Further, 75% of all emerging pathogens in the past decade are zoonotic. This includes the Ebola virus. Presentation Time:  1 hour, 1 minute | View Now

The Role of Homer Scaffolding to Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 5 in Mouse Models of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Dr. Katie Collins
Faculty, Department of Biological Sciences, CSU, Chico

The Role of Homer ScaffoldingBy studying behavior in mice, Dr. Katie Collins hopes to learn more about Fragile X syndrome in humans. Fragile X is the most common inherited form of intellectual disability in humans, affecting one out of every 4,000 males. It is a leading genetic cause of autism; those with the disease also have lower cognitive abilities (IQs of 40-70), sensory hypersensitivity, and epilepsy (about 20% of individuals). Dr. Collins’ research has focused on “mGluR5- homer,” which is the binding protein that acts as a scaffold and signaling molecule. She and other researchers hypothesize that disruptions to this scaffolding protein contribute to Fragile X syndrome. Presentation Time:  48 minutes | View Now

The Special Biology of Rats

Debbie "The Rat Lady" Ducommun

The Special Biology of RatsDebbie Ducommun is a CSU, Chico alumna who became known as “The Rat Lady” when she worked for 10 years in the Psychology Department lab, taking care of the rats. She maintains a Facebook page, “Rat Fan Club,” that has 10,000 members, as well as a non-profit organization (RATS-Rat Assistance and Teaching Society) that educates pet stores and people in the pet care industry about better treatment of rats. Ms. Ducommun has written three books about rat care, has appeared on “The Tonight Show,” and was a consultant for the movie “Ratatouille.” In this presentation, she shares information about rat anatomy and behavior, with a focus on the Norway rat. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes | View Now

The Hybrid Lifestyle of an Uncultured Chemolithotrophic Bacterium

Dr. Emily Fleming Nuester
Department of Biological Sciences, CSU, Chico

The Hybrid Lifestyle of an Uncultured Chemolithotrophic BacteriumA chemolithotrophic bacterium is iron oxidizing and produces rust. The freshwater variety is found in streams and ditches, while the saltwater variety is found on marine seamounts in every ocean in the world. These bacteria can have significant economic impacts, particularly in their ability to build up iron deposits in piping and to break down certain metals. Dr. Fleming Nuester’s presentation focuses on one of the freshwater organisms, Leptothrix ochracea, which has been studied by scientists for 120 years and yet has never been cultured – that is, it cannot be grown and studied in a petri dish. Presentation Time:  30 minutes | View Now

Utilizing Zebrafish to Understand the Molecular Control of Blood Development

Dr. David Stachura
Department of Biological Sciences, CSU, C

Utilizing Zebrafish to Understand the Molecular Control of Blood DevelopmentUtilizing Zebrafish to Understand the Molecular Control of Blood DevelopmentDr. Stachura discusses his research studying the vertebrate hematopoietic system with the genetically amenable zebrafish. In this talk, he presents the assays that he developed to study how mature blood cells are generated from hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. He also discusses the utility and future promise of using zebrafish to study, prevent, and treat human blood diseases such as anemia, thrombocytopenia, and leukemia. Presentation Time: 31 minutes | View Now

Microtubules in Plant Growth and Morphogenesis

Dr. Jessica Lucas
Plant Biologist, Assistant Professor, Santa Clara University

Microtubules in Plant Growth and MorphogenesisOne of the main differences between plant and animal cells lies with tiny structures within cells that are made of protein and called microtubules. As Dr. Lucas explains, one of the major differences between plant and animal cells is that the microtubules are organized in completely different ways. She notes their importance to both growth (an organism getting bigger, increasing in cell number and size) and morphogenesis (the creation of an organism’s shape, including the organization and the shaping of cells). After explaining what microtubules are and illustrating their arrays with colorful slides, Dr. Lucas talks about some of the larger questions driving her research, such as, “How do microtubules control morphogenesis?” Presentation Time:  47 minutes | View Now

Digestive Physiology of the Phasmatodea

Matan Shelomi, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Entomology, UC Davis

Digestive Physiology of the PhasmatodealMatan Shelomi provides insight into the remarkably complex digestive system of the Phasmatodea, an insect also known as the “walking stick.” He has produced an award-winning two-minute film, “Mystery tubes in the stick bug’s gut,” that has circulated widely online. Shelomi explains that this insect eats a diet of leaves, a diet that presents many digestive problems. He has studied how the insect’s physiology has developed to process the leaves, some of which even contain poisons. He has concluded that the walking stick has a digestive system completely unlike that of other insects. Presentation Time: 54 minutes | View Now

Effects of a Responsive Surrogate on Nursery-Reared Rhesus Macaques 

Dr. Rebecca Brunelli
Department of Biological Sciences, CSU, Chico

Effects of a Responsive Surrogate on Nursery-reared Rhesus MacaquesDr. Rebecca Brunelli developed an interest in animal welfare, particularly the welfare of animals in captivity while doing research at the Primate Research Center at UC Davis. The center includes a research and breeding colony of over 5,000 monkeys. Most of the infants stay with their mothers after birth, but some are separated due to rejection by their mothers for use in the studies of infants. Dr. Brunelli was concerned with signs of distress of the baby monkeys who had been separated from their mothers. She worked on developing surrogates, usually furry objects, with some looking like a stuffed toy animal. Through the surrogates, the young monkeys displayed more positive traits, including playfulness, curiosity, and confidence. Presentation Time: 1 hour | View Now

Feeding in Flow: The Impact of Waves on Predator-Prey Interactions in the Rocky Intertidal 

Dr. Eve Robinson
UC Berkeley

Feeding in FlowA common sight for visitors to the rocky beaches on the Pacific Coast is the large colonies of sea anemones clinging to the rocks. How do these creatures, which look like plants but are really animals, manage to catch the zooplankton that swims by – the prey that the anemone, as predator, must catch in order to survive? In this presentation, Dr. Eve Robinson, currently a California State Sea Grant Fellow, shares the results of her research in both British Columbia, Canada, and in Sonoma County, California. She explains that many factors impact the capture of prey by anemones, including the type of site, neighboring predators, and the wave/flow environment, including the changing tides. Presentation Time:  55 minutes | View Now

The Role of MUTYH in Cancer Progression 

Dr. Alan Raetz
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The Role of MUTYH in Cancer ProgressionDr. Raetz, a graduate of the CSU, Chico biological sciences master’s degree program, discusses how DNA damage and repair relates to cancer. His primary Ph.D. research at UC Davis was to study these effects in the cells of mammals. Dr. Raetz explains that DNA is constantly being damaged (mutated) and constantly being repaired. The vast majority of the repairs are effective, but improper DNA repair leads to such conditions as cancer and aging.  MutY and MUTYH are enzymes that repair cells.  The loss of MUTHY has been linked to the early stages of a specific form of colorectal cancer.  This approach to cancer research is called the Oncogene Theory of Cancer. Presentation Time:  50 minutes | View Now

Next Generation Sequencing for Solving Biological Problems 

Dr. Elena Harris
Department of Computer Science, CSU, Chico

Next Generation Sequencing for Solving Biological ProblemsDr. Harris discusses the increasing collaboration of the fields of computer science and biology to unlock the genetic mysteries of DNA. She begins by showing a short video, “Life Inside a Cell,” which features colorful and dramatic animated images of the interior of a cell and the processes occurring inside of it. She then explains how new generation sequencing technology allows fast and inexpensive DNA sequencing, including the sequencing of DNA fragments,  the mapping of reads back to a reference genome, and analysis of the data (both methylation and nucleosome analysis). Dr. Harris also gives an example of the practical use of this technology – the study of the mechanism controlling gene expression to develop drugs to treat malaria. Presentation Time:  42 minutes | View Now

Restoring a Diverse Forest Understory Plant Community with Variable-Density Thinning 

Dr. Eric Knapp
United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Pacific Southwest Research Station

Restoring a Diverse Forest Understory Plant CommunityDr. Knapp explains the importance of the forest understory – that is, the plants on the forest floor. He explains that the forest overstory and understory are substantially altered from their historic old-growth condition. Much of the change can be attributed to the absence of fire – humans put out fires that used to burn uncontrolled. Dr. Knapp presents two methods of forest thinning; methods which pushed forest stands closer to their historic state. However, long-term effects are still being studied. Presentation Time:  51 minutes | View Now

Alpine Plants: Their Adaptations & Use as Biological Indicators of Climate Change 

Dr. Jim Bishop
California and Nevada Region of the GLORIA project

Alpine Plants: Their Adaptations and Use as Biological Indicators of Climate ChangeSince 2004, Dr. Bishop has been an active participant in a project called GLORIA (Global Observation Research In Alpine Environments). The program is run completely by volunteers, who monitor plant growth at alpine zones around the world. Alpine zones are defined as areas in high elevations above the upper limit of tree growth, or the tree line. The monitoring is done with two goals: 1) to learn how plants adapt in order to survive in a harsh environment, and 2) to see how plants respond to climate change in that environment. Dr. Bishop examines the factors that limit growth above the tree line and postulates that if the climate warms, the higher elevations will become more favorable environments and gradually inhabitable by a wider variety of plants. Presentation Time:  54 minutes | View Now

A special message from Dr. Bishop: “Volunteers do much of the field work and are always appreciated.  GLORIA data may be of some use to students and faculty.  For more information please contact Adelia Barber at the address given on our GLORIA California website”

The Genomics of Physiological Resilience in Killifish 

Dr. Andrew Whitehead
Department of Environmental Toxicology, UC Davis

The Genomics of Physiological Resilience in KillifishDr. Whitehead studies the resistance and resilience of species to environmental stress exposure; he uses the killifish as his primary lab species. He explains that individuals, populations, and species vary in their sensitivity to stressors. Dr. Whitehead presents as an example of dioxin tolerance variations among a variety of fish species.  A key question in his research is “What are the genomic variants that enable resistance and resilience?” In searching for the answer to this question, he explores the consequences of chemical exposure and shrinking habitat on resident species. Presentation Time:  1 hour, 3 minutes | View Now

Bring Back the Pollinators

Jessa Guisse, MS, CSU, Chico
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Pollinators thumbnailThe importance of conserving pollinators is underscored by the fact that the value of pollinator-dependent crops in California is $11.7 billion. Most of these crops are pollinated by a single species, the European honey bee. Ms. Guisse points out that the numbers of honey bees have declined precipitously, making conservation and restoration vital to the state’s economy as well as to the environment. She notes that honey bee decline has been caused by disease, pests, pesticides, honey prices, and Colony Collapse disorder. She is working with the Xerces Society to restore natural habitat. Ms. Guisse also outlines other conservation practices that support pollinators, including how to reduce bee poisoning from pesticides. Presentation Time:  58 minutes | View Now

SIV Delta-vif Proviral DNA vaccine with IL-15 adjuvants

Dr. Robert Dubie
Faculty, Biological Sciences Department, CSU, Chico

video thumbnailDr. Dubie presents the finding of two vaccine projects conducted through the California National Primate Research Center at UC Davis.  The experiments were conducted on female rhesus macaque monkeys using an SIV virus.  SIV is an HIV model virus that develops more quickly than HIV, which makes it easier to study.  After administering various vaccines to the monkeys, researchers tested for antibody responses, viral loads, and T-cell responses, with the goal of increased protection against the virus. Presentation Time:  35 minutes | View Now

I Got Your Back: My movies and research on the evolution of defense and locomotion of slug and nettle caterpillar moths

Dr. Marc Epstein
Senior Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food & Agriculture; Research Associate, Smithsonian Institution

I Got Your Back play buttonDr. Epstein’s job with the State of California is to identify Lepidoptera (moths) in California that threatens the state’s economy, mainly as threats to agriculture. He is on the watch for invasive pests from all over the world as well as domestic species. These invasive moths are often brought into California on trucks, on boats, and on the bottom of beehive boxes. Scattered through his presentation are some surprising facts about moths; for example, there are 200,000 species of moths and, in the pre-adult stage, they must shed their skin 10 to 12 times in order to grow. He shows brief movies to demonstrate the locomotion of various species and some of the mechanisms they have developed to defend themselves. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 1 minute | View Now

PREDICT: Identifying the potential for the emergence and mitigating the threat of pandemic diseases

Dr. Tracey Goldstein
One Health Institute, UC Davis

Predict play buttonPREDICT is a project of the USAID  (United States Agency for International Development). Dr. Goldstein is one of the coordinators for this project, the goal of which is to help governments predict where new, emerging pandemic infections might crop up. The project came out of research regarding humans and avian influenza when it was recognized that no one was doing research regarding wildlife. Dr. Goldstein is a molecular wildlife biologist and works with a collaboration of non-profit organizations and universities to pre-empt or combat at their source the first stages of the emergence of zoonotic diseases that post a significant threat to public health. Zoonotic diseases are those diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans. Presentation Time:  57 minutes | View Now

The Fountain of Youth: Can calories and dietary fat change the rate of aging?

Dr. Jon Ramsey
Faculty, Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis

The Fountain of Yourth Play ButtonDr. Ramsey has been exploring mechanisms that contribute to aging. In this presentation, he shares the results of his work regarding these issues. He explains that, overall, his research indicates that the first part of the question – can calories change the rate of aging – may indeed be true. As for dietary fat, the verdict is out. Regarding humans, Dr. Ramsey notes that increased lifespan over the centuries is not from lessening the basic effects of aging specifically, but rather is mostly due to improvements in hygiene and improvements in the treatment of infectious diseases. It is his hope that a deeper understanding of aging processes will help with the medical treatment of the elderly. Presentation Time: 59 minutes | View Now

What Biological Measures Can Tell Us About Psychological Constructs

Dr. Michael Ennis
Faculty, Psychology Department, CSU, Chico

What Biological Measure Can Tell Us About Psychological Constructs Dr. Ennis, who has a Ph.D. in Psychobiology, is interested in building bridges between the two disciplines.  He begins by discussing the difficulty of accurately measuring such psychological phenomena as intelligence and anxiety and then explains how the use of biological measures can increase measurement validity and provide information about unconscious processes.  The three measurement tools Dr. Ennis presents are endocrine and immune measures, psychophysiology measures, and facial electromyography. Presentation Time:  57 minutes | View Now

The California Phenology Project

Dr. Liz Matthews
Post-Doctoral Scientist, UC Santa Barbara

The California Phenology ProjectThe subtitle of this presentation is “Linking plant phenology to climate change through Citizen Science.” Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle stages and how these are influenced by seasonal and by longer-term variations in climate.  The California Phenology Project began in 2010 and is focused on plants in seven California National Parks. Volunteers help identify and monitor species. Phenology is an indicator of environmental change – for example, over time, for some plant species, the date of the first leaf and/or the date of the first flower is earlier in the spring than 10 or 20 years ago. Dr. Matthews shows how such changes can affect an entire ecosystem. Presentation Time:  54 minutes | View Now

Agriculture 2050: Can the world's farmers feed a growing population without damaging the environment? 

Dr. Bruce Hicks
Faculty, Department of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences, Butte College

Agriculture 2050 Play ButtonDr. Hicks looks at where agriculture is today and where it is likely to be in 2050, given population growth, income growth, biofuels, climate change, and water constraints. For example, food consumption per capita is going up due to economic growth, which also results in more meat consumption.  Dr. Hicks outlines some potential solutions to the problems that will need to be overcome to feed the estimated world population in 2050 of nine billion people. Presentation Time:  46 minutes | View Now

Taking Water Microbiology to the Community Level in Developing Countries 

Dr. Robert Metcalf
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, CSU, Sacramento

Taking Water Microbiology to the Community Level in Developing CountriesDr. Metcalf discusses his efforts to bring healthy water systems to some of the poorest places in the world, where many people are still suffering from water-borne diseases. He reports that 800 million people in the world do not have access to clean water.  Dr. Metcalf has put together, and put into use, “The Portable Microbiology Lab,” in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rowanda, and other countries.  This “lab” provides a process to test for E.coli in three easy steps; it all fits into a one-gallon zip-lock bag.  Dr. Metcalf has taught people how to use this kit to test their own water and also how to make contaminated water safe to drink. Presentation Time:  1 hour, 1 minute | View Now

Chemical Aggressive Mimicry in Solitary Bee Nest Parasites: Host Range in the Southwestern U.S. 

Leslie Saul-Gershenz, PhD Candidate
Department of Entomology, UC Davis

Chemical Aggressive Mimicry in Solitary Bee Nest Parasites play buttonMs. Saul-Gershenz opens her talk with the assertion that scientists should use less jargon and make their work more presentable by “spicing it up a little.”  In this spirit, she has given her presentation an alternate title: “Fatal Attraction: Cross-dressing hitchhiker gang trick lover, rob single mom’s home, steal baby’s food.”  She focuses her research on the parasite-host relationship between ceptoparasites and bees, which turns out to be very much like her humorous title. This research is especially relevant to recent concerns, especially in the agricultural and horticultural communities, about the sharp decline of bee populations in some areas. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes | View Now

E.Coli, the Uninvited Dinner Guest 

Dr. Susanne Lindgren
Faculty, Department of Biological Sciences, CSU, Sacramento

E Coli, the Uninvited Dinner Guest play buttonDr. Lindgren talks about E.coli, the bacteria responsible for many cases of food poisoning, which often causes severe symptoms and, in some cases, even death.  She explains how this pathogen causes disease. Dr. Lindgren also shares her research results in recording the prevalence of E.coli in ground beef in the Sacramento area, free range-grazing cattle, clinical stool specimens, and horses in Northern California.  Among the surprising aspects of her presentation are the revelations that there is such a thing as “good” E.coli and that the not-so-good E.coli is the number one cause of bladder infections. Presentation time: 55 minutes | View Now

The Wonderful World of Lauxanioid Flies and the Solution to a 100-Year-Old Mystery

Dr. Steve Gaimari
Plant Pest Diagnostics Center, California Department of Food & Agriculture

The Wonderful World of Lauxanioid Flies play buttonSteve Gaimari is very enthusiastic about his specialty – the study of flies – and has a sense of humor about it, too. He starts his presentation by stating, “Flies don’t have the best image in the court of public opinion.” He then goes on to describe the diverse and ever-changing world of flies, noting that 160,000 species have been described and named, new species are being discovered all the time, and that it is estimated that one out of 10 species on earth are flies. Dr. Gaimari concludes his talk with the story of the Eurychoromyia mallea fly and a 100-year-old mystery. Presentation time: 58 minutes | View Now

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus Infections in Humans

Dr. Eric Bortz
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza play buttonDr. Bortz provides a general introduction to influenza and then shares recent research in avian influenza.  His area of research is how avian influenza viruses (sometimes referred to as “bird flu”) can infect humans. Dr Bortz notes that all influenza viruses are thought to have originated in avian species.  He also explains the composition and life cycles of influenza viruses. His talk is designed to reach a wide audience, as well as those interested in the molecular details of his research. Please note all figures and images are for research, educational, or reference purposes only. For inquiries, please contact  Presentation time: 1 hour, 8 minutes | View Now

Undersea Living, Saturation Diving, and Discovering Roman and Greek Shipwrecks

Dr. Ian Koblick
Alumnus, CSU, Chico

Undersea Living, Saturation Diving, and Discovering Roman and Greek Ships play buttonIan Koblick’s presentation focuses on his fascinating career as an undersea resident, aquanaut, explorer, author, marine consultant, and technical advisor. He has pioneered programs in undersea living and explored oceans in a quest to preserve their environments and search for the lost remains of our maritime past. Koblick is a CSU, Chico graduate. If you ever wanted to live underwater or explore ancient shipwrecks, you won’t want to miss this presentation. Presentation time: 1 hour, 11 minutes | View Now

Diet-Genome Interactions: An Example of Multi-Scale Biology and Cross-Kingdom Regulation

Dr. Raymond L. Rodriguez
Professor, UC, Davis

Diet-Genome Interactions play buttonThe focus of Dr. Rodriguez’ presentation is the interaction between human genes and our dietary environment. He asserts that this interaction is more complex than we think.  Because this is a complex system, Dr. Rodriguez and other scientists in his field of nutritional genomics are looking at the key bioactive components in food. He hopes that eventually the treatment of disease will not lean so heavily on medications, but will focus more on disease-preventing and health-promoting foods that are tailored to match individual lifestyles, culture, and genetics. In addition to his position as a professor at UC Davis, Dr. Rodriguez serves as director of that university’s Center of Excellence in Nutritional Genomics. Presentation time: 1 hour, 8 minutes | View Now

Life Without Light: Chemoautotrophically Based Cave Biology

Dr. Serban M. Sarbu
Professor, University of Cincinnati

Life Without Light play buttonBorn in Romania, Dr. Sarbu developed his interest in caves and cave biology partly because Romania is a country containing many caves. He shares photographs and other information from his life-long exploration of caves, including photos of life forms, such as certain insects, that are able to exist in that light-free environment. He explains chemoautotrophic ecosystems - the biology explaining how these various life forms have adapted to living in caves. Dr. Sarbu then describes ongoing research projects that are exploring such cave-related subjects as the geographic extent of the thermal aquifer and origins of subterranean fauna. Presentation time: 45 minutes | View Now