Evolution of Darwin’s Finches: Integrating Behavior, Ecology, and Genetics

For many, Drs. Rosemary and Peter Grant, evolutionary biology, Princeton University, are living legends in the field of modern evolutionary biology, having conducted over four decades of field research on the Galapagos finches. On Monday, March 12, students, professors and alumni packed into Call Auditorium in Kennedy Hall to witness the scientists bring their research on the Galapagos Finches to life. Rosemary’s talk, titled “Evolution of Darwin’s Finches: Integrating Behavior, Ecology, and Genetics” kicked off the Paul C. Mundinger Distinguished Lectureship, in honor of the late Paul C. Mundinger. Mundiger received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1967 and developed a strong attachment with lab of Ornithology as a graduate student.

This graphic describes how the Hare Lab measures wild spat-on-shell oysters.

New Data on Remnant Oyster Population Could Help Restore the Hudson River

The Hudson River is infamous for being one of the most polluted rivers in America, but its waters have a lot more to them than meets the eye. Estuaries like the Hudson are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, where one can find marine, brackish and freshwater species intermingling in a relatively small area. In the Hudson River, oysters served as the foundation for this rich environment until around 1900, when a combination of overfishing and pollution locally decimated the stocks. Oysters begin their life cycle as small, mobile larvae. As they mature, they seek out a surface to settle on and develop their recognizable shells.

Suzuki enjoying herself at Yellowstone National Park in summer 2017. In addition to running, Suzuki is an active climber and nature enthusiast.

Spotlight on Sophomore Sawako Suzuki: Running Across the Country for Cancer

Meet Sawako Suzuki ’20, a student passionate about solving scientific problems outside the classroom. For some people running is a sport or a rigorous workout. For Suzuki, running is a medium for community engagement, research, philanthropy and healthcare. This summer, she will be running across the country as a fundraiser for youth cancer patients. The run is from San Francisco to Boston.

This is the original tree found in Arnot forest with woodpecker scaling, which is a primary signal for Emerald Ash Borer beetle invasion.

Emerald Ash Borer Invades Tompkins County Forests

Dark green forests, blue skies, fresh water and sunny days are what make Ithaca ‘gorges.’ Unfortunately, this aesthetic is under attack by none other than the infamous Emerald Ash Borer. The EAB is an invasive beetle species which has destroyed ash trees across the country and its detection in Tompkins County is no surprise. The beetle was discovered in February in the Arnot Forest, which is Cornell’s largest teaching and research park at 4200 acres, by Mike Griggs, an entomologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service at Cornell’s Robert W. Holley Center. While peacefully walking his dogs near the forest, Griggs was startled upon recognized deep “wood-peckering” or exposed inner bark on the ash trees, an innuendo for the malignant beetle. The woodpecker activity is a common symptom because the birds are attracted to the larva.

Cornell's MOOC on sharks is accessible for free through the edX online education website.

Online Courses Turn Profs From ‘Sage on the Stage to Guide on the Side’

“Any person, … any study”: it is the phrase heard resounding across the Arts Quad as a backwards-walking tour guide shouts to a shuffling clump of wide-eyed high school students about Cornell’s history of inclusiveness. For Cornellians, the phrase is cliched, but beloved — seen running across the front of every brochure, every banner and every statue across campus. Ezra Cornell was progressive for his time and aimed to promote his institution’s role as a nondiscriminatory place of learning that is open to any student, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender. Unbeknownst to Ezra Cornell, the age of the computer would take this inclusiveness to another level.

Students collaborate on health hackathon project ideas at Collegetown Ehub

Students Develop App to Aid Strep Throat Patients from Home

This past weekend, while the Cornell Campus shut down for an unprecedented snow day, the eHub on College Avenue hummed to life with an atmosphere of innovation and excitement. On Friday evening, students, mentors, and speakers, congregated in Collegetown to embark on the three-day enterprise that is the Cornell Health Hackathon. The Cornell Health Hackathon is an event that encourages students from a diverse background of degrees, majors, and schools to collaborate in teams and produce a viable solution to a relevant issue in the medical community. This year’s hackathon outlined two health-related problems for teams to tackle. The first challenge involved resolving the global antibacterial resistance crisis, the other, creating an easy to use sleep tracking program.

Headquarters | This facility, located at 34 Dutch Mill Road, houses Transonic Systems' manufacturing, R&D, sales, marketing and support staff

CEO of Ithaca-based Transonic Systems Talks ‘Disruptive Change,’ Cautions Against IPOs

Interested in having your own startup? An Ithaca-based company with annual revenues of $20 million and subsidiaries in the Netherlands, Japan and Taiwan is here to give you the inspiration you need. Researchers and clinicians seek reliable quantitative data to make informed decisions about patients and experiments. Transonic Systems aids in this process by producing diagnostic and research measurement equipment. Cornelis J. Drost, CEO and president of Transonic Systems, discussed his inspiration behind creating the business.

Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill Nye dons alma mater Cornellian red while presenting about his endeavors.

Science Guy Bill Nye Refuses to Let the Planet Die

Remember those rainy days in elementary school? Sitting in your assigned desk and staring at the clock, counting down the minutes until lunch. Suddenly, the door swings open and an assistant teacher wheels in the TV cart. The classroom instantly fills with excited chatter. The mood lifts.

Organized Research Expenditures Jul 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. Source: Cornell University

By the Numbers: Science Research Spending

Ever wondered how much spending is involved in research at Cornell? A Cornell Research report gives light on spending data from 2016-2017 school year. The report broke down spending into two main categories: organized research and departmental research. Organized research, as defined by the report, “represents the research efforts funded by sponsored programs and federal and NYS appropriations and internal solicitations, including formal cost sharing.”

Research that is funded by gifts to departments and with faculty research accounts falls under departmental research, according to the report. Organized research spending accounted for 83 percent of all research spending and $985.5 million was spent in total.

Worm world | Research indicates that disabling the SET-26 gene in worms increases longevity, bringing hope that a similar effect might be seen in humans.

Gene in Worms Could Be Key to Longer Human Lifespan

Popular legend claims that drinking from the fountain of youth will keep one’s body vigorous and vivacious for years to come. Prof. Sylvia Lee, molecular biology and genetics, may have discovered such an elixir in the soils of Ithaca. Her research indicates the secret of immortality may be hidden in the genome of a worm. Lee found that Caenorhabditis elegans, a common species of soil worm, has a very similar lifespan and reproductive pattern to humans, importantly sharing hallmark features of human aging. These similarities make C. elegans a premier experimental model to reveal the mysterious mechanisms of mortality in humans.