In the Spotlight: Feb. 13, 2008

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  • Kiisa at conference
    L-to-R: NSF director Arden L. Bement, Jr., Martha Flanders of NSF’s Division of Integrative Organismal Systems in the Directorate for Biological Sciences, Kiisa Nishikawa, NAU Regents’ Professor of biology, and NSF deputy director Kathie L. Olsen. Flanders holds a chameleon used to demonstrate fast capture movements. This is the first time that live animals were used for demonstration purposes in the NSF building. Credit: Pat Olmert, National Science Foundation

    Kiisa Nishikawa, Regents’ Professor of biology, was invited to showcase her research and represent the Biological Sciences Directorate of the National Science Foundation at a press conference announcing the NSF budget Feb. 4 at the agency’s office in Arlington, Va. Also traveling to Virginia were a live chameleon and toad that Nishikawa uses to demonstrate extremely rapid prey capture movements. Studies of the neuromuscular basis for such rapid movements in animals have led to a novel model of muscle function. The model has the potential to revolutionize the field of muscle physiology, influence the design of prostheses and perhaps improve the efficiency of electric motors.

  • Nadine Barlow, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has had her book, Mars: An Introduction to its Interior, Surface, and Atmosphere, published by Cambridge University Press.
  • Liz Kalies, a forestry doctoral student, and Ben Solvesky, who graduated from the master’s program in December, tied for the Best Student Presentation award at the 41st Joint Annual Meeting of the Arizona and New Mexico Chapters of The Wildlife Society and the Arizona/New Mexico Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, in Prescott Feb. 7-9. Kailes’ presentation was titled, “Small mammal community responses to fuels reduction treatments in southwestern ponderosa pine forests. Solvesky’s presentation was titled “Roosts of Allen’s lappet-browed bat (Idionycteris phyllotis) in northern Arizona,” and was based on his thesis work.
  • Abe Springer, associate professor of geology, was among a panel of experts who discussed water issues at a Prescott-area conference Feb. 10. Springer talked about how northern Arizona has been in the grips of a drought for 13 years. He said a U.S. Geological Survey computer model of regional underground water systems and a study about how plants and animals could react to river water losses, both due this year, should help decision-makers.
  • Four NAU art education students wrote an article, “Why Go to the National Art Education Conference?” to be published in the March issue of SchoolArts, a national periodical for art teachers. The four—Tara NunimakerJessica BradleyErika Tsouras and Jessica Davis—also are members of the student chapter of the Art Education Association.Two other NAU art education students, senior Neri Luzietti and graduate student Jovahna Pena, also will be published in the March issue of SchoolArts. Luzietti’s “A Quiet Landscape” and Pena’s “Mixed Media Self-Portrait” will be featured in the print copy of the magazine.
  • Curtis Hinsley, chair of Humanities, Art, and Religion, and his co-author, David Wilcox at the Museum of Northern Arizona, received an unexpected grant for $25,000 from a trust fund in Boston for research, travel, writing and publication costs relating to the Hemenway Expedition project that has been ongoing for more than a decade.