Tag: forensic science

Spring on the Horizon

by gwilson on Jan.03, 2016, under A Day in the Life...

pyp_crewWe enter 2016 with great excitement for the Spring 2016 semester.  Here are some things on the horizon…

  • Science Saturday! January 23rd will feature an open house for the sciences at McMurry.  Science Saturday is an opportunity for the community, and in particular regional high school educators and students, to come experience the unique flavor of McMurry’s science programs.  There will be hands-on events sponsored by our science faculty and students.  Biology will host three sessions – one an exercise is studying population diversity in an ecological setting, another a forensic science activity using conventional and molecular techniques, and a third centered on epidemiological investigation of a mock disease outbreak.  In each case, students and other visitors take on the role of scientist to see how knowledge is put into action to solve real-world problems.
  • Honors Research! This spring we will have only one Honors student completing Honors research.  The student is Taylor Russell, standout basketball player for the Lady War Hawks.  Her project is using molecular techniques to investigate whether microbial populations in traditional Winogradsky columns are also supported in diatomaceous earth (DE) columns (now becoming known as Benoit Columns in reference to their discoverer, our own Dr. Tom Benoit).  We are eagerly anticipating the results from the epigenetic analysis because it is likely some of the microbes discovered could be members of the new domains of organisms first reported this summer.
  • Faculty Research! With the announcement that four of our Biology faculty received KIVA grants and Sam Taylor Research Fellowships, the move will be on to study bats and plant diversity and invasive crab species and mole migration patterns.  Students will be given the opportunity to dive in and learn as they conduct research.
  • And Speaking of Grants…. The department will be deeply involved in the writing of a major grant that has the potential to transform McMurry sciences.  This multi-year, multi-million dollar grant would bring improved spaces and equipment and new opportunities and programs to our current and future students.  More on this as we get deeper into 2016!

So there you have it.  Lots to be excited about as a War Hawk BIMS student!  May this be a great year for us all!

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Real-life CSI!

by gwilson on Feb.06, 2012, under Projects

fly clip artFor the past decade, one of the most popular television franchises has been CSI, where the tools of forensic science are used to solve crime.  The BIMS program was created to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to join their TV counterparts to help bring criminals to justice.

But forensic science is MUCH more than DNA fingerprinting and other biotech and immunological methods.  Sometimes, the key evidence is provided by six-legged pests.  This semester, upper level students in Dr. Tierney Brosius’ Entomology class and two capstone students are joining scientists from universities across the country in a project being directed by the University of Nebraska to study chemical attractants that draw flies to decaying flesh and to see what species are most commonly attracted by which chemical.

To do their work, students will create bait traps containing suspect chemicals and scatter them around campus.  Then, over the course of many days the flies attracted will be counted and identified to search for patterns and answers.  Results will be added to those from students from other schools to see whether there are regional differences in effective chemicals and in species attracted.

More than anything, such studies provide students with valuable experience participating in the industry of science.  But another benefit is the realization that the glamour and simplicity of television science and technology come about through long, hard work done by dedicated researchers.

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