UM St. Louis
Procrastinators, working mothers, and stressed-out college students know that they get more done when under the gun. Sonya Bahar, Assistant Professor of biophysics and Director of the Center for Neurodynamics at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, explains that such multitasking is a matter of physics. By measuring visual tracking and by imaging seizures in the brain, she researches synchronization, the process by which regions of the brain begin to match up electrically.
"It was a process of trial and error," comments Sylvia Cook about her latest book, Working Women, Literary Ladies: The Industrial Revolution and Female Aspiration. As a specialist in southern American literature, Cook decided to go back to the beginnings, that is to the start of the 19th century, for her latest book. Her initial plan was to create a broad historical account of early American literature, but during the research phase the scope of her book began to change.
Over half of the world’s calories come from grasses, but imagine generating enough fuel from grass to run a car or even light up a house. Actually, the dream of turning a blade of grass into usable energy is not as far-fetched as it might seem. Doing her part toward realizing this goal, Elizabeth Kellogg, Professor of Biology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, is researching the history behind switchgrass and its relationship with other grasses.
In his youth, Michael Ohnersorgen spent his summers on his uncle’s ranch in Arizona. “I remember seeing a lot of pottery and arrowheads and things like that on the ground, and as a kid I always thought that was interesting,” he says. Today, Ohnersorgen does fieldwork at the Chacalilla archaeological site on the coast of Nayarit, Mexico, studying a phenomenon known as the Aztatlán tradition.
As you walk down the street and are about to pass a fellow pedestrian, what is your first reaction? Do you completely ignore the pedestrian, or do you glance over and offer a smile or a “hello?” Miles Patterson, a University of Missouri-St. Louis professor of psychology, has spent much of his life studying scenarios like this one while researching how nonverbal communication works.
While most people rip weeds from their front yards without a second thought, Bethany Zolman spends her time studying one virtually unknown weed, Arabidopsis thaliana. The assistant professor of biology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis finds that this plant serves as a perfect model organism for research because it grows quickly, is easily manipulated, and is comparable to the systems of crop plants.