Reflections from the GCC Graduate Seminar Course

Views from the Graduate Seminar

By Rachel Brooks, GCC Fellow & PhD Student

As the Global Change program develops, so do the required courses for the PhD-students and Fellows. This year we added a new “advanced” seminar session that is student lead and designed. After a few introductory seminars lead by Jeff Walters and Bruce Hull, we (the students) spent time brainstorming and planning the rest of the semester. With the help of numerous sticky notes and a few whiteboard markers, our seminar agenda emerged: practicing science ...

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Dr. Dana Hawley leads research linking bird immunity and pathogen virulence

From VT News

March 1, 2018  |  As annual flu shot patrons know, immune systems are not perfect and must be constantly reinforced to protect against rapidly evolving pathogens.

New research shows that, in the case of a common backyard bird, imperfect immunity to a dangerous pathogen that causes “bird pink eye” actually makes the pathogen stronger and more dangerous for its next victim.  The findings — from a multi-university team led ...

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Restoration from streams to wetlands: Can we restore and should we?

Virginia Tech’s Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation hosted Dr. Margaret Palmer from the University of Maryland this morning as part of their Spring Seminar Series.  Dr. Palmer’s presentation, titled “Restoration from streams to wetlands: Can we restore and should we?” engaged a full auditorium to explore the impacts of temporary streams throughout natural, restored and agricultural environments, and to take a closer look at her team’s research differentiating structural versus ecological restoration techniques and evaluation for coastal streams ...

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New Online Course in Fall 2018: Navigating the Social Complexities of Sustainability

Taught by Dr. Marc Stern, a new online course offered this Fall is designed to provide students with a variety of tools for navigating the social complexities of environmental and other sustainability-related initiatives.

Having successfully completed this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the social dimensions of sustainability challenges.
  • Communicate about social science theories effectively.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply social science theories to real-world problem-solving within the context of environmental sustainability.
  • Articulate both the value and limitations of social science theories for problem ...
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French food waste law is changing how stores handle excess food

From National Public Radio


Every morning at a supermarket called Auchan in central Paris, Magdalena Dos Santos has a rendezvous with Ahmed “Doudou” Djerbrani, a driver from the French food bank.

Dos Santos, who runs the deli section of the store, is in charge of supervising the store’s food donations. She sets aside prepared dishes that are nearing their expiration date.

Opening a giant fridge, Dos Santos shows what else the store ...

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Vikesland and Pruden: Effects of nanoparticles on microbes

From VT News

The environment is teeming with microbes. Soil, water, indoor surfaces, our own bodies — any habitat that hasn’t been rigorously sterilized is populated by thousands of species of interdependent bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic organisms.

These webs of microbiota are the biological foundation for larger-scale ecosystems, and small shifts in the microbial community can provoke seismic shifts in the environment.

Nanoparticles are one of a long list of substances that can perturb them, but teasing out their effects is ...

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Frank Aylward awarded 2018 Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship

From VT News

Frank O. Aylward, an assistant professor with the Department of Biological Sciences in the Virginia Tech College of Science, has been selected as a 2018 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Ocean Sciences.

Recipients of 2018 Sloan Research Fellows will receive an award of $65,000, which Aylward will use to fund personnel in his lab and to purchase a server for computational genomic research. “I’m very excited ...

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2018 Distinguished Lecture: Dr. Kirk Johnson, Director of Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History

Kirk Johnson, a world-renowned paleontologist who focuses on fossil plants and the extinction of the dinosaurs, will visit Virginia Tech on Friday, February 16.

He will give a 4 p.m. distinguished lecture, “Natural History in the Age of Humans,” at the Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg. The lecture is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing in the theatre’s main lobby.

Dr. Kirk Johnson is the Sant Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural ...

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Dr. Scott Edwards, Harvard Ornithologist, to give MLK Seminar on January 19th

Dr. Scott Edwards, Professor, Harvard University, will give the Seventh Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Seminar in the Biocomplexity Institute Auditorium on Friday, January 19, 2018 at 12:20 pm. His talk is titled, “Genes or gene regulation? Understanding the evolutionary genetics of flightlessness in birds”.

Dr. Edwards is a distinguished scientist at Harvard University. He received his B.A. from Harvard, his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and his postdoctoral training at the University of Florida. Dr. Edwards’ research program uses interdisciplinary ...

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