In this issue:
- Awards Offered in Chemistry, Biophysics or Computational Biology, and Biological Chemistry
- Lost World, New Species Discovered
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Awards Offered in Chemistry, Biophysics or Computational Biology, and Biological Chemistry
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center is accepting applications for the fouth annual Frank and Sara McKnight Awards in Molecular Sciences. Awards are offered in three areas: Chemistry, Biophysics or Computational Biology, and Biological Chemistry. These prizes are designed to recognize undergraduate students with a commitment to scientific research and a record of academic achievement. Approximately fifteen finalists will be chosen from the applicants, and they will be invited to attend a scientific retreat hosted by the Department of Biochemistry at UT Southwestern. There, students will present a poster describing their research.
Three young researchers will be awarded prizes in each category: 3rd: $500; 2nd: $1,000; 1st: $2000.
The application process is simple and requires only a brief description of your research experience, a letter of support from your faculty mentor, and the usual numerical metrics. If you wish to apply, please get with your faculy mentor for any help you may need. Applications must be received by October 1, 2009 by email to McknightPrize@utsouthwestern.edu. Students should include Chemistry Prize, Biophysics Prize, or Biological Chemisty Prize in the subject line.
For more details on how to apply and eligibility, please go to http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/utsw/cda/dept23109/files/304738.html.
Lost World, New Species Discovered
A lost world populated by fanged frogs, grunting fish and tiny bear-like creatures has been discovered in a remote volcanic crater on the Pacific island of Papua New Guinea.
A team of scientists from Britain, the United States and Papua New Guinea found more than 40 previously unidentified species when they climbed into the kilometre-deep crater of Mount Bosavi and explored a pristine jungle habitat teeming with life that has evolved in isolation since the volcano last erupted 200,000 years ago. In a remarkably rich haul from just five weeks of exploration, the biologists discovered 16 frogs which have never before been recorded by science, at least three new fish, a new bat and a giant rat, which may turn out to be the biggest in the world.
The discoveries are being seen as fresh evidence of the richness of the world's rainforests and the explorers hope their finds will add weight to calls for international action to prevent the demise of similar ecosystems. They said Papua New Guinea's rainforest is currently being destroyed at the rate of 3.5% a year.
"It was mind-blowing to be there and it is clearly time we pulled our finger out and decided these habitats are worth us saving," said Dr George McGavin who headed the expedition.
The team of biologists included experts from Oxford University, the London Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution and are believed to be the first scientists to enter the mountainous Bosavi crater. They were joined by members of the BBC Natural History Unit which filmed the expedition for a three-part documentary which starts tomorrow night.
They found the three-kilometre wide crater populated by spectacular birds of paradise and in the absence of big cats and monkeys, which are found in the remote jungles of the Amazon and Sumatra, the main predators are giant monitor lizards while kangaroos have evolved to live in trees. New species include a camouflaged gecko, a fanged frog and a fish called the Henamo grunter, named because it makes grunting noises from its swim bladder.
"These discoveries are really significant," said Steve Backshall, a climber and naturalist who became so friendly with the never-before seen Bosavi silky cuscus, a marsupial that lives up trees and feeds on fruits and leaves, that it sat on his shoulder.
"The world is getting an awful lot smaller and it is getting very hard to find places that are so far off the beaten track."