Fall 2004

Advancement of science and technology through quackery

Dr. Linda Chamberlin
Valdosta State University


Abstract:  Dr. Ray Vaughn Pierce (1840-1914) was unarguably a complex and dynamic man. He moved to Buffalo, NY, to launch a successful and colorful medical career with his Golden Medical Discovery. In 1875 he published "The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English or Medicine Simplified". A side benefit of this marketing ploy was to inform common people about the latest medical developments through constantly updated editions. Dr. Pierce also had a lot of enthusiasm for all kinds of inventions and scientific gadgets and used them in his medical practice. He built Invalids Hotel, a luxury hotel for the ill. The Hotel and associated World's Dispensary employed steam engines to drive mechanical manipulators, printing presses, bottle washer, pharmacy equipment as well as an elevator. There were electric generators, ozone generator, and X-ray equipment. The hotel featured electric lighting and a fire sprinkler system. His use of this technology exposed many influential people to the possibilities of new technologies and science.

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Odd Electron Chemical Bonds

Dr. Andreas Illies
Auburn University


Abstract:  Experimental studies of odd electron bonding in the gas-phase will be presented. The seminar will focus on research of two-center three-electron (2c-3e) bonds involving hetroatoms on small molecules. The intent of the research is to understand the properties of these bonds and the effects of chemical factors on their formation. The nature of these bonds will be described at a level appropriate for a general science audience. Hopefully, the audience will gain an understanding and insight into these unusual bonds.

Thursday, September 23, 2004


Mineral Exploration in Brazil: Conventional science proves its merit in the real world!

Dr. Mark Groszos
Valdosta State University


Abstract:  Conventional mineral exploration is an applied science. Scientific research techniques that are standard in academia are often avoided in exploration programs in an effort to control costs or meet time deadlines. The current study is an example of how well-managed projects that utilize both conventional exploration techniques and academic research techniques can enhance exploration activities and increase chances of success. This project was initiated in the mid 1990?s. South America was targeted because recent improvements in the economies of several South American countries meant that industrial minerals were in high demand across the continent. Feldspar minerals, which are used in the production of glass and ceramics, were considered an ideal exploration target. Early in the evaluation process it became clear that Brazil presented the best exploration opportunities. After careful consideration, efforts were focused on a nepheline syenite body near Cana?, Brazil. That decision set the stage for the implementation of a three-year exploration program in Brazil that ultimately resulted in the discovery of a world-class high-grade deposit of nepheline syenite. This discovery was made by an exploration team that included managers, scientists, engineers, technicians, and support personnel, all of whom worked in concert on this project. The author served as the science leader on this exploration team.

Thursday, September 30, 2004


Cancer Drugs from the Sea

Dr. Thomas Manning
Valdosta State University


Abstract:  Marine natural products (MNP's) are molecules with medicinal value that are extracted from organisms that live in the ocean. Two of the most efficient drugs against certain types of cancer are bryostatin and ET743. The downside to these drugs is their extraordinarily cost (several million dollars per gram), which greatly limits their application. Work in our group has focused on understanding the chemical ecology of the organisms and ecosystems that produce these MNP's and using this information to grow the marine bacteria that produce the MNP. For example, this summer we did a complete chemical analysis of a Florida Keys Mangrove ecosystem that contains Ecteinascidia turbinata, the sea squirt that produces ET743. This chemical data is being used to design a chemical broth that will sustain the microbes. Marine bacteria are notoriously difficult/impossible to culture in the lab. We also recently completely a series of aquaculture experiments in the northern Gulf of Mexico in which we developed and tested an approach to significantly amplified the bacteria that produce bryostatin. We will talk about our current projects and research completed to date.

Thursday, October 7, 2004


The Police/Community Survey in Thomasville, Georgia

Drs. Rudy Prine and Chet Ballard
Valdosta State University


Abstract:  This project utilizes both mail and electronic type surveys to explore the relationship between Thomasville residents and their Police Department. Questions included items that measured trust, safety, police-citizen interaction, perceptions of racism, and actual victimization. Basic demographic information is included and comparisons are made between White and African-American respondents. Open-ended questions also allow citizens to make detailed comments and observations about crime and the police response.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Evaluating Positional Candidate Genes for Effects on Meat Tenderness

Dr Gary Hansen


Abstract:  Meat tenderness is of major importance to beef producers, processors, retailers and consumers with complaints about product inconsistency being among the top factors affecting beef consumption. Better understanding of the genetics behind meat tenderness in beef will give producers the tools to deliver a consistent product that better meets market requirements. The entire genome of cattle had been scanned to identify regions that may harbor meat tenderness genes and in this present study we undertook the evaluation of six positional candidate genes. Two measures called Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF) and overall tenderness (OTEND) were used to assess meat tenderness in this study. The candidate genes were selected from a library of bovine genes using an alignment of the human and bovine comparative map. Four genes, MMP19, WIF1, WNT1, WNT10B, and two genes, MYF5 and MYF6, were selected as candidate genes for WBSF and OTEND respectively. Our analysis showed that a genetic marker linked to MYF5 and MYF6 genes for OTEND was present in half-sib families indicating that MYF5 and MYF6 are strong candidates for OTEND on bovine chromosome 5 (BTA5). The MYF4 gene was mapped to bovine BTA16 giving further support to a relationship between the MYF family of genes and OTEND. Preliminary data was obtained for gene expression of MYF6 between esophagus, heart and neck muscle tissues collected shortly after slaughter. Fluorimetry and densitometry results failed to confirm that differential gene expression of MYF6 is taking place between tender meat and less tender meat. Further studies to evaluate more mutations in these genes may help resolve what if any roles these genes play in beef meat tenderness.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Forensic Entomology: Dead Pigs, Lead Pipes, and Peanut Butter

Dr. Tomberl


Abstract:  Dr. Tomberlin will be presenting on the use of insects as evidence in criminal investigations. Primarily, he will be speaking on death scene investigations and the maggots that are associated with human remains. Although maggots and other insects found on a corpse are considered repulsive, they harbor tremendous potential for determining information about the deceased, such as when the person died, what they died from, who killed them, and where the crime took place. Please join us for this ghoulish Halloween treat! Paper bags provided for those with sensitive stomachs.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


Circles of Curvature:  Geometric to Formulaic

Dr. Mylan Redfern


Abstract:  Using the Computer Algebra System Maple, a colleague and I have developed computational materials for the calculus sequence. These materials are independent of any particular text and are meant to motivate and enrich the ideas and concepts that a student learns in calculus. The graphics capabilities, interactive nature, and ease of use make Maple a natural tool for integrating the learning and computational environments. This talk will illustrate these materials with an example about the circle of curvature at a point on the graph of a function. The notion is first illustrated geometrically and the student is asked to participate in this exercise using Maple. The geometrical observations lead the student naturally to the development of formulas for the center of curvature and then the circle of curvature.

Thursday, November 4, 2004


NFS or NIS Tips on how to construct a ‘fundable’ proposal.

Dr. Mary Watson
Valdosta State University


Abstract:  Getting funding for a research project from agencies such as the National Science Foundation or the National Institutes of Health has pitfalls the uninitiated can fall into without some ‘insider’ assistance. You can get funding for research, even at the start of your career from these agencies. Begin your work in research by developing a plan. Build a solid research agenda, collaborate with colleagues, and build a relationship with a mentor. Everyone has to begin and most of us take very few shortcuts – we have to start at the beginning, with a first grant, and we work up from that point. An award is prestigious and it means you have begun the process of learning how to write a grant. Once you understand the process the rest, as they say, is a piece of cake!

Thursday, November 11, 2004


Application of Engineering Methods in Manufacturing of Paper Products and Biomechanics

Dr. Barry Hojjatie


Abstract:  The seminar is a two part presentation. In the first part, manufacturing and end-use-application of paper materials will be discussed. Emphasis will be given on application of engineering techniques to characterize physical and mechanical properties of paper. Pulp and paper industry is a vital component of the Georgia’s economy. This industry represents more than 10% of Georgia’s total manufacturing workforce. In the second part application of engineering methods for strengthening of dental ceramic restorations such as crowns and bridges will be presented. Both paper and ceramic materials exhibit viscoelastic behavior, paper changes its dimensions under the influence of moisture, and ceramic materials in presence of high temperature. These dimensional instability problems in paper may be responsible for difficulties in printing and copying, and in dental restorations associated with premature failure of crowns and bridges.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


Evaluation of Aquatic Habitats and Fish Assemblages in the Forested Floodplain of the Apalachicola River in Relation to Altered Hydrology

Dr. Stephen J Walsh


Abstract:  The Apalachicola River is Florida’s largest river by discharge and represents the lowermost segment of the large Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) drainage, one of the major watersheds of the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Historically, the ACF drainage has been highly modified by reservoirs, sedimentation, altered flows, navigational dredging, and other changes associated with hydro-regulation and land use. The Apalachicola River also has one of the most extensive forested floodplains of the eastern Gulf Slope, yet landscape-scale physical changes and availability of water resources have elicited concern over the fate of aquatic habitats and communities associated with the floodplain. In an effort to assess relationships between hydrology, biological impacts, and prospects for restoration, USGS investigators are examining fish communities and habitats of the forested floodplain. This presentation will provide a general overview of the problems associated with decreased floodplain habitats for fish communities. This project is supported by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, with technical and logistic support from the Northwest Florida Water Management District and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Thursday, December 2, 2004