Fall 2006

Myths & Truths about Biological Evolution

Dr. Leslie Jones
Department of Biology, Valdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Biology

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Health Physics and Medical Physics at the University of Florida – Academic Programs and Research Activities

Dr. Bolch, the Director of Advanced Laboratory for Radiation Dosimetry Studies (ALRADS)
University of Florida

Hosting Dept: Physics, Astronomy, Geosciences

Abstract:  The Department of Nuclear & Radiological Engineering at UF is host to three graduate programs at the MS and PhD level – nuclear engineering, health physics, and medical physics. The latter two will be highlighted in this presentation. Health physics is the study of engineering methods for assessment of radiation exposure risk and optimization of radiation personnel dose versus radiation source utilization. Medical physics entails the use of ionizing radiation for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other disease processes. Research activities to be highlighted include the (1) emergency medical assessment of contaminated victims following radiological terrorist events, (2) improved methods of assessing bone marrow dose in cancer treatment, and (3) patient-specific anatomical modeling for imaging and therapy of pediatric patients.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Mad In America

Bob Whitaker

Hosting Dept: English and Psychology Departments


Abstract:  We like to think that our society has made great strides in treating the seriously mentally ill. But consider this: The World Health Organization has twice found that outcomes for people diagnosed with schizophrenia are much better in the poor countries of the world than in the U.S. and other rich countries. Why should that be so? A history of our country’s treatment of the mentally ill provides a disturbing—and surprising—answer to that question. This talk will focus on that history, and briefly address some of the difficulties in researching and writing Mad in America.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Riparian Buffer Systems

Dr. Richard Lowrance
USDA-Southeast Watershed Lab in Tifton

Hosting Dept: Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences

Abstract:  Historically, wetlands were managed to remove excess water as quickly as possible. The goal was to convert wetlands and wetland soils to non-wetland uses or to convert them to farmed wetlands. Wetland management has changed because of a scientific consensus that loss of wetlands adversely affected water quality, flood storage, and wildlife habitat. Today, although some wetland conversion and filling continues, non-farmed wetlands are more likely to be managed to improve water quality, increase flood storage, and enhance wildlife habitat. Best Management Practices (BMPs) for wetlands include wetland restoration, wetland enhancement, wetland creation, and wetland construction. Thus wetland management as a conservation practice can range from building completely new wetlands for wastewater treatment to increasing the ecological functions of existing wetlands. These management approaches are all recognized as separate but often interacting practices and can be used to achieve a suite of conservation and environmental quality objectives. In many cases in highly altered landscapes, managed wetlands may be most effective at outlets of watersheds rather than scattered around throughout the basin. Hydrologic loading is of special importance because the relationship between hydrologic fluxes and storage in wetlands determines the residence time of water. Residence time is critical in nitrogen removal by wetlands and riparian zones. Even in ideal conditions for using wetlands as a denitrification reactor where high nitrate water is put into a wetland environment, there can be low efficiency of nitrate removal due to low residence time of water. The Riparian Ecosystem Management Model (REMM) a model of riparian wetland function will be used to address the effects of varying N loadings on denitrification in wetland soils. In wetland soils with high denitrification potentials, REMM shows that very high loadings will be denitrified and not reach receiving waters. In soils with lower denitrification potentials, a higher proportion of the nitrogen load is passed through the wetland.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Synthesis and Applications of Porous Materials

Dr. Tolulope Salami
VSU Chemistry

Hosting Dept: Chemistry

Abstract:  Porous materials are materials containing, voids, channels, space, pores or tunnels. They are classified based on their pore sizes and dimensionality (1D, 2D, 3D). Synthesis of porous materials has been an important research area in recent years due to their potential applications in ion-exchange, fuel cell, drug delivery, environmental clean-up etc. My interest lies in the synthesis of two-dimensional extended porous materials (layered inorganic materials). A general description of synthetic methods and applications of some new layered materials will be discussed.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sharing Triangles and Pascal’s Triangle

Dr. Charles Kicey
Mathematics and Computer Science Department

Hosting Dept: Mathematics & Computer Science

Abstract:  We consider discrete dynamical systems that update a future state based up the previous state(s). One classic example is the competition between a predator and prey species, where for example, a large prey population causes the predator population to grow, which in turn decreases the prey. We focus a very simple sharing scheme, and give a simple solution to its long term behavior. The proof has a surprising connection to Pascal's triangle. A minimal mathematical background is assumed.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Aquatic toxins, disaster response, obesity and pandemic influenza- a day in the life of a public health epidemiologist.

Dr. Carina Blackmore
Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology, FL

Hosting Dept: Biology

Abstract:  Any student of Population Medicine realizes quickly that the best way to keep Americans healthy is to prevent them from getting ill in the first place! Clean drinking water, a safe food supply and immunization programs for diseases like measles, mumps, polio and rubella are all successes of such public health efforts in America. Population growth and mobility, individual inactivity, global warming and the cold reality of terrorism have contributed to making obesity, hurricanes and emerging infectious diseases (including West Nile virus, SARS, influenza and HIV) some of the more recent issues for public health in Florida. The talk will focus on discussing a handful of the many current challenges.

Thursday, October 12, 2006



Hosting Dept: Biology

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ligands for Actinide Selective Systems for Environmental Extraction and Sensing Applications

Dr. Anne E. V. Gorden
Auburn University, Dept of Chemistry

Hosting Dept: Chemistry

Abstract:  A resurgence of interest in the coordination chemistry of the f-elements has been inspired not only by a need to assuage environmental concerns, but also to address the potential hazards of radiological weapons or the sabotage of reactor sites and the need to improve methods for reprocessing reactor materials. New ligands and materials are required that can coordinate, sense, manipulate, and purify actinides both for separations and waste reduction in addition to sensors, “sensing” polymers, sprays, or pastes to detect and isolate actinides in decontamination applications. Molecular recognition strategies to develop sensors or waste protection methods for actinides will provide valuable tools as we seek to develop new technologies that will assuage our waste concerns while still being able to take advantage of the unique properties of these materials. Crucial to the expansion of our knowledge in these areas is the development of appropriate novel coordination ligands. In particular, this research will focus on the study of new ligands based on salen or quinoxaline backbones for use in sensors and waste remediation of actinides. Understanding the chemical behavior of these systems will contribute to our understanding of actinide transport, environmental uptake, or decontamination strategies.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Investigative Interviewing and Detecting Deception

Dr. Kevin Colwell, Dept of Psychology
Valdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Psychology

Abstract:  Dr. Colwell will detail a system of interviewing and assessment that he and colleagues have developed. This technique is used as an initial investigative tool to assist police and others in the acquisition and evaluation of information during the initial phase of an investigation. Dr. Colwell will discuss specific interview strategies and behaviors indicative of deception, as related to investigations and interpersonal relationships.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

The Medieval Black Death: A New Look at an Old Killer

Dr. Brian Bossak
Dept of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences

Hosting Dept: Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences

Abstract:  Perhaps the greatest pandemic in recorded human history took place over 650 years ago, between 1347 and 1351 A.D. Contemporary scholars referred to this affliction as “The Great Mortality”, and it was responsible for the deaths of approximately half of the residents of Europe at the time (around 25 to 30 million out of 75 million inhabitants). This affliction, known today by its current moniker - the “Black Death” - has haunted centuries of generations of plague survivors’ descendents within Eurasia. For at least 100 years, since the identification of the Yersinia pestis bacterium by Dr. Alexander Yersin in 1894 during the peak of the Third Pandemic in India and China, the culprit behind the “Black Death” has been attributed to bubonic plague, the human disease state caused by infection with Y. pestis. In fact, many historians today interchange the terms “Black Death” and bubonic plague, and the mere mention of the term “plague” generally conjures references to the medieval “Black Death”.

Over the past twenty years or so, a new line of thinking regarding the “Black Death” has occurred among some leading scientists. A variety of emerging geographical, biological, and epidemiological evidence now suggests that the commonly held belief that the “Black Death” was a pandemic of bubonic plague is suspect, and published work has begun offering new explanations for the “Great Mortality”. Among these explanations is the possibility that the medieval plague was caused by a strain of Anthrax or an Ebola-like virus, or perhaps even an especially rare, hyper virulent strain of Y. pestis originating in marmots, not rats (the usual suspect during outbreaks of bubonic plague). In this presentation, the author presents the multitude of accumulating evidence against bubonic plague as the causative agent of the “Black Death”, and offers a new, alternative hypothesis regarding the causative agent of the medieval “Black Death”. This new hypothesis has potentially deadly ramifications under certain scenarios related to future global environmental changes.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Towards a Smarter Internet

Dr. Zhiguang Xu
Dept of Mathematics and Computer Science, Valdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Mathematics and Computer Science Department


Abstract:  Today, the Internet is part of everyone's life. In first part of this talk, we will follow the "warriors" like TCP/IP datagrams to tour the Internet and see how it works in a visualized way. On the way back, we discuss one of the promising ways to improve the overall performance of the Internet -- i.e. to equip the routers in the core of the Internet with Artificial Intelligence tools such as Neural Networks and Genetic Algorithms. Tomorrow’s internet will play an even more crucial role in the Global society. It will be:

- Faster (Broadband) and more Secure;

- Available everywhere, on more platforms: Making Information Society services more accessible to more people means liberating them from the ‘tyranny of the PC’. In a "multiplatform" approach, both mobile internet devices and digital television could play key roles;

- Smarter: While today’s internet is good at carrying data, it does not have any inherent intelligence - it does not understand the data it carries. The Semantic Web will change all that;

- More powerful: Grids are going to revolutionize computing as profoundly as email and the Web revolutionized communications and publishing;

- Empowered by IPv6. IPv6 is a key technology for the Next Generation Internet. Rolling it out as quickly and as widely as possible is essential to achieve the above objectives.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thanksgiving Break

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Adolescents and Development: Is Some Delinquency Healthy?

Dr. Sarah Bacon
College of Criminology & Criminal Justice
Florida State University

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice


Abstract:  While some level of experimentation with delinquency and drug use characterizes adolescence for most individuals, research consistently identifies a small group of individuals who refrain from these behaviors entirely. In her developmental taxonomy, Moffitt refers to this small group as abstainers, and posits that the personal and structural antecedents of their non-normative behavior may, in fact, be maladaptive. The current research seeks to not only test Moffitt’s hypothesis that abstainers are maladaptive in childhood and adolescence using a full array of antecedents (i.e. structural characteristics, personal characteristics, early puberty), but also extend this research into an investigation of the consequences of abstention. Prevention strategies assume that abstention from delinquency and drug use should diminish the likelihood of negative adulthood outcomes. Counter to this argument, however, is the proposition that experimentation with delinquency and drug use in adolescence is a healthy part of development, necessary for a smooth transition to a prosocial adulthood. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) we will assess the relationships among childhood antecedents of abstention, the adolescent period of abstention itself, and the adult consequences for abstainers with respect to their physical and mental health, family formation and social integration, educational attainment, employment stability and advancement, and economic resources. Of particular interest is whether abstention itself makes an individual more prone to maladaptive outcomes, above and beyond individual differences. Based on the findings, the theoretical and policy implications of the results will be assessed.

Thursday, November 30, 2006