Fall 2007

A Fast Algorithm and Software for Chemical Fingerprinting

Dr. Dave Gibson

Hosting Dept: Math and Computer Science

Abstract:  In this talk, we present and analyze a fast algorithm that determines the possible molecular formulae corresponding to the resolved peaks in the spectral data obtained from a mass analyzer like an FT-ICR-MS. In contrast, most known algorithms and software that attempt to solve this important problem are brute-force in nature and consequently, highly prone to combinatorial explosion when dealing with the volume of real data. We also present an implementation of our algorithm in a general-purpose, user-friendly, interactive, and easily extensible software tool PG Compound Match Finder. A run-time performance analysis of our software shows that even when dealing with several billion theoretical possibilities matched against tens of thousands of resolved peaks, a complete analysis using today's standard desktop machines can take only a few minutes.

Thursday, August 30, 2007 4pm

New Ligands for Organometallics: towards precise control of transition metal coordination geometry, electronics and chirality.

Adam S. Veige
University of Florida, Dept. of Chemistry

Hosting Dept: Chemistry

Abstract:  Transition metal complexes are capable of catalyzing innumerable chemical transformations.  How do ~20-30 transition metals catalyze such a vast array of different reactions?  By altering the ligands or organic fragments bound to transition metals, chemists can completely transform their reactivity properties.  Thus, the finite number of transition metals in the periodic table becomes essentially infinite, relying only one the imagination of the synthetic chemist.  We are exploring two new ligand classes: 1) a trianionic pincer ligand is synthesized to perfectly match the needs of high oxidation state and hard early transition metals, and 2) new chiral C2-symmetric bis-N-heterocyclic carbene ligands are developed and attached to Rh(I) and Ir(I) for enantioselective catalysis. 

Thursday, September 6, 2007 4pm

Teaching and Learning Engineering, Biology, and Geology Courses with Tablet PC

Barry Hojjatie (VSU, PAG)
Homa Hooshmand (Lake City Community College)
Mark Groszos (VSU, PAG)

Hosting Dept: Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences

Abstract:  In May 2006 and July 2007, we received two grants from HP valued at $190,000 to explore the role of Mobile Technology in improvement of teaching and learning. VSU was one of ten in the nation that were awarded the 2007 HP Technology for Teaching Leadership award designed to transform and improve learning in the classroom through innovative uses of technology. The technology is being utilized in engineering, biology, and geosciences courses to create opportunities for more interaction, collaboration, and mobility and to generate more interest in students and to enhance learning outcome. During this presentation we will discuss about the status of the project and our personal experience on the use of Tablet PC in classroom and field projects.

Thursday, September 13, 2007 4pm

Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory

Dr. Jerry Purcell
National High Field Magnet Lab and FSU

Hosting Dept: Chemistry

Abstract:  The NHMFL located at Tallahassee Florida houses the most powerful magnets in the world both superconducting and resistive.  Superconducting magnets can be used for many analytical techniques, e.g., mass spectrometry.  The Ion Cyclotron Resonance program at the NHMFL was established in 1994 by Professor Alan Marshall and the program leads the world in Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometer instrument and technique development.  In this lecture, I will briefly discuss the utility of mass spectrometry and different mass analyzer types with a focus on FT-ICR mass spectrometry.

Thursday, September 20, 2007 4pm

Interaction of Small and Large Mammalian Herbivores in an Experimental System on the Savanna Grasslands of East Africa

Dr. Brad Bergstrom

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  Interaction of Small and Large Mammalian Herbivores in an Experimental System on the Savanna Grasslands of East Africa

Two main soil types predominate in the Central Highlands of Kenya: poorly drained black cotton vertisols are dominated by open Acacia drepanolobium savanna, and sandy red soils are more densely bushed with a diversity of Acacia and other woody species. Diversity of rodent species is especially low in the black-cotton grasslands, with Saccostomus mearnsi the only dominant, which often occurs in low densities. In the red soils, one or more species of Tatera, Acomys, and Aethomys are common co-dominants. However, two circumstances can greatly increase abundance and diversity of rodents in both habitats: 1) exclusion of ungulates and elephants, and 2) glades, which represent secondary succession following abandonment of highly enriched pastoralist sites called bomas. Field sampling in 2006 showed the greatest effect occurred with a combination of these two, i.e. in ungrazed glades. The effect of large-herbivore exclosures on abundance and diversity of small mammals was significant on both soil types but more pronounced on red soils. Total small-mammal density on ungrazed red-soil glades (54-112/ha) was about twice that of either ungrazed red-soil nonglades or ungrazed black-cotton glades. Yet densities on grazed red-soil glades (4-12/ha) were similar to grazed black-cotton glades, even though the latter had more grass cover. Also, Arvicanthus (a diurnal rat) was rare to absent except in ungrazed exclosures, primarily on glades (up to 22/ha on black-cotton, 82/ha on red-soil). On red soils, S. mearnsi was rare to absent except within exclosures, both glade and non-glade (up to 32/ha). On both soil types, total small-mammal density was significantly positively regressed (highly so for black-cotton sites) on mean grass height and mean density of dead grass stems (but not live stems). This suggests that abundance and diversity of small mammals is highly responsive to cover, rather than food resources, in this ecosystem dominated by large grazers.

Thursday, September 27, 2007 4pm

When is the Next Great San Francisco Earthquake?
A Monte Carlo Simulation-Based Analysis of Waiting Time Distribution

Dr. Jin Wang
Department of Math and CS

Hosting Dept: Math & CS


Abstract:  In 1906 the great San Francisco earthquake killed more than 3000 people and destroyed much of the city. A critical concern is the hazard posed by another such earthquake. How can this hazard be estimated? The distribution of earthquake waiting times is a conditional probability that an earthquake will occur at a time in the future if it has not occurred for a specified time in the past. There are many real-world applications where the waiting time closed-form models do not exit and the only resource is to apply simulation methods. For practitioner, simulation opens the door for solving difficult and complex but practical problems with great ease. We discuss both parametric and non-parametric (bootstrap) simulation methods for waiting time distributions.

Thursday, October 4, 2007 4pm

MooV`ing right along: `Piv`otal roles for novel recombinases controlling phase variation in bacteria

Anna Karls
University of Georgia-Athens, Department of Microbiology

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  Currently our research focuses on DNA rearrangements that control expression of bacterial adhesin factors responsible for attachment to host tissue or environmental substrates. The DNA rearrangements (DNA inversion and transposition) are mediated by a novel family of DNA recombinases (Piv/MooV family) that include both site-specific recombinases and DNA transposases. I will give background on these specialized recombination systems, and then discuss their regulation and the molecular mechanism for the recombination reaction. Characterization of these unique recombination systems will significantly contribute to understanding the numerous uncharacterized DNA rearrangements that are involved in medically important processes, ranging from microbial pathogenesis to oncogenesis, and may provide new targets for development of therapeutics.

Thursday, October 11, 2007 4pm

Algorithms for Coefficient Calculation based on Transform

Dr. Jun Zhang
Department of Math and CS, Troy University

Hosting Dept: Math & CS


Abstract:  The expansion of Taylor series is a traditional topic in both pure and applied mathematics and plays a crucial role in both fundamental theory and applications. For a non-rational function, it is difficult in practice to calculate the general terms of the Taylor coefficients. In this talk, some algorithms based on transform will be presented. These algorithms are straightforward to be implemented in computer algebra like Maple to calculate the Maclaurin coefficients for a wide range of non-rational functions without human interaction.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 4pm

Chasing Nurseryfish and Avoiding Crocodiles in Northern Australia. 

Dr. Tim Berra
Dept. of Evolution, Ecology & Organismal Biology
The Ohio State University

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  Nurseryfish, Kurtus gulliveri, live in the crocodile-populated tropical rivers of northern Australia and southern New Guinea.  They are remarkable for their bizarre method of parental care.  The males carry the eggs on a hook on their head like a bunch of grapes.  This seminar reveals the anatomy and life history of this unusual species and shows jumping crocodiles larger than the researcher's boat.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 4pm

Polyoxometalates:  Versatile Materials for Electroanalytical Chemistry

Dr. Curtis Shannon
Auburn University

Hosting Dept: Chemistry


Abstract:  Polyoxometalates (POMs) are nanometer scale metal oxygen containing >anionic clusters that can be used to catalyze electron, proton and >oxygen atom transfer reactions. As a result, these compounds have many >possible applications in electroanalytical chemistry ranging from fuel >cell research to sensor development. In this talk, examples from both >areas will be presented as we discuss the use of POMs to catalyze the >oxygen reduction reaction and the use of POMs to 'wire' enzymes to >electrode surfaces.

Thursday, November 1, 2007 4pm

Colors and Emotions Associated with the Music of Bach and Mozart

Shannon Long

Hosting Dept: Psychology


Abstract:  This study examined the colors, shades of color, and emotions participants felt were best expressed in music selections.  A total of four compositions were used, two pieces by J.S. Bach and two pieces by Mozart.  A selection in both major and minor keys were chosen from their bodies of work.  As expected, participants chose colors which have previously been shown as associated with positive emotions for the compositions in a major key, the inverse being true for compositions in a minor key.  Participants chose positive adjectives to describe music in a major key, and negative adjectives for music in a minor key as predicted. It was also predicted that participants would chose more vibrant shades for music from the Baroque era; however the opposite was actually indicated in this study.

Thursday, November 8, 2007 4pm

Comparative Phylogeography of Pygmy Sunfishes (Elassomatidae): A Test of the Interglacial Refugia Hypothesis

Michael Sandel
University of Alabama, Dept. of Biological Sciences &
Department of Geography

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  The Southeastern United States has long been recognized as an area of exceptional biological diversity. Aquatic communities of this region are especially remarkable, housing the greatest diversity of fishes, amphibians, turtles, crayfishes, snails, bivalves, and aquatic insects within North America. Historical ecology, which explains how and why biological diversity is generated and maintained, has largely been ignored in these communities. The Southeastern Coastal Plain has a unique history, having been repeatedly inundated by marine highstands during the last 64 million years. Within the last several million years, these high sealevels have likely influenced the geographic distribution of extant freshwater species. This study examines genetic variation within three freshwater fishes found only in the Southeastern Coastal Plain. This variation is analyzed using phylogenetic and population genetic methods, in order to detect the phylogeographic signal of historical marine inundation upon freshwater populations. The results of this study explicate the role of historical sealevel change in promoting and maintaining biodiversity in the Southeastern Coastal Plain.

Thursday, November 15, 2007 4pm

Thanksgiving Break

Thursday, November 22, 2007 4pm