Wednesday Nite @ the Lab

Past, Present, and Future of Vehicle Electrification

Theodore Bohn, Senior Power Electronics Engineer, Argonne National Laboratory, presents a history of electric vehicles over the past 100 years. Bohn discusses the pros and cons of the different types of battery power that have been used, how electric cars are currently being powered and what the future looks like.

New Hormone-Receptor System in Plants

Mike Sussman, Director, UW Biotechnology Center, describes a signaling pathway that regulates cell expansion in the root cells of Arabidopsis plants, a model organism related to cabbage and mustard that is the plant scientist's fruit fly. This discovery is the first such pathway found for the plant kingdom, revealing the details of how a particular hormone docks with a cell.

Electric Organs in the Strong-Voltage Electric Eel

Lindsay Traeger, Graduate Student, Department of Biochemistry, UW-Madison, discusses the electric eel, a freshwater fish from South America, which can generate voltage using three electric organs in its tail made up of electrocytes. Understanding the complex traits of electrocytes may help with the development of biobatteries.

Traces of Prescription Drugs Found in Lake Michigan

Curtis Hedman, Advanced Microbiologist, Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene, discusses the pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) found two miles offshore from Milwaukee in Lake Michigan. Toxicological findings show that the contaminants were found at concentrations considered at medium or high risk for aquatic organisms.

The Centennial and Future of Cooperative Extension

Richard Klemme, Dean and Director, UWEX Cooperative Extension, celebrates the first 100 years of Cooperative Extension Service. The 1862 Morrill Act set up colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts providing for the instruction mission. The 1887 Hatch Act set up agricultural experiment stations providing for the research mission and the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 provided for the extension mission.

Canoes: The Art and Science of Hydro Dynamic Design

Liese Pfeifer, Academic Curator, Design Gallery, UW School of Human Ecology; James Steiner, Outreach Program Coordinator, Center for Integrative Design, UW-Madison; and Nick Molzahn, student, Dept. of Chemical & Biological Engineering, UW-Madison, discuss high performance racing canoes, concrete canoes and ancient canoe artifacts, exhibited at the Design Gallery at the School of Human Ecology.

Bromeliad Evolution in the American Tropics

Tom Givnish, Professor, Department of Botany, UW-Madison, reports on new findings regarding bromeliads, a family of flowering plants native to the American tropics. Givnish discusses their relationship to other plant families and the geographic spread of the bromeliads over the last hundred million years.

Did the Ancient Wisconsin River Once Flow East?

Eric Carson, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, UWEX, suggests the lower Wisconsin River valley was occupied by an eastward flowing river during the Cenozoic Era. The Wyalusing River followed the upper Mississippi River as far south as the modern confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers then flowed east along the valley now occupied by the lower Wisconsin River.

Astrobiology at the UW Geology Museum

Brooke Norsted, Assistant Director, Geology Museum, UW-Madison, highlights the challenges and rewards in creating the new astrobiology exhibit at the UW Geology Museum. The exhibit, titled “Biosignatures: What Does Life Leave Behind,” looks at clues to the beginnings of life through the study of fossils.

Insights from Parasites

Laura Knoll, Associate Professor, Medical Microbiology & Immunology, UW-Madison, discusses immunotherapeutics, the targeted stimulation of an immune response to fight both infectious diseases and cancer. Knoll is developing novel immunotherapeutics by harnessing the natural ability of microbial proteins to stimulate immune responses.

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