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EDGE Newsletter

  • June 2017 Newsletter

    At the end of EDGE Institute’s first full academic year, we are pleased to summarize our events as well as to alert you to future happenings and opportunities coming this summer and fall. You’ll find new updates on our website and new possibilities for collaboration. At any time, we welcome ideas from you about what the EDGE Institute can do for UC Riverside’s mission of researching and educating students and others about sustainability, global change, geobiology, and all things concerning ecology and the natural world.

    Have a look through our long email below, click on some links, and join us in continuing to plan an active, engaged Institute. 

    Cinco de Mayo, EDGE Graduate Student Symposium:

    On Friday May 5th, the EDGE Institute hosted It’s first event since Dr. Marilyn Fogel was named EDGE director. The 2017 EDGE Student Graduate Symposium featured keynote guest speaker Jan Amend, Professor at the University of Southern California and the Director of the NSF Science and Technology Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI). Jan’s talk was titled “The Biosphere Beneath the Ocean Floor” where he highlighted some recent findings on the microbiology in young basalt near mid-ocean ridges and related them to key geochemical and geophysical characteristics of marine sediments on a global scale. About 100 faculty, Staff and students from different departments attended this symposium. 

    Research Award Winners:

    The EDGE Symposium presented Graduate Students with the ability to receive a $800 research award which supports graduate students studying in areas related to global climate and environmental change and the associated changes to the ecosystems. Three awards were funded by the Mike Devirian Graduate Student Research Award, and three awards were funded by the EDGE Institute.

    The winners of the Mike Devirian award were the following students:  Jonathan Nye, Elizabeth Deyett, and Lorena Villanueva-Almanza. Click here to read about their winning proposals and to learn more about these very deserving scholars. 

    The winners of the EDGE Institute Graduate Student Award were the following students: Michelle Zill, Marissa Giroux, and Eleinis Avila-Lovera. Click here to read about their winning proposals and to learn more about these very deserving scholars.

     UCR’s Mobile Isotope Laboratory: Faculty from Earth and Environmental Sciences, along with colleagues in Botany and Chemical Engineering, are planning to implement a strategy for housing our laser-based isotope systems in a mobile platform (AKA Mercedes Sprinter van or equivalent). This past year, Hoori Ajamin (ENSC) purchased a water and water vapor stable isotope laser analyzer; Francesca Hopkins (ENSC), a methane isotope and concentration analyzer; and Marilyn Fogel (Earth and ENSC), a carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide laser isotope analyzers, which gives us a nearly complete suite of instruments that can measure in real time, and in the environment, the flux of important greenhouse gases. Francesca Hopkins and Marilyn Fogel are leading this effort, which they hope will be realized sometime this fall 2017.

    New Instrumentation for EDGE Institute: This July, a first-of-its kind stable isotope instrument will be installed in the EDGE Institute laboratory. It will extend the capability that is already on UCR’s campus to measure the natural abundance of the light stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur. The new instrument combines technology in stable isotope measurements with quadropole mass spectrometry, normally reserved for compound identification. Together the instrument will be used to investigate intramolecular isotopic variations in organic molecules, which we hope will open new avenues of research in biological, ecological, and environmental sciences. See our note below for a position that will soon be posted for an Academic Coordinator to manage this instrument as well as mass spectrometers in Andrey Bekker and Sandy Kirtland Turner’s lab.

    The Lake Cahuilla Research Coalition: The EDGE Institute is assembling a team of researchers poised to examine the past, present, and future of the Lake Cahuilla (Salton Sea) basin. Our objective is to learn more about the natural functions of this amazing inland sea with the goal of advising how its future might unfold based on new discovery-based scientific evidence and insight. This summer, EDGE Institute would like to hold its first “all hands” meeting on campus to discuss possible avenues of research and funding for a UCR-led effort to understand the geology, geochemistry, climate, and ecology of the Lake Cahuilla/Salton Sea region. Several of you have indicated your interest in discussing this further. See our proposed research strategy on EDGE’s website.

    EDGE Fall Graduate Research Symposium: EDGE will be holding its next graduate research symposium on Friday, December 1, 2017 featuring short presentations and discussions by the six graduate scholars who received research awards at our Cinco de Mayo event. Details will be forthcoming.

    Employment Opportunities: 

    Academic Coordinator: This summer we hope to search for and find a candidate to provide day to day expertise in the operation of the newly-expanded stable isotope capabilities added by the EDGE Institute in concert with on-going isotope facilities in Earth Science.

    We are inviting applications for a career-level Academic Coordinator position in the Stable Isotope Laboratory. The candidate will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the facility. We have three ThermoFisher Delta V Plus mass spectrometers with multiple types of peripheral devices (e.g., Costech Elemental analyzer, GasBench II, TC-EA, GC-Isolink, and Kiel device), which are operated by faculty, postdocs, students, and lab assistants. A willingness to learn and develop new methods and techniques, as well as maintain well-developed ones, is considered a plus for this position. The candidate will be expected to interact closely with faculty and will have the opportunity for engaging in research projects. The position is anticipated to be 2 years in length at first, with potential for reappointment.

    EDGE Internship: The EDGE Institute is looking for a Sustainability Undergraduate Intern who will participate in projects led by the newly formed institute. This student will be expected to work independently on their own sustainability project as well as assist others with their ongoing projects. The intern’s first task will be to begin implementing a plan for increasing the efficiency of recycling in UC Riverside’s science buildings during the Fall Quarter.

    The internship is anticipated to begin at the start of Fall quarter or September 15, 2017, at 10 hours a week ending at the end of Spring Quarter 2018. Applicants will need to submit the following to Ms. Jeanette Westbrook ( their major, their year, their GPA as of Spring 2017, and the reason why they are interested in the position; curriculum vitae; and the names of two references and their contact information.

  • April 2017 Newsletter

    The 2017 EDGE Institute Graduate Symposium is quickly approaching, please make sure you register for the event if you have yet to do so. The event is free but registration is required. We expect a great turnout for this event, and are happy to announce that everyone in attendance will be receiving an “EDGE t-shirt” which will be unveiling our Institute’s new logo, designed by Dr. Marilyn Kooser, Department of Earth Sciences; UCR Museum Scientist Retiree.

     Our Mexican feast to go along with our Cinco de Mayo event date will be catered by, “El Bajio Mexican Grill” featuring your choice of the following: Crispy Chicken Taquitos, Vegetarian quesadillas, Chicken Green Chile Salad, Pineapple Shrimp Salad and a Crème Brulee with berries dessert.   

    Event details: Cinco de Mayo, (Friday, May 5th), 2017
    3:30 pm – 7:00 pm
    UC Riverside’s Botanical Gardens 

    Keynote guest speaker:

    Jan Amend

    Jan Amend, Professor at the University of Southern California, is the Director of the NSF Science and Technology Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI), as well as the Principal Investigator of a NASA Astrobiology Team studying “Life Underground”.

    He is a geomicrobiologist focusing his work on the study of microbial metabolism in extreme environments, particularly the deep subsurface biosphere.  His expertise extends to investigations of thermodynamic properties of aqueous biomolecules and metabolic reactions at elevated pressures and temperatures.

     His talk at the EDGE Institute Graduate Symposium is entitled:

    "The Biosphere Beneath the Ocean Floor”
    The oceans are the largest reservoir of water at or near the surface of Earth.  Probably surprising to most people, the porewaters in marine sediments and the fluids in the upper layers of the ocean's crust occupy ranks 2 and 4.  These aqueous reservoirs, together with minerals and associated organic matter, provide habitats for an enormous number of poorly-known microorganisms from both the archaea and bacteria kingdoms. These microbes exist and persist on minimal energy.  Dr. Amend will highlight some recent findings on the microbiology in young basalt near mid-ocean ridges and relate them to key geochemical and geophysical characteristics of marine sediments on a global scale.

  • March 2017 Newsletter

    The EDGE Institute would like to announce the 2017’s Mike Devirian awards for graduate students scholarships. Please encourage your graduate colleagues to consider submitting an application. We expect to make three awards during our Cinco de Mayo Graduate Student symposium event.

    We would like to encourage you to become an affiliated member of the EDGE Institute which registers your interest in interdisciplinary research, scholarship, and education with respect to the environment and ecology—past, present, and future. We’d like to build a significant cohort of UCR people to further our reach and promote new ideas. It was Henry Ford who said, “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

    This spring, we will be assembling a group of UCR people who are interested in joining our first major program to study the Salton Sea in its past, present, and future states. Stay tuned for a description of these plans and please let us know if you’d like to join in on an organizing committee to begin brainstorming on this new project.

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