College of Sciences in the News
Cognitive function wilts as water departs the body, a study from the Georgia Institute of Technology found. The data pointed to functions like attention, coordination and complex problem solving suffering the most. It turns out, our neurons are largely made up of water. When the body is deprived of water, it affects how well signals are transmitted and received in the brain and your concentration takes a hit. That's when mistakes or accidents occur. In their study, it was abundantly clear that tasks that require constant attention were the most impacted, according to Mindy Millard-Stafford, a professor in Georgia Tech's School of Biological Sciences and the study's principal investigator. "Maintaining focus in a long meeting, driving a car or a monotonous job in a hot factory that requires you to stay alert are some examples," she says. "Higher-order functions like doing math or applying logic also dropped off."
Valet, Jun 17, 2019
A graduate of Georgia Tech has been named its next president. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports the Georgia Board of Regents voted Thursday to hire Ángel Cabrera to lead the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees. Cabrera is to start in his new post by Sept. 15. Cabrera had been president of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, since 2012. He and his wife met while both were enrolled at Georgia Tech School of Psychology. Their son recently graduated from the school. This was also covered by the Washington Times and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Associated Press, Jun 13, 2019
Plants, animals and even microbes that live on coral reefs have evolved a rich variety of defense strategies to protect themselves from predators. Some have physical defenses like spines and camouflage. Others have specialized behaviors – like a squid expelling ink – that allow them to escape. Soft-bodied or immobile organisms, like sponges, algae and sea squirts, often defend themselves with noxious chemicals that taste bad or are toxic. Ultimately, noxious chemicals allow predators and prey to coexist on coral reefs, increasing their diversity. This is important because diverse ecosystems are more stable and resilient. A greater understanding of the drivers of diversity will aid in reef management and conservation. As marine scientists, Julia Kubanek and Samantha Mascuch study chemical defenses in the ocean. Their laboratory group at the Georgia Institute of Technology explores how marine organisms use chemical signaling to solve critical problems of competition, disease, predation and reproduction. Mascuch is a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Biological Sciences, and Kubanek is a professor in the School of Biological Sciences and associate dean for research in the College of Sciences.
Times Union, Jun 13, 2019
Where is complex alien life hanging out in the universe? Likely not on planets stewing in toxic gases, according to a new study that dramatically reduces the number of worlds where scientists will have the best luck finding ET. In the past, researchers defined the "habitable zone" based on the distance between the planet and its star; planets that, like Earth, orbit at just the right distance to accommodate temperatures in which liquid water could exist on the planetary surface would be considered "habitable." But while this definition works for basic, single-celled microbes, it doesn't work for complex creatures, such as animals ranging from sponges to humans, the researchers said. "Our discoveries provide one way to decide which of these myriad planets we should observe in more detail," study co-researcher Christopher Reinhard, a former UCR graduate student who is now an assistant professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said in the statement. "We could identify otherwise-habitable planets with carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide levels that are likely too high to support complex life." This research is also covered by an article in Express.
LiveScience, Jun 10, 2019
Heritage High School valedictorian Saulye Nichols was born in the Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia, but she hasn't given it much thought. Perhaps because she's been too focused on being the head of her class. Adopted at 9 months old, Saulye said she has no memory of her native country, nor her birth family....Saulye spent much of her early life in Ooltewah with her parents, Kim and Gary Nichols, but the family moved to Ringgold, Georgia, about 10 years ago....Saulye plans to attend Georgia Institute of Technology, where she will major in biology.
Times Free Press, Jun 10, 2019