University of Wyoming Extension News

Pinedale workshop focus best practices for extraction site reclamation

Best management practices for reclaiming natural resource extraction sites are the focus of a workshop Thursday April 30, in Pinedale.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. at the Sublette County Weed and Pest District facility, 12 South Bench Road, with presentations 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. A $20 fee includes full-day registration and lunch. Registration is requested by Monday, March 27, at http://bit.ly/bestmanagement.

The Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center at the University of Wyoming is hosting the sessions, said Kristina Hufford, assistant professor of restoration ecology in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management.

Topics include best practices for management of topsoil and hydrology, seed mix and seeding and weed control and monitoring. Presenters are from the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, energy industry, private consulting firms and the Bureau of Land Management.
For more information, contact Calvin Strom at 307-766-5432 or wrrc@uwyo.edu.

UW researchers unravel mystery in search for connective tissue disease causes

Research by Ph.D. student Melissa Kelley and Professor David Fay discovered in C. Elegans intrinsic biomechanical forces operating in embryos no one had previously theorized.

Research by Ph.D. student Melissa Kelley and Professor David Fay discovered in C. elegans intrinsic biomechanical forces operating in embryos no one had previously theorized.

Molecular biologist David Fay doesn’t much look like famous sleuths such as television’s Columbo – no trenchcoat, at least – nor Fox Mulder of “X Files” fame; there is no doubting-what’s-out-there Scully at his side.
Fay earned his Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University, and his laboratory logo is a worm with a boot (emphasis on singular boot) and spur, sporting a red neckerchief, and donning a hat with a “W” – “The Wyoming Worm Lab.”

His research history is peppered with a $1.4 million grant, a $1.19 million grant, a $799,000 grant, and those of lesser amounts. His scientific journal articles total 48 and date back to 1991.

And yet, there is no denying the look of fun that spread across his face when this director of the Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences (MCLS) Program at UW talked about the mystery he and his lab associates pursued, tracked down and ultimately solved.

It began with mutant worms.

“This was one of those studies where the idea of doing really basic, exploratory science shines,” he said.

His lab works with C. elegans, a transparent (and not parasitic) nematode, usually about a millimeter long with about 3,000 cells. Probably somewhat disappointing to humans, its genome is similar to us.

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High Plains Ranch Practicum taking applications for 2015-16 sessions

UW Extension educator Dallas Mount

UW Extension educator Dallas Mount

A national award-winning livestock extension program is again being offered for 2015-2016 beginning in May and ending in February.

The High Plains Ranch Practicum is an eight-day, hands-on educational program hosted by the University of Wyoming Extension and designed to give participants the skills and application of management tools needed in today’s complex ranching industry, said Dallas Mount, UW Extension educator.

Session locations this year include near Ucross and Glendo. Enrollment is limited to 35. Participants must apply by May 15. For additional information or an application, contact Mount at 307-322-3667 or dmount@uwyo.edu or visit http://HPRanchPracticum.com.

“If you have ranched all your life, or if you are new to ranching, this school will teach valuable, necessary skills for running a successful ranch,” said Mount, an instructor in the practicum. “Dad taught us how to build a fence and feed a cow, but he didn’t teach us how to build a business that generates an economic profit and supports the people who are building the fence and feeding the cow.”

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UW professor boost helps Sheridan College team advance to national Innovation Challenge finals

From left, University of Wyoming assistant professor of plant sciences Sadanand Dhekney, Sheridan College students Hannah Shafer of Rapid City, South Dakota, Paige Jernigan, of Cheyenne, Ceirra Carlson, of Greybull, and Hannah Jernigan of Cheyenne, and Sheridan College science faculty Rob Milne at UW’s research and extension center at Sheridan College. (Photo courtesy Daniel Mediate)

From left, University of Wyoming assistant professor of plant sciences Sadanand Dhekney, Sheridan College students Hannah Shafer of Rapid City, South Dakota, Paige Jernigan, of Cheyenne, Ceirra Carlson, of Greybull, and Hannah Jernigan of Cheyenne, and Sheridan College science faculty member Rob Milne at UW’s research and extension center at Sheridan College. (Photo courtesy Daniel Mediate)

Revving up the genetic horsepower of algae to gush lipids for use as biofuel has propelled four Sheridan College students onto the national stage in Washington, D.C.

Hannah Shafer, Rapid City, S.D., Ceirra Carlson, Greybull, and sisters Hannah and Paige Jernigan of Cheyenne are one of 10 teams from community colleges across the nation advancing to the Innovation Boot Camp in June, the final competition of the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Challenge.

The students use the laboratories in the University of Wyoming Sheridan Research and Extension (R&E) Center and draw upon the research expertise of Sadanand Dhekney, who holds the E.A. Whitney Professorship in Agriculture at the college.

The students proposed to genetically engineer algae for enhanced lipid production. They’re figuring out how to replace the original genes – yank out wimpy stock genes, insert turbo-charged replacements – and turn the algae into lipid megaproducers.

Lipids are molecules that contain hydrocarbons and make up the building blocks of the structure and function of living cells. Examples include fats, oils and waxes.

“We’re excited we made it all this way with this little idea that has come so far from the beginning,” said Hannah Jernigan. “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning what we have. It’s totally new, and we’ve grown leaps and bounds from where we were a couple months ago.”

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UW names Sheridan Research and Extension Center director

Brian Mealor, right, and Jim Heitholt, head of the Department of Plant Sciences, visit last summer during a research and extension center field day

Brian Mealor, right, is the new director of the Sheridan Research and Extension Center. He and Jim Heitholt, head of the Department of Plant Sciences, visit last summer during a research and extension center field day

A plant scientist experienced in teaching, research and extension will begin May 18 as director of the Sheridan Research and Extension Center.

Brian Mealor is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Wyoming and extension weed specialist.

“Brian’s professional experiences will serve him well in this position,” said Bret Hess, associate dean of research and director of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station. The AES in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources directs four research and extension centers in the state.

“He has proven to be innovative, has strong organizational skills and possesses exceptional communication skills coupled with an ability to work with a broad range of constituencies,” said Hess.

Mealor received his Ph.D. and master’s degree in rangeland ecology and watershed management from the University of Wyoming. He joined the plant sciences department in 2009. Mealor replaces Valtcho Jeliazkov, who has accepted the director position of the Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center with Oregon State University.

Hess said Mealor will retain a research appointment and be an active member of the plant sciences department. He will transition from his faculty role to the director position throughout the spring and summer.

“I am very anxious to have Brian join the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station team,” said Hess. “He brings much-needed leadership to the position.”

The Sheridan R&E Center is housed in the Watt Agriculture Center at Sheridan College with trials on the grounds and about 400 acres of the Adams Ranch south of the college. The ranch is owned by Whitney Benefits. The center also maintains 250 acres of dry land crops and irrigated vegetables and fruit trees at its former headquarters near Wyarno.