Science Inspires Series

  • The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics’ Science Inspires Series (SIS) is offered in collaboration with IUP’s Sigma Xi chapter, an honor society of scientists and engineers that rewards excellence in scientific research and encourages a sense of companionship and cooperation among scientists in all fields.

    SIS presents lectures by prominent researchers on topics interdisciplinary in nature and of interest to faculty and students from a variety of academic fields and to the general public. Every semester, the series schedules two talks by NSM researchers and one renowned speaker.

    The fall 2018 Science Inspires Series continues with the following faculty lecture:

    "A Proteome-based Approach to Detect Biological Agents"


    In the last 10 years, the output of our proof-of-concept and discovery phase included isolation and initial characterization of viral nucleic acids and proteins from a strain of Tomato Mosaic Virus (ToMV) and thirteen isolates of the plant pathogenic fungus Rhizoctonia solani. This research was followed by the generation of the proteomic portrait elucidating differential protein expression in plants and R. solani isolates with or without viral infections.  The research was initiated to develop a micro-biosensor for multi-analytic profiling utilizing a fungal viruses (n=13) as model systems for rapid forensic analysis of microbes.  This project utilizes Rhizoctonia solani as a model because it is a naturally occurring fungus with one phenotype and multiple genotypes. In addition to serving as a model-system for bio-detection, this project is of significant interest in the fields of bio-energy and agriculture. The fungus is a potential threat to food bio-security --arguably a major agriculture pathogen of rice, wheat, and potato. We have since developed the draft genome sequence of R. solani (AG1/AG4) in partnership with microbial pathogenesis team at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), Rockville, MD. The significance of genome research coupled with protein annotation data and the range of new techniques developed with student collaborations from this project will be discussed. The focus of our research has been:

    1. Proteomic characterization of the model systems and identification of distinguishing protein signatures that can be effectively and efficiently targeted.
    2. Demonstration of the operational performance of a prototype bio agent detection device against multiple targets. 

    The Science Inspires Series for the fall semester will conclude with the following talk:

    "Gaining Insight into Natural and Engineered Systems With Mathematical Inverse Problems"

    • Thursday, November 8 at 4:30 p.m.
    • Humanities Building, Room 225
    • Dr. Matt Parno, US Army Corp of Engineers