Holoparasite Research of ODU Team Featured in American Journal of Botany
The cover photo and a related article in the September 2007 issue of the American Journal of Botany was the work of botanists at Old Dominion University. Jay Bolin, a doctoral student in ecological sciences, took the cover photo, which is of the flower of an exotic root parasite, and is an author of the article.
Lytton John Musselman, Mary Payne Hogan Professor of Botany and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, is Bolin’s adviser and a co-author of the article. Other authors are Kushan Tennakoon, a faculty member at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka who was a Fulbright scholar and visiting assistant professor at ODU during 2004-06, and Erika Maass, a faculty member at the University of Namibia and adjunct professor at ODU.
In the article, the researchers produce new anatomical evidence about a rare holoparasite named Hydnora triceps that is found in semiarid regions of Africa and the southern Arabian peninsula. Bolin, who also has been mentored by Maass, photographed the rare flower of the parasite in North Cape Province, South Africa. The photo won the top prize last year in a national plant images competition sponsored by the Botanical Society of America.
Bolin’s dissertation research focuses on the pollination biology and taxonomy of the fascinating group of parasitic plants that includes Hydnora triceps. His photo shows two flowers that resemble footballs, each with an open seam revealing a bright pink interior. The flowers rise from the parasite body, which attaches itself to and takes nutrients from the roots of a shrub. In order to attract pollinating flies and beetles, the flowers emit an odor of rotting meat.
“One of the ways we locate the plants in this desert biome is by the intense, foul smell, because the flowers are often obscured by host foliage and difficult to see,” Musselman said.
Bolin called the appearance of the flowers “bizarre” and “almost extraterrestrial,” but added, “In fact, it is finely adapted for pollination in its arid habitat.”
Schlipphacke Gets Fulbright Award to Study Male Roles in Post-Fascist German Films
Heidi Schlipphacke, associate professor of German at Old Dominion University, has been granted a Fulbright Award from the German-American Fulbright Commission to support her research project, “Globalizing Gender: Post-Fascist Masculinities in German Film.” She will conduct her research over four months in 2008 in conjunction with her host institution, The Free University, in Berlin.
“My project will focus on the representation of masculinity in post-war German film, a topic that has to date received little attention from German studies scholars,” notes Schlipphacke. “Whereas Nazi cinema and the Nazi propaganda machine had produced a seemingly whole male ideal, masculine identity after 1945 encounters a taboo in German cinema.”
Schlipphacke received her doctorate in German literature from the University of Washington in 1999 and joined the ODU faculty in 2000. She teaches courses on modern German literature, language, culture and film. This year she will be on sabbatical from ODU to teach at Haverford College as a visiting associate professor before she travels to Germany in late spring 2008 to conduct the Fulbright-funded research.
Accelerator Physics Program on Fast Track at ODU
The university has gained three new physics professorships and created an accelerator physics group under an agreement with Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) in Newport News. These additional resources enable Old Dominion to offer undergraduate and graduate instruction in accelerator physics. Only a handful of institutions in the United States have comprehensive programs in this field.
According to the agreement, the three new professorships must be filled from within the ranks of Jefferson Lab’s Accelerator Division and the professors can devote up to one-third of their work time to professorial duties at ODU. Those chosen for the posts were Geoffrey Krafft, who has a doctorate in physics from the University of California, Berkeley; Jean Delayen, who has a doctorate in low temperature physics from the California Institute of Technology; and Hari Areti, who has a doctorate in high energy physics from the University of Ottawa.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to extend our partnership with Jefferson Lab into accelerator physics,” said Gail Dodge, chair of the physics department and a nuclear experimentalist who does research at Jefferson Lab. “Accelerators are increasingly used in hospitals to deliver particle beams for cancer therapy, in addition to their more traditional role in providing beams for nuclear and particle physics research.”
Dodge noted that accelerator physics is only one part of an interdisciplinary field. “Ultimately, we hope to expand this program to include chemistry, math and engineering, and form a center for accelerator sciences.”
“Old Dominion has enjoyed an excellent relationship with Jefferson Lab,” said ODU President Roseann Runte. “Together we have expanded knowledge of the universe through theory and experimentation. Americans can be proud of the cutting-edge research performed by this talented group.”
Luisa Igloria Is on a Poetry Prizewinning Roll
Poetry prizes are piling up for Luisa Igloria, Old Dominion University associate professor of English.
Her poem, “The Clear Bones,” won the 49th Parallel Poetry Prize for 2007 from the Bellingham Journal, which is affiliated with Western Washington University.
Igloria was chosen by former United States Poet Laureate Ted Kooser as the recipient of the James Hearst Poetry Prize for her poem “Venom.” The Hearst prize is given by the North American Review of the University of Northern Iowa, the nation’s oldest literary magazine. The judge selected “Venom” over almost 2,000 other entries.
Also in 2007, her poem “Descent” won the National Writers Union Poetry Contest.
“Kierkegaard’s Fable,” yet another example of Igloria’s work, won the 2006 Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize of the University of Southern Maine literary journal, words+images.
Finally, a selection of Igloria’s poetry won the Richard Peterson 2006 Poetry Prize of the Crab Orchard Review at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
Batten College Engineers in National Wind-Turbine Project
Researchers from Old Dominion University’s Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology are participating in a Texas-based project designed to increase the use of wind turbines for the production of electricity in the United States.
A $2 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy will help build a Lone Star Wind Alliance facility near Corpus Christi. Oktay Baysal, dean of the Batten College and professor of aerospace engineering, is directing ODU’s participation, which was announced in June 2007.
ODU engineers can assist the Texas project in several ways, Baysal said. The school’s Langley Full-Scale Wind Tunnel, the largest university-operated facility of its kind in the country, has provided ODU engineers with expertise that can be tapped for turbine design and operational tasks. Another asset is the university’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC). Baysal said he and other ODU engineers can build computational models of wind turbine prototypes and run virtual tests of them before they are built.