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University of Missouri

Fall 2015 Briefly

Nuggets of news from across campus.

• Gov. Jay Nixon, BA ’78, JD ’81, announced May 18 that Missouri’s Higher Education Capital Fund will provide $10 million in matching funds toward construction of an Applied Learning Center at the Trulaske College of Business. The capital fund matches private donations for university building projects. The $22.3 million center, to be built at the corner of Rollins Street and Tiger Avenue, is planned to include a 250-seat auditorium, active-learning class laboratories, executive-style classrooms, and open spaces for study and gatherings.

• For the fifth year in a row, University of Missouri Health Care ranks as one of the nation’s “most wired” health systems, according to the 2015 Most Wired Survey. The survey results appear in the July issue of the American Hospital Association’s Hospitals and Health Networks magazine.

• The University of Missouri is one of 76 higher education institutions to receive a gold rating for its sustainability efforts. MU and the University of Georgia were the only Southeastern Conference universities to achieve the designation. The rating is from the Sustainability Tracking and Rating System, a self-reporting program that measures sustainability at colleges and universities.

Moo-la

Heifer’s great genes bring the big bucks.

Cattle breeders are always on the lookout for animals with great genetics, which can mean more and better milk, meat and offspring. Not to mention profit. The heifer Pastel is a great example. About a decade ago, Jerry Taylor, Curators Professor and Wurdack Endowed Chair in Animal Genomics, and Robert Schnabel, a research associate professor, collaborated with the USDA to create the Illumina BovineSNP50 BeadChip, an inexpensive device breeders now use to evaluate animals’ genetic merit.

Pastel’s Illumina numbers are off the charts. The going rate for an average heifer is $750. But, because of Pastel’s scores, she brought $25,500 at the Missouri State Convention Sale in January.

Even so, Pastel’s success owes much to a hunch: In 2013, students Nathan Bloss, BS ’15, and Patrick Ball attended a dairy show and liked the genetic characteristics of a bull they saw named Mountfield Mogul. During the students’ rotation at MU’s Foremost Dairy Research Center, they suggested that Mogul be mated with a Mizzou heifer named Shameless Patsy, who also has great genes. It was a match made in heaven.

Fool’s Gold and Its Bacterial Beginnings

A new look at fossil formation

Until recently, we would typically think of fossils forming something like this: A dinosaur dies in a place where sediment soon covers its body. Bacteria quickly decay the soft tissues, but the bony bits last much longer. Over time, minerals in soil replace minerals in the bone, and voilà, you have a rocky fossil to identify in geology class.

But a new study by James Schiffbauer, assistant professor of geological sciences, adds another fossilization process. “The vast majority of the fossil record is composed of bones and shells,” says the paleobiologist. “Fossils of soft-bodied animals like worms and jellyfish, however, provide our only views into the early evolution of animal life. Our team is detailing a scenario where the decay of the organisms played an active role in creating fossils.”

Schiffbauer and his team studied tube-shaped fossils of Conotubus, which lived more than 540 million years ago. Conotubus is associated with pyrite, aka fool’s gold. Through chemical analysis, the researchers found that the fool’s gold on the organisms’ outer tube formed when bacteria first began consuming the animal’s soft tissues.

Material Girls (and Boys)

MU research shows correlation between gifts-as-rewards to children and materialistic adults.

Giving gifts is an easy way for parents to show affection or reward their children for good behavior or accomplishments, but the practice is correlated with children growing up to be materialistic. The same holds true for taking away toys for bad behavior, according to research by Marsha Richins, Myron Watkins Distinguished Professor of Marketing in the Trulaske College of Business. “As adults, they’re more likely to judge their own success and the success of other people in their lives by the kinds of possessions they own,” Richins says. Materialists are also more likely to have debt, to experience marital discord, to become compulsive buyers and to gamble. The best gifts, Richins says, are a parent’s time, love and attention, which can create a sense of security in children and reduce the need for material things to create feelings of happiness. The study, conducted with colleagues from the University of Illinois at Chicago, appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Scoreboard

3 — Tigers from the Mizzou swimming and diving program who participated in the 2015 Pan American Games July 15 in Toronto. Junior Carter Griffin (Parker, Colorado) and Dominique Bouchard, BA, BS ’14, (North Bay, Ontario) won silver medals in the 200-meter backstroke and head swimming Coach Greg Rhodenbaugh served as an assistant with USA Swimming.

7 — Nationally televised Mizzou volleyball games in 2015, including the team’s SEC and home opener Sept. 30 against Florida on the SEC Network.

23 — Coaches named to the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year preseason watch list, which includes Mizzou head football Coach Gary Pinkel. Given to one recipient at the end of this college football season, the award honors a coach whose program represents quality on and off the field.