Upcoming Events

Coleman Planetarium @ UNG: SEEING (Every Friday - NO Reservations)

Submitted by dahlonegascience on Thu, 08/31/2017 - 13:27

UNG Planetarium announces a new show for December "SEEING" begins with a 26 minute full dome video that follows a photon of light from the heart of a star, through space, into the eye of an observer on Earth.  This exciting journey highlihgts the amazing processes that allow us to see across the universe.  Narrated by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

The show continues with a live presentation of the fall/winter 2017 evening sky, and concludes with exciting recent discoveries in astronomy. 

These shows are FREE to the public every Friday night. Reservations not accepted.  For more information see: https://ung.edu/planetarium/index.php

Monday March 5, 6:30 p.m.: Twisted Science: The Science and Technology of Tornadoes and Storm Chasing

Submitted by dahlonegascience on Thu, 01/18/2018 - 16:06

Tornadoes contain the most powerful winds on Earth.  North Georgia has experienced two of the top 20 deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history so there is evidence that we should be aware of the factors that produce tornadoes and what to do to protect ourselves from them.  Over the past 60 years we have learned that tornadoes are more than just random, unpredictable, freak occurrences.  With innovative technology like Doppler radar, dual polarization radar, photogrammetry, mesoscale observation networks, computer modeling, and high resolution weather satellites like the new GOES-16, meteorologists can now monitor, track, and even predict tornado outbreaks much sooner and more accurately.  This combined with our improved theoretical and scientific understanding of tornadoes has allowed the Storm Prediction Center and National Weather Service Forecast Offices to establish a watch and warning system that has saved countless lives. 

Dr. Mitchem will also discuss storm chasing.  He has chased storms in previous years in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Indiana.  Storm chasers provide data, video, and images that have allowed atmospheric scientists to better understand the physics, thermodynamics, and even optics of tornadoes.  The chasers also provide valuable ground truth to verify warnings and convince the public to take shelter.  Unfortunately chasing is a dangerous profession, and chasers can also be killed by tornadoes as we learned in the El Reno tornado.  Some do’s and don’ts from chasing will be shared. This talk will highlight the science of tornadoes, the climatology of their occurrence (risk), our region’s tornado history, tornado safety, and storm chasing as we prepare for the peak of tornado season in Georgia. 

Monday April 9, 6:30 p.m.: Nanotechnology – “There’s plenty of room at the bottom”

Submitted by dahlonegascience on Thu, 01/18/2018 - 15:54

The term “nano” is the Greek prefix that refers to a unit of measurement that is 10-9, which translates into one billionth of the suffix unit, in this case the meter. Nanoscience is the study of structures and materials at the nanometer scale. Though nature has been producing compounds at the nanometer scale for billions of years (such as DNA which has a width of approximately 3 nm), scientists only began to explore the possibility of synthesis on the nanoscale about 60 years ago. Back in 1959, Richard Feynman expressed the idea that there was potential to synthesize smaller structures through the direct manipulation of atoms in his lecture “there is plenty of room at the bottom”. In my talk, I will be going over the history of nanomaterials and the field of nanotechnology. We will also explore many different nanomaterials, including the buckyball, carbon nanotubes, and quantum dots. Additionally, we will look the properties of these modern materials, their synthesis, and uses. Lastly, we will look at what the future holds for these materials.

Dr. Foley is an Associate Professor of Chemistry with a focus on Materials Chemistry at the University of North Georgia – Dahlonega. She received my BS in Chemistry at University of North Georgia (formerly North Georgia College and State University). While at NGCSU, Dr. Foley worked in the water lab with Dr. Fuller in the Physics department, and did undergraduate research with Dr. Thompson in the Chemistry department. From there, she went on to Florida State University to get her Ph. D in Materials Chemistry under Dr. Strouse. Her focus in graduate school was nanotechnology. Dr. Foley studied phosphors for LED lights and quantum dots for biological imagining. After completion of her Ph. D, she spent a semester teaching at Austin Peay State University. The following semester, Dr. Foley returned to teach at her alma mater, UNG, and has been happily here ever since.

Monday May 7, 6:30 p.m. - New Technologies for Genome Engineering

Submitted by dahlonegascience on Sun, 01/07/2018 - 19:47

Interactions between the genome and the environment govern all life. Within the last 5 years, science has developed powerful new ways to precisely manipulate the genome. We can, for the first time, alter any gene we choose. This CRISPR-Cas9 technology is already revolutionizing biology, and is poised to make a significant clinical impact. However, there are major hurdles that need to be overcome before this technology works in patients. We work on one of the most pressing problems; specifically, how do you ensure the drug is delivered to the correct cell, and avoids other cells? For example, if you have lung cancer, you want to edit the lung cancer cells, and not random cells in the brain. During this talk, we will describe gene editing technology in detail.

James Dahlman is an Assistant Professor in the Georgia Tech BME Department. He studied gene editing with Feng Zhang and RNA delivery with Robert Langer and Daniel Anderson.

The Lab for Precision Therapies at Georgia Tech works at the interface of drug delivery, nanotechnology, genomics, and gene editing. James has designed nanoparticles that deliver RNA to blood vessels in the heart and lung; these nanoparticles have been used by ~20 labs across the US since 2014, and work robustly in non-human primates. He has developed targeted combination therapies targeting 5 genes at once in vivo.

James also uses molecular biology to design the genetic drugs he delivers. He designed ‘dead’ guide RNAs; these guides can turn on genes using catalytically active Cas9. Similarly, using his background in nanoparticle chemistry, in vivo RNA delivery, and genomics, his lab designed a nanoparticle DNA barcoding system to measure how >200 nanoparticles target cells in a single mouse, directly in vivo.

James has won the NSF, NDSEG, NIH OxCam, Whitaker, and LSRF Fellowships, the Weintraub Graduate Thesis Award, and was recently named a Bayer Young Investigator and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Young Investigator. His work has been published in Nature Nano, Nature Biotech, Nature Cell Bio, Science Trans Med, Cell, PNAS (2x), and other leading journals, and has led to him giving over 60 presentations across the world.

Monday June 4, 6:30 p.m.: What the Heck is a Tidal Inlet??? An Introduction to Coastal Geology

Submitted by dahlonegascience on Mon, 02/12/2018 - 17:18

If you don’t know what a tidal inlet is, don’t worry, you’re in the majority. Not many people know what they are, or why they are important. This talk will summarize these geologic features found along the coast and emphasize their importance in geology and to coastal communities. You’ll be introduced to how tidal inlets form from storm impacts, how they evolve, and how they affect the adjacent coast.

Chris Seminack is an Assistant Professor of Geology at the University of North Georgia in the Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis. He earned his B.A. from La Salle University, M.S. from Temple University, Ph.D. from George Mason University, and was a postdoctoral scholar with the National Park Service at Assateague Island National Seashore. He specializes in coastal geology along the U.S. Atlantic coast, studying the effects of intense storms, tidal inlet life-cycles, and barrier island evolution.

July 16, 6:30 p.m.: Restoration of American chestnut in the southeastern United States; strategies for the development of disease resistance and conservation of genetic diversity

Submitted by dahlonegascience on Mon, 02/05/2018 - 19:13

Prior to its demise in the early 1900s from two introduced disease agents (Phytophthora root rot and Cryphonectria blight), the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was one of the most important trees of the eastern deciduous forests.  Some estimates suggest that approximately 25% of all trees within the Appalachian mountains were chestnuts. Their large size and annual production of high quality nuts made the trees a “foundation” species within many natural communities.  Moreover, humans found these trees enormously beneficial as sources of food, timber, and other uses, and thus the tree had considerable cultural and economic importance.  This all ended by the 1950s when populations of around 4 billion trees were reduced to a few hundred million, most of which were small sprouts rather than large, productive trees.

For over 30 years, The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) has worked toward restoring this species using methods that introduce disease resistance and also by developing strategies and a network of partnerships necessary to reintroduce the trees to the wild.  In such a restoration project, capturing the genetic diversity present throughout the species’ range is an important component in addition to the development disease resistance. 

This talk will describe TACF efforts being taken in the state of Georgia and other southern states to preserve genetic diversity of American chestnut and to introduce disease resistance into the trees.  Focus will be on classical breeding which introduces resistance genes from Chinese chestnut (C. mollissima), genetic engineering whereby resistance genes are introduced directly into American chestnuts, and modification of the blight fungus to weaken its virulence.  This three-pronged approach has been titled the 3-BUR model (Breeding, Biocontrol, and Biotechnology United for Research) and will involve significant collaboration among various TACF chapters and other entities, especially SUNY-ESF where the first American chestnuts with high blight resistance have been developed.

Dr. Martin L. Cipollini is the Dana Professor of Biology at Berry College, Mount Berry, Georgia, where he teaches undergraduate courses such as Principles of Microbiology, Botany and Ecology, Forest Ecology and Tropical Ecology (Costa Rica/Cuba).  He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD. in Ecology from Rutgers University.  A faculty member at Berry College since 1995, his current research activities revolve around the college’s Longleaf Pine and America Chestnut projects.  In his role as science coordinator for the Georgia Chapter of TACF, he has helped establish numerous chestnut orchards across the state.  He is currently working with UNG on plans to establish a Phytophthora field test orchard at the university’s Hurricane Creek site.