It has been a while since my last blog post! A lot has changed since then. I'm no longer a professor at montana state university. While I made some very good friends there and Bozeman is an amazing spot to live, no love lost for that institution! I was fortunate to receive a prestigious fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science as a Science & Technology Policy Fellow and the family and I moved to D.C. in August. See the picture below for my new look for my new position -- no more jeans and a t-shirt for me! We are here for a year before heading to the University of Arizona -- from extreme cold in Bozeman to extreme heat in Tucson. The universities couldn't be anymore different, with Arizona having not only a competent administration, but one that actually helps their faculty succeed! Jia will be a professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. I'm still figuring out my exact role there, but plan to work on global higher education issues.
Nick and I got back from our trip to the Peruvian Amazon last week, and I'm still trying to dig my way out from all of the backlogged work. I just came across this Faculty Profile by MSU's student run newspaper about me and thought it was pretty cool. I'll post some more about our trip to Peru with some pics sometime in the next few days.
We got some more good news. Right after the Amazonian Disease Vector Microbiome project got funded by National Geographic, the 'Response of freshwater microbes to increasing temperatures and nitrogen deposition' project was funded by the Eppley foundation. This grant will pay for one-week sample collection trip in Iceland in July and RNA/DNA sequencing of freshwater biofilm samples from experimental channels and from natural streams in the Hengill Valley, Iceland. This is great news and we very much appreciate the support of the Eppley Foundation for our research efforts.
Jones lab receives funding from National Geographic Society to sample disease vectors in the Peruvian Amazon
The lab received some great news last week -- the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration selected our project "Exploring the diversity of disease vectors and their pathogens in Amazonia' for funding. Nick and I (and a to-be-determined filmmaker) will boat all over the Peruvian Amazon in March 2016 in search of mosquitos, ticks, and fleas. Here is Nick (before, during, and after) I told him we got the award.
Finally got around to looking at some of the Iceland footage this morning. The plan is to get a short movie made about our research there. The footage looks good (thanks Dan!) -- now just need the time to edit it all together. Here's a picture of Erik taking some samples -- was it really that green?!?
I decided to go to ESA too late to be able to present any research. I still had a great time meeting new colleagues and catching up with old friends. Even though I couldn't present at ESA, I was able to get on stage and do a stand-up act in Baltimore. It's called outreach, people.
Erik, Dan Copeland (documentary filmmaker), and I spent a week in Reykjavik, Iceland collecting samples for Erik's PhD project. Here is a photo moments after we arrived in Reykjavik after 26 hours of travel. We collected all the samples (soil, biofilm, and sediment) that we needed and quite a few samples from Mikkeler and Friends (best bar in Iceland) that were maybe less necessary.
Erik, Nick, Jack, and I went up to the TCEF for a couple of days of soil sampling. Here, Erik is preparing to collect some samples.
Erik and I brought our cool new microscope over to the MSU Child Development Center (ages 3 - 6). The kids went on a collecting trip before we got there and found some cool plants, feathers, and insects; we brought some fresh stream sediment. We looked for microbial eukaryotes in the sediment, zoomed in on some tiny flowers and pine needles, and got some really close looks at beetles, lady bugs, and spiders. Lots of fun!!!