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OU Research Group Confirm Planet-mass Objects in Extragalactic Systems

Jessica Blanchard

A University of Oklahoma research group is reporting the detection of extragalactic planet-mass objects in a second and third galaxy beyond the Milky Way after the first detection in 2018. With the existing observational resources, it is impossible to directly detect planet-mass objects beyond the Milky Way and to measure its rogue planetary population.

Members of the group include Xinyu Dai, associate professor in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, OU College of Arts and Sciences, with Ph.D. student Saloni Bhatiani and former postdoctoral researcher Eduardo Guerras.

Jessica Blanchard and Paul Spicer Lead Genomics and Ethics Program for Native Students

$105,285 - U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health

Jessica Blanchard

The Genomics and Ethics Program for Native Students is a new program designed to provide research and training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students interested in ethical, legal and social questions related to genetics research in Native communities. Students participating in the GEN program can expect to connect with Indigenous researchers, community leaders and Native-serving organizations from across the country shaping the fields of genomics and health in ways that promote indigenous experiences. The four main components of the GEN program are 1) an online course; 2) a summer intensive field-based research course; 3) a fellowship program for students to receive training and research experiences both on campus and within a larger network of supporting institutions; and 4) a student research conference designed to showcase the next generation of student achievements in the ethics of genomics research.


A University of Oklahoma research team of biologists and meteorologists will develop and employ advanced methods to monitor birds during migratory flights and assess the atmospheric conditions in which they fly. The project will involve unmanned aerial vehicles as well as novel tracking devices developed by OU researchers. The devices will be attached to migratory birds and will reveal the environments experienced by birds in flight and provide new insights into the dynamics of the lower atmosphere.

Howard Baer Leading Colliding Beam Detector Experiments

$503,000 - U.S. Dept. of Energy

Howard Baer

OU supports an active group working on theoretical and experimental high energy (elementary particle) physics. The five members of the experimental group – Pat Skubic, Phil Gutierrez, Brad Abbott, Mike Strauss and John Stupak – work on the Atlas detector at the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. The LHC collides counter-rotating beams of protons together at 13 trillion electron-volts of energy in an effort to understand the fundamental laws of physics. The theory group, consisting of Howard Baer,Chung Kao and Kuver Sinha, perform theoretical calculations for LHC scattering processes and develops and tests new theories for the underlying laws of physics. Some topics under investigation include the experimental consequences of superstring theory, early universe cosmology, dark matter, baryogenesis, supersymmetry and Higgs boson physics.


K. David Hambright

K. David Hambright, biologist and director of environmental studies, has been elected an AAAS Fellow for contributions to field of freshwater plankton biology.


Daniel Allen To Lead U.S. Stream Drying Study With $3 Million In NSF Grants

Daniel Allen

Daniel Allen (Assistant Professor of Biology) will lead one of the first coordinated ecology research projects to study what happens to streams as they dry across the United States. The National Science Foundation funded the study with a $1.4 million grant to OU and $1.6 million in grants to researchers from the University of California, Berkeley; Northern Arizona University; University of Louisiana at Lafayette; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and University of Arizona.

Kaiser Foundation Gift Expands Reach Of OU Social Simulation Program

OU Tulsa Social Stimulation

The Herman and Kate Kaiser Foundation of Tulsa gave a $661,000 gift to continue the groundbreaking work of the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa’s Social Simulation Program and Haruv USA. The gift will provide students and community members with expanded training simulations targeting child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, suicide, mental health, patient and client interactions and adverse childhood experiences.


Professors and Team Are Addressing the Challenge and Critical Need For New Antibiotics


Helen Zgurskaya and Valentin Rybenkov, and team are addressing the challenge and critical need for new antibiotics that can fight infections caused by the multi-drug resistant bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, considered an urgent threat by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thomas Fenn Focuses Research on Trade Patterns Around the Indian Ocean

$93,463 - National Science Foundation

OU Tulsa Social Stimulation

The focus is to understand ancient trade and exchange in South Asia and around the Indian Ocean, and their relationships to the development of social complexity in South Asia. Different industries around the Indian Ocean that fueled trade conducted in this region and beyond had to adapt (in terms of location, nature and volume of production) to shifts in the networks connecting the different actors of the trade. Through the study of the ancient glass production in India, Fenn and collaborators will study how such an industry responded to changes in trade patterns around the Indian Ocean starting around the mid-first millennium BCE to the late Medieval Period. At a time when India is witnessing the collapse of its traditional glass industry in favor of a more automated and less labor-intensive alternative, this project will provide new information about the roots of an activity on the brink of extension and will create parallel to understand the consequences of moving industrial landscapes in the modern world.

Nathan Kaib Earns NSF CAREER Award for Next Generation Models of Planet Formation and Evolution

Nathan Kaib

This CAREER award will be used to study a number of aspects of the evolution of our own solar system as well as other planetary systems. In particular, researchers will perform computer simulations modeling the formation of our rocky planets in the inner solar system and Pluto-like objects in the outer solar system. In addition, it will model how the planet formation process is altered in systems that, unlike our own solar system, possess more than one star. Finally, portions of this research will be integrated into classroom education programs offered at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History



Jizhong Zhou (Professor of Microbiology) and his team have completed a new study on the effects of climate warming on soil microbes in a long-term climate change experiment at a tallgrass prairie ecosystem. The new study shows that climate warming will affect microbial communities in the future, and future community states will be more predictable under warmed climate. Eventually, microbial communities will produce different functions and feedbacks to climate warming.

Collaborative Research Values Creativity in Calculus

Milos Savic

Milos Savic is part of the Creativity Research Group, which received funding to both help calculus instructors teach to foster mathematical creativity and investigate the effects of focusing on creativity in teaching. The group believes that when an instructor fosters creativity in the classroom, students will gain confidence, persistence and math appreciation. Since calculus is crucial for many other fields, this may ultimately lead to retention and recruitment in STEM. Mathematicians need to be creative in their research, CEOs across the world believe that creativity is an essential skill for their employees, and math organizations are requesting that creativity be involved in the undergraduate classroom.