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MU Research of Zebrafish Neurons May Lead to Better Understanding of Birth Defects like Spina Bifida

The zebrafish, a tropical freshwater fish similar to a minnow and native to the southeastern Himalayan region, is well established as a key tool for researchers studying human diseases, including brain disorders. Using zebrafish, scientists can determine how individual neurons develop, mature and support basic functions like breathing, swallowing and jaw movement. Researchers at the University of Missouri say that learning about neuronal development and maturation in zebrafish could lead to a better understanding of birth defects such as spina bifida in humans.

Outside CEOs Could Rejuvenate Struggling Businesses, Although Most CEOs Selected From Internal Candidates

CEOs hired from outside a company tend to spend more money on research and development, while CEOs hired from within are likely to make large, strategic acquisitions, new research from the University of Missouri has found. According to the six-decade study, while 78 percent of new CEOs are selected from within the organization, internally and externally chosen CEOs execute different financial strategies that could be best-suited for companies with different needs.

Prominent Animal and Human Health Scholar Joins Faculty

The University of Missouri is one of 34 public universities in the Association of American Universities (AAU) and is recognized for its national expertise in many academic fields.  MU’s prominent faculty scholars and scientists bring their discoveries into the classroom while attracting multi-million dollar grants and publishing more than 1,500 books and scholarly articles each year. Recently, Mizzou officials hired a prominent animal and human health scholar. Thomas Spencer is internationally recognized for his research in reproductive and developmental biology. Spencer accepted an appointment in the Division of Animal Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources with a joint appointment in the School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health.

Rising Temperatures from Climate Variability May Slow Critical Lizard Behaviors

Spring is here and ectotherms, or animals dependent on external sources to raise their body temperature, are becoming more active. Recent studies have shown that as the average global temperature increases, some lizards may spend more time in the shade and less time eating and reproducing, which could endanger many species. Now, a detailed field study of the Puerto Rican crested anole by a University of Missouri researcher shows that lizards are active over a broader range of temperatures than scientists previously thought—but when temperatures are either too hot or too cold, critical activity levels slow, limiting the abilities of species to cope with climate variability.

Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals can Adversely Affect Reproduction of Future Generations of Fish

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is used in a variety of consumer products, such as water bottles, dental composites and resins used to line metal food and beverage containers. Often, aquatic environments such as rivers and streams become reservoirs for contaminants, including BPA. Now, University of Missouri researchers and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists have determined that fish exposed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals will pass adverse reproductive effects onto their offspring as many as three generations later. These findings suggest that BPA could have adverse reproductive effects for humans and their offspring who are exposed to BPA as well.

Ultimate Fighting Championship Should Save Heavyweight Fights for Pay Per View, Research Suggests

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a mixed martial arts league, has experienced large growth in popularity and economic success in recent years. UFC has achieved this success by marketing to fans who attend live fighting events and who purchase Pay Per View (PPV) options to watch UFC events on television. Now, a researcher at the University of Missouri has found that fans’ interest in the sport and, thus, their desire to spend money differs based on the venue. Nicholas Watanabe, an assistant professor of sport management in the MU Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, says this could provide important marketing and economic information to UFC and other sports leagues dependent on PPV.

Measuring Student Engagement in the Classroom Could Help Teachers, Administrators Adapt Teaching Strategies

Educators believe that student engagement in the classroom is crucial to learning and that it can increase achievement and enrollment in challenging courses while decreasing dropout rates. Until recently, teachers and administrators lacked tools to measure the engagement levels of their students in the classroom. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has developed a scale that quantifies student engagement and could help educators identify barriers to student participation and increase levels of student involvement and learning.

$1 Million Gift to Support Faculty Enhancement at MU

Mark Wilkins, a resident of St. Louis, has given $1 million to the University of Missouri College of Arts and Science to create the Mark A. Wilkins Fund for Excellence in the College of Arts and Science. The Wilkins Fund will support the MU College of Arts and Science through faculty enhancement that will enable the College and University to create opportunities to recruit and retain prominent faculty. Wilkins, an MU alumnus and graduate of the College of Arts and Science, says he wants to help give current and future MU students access to quality faculty members such as he enjoyed as a student at Mizzou.

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