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HPC Seminar Series: The Subterranean Genome of the Devil Worm

hpc seminar series

The Subterranean Genome of the Devil Worm

Professor John R. Bracht
Department of Biology (CAS)

Abstract: The subterranean worm H. mephisto, was first discovered in a gold mine in South Africa, living nearly a mile underground in water-filled cracks in the earth’s crust. Completely isolated from the terrestrial biosphere, this organism has managed to survive, and thrive, under conditions that had been considered lethal to complex life. In this talk I will present recent data from whole-genome sequencing and analysis, and discuss how this finding sheds light on adaptive change in evolution, the limits of complex life on earth, and even on the search for life on other planets.
This talk will be geared toward a non-specialist audience.

Location: Hurst Hall, Room 203
Date/Time: October 7, 2016 at 12:00 p.m.
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Faculty Use of Social Media as Researchers and Public Intellectuals

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #101:

Faculty are increasingly using social media and blogs to share their research findings with a broader public. This session examines ways that faculty can maximize the impact of their online presence. The session also looks to share with colleagues potential drawbacks of social media.

Andrew Lih (SOC)
Naomi S. Baron (CTRL and CAS-WLC)
Terry Davidson (CAS-PSYC)

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Using EndNote Web to Enhance Your Teaching and Research

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session T8:

This session introduces faculty members and graduate students to EndNote Web as a tool for enhancing teaching and research. Known as a program for saving and managing references, EndNote Web has additional features that facilitate student collaboration on research projects and allow researchers to connect and share resources. EndNote can even play matchmaker by suggesting journals for manuscript submission. This session covers the basics of setting up an EndNote Web account and building a collection of references and then moves on to these wider possibilities. The presenters hope to inspire colleagues to incorporate this versatile program into their work with students and research partners. Please bring your own laptop or borrow one from the library for this hands-on experience.

Melissa Becher (Library)
Mindy Ford (Library)
Mary Mintz(Library)

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A Research Scholar’s Survival Guide

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session T6:

Grants and contracts are the two most commonly used mechanisms for transferring money from external sources to the university. Many misconceptions surround what is involved in applying for and managing external funding for academic purposes. This session provides a brief overview of the grants and contracts world followed by some tips on how American University’s Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) can bridge those gaps. The goal of this session is to build positive relationships and perception about the services that OSP provides and to set clear expectation from both the principal investigator (PI) and administrative points-of-view.

Stephen Petix (Office of Sponsored Programs)


Mobile Tool Review: GIS Cloud Mobile Data Collection

iPhone with app displayed

This Mobile Tool Review was written by Nicole Condon, CTRL Trainer and Consultant.

GIS Cloud Mobile Data Collection


Free basic service (one device and public map)
$20 premium service per device per month (private maps, better vector feature, and storage limits)


Apple App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android) or through

What does it do?

This app allows you to gather real-time, media-enriched location information in the field. GIS Cloud Mobile Data Collection app provides a low-cost and feature-rich alternative to other geographical information system (GIS) collection services and devices. It uses the cloud to send data points and attributes directly to a custom layer on a personalized map. Access, analyze, share, and publish your data in the GIS Cloud Map Editor (available in both free and paid editions) through any web browser in real time. Features include custom form building for data collection through the mobile app and the ability to assign media (image and audio) attributes.

Which class can you use it in?

Courses that include collecting GIS or survey data in the field would find this app very useful.  It allows instant visualization and organizes data collection from multiple users, which makes collaborating on class projects very simple and fast. This is also a fantastic tool for qualitative and quantitative research data collection.


  • Ease of use
  • Flexibility of data collection
  • Much cheaper than similar alternatives (like ArcGIS mobile collection)
  • Offline data capture allows information to be sent later
  • Instant review of maps with point data and attributes for each collection on your mobile device, including images and recorded audio
  • Images and audio attachments broaden the research potential for this tool, as a researcher can collect photographic evidence and interviews in one place
  • Data is automatically arranged into a table, which can be easily saved and imported into both ArcGIS and Google Earth


  • As a relatively new app, the tool might face the growing pains associated with Beta testing
  • Utilizing all of the app’s capabilities is dependent upon each individual’s phone/tablet capabilities and data plans
  • Currently, the mobile app only allows users to create point shapes in the field. The ability to create lines and polygons should be available in 2014
  • Limited editing and spatial analysis tools.  However, importing data into another program like ArcGIS, Google Earth, or Python will solve this problem
  • Researchers that need to create private maps and larger storage need to pay a monthly fee

Overall Grade

B+ for potential use.  The next year of development for this app will be critical in determining just how effective of a tool this can be.

Additional Information

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How to Keep your Students Engaged during the Snowquester?


The American University Be Prepared site ( gives us a few tips to keep your classes going and your students focused on the class material while campus is closed.

We invite you to view the above site and to comment to this post if you need any special support from us.  Here we summarize a few of the most handy tips:

1.  Use Blackboard to e-mail students and post announcements on readings, discussion boards or any tool you want to use to keep the class going.

2.  Meet with your students using Blackboard Collaborate tool.  You can have several students in session and do a compact class meeting.  Alternatively you can hold your office hours using Collaborate and just meet with one student at a time.  You will need a camera and a microphone if you want to have a video session with your students.  But you could simply chat with them, share your screen or use the “white board” in Collaborate to write equations or draw graphs.

Links to learning material on Collaborate can be found at the library site:

3.  Film your class session using Panopto and post it in Blackboard.  We recommend making a couple of short videos (up to 15 minutes) with the key topics you want emphasized.  Remember that Spring break is next week, so the Panopto tool can help you not stay disconnected from your students for 2 weeks.  You can use Panopto to film your power point slides, your screen view and/or yourself so it can be as interactive as you want it.

Links to instructional handouts including how to get started with your first recording are available online at:, or through the Library’s Panopto support site:

4.  Post your class Power Point slides in Blackboard with narration.  This is an alternative to Panopto recording for those that find it easier (we recommend Panopto though).  You can create your slides and add narration to them (remember to check your microphone settings so that the voice comes as optimal as possible).   As with Panopto recording we recommend making a couple of videos of up to 15 minutes long to optimize attention levels.

Microsoft offers step by step guides on how to add narrations to your slides:

Please feel free to e-mail us with questions at or to post your comments here.  We would like to know if any of these tips are useful to keep your classes going while the university remains closed.

The Snow Storm is Here…and So Are We

snowy trees

The CTRL Lab team is online ready to support you accessing the Virtual Computing Lab.  We can also help you with questions regarding SPSS and Stata.

Remember to friend us on Skype (our user name is “ctrl_research“) and send us an e-mail to if you have any questions.

For useful tips during the storm please see our post “Getting Ready for the Storm” in this link:

And remember to keep yourselves warm!

Getting ready for the storm: How to Stay Connected if AU is closed on Wednesday March 6th, 2013


NOT TO WORRY, if the Saturn snowstorm (aka Snowquester) hits us we will be ready to support our “snowed in” AU community with Stata, SPSS and general questions.  So if we have to be closed tomorrow this is what we recommend for those wanting to connect to these and other important tools, as well as for those wishing to receive remote assistance:

1.  If you need to have a one on one consultation: Please friend us in skype (our user name is ctrl_research) or send us an e-mail to to book a skype appointment.  We can also use the Blackboard tool called “Collaborate” if we need additional ways to help you.

2.  If you need to use Stata or SPSS remotely:  Don’t let the storm stop you from finishing your project. Simply go to and download the Virtual Computing client (recommended option) or use it over the internet (option just recommended if for some reason you cannot download the client).  For instructions on how to use Virtual Computing go to  Please e-mail us at or if you need assistance with your Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) connection.

3.  If you need to access the J drive or your personal G drive: Go to portal under the Technology option and select “Access my network drives”

4.  If you are a faculty wishing to record your class in the event the University is closed: You can use Panopto to record a session that can be uploaded to Blackboard and viewed by your students.  Links to instructional handouts including how to get started with your first recording are available online at:, or through the Library’s Panopto support site:

For any questions, please add your comments to this post or e-mail us directly.

Keep Learning over Winter Break

Finals week is almost over! Congratulations on making it through another semester (students and professors!).

Enjoy your much-deserved break, but don’t let your brain atrophy and résumé stagnate. Cruising Tumblr and Facebook can only get you so far – there are plenty of ways to improve your research skills and stimulate your critical thinking skills while browsing online. Here are a few of our favorites:



Access this learning website through your myAU portal, under the “Technology” tab. AU has paid the subscription for this fee-based service, so it’s completely free to members of the AU community. You can access thousands of videos covering hundreds of software programs. The videos are professional quality and take you step-by-step through either basic or advanced procedures in programs from Picasa to Python. By the time you complete a course, you’ll have a new resume bullet.

2. MIT OpenCourseWare


From the project’s own description: “The idea is simple: to publish all of our course materials online and make them widely available to everyone.” – Dick K.P. Yue, Professor, MIT School of Engineering. You can access the full course materials that MIT students pay big buck to take, totally free. Most classes include video lectures, syllabus, reading list, and lecture notes. Either fill in a gap in your knowledge or just pursue curiosity.

3. TED 


Many of you will have already heard of this site, for good reason. The “Technology, Entertainment, Design” series of conferences invites well-known and dynamic researchers to “give the presentation of their lifetimes”. The result is often a 20-minute mind-blowing video. It’s hard to go wrong picking a TED talk. There’s also a new portion of the site called TED-Ed, which are mini-lessons prepared by educators and animated by professional animators, complete with quizzes and further resources. It’s a great way to learn without feeling like you’re learning.

4. Information is Beautiful


This is David McCandless’s website, filled with great examples of creative ways to display data. In our world of academic research, we see far too many ineffective and boring graphs and charts. One way to make your paper stand out is with an eye-catching and intuitive data visualization. In addition to “Information is Beautiful,” check out these tutorials from UC Berkeley’s journalism school to learn more about creating unique and effective designs.

Have a great Winter Break, and stay posted for information about CTRL’s workshops and research seminars for Spring 2013


SIS Student Quantitative Research Festival


It’s that season again – the end of the semester! Check out some of the fascinating research conducted by SIS Graduate students, Friday November 30 from 5-7 PM in the SIS Atrium.

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