Three UVM scientists are spearheading a payload mission blasting off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Kennedy Space Center on the evening of November 9, pending favorable weather conditions. The payload will dock and be delivered to the ISS on the morning of Saturday, November 11.
Known as the µTitan (pronounced “micro-Titan”) project, it has two primary objectives: benchmarking the use of hermetically sealed microgravity compatible extraction cassettes for automated DNA extraction in space and investigating the efficacy of a novel DNA sample preservative to help eliminate the need for cellular-based samples to be returned to Earth in cold storage.
The partnership between UVM and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), established in 2014 by UVM’s VIGR lab and Kasthuri Venkateswaran, Ph.D., senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, helps address crucial needs for the purposes of planetary protection—including DNA technologies in space.
Scott Tighe, Technical Director for the Advanced Genome Technologies Core, Julie Dragon, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and the Director of Vermont Biomedical Research Network (VBRN) Data Science Core, and Kirsten Tracy, Ph.D., senior scientist in the Vermont Integrative Genomics Resource Core (VIGR).
Middlebury College student dies on campus – Ivan Valerio, a 19-year-old member of the Middlebury College Class of 2026 from Kissimmee, Florida, died early morning November 7 on campus. Middlebury Police say there was no foul play and there is no danger to the campus or surrounding community. The cause of death was not released.
College officials say Valerio was a dual citizen of the Philippines and the United States. A graduate of NeoCity Academy in Kissimmee, he arrived at Middlebury in fall 2022. He served as an Orientation leader this year and was interested in Japanese and computer science.
Federal judge nominations begin – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) this week announced the formation of a Judicial Nomination Advisory Panel to fill the expected vacancy on the federal bench in the District of Vermont, created by Chief Judge Geoffrey Crawford stepping down from active service.
As federal judicial nominees go through the Senate, Sanders and Welch are standing up a joint Judicial Nomination Advisory Panel to screen candidates and make recommendations, continuing the tradition established by the late Senator Robert Stafford and Senator Patrick Leahy. Sanders and Welch, in consultation with Rep. Becca Balint (D-Vt.) and the Vermont Bar Association, will make recommendations to the White House to fill the vacancy. The White House will then evaluate the Senators’ recommendations and announce a nominee. The Advisory Panel is now accepting applications for the expected vacancy, the duty station for which will be in Rutland.