Scientific Research Society at UNK hosting green algae expert

Beadle Center Plant Pathology
Photo courtesy of UNL Communications

KEARNEY – James Van Etten, professor of plant pathology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will present at UNK as the Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Van Etten’s talk “Giant Viruses Change the Perception of Viruses” will be at 4 p.m. March 30 in Copeland Hall 133 on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus.

He is being hosted by the UNK Chapter of Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society. The talk is free and open to the public.

Green algae, in surface layers of almost every lake or stream, are some of the most common aquatic creatures. However, unbeknownst to researchers until recently, viruses that infect algae are almost as widespread.

Entire ecosystems of algal hosts and their corresponding viruses lay hidden until the 1980s, when Van Etten and his colleague Russ Meints discovered and began to characterize the first member of what is now a rapidly expanding family of algal viruses.

Van Etten and his colleagues have continued to study these viruses, focusing on those that infect chlorella and other similar green algae.

Van Etten’s findings have earned him continuous grant support from the National Institutes of Health as well as election to fellow status in several professional societies.


Writer: Todd Gottula, Director of Communications, 308.865.8454,
Contact: Kimberly Carlson, Assistant Chair Biology Department, 308.865.1554

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