By Lisa Romero, BIO5 Institute
UA Office of Federal Relations
A new speaker series sends a University faculty researcher each month to the nation's capital to convey how his or her work is vital to future development.
The University of Arizona is set to begin a series of lectures given by internationally recognized scholars to audiences in Washington, D.C.
The series is sponsored by UA President Eugene G. Sander, the UA Office of Federal Relations, the Arizona Alumni Association and the "Capitol Cats" alumni chapter in Washington.
Each month, through July, UA researchers will bring their knowledge on scientific topics that play a significant role in the country's future development. The lectures will be held at the headquarters of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Higher Education, or CASE.
The series is a pilot project intended to enlarge the UA's footprint and visibility in the nation's capital, according the Shay Stautz, the associate vice president for federal relations at the University. Each faculty member brought to the series helps pursue an element of the UA's federal agenda, such as space exploration and energy research, and their importance to the country and to southern Arizona.
Kimberly Ogden, a professor of chemical and environmental engineering at the UA, is scheduled to appear in Washington on March 6.
Ogden is the engineering technical lead and the UA's principal investigator for the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts, a consortium of universities and research institutions awarded $44 million by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop commercial algal biofuels. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and has graduate degrees from the University of Colorado.
Her research looks at the design of bioreactors used to produce alternative fuels from algae and sweet sorghum, and for microbiological water and soil quality.
Ogden's talk will focus on the advantages and challenges of using algae as a source of biodiesel and jet fuel.
"To assure national security and to meet the energy demands of the future, we as a nation must investigate all forms of alternative energy," she said.
"Arizona has plenty of sunshine and land, but we must develop strategies to recycle and reuse water to produce biofuels from algae. Other challenges include competition between food and fuel, nutrient minimization and carbon sources. The UA in collaboration with 13 companies, two government laboratories and 12 other universities are making significant strides toward making algal biofuels a reality."
Ogden said she plans to highlight the milestones toward this long-range goal. She also will discuss the UA's regional collaborations to produce ethanol from sweet sorghum.
The event is free and open to the public, and will include hors d'oeuvres and a no-host bar. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made online, or by calling Lori Crouch at 800-232-8278.
CASE Headquarters is located at 1307 New York Ave., NW in Washington D.C., and is accessible by the Metro at Metro Center and McPherson Square. Detailed directions to CASE are online.
Other scheduled speakers in the series include (April 17) Joaquin Ruiz, executive dean of the UA College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; (May 3) Neal Armstrong, professor of chemistry and optical sciences and director of the Energy Frontier Research Center; and (June 7) Mary Poulton, head of the mining and geological engineering department and director of the Institute for Mineral Resources.
UA Office of Federal Relations