Big Man on Campus heads north to NAU in Flagstaff

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

To most folks from the Valley, Flagstaff is a nice cool getaway during the summer. However, when the Big Man on Campus looked into NAU, he found some amazing things happening on campus that are getting worldwide attention.

To start, let's refresh your memory to 2001, shortly after September 11th. Letters were sent to different media outlets and several lawmakers containing Anthrax. Five people were killed and seventeen others infected. The FBI made a call to a tiny science lab at NAU in Flagstaff.

"The FBI came to us and said 'we have this outbreak of anthrax associated with these letters. Can we figure out where they came from?' explains Dr. Paul Keim, NAU Regents Professor of Biology.

What helped in their investigation was the FBI subpoena all the Anthrax throughout the United States from all the different laboratories. Keim and his lab crew pulled an all niter sequencing DNA, looking at the genetic code, building an ancestry model and comparing the Anthrax samples with what was found in the letters. They cracked the case.

According to Keim, "It was startling; chilling, and we knew this was a bio terrorism event."

That led to his nickname of "Dr. Anthrax." Since he's continued his career as a disease detective, passing his knowledge to students and helping them get the information they need to become successful scientists themselves.

"So the students who come to NAU get a chance to work in an internationally renowned laboratory with some of the best scientists in the world. When they leave, they carry that with them."

However, NAU is also recognized across the world for its Forestry program, specializing in forest health. NAU Professor Wally Covington has been at the university long enough implementing changes to the law regarding forest thinning made after the massive Rodeo-Chedeski Fire where 468,000 acres burned.

"The problem people have with thinning is the fear that an agricultural approach to forestry would reassert itself, rather than a more natural ecological management. However not only does it prevent the over population of trees, it also helps to release the nutrients that would otherwise remain locked up" says Covington.

And that's the focus when they take their students out to the World's Largest Ponderosa Pine classroom.  

Cheryl Miller, Forest Manager for Centennial Forest explains, "We have over 47,000 acres that we use for research and education." And our field campus is 120 acres of that, that we have built ramadas and tents, open air showers, restrooms, nature trails, things like that and we use this field campus to engage the community and our students."

All this helps put NAU above others universities, not just in elevation but in recognizable programs. 

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


  • Social Connect

  • Contact

    AZ Family
  • Featured VideoMore>>

  • California activists want to send nuclear waste to Palo Verde

    California activists want to send nuclear waste to Palo Verde

    Saturday, November 18 2017 12:28 AM EST2017-11-18 05:28:47 GMT
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    San Onofre State Beach is a kind of hidden gem among surfers. But there is something about the view here that looks just a little out of place. It’s a nuclear power plant, right on the beach. Some activists want to send the nuclear waste that's housed at San Onofre to Arizona.

    More >

    San Onofre State Beach is a kind of hidden gem among surfers. But there is something about the view here that looks just a little out of place. It’s a nuclear power plant, right on the beach. Some activists want to send the nuclear waste that's housed at San Onofre to Arizona.

    More >
  • Up to $15K stolen after card skimmer use on Chandler ATM

    Friday, November 17 2017 11:41 PM EST2017-11-18 04:41:22 GMT
    (Source: Chandler Police Department)(Source: Chandler Police Department)

    Chandler Police are investigating after a card skimmer was apparently installed on a bank ATM to gather customer account information.  Investigators say the Arizona Bank and Trust drive-up ATM near I-10 and Ray Road was targeted.

    More >

    Chandler Police are investigating after a card skimmer was apparently installed on a bank ATM to gather customer account information.  Investigators say the Arizona Bank and Trust drive-up ATM near I-10 and Ray Road was targeted.

    More >
  • Discrepancy in reported cause of death at Dolphinaris raises new concerns

    Discrepancy in reported cause of death at Dolphinaris raises new concerns

    Friday, November 17 2017 11:32 PM EST2017-11-18 04:32:06 GMT
    Bodie the dolphin died on September 23. (Source: Dolphinaris)Bodie the dolphin died on September 23. (Source: Dolphinaris)

    A death report obtained by CBS 5 Investigates shows a different cause of death for “Bodie,” the dolphin, than was initially reported by Dolphinaris Arizona. Bodie died on September 23. 

    More >

    A death report obtained by CBS 5 Investigates shows a different cause of death for “Bodie,” the dolphin, than was initially reported by Dolphinaris Arizona. Bodie died on September 23. 

    More >