A&S Faculty News
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Batra Awarded Yale Fellowship
Kanika Batra, Associate Professor in the Department of English, has been awarded a Visiting Research Fellowship at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, for her project "Claude McKay and the Fragmented History of Jamaican Sexuality." The awards were announced by the TTU Office of Research Services July 27.
Nagihara Looks to Land Robots on Europa
Seiichi Nagihara, Associate Professor in the Department of Geosciences, anticipates a total award of $320,306 in grant funds from NASA for his project entitled "Heat flow probe for robotic landing missions to Europa and the other icy moons." Awards were announced by the TTU Office of Research Services the week of July 20-26.
Milam Awarded Grant from U.S. Army
Ron Milam, Associate Professor in the Department of History and interim Executive Director of TTU's Institute of Peace & Conflict (IPAC), received a grant of $296,217, incrementally funded by the U.S. Army. Funds will go toward Graduate Research Assistants (GRA). Awards were announced by the TTU Office of Research Services the week of July 20-26.
Sagarzazu Receives Grant From Nottingham
Inaki Sagarzazu, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, received $5,011 from the University of Nottingham/Economic and Social Research Council for the project entitled "The legacy of authoritarian regimes on democratic citizenship." The awards were announced by the TTU Office of Research Services the week of July 13-19.
Wang, Gao Conduct Genome Editing
Degeng Wang, Associate Professor (left), and Weimin Gao, Associate Professor (right), both in the Department of Environmental Toxicology, received a grant totaling $450,806 for their research proposal to combine CRISPER and CAS9 Genome Editing for Protein Kinase Analysis. The grant came from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Awards were announced by the TTU Office of Research Services the week of July 13-19.
McKee Talks About Microsoft's Rural Push
Seth McKee, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, weighed in on Microsoft's move to provide better Internet service to rural populations. McKee was quoted in a July 11 NPR/KTTZ-FM program, All Tech Considered, as saying the move is a smart one. "Trump on the campaign trail used rhetoric to speak and resonate with those voters, in these sort of left-behind economies as we talk about them. But has there been anything beyond rhetoric since he's gotten into office? Not that I'm aware of," McKee told the program. "If they were the first ones to really go in this area and actually show some willingness to put some skin in the game, that could go a long ways in terms of politicians taking notice and further bankrolling this sort of thing."
Presley Says Heavy Rains Hatch More Mosquitoes
Steve Presley, Professor and Director of Texas Tech University's Biological Threat Research Laboratory in the Department of Environmental Toxicology, was interviewed by KLBK/KAMC News about the likelihood of increased mosquito populations in the aftermath of recent rains. "We probably will see a significant number because of as much rain as we've gotten over the four day weekend and with the standing water," Presley was quoted as saying in the July 6 article. "A lot of the flood species are going to hatch out; there will be more mosquitoes." Presley recommended staying indoors at dawn and dusk and invest in a good bug repellent. The article also reported that "researchers have tested mosquitoes for the West Nile virus and Zika virus, and all the tests have come back negative." A few days later, FOX-34 News reported on July 10 and updated July 24 that Lubbock Vector Control trucks were fogging for mosquitoes. "I know the city's Vector Control folks are already hitting it hard and heavy or they were getting ready for it last week. And I'd imagine they're probably hitting it hard and heavy right now," Presley told the TV station. A city official confirmed that mosquito fogging was being carried out between 8 p.m. and midnight, and also between 6 and 9:30 a.m.
Latham Shares in President's Collaborative Grant
Michael Latham, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, has received half of a TTU Presidents' Collaborative Research Initiative Grant of $50,000. Latham's proposal, entitled "A Structural Basis for a Form of Mental Retardation," is a collaborative grant with Dr. Clint Macdonald, Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Cell Biology & Biochemistry at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC); and Dr. Petar Grozdanov, Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry at TTUHSC. This award provides seed money for experiments to understand how a single mutation of a protein found in brain cells can cause a severe form of mental retardation. Latham's research interest lie in the areas of Solution State Biomolecular NMR, Structural Biology, Protein Dynamics, DNA Damage Repair, and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.
Li Research Saves Time, Money on Arlymines
Guigen Li, Paul Whitfield Horn Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, was featured in an ACS Chemical & Engineering News article, "Arylamines Made Easy," published online July 6. The article, subtitled "Reagent featuring an electrophilic nitrogen makes secondary amine synthesis a snap," described Li's research on arylamines, which can be important components of pharmaceuticals or other biologically active molecules, according to the story. But the reactions commonly used to make them require transition metal catalysts and ligands that can be time-consuming to screen and expensive to remove should they contaminate a final product, the story went on to report. Li and fellow researchers László Kürti of Rice University and Daniel H. Ess of Brigham Young University have found a new approach that can save time and money. More on Li's work was published in Global News Connect.
Nes Gets NIH Grant
David Nes, Paul Whitfield Horn Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Director of the Center for Chemical Biology, received $881,354 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a three-year study entitled "Discovery of new anti-amoeba therapeutics." The grant is a continuation award of Nes' current R21 grant that runs through May 2018. The ongoing research program seeks development of new, potent steroidal inhibitors. More specifically, this work is aimed to develop transition state analogs and mechanism-based suicide substrates as anti-amoeba agents that target enzymes (sterol methyltransferases) specific to the amoeba pathogen (Acanthamoeba and Naegleria) not synthesized in the animal host. Nes also received a gift of $125,000 per year for three years. Awards were announced by the TTU Office of Research Services the week ending July 5.
Findlater Shares EAGER Grant
Michael Findlater, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, and Professor Weile Yan of the Department of Civil, Environmental & Construction Engineering, have been awarded an EAGER grant in the amount of $80,000 by the Engineering Division of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The development of hydraulic fracturing has led to a glut of natural gas resources in the US; however, water use associated with the process has raised environmental concerns. Findlater and Yan are developing new technology to remediate wastewater associated with hydraulic fracturing. Findlater also received a contract of $8,000 from Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, for a project entitled "Synthesis of 2-Acetylphenanthroline." Awards were announced by the TTU Office of Research Services the week ending July 5.
Poirier, Aquino, Eckert Receive $500K from NSF
Bill Poirier, Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Joint Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, received $498,009 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a three-year project entitled "CDS&E: Massively Parallel Quantum Dynamics: Computing many accurate quantum states for real molecular applications." The research is funded jointly through the Chemical Theory, Models, and Computation (CTMC) and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (OAC). Poirier and fellow researchers Adelia Aquino, Adjunct Professor, and Juergen Eckert, Research Professor, both in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, will use the grant to develop methods to scale exact quantum dynamical molecular simulations across the next generation of massively parallel supercomputers. Molecular simulations promise to enable computers to replace expensive and time-consuming laboratory experiments, and are thus used routinely in many areas (energy, drug design, nanomaterials, for instance). However, very few molecular simulations incorporate quantum dynamical effects—even though these can be important—because of the daunting numerical hurdles and difficult mathematics involved. To meet this challenge, Poirier and his colleagues are developing the world's first massively parallel exact quantum dynamics code, which may dramatically improve the accuracy, reliability and true predictive power of molecular simulations. Poirier received the TTU Chancellor's Council Distinguished Research Award in 2008. Awards were announced by the TTU Office of Research Services the week ending July 5.
Pappas to Develop Sepsis Detection for POS
Dimitri Pappas, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, received a CH Foundation gift of $102,126 for his research entitled "A Microchip Sepsis Detection System for Point of Service Healthcare." Pappas is known for his work using new chemical methods to study and detect illnesses such as heart disease and cancer, and has been noted as one of the top bioanalytical chemists in the nation. He also is winner of the TTU Chancellor's Council Research Award for 2017. Awards were announced bu the TTU Office of Research Services the week ending July 5.
D'Auria Shares in NSF Collaborative Grant
John D'Auria, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, received part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Collaborative Grant of $800,000 over three years for his proposal entitled "Collaborative Research: A systems approach toward understanding the diversification of tropane and granatane alkaloid biosynthesis." TTU's share is the grant is $332,348. D'Auria is the lead Principal Investigator on the project along with Cornelius Barry from MSU and Charles Stewart Jr. from ISU. D'Auria's research interests include Chemical Biology, Metabolic Engineering, and Biochemistry and Evolution of Plant Specialized Metabolism. Awards were announced by the TTU Office of Research Services the week ending July 5.
Wylie Awarded $1.7 Million Grant from NIH
Benjamin Wylie, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, received grant funding of $1,745,725 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his 5-year research proposal entitled, "Functional Interplay of Lipid Membrane Components: Activation, Inhibition, and Raft Formation." Wylie's principal research interests involve using state of the art solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (SSNMR) to study the structure and function of membrane proteins. Specifically, research in the Wylie laboratory aims to expand understanding of the structure and function of transmembrane K+ channels and receptors in lipid bilayers and native membranes. The award was announced by the TTU Office of Research Services the week ending July 5.
Mechref Receives NIH Subcontract
Yehia Mechref, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, received a subcontract of $193,781 over five years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The subcontract was part of an NIH R01 grant proposal entitled "Proximal Tubule Albumin Transport in Disease States" awarded to Professor Bruce A. Molitoris of Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. Awards were announced by the TTU Office of Research Services the week ending July 5.
Hase Works With Exchange Student
Bill Hase, Horn Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, is working this summer with Shreyas Malpathak who is the recipient of the S.N. Bose Scholarship. India's S.N. Bose Program fosters dynamics and transformative student exchange between premier institutions in India and the United States. The program is named in honor of Satyendra Nath Bose (1894-1974), a visionary Indian physicist best known for his work on quantum mechanics and postulation of the boson in the early 1920s. He received the Nobel Prize in physics for this work. This year there were over 1,500 applications, and only 60 students were short-listed. Malpathak is one of the recipients of this highly prestigious scholarship and requested to work with Hase.
More Faculty AchievementsCurrent Faculty News
2017 FACULTY NEWS
"Introduction to Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Sport" 10th Edition
Angela Lumpkin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Exercise & Sport Science, gives college students a wide-angle view of physical education, exercise science, sport, and the wealth of careers available in these fields in the 10th Edition of "Introduction to Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Sport." The textbook provides the principles, history, and future of physical education, exercise science, and sport. Lumpkin's clear writing style engages the reader while covering the most important introductory topics in this updated introduction to the world of physical education. (McGraw-Hill, July 2016)
"New Developments in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures"
Ronald J. Kendal, Professor of Environmental Toxicology; Steven Presley, Professor of Immuno-toxicology; and Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor of Countermeasures to Biological Threats, all from the Department of Environmental Toxicology, have co-edited the newly published textbook, “New Developments in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures.” The volume compiles a decade's worth of research through TTU's Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. National Program for Countermeasures to Biological and Chemical Threats, and updated many changes in the field since an earlier book, “Advances in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures,” came out in 2008. “It's not just for college students,” Ramkumar said. “It's a tool for people in the field, from first responders all the way to policy makers.” (CRC Press, February 2016)
"Reading Sounds: Closed-Captioned Media and Popular Culture"
Sean Zdenek, Associate Professor of Technical Communication & Rhetoric in the Department of English, tackles the choices that closed-captioners face every day in “Reading Sounds: Closed Captioned Media and Popular Culture.” Captioners must decide whether and how to describe background noises, accents, laughter, musical cues, and even silences. When captioners describe a sound—or choose to ignore it—they are applying their own subjective interpretations to otherwise objective noises, creating meaning that does not necessarily exist in the soundtrack or the script. Zdenek approaches closed-captioning as a potent source of meaning in rhetorical analysis and demonstrates how the choices captioners make affect the way deaf and hard of hearing viewers experience media. Drawing on hundreds of real-life examples and interviews with professional captioners and regular viewers of closed-captioning, Zdenek analyzes how the way in which the audible is made visible and champions better standards for closed captioning. (University of Chicago Press, December 2015)
"Ancient Maya Cities of the Eastern Lowlands"
Brett A. Houk, Associate Professor of Archaeology and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, rights something of an injustice in the study of the Maya world in his "Ancient Maya Cities of the Eastern Lowlands." For more than a century, researchers have studied Maya ruins, primarily at sites like Tikal, Palenque, Copán, and Chichén Itzá, which have shaped current understanding of the Maya. Yet cities of the eastern lowlands of Belize, an area that was home to a rich urban tradition that persisted and evolved for almost 2,000 years, have, until now, been treated as peripheral to these great Classic period sites. The hot and humid climate and dense forests of Belize are inhospitable and make preservation of the ruins difficult, but this oft-ignored area reveals much about Maya urbanism and culture. Using data collected from different sites throughout the lowlands, including the Vaca Plateau and the Belize River Valley, Houk presents the first synthesis of these unique ruins and discusses methods for mapping and excavating them. Considering the sites through the analytical lenses of the built environment and ancient urban planning, Houk vividly reconstructs their political history, considers how they fit into the larger political landscape of the Classic Maya, and examines what they tell us about Maya city building. (University Press of Florida, 2015)
"Human Scent Evidence"
Paola A. Prada, Research Assistant Professor at TTU's Institute for Forensic Science, explores novel concepts and applications of the use of human scent evidence in criminal investigations in this co-authored book. During the last decade, a significant number of scientific studies have supported the use of human scent as a biometric tool and indicator of the presence, or absence, of an individual at a crime scene. These findings even extend to conducting scent identification line-ups with suspects. "Human Scent Evidence" focuses on some of these recent advances in the use of human scent as forensic evidence and as an identifier. With examples from North and South America and Europe, this book draws upon an extensive literature review of past and current research and is enhanced with findings from the authors' own research. It concludes with a glimpse of the future direction of human scent evidence in the forensic field and its application as a biometric and diagnostic tool. (CRC Press, 2015)
"Born to be Wild: The Rise of the American Motorcyclist"
Randy D. McBee, Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Associate Professor in the Department of History, traces the growth of an American subculture—and the alarm it sparked—when the stereotypical leather-clad biker emerged after World War II. And yet, in more recent years, the once-menacing motorcyclist became mainstream. McBee narrates the arc of motorcycle culture since World War II. Along the way he examines the rebelliousness of early riders of the 1940s and 1950s, riders' increasing connection to violence and the counterculture in the 1960s and 1970s, the rich urban bikers of the 1990s and 2000s, and the factors that gave rise to a motorcycle rights movement. McBee's fascinating narrative of motorcycling's past and present reveals the biker as a crucial character in 20th-century American life. (University of North Carolina Press, July 2015)
"Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism"
Mark Stoll, Associate Professor and Director of Environmental Studies in the Department of History, explains how religion has profoundly influenced the origins, evolution, and future of American environmentalism. Born of the house of Calvin, environmentalism took its program and acquired its moral power from the (originally) Calvinist denominations Congregationalism and Presbyterianism. Virtually all its founders in the 19th century were within a generation of a Congregationalist church. Presbyterian Progressives made conservation, parks, and forests into national causes. Lapsed Presbyterians led environmentalism's postwar rise. In recent decades other denominations, notably Baptists, Catholics, and Jews, have taken over environmental leadership. As each denomination strut its hour upon the environmental stage and exited to make room for the next, environmentalism's character and goals changed. Stoll explains why this is so, and what it means. Using biography and the histories of religion, environmentalism, art, and culture as tools, the book re-creates the mental and moral world that gave birth to the movements to conserve, preserve, and enjoy nature and to protect the environment. Finally, the book examines the contemporary religious scene and its implications for a future environmentalism.
"Further Studies in the Lesser-Known Varieties of English"
Jeffrey P Williams, Professor of Ethnology and Linguistics in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, is the lead editor in this volume that follows "The Lesser-Known Varieties of English" (Cambridge University Press, 2010) by documenting a further range of English varieties that have been overlooked and understudied. It explores varieties spoken by small groups of people in remote regions as diverse as Malta, Bermuda, the Netherlands Antilles, Brazil, the Cook Islands, and Palau. The varieties explored are as much a part of the big picture as major varieties, and it is the intention of this collection to spark further interest in the sociolinguistic documentation of minority Englishes in a postcolonial world. Language endangerment is a very real factor for the vast majority of lesser known varieties of English, and this book holds that documentation and archiving are key initial steps in revitalization and reclamation efforts. (Cambridge University Press, 2015)
"A Comparative Doxastic-Practice Epistemology of Religious Experience"
Mark Webb, Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, takes a theoretical enterprise in Christian philosophy of religion and applies it to Buddhism in this second volume in the Springer Briefs in Religious Studies series. Webb contends that mystical experiences can be fruitfully thought of as perceptual in kind and that they are therefore good prima facie grounds for religious belief, in the absence of defeating conditions. Webb's work goes on to explore Christian and Buddhist testimony and how the likelihood of self-deception, self-delusion, imaginative elaboration and the like constitutes a defeating condition, which is shown to have less scope for operation in the Buddhist case than in the Christian case. (Springer 2015)
"Competing Vision of Empire: Labor, Slavery and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire"
Abigail Swingen, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, provides a new framework for understanding the origins of the British Empire in this insightful study. Swingen explores how England's original imperial designs influenced contemporary English politics and debates about labor, economy, and overseas trade. Further, by focusing on the ideological connections between the growth of unfree labor in the English colonies, particularly the use of enslaved Africans, and the development of British imperialism during the early modern period, Swingen examines the overlapping, often competing agendas of planters, merchants, privateers, colonial officials, and imperial authorities in the 17th and 18th centuries. (Yale University Press, February 2015)
George Cole, Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of the Division of Spanish & Portuguese in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, sets this Spanish-language book in Los Angeles, exploring illegal immigration and racial/class tensions as it follows two young lovers who face a society trying to tear them apart.
La indocumentada es la historia de dos jóvenes, Charles y Julia, que se enamoran perdidamente pero tendrán que enfrentarse a una sociedad que tratará de separarlos. Ambientada en Los Ángeles, la pieza explora el tema de la inmigración ilegal, la falta de comprensión del lado humano de la misma, así como las tensiones raciales y de clases que se ven tanto en esta zona como en otras regiones de los Estados Unidos. (Editorial GC; December 2014)
"Mexican American Baseball in the Alamo Region"
Jorge Iber, Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor in the Department of History, celebrates baseball as it was played in the Tejano and Tejana communities throughout Texas in this co-authored book. This forthcoming regional focus explores the importance of the game at a time when Spanish-speaking people were demanding cultural acceptance and civil rights in cities like San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and New Braunfels—All of which had thriving Mexican-American communities that found comfort in the game and pride in their abilities on the playing field. (Arcadia Publishing, forthcoming)
"Estelas en la Mar: Cantos Sentimentales"
Genaro Pérez, Professor of Spanish in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, published a book titled: "Estelas En La Mar: Cantos Sentimentales." Written in Spanish, this is Pérez's 13th book—his fifth of poetry—and covers topics of love, aging, and dementia. (iUniverse; 2014)
"Neocybernetics and Narrative"
Bruce Clarke, Professor and Chair of the Department of English, declares the era of the cyborg officially over and demonstrates the potential of second-order systems theory to provide fresh insights into the familiar topics of media studies and narrative theory in his latest book. Clarke is considered a pioneer of systems narratology, and here he opens a new chapter in rethinking narrative and media through systems theory. Reconceiving interrelations among subjects, media, significations, and the social, Clarke offers readers a synthesis of the neocybernetic theories of cognition formulated by biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, incubated by cyberneticist Heinz von Foerster, and cultivated in Niklas Luhmann's social systems theory. His purview includes examinations of novels ("Mrs. Dalloway" and "Mind of My Mind"), movies ("Avatar," "Memento," and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"), and even "Aramis," Bruno Latour's idiosyncratic meditation on a failed plan for an automated subway. (University of Minnesota Press, October, 2014)
"A Conceptual Guide to Thermodynamics"
Bill Poirier, Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, introduces a new concept in interdisciplinary pedagogy. Providing clear explanations for core topics such as entropy, and working in conjunction with over 70 standard thermodynamics textbooks used in various science and engineering fields, the book has consistently remained one of the best-selling thermodynamics titles since its release. (John Wiley & Sons, September 2014)
UPDATE: Since its release, this title garnered a rave review in the April 1, 2015, issue of Choice magazine. Choice magazine is the premier book review publication for academic librarians, published by the American Library Association.
"Gulag Town, Company Town: Forced Labor and Its Legacy in Vorkuta"
Alan Barenberg, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, offers a radical reassessment of the infamous "Gulag Archipelago" by exploring the history of Vorkuta, an arctic coal-mining outpost originally established in the 1930s as a prison camp complex. Hiss eye-opening study reveals Vorkuta as an active urban center with a substantial non-prisoner population. It was a place where the borders separating camp and city were contested and permeable, enabling prisoners to establish social connections that would eventually aid them in their transitions to civilian life. With this book, Barenberg makes an important historical contribution to our understanding of forced labor in the Soviet Union. (Yale University Press, August 2014)
"Revisiting Covivencia in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia"
Connie Scarborough, Professor of Spanish in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, edited this collection of articles by 18 prominent Hispanists who explore the centuries in the Iberian Peninsula when Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived in harmony with one another. The term convivencia has been applied, both inside and outside academic circles, to imply a "golden age" of multi-religious, amicable harmony. (Juan de la Cuesta-Hispanic Monographs; June 2014)
"Latino American Wrestling Experience: Over 100 Years of Wrestling Heritage in the United States"
Jorge Iber, Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor in the Department of History, brings a century's worth of Spanish-speaking student wrestlers and coaches--high school, collegiate, and post-graduate--into the spotlight through 60-plus stories of individual accomplishment and triumph. (National Wrestling Hall of Fame, e-book, March 2014)
"Memory of Blue"
Jacqueline Kolosov, Professor in the Department of English, contemplates our inner lives, the connections that bind us to each other, and the joy to be found in the everyday, in "Memory of Blue." Kolosov dedicates this third poetry collection to the late Margaret Sheffield Lutherer, who served Texas Tech for many years. Kolosov will donate 50 percent of book-sale proceeds to a local charity that rescues horses. (Salmon Poetry, February 2014)