Texas Tech University

2012-2014 Academy Team Members and Project Areas

Engineering and Biology

Siva Vanapalli, Whitacre College of Engineering;
Jerzy Blawzdziewicz, Whitacre College of Engineering;
Kendra Rumbaugh, TTUHSC

This team is working towards development of innovative research projects at the intersection of medical sciences, biology, engineering and physics. The team plans to investigate bacterial communities in chronic wound infections, seek effective treatments using active crawling particles to deliver antimicrobial drugs to resistant biofilms, and undertake fundamental studies of the mechanics and neurosensory control of sub-millimeter-size nematodes to help in design of artificial worm-like particles that can move autonomously. The investigations will involve inventing sophisticated microfluidic devices that enable quantitative studies of microscale biological systems and developing new quantitative theoretical models to describe the experimental results.

Pictured from left to right: Jerzy Blawzdziewicz, Kendra Rumbaugh and Siva Vanapalli.

Click image to enlarge. Pictured from left to right: Jerzy Blawzdziewicz, Kendra Rumbaugh and Siva Vanapalli.

Law and Society

Hans Hansen, Rawls College of Business;
Patrick Metze, School of Law;
Jill Patterson, College of Arts & Sciences

Through the Center for Social Impact, the participants will provide an informed voice for those who have been marginalized by politics, stereotypes or poor ethics. This work will serve as a platform from which to conduct serious research and also as a method of public outreach, demonstrating to the general population that scholarship has a practical benefit.

Pictured from left to right: Hans Hansen, Jill Patterson and Patrick Metz.

Click image to enlarge. Pictured from left to right: Hans Hansen, Jill Patterson and Patrick Metze.

Food, Health, Cancer

Conrad Lyford, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources;
Barbara Pence, TTUHSC;
Barent McCool, College of Human Sciences;
Erica Irlbeck, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources;
Autumn Shafer, College of Mass Communications

The overall research interest is in the effective delivery and marketing of food and health products from both public and private perspectives. This encompasses the broad area of pre- and post-production issues for agricultural and health products including marketing and management issues. In particular, the focus is in improving consumer choice and information for better health outcomes.

Pictured from left to right: Barent McCool, Erica Irlbeck, Conrad Lyford and Barbara Pence (not shown).

Click image to enlarge. Pictured from left to right: Barent McCool, Erica Irlbeck and Conrad Lyford. Barbara Pence and Autumn Shafer not shown.

Technology and Aesthetics

William Westney, College of Visual & Performing Arts;
Michael O'Boyle, College of Human Sciences;
James Yang, Whitacre College of Engineering

This project integrates the fields of artistic performance, pedagogy, advanced technology and philosophy. It focuses specifically on pianists playing classical music, and is motivated by the fact that certain pedagogical approaches that seem to have worked very well in the studio have heretofore only had anecdotal reporting of success. This project seeks to ascertain whether or not, or to what extent, approaches that have seemed like potential “best practices” can now be verified by scientific means.

Pictured from left to right: Michael O'Boyle, William Westney and James Yang.

Click image to enlarge. Pictured from left to right: Michael O'Boyle, William Westney and James Yang.

Illiteracy, Education and Community Development in Sierra Leone

Amy Parker, College of Education;
Amma Akrofi, College of Education;
Kelly Phelan, College of Human Sciences;
Weiwu Zhang, College of Mass Communications;
Arlene Paschel, Library

The project seeks to address the problems that industries such as petroleum, mining, hospitality and healthcare/health education has in hiring Sierra Leonean young adults by addressing the needs for contextually based “literacy on the job” training. The approach involves piloting structured internships with industry for young adults where the workplace becomes the curriculum. Through the use of on-site and off-site mentors, wireless cell phone communication, radio programming, video modules, and Facebook, young adults will have access to multiple media forms that are already in use to increase their literacy and employment skills for industries that need immediate workers.

Pictured from left to right: Amma Akrofi, Amy Parker and Kelly Phelan.

Click image to enlarge. Pictured from left to right: Amma Akrofi, Amy Parker and Kelly Phelan. Weiwu Zhang and Arlene Paschel not shown.

Water Cycles and Resources Science

Richard Zartman, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources;
Juske Horita, College of Arts & Sciences;
Ken Rainwater, Whitacre College of Engineering

The overarching goal of the team is to advance our scientific understanding of the water-energy cycle within the atmosphere/surface/subsurface continuum on a regional scale in the Southern High Plains (SHP). The water cycle of the SHP, which also involves energy transfer, encompasses interactive, non-linear sub-systems on differing temporal and special scales, including dynamic atmospheric cycles to short-term surface hydrology (streams and playa watersheds) to long-term subsurface groundwater hydrology (vadose zone, Ogallala aquifer).

Pictured from left to right: Richard Zartman, Juske Horita and Ken Rainwater (not shown).

Click image to enlarge. Pictured from left to right: Richard Zartman and Juske Horita. Ken Rainwater not shown.

Environmental Impact on Developmental Issues in Plants

David Knaff, College of Arts & Sciences;
Rao Kottapalli, Center for Biotechnology and Genomics;
Susan San Francisco, Center for Biotechnology and Genomics;
Jatindra Tripathy, Center for Biotechnology and Genomics;
Masoud Zabet, Center for Biotechnology and Genomics;
Paxton Payton, U.S. Department of Agriculture

The broad goal of this transdisciplinary group is to develop a model for integrating multiple layers of molecular, cellular and physiologic information to better understand these relationships as they relate to environmental and developmental challenges in biological systems. The interpretation of these data will require powerful and sophisticated computational and bioinformatics tools. Graduate students involved in this project will be integral in the design, implementation and analysis of the data.

Pictured from left to right: Rao Kottapalli, Susan San Francisco, Paxton Payton, Jatindra Tripathy, David Knaff and Masoud Zabet.

Click image to enlarge. Pictured from left to right: Rao Kottapalli, Susan San Francisco, Paxton Payton, Jatindra Tripathy, David Knaff and Masoud Zabet.

Symbiosis and Environment

Christopher Witmore,College of Arts & Sciences;
Bruce Clarke, College of Arts & Sciences;
Laura Beard, College of Arts & Sciences

This proposal is to open a broad conversation concerning symbiotic relationships over the long term, with an emphasis on questions of microbial ecology and exchange, as they affect issues of companionship, nutrition and livelihood, and environmental sustainability.

Pictured from left to right: Bruce Clarke, Laura Beard and Christopher Witmore.

Click image to enlarge. Pictured from left to right: Bruce Clarke, Laura Beard and Christopher Witmore.

Food Safety and Public Health

Todd Brashears, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources;
Mindy Brashears, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources;
Mark Miller, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources;
Chance Brooks, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources;
Guy Loneragan, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources;
Kendra Nightingale, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources

The motto for this team has evolved as the group has been built and resources combined into a coherent unit. We state this as, “Goal...One Vision: To serve the food industry, food producers, consumers, our community, international partners, fellow students, faculty and staff by providing the world with a safer food supply.” Each member of the Food Safety and Public Health team has multiple graduate students working on various projects directed toward the same goal.  Students are involved in both planning and implementation of research projects in the U.S. and abroad and are intimately involved in helping the faculty team achieve the goals of the program.

Pictured from left to right: Chance Brooks, Kendra Nightingale, Guy Loneragan, Mindy Brashears, Todd Brashears and Mark Miller (not shown).

Click image to enlarge. Pictured from left to right: Chance Brooks, Kendra Nightingale, Guy Loneragan, Mindy Brashears and Todd Brashears. Mark Miller not shown.