A&S Faculty News
Archive: Summer 2018
Clarke Receives Library of Congress Appointment
Bruce Clarke, Paul W. Horn Professor of Literature and Science in the Department of English, has been appointed as the sixth Baruch S. Blumberg Chair in Astrobiology by the Library of Congress. The announcement came Aug. 20. It is an appointment that will take Clarke to the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., for a 10-month residency that begins in December 2018. The astrobiology chair at the John W. Kluge Center is a collaboration between the NASA Astrobiology Program and the Library of Congress. The program encourages holders of the Blumberg Chair to conduct research at the intersection of the science of astrobiology and its humanistic and societal implications. Clarke's research focuses on 19th- and 20th-century literature and science, with special interests in systems theory, narrative theory and ecology. At the Library of Congress, he will work on a project titled, "Astrobiology, Ecology and the Rise of Gaia Theory." For the complete story, follow this link.
Dhurandhar Study Links Perceived Social Status & Eating Behaviors
Emily Dhurandhar, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management (KSM), is co-author of a new pilot study that shows people's willingness to overeat may be tied to how they see themselves, or rather, where they perceive themselves be on the social ladder. The research, "Subjective Social Status is Associated with Compensation for Large Meals – A Prospective Pilot Study," published online July 29 in the journal Appetite, revealed that the lower someone believes they are on the social ladder, the more likely that person is to continue to eat after a big meal. "We had participants eat a large lunch that was 60 percent of their daily requirements—60 percent of the energy we calculated their body would need to get through the day," Dhurandhar told Texas Tech Today in a Sept. 7 news article. "Then we let them eat whatever they wanted outside the lab at home. ... We found that someone's subjective social status—their perception of where they are in the social hierarchy—is associated with their ability to compensate for these meals. Those with low social status tended to take in more energy than they burned under these feeding conditions." Also on the research team were Nadeeja N. Wijayatunga, Bridget Ironuma, and Bailey Rusinovich—all from KSM—and John Dawson, an assistant professor in the College of Human Sciences' Department of Nutritional Sciences. The team used the MacArthur Scale of Subjective Social Status to measure research subjects' perceived social status. This scale is commonly represented by a ladder: at the top of the ladder are the people who are the best off—those who have the most money, the most education and the most-respected jobs—while the people who are the worst off are at the bottom of the ladder, those with the least money, the least education and the least-respected jobs or no job at all. Those who reported the lowest perceived social status ate more after their large lunch, whereas those with higher perceived social status ate fewer calories, Dhurandhar said, noting that eating behaviors were not affected by any traditional measures such as income or education. "You might have all the money in the world, but if you don't perceive that it's enough, that still will impact your behaviors," she said.
Nagihara Corrects 'Lunar Warming' Misconceptions
Seiichi Nagihara, associate professor of Geophysics in the Department of Geosciences, is lead author of a new study, "Examination of the Long-Term Subsurface Warming Observed at the Apollo 15 and 17 Sites Utilizing the Newly Restored Heat Flow Experiment Data From 1975 to 1977," that published May 8 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. Many in the online media may have misinterpreted the study's findings, which show that Apollo astronauts' activity likely contributed to slight, local lunar surface warming. Nagihara clears up those misunderstandings in a question-and-answer interview that published July 18 in Texas Tech Today.
Pappas Sepsis-Detecting Chip Works in Human Study
Dimitri Pappas, associate professor, and Ye Zhang, graduate student, both in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, are closer to bringing their sepsis-detecting chip into commercial use. Two years ago, Pappas and Zhang invented a microfluidic chip believed to help detect sepsis, a life-threatening blood infection. That test was conducted using stem cells, with encouraging results. So their team, including Dr. John Griswold, professor and chair emeritus in the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Department of Surgery, conducted a clinical study using actual human blood. And it's working. Two recently published papers from the study, one in the journal Analyst and one in Analytical Chemistry, report 98 percent accuracy in detecting sepsis with the chip. Sepsis is a potentially fatal condition in which the body's immune system goes into overdrive trying to kill a blood-borne bacterial infection. Although sepsis is easily treatable with antibiotics, it hasn't always been easy to detect in the past. The conventional detection method—a bacterial culture to find the bacteria responsible for the infection—takes anywhere from two to 15 days. A person can die from sepsis in that time. The chip pursues a different approach. Instead of looking for the bacteria causing sepsis, it looks for the activation of certain white blood cells, which indicate the body is trying to fight an infection. Using less than a drop of blood, the chip can detect sepsis in as little as four hours. "Patient samples are usually where a project fails," Pappas told Texas Tech Today in a story dated July 9. "We were able to detect sepsis and in many cases track improvement in health using patient blood. It is extremely gratifying to see the idea work so well in a clinical study." Pappas expects to spend the next 12-18 months analyzing all the data from the clinical study, which was funded by a grant from The CH Foundation. "Ultimately, this type of work—for it to be successful—has to be commercialized," he said. "It has to be out there in the hands of physicians. We want it to be adopted outside the walls of this building and outside the city of Lubbock."
Williams Father & Daughter Both Win Fulbrights
Jeffrey Williams (on right in photo), professor of ethnology and linguistics in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, has been named a Fulbright specialist in anthropology—and enjoys the distinction of congratulating his daughter, Gretchen Williams, a pre-doctoral researcher in the Department of History, on winning a Fulbright award the very same year. "Gretchen applied for a Fulbright and got it on the first try," Professor Williams said in a Texas Tech Today article dated June 15. "The funny thing was, she and I got a Fulbright in the same year in two different kinds of programs, and the odds of that happening are astronomical." Gretchen's Fulbright took her to Seville, Spain, to conduct the research she proposed for her Fulbright scholarship: studying the 16th- and 17th- century cultural background of the Roma people (sometimes referred to as "Gypsies"), in part because of her love of flamenco dancing. Williams-the-elder applied to be a Fulbright specialist in Thailand, Mongolia and Bhutan. "Bhutan, which is a tiny kingdom in the Himalayas, is trying to develop an anthropology program there, so I'm hoping for that," he said. Being named a Fulbright specialist puts Williams on a list with others in his field, with the possibility of being chosen to work on projects overseas sometime in the next five years.
Weiss Takes Tornado Research to the Field
Chris Weiss, professor of atmospheric science in the Department of Geosciences, is making his way through the Great Plains (May 27-June 12) to collect data during the 2018 tornado season. The expedition is part of a three-year project sponsored by the National Science Foundation's National Robotics Initiative aimed at using radar and unmanned aircraft technologies to better understand how tornadoes develop in severe thunderstorms. It is a collaborative effort among Texas Tech University, the University of Colorado and the University of Nebraska. "For the first two years of the project, we have been using computer models to better understand the specific regions of storms that we should sample to get the most impactful improvement in tornado forecasts," Weiss told Texas Tech Today in an article published June 8. "This final year of the project features a field demonstration effort to make the actual measurements in these regions." Weiss, who also is an affiliate of Texas Tech's National Wind Institute, brought two Texas Tech Ka-band mobile Doppler radar trucks on the trip to make measurements in coordination with unmanned aircraft platforms built by the University of Colorado.
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2016 FACULTY NEWS
"Moments of Joy and Heartbreak: 66 Significant Episodes in the History of the Pittsburgh Pirates"
Jorge Iber, Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor in the Department of History, leads as author and editor in this 208-page paperback, "Moments of Joy and Heartbreak: 66 Significant Episodes in the History of the Pittsburgh Pirates." The Pittsburgh Pirates have a long history, peppered with moments significant both to Pirates fans and Major League Baseball. While the Pirates are recognized as fielding the first all-black lineup in 1971, the 66 games in this book include one of the first matchups in the majors to involve two non-white opening hurlers (Native American and Cuban) in June 1921. We relive no-hitters, World Series-winning homers, and encounter the story of the last tripleheader ever played in major-league baseball. Some of the games are wins; some are losses. All of these essays provide readers with a sense of the totality of the Pirates' experiences: the joy, the heartbreak, and other aspects of baseball (and life) in between. This book is the work of 37 members of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), SABR Digital Library, Vol. 46, paperback. (Society for American Baseball Research, March 2018)
"True Sex: the Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century"
Emily Skidmore, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, uncovers the stories of 18 trans men who lived in the United States between 1876 and 1936 in "True Sex, the Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century." At the turn of the 20th century, trans men were not necessarily urban rebels seeking to overturn stifling gender roles. In fact, they often sought to pass as conventional men, choosing to live in small towns where they led ordinary lives, aligning themselves with the expectations of their communities. They were, in a word, unexceptional. Despite the "unexceptional" quality of their lives, their stories are nonetheless surprising and moving, challenging much of what we think we know about queer history. By tracing the narratives surrounding the moments of "discovery" in these communities—from reports in local newspapers to medical journals and beyond—this book challenges the assumption that the full story of modern American sexuality is told by cosmopolitan radicals. Rather, "True Sex" reveals complex narratives concerning rural geography and community, persecution and tolerance, and how these factors intersect with the history of race, identity and sexuality in America. (NYU Press, September 2017)
"The Restless Indian Plate and Its Epic Voyage from Gondwana to Asia"
Sankar Chatterjee, Horn Professor in the Department of Geosciences, writes that the fossil history of animal life in India is central to our understanding of the tectonic evolution of Gondwana, the dispersal of India, its northward journey, and its collision with Asia in "The Restless Indian Plate and Its Epic Voyage from Gondwana to Asia" . According to a review in Phys.org, "This beautifully illustrated volume provides the only detailed overview of the paleobiogeographic, tectonic, and paleoclimatic evolution of the Indian plate from Gondwana to Asia," and quotes Chatterjee and his colleagues as saying, "The tectonic evolution of the Indian plate represents one of the most dramatic and epic voyages of all drifting continents: 9,000 kilometers in 160 million years. ... The extensive reshuffling of the Indian plate was accompanied by multiple temporary filter bridges, resulting in the cosmopolitan nature of tetrapod fauna." The review goes on to conclude that "This thorough, up-to-date volume is a must-have reference for researchers and students in Indian geology, paleontology, plate tectonics, and collision of continents." (The Geological Society of America, July 2017)
"Modern Sport Ethics: A Reference Handbook, 2nd Edition"
Angela Lumpkin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Exercise & Sport Science, offers, in "Modern Sport Ethics: A Reference Handbook, 2nd Edition," descriptions and examples of unethical behaviors in sport that will challenge readers to think about how they view sport and question whether participating in sport builds character—especially at the youth and amateur levels. Sport potentially can teach character as well as social and moral values, but only when these positive concepts are consistently taught, modeled, and reinforced by sport leaders with the moral courage to do so. The seeming moral crisis threatening amateur and youth sport—evidenced by athletes, coaches, and parents alike making poor ethical choices—and ongoing scandals regarding performance-enhancing drug use by professional athletes make sports ethics a topic of great concern. This work enables readers to better understand the ethical challenges facing competitive sport by addressing issues such as gamesmanship, doping, cheating, sportsmanship, fair play, and respect for the game. A compelling read for coaches, sport administrators, players, parents, and sport fans, the book examines specific examples of unethical behaviors—many cases of which occur in amateur and educational sports—to illustrate how these incidents threaten the perception that sport builds character. It identifies and investigates the multiple reasons for cheating in sport, such as the fact that the rewards for succeeding are so high, and the feeling of athletes that they must behave as they do to "level the playing field" because everyone else is cheating, being violent, taking performance-enhancing drugs, or doing whatever it takes to win. Readers will gain insight into how coaches and sport administrators can achieve the goals for youth, interscholastic, intercollegiate, and Olympic sport by stressing moral values and character development as well as see how specific recommendations can help ensure that sport can serve to build character rather than teach bad behavior in the pursuit of victory. (ABC-CLIO, December 2016)
"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)
William Wenthe, Professor in the Department Of English, explores painful and fleeting emotions within the 96 pages of "God's Foolishness." Here, he mines the feelings of human uncertainty in matters of love and desire, time and death, and uncovers difficult truths with transformative insights. These are poems of crisis. Wenthe examines our conflicting urges to see nature as sustenance and to foolishly destroy it. His poems shift from close observation to panorama with cinematic fluidity, from a tea mug to an ancient monument, from a warbler on an elm branch to the specter of imminent natural disaster. Offering passion and intellect balanced with a careful concern for poetic craft, Wenthe's "God's Foolishness" gives us fine poems to savor and admire. Watch the YouTube video here. (LSU, May 2016)
"Before the Gregorian Reform: The Latin Church at the Turn of the First Millennium"
John Howe, Professor in the Department of History, challenges the familiar narrative that the era from about 1050 to 1150 was the pivotal moment in the history of the Latin Church. The status quo states it was then that the Gregorian Reform movement established the ecclesiastical structure that would ensure Rome's dominance throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. In "Before the Gregorian Reform," Howe examines earlier, "pre-Gregorian" reform efforts within the Church—and finds that they were more extensive and widespread than previously thought and that they actually established a foundation for the subsequent Gregorian Reform movement. The low point in the history of Christendom came in the late ninth and early tenth centuries—a period when much of Europe was overwhelmed by barbarian raids and widespread civil disorder, which left the Church in a state of disarray. As Howe shows, however, the destruction gave rise to creativity. Aristocrats and churchmen rebuilt churches and constructed new ones, competing against each other so that church building, like castle building, acquired its own momentum. Patrons strove to improve ecclesiastical furnishings, liturgy, and spirituality. Schools were constructed to staff the new churches. Moreover, Howe shows that these reform efforts paralleled broader economic, social, and cultural trends in Western Europe including the revival of long-distance trade, the rise of technology, and the emergence of feudal lordship. The result was that by the mid-eleventh century a wealthy, unified, better-organized, better-educated, more spiritually sensitive Latin Church was assuming a leading place in the broader Christian world. "Before the Gregorian Reform" challenges us to rethink the history of the Church and its place in the broader narrative of European history. Compellingly written and generously illustrated, it is a book for all medievalists as well as general readers interested in the Middle Ages and Church history. (Cornell University Press, March 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)
"Psychoanalytic Treatment in Adults: A Longitudinal Study of Change"
Rosemary Cogan, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, is co-author of "Psychonalytic Treatment in Adults: A longitudinal study of change." The book draws from 60 first-hand case studies to explore the outcomes of psychoanalytic treatment, providing examples of the long-term effectiveness of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic work as it delineates negative therapeutic treatment and discusses crucial changes in care. Outcomes of psychoanalysis, as with other psychotherapies, vary considerably. Cogan and her co-author, J.H. Porcerelli, used the Shedler-Westen Assessment Procedure to describe a patient at the beginning of psychoanalysis and every six months until the analysis ended. This allowed the authors to learn about changes over analysis and, in turn, improved treatment planning and practice for the well-being of other patients. Findings will be of interest to researchers and academics in the fields of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, psychodynamic therapy, psychoanalytic education, psychiatry and psychology, and should also help clinicians recognize potential problems early in analytic treatments in order to work more effectively with patients. (Routeledge, February 2016)