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Hayhoe to Speak at Nobel Peace Forum in December
Katharine Hayhoe, professor in the Department of Political Science and co-director of TTU's Climate Science Center, has been invited to participate in one of the most distinguished forums in the world by the Norwegian Nobel Institute. Hayhoe will join other world leaders on climate science, policy and solutions as part of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Forum Oslo at the University of Oslo, Norway. The forum, scheduled for Dec. 11 and titled "How to Solve the Climate Crisis in Time," will follow the keynote speech delivered by former U.S. vice president and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore. "I'm honored to participate in this event, and I appreciate the decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum to use this event to highlight the urgency of a changing climate," Hayhoe said in an Oct. 11 Texas Tech Today article. "Just last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report, detailing in stark terms the future of our world if we don't take immediate action to reduce carbon emissions. A global conversation about how we can sensibly and safely accomplish this goal is exactly what we need right now." Past keynote speakers for this event have included former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Riboberta Menchú Tum, a human rights activist from Guatemala. The forum will be streamed live by Nobel Media and will be accessible on YouTube.
Lewis Speaks on 'Civil Counterpoints' Panel
Col. David Lewis, USAF (Retired), director of the strategic studies graduate program in the Department of Political Science, headed a panel of guest speakers Oct. 1 at "Global (Dis)order? The U.S. Role in International Affairs." This was the sixth installment of the Civil Counterpoints series, held at Texas Tech University. Discussion, like all in the series, was designed to encourage civility and open-mindedness in public discourse of controversial topics. The evening's program addressed questions such as, "Is 'America First' America's best? Do traditional alliances still matter? Does 'free trade' promote international partnerships and peace or inequality and class warfare? Can the United States be a world leader without securing its own borders?" Joining Lewis on the panel were Jamie Bologna Pavlik, a research fellow at TTU's Free Market Institute and an assistant professor of agricultural and applied economics in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources(CASNR) Robert Murphy, a research assistant professor in TTU's Free Market Institute; and Mark Tokola, vice president of the Korea Economic Institute of America in Washington, D.C. Jorge Ramírez, the Walter and Anne Huffman Professor of Law in the Texas Tech School of Law, served as moderator.
Weiss Receives $700,000 Tornado Research Grant
Chris Weiss, professor of atmospheric science in the Department of Geosciences, has received a research grant of almost $700,000 from the National Science Foundation. The money will fund "Targeted Observation by Radars and Unmanned Aircraft Systems of Supercells" (TORUS). According to a Sept. 18 article originally published by Texas Tech Today, this research will take place during May-June of 2019 and 2020, and is the third step of an intercollegiate project with the University of Colorado and the University of Nebraska. The effort focuses on the development of new technologies and strategies that can be used to intelligently sample the atmosphere with novel in situ and radar measurements. The TORUS project will take the developed technologies and use them to gather an improved understanding and prediction of tornadoes within severe thunderstorms.
Wenthe Reading Launches This Year's Series
William Wenthe, professor in the Department of English and Lubbock's first poet laureate, read from his recent works on Sept. 6, as the Department of English began its 2018-19 TTU Creative Writing Program Reading Series. Wenthe has authored four books of poems: "God's Foolishness" in 2016; "Words Before Dawn" in 2012; "Not Till We Are Lost" in 2003; and "Birds of Hoboken" in 1995. "Not Till We Are Lost" won the Best Book of Poetry Award from the Texas Institute of Letters. His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Texas Commission on the Arts, and two Pushcart Prizes. Wenthe has published poems in journals including Poetry, The Paris Review, The Georgia Review, Tin House, Orion, TriQuarterly, and The Southern Review. In addition, he teaches 20th Century British Poetry and has written articles on Yeats, H. D., poetic form and literary theory. Jessica Smith, a PhD student in English & Creative Writing, also read from her works at the event, as did Robby Taylor, a PhD student in Literature & Creative Writing.
Corsi Team Detects Superfast Jet Material from Neutron Star Merger
Alessandra Corsi, an associate professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, is on the team of astrophysicists who are the first to use both gravitational waves and electromagnetic waves to detect a superfast jet of material from a neutron star merger. Their findings, published Sept. 5 in the online version of the journal Nature, were confirmed by radio observations. "After our very first detection of a radio glow from the neutron star, our team continued to monitor this fantastic event for months," Corsi was quoted as saying in a Sept. 5 Texas Tech Today article. "We not only continued to track the evolution of the radio light curve, but also employed techniques such as radio polarimetry and Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) to probe the structure of the ejecta in detail. This VLBI result is particularly exciting as it reveals that jets formed in binary neutron star mergers can have a more complex structure than previously thought." The neutron star merger gave rise to the gravitational wave event GW170817, which was observed by orbiting and ground-based telescopes around the world. Scientists watched as the characteristics of the received waves changed with time, then used the changes as clues to reveal the nature of the phenomena that followed the merger. The detection of a fast-moving jet in GW170817 greatly strengthens the connection between neutron star mergers and short-duration gamma-ray bursts, the scientists said. They added that the jets need to be pointed relatively closely toward the Earth for the gamma-ray burst to be detected. "We were lucky to be able to observe this event, because if the jet had been pointed much farther away from Earth, the radio emission would have been too faint for us to detect," said Gregg Hallinan of Caltech, one of the astrophysicists on the research team.
Akchurin Becomes Associate Dean for Research
Nural Akchurin, professor and high-energy particle physicist, moves from his position as chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy to become the College of Arts & Sciences' new associate dean of research, effective Sept. 1. He has been working on the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment using the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Organization for Research, since 1994. One of the highlights of his work there was the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson, a fundamental particle and a game-changer in particle physics because all particles acquire their masses via the Higgs boson. The discovery was awarded the 2013 Nobel prize in physics. Akchurin's current research focuses on uncharted territories at the high-energy frontier, including dark matter and dark energy. He also is leading the high-granularity silicon detector development for the next-generation experiments at CERN.
Bradatan Becomes Chair of SASW
Cristina Bradatan, associate professor of sociology, returns from a Fulbright Scholarship in Romania to become chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, effective Sept. 1. She specializes in migration and human-environment interaction and also is a faculty member in the Texas Tech Climate Science Center. Bradatan spent the spring semester interviewing farmers in three rural Romanian communities and collecting literature to understand what makes people cooperate when faced with environmental problems, specifically drought.
Mulligan Becomes Chair of Geosciences
Kevin Mulligan, associate professor of geography, becomes chair of the Department of Geosciences, effective Sept. 1. He is a faculty member in the Center for Geospatial Technology and adviser for the graduate certificate program in Geographic Information Science and Technology. Mulligan specializes in the environmental and geographic issues of West Texas and the southern Great Plains, with research projects including mapping the Ogallala Aquifer and projecting its usable lifetime, mapping changes in agricultural land use, and mapping the development of wind energy across the region.
Lee Becomes Interim Chair of Physics & Astronomy
Sung-Won Lee, professor and high-energy particle physicist, becomes interim chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy, effective Sept. 1. Lee is a member of Texas Tech's experimental High Energy Physics group. Lee works with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Organization for Research, to try to discover the fundamental building blocks of the physical world and answer some of the most profound questions about the structure of matter and the evolution of the universe. His approach combines two main lines of research: improving the detector's sensitivity and using the detector in detailed studies of the Standard Model Higgs boson, in precision measurements of Standard Model physics and in searches for physics beyond the Standard Model at the energy frontier.
Pereira-Muro Becomes Chair of CMLL
Carmen Pereira-Muro, professor of Spanish language and literature, will becomes the new chair of the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, effective Sept. 1. She has served as recruiter for the Spanish graduate program, a fellow of the Texas Tech Humanities Center and associate department chair since 2015. Pereira-Muro's research focuses on Spanish 18th- and 19th-century literature and culture, Romantic and post-Romantic poetry, gender and nationalism, Spanish cultural studies and Galician studies.
Zak Becomes Interim Chair of Biological Sciences
John Zak, professor of biology, moves from his position as associate dean of research for the College of Arts & Sciences to become the interim chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, effective Sept. 1. He also is co-director of the Texas Tech Climate Science Center and Texas Tech's principle investigator for the regional South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center. Zak is a soil microbial ecologist whose research seeks to understand how climate variability and human disturbances regulate soil microbial diversity and activity from the cotton fields of West Texas to the Chihuahuan Desert at Big Bend National Park. His lab is focused on understanding how soil microbial dynamics and processes are critical for ensuring that these systems are sustainable for future generations.
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.
Schroeder Tests StickNets Ahead of Hurricane Season
John Schroeder, professor of atmospheric science in the Department of Geosciences, is a member of the Hurricane Research Team (TTUHRT) at Texas Tech's National Wind Institute (NWI). With the 2018 hurricane season approaching, Schroeder tested all 48 of the Institute's mobile StickNet platforms in preparation. "Prior to each hurricane season, a mass test of the StickNet weather monitoring platforms is performed so any measurement issues can be detected and corrected in advance of their use in a hurricane," Schroeder said in a May 31 Texas Tech Today article. "Since the data is ingested in real-time by others, it is important to have things right before you ever make a move toward the coast." ;StickNets are versatile, rapidly deployable meteorological observing stations that collect high-resolution meteorological data. Dubbed "StickNet" for its resemblance to a stick figure, the platforms are designed to be deployed in large numbers in a short period of time (three minutes or less) and by a small number of people. "When a hurricane makes landfall, many of the national weather monitoring stations fail to record information due to power loss," Schroeder said. "This leads to an information void at landfall, when and where it counts the most. This project allows us to fill that void with real-time information and therefore provide a much better understanding of how severe a particular storm is at varied locations across the landfall region. This information can then directly support forecasting, emergency response and future efforts to mitigate property loss and save lives."
Marshall Study Reveals How People Love their Pets
Philip Marshall, professor of experimental (cognitive) psychology in the Department of Psychological Sciences, is on a research team that recently published "Human Loves Styles and Attitudes Towards Pets" in the journal Anthrozoos. Along with colleagues Susan and Clyde Hendrick, both Horn Professors Emeritus, Marshall showed that the six love styles identified by sociologist John Alan Lee in 1973 relate closely to a person's attitudes toward pets. Those six styles are: Eros, an intense, passionate love that is physical, mental and emotional; Ludus, a game-playing love that does not seek serious involvement and may seek out many partners; Storge, a platonic love based on friendship, fidelity and similar values; Pragma, a pragmatic, practical love; Mania, a possessive, dependent, anxious, emotional-rollercoaster type of love; and Agape, a compassionate, generous love. In the Cognitive Anthrozoology Lab, the trio and doctoral students Michelle Guthrie and Erin Logue surveyed 436 student volunteers from an introductory psychology course, using two major scales: the Pet Attitude Scale and the Hendricks Love Style Scale. They found that erotic lovers, those who view their relationship partner in a favorable way and desire closeness and intimacy with romantic partners, also view pets favorably. In contrast, ludic lovers, the game players who often have many partners and may be dishonest or manipulative, generally view pets in an unfavorable way. The survey also assessed the effects of people's relationship satisfaction and degree of social support on their views of pets. They found that individuals in high-quality romantic relationships and those who feel supported by people close to them share a favorable view of pets. "Our research suggests it might be a good idea for potential close relationship partners to have compatible attitudes towards pets," Marshall said in a May 29 Texas Tech Today article. "People who already have, or who want to have, pets in their lives might want to know how their potential romantic partner feels about pets. That may not be the deciding factor in pursuing a relationship, but given the often touted love that people say they have towards their pets, assessing compatibility about pets might provide some useful information." Marshall breeds, shows, competes and trains dogs in his spare time. He said the group's forthcoming research will focus on the ways people express love for their pets and how those mirror human-human love styles.
Mechref to Receive Genomic Sequencer
Yehia Mechref, Horn Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, is a Principal Investigator of a Biomedical Research Support (BRS) Shared Instrumentation Grant announced April 17, awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH funds will be supplemented with funds from additional sources so that TTU's Center for Biotechnology & Genomics (CBG) can acquire a $900,000 state-of-the-art genomics sequencer and share its use with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). This new technology will allow the CBG to provide genomic sequencing at a much-reduced cost, which will benefit researchers at TTU, TTUHSC, and the region. The NIH grant will provide $600,000 toward the cost of the genomic sequencer; the CH Foundation will provide $150,000; TTUHSC will provide $100,000; and TTU will provide $50,000. The NIH grant was an "S10", a category that specifically supports the purchase of commercially available instruments that are typically too expensive to be procured by an individual investigator with a research project grant, and requires that the instruments be shared, according to the NIH. Mechref described this S10 grant as the first of its kind awarded to TTU/TTUHSC and that the success of the application represents true synergistic activity between TTU and TTUHSC. (Mechref noted that the success rate of S10 grant proposals nationwide in 2017 was only 16.4 percent.) "We would not have been able to receive this award without the help and the support of our colleagues at TTUHSC," Mechref acknowledged. "The S10 proposal requires the inclusion of at least three collaborators with funded NIH R01s. Dr. Afzal Siddiqui (Professor, Vice Chair Department of Internal Medicine, Vice President Institutional Collaboration, TTUHSC) was instrumental in galvanizing the collaborative nature of this grant. We were able to include six scientists from TTUHSC, including Doctors Afzal Siddiqui, Vadivel Ganapathy, George Henderson, Maciej Markiewski, Hemachandra Reddy, and Tetyana Vasylyeva. Additionally, Dr. Siddiqui committed funds to facilitate the acquisition of the instrument." The success of this application is a true testament to the partnership across institutions and the CH Foundation that is always supportive of the TTU System, Mechref concluded.
McIntyre Awarded for Distinguished Service to US-IALE
Nancy McIntyre, professor of landscape ecology in the Department of Biological Sciences and curator of birds for the Natural Science Research Laboratory, received the 2018 Distinguished Service Award by the United States Chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (US-IALE) at their annual meeting in Chicago on April 10. The award for Distinguished Service recognizes individuals who have contributed exceptionally to US-IALE in an extraordinary manner. McIntyre has provided nearly continuous service to US-IALE throughout the 20 years she has been a member. She served on the Executive Committee as a councilor-at-large from 2003 to 2005 and was chair of the Nominations Committee, overseeing the annual elections process, from 2005 to 2010. She has served on the Awards Committee (1998-2000) and the Foreign Scholar Committee (2007-present). McIntyre also has supported the association as an abstract reviewer for the 2005 symposium, chair of the Outreach Committee from 2003 to 2004 and a judge at numerous annual meetings. She is an avid photographer, and many of her photos grace the newly revamped US-IALE website. McIntyre has been a faculty member at Texas Tech since 2000. Her research lies at the intersection of landscape ecology, community ecology and conservation biology. She is most interested in how land conversion—specifically agriculture and urbanization—affect animal movement and habitat connectivity. Her current research projects are focused on various dimensions of wetland conservation, particularly on the unique ephemeral playas of the southern and central Great Plains. She has more than 75 scientific publications in journals such as Landscape Ecology, Ecosphere, Trends in Ecology and Evolution and the Journal of Wildlife Management.
Asquith Named Distinguished Alumnus
George Asquith, Professor in the Department of Geosciences and Pevehouse Chair Emeritus, has been recognized with a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Geoscience Department. The award is in recognition of Asquith's distinguished lifetime achievement: "For advances in applying petrophysical data to depositional models and reservoir characterization, and for educating a generation of geoscientists through AAPG short courses and his best-selling book, "Basic Well Log Analysis'." Asquith earned his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1966. The award was presented at the department's spring banquet April 6 in Madison, Wis. The citationist was Dr. Chuck DeMets, Chair and Alfred Wegener Professor of Geophysics.
Sagarzazu Speaks on Venezuelan Crisis
Inaki Sagarzazu De Achurra, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, was a featured speaker at the Keys to Our Common Future initiative at the University of Kentucky on March 30. He spoke on "The Slow Demise of Venezuelan Democracy". Earlier, on March 22, He discussed the current situation in Venezuela via a webinar organized by a Latin American think tank. Sagarzazu De Achurra is an expert on Venezuelan politics and has been much in demand for insightful interviews with media outlets in Latin America, Europe, and the US about the unfolding situation in Venezuela.
Latham Receives $850,876 CPRIT Grant
Michael Latham, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, has received a $850,876 grant from CPRIT—the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas—to study a protein complex's role in repairing damaged DNA. He is focused on the protein complex Mre11-Rad50 (MR), which recognizes and begins the process of fixing breaks in our DNA. The CPRIT grant will fund Latham's research on how MR achieves these complex activities. "We experience several thousand of this type of damage to our DNA every day, and if it is not correctly repaired, diseases such as cancer can arise," Latham explained in a Texas Tech Today article published March 19. "MR, which is present in every organism on the planet, is one of the first-responders to this damage. The MR complex has many activities it uses in this role. One of these is a nuclease, an enzyme that degrades DNA, to help prepare the site of damage for repair. Other activities include holding the broken DNA together and telling the cell there is a problem." Latham said MR is important to study because random mutations of the complex have been found in certain types of cancer, including breast, ovarian and colorectal cancers. "No one knows the effect some of these mutations have on the functions of MR," he said. "This question is not only important for understanding how these sporadic mutations might lead to or promote cancer. We can also use this information as a way to fight cancer." Latham's research group will study the protein complex using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which allows them to determine the structure of molecules in solution; biochemical assays to understand the protein's function; and assays in yeast cells to help them begin to understand how the structure and functional data come together in the cell. The team's research goal is twofold. "First, we want to know what the three-dimensional structure of the MR complex bound to a piece of broken DNA looks like. If we can understand that structure, it goes a long way to helping us understand how all of the functions work together.," Latham said. "The second goal is to study mutations that have been observed in cancer. We think these studies will tell us what activities are turned off because the protein has been changed, help us learn more about the tie between structure and function, and could possibly point toward novel anti-cancer therapeutics."
Mitchell Study Finds Gender Bias in Student Evaluations
Kristina Mitchell, director of undergraduate studies and director of online and regional site education in the Department of Political Science, is lead author of "Gender Bias in Student Evaluations," a study published in Cambridge University Press that shows women are evaluated more harshly than men when doing the same job—teaching in this case. Mitchell, along with former Texas Tech doctoral student Jonathan Martin, now an assistant professor of political science at Midland College, set out to explore whether their experiences teaching college courses as a woman and man, respectively, would be supported by data. After conducting identical online courses, Mitchell and Martin performed a content analysis of their evaluation comments, both formal university comments and informal Rate My Professor comments. They found that not only do women receive different types of comments than men, but men also receive higher evaluations than women when all other factors are held constant. "We think there is a subconscious bias in which students view men as more qualified and competent," Mitchell said in a Texas Tech Today article published March 13. "We found that students indeed refer to a man as 'professor' and a woman as 'teacher,' which contributes to the idea that students are simply more likely to think of men as qualified to teach at a university level. Because of the role that student evaluations can play in the hiring and advancement of faulty members' careers, Mitchell is now working to develop materials that help students understand the purpose of evaluations and how to fill them out in a helpful way. "I would like to see universities take a more serious look at the efficacy of student evaluations," she said. "We should explore ways to make them better. I would also like to see university administrations explore alternate measures of effective teaching, such as portfolios, self-evaluation and peer evaluation."
Sherman Study Finds Voter Values Key to Trump Win
Ryne Sherman, and associate professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, created an online survey in the spring of 2016 (during the Republican primary) that measured political attitudes and personal values. That included not only attitudes toward Trump but also personal desires such as fame, power and the means to help others, Sherman said in a March 12 Texas Tech Today article. After completing the survey, the thousands of respondents were told how closely their values matched Trump's. "The primary goal of this work was to gather some data about personal values associated with supporting Donald Trump," Sherman said. "This seemed important because, at the time, many prominent political commentators and former politicians thought he had no chance of winning and did not support him. So, I wondered, who did support him? Based on what we know about liking, I thought that people who felt that they shared his values would be most likely to support him. This is precisely what I found." Sherman's study was published online in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
Hayhoe Receives YWCA Award for Science
Katharine Hayhoe, Professor in the Department of Political Science and co-Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, was one of 11 women honored March 8 by Lubbock's Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) by receiving the 2018 Women of Excellence Award for Science. The award is presented each year to recognize and honor local women who have achieved career excellence and contributed to business, industry, organizations and the community. Hayhoe is considered one of the world's leading experts on climate science. Her research focuses on evaluating future impacts of climate change on human society and the natural environment by developing and applying high-resolution climate projections. She also presents the realities of climate change by connecting the issue to values people hold dear instead of being confrontational with scientific facts. In 2017, she was named one of the 50 World's Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine, which honors men and women across the globe who are helping to change the world and inspire others to do the same. She was named, in 2016, to the annual Politico 50 list, which recognizes those in society who help shape policy and thinking in the U.S. "It is truly an honor to be recognized by an organization that has such a long and rich history of performing great works in support of women around the world," Hayhoe said. "It is also an honor to be included with so many other great women in the Lubbock community who selflessly give of their time and talents for the betterment of society." Among other recipients were Aliza Wong, Associate Professor in the Department of History, Director of European Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences and Associate Dean of the Honors College, who who the award for Social Justice; and Linda Donahue, Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor in the School of Theatre and Dance in the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts, who won the award for Education.
Wong Receives YWCA Award for Social Justice
Aliza Wong, Associate Professor in the Department of History, Director of European Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences and Associate Dean of the Honors College, was one of 11 women honored March 8 by Lubbock's Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) by receiving the 2018 Women of Excellence Award for Social Justice. The award is presented each year to recognize and honor local women who have achieved career excellence and contributed to business, industry, organizations and the community. Among other recipients were Katharine Hayhoe, Professor in the Department of Political Science and co-Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, who won the award for Science; and Linda Donahue, Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor in the School of Theatre and Dance in the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts, who won the award for Education.
A&S Faculty and Student Speak at TWHE
Four from the College of Arts & Sciences spoke at the Texas Women in Higher Education (TWHE) regional conference, held on the Texas Tech University campus March 5. Aliza Wong, associate professor in the Department of History and associate dean of the Honors College, is a TWHE board member and described the meeting as an opportunity for women all over West Texas to discuss, inspire, collaborate and envision a more equitable and inclusive educational experience for the entire university community. Raegan Higgins, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, spoke on the subject, "What's the Staying Power?" Kristina Mitchell, director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Political Science, presented her topic, "It's a Dangerous Business, Being a Female Professor." Other TTU faculty and staff speakers included Wendy-Adele Humphrey, associate dean and professor in the School of Law; Jessica Carrillo, director of Enrollment and Operations in the Graduate Professional Programs for the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business; Judi Henry, senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics; and Erin Justyna, director of the Center for Active Learning and Undergraduate Engagement. Joining faculty at the podium was Farah Mechref, an Honors College student and biochemsitry major in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemsitry, who spoke on the subject, "Muslim Daughter of the American Dream." Keynote speaker was Elizabeth Travis, associate vice president for Women Faculty Programs and a Mattie Allen Fair Professor in Cancer Research at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Mechref Named Horn Professor, Nominated to NIH Term
Yehia Mechref, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, has been appointed by the TTU Board of Regents as a Paul Whitfield Horn Professor effective March 2. Mechref also has been invited by the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to serve as a permanent member of the Enabling Bioanalytical and Imaging Technologies (EBIT) Study Section, Center for Scientific Review, beginning July 1 this year. The NIH nomination reflects Mechref's "demonstrated competence and achievement in his scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of his research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements, and honors." Mechref is Director of the TTU Center for Biotechnology & Genomics and leads a research group.
Hayhoe Quoted in Colombian Post
Katharine Hayhoe, Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, gave a talk entitled "Fact or Take News? Climate Change" as part of the Double-T College speaker series. In the Feb. 27 session, held in the Tech Library's TLPDC Room 151, Hayhoe explained the science behind global warming and highlighted the key role that people's values play in shaping their attitudes and actions. In other news this month, Hayhoe was one of several quoted in a Feb. 26 Colombian Post article headlined "Hopes and Fears About Climate Change." The article served as a roundup of comments by world notables, from the Dalai Lama of Tibet and former New Your Mayer Michael Bloomberg, to feminist icon Gloria Steinem and novelist Margaret Atwood. Hayhoe was quoted as saying: "What troubles me as a scientist is the potential for vicious feedbacks within the climate system. The warming that we cause through all the carbon we produce could cause a series of cascading impacts that could lead to a much greater warming. The more carbon we produce, the higher the likelihood of these unpredictable risks. What makes me hopeful are people. I've been working with cities, states and regional transportation councils, and none of them have to be convinced of the reality of this problem. I was sitting next to an assistant city manager for Dallas, a town not known for being green, and she blew me away with her list of amazing things Dallas has done to save energy. People are preparing for change."
Van Gestel Studies Soil Carbon Response to Heat
Natasja van Gestel, Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the TTU Climate Science Center, is lead author of, "Predicting Soil Carbon Loss With Warming", a study published Feb. 22 in the scientific journal Nature that shows a more complicated relationship between soil carbon and global warming than previously thought. Previous research suggested that, under increasingly warm conditions, soils richer in carbon would be more easily triggered to release that carbon into the atmosphere than soils poorer in carbon. Van Gestel's more exhaustive study shows the answer is not that simple. "We had access to a larger data set than was used in the original paper, and we were concerned the original paper's conclusions relied heavily on just a few experiments that had carbon-rich soils," van Gestel said. "We had access to more data points from a wide range of soils, so we could do a more powerful and balanced analysis. For a global analysis like this, having more data is always better." With the larger data set, she and her research group concluded that soil carbon responses were not easily predicted, either from soil carbon stocks or from other variables that were examined. Other members of the research group were: Zheng Shi, University of Oklahoma; Kees Jan van Groenigen, University of Exeter, U.K.; Craig W. Osenberg, University of Georgia; Louise C. Andresen, University of Gothenburg, Sweden; Jeffrey S. Dukes, Purdue University; Mark J. Hovenden, University of Tasmania, Australia; Yiqi Luo, Northern Arizona University; Anders Michelsen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Elise Pendall, Western Sydney University, Australia; Peter B. Reich, Western Sydney University and University of Minnesota; Edward A. G. Schuur, Northern Arizona University; and Bruce A. Hungate, Northern Arizona University. "Our study doesn't change the fact that some soils lose carbon in warmer conditions," van Gestel said. "However, our larger data set showed that the relationship between soil carbon and warming is complicated—it varies from place to place and is likely dependent on not one, but several variables."
Ardon-Dryer Speaks at Biology Seminar
Karin Ardon-Dryer, Assistant Professor and member of the Atmospheric Science Group in the Department of Geosciences, gave a talk entitled, "Aerosol, tiny particles with a large impact on clouds, precipitation, and our health," on Feb. 21 as part of the Spring 2018 Seminar Series. The talk was hosted by Matt Olson, Associate Professor of Plant Population Genomics & Bioinformatics in the Department of Biological Sciences. Ardon-Dryer leads the Ardin-Dryer Aerosol Research Group and also is a member of TTU's STEM Program.
Ramkumar Awarded Top Recognitions in India, U.K.
Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor of Nonwovens & Advanced Materials in the Department of Environmental Toxicology, has won an endowed oration from India's University of Mumbai—Institute of Chemical Technology. As 2017-18 recipient of the "Professor W. B. Achwal Endowed Oration Award," Ramkumar traveled to the Institute in Mumbai to give the invited lecture at the gala event on Feb. 20. He spoke about his 20-years of research in the advanced textiles field in a talk he titled "An Odyssey with Technical Textiles." The Institute's President, The Honorable G.D. Yadav, a Chemical Engineer, presided over the event, which was attended by alumni that counted top Indian statesmen and industrialists among their ranks. Ramkumar said that, apart from his research contributions, the selection committee supported his award because some of the Institute's alumni have worked toward their PhDs in TTU laboratories and are now employed in key research positions across the United States. "In the fiber science field, this oration is deemed most coveted..." Ramkumar said in a written statement. "[It is] a great achievement for TTU and Mumbai Institute." Earlier in the month, on Feb. 6, Ramkumar was awarded Fellowship in the Textile Institute, based in Manchester, England. The Textile Institute is the oldest such in the field of textiles/fiber science and, Ramkumar says, its Fellowship is one of the highest professional recognitions for scientists/technologists.
Bradley Receives Award from Texas Society of Mammalogists
Robert D. Bradley, Professor and Assistant Chair in the Department of Biological Sciences and Director of the Natural Science Research Laboratory at the Museum of Texas Tech University, was elected to Honorary Member status by the membership of the Texas Society of Mammalogists (TSM) during their 36th Annual Meeting Feb. 16‒18. Honorary membership in the Society is granted in recognition of distinguished service to the Society and to the science of mammalogy. Bradley has attended every meeting of the Society since his first—as a student in 1984—and he has been an active, supporting member since. Bradley's graduate and undergraduate students represent the greatest number of student presenters of any faculty member over the history of TSM, having presented more than 100 papers at TSM meetings since 1997. He served the Society as President in 2002-2003, and is a permanent member of the Executive Committee. It was Bradley's suggestion while President in 2002 that TSM hold a fund-raising auction during the annual meeting to support the funding of student presentation awards. He has served ever after as enthusiastic auctioneer. The auction has allowed the Society to expand both the number of awards presented and their monetary value. Bradley has directed 21 master's and 11 PhD students to completion, all in mammalogical research; has published more than 160 peer-reviewed articles; and has co-authored one book, "The Mammals of Texas" (2016).
More Faculty Achievements
2017 FACULTY NEWS
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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)