SMU students in Paris report they are safe; SMU monitoring situation

SMU News

Originally Posted: November 14, 2015

SMU has heard from all 11 of its students studying in Paris that they are safe. The SMU Travel Oversight Committee is closely monitoring the situation and is receiving updates from the U.S. State Department and International SOS.

SMU community members abroad are asked to be aware that France has declared a national state of emergency and has tightened its borders. On Saturday, November 14, the U.S. Embassy in France issued a security message regarding the terrorist attacks: “Further incidents are possible. We strongly urge U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security, including limiting their movements to essential activity. U.S. citizens are encouraged to monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.” While airports and train stations remain open, travelers may expect delays due to heightened security measures.
All SMU Abroad students are covered by emergency travel assistance through I-SOS and may use the services of I-SOS worldwide during their term of study abroad. During SMU Abroad orientation, students received laminated cards with emergency phone numbers for I-SOS. I-SOS contact information also is available online at In addition, every SMU-approved study abroad program has its own emergency preparedness plan and protocols.

Students with concerns or questions are asked to contact the SMU Abroad Director, Dr. Cathy Winnie, at (214-768-4904) or SMU Assistant Chief of Police Jim Walters at (214-768-1586). Student safety is the highest priority of SMU and our partner study abroad programs. READ MORE

Meet Dedman College Faculty during Family Weekend

2:00PM 3:00PM

Dedman College, the heart of SMU houses the vital disciplines the underlie great accomplishment. Denman College offers 85 exciting majors and minors in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. Their award winning faculty will be available to discuss their teaching and research interests. READ MORE

Biologists develop a computer model of key protein that helps predict how cancer drugs will work

SMU News

Drugs important in the battle against cancer behaved according to predictions when tested in a computer-generated model of P-glycoprotein, one of the cell’s key molecular pumps.

The new model allows researchers to dock nearly any drug in the P-gp protein and see how it will actually behave in P-gp’s pump, said Associate Professor John G. Wise, lead author on the journal article announcing the advancement and a faculty member in SMU’s Department of Biological Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

SMU biologists developed the computer generated model to overcome the problem of relying on only static images for the structure of P-gp. The protein is the cellular pump that protects cells by pumping out toxins.

But that’s a problem when P-gp targets chemotherapy drugs as toxic, preventing chemo from killing cancer cells. Scientists are searching for ways to inhibit P-gp’s pumping action. READ MORE

Three drug-like compounds may offer better odds of survival to patients with prostate cancer, find SMU researchers

News Medical

Originally Posted: September 9, 2015

Researchers at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, have discovered three new drug-like compounds that could ultimately offer better odds of survival to prostate cancer patients.

The drug-like compounds can be modified and developed into medicines that target a protein in the human body that is responsible for chemotherapy resistance in cancers, said biochemist Pia D. Vogel, lead author on the scientific paper reporting the discovery.

So far there’s no approved drug on the market that reverses cancer chemotherapy resistance caused by P-glycoprotein, or P-gp for short, said Vogel, a biochemistry professor at SMU. One potential drug, Tariquidar, is currently in clinical trials, but in the past, other potential drugs have failed at that stage.

“The problem when a person has cancer is that the treatment itself is composed of cellular toxins — the chemotherapeutics that prevent the cells from dividing. Usually upon the first chemo treatment the cancer responds well, and initially goes away. Ideally it doesn’t come back,” said Vogel, who is director of SMU’s Center for Drug Discovery, Design, and Delivery. READ MORE

Follow Jewel on SMU Adventures

Jewel is a sophomore majoring in biology and environmental science in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. A member of the University Honors Program, she is the recipient of the SMU Founders Scholarship and Dedman College Scholarship. During summer 2012, she also received a Richter Fellowship to conduct research at SMU-in-Taos, where she will update “A Guide to the Trees of the Navajo Country,” a 1940s bulletin written to teach Navajo students to manage and identify the trees in their area. She is using a variety of resources to update locations, scientific names, Navajo medicinal uses and other characteristics of the trees. READ MORE

2015 Eugene and Millicent Goldschmidt Graduate Student Award

PhD graduate student, Tetiana Hutchison, has been selected to receive a 2015 Eugene and Millicent Goldschmidt Graduate Student Award  from the Texas Regional Branch of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

Congratulations to her on winning this highly competitive award!

Seven Dedman College professors receive emeritus status in 2014-15

Congratulations to the following professors who received emeritus status in 2014-2015. The professors, and their dates of service:



Christine Buchanan, Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1977-2015




Bradley Kent Carter, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1970-2015




Anthony Cortese, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1989-2015


habermanRichard Haberman, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1978-2015



Hopkins D11


James K. Hopkins, Professor Emeritus of History, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1974-2015




John Ubelaker, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1968-2015




Ben Wallace, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1969-2015


Biology major accepted to Harvard Medical School

SMU Daily Campus

Originally Posted: May 5, 2015

Senior Janice Kim presented her dissertation, “p53-Dependent survival signaling may promote oncogene-activation during viral carcinogenesis,” in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Departmental Distinction Program on May 1.

Kim has been working on her thesis for about three and a half years. She chose her topic during the start of her first year after attending a meeting at the premed office.

“All the professors came, talked about their research and gave you a feel for the opportunities undergraduates could take,” Kim said. “I chose the professor I liked the best and that was Dr. Harrod.”

Robert Harrod, Ph.D, teaches biological sciences at SMU. His research interests include molecular biology, pathogenesis of human retroviruses and mechanisms of viral carcinogenesis.

Kim further explains why she chose Dr. Harrod out of all the other biology research professors.

“I liked his field of research about leukemia and more specifically how leukemia develops,” Kim said. “I approached him fall semester freshman year, introduced myself and said I was interested in researching with him.”

Most professors usually select upperclassmen to work with in their specified field of research. However, Harrod acknowledged her interest despite her younger age.

“After I expressed my interest, I wasn’t expecting anything because they usually take upperclassmen,” Kim said. “But he said ‘okay, why don’t you start now?’ I started spring semester and I’ve been with him ever since.”

Over three years later, her undergraduate research is complete. In layman’s terms, Kim summarizes her dissertation:

“My dissertation is about how a virus Dr. Harrod is studying, human leukemia t-cell virus type 1, causes leukemia,” Kim said. “The proteins of that virus, like p30 and p53, deregulate, or cause the over expression of cellular proteins to go awry in the pathway, and that leads to adult T-cell leukemia lymphoma.”

Kim credits part of her success to Dr. Harrod. She says he pushed her to do things beyond the limit, like applying for the Hamilton scholarship to further her undergraduate research.

“I love Dr. Harrod as my mentor; he’s always been there for me if I had questions and I could always go to him for anything,” Kim said. “He’s been a very supportive mentor and the best kind of mentor you can have as a research professor.”

Harrod filled out one of her recommendation letters when she applied for medical school. Kim applied to multiple schools in Texas and out-of-state schools like Harvard.

Kim has been accepted to Harvard Medical School and will start graduate school in the coming fall semester. She said she chose the school because she was interested in their diversity of experiences and soft-science research, like biomedical anthropology, which is her minor. If she chooses to get her M.D. PhD in biomedical anthropology, she hopes to pursue a career in global health.

“I’m really interested in Global Health and I can credit part of that to Dr. Bing who teaches global health class here at SMU,” Kim said. “In five years I can see myself still learning and eventually take my skills and apply them- go abroad and see from start to finish the development of global health in an area.”

Kim says her acceptance to Harvard Medical School has not changed her persona in any way.

“You’re not going to change because of some physical validation or from getting accepted into a certain school- you’re going to still be the same person and have the same capabilities as you did before,” Kim said.

Kim will graduate this May. As her journey at SMU comes to a close, she sums up her undergraduate experience.

“I would like to thank everyone who’s impacted me: my family, my friends and my mentors: Dr. Harrod, Dr. Bing, Dr. Smith-Morris,” Kim said. “I realized in college I learned a lot in the classroom, but also through outside experiences, and I’m glad I found that at SMU.” READ MORE

Biology student Courtney A. Follit wins P.E.O. scholar award

Congratulations Courtney A. Follit,  Ph.D. student in molecular and cellular biology. She is one of 85 doctoral students nationwide selected to receive a $15,000 scholar award from the P.E.O. Sisterhood. She was sponsored by Chapter CQ of Dallas.

Courtney is the daughter of Jane and Robert Follit of Rockville, Maryland. She is a 2012 graduate of SMU, where she was the recipient of Distinguished Scholar and Rotunda scholarships, among many other honors. READ MORE

The P.E.O. Scholar Awards (PSA) were established in 1991 to provide substantial merit-based awards for women of the United States and Canada who are pursuing doctoral-level degrees at an accredited college or university.

The P.E.O. Sisterhood, founded Jan. 21, 1869, at Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, is a philanthropic educational organization interested in bringing increased opportunities for higher education to women. There are approximately 6,000 local chapters in the United States and Canada with nearly a quarter of a million active members.

Congratulations to the 2015 Research Day Award Winners

Congratulations to all the Dedman College students who received 2015 Research Day awards.

The goal of Research Day  is to foster communication between students in different disciplines, give students the opportunity to present their work in a professional setting, and share the outstanding research being conducted at SMU with their peers and industry professionals from the greater Dallas community.

See the full list of Research Day Winners, 2015

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