Dedman College 2015 research efforts broadly noted in a variety of ways for world-changing impact

SMU Research

Originally Posted: January 8, 2016

It was a good year for faculty and student research efforts. Here is a small sampling of public and published acknowledgements during 2015:

Research makes the cover of Biochemistry

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Drugs important in the battle against cancer were tested in a virtual lab by SMU biology professors to see how they would behave in the human cell.

A computer-generated composite image of the simulation made the Dec. 15 cover of the journal Biochemistry.

Scientific articles about discoveries from the simulation were also published in the peer review journals Biochemistry and in Pharmacology Research & Perspectives.

The researchers tested the drugs by simulating their interaction in a computer-generated model of one of the cell’s key molecular pumps — the protein P-glycoprotein, or P-gp. Outcomes of interest were then tested in the Wise-Vogel wet lab.

The ongoing research is the work of biochemists John Wise, associate professor, and Pia Vogel, professor and director of the SMU Center for Drug Discovery, Design and Delivery in Dedman College. Assisting them were a team of SMU graduate and undergraduate students.

The researchers developed the model to overcome the problem of relying on traditional static images for the structure of P-gp. The simulation makes it possible for researchers to dock nearly any drug in the protein and see how it behaves, then test those of interest in an actual lab.

To date, the researchers have run millions of compounds through the pump and have discovered some that are promising for development into pharmaceutical drugs to battle cancer.

Click here to read more about the research.

Strong interest in research on sexual victimization
SMUbystander_LEDE-300x198Teen girls were less likely to report being sexually victimized after learning to assertively resist unwanted sexual overtures and after practicing resistance in a realistic virtual environment, according to three professors from the SMU Department of Psychology.

The finding was reported in Behavior Therapy. The article was one of the psychology journal’s most heavily shared and mentioned articles across social media, blogs and news outlets during 2015, the publisher announced.

The study was the work of Dedman College faculty Lorelei Simpson Rowe, associate professor and Psychology Department graduate program co-director; Ernest Jouriles, professor; and Renee McDonald, SMU associate dean for research and academic affairs.

The journal’s publisher, Elsevier, temporarily has lifted its subscription requirement on the article, “Reducing Sexual Victimization Among Adolescent Girls: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial of My Voice, My Choice,” and has opened it to free access for three months.

Click here to read more about the research.

Consumers assume bigger price equals better quality
Firms signal quality through the prices they charge, typically working on the assumption that shoppers think a high price indicates high quality.

That was a finding of the research of Dedman College’s Santanu Roy, professor, Department of Economics. Roy’s article about the research was published in February in one of the blue-ribbon journals, and the oldest, in the field, The Economic Journal.

Published by the U.K.’s Royal Economic Society, The Economic Journal is one of the founding journals of modern economics. The journal issued a media briefing about the paper, “Competition, Disclosure and Signaling,” typically reserved for academic papers of broad public interest.

Chemistry research group edits special issue
austin-symposium-jpca-226x300Chemistry professors Dieter Cremer and Elfi Kraka, who lead SMU’s Computational and Theoretical Chemistry Group, were guest editors of a special issue of the prestigious Journal of Physical Chemistry. The issue published in March.

The Computational and Theoretical research group, called CATCO for short, is a union of computational and theoretical chemistry scientists at SMU. Their focus is research in computational chemistry, educating and training graduate and undergraduate students, disseminating and explaining results of their research to the broader public, and programming computers for the calculation of molecules and molecular aggregates.

The special issue of Physical Chemistry included 40 contributions from participants of a four-day conference in Dallas in March 2014 that was hosted by CATCO. The 25th Austin Symposium drew 108 participants from 22 different countries who, combined, presented eight plenary talks, 60 lectures and about 40 posters.

CATCO presented its research with contributions from Cremer and Kraka, as well as Marek Freindorf, research assistant professor; Wenli Zou, visiting professor; Robert Kalescky, post-doctoral fellow; and graduate students Alan Humason, Thomas Sexton, Dani Setlawan and Vytor Oliveira.

There have been more than 75 graduate students and research associates working in the CATCO group, which originally was formed at the University of Cologne, Germany, before moving to SMU in 2009.

Vertebrate paleontology recognized with proclamation
519ca82d-6517-4df9-b5ac-26e5458882ef-233x300Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings proclaimed Oct. 11-17, 2015 Vertebrate Paleontology week in Dallas on behalf of the Dallas City Council.

The proclamation honored the 75th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, which was jointly hosted by SMU’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences in Dedman College and the Perot Museum of Science and Nature. The conference drew to Dallas some 1,200 scientists from around the world.

Making research presentations or presenting research posters were: faculty members Bonnie Jacobs, Louis Jacobs, Michael Polcyn, Neil Tabor and Dale Winkler; adjunct research assistant professor Alisa Winkler; research staff member Kurt Ferguson; post-doctoral researchers T. Scott Myers and Lauren Michael; and graduate students Matthew Clemens, John Graf, Gary Johnson and Kate Andrzejewski.

The host committee co-chairs were Anthony Fiorillo, adjunct research professor; and Louis Jacobs, professor. Committee members included Polcyn; Christopher Strganac, graduate student; Diana Vineyard, research associate; and research professor Dale Winkler.

KERA radio reporter Kat Chow filed a report from the conference, explaining to listeners the science of vertebrate paleontology, which exposes the past, present and future of life on earth by studying fossils of animals that had backbones.

SMU earthquake scientists rock scientific journal

Modelled-pressure-174x300Modelled pressure changes caused by injection and production. (Nature Communications/SMU)

Findings by the SMU earthquake team reverberated across the nation with publication of their scientific article in the prestigious British interdisciplinary journal Nature, ranked as one of the world’s most cited scientific journals.

The article reported that the SMU-led seismology team found that high volumes of wastewater injection combined with saltwater extraction from natural gas wells is the most likely cause of unusually frequent earthquakes occurring in the Dallas-Fort Worth area near the small community of Azle.

The research was the work of Dedman College faculty Matthew Hornbach, associate professor of geophysics; Heather DeShon, associate professor of geophysics; Brian Stump, SMU Albritton Chair in Earth Sciences; Chris Hayward, research staff and director geophysics research program; and Beatrice Magnani, associate professor of geophysics.

The article, “Causal factors for seismicity near Azle, Texas,” published online in late April. Already the article has been downloaded nearly 6,000 times, and heavily shared on both social and conventional media. The article has achieved a ranking of 270, which puts it in the 99th percentile of 144,972 tracked articles of a similar age in all journals, and 98th percentile of 626 tracked articles of a similar age in Nature.

“It has a very high impact factor for an article of its age,” said Robert Gregory, professor and chair, SMU Earth Sciences Department.

The scientific article also was entered into the record for public hearings both at the Texas Railroad Commission and the Texas House Subcommittee on Seismic Activity.

Researchers settle long-debated heritage question of “The Ancient One”

Scultpted-bust-300x225-300x225The skull of Kennewick Man and a sculpted bust by StudioEIS based on forensic facial reconstruction by sculptor Amanda Danning. (Credit: Brittany Tatchell)

The research of Dedman College anthropologist and Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory David Meltzer played a role in settling the long-debated and highly controversial heritage of “Kennewick Man.”

Also known as “The Ancient One,” the 8,400-year-old male skeleton discovered in Washington state has been the subject of debate for nearly two decades. Argument over his ancestry has gained him notoriety in high-profile newspaper and magazine articles, as well as making him the subject of intense scholarly study.

Officially the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kennewick Man was discovered in 1996 and radiocarbon dated to 8500 years ago.

Because of his cranial shape and size he was declared not Native American but instead ‘Caucasoid,’ implying a very different population had once been in the Americas, one that was unrelated to contemporary Native Americans.

But Native Americans long have claimed Kennewick Man as theirs and had asked for repatriation of his remains for burial according to their customs.

Meltzer, collaborating with his geneticist colleague Eske Willerslev and his team at the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen, in June reported the results of their analysis of the DNA of Kennewick in the prestigious British journal Nature in the scientific paper “The ancestry and affiliations of Kennewick Man.”

The results were announced at a news conference, settling the question based on first-ever DNA evidence: Kennewick Man is Native American.

The announcement garnered national and international media attention, and propelled a new push to return the skeleton to a coalition of Columbia Basin tribes. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Bring the Ancient One Home Act of 2015 and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has offered state assistance for returning the remains to Native Tribes.

Science named the Kennewick work one of its nine runners-up in the highly esteemed magazine’s annual “Breakthrough of the Year” competition.

The research article has been viewed more than 60,000 times. It has achieved a ranking of 665, which puts it in the 99th percentile of 169,466 tracked articles of a similar age in all journals, and in the 94th percentile of 958 tracked articles of a similar age in Nature.

In “Kennewick Man: coming to closure,” an article in the December issue of Antiquity, a journal of Cambridge University Press, Meltzer noted that the DNA merely confirmed what the tribes had known all along: “We are him, he is us,” said one tribal spokesman. Meltzer concludes: “We presented the DNA evidence. The tribal members gave it meaning.”

Click here to read more about the research.

Prehistoric vacuum cleaner captures singular award

Louis-Tony-300x214Paleontologists Louis L. Jacobs, SMU, and Anthony Fiorillo, Perot Museum, have identified a new species of marine mammal from bones recovered from Unalaska, an Aleutian island in the North Pacific. (Hillsman Jackson, SMU)

Science writer Laura Geggel with Live Science named a new species of extinct marine mammal identified by two SMU paleontologists among “The 10 Strangest Animal Discoveries of 2015.”
The new species, dubbed a prehistoric hoover by London’s Daily Mail online news site, was identified by SMU paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs, a professor in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and paleontologist and SMU adjunct research professor Anthony Fiorillo, vice president of research and collections and chief curator at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Jacobs and Fiorillo co-authored a study about the identification of new fossils from the oddball creature Desmostylia, discovered in the same waters where the popular “Deadliest Catch” TV show is filmed. The hippo-like creature ate like a vacuum cleaner and is a new genus and species of the only order of marine mammals ever to go extinct — surviving a mere 23 million years.

Desmostylians, every single species combined, lived in an interval between 33 million and 10 million years ago. Their strange columnar teeth and odd style of eating don’t occur in any other animal, Jacobs said.

SMU campus hosted the world’s premier physicists
photo5-300x224The SMU Department of Physics hosted the “23rd International Workshop on Deep Inelastic Scattering and Related Subjects” from April 27-May 1, 2015. Deep Inelastic Scattering is the process of probing the quantum particles that make up our universe.

As noted by the CERN Courier — the news magazine of the CERN Laboratory in Geneva, which hosts the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest science experiment — more than 250 scientists from 30 countries presented more than 200 talks on a multitude of subjects relevant to experimental and theoretical research. SMU physicists presented at the conference.

The SMU organizing committee was led by Fred Olness, professor and chair of the SMU Department of Physics in Dedman College, who also gave opening and closing remarks at the conference. The committee consisted of other SMU faculty, including Jodi Cooley, associate professor; Simon Dalley, senior lecturer; Robert Kehoe, professor; Pavel Nadolsky, associate professor, who also presented progress on experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider; Randy Scalise, senior lecturer; and Stephen Sekula, associate professor.

Sekula also organized a series of short talks for the public about physics and the big questions that face us as we try to understand our universe.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Psychology faculty authors third most popular article in behavioral and cognitive therapies

Elsevier

2015’s most popular content in Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies

We are proud to publish top quality research that impacts on a wide community. The following articles were the most shared and mentioned across social media, blogs and news outlets in the past year. These articles have been made free to access for the next 3 months.

Playing Tetris decreases drug and other cravings in real world settings Addictive Behaviors, Volume 51, December 2015, Pages 165–170

How we walk affects what we remember: Gait modifications through biofeedback change negative affective memory bias
Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, Volume 46, March 2015, Pages 121–125

Reducing Sexual Victimization Among Adolescent Girls: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial of My Voice, My Choice
Behavior Therapy, Volume 46, Issue 3, May 2015, Pages 315–327

Mindfulness Meditation Training for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adulthood: Current Empirical Support, Treatment Overview, and Future Directions
Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, Volume 22, Issue 2, May 2015, Pages 172–191

The sense of effort Current Opinion in Psychology, Volume 7, February 2016, Pages 67–70

To find out more about these journals visit: elsevier.com/psychology

Three years of ‘educational diplomacy’ between SMU and Pakistan culminates in Islamabad conference

SMU NEWS

Originally Posted: December 7, 2015

Two professors and a clinical graduate student from SMU’s Department of Psychology will travel halfway around the world to help the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University (SBBWU) of Peshaware, Pakistan, host an international psychology conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Dec. 12.

The conference, titled, “Advancing Women Issues: Local and Global Directions,” will feature 55 speakers and 400 participants from across the region. It’s the culminating effort of a three-year partnership between SMU and SBBWU supported by a $1,2 million U.S. State Department grant.

“I look at it as educational diplomacy,” says SMU Psychology Department Chair George Holden. “The U.S. State Department wanted to do something to help relations between the countries and recognized the need to help Pakistan develop its educational system so the Pakistanis can better improve their country.”

At the conference, Holden will present the SMU and SBBWU’s joint research on trauma in Peshaware, where the threat of a terrorist’s bomb is never far from mind. During a Dec. 11 workshop, SMU psychology professor Lorelei Rowe and graduate student Rose Ashraf will present the latest version of Rowe’s popular psychological assessment tool, SCID-5, which helps doctors diagnose their patients through an interview-like examination process.

Other presenters will focus on topics such as promoting the well-being of women and children in Pakistan and the impact of Nepal’s earthquake on Nepalese women and children. READ MORE

 

SMU to send psych team to Pakistan

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: November 27, 2015

Two professors and a clinical graduate student from Southern Methodist University’s Department of Psychology will head to Pakistan Dec. 12 for an international psychology conference hosted by the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University of Peshawar.

Called “Advancing Women Issues: Local and Global Directions,” the conference will feature 55 speakers and 400 participants. It’s the result of a three-year partnership between SMU and SBBWU supported by a $1.2 million U.S. State Department grant.

At the conference, SMU Psychology Department Chair George Holden will present joint research on trauma in Peshawar, where the threat of terrorism is constant. SMU psychology professor Lorelei Rowe and graduate student Rose Ashraf will also present research. Other participants will focus on topics such as promoting the well-being of women and children in Pakistan and the impact of Nepal’s earthquake on women and children.

The SMU-SBBWU partnership is one of 20 funded by the State Department. The partnerships connect American universities with universities in Pakistan or Afghanistan. SMU’s grant also brought SBBWU students and faculty to SMU. READ MORE

Renee McDonald, Psychology, How Childhood Domestic Violence Impacts Us… Young and Old

Huffington Post

Originally Posted: November 17, 2015

The following is an excerpt from a Huffington Post article titled How Childhood Domestic Violence Impacts Us… Young and Old. READ MORE

……..”They don’t often connect the dots…”

This young woman is not alone. Dr. Renee McDonald, a leading researcher at Southern Methodist University said, “They often cannot connect the dots between what they experienced in their childhood homes and the challenges they face today.” Dr. McDonald was specifically talking about Childhood Domestic Violence. READ MORE

George Holden, Psychology, to speak at congressional briefing on corporal punishment in public schools

SMU NEWS

Originally Posted: November 13, 2015

SMU Professor and Psychology Department Chair George Holden will speak before a congressional briefing titled “Spare the Rod: Protect the Child” from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Washington D.C.

Holden, a leading expert on parenting, discipline and family, will participate in a panel designed to tackle the ongoing practice of corporal punishment in schools – which is still legal in 19 states, including Texas, though outlawed in Dallas and the state’s other metropolitan areas.

“There’s very limited research about the impact of corporal punishment in schools, but what research is available is focused on how much it’s used and to whom its used on,” Holden says. “It’s mostly used on minority students and students with disabilities.”

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat from Florida, is hosting the briefing, which will be attended by congressional staffers. Hastings’ goal, says Holden, is to introduce a bill that will outlaw corporal punishment and paddling of children in schools.

Holden believes this is the second recent attempt to pass such a bill. In 2011, New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy introduced a bill called the “Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act,” which failed to make it out of committee.

The 19 states where corporal punishment in schools is still legal are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.

At a Glance
What: SMU Professor and Psychology Department Chair George Holden speaks about corporal punishment in American public schools before a congressional briefing titled “Spare the Rod: Protect the Child” hosted by U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings.

Who’s invited: The event is free and open to the public.

When: 10-11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 18

Where: Room 122, Cannon House Office Building, 1st and C Street, SE, Washington, D.C.

READ MORE

Psychology professors Thomas Ritz and Alicia Meuret awarded a $2 million NIH grant to help develop a pediatric asthma monitor

Originally published: November 3, 2015

DALLAS (SMU) – A pair of SMU psychology professors working with University of Marylanasthma-childd engineers have been awarded a National Institutes of Health grant that will bring nearly $2 million to their joint project to create a wearable device for pediatric asthma patients that helps them avoid asthma triggers.

The asthma device will monitor air quality (including pollen levels and temperature), carbon dioxide levels in the blood, physical activity, breathing, emotional states and other stimuli to identify each patient’s individual asthma triggers and alert them when conditions are ripe for an attack. The concept is similar to the glucose monitor that alerts diabetes patients when their blood sugar is low, but it also includes much more complex monitoring of the patients’ environment.

The device’s current iteration is a portable unit, but the Maryland team is miniaturizing it so that it can be worn as a vest.

SMU psychology professors Thomas Ritz and Alicia Meuret, have teamed up with University of Maryland Center for Advanced Sensor Technology professors Yordan Kostov, Xudong Ge and Govind Rao, which provides a natural extension of each team’s research. The University of Maryland team also includes environmental engineering researchers Chris Hennigan and electrical engineering researchers Ryan Robucci and Nilanjan Banerjee. READ MORE

Professor David Rosenfield, Psychology, Climbs Tenure Ladder Twice in 3 Decades

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Originally Posted: September 28, 2015

photo_73085_wide_large

The first time David Rosenfield went up for tenure, in the late 1970s, an academic career lay before him. The second time, 30 years later, he was trying to reclaim it.

Mr. Rosenfield’s first bid succeeded. In 1980 he became an associate professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University. But when a leave of absence grew unexpectedly longer, he had to resign his position. In 2008 he put himself in the tenure process again.

In between, Mr. Rosenfield stepped in to run the family business, in steel distribution, and little by little became an entrepreneur, drifting away from the academic life he knew.

When academics switch jobs, they usually move from one college to another, seeking a more desirable locale, a more esteemed reputation, or a bigger paycheck. Given the grueling process of earning tenure, most professors who’ve got it negotiate a way to keep it, and others at least get credit for having started on that track. READ MORE

George Holden, Psychology, how does it affect parents to spank their own children?

GeekDad

Originally Posted: August 24, 2015

My Kids Don’t Remember Being Spanked, But I Can’t Forget

I grew up in a house that spanked. Such punishment was usually reserved for the strongest of offenses–deliberate disregard for household property, or, more often, when my brother or I used force on each other. I don’t distinctly recall who dished out the punishment, but I do remember that, while my father occasionally threatened “the belt” (though it was never delivered), it was my mother who transformed the wooden spoons into instruments of terror. One favorite family story is how she went to change my bedding one day and found all of the wooden spoons lined up neatly under my mattress; we never figured out what I had done wrong, but I had clearly been worried about being punished for something. READ MORE

Virgin America CEO / Dedman College alum David Cush on KERA-TV “CEO” this Friday at 7:30p CST

KERA-TV

CEO, Aug. 7
7:30 p.m.

Virgin America CEO David Cush tells host Lee Cullum why there is such a fight for access to gates at Love Field and how fierce competition in the Dallas market is driving fare wars. Cush warns of potential dangers to the industry due to sweeping consolidation. Learn how Virgin survived a turbulent start after launching the airline in 2007 and how the company built a niche business enticing passengers with creature comforts and competitive prices. READ MORE

About David Cush:

https://www.virginamerica.com/cms/about-our-airline/leadership-team/david-cush

David was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Broadcast/Film and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, in 1982. A year later (1983), he received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from SMU.