Originally Posted: February 20, 2016
Three SMU seniors participated in the Dallas Festival of Ideas’ Entrepreneurial Forum Saturday, where each pitched their Big iDeas to a crowd of Dallasites in the hopes of winning several entrepreneurial prizes.
The theme of this year’s festival was “The United City,” which aimed to “help shape the city of the future by igniting, uniting and energizing the people of Dallas through the power of ideas.” The pitch contest was in partnership with the Arts Entrepreneurship Program at the Meadows School of the Arts
Each student had three minutes to pitch and three minutes for questions. The winner was chosen using what Susan Kress, the executive director for Engaged Learning at SMU, called “the old-school clap-o-meter.”
Eddie Allegra pitched Biolum, a mobile app that uses Bluetooth technologies to scale user’s exhaled breath and determine the severity of asthma systems; Roberto Hernandez pitched Mexican Bingo, an iOS and Android app that turns the traditional Mexican Bingo game into a digital format; and Jonah Kirby pitched Fiddler, a rooftop wind turbine system that creates battery power on a digital grid. READ MORE
Originally Posted: February 9, 2016
Fairooz Adams, a 2014 graduate of Lewisville High School, has announced his is running for Place 4 on the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees.
Below is his announcement:
I have been advocating for the interests of the students of LISD and my community since I was 15, when I led a student effort against the planned division of my class across two campuses. READ MORE
Originally Posted: February 2016
SMU students traveled to New Hampshire to visit presidential campaign headquarters and organize focus groups for CNN during the Iowa caucus. They were accompanied by Rita Kirk, SMU communications professor and director of the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. Here is an excerpt from Anthony, a senior majoring in political science:
Not Your Everyday Class
Usually, in the morning before class I wake up at 5 a.m., shower, have a bite to eat, put on a decent pair of jeans, a not-so-wrinkled shirt, and some sneaks or boots. I grab my books and notes, place them in my aging mahogany-colored satchel, and head off into the thick of 7 a.m. traffic to reach campus by 9 a.m. Today was different.
I woke up at 2 a.m., grabbed a bite to eat, showered and donned a freshly pressed shirt and tie, along with my nicely tailored black pants and jacket to match, and a brand-new pair of nicely polished black leather shoes. Along with my satchel, I also had in tow a small carry-on bag to bring with me to class. A carry- on bag, one may ask? What type of class is this? Clearly, not an ordinary one.
Normally this class runs Tuesdays, 9:30 -10:50 a.m. This time it started on Sunday, 4:45 a.m., and would not end until 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. And in place of my traditional Women in Politics Seminar course curriculum, I embarked on a trip that turned into a fast-paced presidential political roller coaster, which happened to be broadcast on live television. READ MORE
SMU graduate and undergraduate students presented results of ongoing and completed SMU-based research on February 10. Dedman College students received an impressive 20 awards.
Research Day aims 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.
Originally Posted: January 26, 2016
DALLAS (SMU) – Nine SMU sophomores pursuing minors in public policy and international affairs have been selected as 2016 Highland Capital Management (HCM) Tower Scholars for the John G. Tower Center for Political Studies.
After a competitive process, Tower Scholars are chosen for their knowledge of domestic and foreign affairs, national security and defense and international political economy. They will develop mentor relationships with public policy practitioners, work with clients on actual cases and have access to global and national leaders, local business leaders and Tower Center board members. Senior-year directed-research projects along with Dallas-based placements provide real-world policy experience, and opportunities for relevant study-abroad options exist. READ MORE
Originally Posted: January 20, 2016
When most little boys were running up and down stairs, Ben Dupree was using his arms to pull himself up the wood banister in his home in University Park. His mom, Debbie, knew something was wrong.
“I can remember any step he would take, being worried that he was going to fall,” she said.
Ben was 9 when he was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Like an estimated one in 3,500 boys, his muscles were beginning to weaken, starting with the hips and thighs.
For a while, Ben continued to walk. But when he was 15, he slipped — and he decided it was time for a wheelchair.
“I kind of was almost in denial,” Ben said. “Ignoring it, pushing it off for awhile.”
Doctors told Debbie Dupree that Ben would be dead by the time he was 19. For many boys with Duchenne, that’s the reality.
But today, Ben is 23 years old. He’s a recent graduate of Southern Methodist University. Ben’s success in slowing down the disease is partly thanks to genetic luck, and support from people like his mom.
“We have spent a lot of time, and a lot of expense, going to additional therapies to keep him in the shape that he’s in,” she said. She helps her son with everything from stretching and managing medication to doctors’ appointments. She also works with the nonprofit Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.
“The emotional impact of this on him and our family and other families with muscular dystrophy is huge,” Dupree said.
Over the years, there have been many attempts to find cures for the fatal disease, but so far, Dr. Eric Olson says nothing has worked.
“While some of the approaches that have been taken provided some short term benefit for these boys, ultimately, they inevitably succumb to the disease if they have a mutation in the dystrophin gene,” Olson says.
Olson is chairman of molecular biology at UT Southwestern and co-director of the school’s new Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center. His latest research is shaking up the Duchenne muscular dystrophy community. Why? Well, he’s figured out how to use a new gene editing tool to correct the mutation that causes the disease in mice.
“It’s really amazing,” Olson said. “Because what it allows you to go into the DNA sequence of the body and with absolute precision to change even a single letter in the DNA code that may have a mutation and eliminate that mutation permanently.”
The gene editing tool is called CRISPR/Cas9.
To understand how it works, imagine a big banner in the sky; it’s supposed to say, “Congratulations” but instead reads
“Congratulations.” You have to figure out a way to reach the banner, then cut out that extra letter “L.”
That’s essentially what this high-tech pair of gene editing scissors makes possible.
Granted, instead of editing a banner, we’re talking about editing a gene about the size of a mustard seed. And instead of doing it in humans, Olson’s team did it in mice. Still, researchers say it is an impressive advance.
Gang Bao, a bioengineering professor at Rice University, says the possibility of using gene editing to treat diseases like Duchenne muscular dystrophy or Huntington’s is exciting. Imagine a single injection correcting muscles in the body, including the heart. A major challenge, Bao says, is keeping the Nano scissors from cutting what they’re not supposed to cut.
“They may cut at the location you want them to cut, but they may also cut at other locations. Those could cause a disease, so the potential is there,” Bao said.
As researchers work to refine the technique, and prepare for human trials, young men like Ben Dupree are cheering from the sidelines.
“I would like to see a stop in my decline,” Ben said. “Which I think is probable with [gene editing], but it may not be in the near future.”
Ben’s near future is promising. He’s just applied for a master’s degree and wants to be a genetic counselor.
“My original excitement about genetics was all due to wanting to understand my condition,” he said. “I found that I really enjoyed more of the human element, talking with people, explaining what muscular dystrophy is, how the genetics is involved and wanting to be in a position where I can help other people with Duchenne manage and understand the condition.” READ MORE
Originally Posted: January 25, 2016
Congratulations to Katie Logsdon
Health & Society Major, Winner of the 5th Annual UT Southwestern Office of Global Health Conference Student Research Competition
The conference and competition was held January 22-23 at UTSW, T. Boone Pickens Biomedical Building Auditorium in Dallas, Texas. Students from North Texas presented research in global health to a globally oriented audience and panel of global health experts. Presentations were judged by a panel including UTSW faculty members and featured speakers. Competing against 1st through 4th year medical students, Katie’s presentation on “Perception of Pain in Childbirth Pain in Dutch Women” shared data from her Richter-Funded pilot study in The Netherlands. She returns to The Netherlands Summer 2016 to complete her Distinction research project.
More information on Health and Society.
Originally Posted: January 11, 2016
There is no better time than the start of a new year and new term for your student to fully and honestly assess how the first semester went.
Were they satisfied or disappointed with their grades from the first semester? Are they willing to take responsibility for their successes and their failures? In case of a less than satisfactory GPA, is everything someone else’s fault or do they hold themselves accountable?
The Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC) offers one-on-one counseling, one time or on a regular basis, for students looking to focus – or in some cases refocus – their efforts. First-semester “disasters” do not have to mean a disastrous college career. Call 214-768-3648 for an appointment.
Regardless of students’ GPA, most everything said in August still applies:
1. Go to class;
2. Get to know the professors for each class; and
3. Take advantage of the resources on campus (hint: the A-LEC has free tutoring, academic counseling and a writing lab).