SMU dance students and Dallas Chamber Symphony perform live to silent classic <em>Metropolis</em> at Dallas VideoFest Oct. 13, 2015

Faculty in the News

SMU dance students and Dallas Chamber Symphony perform live to silent classic Metropolis at Dallas VideoFest Oct. 13, 2015

Metropolis banner - SMU Dance, Dallas Chamber Symphony, Dallas Video Fest

Fourteen SMU dancers, all first-year students, will perform with the Dallas Chamber Symphony during a very special presentation of director Fritz Lang’s 1927 dystopian masterpiece, Metropolis.

During a screening of the 82-minute silent film classic, the students will provide an interactive dance performance choreographed by Associate Professor Christopher Dolder, with a new score by Austin-based film composer Brian Satterwhite performed live by the Dallas Chamber Symphony. The event is part of opening-night festivities for the 2015 Dallas VideoFest and begins Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. at Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora Street, in downtown Dallas.

> Learn more about the Dallas VideoFest at videofest.org

Often named as the first science fiction epic in film history, Metropolis is especially vivid in its portrayal of the disruptive effects of technological innovation and the social and economic stratifications it creates, as well as of civil liberties issues such as free speech, privacy and surveillance.

Metropolis is one of the great achievements of the silent era, a work so audacious in its vision and so angry in its message that it is, if anything, more powerful today than when it was made,” wrote the late Roger Ebert in a 1985 review.

> Learn more about Metropolis at IMDb

“Audiences have always been able to relate to these themes as new advances create new groups of haves and have-nots,” Dolder says. “Even today, 90 years later, they remain fresh and relevant.”

The film’s camera work, design and special effects are still haunting and evocative, and the staging of both crowd scenes and lead actors is “strikingly balletic [in] the repetitive synchronism of the working poor, as well as [its] portrayals of dance and artificial intelligence,” as noted in a Dallas Chamber Symphony release.

These elements and more make Metropolis fertile ground for a multidisciplinary collaboration between high art and high tech, Dolder says. “The trick for us will be to create a cohesive experience, where the new score and the dance element serve and enhance the film without distracting,” he adds.

> Christopher Dolder talks about Metropolis with KERA’s “Art & Seek”

The film’s otherworldly atmosphere is enhanced not only by the music, set and dancers, but also by the strategic projection of video elements from the film, isolated onto the dancers and set, Dolder says. He created and painted the intricate series of risers on which his students will perform – and made a point not to ask for their help, he adds.

“When we started this project, I told them I was going to treat them as professional dancers helping to create a new work,” he says. “In return, I expected them to prepare and conduct themselves in the same way.”

The approach has worked, Dolder says. “These first-year students may be the best class of dancers we’ve had – and we’ve consistently attracted talented, intelligent classes,” he says.

> Metropolis preview by Michael Granberry in The Dallas Morning News

“Each year, we try and accomplish something new, and more daring,” says Richard McKay, the DSC’s artistic director and conductor. “It is our ensemble’s adventurous culture that has motivated [us] to start the season with Metropolis – by far, the most complex and expansive production we have ever created.”

Individual tickets are available for $19-$55 each, $15 for students. VIP tickets can be purchased for $75, which will include a pre-event cocktail reception backstage with the artists, starting at 7 p.m. An after party will be hosted by Proof + Pantry, across the street from the theater, with complimentary appetizers for all patrons who would like to meet the composer and performers. Get tickets and more information online at DCSymphony.org, or call 214-449-1294.

> Find event information and purchase tickets at the Dallas Chamber Symphony website,

Research: Computer model of key protein helps predict how cancer drugs will work

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.

“The value of this fundamental research is that it generates dynamic mechanisms that let us understand something in biochemistry, in biology,” Wise said. “And by understanding P-gp in such detail, we can now think of ways to better and more specifically inhibit it.”

The SMU researchers tested Tariquidar, a new P-gp inhibitor still in clinical trials. Inhibitors offer hope for stopping P-gp’s rejection of chemotherapeutics by stalling the protein’s pumping action. Pharmacology researchers disagree, however, on where exactly Tariquidar binds in P-gp.

When run through the SMU model, Tariquidar behaved as expected: It wasn’t effectively pumped from the cell and the researchers observed that it prefers to bind high in the protein.

“Now we have more details on how Tariquidar inhibits P-gp, where it inhibits and what it’s actually binding to,” Wise said.

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story from the SMU Research blog

September 22, 2015|Faculty in the News, Research|

New book edited by SMU faculty member Noah Simblist examines artistic response to historical trauma

'Places of a Present Past' edited by SMU Art Chair Noah Simblist, book coverA new book edited by SMU Art Chair Noah Simblist will have its official launch at the 2015 New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1, Sept. 18-20.

Places of a Present Past brings together three exhibitions, all showcasing the work of international video artists, that were presented at the Meadows School of the Arts’ Pollock Gallery in 2014. All of them were curated by Simblist and the Pollock Gallery’s 2014 curatorial fellow, Sally Frater. Each shared a common theme: addressing the traces of trauma on particular sites and paying close attention to the lasting impacts of war.

The exhibitions explored in the book include Jin-me Yoon’s Extended Temporalities, which invoked the colonial relationship between Japan and Korea in the first half of the 20th century; the group show Where Are You From?, which included artworks by Aissa Deebi, Kamal Aljafari and Dor Guez recounting the story of the Israeli occupation of Palestine; and the Sarah Morris film 1972, alluding to the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, during which 11 Israeli athletes were kidnapped and murdered by a Palestinian terrorist group, pointing to the legacy of the Holocaust in Germany and beyond.

SMU Art Chair Noah Simblist

Noah Simblist, chair of SMU’s Division of Art

“The artworks in the book are bound together by a historiographical impulse,” said Simblist, chair and associate professor of art in the Meadows School. “In some sense, these artists act as historians. However, they are less interested in the truth than the way we feel through the legacies of past traumas. They reveal the oblique ways that we repress historical trauma, burying it in the very sites of their origin. Places of a Present Past is filled with an archaeological ethic, metaphorically digging down, both spatially and psychologically, into the depths of transnational grief.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

September 16, 2015|Calendar Highlights, Faculty in the News, For the Record|

Four named 2015 SMU Ford Research Fellows

SMU Ford Research Fellows 2015

Ping (Peggy) Gui, Robert Howell, Lisa Siraganian and Nathan Cortez were named SMU’s 2015 Ford Research Fellows during the University’s Board of Trustees meeting in May.

Four distinguished SMU professors were named 2015 Ford Research Fellows during the Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, May 7.

This year’s recipients are Nathan Cortez, Dedman School of Law; Ping (Peggy) Gui, Electrical Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering; Robert Howell, Philosophy, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; and Lisa Siraganian, English, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from trustee Gerald J. Ford, the fellowships help SMU retain and reward outstanding scholars. Each recipient receives a cash prize for research support during the year.

(more…)

May 20, 2015|Faculty in the News, For the Record, News, Research|

Three named 2015-17 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors

Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors 2015-17

Jill DeTemple, Darius Miller and Yildirim Hürmüzlü were named SMU’s 2015-17 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors during the University’s Board of Trustees meeting in May.

Three of SMU’s best teachers have been named 2015-17 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors, as announced by the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence during the Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, May 7, 2015.

The 2015 honorees are Jill DeTemple, Religious Studies, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; Yildirim Hürmüzlü, Mechanical Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering; and Darius Miller, Finance, Cox School of Business.

The new members of SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers will join returning members Jaime Clark-Soles, New Testament, Perkins School of Theology; Michael Lattman, Chemistry, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; and Paige Ware, Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Each year since 2001, the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Awards, named for SMU Trustee Ruth Altshuler, recognize SMU faculty members for their commitment to and achievements in fostering student learning.

“These are faculty whose concerns for higher education go beyond classroom boundaries and often the boundaries of their own discipline,” according to the CTE. “They represent the highest achievement in reaching the goals of higher education.”

Each recipient receives a $10,000 award and membership in SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers for the two years of their appointment as Altshuler Professors. Members participate actively with other members of the Academy to address issues in classroom teaching.

(more…)

May 20, 2015|Faculty in the News, For the Record, News|
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