Attention authors: Tell SMU News about your new books

loving-u-book-cover-150Faculty, staff, students and alumni: Did you publish a general-interest book in 2014? SMU News is seeking information on your publications for possible inclusion in its end-of-year holiday book list.

Director of Online Communications Gary Shultz has made it easy: Just fill out this web form and click. Include your name and title, e-mail address, the title of your new book, month and year of its publication, and a brief description. Please include a web address where News and Communications can find more information. The deadline is Friday, Dec. 12, 2014.

After you send in your information, please email a high-resolution copy of your book cover to SMU Books.

Posted in News, Save the Date, Site Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

SMU to break ground on Dr. Bob Smith Health Center on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014

Artist's rendering of the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center at SMU

On Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, SMU will break ground for the new Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, a 33,000-square-foot center designed to provide comprehensive outpatient health care to more than 11,000 SMU students throughout each school year.

A $5 million gift from the Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation funded the new building named for the late Dr. Bob Smith ’44, ’46, long-time Dallas pediatrician and SMU alumnus. The funding will enable center staff to increase promotion of student wellness through health education, medical services and counseling and psychiatric services.

“From caring for some of Dallas’ youngest patients to establishing medical care facilities for patients of all ages, Dr. Bob Smith demonstrated his devotion to health care in Dallas his entire life,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “This gift to name the health center honors Dr. Smith’s love of his alma mater and supports good health for all SMU students.”

The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center is scheduled for completion in spring of 2016.

The new two-story building is designed to provide outpatient medical care for students, including laboratory, radiology and pharmacy services. Students will receive care from the center’s full and part-time physicians as well as from part-time specialists in dermatology, gynecology and sports medicine in ten newly equipped exam rooms with private waiting areas. The medical care area of the facility also will include two new consultation rooms for physician-patient meetings, two rooms for patient observation and a treatment room. In addition, the expanded space includes offices for the addition of dental services at the center, as well as space for extended evening and weekend hours for student care.

“The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center will provide medical and mental health care with a focus on promoting wellness and sound health decision-making,” said Lori White, SMU vice president for Student Affairs. “Research shows that there is an important link between a student’s wellness and the ability to thrive academically. Encouraging students to make healthy lifestyle decisions while in college will provide them with a firm foundation for enjoying a healthy life post-college.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

Posted in News, Save the Date | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

SMU seismologist Brian Stump named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Brian W. Stump, Albritton Professor of Geological Sciences and AAAS Fellow, SMUSMU seismologist Brian Stump has been named an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow for distinguished contributions to his field, particularly in the area of seismic monitoring in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. Stump, Albritton Chair of Geological Sciences in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences of SMU’s Dedman College, is the fifth SMU professor to be recognized as an AAAS Fellow.

> Learn about Dr. Stump’s work at the SMU Research blog

“Dr. Stump is a scientist of the first rank and brings the results of his outstanding research into the classroom, where his students benefit from his example and insights as a scholar,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He richly deserves the AAAS recognition by his peers and we are proud that he calls SMU home.”

“Brian’s work has been seminal in scientists’ ability to rapidly and accurately discern the difference between an earthquake, a conventional explosion (such as might occur in a mining accident) and a nuclear test,” said James Quick, SMU vice president for research and dean of graduate studies. “His research is tremendously important to all of us, and yet he is equally committed to teaching and serving as a mentor to young faculty.”

> SMU News: SMU-UT study shows “plausible” connection between DFW quakes and saltwater injection well

Stump is well known regionally for his continued work researching the increase of small earthquakes that have been occurring in North Texas since 2008. But his work in detecting ground motion from explosions has for more than 20 years proved invaluable to the United States government in ensuring that the world’s nuclear powers abide by their agreements related to underground nuclear testing. He served as scientific adviser to the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Disarmament from 1994 through 1996 and continues to be called upon frequently to assist the U.S. government in the interpretation of seismic and acoustic data.

“I’m humbled by the recognition by the AAAS that science impacts the society in which we live,” Stump said. “I really believe that. And the work we’ve done at SMU on inducted seismicity in North Texas has that same blend of real science and societal impact.”

> Brian Stump on CBS-11 News: Report looks at drilling wastewater and North Texas earthquakes

For the last five years Stump has chaired the Air Force Technical Applications Center Seismic Review Panel, which provides a review of federally funded efforts in nuclear monitoring. He served as a committee member on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Seismology and Continental Dynamics from 2007 through 2012, and recently completed a term as board chair for Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), a consortium of more than 100 universities funded by the National Science Foundation.

Stump joined SMU in 1983 from the Seismology Section of the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. He graduated summa cum laude from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon with a bachelor of arts in physics in 1974, received a master of arts from the University of California-Berkeley in 1975 and received his Ph.D. in geophysics from UC-Berkeley in 1979 after completing a thesis titled Investigation of Seismic Sources by the Linear Inversion of Seismograms.

SMU faculty previously named as AAAS Fellows:

  • Volcanologist and research dean James Quick, who was named a Fellow in 2013
  • Environmental biochemistry scholar Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs and a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, who was named a Fellow in 2003
  • Anthropologist David Meltzer, Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory in the Department of Anthropology who was named a Fellow in 1998
  • James E. Brooks, provost emeritus and professor emeritus in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, who was named a Fellow in 1966.

The AAAS Fellows program began in 1874. AAAS members may be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering group of their respective sections, by three Fellows, or by the association’s chief executive officer. Each steering group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and forwards a final list to the AAAS Council, which votes on the final list of Fellows.

> Read more from SMU News

Posted in Faculty in the News, For the Record, News, Year of the Faculty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Research: Blue-light blues – SMU study shows how artificial lighting can interfere with health, sleep, even animal migration

A NASA image of Earth’s city lights using data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program.

An image of Earth’s city lights using data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. (Credit: NASA)

An SMU study funded by the National Institutes of Health is unraveling the mystery of how blue light from residential and commercial lighting, electronic devices and outdoor lights can interfere with the natural body clocks of humans, plants and animals – and the negative consequences it can bring.

Exposure to blue light is on the increase, says SMU chemist Brian Zoltowski, who leads the study, “Protein : Protein interaction networks in the circadian clock.”

At the right time of day, blue light is a good thing. It talks to our 24-hour circadian clock, telling our bodies, for example, when to wake up, eat and carry out specific metabolic functions. In plants, blue light signals them to leaf out, grow, blossom and bloom. In animals, it aids migratory patterns, sleep and wake cycles, regulation of metabolism, as well as mood and the immune system.

But too much blue light — especially at the wrong time — throws biological signaling out of whack.

“As a society, we are using more technology, and there’s increasing evidence that artificial light has had a negative consequence on our health,” said Zoltowski, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

“Our study uses physical techniques and chemical approaches to probe an inherently biological problem,” he said. “We want to understand the chemical basis for how organisms use light as an environmental cue to regulate growth and development.”

SMU Assistant Professor of Chemistry Brian Zoltowski

SMU Assistant Professor of Chemistry Brian Zoltowski

Zoltowski’s lab was awarded $320,500 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health to continue its research on the impact of blue light. They are studying a small flowering plant native to Europe and Asia, Arabidopsis thaliana – a popular model organism in plant biology and genetics, Zoltowski says.

Although signaling pathways differ in organisms such as Arabidopsis when compared to animals, the flower still serves an important research purpose. How the signaling networks are interconnected is similar in both animals and Arabidopsis. That allows researchers to use simpler genetic models to provide insight into how similar networks are controlled in more complicated species like humans.

In humans, the protein melanopsin absorbs blue light and sends signals to photoreceptor cells in our eyes. In plants and animals, the protein cryptochrome performs similar signaling.

Much is known already about the way blue light and other light wavelengths, such as red and UV light, trigger biological functions through proteins that interact with our circadian clock. But the exact mechanism in that chemical signaling process remains a mystery.

“Light is energy, and that energy can be absorbed by melanopsin proteins that act as a switch that basically activates everything downstream,” Zoltowski said.

Melanopsin is a little-understood photoreceptor protein with the singular job of measuring time of day. When light enters the eye, melanopsin proteins within unique cells in the retina absorb the wavelength as a photon and convert it to energy. That activates cells found only in the eye — called intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglian cells, of which there are only about 160 in our body. The cells signal the suprachiasmatic nucleus region of the brain.

“We keep a master clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus — it controls our circadian rhythms,” he said. “But we also have other time pieces in our body; think of them as watches, and they keep getting reset by the blue light that strikes the master clock, generating chemical signals.”

The switch activates many biological functions, including metabolism, sleep, cancer development, drug addiction and mood disorders, to name a few.

“There’s a very small molecule that absorbs the light, acting like a spring, pushing out the protein and changing its shape, sending the signal. We want to understand the energy absorption by the small molecule and what that does biologically.”

The answer can lead to new ways to target diabetes, sleep disorders and cancer development, for example.

“If we understand how all these pathways work,” he said, “we can design newer, better, more efficacious drugs to help people.”

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog

Posted in Faculty in the News, Research, Year of the Faculty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

SMU Woman’s Club raises scholarship funds with cookbook project; recipes accepted until Dec. 15, 2014

Stock photo of gingerbread manThe SMU Woman’s Club is seeking festive and favorite recipes from all over the University community for a cookbook project to benefit its scholarship fund.

All recipes are welcome, including side dishes, main courses, desserts, sweets, food gifts, game-day snacks, kosher and ethnic treats, and vegetarian recipes, says Kathy Barry, Woman’s Club president. The deadline for submissions is Friday, Dec. 15, 2014.

The cookbook is scheduled for publication in October 2015; ordering information will be available in the spring. All proceeds benefit the SMU Woman’s Club Scholarship Fund, which helps support a female University student in need of financial assistance.

Over the past two years, the Woman’s Club has provided a total of $16,800 in monetary support, Barry says – including funding for a young woman from a family of four children who were all paying their own way through school. “She told us that without this support, she could not have stayed at SMU,” Barry adds.

For more information, or to send in your favorite recipe, email Kathy Barry.

Visit the SMU Woman’s Club online

Posted in News, Save the Date | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Extra discounts at the SMU Bookstore during 2014 Faculty and Staff Appreciation Days Dec. 3-5

Stock photo of a wrapped holiday giftSave money on your holiday shopping at the SMU Bookstore during 2014 Faculty and Staff Appreciation Days. From Wednesday, Dec. 3 through Friday, Dec. 5, present your faculty/staff SMU ID at the cash register to receive an extra 15% off all regular-price items – a 25% total discount – and an extra 50% off clearance stock.

Some exclusions apply, including textbooks and tablets. The extra discount is also not applicable to other discounts and promotions. No discounts are available on gift cards.

Visit on Wednesday, Dec. 3 from 5-7 p.m. to enjoy coffee, cookies and live holiday music during the Faculty and Staff Appreciation Days kick-off. For more information, call the SMU Bookstore at 214-768-2435.

Posted in Calendar Highlights, Save the Date | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Meadows Theatre presents Look Homeward, Angel Dec. 3-7, 2014

LHA 9344The Division of Theatre in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts mounts its final production of 2014 with Look Homeward, Angel, running Wednesday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 5, in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

Based on the autobiographical novel by Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel is an acclaimed 1957 adaptation by playwright Ketti Frings. Tracing the coming of age of Eugene Gant, the play is set in the small town of Altamont, North Carolina where Gant’s mother runs The Dixieland Boarding House.

The Meadows production is directed by Benard Cummings, professor of theatre in Meadows School of the Arts. Before returning to his alma mater to teach acting, Cummings performed in regional theaters across the country, as well as Off-Broadway and on episodic television. Additionally, Cummings has taught acting at SUNY-Purchase and Stella Adler/NYU, as well as the summer apprentice company at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

Tickets for faculty, staff and students are $7 and can be purchased online. For more information, call 214-768-2787. A full cast list can be found below.

Look Homeward, Angel

Dec. 3-5, 2014

Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center, SMU

LHA 9477Crew

  • Director – Benard Cummings
  • Scenic Director – Russell Parkman
  • Costume Designer – Amanda MacArthur (M.F.A. ’16)
  • Lighting Designer – Janet Berka (M.F.A. ’15)
  • Sound Designer – Jason Biggs
  • Vocal Coach – Anne Shilling
  • Movement Coach – Sara Romersberger
  • Music Compositions – Derrick Horne (MFA M.M. Composition, ’16)
  • Music Advisor – Pamela E. Pagels (Music Librarian, SMU Central University Libraries)
  • Stage Manager – Alejandra Flores (B.F.A. ’16)

Cast

  • Eliza Gant – Tiana Johnson (M.F.A. ’16)
  • LHA 9215W.O. Gant – Timothy Paul Brown (M.F.A. ’16)
  • Ben Gant – Kamen Casey (B.F.A. ’16)
  • Eugene Gant – Robert George (B.F.A. ’16)
  • Helen Gant Barton – Caitlin Galloway (B.F.A. ’15)
  • Hugh Barton – Jesse Karmazin (B.F.A. ’15)
  • Luke Grant – Nick Miller (B.F.A. ’16)
  • Laura James – Dagny Sanson (B.F.A. ’16)
  • Will Pentland – George Colligan (B.F.A. ’16)
  • Dr. Maguire – Taylor Harris (M.F.A. ’16)
  • Mrs. Marie Pert – Jenna Richanne (B.F.A. ’15)
  • Jake Clatt – Blake Rhett Murray (B.F.A. ’15)
  • Mrs. Clatt – Kathleen Bennett (B.F.A. ’15)
  • Madam Elizabeth – Andrea Flowers (B.F.A. ’15)
  • Miss Florry Mangle – Katy Tye (B.F.A. ’15)
  • Mrs. Snowden – Madeleine Boudreaux (B.F.A. ’16)
  • Mr. Farrell – Ian Hill (B.F.A. ’16)
  • Miss Brown – Joanna Coogan (B.F.A. ’17)
  • Tarkinton – Matthew Talton (B.F.A. ’16)
Posted in Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News, Year of the Faculty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Calendar Highlights: Dec. 3, 2014

rhetoric-of-genocide-bookcoverPublic Debate: SMU Debate Team vs. National Debate Team of Rwanda: Sponsored by the Meadows School’s Division of Communication Studies, SMU hosts a one-hour debate with the Rwandan national debate team Wednesday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m., in Umphrey Lee Center, Room 241. The topic for the evening debate is “The United States has an obligation to take the international lead against global instances of genocide.” The SMU debate team will take the affirmative and Rwanda will take the negative. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, email Dr. Ben Voth or call 214-768-2787.

Christmas Worship Services: The annual Christmas Worship Services will take place Thursday, Dec. 4, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., in Perkins Chapel. These services reflect the liturgical context of the Advent season, the musical traditions of Perkins School of Theology and Meadows School of the Arts, and the muliticultural environment of SMU. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 214-768-2091.

Houston Faust Mount II Book Signing: The SMU Central University Libraries present a book signing for Oilfield Revolutionary: The Career of Everette Lee DeGolyer with author Houston Faust Mount II Thursday, Dec. 4, 6 p.m., in the DeGolyer Library. The novel explores DeGolyer’s influence on oil exploration through national politics, geology and philanthropy. For additional information, visit the CUL News blog.

Meadows Symphony: Meadows School of the Arts presents Meadows Symphony Orchestra: Mozart, Weber and Strauss Friday, Dec. 5, 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 7, 3 p.m., in the Caruth Auditorium. The performance will feature Meadows Associate Professor Carol Leone as a soloist for Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor, as well as Weber’s Overture to Der Freischutz and Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. Tickets are $7 for students, faculty and staff. For more information, call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Posted in Calendar Highlights, For the Record, Save the Date, Year of the Faculty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

SMU adds online course option for Jan Term 2015

SMU’s Jan Term – previously known as the J Term – is expanding again, adding its first online course offering to the dozens available at the SMU-in-Plano and SMU-in-Taos campuses. The 2015 Jan Term is scheduled for Jan. 5-14.

The January interterm session’s first online offering will be “Introduction to
Markets and Culture” (SOCI 2377), taught by Debra Branch of the Department of Sociology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

> Course description for “Introduction to Markets and Culture” online

In addition, continuing SMU students who live on the main campus may remain in their current campus housing during Jan Term 2015 at no additional charge. Students must register with Residence Life and Student Housing by 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8 if they plan to stay in their current campus residence during Jan Term.

In another new program enhancement, Jan Term courses are now available for registration through My.SMU. Students should meet with an adviser to select appropriate courses before they enroll.

The accelerated interterm session offers more than 50 courses at a reduced tuition rate; students can complete one three-credit-hour course in eight concentrated days. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Jan Term (short for January Term) allows students to complete one three-credit-hour course at a discounted tuition rate before the start of the spring semester. For Jan Term 2015, regular undergraduate students will pay a reduced tuition rate of $1,211 per credit hour ($3,633 per course). To avoid a late fee, payment is due by Friday, Dec. 19. Parking is free on the SMU-in-Plano campus, and no decal is required.

Watch a video about Jan Term from SMU News’ Myles Taylor

The Jan Term program allows students to use the time between the fall and spring terms to focus on a course of interest or stay on track for graduation. Students also can fulfill General Education or University Curriculum requirements.

This year’s offerings include courses from the Cox School of Business, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Lyle School of Engineering, Meadows School of the Arts and Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Students participating in Jan Term at SMU-in-Plano will be responsible for their own housing; discounted hotel rooms are available at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott-Plano, about a mile from the Plano campus. Shuttle service is also available. Information about housing at SMU-in-Taos during Jan Term is available here.

For more information, e-mail the SMU Jan Term program or call 214-768-3657.

> Learn more from the Jan Term homepage at smu.edu/janterm

Posted in News, Save the Date | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Peter Raad receives ASME medal for outstanding achievement

Peter Raad, professor of mechanical engineering in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, received the Allan Kraus Thermal Management Medal on Nov. 18, 2014, at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition in Montreal.

Raad was honored for outstanding achievements in thermal management of electronic systems and for his commitment to the field of thermal science and engineering. He was selected for innovative research in deep-submicron metrology (the science of measurement); for determining 3-D temperature fields in electronic devices using 2-D thermal measurements; for exemplary teaching and mentoring; and for leadership in cross-disciplinary research as well as educational initiatives at the intersection of industry and academia.

“Professor Peter Raad is an internationally known expert in thermal management of electronic systems,” said Ali Beskok, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Lyle School. “His selection by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to receive the 2014 Allan Kraus Thermal Management Medal is indeed a well-deserved distinction. Professor Raad is an excellent teacher as well as an outstanding researcher, and I am honored to have such topnotch faculty members in our department.”

“Professor Raad is well deserving of this prestigious award,” said Volkan Otugen, senior associate dean of the Lyle School. “He exemplifies all facets of a great academician: In addition to his ground-breaking research in thermal management of electronics, he is an inspired teacher and advisor, as well as a pioneer in engineering education.”

Raad has received more than $2.5 million in support for his research in tsunami mitigation and in metrology of submicron electronics. He has published more than 50 journal articles and holds U.S. and international patents in thermal metrology and computational characterization of multiscale integrated circuits. He is an ASME fellow and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Raad also is a member of the American Physical Society; Sigma XI, the Scientific Research Society; and Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society.

Born in Lebanon, Raad studied at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, earning a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in1981, a master of science in 1982 and his Ph.D. in 1986.

Posted in For the Record, News, Year of the Faculty | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off