2020 January 2020 News

Engineer, inventor, researcher and leader

Elizabeth Loboa will join SMU as provost and vice president for academic affairs on July 6. As chief academic officer for the University, Loboa will be responsible for the overall quality of teaching, scholarship and research and all aspects of academic life, ranging from admissions and faculty development to supervision of SMU’s eight schools, library system and international programs.
Loboa, a biomedical engineer, is currently vice chancellor for strategic partnerships and dean and Ketchum Professor of the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri. She brings to SMU a distinguished academic record and broad university leadership experience.
“Dr. Loboa is joining SMU at an exciting time, as we launch a new graduate school and strengthen our commitment to both world-changing research and teaching,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Her proven track record in building and supporting partnerships both inside and outside the academy is exactly what we are looking for as SMU reaches out for collaborations that serve both Dallas and our global community.”
Read more at SMU News.

2020 January 2020 News

A torrent of file-sharing unleashes a flood of innovation

In a new study, SMU strategy professors Julian Kolev and Wendy Bradley analyze the link between digital piracy and innovation in software technology firms. Their research finds that large incumbent firms like Microsoft and Adobe Systems increased innovation after disruptions to their business model occurred as a result of file-sharing technology that allowed their products to be more easily copied or pirated.
“If you expect your ideas and innovations to be pirated, you might not feel as motivated and incentivized to invest in those innovations,” Kolev says. “Our research findings see the opposite: there was an increase in innovative activity on a broad spectrum of measures, including research and development spending, patents, copyrights and trademarks.”
Their analysis used intellectual property and the development of improvements in product software to investigate the effects of piracy on innovation.
Read more at the Cox School.

January 2020 News

Plant-based drug could stem the spread of HTLV-1 virus

A new study by SMU researchers shows that the drug oleandrin, which is derived from the Nerium oleander plant, could stem the spread of HTLV-1 virus. A cousin of HIV, the virus infects 10-15 million people worldwide. It causes cells to divide uncontrollably and can lead to leukemia, neurological disease and even death. There is currently no treatment or cure for the virus.
“Our research findings suggest that oleandrin could possibly limit the transmission and spread of HTLV-1 by targeting a unique stage in the retroviral life cycle,” said Robert Harrod, associate professor and director of graduate studies in SMU’s Department of Biological Sciences in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Harrod is a co-author of the study, published in the Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals.
Read more at SMU Research.

2020 January 2020 News

Focal point: Laura Wilson to receive Literati Award

Friends of the SMU Libraries will celebrate its 50th year and honor photographer and author Laura Wilson with the 11th Literati Award at the annual Tables of Content fundraiser on Saturday, March 28.
Nancy Perot is serving as honorary chair for the event. The proceeds will benefit the annual grants program sponsored by the Friends, which supports the purchase of books, periodicals, electronic resources and other much-needed equipment and materials for all SMU libraries.
Wilson will receive the 11th Literati Award, which honors individuals who have used the written word to advance creativity, conviction, innovation and scholarship and who have had a significant impact on culture and the community through their work. Wilson has published six books: Watt Matthews of Lambshead (Texas State Historical Society, 1989), Hutterites of Montana (Yale University Press, 2000), Avedon at Work (University of Texas Press, 2003), Grit and Glory (Bright Sky Press, 2003), That Day: Pictures in the American West, (Yale University Press, 2015) and From Rodin to Plensa: Modern Sculpture at the Meadows Museum (Scala, 2018).
She is currently working on two projects. Writers, a project documenting 35 writers destined to have a lasting legacy, will become a book and exhibition for the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Making Movies documents directors, cinematographers and actors behind the scenes.
Read more at Friends of the SMU Libraries.

2020 January 2020 News

Good health and happiness go hand in hand

According to a study led by SMU psychologist Nathan Hudson, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that people’s overall sense of happiness is linked to physical health.
As reported by Psychology Today on December 7, 2019, “the question of whether health promotes happiness or vice versa remains a matter of scientific debate. Some findings suggest that people who are healthier just feel better about life; others that some third factor such as personality or genetics causes health and happiness to be related; and still others suggest that people who are happier are healthier because they take better care of themselves.”
The researchers analyzed three years of data for a group of 1,952 participants ranging in age from 17 to 95. They found “it was impossible to separate the dynamic interplay between happiness and health.”
The findings revealed that taking measures to stay healthy, like exercising and getting enough sleep, and focusing on long-term goals can go a long way toward maintaining overall happiness.
Read more at Psychology Today.