May 5, 2011 | Research Alert

Research Alert
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Research Prizes and Honors

[Have you or a colleague won a research-related prize or honor? Let the Research Alert know.]

Chemist Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Peter RosskyDr. Peter Rossky, the Marvin K. Collie-Welch Regents Chair in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Rossky is one of 71 members chosen this year in recognition of his distinguished and continuing achievements in original scientific research.


Professors Elected Fellows of American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Richard Aldrich

William LewisUniversity of Texas at Austin faculty members Richard Aldrich, right, and William Roger Louis, left, have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

The academy, founded in 1780, recognizes international achievement in science, the arts, business and public leadership. Aldrich, the Karl Folkers Chair in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research II and department chair of neurobiology, directs his research toward understanding the mechanisms of ion channel function in neurons and the role of ion channels in electrical signaling and physiology. Louis, the Kerr Chair in English History and Culture and director of the university’s British Studies Program, is a leading scholar of British history. He is the author or editor of more than 30 books on the history, literature and politics of the British Empire.

News and Information

Core Facilites listed on Research Web Site

DNA Analyzer The Office of the Vice President for Research provides links to core facilities available at The University of Texas at Austin at at the Research Resources section of its Web site.

Core facilities cover a wide range of scientific instruments available for conducting research at the university.


Office of Sponsored Projects Holds Open House

The Office of Sponsored Projects and The Office of Industry Engagement will have an open house of their new offices from 3-4:30 p.m., May 18, 2011.

Go to the North Office Building A (NOA), room 5.300, to see OSP’s and OIE’s new home and to NOA 4.300 to see Sponsored Projects Award Administration's new home. Light refreshments will be served.

Quoted-UT Researchers in the News

USA Today
May 4, 2011
Headline: Bin Laden's death a turning point for Millennials

(An article about the impact of the death of Osama Bin Laden on the Millennial Generation in the United States quotes Patricia Somers, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration.)

Patricia Somers Those who grew up in the shadow of the 9/11 attacks also are more connected socially online than earlier generations -- perhaps one way they've compensated for the "look over your shoulder" and don't-trust-strangers environment in which they grew up, says Patricia Somers, an associate professor of Higher Education at the University of Texas-Austin.

"Culturally after a terror attack you realize that you don't know where the next attack may come from. Your world becomes smaller because of that. You may limit your interactions. On the other hand, we've had this huge explosion in social media, which allows people to interact without being in the same place," Somers says.

Research Opportunities

Important University Research Deadlines

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The University of Texas at Austin Stimulus Package Web page is online.

Funding Sources

Department of Defense

FY11 Gulf War Illness Research Program
Investigator-Initiated Research Award
Innovative Treatment Evaluation Award
Clinical Trial Award
Deadlines: Pre-Application, May 25, 2011; Application (by invitation), Aug. 24, 2011

Department of Education

Education Research Grant Programs in 10 long-term programs of research
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, July 21, 2011; Application, Sept. 22, 2011

Department of Energy

Request for Information Fuel Cell Technologies Program Technology Validation Activities
Deadline: June 1, 2011


National Space Biomedical Research Institute
NSBRI Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
Deadlines: Notice of Intent, May 18, 2011; Application, June 20, 2011

National Institutes of Health

National Cooperative Drug Discovery/Development Groups for the Treatment of Mental Disorders, Drug or Alcohol Addiction
Deadline: June 5, 2011

HIV Vaccine Research and Design Program
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, May 24, 2011; Application, July 13, 2011

NLM Express Research Grants in Biomedical Informatics
Deadline: June 5, 2011

Identification and Characterization of Molecular Targets Within the mTOR Pathway With Potential to Impact Healthspan and Lifespan
Deadline: June 16, 2011

National Science Foundation

Research Training Groups in the Mathematical Sciences
Deadline: July 19, 2011

Mentoring Through Critical Transition Points in the Mathematical Sciences
Deadline: July 20, 2011

Earth Sciences: Instrumentation and Facilities
Deadline: July 26, 2011

Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation
Deadlines: July 28, 2011, LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate; Oct. 7, 2011, LSAMP Alliance Proposals, Broadening Participation Research in STEM Education Proposals and Pilot Regional LSAMP Centers of Excellence in Broadening Participation Proposals

Deadline: Oct. 31, 2011

Arts, Humanities and Culture

National Endowment for the Arts
The Bridging Cultures through Film: International Topics
Deadline: June 29, 2011

American Musicological Society
The Thomas Hampson Fund
Supporting Research and Publication on Classic Song
Deadline: Aug. 15, 2011

Other Funding Opportunities

Grand Challenges in Global Health
Explorations Round 7
Deadline: May 19, 2011

Mazda Foundation
Deadline: July 1, 2011

Union for International Cancer Control
Yamagiwa-Yoshida Memorial international study grants
Deadline: July 1, 2011

Research Project

Detection of Carcinomas

Xiaojing Zhang

RESEARCHER: Xiaojing Zhang, assistant professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
AGENCY: National Cancer Institute
AMOUNT: $950,000

A major goal in cancer research is to diagnose the disease earlier. There is substantial evidence that early diagnosis of cancer can improve the cure rate significantly.

This proposal describes an approach to accomplish this using the combination of unique microchips to capture circulating tumor cells in blood and a microscope that can precisely measure particular molecules that are over expressed in cancer cells (called Tumor Markers, TMs). Tumor markers are not typically over expressed in nonmalignant cells. This new microscope can recognize a cancer cell not only by its appearance under the microscope but can measure precisely 10 tumor markers simultaneously. At the same time that this microscope is being further developed and automated, microchips are being developed that can capture tumor cells in the blood. The technology behind the chip combines a sandwich microfluidics-based cell assay with magnetic nanoparticles. Cancers which are invasive shed tumor cells into the blood at a very early stage in their development. At this stage, almost all of these cells will eventually die and not cause metastases. However, as the cancer progresses and the cells become more malignant, some of these circulating tumor cells may lodge in tissues and develop into metastases. We are developing devices at a nanoscale level that will be very effective at capturing the circulating tumor cells and presenting them to the new microscope. The new microscope will analyze these suspicious cells and determine whether or not they are cancer cells by their content of over expressed tumor markers. This will be done before the pathologist determines whether the tumor is malignant by examining a biopsy before treatment. Therefore, depending upon the results, we can ensure that our criteria for calling a suspicious circulating cell, a cancer cell is correct, i.e., the criteria for tumor marker over expression can be raised to minimize false positive diagnoses, so that no nonmalignant cell will be called a malignant one. In addition to early diagnosis, expression of these tumor markers will help the physician to determine which treatments should be administered to the patient.

The Research Alert is an electronic publication from the Office of the Vice President for Research at The University of Texas at Austin. It includes news of research honors and awards, news of research programs and deadlines, researchers quoted in news media, a listing of funding opportunities and a look at a current research project. It is available by e-mail and on the Web.

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