Research Alert | May 10, 2012

Research Alert

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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

DOD logo

Simulation Training and Technology Research and Development
Deadline: Dec. 31, 2015

DoD Autism Idea Development Award
Deadline: Sept. 20, 2012

DoD Autism Pilot Award
Deadline: Sept. 20, 2012

Department of Education

Model Demonstration Projects on Reentry of Students with Disabilities from Juvenile Justice Facilities into Education, Employment and Community Programs
Deadline: June 18, 2012

Department of Energy

Advanced Simulations and Computing Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program
Deadline: June 11, 2012

Department of State

Advancing Careers of Women in Science
Deadline: June 25, 2012


Research Opportunities in Aeronautics
Deadlines: Sept. 30, 2012

National Institutes of Health

Promoting Organ and Tissue Donation Among Diverse Populations
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, June 3, 2012; Application, July 3, 2012

Research on Children in Military Families: The Impact of Parental Military Deployment and Reintegration on Child and Family Functioning
Deadline: June 5, 2012

Exploratory/Developmental Clinical Research Grants in Obesity
Deadline: June 16, 2012

National Science Foundation

David Laude

Data Infrastructure Building Blocks
Deadlines: Conceptualization Track, July 26, 2012; Implementation and Interoperability Tracks, Aug. 30, 2012

Belmont Forum - G8 Multilateral International Opportunities Fund Initiative
Deadlines: Pre-Proposal, July 20, 2012; Full Proposal, Dec. 20, 2012

Arts, Humanities and Culture

National Park Service
Shared Beringian Heritage Program
Deadline: Aug. 1, 2012

National Endowment for the Humanities
Summer Stipends
Deadline: Sept. 27, 2012

Other Funding Opportunities

American Heart Association
National Scientist Development Grant
Deadline: July 17, 2012

Research Prizes and Honors

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

Faculty Awards Promote Algae Fuel Production, Coastal Security

Richard TsaiVenkat RamanTwo University of Texas at Austin faculty members have won Moncrief Grand Challenge Faculty Awards to develop computer models for algae-based fuel production and improve the security of coastal waters.

Venkat Raman, associate professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, and Yen-Hsi “Richard” Tsai, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics, are eligible to receive up to $75,000 during the 2012-2013 academic year to conduct their research at the university's Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES).


Last week a headline incorrectly stated the department affiliation of Nicholas Peppas. He is a professor in and chairman of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

News and Information

Medical School Moves Closer to Reality at University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas Board of Regents voted last week to invest in building a new medical school that will be part of The University of Texas at Austin.

The Regents’ decision to allocate up to $30 million a year from the state's Available University Fund to establish a medical school will allow the university to engage in world-changing medical research and attract top faculty members and students. Just as important, it will ensure more doctors, new jobs and better medical care for Austin, the largest city in the country without a medical school or teaching hospital.

Quoted-UT Researchers in the News

Houston Chronicle
May 6, 2012
HEADLINE: Texas Democrats donating millions, but not to fellow Texans

Sean Theriault (Sean Theriault, associate professor in the Department of Government, said Texas Democrats can make better use of their money by donations for Senate campaigns out of state.)

"Basically, Democrats in Texas are just being smart," said Sean Theriault, a political science professor at the University of Texas. "A dollar given in Texas is likely to go to a sure winner or a sure loser. A dollar given to a candidate in Ohio or Michigan could make all the difference in the world."

Research Project


Sara SawyerRESEARCHER: Sara Sawyer, assistant professor, Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, principal investigator
AGENCY: National Institutes of Health
AMOUNT: $289,603

The molecular evolution of primate DNA double-strand break repair genes will be studied. These genes are important for genome stability, and many cancer syndromes have been linked to mutations in these genes. Interestingly, many members of this gene family bear signatures of recurrent positive selection.

The hypothesis being tested is that these signatures result from the long-term co-evolution between these DNA repair genes and the pervasive, parasitic retroviruses and retrotransposons with which primates have evolved. This may have influenced primate DNA repair genes with respect to both polymorphic and fixed genetic variation.

In this proposed research, large primate sequence datasets will be generated for genes involved in human double-strand break repair, and these will be tested for signatures of recurrent positive selection. Retroviral infection assays will then be used to test whether adaptive sequence change in these DNA repair genes has resulted in altered susceptibility to infection. The consequences of this sequence change to cellular DNA repair will also be explored.

Preliminary data in a cell culture model system shows that one of the most well-known cancer susceptibility genes, BRCA1, may be evolving under the dual selective pressures of DNA repair fidelity and retroviral resistance. Based on this, DNA repair gene evolution can have a profound effect on cancer, and for this reason, it is of great importance that the evolutionary forces that define the evolution of these genes be elucidated. This proposed research is central to the overarching goal of understanding how genetic parasites, through the selective pressures that they exert, shape the sequence of human genes with which they interact.

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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