June 30, 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.]

Mathematics Professor Receives Two Honors

Bjorn EngquistBjorn Engquist, professor, Department of Mathematics, and a member of the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, will receive the Peter Henrici prize awarded jointly by Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule-Zürich (ETH Zurich) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).

The Henrici prize is awarded for original contributions to applied analysis and numerical analysis and for exposition appropriate for applied mathematics and scientific computing. The award is intended to recognize broad and extended contributions to these subjects, more than a single outstanding work.

He also was elected to the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in 2011.

News and Information

Office of the Vice President for Research and Office of Research Support Moving to FAC

Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office of Research Support have a new office. Beginning July 5, 2011, both offices will be on the fourth floor of the Flawn Academic Center, FAC 426. The University Mail Code for each remains the same: G1400 (VP for Research), A3200 (Research Support).

OSP Advises on Crowded Early July Submission Schedule

Researchers planning to submit proposals in early July should be aware of factors affecting the Office of Sponsored Projects' workload: OSP will be closed for the Fourth of July holiday on Monday, July 4. No staff will be available to review/endorse proposals. During this time, several major sponsors, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and Department of Defense, have deadlines between July 2, 2011 and July 6, 2011. These are programs that UT Austin investigators generally target so OSP expects a high number of proposals. To ensure timely submission of proposals, OSP asks that researchers work with the office as early as possible.

Quoted-UT Researchers in the News

Wired Science
June 21, 2011
HEADLINE: Streamlined Islands Could Mean Ancient Oceans on Mars

Lorena Moscardelli(UT Austin geologist Lorena Moscardelli of the Bureau of Economic Geology compared features on the surface of Mars with the ocean bottom near Trinidad and proposed that the Mars features were created while they were at the bottom of a Martin ocean.Lesli Wood, a geologist at the BEG, was the co-author of the research study.)

“Most analogies between Earth and Mars are made using continental (onland) data sets or environments,” because that data is easier to gather, Moscardelli said. “I am providing for the first time, as far as I know, a deep-water terrestrial analog.”

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 Agriculture

Critical Issues: Emerging and New Plant and Animal Pests and Diseases (PDF)
Deadline: Aug. 1, 2011

Environmental Protection Agency

Research and Demonstration of Innovative Drinking Water Treatment Technologies in Small Systems
Deadline: Aug. 25, 2011

National Institutes of Health

Advancing HIV Prevention through Transformative Behavioral and Social Science Research
Deadline: Letter of Intent, Dec. 6, 2011; Application, Jan. 6, 2012

National Science Foundation

General & Age-Related Disabilities Engineering
Deadline: Sept. 15, 2011

Documenting Endangered Languages
Deadline: Sept. 20, 2011

National Robotics Initiative
Deadline: Letter of Intent, Oct. 1, 2011; Proposal, Nov. 3, 2011

Algebra and Number Theory
Deadlines: Oct. 4, 2011

National Security Agency

Grants for Research in Mathematics

  • The Young Investigators Grant
  • The Standard Grant
  • The Senior Investigators Grant
  • Conferences, Workshops and Special Situations

Deadline: Oct. 17, 2011

Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

Bridging the Gap: Early Translational Research Awards (PDF)
Deadline: Nov. 22, 2011

Arts, Humanities and Culture

National Gallery of Art
Visiting Senior Fellowship Program, 2011–2012
Deadline: Sept. 21, 2011

Other Funding Opportunities

Burroughs-Wellcome Fund
Career Awards at the Scientific Interface
Deadline: Jan. 11, 2012
[Proposals for this grant should be submitted through the Office of Sponsored Projects via the Proposal Review Form.  For questions, please call 471-6424 or email osp@austin.utexas.edu.]

Research Project

Repair of Genome Destabilizing DNA Structures

Karen VasquezRESEARCHER: Karen Vasquez, professor, Department of Pharmacy, principal investigator
AGENCY: National Institutes of Health
AMOUNT: $306,828

DNA damage and repair are fundamental to human health and disease. The long-term objectives of this application are to: expand our understanding of the role of DNA helical distortions in DNA damage recognition and processing; determine the factors influencing DNA structure-induced genetic instability; elucidate potential mechanisms involved in translocations associated with certain cancers; and further the development of novel approaches to reduce genetic instability in human cells.

In the short term, we will pursue our recent discovery that helical distortions induced by naturally occurring Z-DNA and H-DNA structures are highly mutagenic and can induce DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in mammalian cells. We propose to study the effect of DNA helical distortions on genomic instability in plasmid-based systems as well as on chromosomes in human cells and in transgenic mutation-reporter mice. We will focus on the H- DNA-forming sequence located near the translocation breakpoint in the human c-MYC promoter and the Z- DNA sequence located at a chromosomal breakpoint in the human BCL-2 gene, found in lymphomas and leukemias.

We will determine the role(s) of DNA repair, replication and transcription in the structure-induced genetic instability. We will use our expertise in the introduction of site-specific DNA helical distortions in the form of well-defined intermolecular triplex structures to test our hypothesis that certain types of DNA helical distortions (in the presence or absence of DNA damage per se) are recognized by the DNA repair machinery in human cells. The new information obtained from these studies will provide insight into the mechanisms of non-B DNA-induced genetic instability; the rate-limiting step in human DNA repair (i.e. distortion/damage recognition); and the overlap between nucleotide excision repair and mismatch repair in processing DNA helical distortions.

It will also identify the proteins involved in the generation of DSBs induced by non- canonical DNA structures formed at sequences that map to translocation breakpoints in human cancers.

These discoveries should lead to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of cancers and other diseases that are caused by DNA damage and naturally occurring helical distortions, and ultimately to the development of new approaches to treatment and prevention.

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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