Sept. 8, 2011 | 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.]

Physics Professor Named Officer in French Legion of Honor

Cecile DeWittCécile DeWitt-Morette, the Jane and Roland Blumberg Professor of Physics emerita, has been promoted to the rank of Officer in the French Legion of Honor. The Order is the highest decoration in France, and her promotion within the Order is a major honor. It recognizes Dewitt-Morette’s continuing contribution to French science and culture.

Dewitt-Morette was first named to the Legion of Honor, as a knight, in recognition of the role played by a school she founded in the revival of theoretical physics after World War Il.

News and Information

Vice President for Research Fellowship and Award Deadlines

  • UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPS fall deadline is Sept. 12, 2011
  • SPECIAL RESEARCH GRANTS are now available for the 2011-2012 academic year, until funding is expended
  • SUBVENTION GRANTS – applications for 2011-12 are now being accepted. Awards not expected to begin until mid-October

Find information and nomination forms (available in Word or PDF) at the Awards, Fellowships and Grants page.

A reminder: The Office of the Vice President for Research is now in Room 426 in the Flawn Academic Center.

Annual Cyber Security and Information Intelligence Research Workshop

The theme of the seventh annual Cyber Security and Information Intelligence Research Workshop (CSIIRW) is energy infrastructure cyber protection. The workshop will be held at Oak Ridge National Laboratory Oct. 12-14, 2011.

Featured keynote speakers represent the Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, United States Cyber Command, National Nuclear Security Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation.

Details on the workshop topics and registration can be found at the Cyber Security and Information Intelligence Research Workshop Web site.

Quoted-UT Researchers in the News

New York Times Book Review
Sept. 1, 2011
HEADLINE: A Portal to 1920s Greenwich Village

Molly Schwartzburg (An essay in the New York Times opens the door on an exhibition at the Harry Ransom Center organized by Molly Schwartzburg, the curator of British and American Literature at the center.)

When Molly Schwartzburg, the Ransom Center’s Cline curator of literature, first saw the door, she knew it could be the basis of an ambitious online exhibition. “Googling random names, I realized pretty much everyone was someone who had been known at the time,” she said in a telephone interview.

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 Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program: Discovery Award
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, Oct. 13, 2011; Proposal, Nov. 22, 2011

100 Year Starship Solicitation Announcement
Deadline: Nov. 21, 2011

Biologically-derived Medicines on Demand
Deadline: Nov. 15, 2011

Visual Media Reasoning
Deadline: Dec. 26, 2011

Department of the Interior

National Parks Service/National Center for Preservation Technology and Training Technological Innovation: The 2012 PTT Grants Program
Deadline: Oct. 17, 2011

National Parks Service
IMRO-Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program
Deadline: Nov. 1, 2011


Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowship
Deadline: Nov. 18, 2011

Department of Transportation

Commercial Remote Sensing & Spatial Information Technologies Program
Deadline: Oct. 14, 2011

National Institutes of Health

NIDCD Research On Hearing Health Care
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, Sept. 30, 2011; Application, Oct. 31, 2011

NEI Translational Research Program on Therapy for Visual Disorders
Deadline: Jan. 25, 2012

National Science Foundation

Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (with USAID)
Deadline: Nov, 30, 2011

Ecology of Infectious Disease
Deadline: Dec. 7, 2011

Arts, Humanities and Culture

The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music
Grants for 2012
Deadline: Nov. 1, 2011

Other Funding Opportunities

The Welch Foundation
Research Grants for Chemistry Research at Texas Universities and Colleges
Deadline: Feb. 1, 2012

American Association for the Advancement of Science
AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships
Deadline: Dec. 5, 2011

Research Project

The Betalain Secondary Metabolic Network

Alan LloydRESEARCHER: Alan Lloyd, professor, Section of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology
AGENCY: National Science Foundation
AMOUNT: $682,857

Beets and roses are red for completely different reasons. Virtually all flowering plants contain one of two mutually exclusive red/purple pigment pathways, anthocyanins or betalains. The anthocyanin biosynthetic / regulatory network has been heavily studied and occurs in the vast majority of taxa including the major crop families: Poaceae (grasses), Brassicaceae (canola, mustards, cole crops), and Rosaceae (apples, pears, cherries). Betalains on the other hand are restricted to certain families of a single order, the Caryophyllales, where they assume the role of anthocyanin pigments in all biological contexts. These roles include attracting pollinators and seed dispersal agents, and as protective pigments during stress and aging. The betalain families contain crop species and ornamentals that are grown worldwide and form important staples in many agricultural economic systems, including Beets, Spinach, Amaranthus, Quinoa, and Prickly Pear cactus. This project is aimed at understanding the betalain biosynthetic and regulatory network at the molecular level and how pigment emergent properties are generated.

While anthocyanins are based on the amino acid phenylalanine, betalains derive from the animo acid tyrosine. Prior to the start of this project, the investigators identified a novel cytochrome P450 enzyme and a MYB-type transcription factor regulator that function in the betalain network. In particular, hypotheses will be tested regarding the identity of the last unknown betalain ring structure biosynthetic enzyme by silencing genes in beet to test their functions and beet gene expression in yeast to test function. One hypothesis is that betalains are regulated by the same set of interacting proteins that regulate the anthocyanin pigment pathway in other plants. The investigators will test this hypothesis using gene silencing and overexpression in beet. Anthocyanin pigments are regulated by well-characterized environmental signals. The hypothesis that betalains are regulated by these same signaling pathways will be tested. In order to ask the question about whether environmental signals work through increasing gene expression of the MYB regulator, plants will be treated with known elicitors and plant hormones, or nutrient deprivation (e.g. phosphate), and expression of all know betalain network genes will be measured. The hypothesis that the MYB regulator directly binds to cis regions of the betalain biosynthetic genes will be tested through protein-DNA binding assays.

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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