demystifying mitochondria ,
making strides for
with the aid of student
those with spinal cord
discoveries pg . 02
injuries pg . 12
solutions for saving the
planet â€™ s most threatened resource pg . 14
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With more than one-third of Americans classified as obese, Marquette researchers MOVe to tackle the epidemic in a big way
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Research in Action Welcome to the 2014 edition of Discover magazine! In May 2013, Marquette University’s Board of Trustees approved a strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries: Setting the Course for Marquette’s Future, developed with extensive input from the university community. “Research in Action” was identified as one of six strategic themes in the new plan, supporting the advancement of the work of our superb community of scholars. The faculty featured here clearly demonstrate why the concept of Research in Action is seen as an integral part of the university’s future. Faculty and students are striving in their research and scholarship to work together in new ways. For example, the Marquette Obesity Venture — or MOVe — is a grass-roots network of faculty from across campus who are using their expertise to tackle a significant societal problem and are beginning to link their efforts in research, education and community engagement. Faculty from across campus are collaborating to improve rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injuries. A team of faculty and undergraduate students
is engaged in a detailed examination of how evidence is used at sexual assault trials, including the emerging use of social media in the courts. Some of the cuttingedge work in wastewater analysis and treatment by our engineers and scientists is also featured in this issue. The critical integration of research and teaching on our campus is clearly evident in the work of faculty such as Dr. Rosemary Stuart from the Department of Biological Sciences. This edition of Discover features these and many other examples of the accomplishments of individual scholars, as well as research teams. With this edition of Discover, we are introducing a new feature that provides updates on some of our faculty profiled in previous editions. There is also a fresh new layout thanks to the outstanding editorial team. I invite you to visit marquette.edu/research to learn more about research and scholarship at Marquette University.
Dr. Jeanne M. Hossenlopp Vice Provost for Research
d i s c o v e r m a g a z i n e is published annually by Marquette University and is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communication. We appreciate your feedback. Please send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Editorial and design team
Sarah Painter Koziol, editor; Stephen Filmanowicz, advising editor; Becky Dubin Jenkins, copy editor; Sharon Grace, art director
Ann Christenson, Brian Dorrington, Becky Dubin Jenkins, Stephen Filmanowicz, Erik Gunn, Chris Jenkins, Jesse Lee, Bruce Murphy, Christopher Stolarski
Contributing photographers and illustrators Dan Johnson, John Nienhuis, Kat Schliecher, John Sibilski, Ben Smidt, iStock Images, Getty Images, Shutterstock
table of contents 0 2 P OWERHOUSE With students by her side, Dr. Rosemary Stuart pursues breakthroughs in the study of mitochondria.
M ONKISH MYSTERIES AND IMPIOUS INTRIGUE Lurid chapbooks stoked anti-Catholic hostility in 18th- and 19th-century England.
0 6 MOVe researchers tackle the complex problem of obesity from several directions.
NE STEP AT A TIME A multiO disciplinary team aims to improve the functionality of people with spinal cord injuries.
C LEAN WATER Marquette researchers focus on one of the planetâ€™s most threatened resources.
S OLVING THE PUZZLE Professors learn how pieces of evidence fit together in sexual assault trials.
2 2 R ESEARCH IN BRIEF Lost land, mortgage myths, mapping tools and more. 2 8
U PDATES Read what researchers have accomplished since they last appeared in Discover.
B OOKSHELF Notable publications written or edited by Marquette faculty in the past year.
table of contents
Powerhouse Renowned for her research and teaching, a Marquette professor is pursuing breakthroughs in the study of mitochondria — the fuel plants of our cells — with students ever by her side
Dr. Rosemary Stuart left what many researchers would consider a dream job to come to Marquette. Focused since her undergraduate days on the study of mitochondria — the tiny organelles known as our cells’ “powerhouses” for their role synthesizing the adenosine triphosphate that cells use to fuel their work — Stuart had a position at a leading center of mitochondrial research in Munich, Germany. At that early point in her career, the Dublin, Ireland, native already had a significant
By Stephen Filmanowicz
marquette university discover magazine 2014
scientific discovery to her credit, a handful of assistants at her disposal and minimal teaching obligations to distract from her progress in the lab. So when she and her husband began considering relocating their young family to his native Wisconsin, Stuart naturally wondered how such a move might affect her research prospects. Then she noticed a timely job posting in the Department of Biological Sciences. Could Marquette actually
be a place to grow as a scientist and an educator, another role with deep appeal to her? “When I came and interviewed here and met my colleagues, I knew this is where I needed to be,” she recalls. “I realized the integration of research and teaching was what I wanted.” The ensuing 14 years have confirmed the wisdom of Stuart’s decision and made her a paragon of the Marquette teacher-scholar — the only professor to date to be recognized with the university’s top awards for teaching and research, the Marquette Teaching Excellence Award and Lawrence G. Haggerty Faculty Award for Research Excellence. Her pursuit of mitochondrial mysteries is now inseparable from the satisfaction she gets helping students in the classroom grasp sub-cellular interactions — or the camaraderie she feels making advances in her field alongside the undergraduate and graduate students in her lab.
so they can become subunits of the OXPHOS machinery, this investigation remains a fruitful project in Stuart’s lab, funded by a three-year $540,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. A particular focus is the role of a protein known as Oxa1, which anchors ribosomes to the mitochondria’s inner membrane. Stuart helped discover Oxa1 in her German days. Then a few years ago, working as they typically do with yeast as a reliable stand-in for human cells, team members discovered a previously unknown mitochondrial protein. Now known to be present up and down the evolutionary chain from yeast to humans, this hypoxiainduced gene protein, dubbed Hig1, physically joins two of the five complexes in the OXPHOS system and appears to help them coordinate their activity. Through a $340,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, researchers in Stuart’s lab are working to elucidate this interaction. “We’re trying to understand how Hig1 helps these enzymes hold hands so they can communicate directly. If one has to work hard, it can tell the other one, ‘You need to work hard, too.’ ”
It’s a brilliantly reciprocal system, but one that requires precise tuning. If the OXPHOS machinery underperforms, “it’s as if the body has a power failure,” says Stuart. “The other extreme of over-excitation of these enzymes can also be damaging because they can produce toxic byproducts such as superoxide radicals or reactive oxygen species.” In aiming to better understand this finely honed regulation, Stuart’s team, up until a few years ago, focused primarily on one important mechanism — how much OXPHOS machinery gets built in the first place. Involving the actions of tiny structures within the mitochondria known as ribosomes that synthesize and position necessary proteins
As thrilling as it was to be part of another breakthrough (teams from Utah and Germany also happened upon Hig1 around the same time), the best part of the story for Stuart was something else. An undergraduate assistant in her lab, Andrew Furness, Arts ’07, now a doctoral candidate in evolutionary biology at the University of California–Riverside, made the discovery. “If it wasn’t for a really smart undergraduate working in the lab who said, ‘What’s this?’ we wouldn’t be where we are,” she relates. The story confirms what she appreciates most about her career here. “I got hooked on research and the process of scientific discovery as an undergrad, and that’s why I really loved coming to a place like Marquette. I like research, and I love understanding how a system works and that’s really great, but the most fulfilling part of what I’m doing is using this as a system to educate and train the next generation of scientists.”
Stuart’s lab now shines light on the complex inner workings of mitochondria from more than one direction. To a great degree in vital organs like the heart and a lesser degree in tissue such as fat, cells require ATP to power their workload. And in unlocking energy from it, they convert ATP into a form of cellular spent fuel known as ADP. That’s where a network of five enzymes in the mitochondria kicks in. Through a process called oxidative phosphorylation, this enzyme system — known as the OXPHOS machinery for short — pulls in ADP from the cell and converts its diphosphate into the triphosphate of ATP, fresh fuel to keep the heart pumping.
Dr. Rosemary Stuart Professor, Biological Sciences
“... the most fulfilling part of what I’m doing is using this as a system to educate and train the next generation of scientists.”
Monkish mysteries and impious intrigue In a religiously divided England, chapbooks painted a lurid picture of the Catholic Church The religious climate in 18th- and 19th-century England can be characterized as anti-Roman Catholic. It actually had been since the reign of King Henry VIII, who broke from the Catholic Church and established the Church of England in the early 1500s.
By Ann Christenson
marquette university discover magazine 2014
Dr. Diane Long Hoeveler, professor of English, thinks the expansion of cheap printing presses helped spread this air of hostility toward the Catholic Church â€” at least among the lower classes â€” churning out popular literature booklets known as chapbooks. Such books were cheap to produce.
Because they were light on text and heavy on images (which Hoeveler describes as looking like primitive comics), they appealed to a less-educated, superstitious audience. By fanning the flames of bigotry, the chapbooks stirred up the lower classes who, in turn, opposed voting rights or property ownership for Catholics. Hoeveler, a scholar of late 18th- and early 19thcentury British literature and author of three books, says she began this research when she “stumbled on” the chapbooks at the British Library in London some five years ago. At the time, she was surprised to discover examples of 15 chapbooks. She later learned there were more than 65 anti-Catholic chapbooks published during this period. In her book, the award-winning Gothic Riffs: Secularizing the Uncanny in the European Imaginary, 1780–1820, Hoeveler offers the first complete study of “collateral Gothic” genres, which include chapbooks, as well as operas, ballads and dramas.
Dr. Diane Long Hoeveler Professor, English
Some of the chapbooks are claimed by authors, but many are anonymous. It’s tempting to speculate on the identity of these nameless, venom-spewing authors. We know some of them were related to high-ranking members of the Church of England, while others were Anglican ministers. The majority, however, are unknown and we will likely never know their identities. In the vein of the Gothic novel genre — think of 1764’s The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole — the books show scenes lurid and violent. Motifs include murderous monks, tyrannous abbots, imprisoned women and victimized, suicidal nuns. The plots are outlandish, melodramatic and shocking, even by 21st-century standards. A common theme is the beating down of women by menacing, bloodthirsty monks. The setting is often an abbey, convent or isolated castle, but these backdrops are not havens of peace. They are rather dens of iniquity. Hoeveler speculates that the chapbooks were created to “slow down the passage” of the Catholic Emancipation Bill, which allowed Catholics to sit in Parliament, obtain higher education, vote or own property. (The bill was passed in 1829.) Hoeveler, whose efforts are supplemented by several of her graduate students in the English Department, has been working with Marquette’s Raynor Memorial Libraries to digitize her research on a site called the Gothic Archive, at marquette.edu/gothic. This growing digital collection features 31 chapbooks held at public
and private libraries in the United States, Europe and Canada. Hoeveler’s graduate students provided the summaries and supporting materials for these works. Also included in the fascinating collection is a “Glossary of the Gothic.” It expounds on themes like androgyny, deformity, entrapment and female sexuality and what these motifs mean to the larger body of work. In the chapbooks, a woman’s sexuality is treated as anything but healthy and normal. If left unchecked, it will lead to wanton behavior, unwed pregnancy, infanticide and murder. Another evocative piece in this archive is the gallery of images, which envelops the viewer in the requisite Gothic gloom. It is not difficult to imagine that the stories combined with haunting images of knife-wielding monks would fulfill their mission of keeping the populace in fear of Catholics.
Centering on hypocritical clergy and an unholy alliance between church and king, Elizabeth Meeke’s Monkish Mysteries is filled with the kind of anti-Catholic tropes found throughout the era’s chapbooks.
It is not difficult to imagine that the stories combined with haunting images of knife-wielding monks would fulfill their mission of keeping the populace in fear of Catholics.
Hoeveler has slated an additional 30 chapbooks for inclusion in the Gothic Archive. To facilitate the posting of these works, she plans to apply for a grant to the National Endowment for the Humanities. Hoeveler’s fourth book, The Gothic Ideology: Religious Hysteria and Anti-Catholicism in Popular British Fiction 1780–1880, will be published in May 2014. The book and all research related to it was made possible by a three-year grant from a Way Klingler Humanities Fellowship.
monkish mysteries and impious intrigue
1 in 20 people is considered â€œextremelyâ€? obese.
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Dr. Linda Vaughn Professor, Biomedical Sciences
For Dr. Linda Vaughn, obesity is more than a significant problem. She considers it a modernday plague. p Vaughn, a professor of biomedical sciences, was designing the curriculum for her class, Modern Plagues: Addiction, Obesity and Stress, when she started looking into what other obesity-related research was being done on campus. p “I was really kind of amazed that, as I kept on checking, there were more and more people,” Vaughn says. “When I’d find one person, they’d talk about Researchers somebody else. So I said: ‘Wow, MOVe in a major way to there are a lot of people here. Why tackle obesity don’t we get together?’ ” p Today, Vaughn is director of the Marquette Obesity Venture — MOVe for short — a collaborative network of faculty working on different aspects of obesity. Drawing from all corners of campus, the group provides a wideranging approach to a complex problem. p Eventually, Vaughn would like to see the venture become a vehicle to pursue interdisciplinary grants, streamline Marquette’s obesity-related community outreach efforts and foster student involvement. p Here’s a look at a few of the projects helping MOVe get up and running. By Chris Jenkins
Jury’s out: obesity, discrimination and the law
Dr. Judith McMullen Professor, Law
Professor of Law Judith McMullen was beginning to see obesity become a significant issue in family law, her area of expertise. What started as a little digging eventually became a research paper for one of the Law School’s publications, Elder’s Advisor Law Review. She examines societal attitudes toward obesity and how those attitudes are represented in the legal system. How much protection do people have if they’re fired — or not hired — because they’re obese? “The laws on this are complicated — and kind of unsettled,” McMullen says. “The bottom line is there are not a lot of legal protections in the workplace for people who are obese.” Though McMullen cites a wide array of research that points to obesity as a disease, she says current policies — from employment law to what’s covered under health care plans — often reflect the perception that obesity is simply a matter of willpower. “In this society, it is very difficult, the stuff people have to put up with in terms of verbal abuse and unsolicited advice and just getting treated like they’re invisible,” McMullen says. “Nobody should have to go through that.”
Choi, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, is studying animals’ physiological responses to food to help determine how the human brain regulates the body’s energy intake and storage. Choi says the biological systems that govern food consumption go far beyond making sure the body eats enough to stay alive. “All these things that we think are personalities — I’m a chocolate fiend or I’m a chip fiend — really are more dictated by the signaling patterns in your brain,” Choi says. “We can see some of that. That makes it very interesting to know that these are not necessarily in our voluntary control. It’s really our physiological makeup.”
marquette university discover magazine 2014
In one experiment, a group of animals was given access to regular food in its cages 24 hours a day, then given tastier food for 30 minutes a day. The animals began to ignore the regular food and wait for the tastier food to arrive — then overeat, knowing the tastier food would be taken away soon. Are there certain genes that dictate this behavior? Choi is part of a group that received a $400,000 grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse to develop a new animal model that can more closely model human physiological reactions to conditions such as compulsive eating. Choi says researchers are only beginning to understand how it all works. “It’s as simple as: ‘Eat less. Exercise more,’” Choi says. “But it’s as complicated as the universe.”
For Dr. SuJean Choi, the key to fighting obesity can be found in the brain.
Dr. SuJean Choi Associate Professor, Biomedical Sciences
Your brain: hard-wired for chocolate?
not a one-sizefits-all solution Even within the context of a country with an obesity epidemic, the Bread of Healing clinic stands out.
“This is much higher than the general public and much higher than the African-American community in other areas,” says Dr. Robert Topp, the College of Nursing’s associate dean for research. “So they’ve got a serious problem.” Topp’s first reaction? Let’s get these patients dieting and exercising. Dr. Angelique Harris Assistant Professor, Social and Cultural Sciences
But Dr. Angelique Harris, an assistant professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences, knew it wasn’t that simple. Based on her knowledge of cultural responses to health issues, Harris advised Topp that this group would be more likely to identify conditions related to obesity, such as diabetes or hypertension, as the problem — rather than obesity itself. A series of focus groups proved her correct. “For this population, they have so much going on that obesity is the least of their concerns,” says Harris. “Also, there’s nothing telling them being obese is bad.” Based on feedback from the focus groups, community health workers are devising new approaches to help patients make healthier choices. The project — Promoting Healthy Body Weight among African-American Women through a Community Participatory Model — is funded by a two-year $200,000 grant from the Healthy Wisconsin Partnership Project. The next step is to form support groups, conduct motivational interviewing and put together a list of culturally sensitive recipes. “We’re not telling people they have to be thin,” says Kimberly Salas Harris, who is directing the project for the College of Nursing. “It’s trying to get them to make better decisions about their life.”
30+ The Body Mass Index number that defines obesity.
Dr. Robert Topp Associate Dean for Research, Nursing
Among African-American female patients at the clinic, which is housed in Milwaukee’s Cross Lutheran Church and staffed by Marquette nursing students, 50 percent of people are obese. Another 30 percent are overweight.
reboot robot your workout Could a robot serve as a personal trainer? Dr. Andrew Williams thinks so.
Dr. Andrew Williams Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Williams, Grad ’95, professor and director of the College of Engineering’s Humanoid Engineering and Intelligent Robotics Lab, and his students have programmed a humanoid robot to demonstrate and do exercises with humans.
Williams paired the robot with small groups of college students — and through the use of Nike Fuel wristbands that measure activity, preliminary results indicate that students who worked out with the robot coach outperformed control groups. “One of the most effective means for obesity intervention is to have a personal trainer that’s meeting with you regularly and motivating you,” Williams says. “But it’s also the most expensive. So our goal is to develop the algorithms and programs for the robots to do effective health coaching and also build low-cost robots that can go into people’s homes and coach kids.” Williams is collaborating with the College of Nursing’s Dr. Robert Topp and Dr. Christopher Simenz, clinical associate professor of exercise science. The next step is to pair the robot with fourth- and fifth-graders. “I think the challenge is going to be keeping them interested,” Williams says. “With kids, we plan to do things more with games, exercise and fitness games, and even nutrition games. As they do well in that game, they unlock new levels of intelligence and interaction in the robot.” To see a video about this project, visit marquette.edu/robot.
marquette university discover magazine 2014
1 in 3 young people, ages 6-19, is considered overweight or obese.
For seven years, Marquette students have been working to improve the fitness and self-esteem of children in a working-class, predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in Milwaukee. Called Youth Empowered to Succeed, it’s a partnership with the United Community Center and is funded by grants from the U.S. Office of Minority Health. The students have found that even a simple change such as cutting in half the calories in a school lunch can make a difference; in six weeks, kids lost an average of about three and a half pounds each. Dr. Lawrence Pan, a professor in and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, wants to prove the value of programs such as YES by collecting more big-picture data: Can you calculate the value to society, for example, of a teenage girl avoiding an unwanted pregnancy? Collecting such data would allow YES to better focus its efforts toward helping kids get healthier and have success in school. “Eventually, that would test some different hypotheses in terms of what are our different approaches to improving student success rates,” Pan says. Marquette students in YES also lead study time and art projects — another approach intended to help the kids do well in school and move on to college. “When you work with kids, you really have the opportunity to change people’s lives,” says Dr. Paula Papanek, associate professor and program director of the exercise science degree program. “And I think Marquette mentors feel that. I’ve got pictures of our Marquette mentors who have gone to these kids’ junior high graduations. That’s priceless.”
Fun with fiber Obesity is a complex issue, but that doesn’t rule out simple solutions. How about having children mix fiber powder into their orange juice? “Reversing the obesity epidemic takes a lot of smaller steps,” says Dr. Marilyn Frenn, a professor in the College of Nursing. Dr. Marilyn Frenn Professor, Nursing
Frenn’s “fun with fiber” study asks children to take a certain amount of prebiotic fiber every day and participate in an online program. Using a bioimpedance meter — a handheld device that estimates body composition — a pilot study found children who were taking fiber had reduced body fat. They were eating fewer calories and less saturated fat. Next, Frenn and a researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin plan to analyze stool samples to see if the fiber helped increase the amount of “good” bacteria in study participants’ intestines. Frenn is working with parents, too. Supported by grants from the Northwestern Mutual Foundation and Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin, Frenn developed an online program to encourage healthy eating. The program promotes “authoritative parenting,” the idea that parents should give clear guidance and choices rather than being overly strict or too lenient.
Dr. Lawrence Pan Professor and Chair, Physical Therapy
Saying yes to fitness and nutrition
“Other studies have shown that if you intervene with parents, that’s even better than intervening with kids,” Frenn says.
Dr. Brian Schmit Professor, Biomedical Engineering RESEARCHER 1 2
One step at a time Collaborators seek to improve the functionality of individuals with spinal cord injuries As a professor of biomedical engineering, Dr. Brian Schmit understands that using a combination of approaches is often the best way to answer questions and solve problems. For his latest research initiative, Schmit drew collaborators from across Marquette — in fields like physical therapy, exercise science and statistical mathematics — to study cardiovascular systems during exercise in people with incomplete spinal cord injuries. “When you hear spinal cord injury, you think paralysis,” Schmit says. “But only about half of people with spinal
By Jesse Lee
marquette university discover magazine 2014
cord injuries are paralyzed. Exercise is extremely important. They can’t move as much or as well, so cardiovascular health is compromised.” Schmit’s research, which recently earned him a $325,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, is expected to have a direct impact on the clinical management of rehabilitation in people with spinal cord injuries. “The results of this study will have implications for exercise training to improve functional movement — including walking — in these patients,” Schmit says. “We’re looking at issues like blood flow, cardiovascular health and muscular activity, all done in a clinical setting.”
For Schmit, the clinical aspect is key, which is why he asked Dr. Allison Hyngstrom, assistant professor of physical therapy in the College of Health Sciences, to join the research team. “Having a physical therapist is critical,” Schmit says. “Allie brings a clinical perspective to this project that is essential.” Hyngstrom, who has a doctorate in neuroscience along with her physical therapy degree, has long studied motor impairment, muscle fatigue and rehabilitative treatment for
“Ultimately we’re trying to find out the level at which training programs will improve motor response and blood flow.” To help answer the blood flow issue, Schmit turned to another former collaborator, Dr. Alexander Ng, an associate professor of exercise science who is an expert on blood flow, specifically as it relates to exercise under impaired conditions. “After spinal cord injury, all of the normal pathways become disrupted,” Ng says. “That’s what makes this research so important.”
Dr. Allison Hyngstrom, Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy
“The results of this study will have implications for exercise training to improve functional movement — including walking — in these patients,” Schmit says. “We’re looking at issues like blood flow, cardiovascular health and muscular activity, all done in a clinical setting.” people suffering from strokes. She worked with Schmit before, and when he asked her to collaborate again, it was an easy decision. “Brian is the principal investigator, but the reality is you can’t really do it by yourself anymore,” Hyngstrom says. “This collaboration is so productive. Often you’ll have one person who has a stronger voice and tends to dictate the project, but in this case it’s a true partnership.” Because the mobility issues in people with incomplete SCI are similar to those who’ve had a stroke, many of the same tools and techniques can be used to test and gather data. One such tool, housed in the Physical Therapy Department, is a split-belt treadmill, one of a handful in the United States. The treadmill’s unique design can measure the force output of an individual’s legs independently, allowing Hyngstrom to measure the quality of movement. “We’re looking for data like — Can they generate sufficient propulsive force? How strong are the leg and hip in relation to the ankle? — for each individual,” she says.
While the research participant is exercising on Hyngstrom’s split-belt treadmill, Ng uses ultrasound to look at the arteries and monitor blood vessel reactions. “We want the vessels to get larger when they’re exercising so we can see the blood feeding the muscle,” he says. With several participants undergoing a variety of tests during a long period of time, there are massive amounts of data collected. Schmit reached out to yet another former research partner, Dr. Naveen Bansal, professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science, to help process it. “In the past, my research was mostly based in theory,” Bansal says. “Now, I see myself as the expert whose role is to formulate problems from different disciplines into statistical frameworks. Problems like this are difficult to solve without cross-disciplinary collaboration.” Schmit agrees. “Biomedical engineering is collaborative by its very nature,” he says. “As long as we can solve the problem, that’s all that matters.”
Dr. Alexander Ng, Associate Professor, Exercise Science
Dr. Naveen Bansal, Professor, Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science
one step at a time
Professor, Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering Dr. Daniel Zitomer, P.E. RESEARCHER
CLEAN WATER Marquette researchers turn their attention to one of the planet’s most threatened resources
In an Engineering Hall laboratory on Wisconsin Avenue, Dr. Brooke Mayer is studying how to use electricity to help clean up wastewater. Her colleague Dr. Patrick McNamara is experimenting with “cooking” sewage sludge to make it safe to use as fertilizer. Meanwhile, less than a block away, Dr. Krassimira Hristova, assistant professor of biological sciences, has been examining how ordinary household products washed down the drain could be turning toxic bacteria into superbugs immune to the medical weapons we’ve relied on for decades to keep them at bay. Over in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Dr. Fabien Josse has been working on the faster detection of fuel and oil contamination in water using electronic sensors. If it works, it will shave valuable hours or even days off the time required to find out if water is pure, or poisonous, and accelerate remediation. Mayer, McNamara, Hristova and Josse are among several Marquette researchers who have turned their
By Erik Gunn
marquette university discover magazine 2014
attention to one of the planet’s most essential — and most threatened — resources: clean, safe water. Marquette researchers’ attention to water has a solid pedigree — both at the university and in the city where it’s located. Milwaukee was one of the first municipalities to employ bacteria to feed on pollutants in wastewater — so-called activated sludge treatment. “Milwaukee was always very proactive in public works,” says Dr. Daniel Zitomer, P.E., professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering and director of the Water Quality Center. The same is true of the university, although Zitomer says that may be coincidental. “Marquette has had a long history of environmental engineering education and research going back to at least the 1960s,” he says. It’s a reputation perhaps better known among insiders in the field. “We’ve always had this very strong program in environmental engineering, but one that’s very quiet,” Zitomer acknowledges. Members of the general public “don’t know about us,” he adds. “But
Images clockwise from the top: Dr. Brooke Mayer works with a student to determine if electrocoagulation can efficiently extract pollutants from drinking water; Milwaukee Water Worksâ€™ Linwood treatment plant, image courtesy of Milwaukee Water Works; Dr. Krassimira Hristova visits the Jones Island Waste Water Treatment Plant in Milwaukee.
marquette university discover magazine 2014
For McNamara, who grew up in the Twin Cities, memories of summers fishing in Sturgeon Lake helped sharpen his professional focus. Today, he and his team of students are investigating how micropollutants — including everyday household chemicals such as triclosan (TCS), an antibacterial agent found in many hand soaps — have affected the environment. They’re exploring several lines of inquiry. One is how TCS, because it kills bacteria, might be affecting the so-called good bacteria used in the wastewater treatment process. Another is the way some of those pollutants increase estrogen levels in fish exposed to them — “fish feminization,” scientists call it. Still another is how to remove such pollutants from biosolids — the solid organic matter left over after the sewage treatment process — so that the biosolids, or sludge, can be used as fertilizer. On that latter question, the team is studying the use of pyrolysis, a
While McNamara’s current work focuses on dirty water that we’ve used, Mayer is looking at water we hope is clean. A Wyoming native who grew up hiking in the mountains, she is examining a variety of techniques to purify drinking water of chemicals and microorganisms that could contaminate it. One established technique is coagulation. If the word brings to mind what your blood does when you have a cut that scabs up, that’s not too far off. “When you think about your blood sticking together, that’s what we’re doing with water,” Mayer explains. Small particles of pollutants — viruses, perhaps, or organic matter — can be made to coagulate by adding metallic salts. As they stick together, they’re more easily removed. The focus of Mayer’s new project, electrocoagulation, gives that a twist. “Instead of adding a chemical to make things stick together, we put electrodes in the water,” she says. The technique has been used in industrial wastewater treatment where pollutants are highly concentrated. “We’re trying to see if we can use it as efficiently in drinking water,” she says. That could be tricky because the pollutants there are at much smaller concentrations.
Her lab is taking on other projects as well. One is to see if phosphorus — long recognized as a water pollutant — can be not just extracted from polluted water but reclaimed as well. Although unwelcome in water because it can cause overgrowth of algae that chokes out other aquatic life, phosphorus is widely used in fertilizer. Currently it is obtained through mining, but with forecasts that it could run out in the next century, recovering it when it’s removed from wastewater could be a major accomplishment. Like McNamara’s, Hristova’s work looks at how common personal care products may help harmful bacteria evolve to be more resistant to antibiotics. “The basic understanding in the public is that antibiotic resistance is related to clinical bacteria,” Hristova says. The concept of powerful germs in hospitals that are immune to ordinary antibiotics is well-known. Her research, however, looks at a much less-known source of resistant bacteria — in the general environment. Hristova collected water and sediment from the Milwaukee harbor near a sewage treatment plant discharge. She wasn’t surprised to find bacteria resistant to antibiotics in the samples; what struck her was the broad spectrum of drugs to which they were immune.
Dr. Brooke Mayer, P.E. Assistant Professor, Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
And it’s a field that, at first blush, might seem anything but glamorous — even downright distasteful. Yet for assistant professors McNamara and Mayer, their interest in the subject grows out of their own love of nature and desire to keep the resources of the wild pristine.
process that is “just burning without oxygen,” McNamara explains. If it succeeds, the process not only will make the sewage treatment process more effective, but it will also provide additional sources of fertilizer.
Dr. Patrick McNamara Assistant Professor, Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
we’re very well-known to the people who need us.”
Her conclusion: “The wastewater treatment plant is actually a cooking pot for antibiotic resistance.” Hristova’s newest project, funded by the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, will study if filter-feeding invasive species such as quagga or zebra, which take in lots of bacteria, might provide a similar breeding ground for resistance. The research has identified antimicrobial household products such as TCS as the primary culprit in triggering resistance, even though TCS is not itself an antibiotic. The findings suggest the need to find treatment methods that remove
marquette university discover magazine 2014
compounds such as TCS or antibiotics or develop new ways to manage them in the waste stream, Hristova says. The goal of Josse’s work using electronic sensors to uncover water contamination, he explains, is to more quickly uncover pollution from sources such as leaking underground tanks or pesticides that run off into waterways. A sensor system would allow investigators to confirm contamination at the source instead of sending a water sample off to a lab to be analyzed. Josse’s research earned him the Lawrence G. Haggerty Faculty Award for Research Excellence in 2013. “Direct detection in water is very difficult,” Josse says. “Most of my colleagues will shy away from it.”
A sensor system’s design must account for many different contaminants that users might need to detect — from organic chemicals like petroleum products to pathogenic bacteria or viruses. To achieve the needed flexibility, the system consists of the sensor platform and separate detection materials, usually polymers applied as a microscopically thin coating to the sensor array. A particular coating material will be sensitive to a specific contaminant or class of contaminants. The technologies under investigation include electrically based systems; optical or light-based systems; and microelectromechanical systems. They measure changes in electrical properties (or light amplitude) when they come in contact with molecules of a particular contaminant. Another approach uses advanced infinitesimally small objects — a bit like microscopic diving
Dr. Fabien Josse Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sensors would allow for confirmation of contamination at the source.
Then, with a chuckle, he adds: “As far as I can remember, when you say ‘no’ to me, I say, ‘why?’”
Dr. Krassimira Hristova Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences RESEARCHER 1 8
The results suggested that resistance was spreading much faster than had been expected and that it was being transmitted through plasmids — independent DNA molecules that can pass from one bacterium to another, even to different species. Additional investigation found that the resistant bacteria weren’t populous in the wastewater entering the treatment plant.
With funding from the Water Equipment and Policy Center, Joshi, professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering, is developing a meter that more accurately measures the flow of fluids — such as water — using ultrasonic waves. “There are several companies making ultrasonic meters,” Joshi says. “But they’re still expensive compared with the conventional meters. One of our aims is to lower the cost.” boards (known as microcantilevers), Josse says — whose vibration changes when they contact specific molecules. His current work entails making systems more sensitive so they can detect contamination at levels matching pollution standards. The project is also striving to better distinguish the “signal” — the accurate reading — from the “noise” — all the factors that can interfere with or distort the data. “Every time we think we’ve solved this problem, something else has come up,” Josse says. A wide variety of other projects is under way at Marquette as well. One that particularly intrigues Zitomer is a study to identify the makeup of the microbial populations being used in about 50 different industrial, municipal and agricultural treatment “digesters” — the vats that house the microbes and treat the waste. The goal is to establish which ones are the fastest and most effective. Surprisingly, he notes, there isn’t an established “recipe” of microbes; new plants using the technology typically populate their digesters with a colony from another plant. Advances in technology and basic scientific knowledge are changing the field dramatically, Zitomer notes, triggered in large part by the lessons in examining DNA that was derived from the human genome studies. “The tools to understand the microbial community evolve very quickly and keep changing,” he says. “We can do so much more than we could 15 years ago.” And he’s upbeat about prospects for the discipline, particularly at Marquette. “I just see the future as very bright for developing more sustainable wastewater technologies here,” Zitomer says.
To use ultrasound to measure water flow, a pair of ultrasonic transducers is placed on opposite sides of the pipe carrying the water. One transducer generates a sound wave at a frequency typically around 1 MHz (the highest frequency most humans can hear is about 20 kHz). The time it takes for the sound wave to travel through the pipe and the water in it varies with the speed of the water, allowing the system to measure the speed, and therefore the volume, of water passing by. Joshi’s version is still in the research and development stage. He expects it will take about one to two years to come up with a laboratory prototype ready for testing and that commercial availability could be about two to three years away.
It’s not the same as cleaning water, but Dr. Shrinivas Joshi’s work contributes to water-system sustainability in another way.
Dr. Shrinivas Joshi Professor Emeritus, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Until now, cost has been “the major stumbling block” in using ultrasonic measurement, Joshi says. “We’ve lowered the cost and made it wireless.” The product also has been developed to operate without requiring a power supply, saving more money. And, he says, it will also benefit from longevity. Mechanical water meters tend to wear out over time, and utility regulators often require replacing them every 10 years to protect consumers from inaccurate readings. “The meter we’re developing has no moving parts,” Joshi says. “You may not have to replace the meter for a very long time.”
Solving the puzzle
Professors study sexual assault trials to learn how evidence pieces fit together When Drs. Heather Hlavka and Sameena Mulla joined the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences in 2008, the two quickly learned they shared a research interest â€” sexual violence against women. For both professors, this interest was spurred by the experiences of friends who became part of a disturbing statistic: One in five women has been sexually assaulted.
By Sarah Painter Koziol
marquette university discover magazine 2014
Dr. Sameena Mulla Assistant Professor, Social and Cultural Sciences
Since the first phase of their research began in 2013, Hlavka, Mulla and three undergraduate research assistants have spent hours upon hours in Milwaukee courtrooms observing at least 20 trials and hundreds of proceedings, including motion hearings, pleas, sentencing hearings and jury selections. They’ve documented courtroom elements not recorded by the stenographer — facial expressions, gestures, emotions, family interactions and off-record dialogues. The collaborators will analyze these observations in addition to court transcripts, media coverage, and their own interviews with prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, forensic nurses and victim-witness advocates to produce their findings.
This research project has also become a teaching tool. In 2010, Hlavka and Mulla implemented a courtmonitoring program for undergraduate students to observe courtroom proceedings to teach them qualitative and quantitative research methods, immerse them in the justice system, and instill a sense of civic responsibility. The researchers also partnered with community advocacy groups. “Sameena and I both had a background in working within our communities before we came to Marquette,” Hlavka says. “It’s very important to us to work with the service providers, who work so hard for victims but don’t have the means we do, to share our data and results with these community partners and continue our dialogue on sexual assault with them.”
Mulla says social media has become an accepted form of evidence to hold people accountable in the court system.
With plenty of compelling data gathered, the team has numerous research avenues to pursue. One of Hlavka and Mulla’s research objectives is to learn how forensic evidence is used in the courtroom. Previous research indicates forensic evidence might help get a case to the trial stage, but its presence does not necessarily lead to convictions. Perhaps their research will explain this inconsistency. The professors note that because 75 percent of all assault cases are committed by someone known to the victim, most cases rely heavily on testimony instead of science.
If the relevance of forensic evidence is sometimes inconsequential, then the researchers must also investigate the role of voices in the courtroom. So the research is layered: How are victim and defendant testimonies used? How does the opposition manipulate them? How are expert witnesses presented to judge and jury, and how is their expertise proved or disproved?
Hlavka and Mulla plan to finish courtroom observations this spring and will write a book to share their findings. More immediately, they will present to their peers one research discovery they weren’t expecting: how social media is used and understood in the courts. Text messages, Facebook posts and cell phone tracking data are all being introduced Forensic evidence by both sides to might help get a case to prove or disprove the trial stage, timelines, state but its of mind, intent, knowledge and presence character. Mulla says social media has does not become an accepted form of evidence necessarily to hold people accountable in the lead to convictions. court system; however, the standards of evidence for it have been unevenly adopted by civil and criminal courts, with strict and much looser standards, respectively.
Dr. Heather Hlavka Assistant Professor, Social and Cultural Sciences
How do the prosecution and defense use assault stereotypes and myths: the “disturbed monster offender” versus the “asking-for-it, sexually promiscuous” victim, for example?
A significant $100,000 National Science Foundation grant provided an opportunity for Hlavka, with a criminology perspective, and Mulla, with an anthropology one, to combine the tools of their disciplines to study how evidence is used, presented and processed in sexual assault trials. It appears this study will be the first of its kind to base its observational findings on of assaults are committed by more than a few trials. The busy Milwaukee someone known to the victim. County Court system — with four courts dedicated to homicide and sexual assault cases — provides ample opportunity to observe many more.
When their research project is complete, Hlavka and Mulla hope they will have helped move the discourse of sexual assault trial research forward. They also share a greater goal. “We’re hoping to shed light on how our institutions are responding to sexual assault, but we ultimately want to find ways we and these institutions can stop sexual assaults,” says Mulla.
solving the puzzle
research in brief
Dr. Andrew Kahrl Assistant Professor, History
paradise lost: the decline of african-american coastal land ownership in the 20th century Dr. Andrew Kahrl has been a fan of James Brown and other R&B singers since childhood. As a graduate student, he intended to study black music and culture, but the research introduced him to many Southern beaches and resorts where black musicians would play. He’d never heard of these places and was curious to learn more. Such was the genesis of Kahrl’s doctoral dissertation and his award-winning book The Land Was Ours: African American Beaches from Jim Crow to the Sunbelt South, which was chosen by the Organization of American Historians as the best book in civil rights history for 2012. Kahrl’s tragic narrative traces the history of blacks who had for decades owned millions of acres of mostly Southern coastal land, property they could afford to buy in the decades after emancipation because it was seen as marginal. But in the mid20th century, such land was rediscovered as more whites had the means to vacation at increasingly popular seaside resorts (all strictly segregated), while black owners began to create them for African-Americans. Coastal property became evermore valuable because of modern engineering efforts, new bridges and federally subsidized flood insurance. Some black owners sold the land because they couldn’t get loans to develop it or because rising assessments — based on the land’s new potential for development — made the
taxes unaffordable. Others were forced to sell as white developers worked hand-in-hand with white tax assessors who jacked up the value of coastal land. “I’d come across examples of gross manipulation of assessments,” Kahrl notes. Struck by how easily assessments could be manipulated, Kahrl was inspired to begin a second book, which, he says, “will take a sliver of the first book and look at it in a much broader way.” He points to the small town of Edwards, Miss., where black homeowners paid high property taxes but received no services: no sidewalks, sewer lines or garbage pick-up. “They got nothing for their taxes” and essentially subsidized the services for white homeowners, Kahrl notes. Typically, the assessment books were segregated in Southern states until the 1960s, with one for white-owned properties and one for black-owned properties. Kahrl is taking digital photos of “hundreds and hundreds” of pages of assessment records and transferring the data to spreadsheets to quantify the results. “What I’m finding is that African-Americans paid more for property taxes than other property owners,” he says. “The practice goes all the way back to the end of Reconstruction.” BRUCE MURPHY
Images used with permission: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, and University Archives, Hampton (Va.) University
marquette university discover magazine 2014
“Many of the pre-service — or prospective — teachers we work with learned in a procedural way, which will shape how they will one day teach the subject,” says Dr. Leigh van den Kieboom, assistant professor of educational policy and leadership in the College of Education. “Our research is pinpointing specific ways in which pre-service mathematics teachers can build a foundation of knowledge, become more flexible, and enhance their teaching and learning.” For this research, van den Kieboom collaborated with colleagues in mathematics, statistics and computer science, Drs. Marta Magiera and John Moyer, in the College of Arts and Sciences. Together, they published their research examining pre-service middle school teachers’ knowledge of algebraic thinking in the April 2013 issue of Educational Studies in Mathematics.
"If we don't act, we could face some 6,000 unfilled software-related jobs in the state by the end of the decade.”
Students’ achievement closely relates to their teachers’ mathematical knowledge, van den Kieboom emphasizes. She and Magiera have also spent the past three years working with 30 teachers from the West Allis-West Milwaukee school district, a partnership funded by the U.S. Department of Education, to better prepare educators to teach algebra and algebraic thinking. Their recent research findings came just six months before an October 2013 announcement that Marquette was named the lead recipient of a $1 million three-year collaboration to lead an ambitious rollout of a new ninthand 10th-grade introductory computer science course in school districts across Wisconsin. Dr. Dennis Brylow, associate professor of mathematics, statistics and computer sciences, is teaming with Magiera, the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin–Dairyland chapter of the Computer Science Teacher Association to teach computing concepts through enhanced curriculum and provide a pathway for more teachers to become certified to teach advanced computing courses throughout the state.
When it comes to finding the formula for educating the next generation of computer scientists and mathematical wizards, a few Marquette faculty members just might have begun to crack the code. It starts by building an engaging curriculum and teacher knowledge base.
Dr. Leigh van den Kieboom Assistant Professor, Educational Policy and Leadership
Finding the formula for high school math and computing instruction
“For years, innovation in information technology has driven economic growth,” Brylow says. “If we don’t act, we could face some 6,000 unfilled software-related jobs in the state by the end of the decade.” BRIAN DORRINGTON
research in brief
research in brief
AN AWARD-WINNING LOOK AT GLOBAL LABOR RELATIONS With his newest book, Dr. Duane Swank, professor of political science, waded into controversial waters, examining if a decline in unions and government protections for the poor is an inevitable result of an increasingly globalized economy. And what Swank and co-author Dr. Cathie Jo Martin of Boston University found is quite surprising. Their book, The Political Construction of Business Interests: Coordination, Growth, and Equality, shows that in Nordic and Benelux countries like Denmark or Belgium, which have multiparty systems, business leaders inevitably organize on a national basis to help put together a majority coalition and maximize their political power. These national business groups are then more likely to cooperate with national labor representatives and support union contracts, programs to retrain workers, unemployment benefits and other safety net programs. By contrast, in Anglo countries like the United States or England, with a twoparty system, business groups are decentralized, are competitive with each other and don’t work cooperatively with national labor groups. As a result, a country like Denmark spends three times more on programs for workers than the U.S., where labor market spending is expressed as a percent of Gross Domestic Product. The authors did an in-depth statistical analysis contrasting different countries and found “troves of evidence in archival material” going back more than a century to back up this theory, Swank notes. Swank worked for 10 years on the book, which won the prestigious 2013 J. David Greenstone Award from the American Political Science Association. BRUCE MURPHY
Mortgage deduction a myth for mosT Amer icans One of the largest expenditures in the U.S. tax code, the mortgage interest deduction is often thought to be a lure toward homeownership. But for the majority of Americans, it’s merely a mirage, according to research by Dr. Andrew Hanson, assistant professor of economics. In research commissioned by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Hanson demonstrated that less than a third of taxpayers actually benefit from the deduction and most of the benefit is skewed to those who earn more than $100,000 per year and live on the coasts. “The two greatest misconceptions about the mortgage interest deduction are that many people believe they benefit from it and that it promotes homeownership,” Hanson says. In Milwaukee and Chicago, only about 24 percent of taxpayers who earn less than $100,000 receive any benefit from the deduction while 78 percent of those who earn more than $100,000 get a benefit. “This simply doesn’t promote homeownership,” Hanson says. “Those who benefit from the deduction are not deciding between renting and owning — they’re deciding between a large home and an even larger home.” CHRISTOPHER STOLARSKI
marquette university discover magazine 2014
Dr. Eugenia Afinoguénova Associate Professor, Spanish
Tr avel ing Spa in, yesterday an d today Dr. Eugenia Afinoguénova is uniting past and present Spain with a new mapping tool that connects 19th-century literary descriptions to the country’s popular destinations. After analyzing more than 40 era travel books, the associate professor of Spanish’s international team has compiled data such as when and where people traveled; what places they visited; how they described these places; and how long it took to get there. Like modern-day counterpart Trip Advisor, these trendy travelogues of yore were influenced by writers’ opinions and backgrounds, even though they aimed to be authentic. As a result, the texts reaffirmed cultural biases as much as they told the adventures of the countryside, theorizes Afinoguénova. “American authors immersed in the Civil War reported on associations with governance and political struggle, while British travelers preoccupied with colonial enterprise were mostly interested in defending or refuting Catholicism or exploring the ‘Moorish’ Spain,” she notes. Another finding of the project: “Places most often described are not necessarily your standard tourism destinations,”
Afinoguénova says. “These findings give small towns an opportunity to rebrand themselves as traditional destinations.” Dr. Praveen Madiraju, associate professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science, created the prototype tool that pins related database text to mapped destinations. As a scholar, Afinoguénova envisions this as a research tool, which allows users to see how different variables affect the stories people tell about places. She has no doubt it will also tempt tourism professionals. “People decide to visit a place based on its reputation that is steeped in oral and written tradition,” she says. SARAH PAINTER KOZIOL
Check out this evolving project at spanishtravelers.com.
research in brief
research in brief
Computation al chem ist discovers compoun d’s du alITY As a child, Dr. Qadir Timerghazin was torn between two loves: computers and chemistry. He split his time performing experiments and programming code. Then he discovered computational chemistry. “Once I realized I could do chemistry in a computer, I was excited,” Timerghazin says. “I wasn’t particularly interested in the life science research — but more about how molecules are made, the details of their electronic structure.” Timerghazin, assistant professor of computational chemistry, used powerful computers to model various chemical compounds, often for the fun of learning how they were made and how they reacted. It was this modeling exploration that led to an important discovery. “By chance, I ran across this class of compounds — S-nitrosothiols,” he says. “Everyone was excited about their role in the nitric oxide biochemistry that controls many essential physiological processes.”
“ ... by discovering the dual, antagonistic character of these compounds, we could explain many of the existing controversies surrounding it.”
Nitric oxide, first thought to be just a poison, is also essential to human life. The S-nitrosothiols (RSNOs) it forms are still not well understood, but Timerghazin’s discovery may change that. Mirroring his own duality in his love of computers and chemistry, Timerghazin discovered a duality in the RSNOs — he actually describes the compound as having “multiple personalities.” “I realized that, by discovering the dual, antagonistic character of these compounds, we could explain many of the existing controversies surrounding it,” he says. “By changing the environment, we can force the compound to choose one of the two ‘personalities,’ essentially becoming an entirely different molecule.” The importance of this discovery and its implications in the biomedical field earned Timerghazin a prestigious early career award from the National Science Foundation, worth $400,000 toward furthering his research. JESSE LEE
marquette university discover magazine 2014
NEW TOOL TO IMPROVE ELECTRICAL MACHINE DESIGN Dr. Nabeel Demerdash, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and his research team are developing the next generation of computational design tools that combine finite element electromagnetic analysis and novel optimization algorithms to enhance the design of electrical machines for higher efficiencies and minimum cost. This project — from Marquette’s Electric Machines and Drives Lab — highlights the successful collaboration of academic and industrial research. During the past three years, the lab’s work has attracted more than $180,000 in funds from industrial sponsors, namely the A.O. Smith and Regal Beloit corporations. The tools developed in this project will assist motor and generator designers in the tedious and iterative design process. Furthermore, automated design tools will provide the means to tackle more complex problems that deal with multiple design objectives and constraints, thus leading to more efficient use and generation of electric energy. In addition, Demerdash and his graduate students are using a $425,000 award from the National Science Foundation to
investigate fault prognostics/diagnostics and fault-tolerant operation of electric machines and drives. Demerdash recently was recognized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and its Power and Energy Society and Industry Applications Society for authoring two “prized papers.” STEPHEN FILMANOWICZ AND JESSICA BAZAN
did euphem isms help shield a predator?
clown arouing nd
As the horrors of the Penn State scandal unfolded, some of the euphemisms officials used to describe the actions of former coach Jerry Sandusky provided a psychological shield to discuss otherwiseunspeakable acts of child sexual abuse. Talking in code words may have kept officials from responding appropriately.
Those are the findings of Dr. Jeremy Fyke, assistant professor of communication studies. Fyke and Dr. Kristen Lucas at the University of Louisville co-authored a paper for the Journal of Business Ethics. “There’s all this talk about this ‘culture of silence,’ ” Fyke says. “What we found is that they were actually talking a lot. But it was the words they were using and the way they talked about it that made it so they couldn’t act in the best interests of the victims.” Combing through grand jury testimony and the report by former FBI director Louis Freeh, Fyke and Lucas studied the use of euphemisms such as “horseplay” — implying that Sandusky’s actions were harmless clowning around — and the term “guests” to describe his victims. Fyke says it’s a cautionary tale for organizations: Sometimes, having everyone on the same page isn’t a good thing. “In this case, it led to this culture where there wasn’t action to protect the victims,” Fyke says. CHRIS JENKINS
research in brief
Updates 2 0 1 4
Engineering and speech pathology Dr. Jeff Berry, assistant professor of speech pathology and audiology, and Dr. Michael Johnson, P.E., professor of electrical and computer engineering, have worked together before. Berry was featured in the 2012 issue of Discover for his research in motor speech disorder rehabilitation, which also drew on Johnson’s expertise. Now the two have received more than $600,000 in grants, including a recent $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, to create a pioneering database of the articulatory differences and physical techniques of accented speech. “By focusing on the articulatory methods of speech, we can show the subject the actual movements associated with the sounds they’re trying to make,” Berry says. Building on his rehabilitation research, Berry uses many of the same methods to create the database, which could have implications for automated medical transcription, the military, technical industries and more. The duo is first focusing on MandarinChinese-accented English speakers. “The application of this database for systems like speech-recognition software and other intelligibility applications is tremendous,” Johnson says. “This partnership opens a wide variety of opportunities to expand the field.” JESSE LEE
Here is what faculty have been up to since being featured in previous issues of Discover.
Since he was last profiled in Discover 2013, Dr. Murray Blackmore has had his research bolstered by seed grants and gifts, leading to a recent $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant will fund Blackmore’s continued research into gene therapy reagents and the treatment of brain cells damaged in spinal cord injury, with the ultimate goal of regained motor control in injured patients.
Dr. L. Thomas Johnson retired from the School of Dentistry in late 2013, but his bite-mark research — which asserts that under the right circumstances and if the scientific method is applied — may be able to provide valid evidence in criminal cases for years to come.
In early 2013, Blackmore, assistant professor of biomedical sciences, hosted the Bryon Reisch Paralysis Foundation, Spinal Cord Injury Sucks, and Unite 2 Fight Paralysis to provide updates on his research. The groups, two of which are founded by people with severe spinal cord injuries, presented Blackmore with $130,000 to purchase necessary equipment upgrades. Blackmore cites this seed money as a major catalyst toward securing his larger NIH grant. “You often need some startup funds to advance your research to the point where you can pursue larger grants,” he says. “The gifts and donations we receive from these groups are invaluable.” Blackmore used the seed funding to purchase a personal image cytometer — an automated microscope that uses computer algorithms to rapidly analyze complex images and collect detailed data from millions of cells in a process called High Content Screening. The accelerated discovery process helped Blackmore in his grant application, ultimately leading to funding. JESSE LEE
First profiled in Discover 2007, the renowned forensic odontologist and adjunct professor received three research awards to work to establish a basis for applied science that can be used in the clinic and courtroom. Johnson; Dr. Tom Radmer, adjunct assistant professor; Tom Wirtz, dental informatics director; Dr. Dean Jeutter, P.E., biomedical engineering professor; and Dr. Joseph Thulin, director of the Biomedical Resource Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin; had their scientific paper published in January by the National Institute of Justice. The paper provides a template for image specialists to evaluate and rank dentition patterns against a benchmark to determine their evidentiary value and computer applications that will enable an accurate, reliable and repeatable way to evaluate bite-mark patterns. With bite-mark analysis, “We can’t say for certain, ‘That’s Charlie,’” Johnson, Dent ’61, says. “But if he has some very unusual teeth that few people in the population are likely to have, then the attorneys can take this into account along with the proximity, the opportunity, the motive, to argue their case.” BECKY DUBIN JENKINS
Marquette Bookshelf The Way We Lived: Essays on Nigerian History, Gender and Society by Dr. Chima Korieh, associate professor of history, analyzes the impact of European colonialism since the late 19th century and Atlantic slave trade on Nigerian societies and the Igbo region in Africa. The Sacrament of the Eucharist by Rev. John Laurance, S.J., associate professor of theology, investigates the nature of the Eucharist, primarily using the work of Rahner, Kilmartin and Chauvet. International Monetary and Financial Economics by Dr. Joseph Daniels, professor of economics, covers the key concepts of international financial economics and open economy microeconomics by relating the material to current business and policy issues. German Immigrants, Race, and Citizenship in the Civil War Era by Dr. Alison Efford, assistant professor of history, explores how German immigrants influenced the rise and fall of white commitment to African-American rights in the United States. The Dilemma of the Sexual Offender, 4th Edition by Dr. Mary Ann Farkas, associate professor of criminology and law studies, examines the world of sexual offenders through psychiatric, legal, moral and bio-social analysis.
Sustaining Living Culture by Dr. Kevin Gibson, associate professor of philosophy, discusses best practices for sustaining vulnerable cultural practices being eroded by forces of development and homogenization.
Children and Youth During the Civil War Era by Dr. James Marten, professor of history, seeks a deeper investigation into the American historical record by giving voice and context to the struggles and victories of children and youth during the Civil War period.
The Web of Violence: Exploring Connections Among Different Forms of Interpersonal Violence and Abuse by Dr. John Grych, professor of psychology, creates a basis for understanding the interconnections across forms of violence throughout the lifespan.
Chicago in the Age of Capital: Class Politics and Democracy During the Civil War and Reconstruction by Dr. John Jentz, research and instructional services librarian, traces the evolution of modern societal structures by examining the dramatic capitalist transition in Chicago from the 1850s through the 1870s.
El Arca de la Memoria, 2nd edition by Dr. Dinorah Cortés-Vélez, assistant professor of Spanish, examines a young girl’s struggle to cope with the trauma of a family day at the beach that culminates in tragedy. Science, Faith and Human Fertility: The Third Conference on Ethical Fertility Health Management by Dr. Richard Fehring, professor emeritus of nursing, is a collection of papers from the third conference on ethical fertility health management, covering the latest research on nutrition and fertility, the use of intercourse patterns and breastfeeding for avoiding pregnancy, and the philosophical, theological, sociological and cultural aspects of natural family planning.
The Judeo-ChristianIslamic Heritage: Philosophical and Theological Perspectives by Dr. Irfan Omar, associate professor of theology, is a collection of essays by a wide array of North American scholars who provide studies of language, discourse, debate and reasoning with a focus on theological and philosophical issues central to the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Interested in more books? Check out all the offerings written and edited by Marquette faculty at marquette.edu/research/books.
Office of the Provost Zilber Hall, Suite 448 P.O. Box 1881 Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Marquette University, Office of Marketing and Communication, P.O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881, USA.
Marquette University’s strategic plan identifies RESEARCH IN ACTION as a priority. It affirms the excellence of research and scholarship of our faculty and students and encourages the university to advance this commitment with a distinctive emphasis on excellence in strategically defined areas. • Marquette’s overall award volume in fiscal year 2013 reached a record high, with faculty receiving more than $29.1 million in awards. • The university’s technology transfer and commercialization program continues to grow, and there was a record number of invention disclosures in fiscal year 2013. Two patents have been issued since then, and an exclusive license agreement was finalized. • More than 80 faculty are members of the National Institutes of Health-funded Clinical and Translational Science Institute
of Southeast Wisconsin. Members, other faculty and students regularly participate in CTSI-sponsored grant competitions, educational and networking opportunities, and the development of Marquette’s clinical and translational rehabilitation health science graduate program. • Marquette faculty edit several scholarly journals, from the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy to the International Journal of Systematic Theology.
• The Department of Special Collections and University Archives houses more than 17,000 cubic feet of archival material and more than 11,000 volumes, including more than 8,000 titles in the rare book collection. The J.R.R. Tolkien Collection features the author’s original manuscripts of The Hobbit, all three volumes of The Lord of the Rings and two lesser-known works.