THE STATE OF THE MONARCH
IED: NEW PARADIGMS FOR STUDENT RESEARCHERS
DR.RENA BIZIOS NAT’L ACADEMY OF MEDICINE
R E S E A R C H , S C H O L A R S H I P , A N D C R E AT I V E AC H I E V E M E N T AT T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F T E X A S AT S A N A N TO N I O
V O L U M E 8 | 2015 - 2016
CYBER, CLOUD, COMPUTING & ANALYTICS: SCALING UP FOR
8 10 16 20 26
UTSA 1ST: RENA BIZIOS
ELECTED TO THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF MEDICINE
APPLIED RESEARCH FOR A SUSTAINABLE CITY UTSA COMMERCIAL & TECH INNOVATION AWARDS THE STATE OF THE MONARCH
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF INVENTORS ELECTS FIRST UTSA MEMBER
MUSIC FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO TODAY INSTITUTE FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:
NEW PARADIGMS FOR STUDENT RESEARCHERS
CENTER FOR INNOVATION, TECHNOLOGY & ENTREPRENEURSHIP:
$100,000 VENTURE STUDENT WINNERS
2016 UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH & CREATIVE INQUIRY SHOWCASE
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO PRESIDENT
VICE PRESIDENT FOR RESEARCH
C. Mauli Agrawal
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION CAREER AWARD FOR RAM KRISHNAN
ASSISTANT VP FOR COMMERCIALIZATION / INNOVATION AND CHIEF COMMERCIALIZATION OFFICER
ASSISTANT VP FOR RESEARCH INTEGRITY
BILL & MELINDA GATES GRANT FUNDS MALARIA RESEARCH NEWS BRIEFS
• CONACYT • ALAMO MANUFACTURING PARTNERSHIP • SAN ANTONIO HEALTH SYSTEM (SAHMS) AND UNIVERSITIES RESEARCH FORUM (SURF) • FORSTHUBER RESEARCH PUBLISHED IN PNAS • ARMY RESEARCH LABORATORY VISITS • SELECTED GRANT AWARDS • THE GALACTIC BURP HEARD AROUND THE WORLD • YACAMÁN RESEARCH PUBLISHED IN SCIENCE
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Fueled by a robust slate of new grants, partnerships and initiatives, UTSA researchers in cybersecurity, cloud, computing and analytics (C3&A) are pushing boundaries while working on real world solutions. The success of UTSA’s C3&A programs stem in large part from the strong security foundation UTSA began building years ago, noted PAUL RAD, Chief Research Officer of UTSA’s Open Cloud Institute (OCI). “It’s basically security that UTSA built over the last 10-15 years,” he said. “It made the university very infrastructurecentric. That is fundamental for cloud. You can’t build clouds without a good understanding of infrastructure.” And with powerful computing capabilities made possible with the cloud, “now you can have enough computation and enough data to work towards solving some of the most pressing of humanity’s problems such as cancer.” Rad explained.
IT'S A CYBER WORLD Ranked No. 1 in the nation by the Ponemon Institute in 2014, UTSA’s cybersecurity program continues to engage in the top security issues facing the country. The Department of Homeland Security last fall selected UTSA as the academic partner in a five-year, $11 million grant intended to fund the creation of standards for sharing cybersecurity information among industries and the government. The program, which began Oct. 1, was created in response to President Obama’s executive order calling for the selection of an institution to create information sharing guidelines, processes, standards and best practices. UTSA is partnering on the grant with LMI, a nonprofit government consulting firm, and the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center.
Six working groups comprised of members of industry, government, and academia are already considering how to best facilitate information sharing among Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs), which can include industries, municipalities and other groups, and the federal government. “What we are really doing is establishing a national information sharing program for cyberscurity,” said GREG WHITE, professor of computer science and director of UTSA’s Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security. “How do we get all these people sharing information together? Their needs will be different, the threats will be different, but they are all a part of this information sharing program.” The work is already underway as there is no time to waste, White added. “We can’t wait five years to form standards,” he said, explaining that information sharing is essential to cybersecurity. “We have got to get going quickly.” A similar sense of urgency drives College of Business Associate Professor NICOLE BEEBE to find ways to optimize powerful computing capability in her research. She is excited by the implications big data analytics has for her digital forensics research. “I’ve always been frustrated as a forensic investigator that we’re using computers like calculators—just stupid, dumb machines—when they can do so much more. We have significant computing power, advanced analytic algorithms, and large data in the cloud that we are seldom leveraging in investigations. My passion is bringing a big data approach to digital forensics.” Beebe, who teaches in the Department of Information Systems and Cyber Security, was named the Melvin
Lachman Distinguished Professor in Entrepreneurship in July. She plans to use the endowed professorship to foster cyberanalytics research and to fund student entrepreneurial projects that are cyber-related. Other funds will be used for the further development of prototype technologies, including a government grant-funded digital forensics tool designed to help investigators of computer crimes cases. Named director of the Center for Education and Research in Information and Infrastructure Security (CERI2S) last summer, Beebe said she plans to expand the center’s focus to facilitate cybersecurity and analytics research and the intersection of both areas, and will consider changing the center’s name to reflect that new emphasis. One recently announced CERI2S partnership is UTSA’s participation on a Secret Service Electronic Crimes Taskforce, whose members hail from academia, industry and all levels of government and law enforcement. The Secret Service investigates financial electronic crimes, Beebe noted, adding that San Antonio is second in the nation for point-of-sale and malware-related fraud cases. “We have plans with ECTF for a very close relationship, where we may be doing co-located work together, where students will be doing research with and for the Secret Service, and where students will potentially be working on real-world cases as an internship,” Beebe said. “We’re trying to be a center of gravity for malware-based electronic crimes, education and response and research, as well as the digital currency and financial fraud underlying such crimes,” she added. A DHS-funded research project, Analysis and Training for the Defense of Biological and Digital Threats, with UTSA Department of Biology Professor
VOLUME 8 | DISCOVERY 5
as principal investigator, encourages collaboration among biology, computer science, cybersecurity and information systems students.
“One of the neatest ways to get innovation of thinking and solutions is to bring not-like-minded people together,” Beebe said. “We’re trying to facilitate bio-inspired cyber defense and cyber-inspired bio defense.”
ANALYTICS: C O M P U TAT I O N A L SUPERPOWER Beebe is one of the architects of the new master’s degree program in Data Analytics that the College of Business will offer beginning in Fall 2016. Overseeing the new degree program is UTSA’s Director of Data Analytics Programs MAX KILGER, who is jointly appointed to the departments of Marketing and Information Systems and Cyber Security. He described the full-time master’s degree as an intensive, 12-month boot camp that will expand to offer concentrations in different areas of specialization, such as cyber analytics and bio-informatics, among others. A part-time program will also be offered, he said, adding that both tracks will prepare students to help fill the great demand for graduates trained in the field. Kilger arrived at UTSA in 2015 after spending years in industry. A trained social psychologist, his recent study, “Integrating Human Behavior into the Development of Future Cyberterrorism Scenarios,” was presented to and published by the 10th International Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security. Kilger’s study emphasizes the importance of examining the social and psychological motivations of wouldbe cyberterrorists, who have access to digital technology that Kilger said has altered the power relationship between the individual and state for the first time.
6 DISCOVERY | VOLUME 8
“You can begin to develop future cyberterrorism scenarios so that you can anticipate potential threats that may emerge,” he said. “That’s useful for governments and policy makers especially, because policy makers divert resources to help solve problems or emerging problems, and so if you can pinpoint this stuff you can encourage policy makers and help them guide them to direct resources into the most effective places.” Social science techniques and data analytics can be used in tandem to help predict attacks and possibly reduce the threat of attacks, he said. “You can begin taking these huge chunks of data and begin looking at attacks that may seem unrelated around the world but once you correlate them you can say this attack looks like that attack,” he said. Kilger, who last fall was part of a team that traveled to Turkey to present NATO training on cyber terrorism, is also on the board of directors of the Honeynet Project, an international nonprofit of security experts who do research and develop tools to help thwart cyber crime—for free. Once a year, the group’s experts come together for an international gathering, offering workshops and trainings. The Honeynet Project Annual Workshop has been held all around the world, including Warsaw and Dubai. This year’s event will be May 9-11—at UTSA. “It’s an incredible opportunity for information security people to talk to leading security experts from around the world, see their trainings,” he said.
CLOUD: THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF COMPUTING When Paul Rad, chief research officer with UTSA’s Open Cloud Institute, thinks about the future, he imagines a
federation of universities with a unified approach to cloud computing. “I have this vision that I rally other universities and we collaboratively build this optimal way for everyone to build the OpenStack Cloud the same way,” he said. “If we create a federation of all this cloud … we could be bigger than Google, we could be bigger than Amazon.” Rad, who also works part-time at Rackspace in open research strategies, has developed a tool for optimal configuration of multi-node OpenStack cluster for research computing and has open sourced it for academic research, as part of his NSF grants. The tool has been deployed in some UTSA labs and at another universities. Created in 2015, UTSA’s Open Cloud Institute is focused on the development of degree programs in cloud computing and big data and collaboration with industry. The OCI launched with inkind investments and gifts of $9 million from industry supporters, including the 80/20 Foundation. JEFF PREVOST, Chief Research Officer, focuses on the academic side of the OCI while Rad focuses on industry. One program that serves OCI’s goals is a partnership with Rackspace and Intel, who together opened the OpenStack Innovation Center in San Antonio in September. UTSA’s role in the program is to develop a talent pipeline by training students as cloud developers. Ten students participated in the program in the fall; eight of students were hired upon graduation. Intel pays the students during their cloud bootcamp training. “They go through the Open Cloud Institute and they have the hands-on, the have the proper knowledge of cloud,” Rad said, adding, “They actually contribute a lot of code bug fixes to the OpenStack community and by the time they graduate they are to some level, expert.”
Another example of the kind of collaboration that has been a hallmark of UTSA’s engagement in the area of cloud is the National Science Foundation Jetstream project. UTSA is partnering with Indiana University and other universities to develop advanced cloud computing for researchers in science and engineering. The NSF funded the Jetstream project with a $6.6 million grant announced in January of 2015. Operations were expected to launch in February of 2016.
• MARCH 17, 2016 UTSA HOSTS THE NITSIG INSIDER THREAT SYMPOSIUM & EXPO (ITSE) http://www.nationalinsiderthreatsig.org/ nitsig-insiderthreatsymposiumexpo.html
Society is experiencing an informatics revolution, Rad said, not unlike the Industrial Revolution. As industry and government move to the cloud, they are realizing that clouds are not necessarily one-size-fits-all. A cloud’s architecture and even its physical location depends on the needs of the organization using it.
• MARCH 30-31, 2016
“There is no question in cloud computing—this is the model of computing for ages to come,” Rad said. “The same way that we moved from mainframes to PCs or client-servers computing model, this is the next evolution. We are moving from client-server to mobile-cloud computing platforms.”
• MAY 9-11, 2016
In partnership with the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Consulate, UTSA hosted the North American Cybersecurity Summit in January 2016. In partnership with the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, UTSA hosted the inaugural San Antonio Ecosystem Converge Summit in November 2015. U.S. Representative Will Hurd delivered a video message, highlighting the city’s interconnected cyber depth. In November 2015, UTSA Research hosted a reception celebrating the university’s achievements in cyber and cloud in Washington, D.C., for high-level government and industry officials. Rackspace, Intel, and UTSA open world’s largest OpenStack computing cluster (October 2015).
UTSA HOSTS THE TEXAS FRESHAIR BIG DATA AND DATA ANALYTICS CONFERENCE http://www.texasfreshair.org/texas-freshair -data-analytics-/
UTSA HOSTS THE ANNUAL HONEYNET PROJECT WORKSHOP http://sanantonio2016.honeynet.org
Vice President for Research C. Mauli Agrawal was an invited witness at a Congressional hearing in September on the “State of the Cloud” convened by U.S. Rep. Will Hurd at UTSA (September 2015).
UTSA’s Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition team won the 2015 Southwest Regional and competed in the 2015 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, which was held last San Antonio in April.
UTSA was chosen as a founding member of the Army Reserve Cyber Private Public Partnership Program (Cyber P3), which is designed to train Reservists in cybersecurity and provide them with the skills necessary to defend the nation against threats from cyber terrorists and criminals (Spring 2015).
UTSA Cloud Institute opened its doors in March 2015.
UTSA’s minor in digital forensics was the first program in the nation designated a certified focus area in digital forensics by the NSA and DHS in 2014.
HTTP://ICS.UTSA.EDU HTTP://CIAS.UTSA.EDU HTTP://BUSINESS.UTSA.EDU/CERIS
HTTP://OPENCLOUD.UTSA.EDU HTTP://WWW.ISAO.ORG HTTP://TEXASENERGY.UTSA.EDU
VOLUME 8 | DISCOVERY 7
UTSA BIOMEDICAL ENGINEER
ELECTED TO THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF MEDICINE
RECOGNITION MOVES UTSA CLOSER TO TIER ONE DESIGNATION UTSA FACULTY MEMBER, EDUCATOR AND RESEARCHER RENA BIZIOS, A PIONEER IN BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING, HAS BEEN ELECTED TO THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF MEDICINE, ONE OF THE HIGHEST HONORS FOR MEDICAL SCIENCES, HEALTH CARE AND PUBLIC HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. BIZIOS' ELECTION TO THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES MOVES UTSA ONE STEP CLOSER TO TIER ONE, A DESIGNATION THAT INCLUDES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THE NUMBER OF FACULTY AT A UNIVERSITY WITH MEMBERSHIPS IN THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES. Bizios is the first full-time, tenure-track UTSA faculty member to be elected to the National Academies. The research interests of Bizios, a Peter T. Flawn Professor in the UTSA Department of Biomedical Engineering, include cellular and tissue engineering, tissue regeneration, biomaterials (including nanostructured biomaterials) and biocompatibility. She is recognized for making seminal contributions to the understanding of cell-material interactions, protein/cell interactions with nanostructured biomaterials, and for identifying the effects of pressure and electric current on cell functions pertinent to new tissue formation. Her research has applications in the tissue engineering, tissue regeneration, and biotechnology fields. “When I started in this field, biomedical engineering was not well-known or well-understood,” said Bizios. “I didn’t know if it would be successful or not. I took a risk.” While Bizios takes great pride in the achievements of the undergraduate and graduate students she has mentored, her work extends well beyond her own classroom and laboratory. She has taught fundamental undergraduate and graduate engineering courses and developed new biomedical engineering courses. Moreover, she has co-authored a 8 DISCOVERY | VOLUME 8
landmark undergraduate textbook entitled, An Introduction to Tissue-Biomaterial Interactions. This textbook is a standard in the biomaterials field and has been adopted for upper-class undergraduate and for beginning graduate courses by several biomedical engineering programs in the United States and abroad. “Rena Bizios is a wonderful example of the tremendous faculty that top-tier universities are known for,” said UTSA President RICARDO ROMO. “Through her teaching, research and mentoring at UTSA, Dr. Bizios has made significant contributions that have shaped, and will continue to shape, biomedical engineering. I am so pleased to see her work recognized by her peers in the National Academies.” Bizios’ career includes long-standing service to engineering at the departmental, university, regional, national and international levels. She has served on numerous committees and held elected officer positions in several societies including the Biomedical Engineering Society, Society for Biomaterials, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. She frequently speaks at universities around the world, and at national and international conferences.
Professor Bizios’ peers also have recognized her research accomplishments and contributions to education. She has received several awards including the Rensselaer Alumni Association Teaching Award (1997); Clemson Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Literature from the Society for Biomaterials (1998); Distinguished Scientist Award from the Houston Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology (2009); 2010 Women’s Initiatives Mentorship Excellence Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; Founders Award from the Society for Biomaterials (2014); Theo C. Pilkington Outstanding Educator Award from the Biomedical Engineering Division of the American Society for Engineering Education (2014); and Amber Award from the UTSA Ambassadors (2014). She was also elected a charter member of the UTSA Academy of Distinguished Researchers in 2015. Moreover, Bizios is a fellow of five professional societies: the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, International Union of the Societies for Biomaterials Sciences and Engineering, Society of Biomedical Engineering, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. “Our newly elected members represent the brightest, most influential, and passionate people in health, science, and medicine in our nation and internationally,” said National Academy of Medicine President, VICTOR DZAU. “They are at the top of their fields and are committed to service. The expertise they bring to the organization will help us respond to today’s most pressing health-related challenges and inform the future of health, science, and medicine.” UTSA College of Engineering Dean JOANN BROWNING added, “We are
proud to have such an outstanding professional like Dr. Rena Bizios teaching and conducting research here at UTSA. Not only has Dr. Bizios made many significant contributions to her field, she is also an outstanding mentor to our students in the biomedical engineering program and is so deserving of this honor.”
"I AM DELIGHTED AND I FEEL HUMBLED BY THIS RECOGNITION AND HONOR BY MY PEERS,"SAID BIZIOS. "I SHARE IT WITH ALL OF MY STUDENTS, PAST AND PRESENT, AND WITH MY COLLEAGUES WHO HAVE COLLABORATED ON VARIOUS PROJECTS WITH ME." The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) is an independent organization of eminent professionals from the fields of health and medicine as well as the natural, social and behavioral sciences. Founded in the 1970, the NAM administers fellowships, scholarships and awards in addition to hosting workshops, expert meetings, symposia and other initiatives to respond to current and emerging needs in health and medicine. In 2015, the National Academy of Medicine elected 70 new members and 10 international members, raising its total active membership to 1,826 and its number of international members to 137.
PETER FLAWN PROFESSOR Cellular and Tissue Engineering Laboratory Department of Biomedical Engineering
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND B.S. Ch. E., Cum Laude, University of Massachusetts M.S. Ch. E., California Institute of Technology Ph.D. BME, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
AREAS OF TEACHING INTEREST Tissue-Biomaterial Interactions Cellular Engineering Tissue Engineering Biocompatibility
AREAS OF RESEARCH INTEREST Cellular and Tissue Engineering Tissue Regeneration Biomaterials (including nanostructured ones) Mechanisms of Cellular Responses Stimuli (chemical, mechanical, electrical, magnetic) Biocompatibility (specifically, cell/ biomaterial interactions)
IT’S NOT OFTEN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS SEE THE IMPACT OF THEIR ACADEMIC WORK OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM IN WAYS THAT BENEFIT THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE FAR BEYOND THE CAMPUS BOUNDARIES. USUALLY, SUCH IMPACTS ARE SEEN POST-GRADUATION AS FRESHLY MINTED UNIVERSITY GRADUATES PUT THE LESSONS THEY’VE LEARNED INTO PRACTICE UPON EMPLOYMENT. YET SEVERAL UTSA PROFESSORS FROM THE COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE, CONSTRUCTION, AND PLANNING (CACP) ARE ENGAGING STUDENTS IN PROJECTS EXHIBITING MEASURABLE IMPACTS AT CITY AND COUNTY LEVELS ON MYRIAD FRONTS. FROM EFFORTS TO SAVE “LIVING” HISTORIC DISTRICTS FROM EXTINCTION TO EXHAUSTIVELY TRACKING HERITAGE TOURISM TO MITIGATING POLLUTANTS IN STORMWATER RUNOFF, ACADEMIC INITIATIVES BREAK DOWN THE ABSTRACTION
OF STUDY WITH REAL-WORLD PRACTICALITY. FROM CAMPUS ENVIRONS, AN APP IS BEING DEVELOPED ENHANCING HOUSING SEARCHES SPECIFICALLY FOR A LOW-INCOME SEGMENT OF THE POPULATION WITH EXQUISITE DETAIL — IN ADDITION TO PRICE RANGE DATA, IT INCLUDES PROXIMITY TO SCHOOLS, BUS LINES, GROCERY STORES, PARKS, EMPLOYERS AND OTHER AMENITIES — UNAVAILABLE IN SIMILAR APPLICATIONS. ANOTHER PROFESSOR EXAMINES CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES’ METHODS OF DELIVERY IN SECURING BUILDING SUPPLIES, AIMED AT REDUCING CARBON FOOTPRINTS WHILE PROMOTING USE OF SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS. MUNICIPAL GRANTS AND STAFF SUPPORT ON SUCH ACADEMIC PROJECTS YIELDS POWERFUL TESTIMONY TO THE IMPORTANCE CIVIC LEADERS PLACE ON UNIVERSITY-ORIGINATED PROJECTS.
The City of San Antonio -- the most visited Texas city among tourists -does a good job of compiling overall numbers of visitors descending upon the city on leisure travel. But the specificity of numbers associated with those coming on so-called heritage travel is largely unknown. With funding from the city’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB), SEDEF DOGANER, Ph.D., is changing that, with the help of her students.
“We’re hoping to base a document to build cultural tourism in town that includes restaurants, bakeries, and local stores.”
“We’re finding out the different budgets people have for heritage travel,” Doganer, an associate professor in the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, said. “Visits to museums, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, museums, and cultural events.” Such detailed data will aid the city in not only promoting more cultural travel but building marketing campaigns around the travel trend. “We have a very rich culture, but we don’t have a specific marketing plan for tourists,” Doganer explained. So-called heritage travel is a growing segment of the travel sector. It’s a cottage industry of sorts arisen of businesses catering to the history-conscious traveller, offering guided tours to historical sites from Boston to Wales.
Attention to overall details could promote creation of businesses reflecting the environs of a given locale, she noted. An example of such broad-based, history-laden locales is the city’s Southtown district -- an area touted by tourism officials but with a broader brush. Doganer assumes the role of miniaturist in her work rather than muralist, noting the interesting details innate to a heritage stop. The work also aims to subtly remind city officials of the importance of keeping unrelated commercial development at bay in favor of complementary construction to retain the rich history of specific locales. “What kinds of businesses are we able to develop in those areas?” she asks, envisioning the value of her study. “If you want to control development in an area, we need to get local businesses in there. We get the World Heritage inscription because of the people living in the area.”
ASIDE FROM VISITING THE FOCAL POINTS (THE ALAMO, FOR INSTANCE), DOGANER'S WORK WOULD GIVE RISE TO MORE SOPHISTICATED OUTREACH TO TRAVELS THAT PINPOINTS TRAJECTORIES TO INCLUDE RELATED STOPS REFLECTING A DESTINATION'S SURROUNDING CHARACTER. V O L U M E 8 | D I S C O V E R Y 11
The work is being funded with a $5,000 university grant and an undisclosed amount of city funds.
her work at a specific subset of the lowincome population centered on those eligible for assisted housing.
Doganer’s work is informed by her own academic past, having studied architecture at Istanbul Technical University in Turkey. “That’s what I brought with me,” she said, referencing her arrival to the university in 2008. “I’m an architect, and my Ph.D was very much focused on hotel design and tourism development.”
The housing app is different from other rental search websites because it takes into account not only unit preferences but accessibility issues and neighborhood conditions.
A handful of graduate students have been working on the project with Doganer since September, with a final document scheduled for completion at the end of February. Updates to the work would be provided every two to three years to track prevailing traveling trends. When assistant professor REBECCA WALTER, Ph.D., sought a meaningful project that would engage her students, she turned not to the glamorous but to a work focus that would yield real-life benefit to the lives of ordinary residents.
Strengthening that noble ideal was the target of her project: a low-income segment that are among the most vulnerable members of the population. The idea: an app that aids people in their quest for low-income housing; not just any broad-based compilation of available housing and attendant rental prices, but an app pinpointing surrounding amenities tailored to lowincome households — the availability of schools, proximity of bus lines, parks and hospitals, along with the presence of potential employers — yielding virtual road maps on which to build a life. Teaching in the urban planning program of the College of Architecture, construction, and planning, Walter aims 12 D I S C O V E R Y | V O L U M E 8
“This actually is an applied application of our research,” she said. “We are developing software specifically used by our local partners that include the San Antonio Housing Authority, Housing and Community Services and the Bexar County Housing Authority.” As it currently stands in the low-income landscape, those eligible for low-income housing sometimes lose their place in line given a finite amount of time to use their vouchers. Frustration in searching for an ideal home for their families is often exacerbated by the lack of adequate available information, she said.
BEYOND YIELDING A UTILITARIAN TOOL, THE PROJECT WILL PROVIDE IMPORTANT DATA FOR ANALYZING SOCIO-ECONOMIC DISPARITIES ON SPECIFIC GEOGRAPHIC AREAS OF THE CITY. "THIS TOOL EXAMINES THE GEOGRAPHY OF INEQUALITY AND OPPORTUNITY," SHE SAID. Significant outside funding for the project points to its importance on a community-wide level. In partnership with Vince Wang, co-researcher with the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies at the University of Florida, the work is being partially funded through a $15,000 grant from the San Antonio Area Foundation and a Jessie Ball duPont Fund award totaling $156,000. The funding also allows for the
purchase of computers and related training for future project beneficiaries. The academic project just began at the beginning of the year, but Walter is palpably enthusiastic as to the end result. The Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone is considered one of the most prolific artesian aquifers in the world, a source of drinking water for some two million people and the main tap for agriculture and industry. To help ensure its purity is arguably one of the most important priorities. Yet that’s precisely what a team of more than a dozen architecture students and three researchers are helping to ensure. In an intertwined research project led by AZZA KAMAL, Ph.D., an assistant professor of research at the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, students are examining and designing re-naturalized site techniques for protecting campus-located portions of the aquifer’s recharge zone from stormwater-originating pollutants. The study will offer prototype tools for communities and homeowner associations across the Edwards Aquifer Region. The work is being funded by generous grants from the San Antonio River Authority and the Edwards Aquifer Authority totaling more than $30,000. "Mimicking a typical practice environment, my students worked in teams to design and integrate an ecological urbanism approach for water management in areas located on the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone," Kamal said. "The project helps offer a model for urban sustainability on US campuses." The student-led work has gained further attention in the public sector, having been selected as a submission for the “Rain Work” competition staged
projects for preserving neighborhoods, communities, and housing. Sadly, Kamal conceded attention to environmental issues on that scale is not always a focus in the architectural industry due to the complex and multifaceted approach necessary to deal with it. She hopes her students’ work might heighten awareness of the field’s importance. DR. KAMAL AND HER STUDENTS AT THE TEXAS HEALTH & BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONFERENCE
by the Environmental Protection Agency. Finalists in the competition will be announced in April of this year. Students developed various scenarios for protecting the recharge zone in collaboration with the UTSA College of Engineering and faculty members HEATHER SHIPLEY and MARCIO GIACOMONI of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who offered a great insight in hydrology and climate change models. “The aim of the project is to design the university campuses and provide a prototype proposal for the site to mitigate the pollutants and contaminants in stormwater,” Kamal said. “Part of the work is not just to design the site, but to enhance campus life and sustainability credit through implementing sustainable outdoor installations, water-efficient landscape, renewable energy, and reclaimed water.”
THE WORK FOCUSES NOT ONLY ON PROTECTING AQUIFER WATER BUT SENSITIVE NATIVE PLANT LIFE IN ITS MIDST, SHE NOTED. “We’re focusing on the campus,” she added. “However, the goal of our process development and research is to develop a prototype site selection methodology using geospatial analysis to be applied not only at other campuses, but also in other neighborhoods in San Antonio.”
Where would the UTSA model be located? “We are currently focusing on the most visible location coinciding with the projected campus expansion. So primarily main quads of academic buildings and students housing,” Kamal said. “As the UTSA Main Campus is located on the recharge zone, it feeds and infiltrates clean water into the aquifer. We’re proposing a series of site treatments and structures using a renaturalized approach to infiltrate water in a way that is aesthetically pleasing but also assures clean water.” “This isn’t only about water engineering, but creating an environment that attracts more students to the campus, and making a better, healthier community for the students, and personnel as well.” The work manifests itself in many ways, including the development of lowimpact development (LID) techniques achieved through site design and landscaping that entails native plants along with organic soil and structures. As part of the project’s scope, renewable energy sources such as solar will be implemented at the work sites for complementary lighting to create a safer outdoor environment, Kamal said. She knows about the importance of preserving treasures like the Edwards Aquifer, having secured academic credentials not only at Texas A&M but also graduate degrees from Cairo University in Egypt. She also worked for over two decades in sustainability
“This is an area that’s barely touched in architectural firms,” she said. “Normally, they will have a lot of other consultants commissioned from outside — hydrology experts, engineers, landscape designers, etc.— and therefore, I’m very proud of the work we’re doing.” Executives in the private sector are notoriously secretive about details of their operations, often citing issues related to proprietary concerns or reluctance to alert competitors as to their inner workings. This is why the eagerness of construction officials to share with SUAT GUNHAN, Ph.D., inside-the-ballpark details on how they conduct business is that much more impressive. Their enthusiasm also points to the importance of the work being conducted by the associate professor of construction science and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Undergraduate Studies in the CACP. Focal to the work is examining companies’ sustainability delivery methods and the prevalence of construction projects using sustainable building materials. The university also voiced its endorsement of the project’s importance through a $10,000 Office of the Vice President of Research grant. “I wanted to explore specific sustainability delivery methods mainly
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operating in commercial construction,” Gunhan said. To that end, he contacted nine companies and found they were eager to aid in his research.
THE WORK EXAMINES THE VOLUME OF SUSTAINABILITY CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS; THE LIFE CYCLE OF STRUCTURES USING SUCH METHODS; THE LEVEL OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY; THE EQUIPMENT USED; THE DISTANCE VEHICLES TRAVEL TO SECURE BUILDING MATERIALS WITH AN EYE ON FINDING LOCALLY GENERATED SUPPLIES TO REDUCE CARBON EMISSION FOOTPRINTS. “I even explored if they were harvesting rainwater for toilets,” Gunhan added, illustrating the level of specificity toward his discoveries. “The findings have been positive,” Gunhan said, noting heightened attention on sustainable building methods. Partially attributable to the trend is increased recognition that environmentally sustainable buildings are not more costly than those using traditional building methods. The misconception of higher cost associated with using sustainable buildings is achieved when builders neglect to take into account the longer life of a structure when built with attention to efficiency in using sustainable materials, Gunhan noted. “The good thing is that sustainability is becoming the norm in the construction industry,” right now, he reports. “Owners are pretty much leading the way in the long run through an understanding of the useful life of a building.” Gunhan hopes the type of work in his academic focus will be used not only in office buildings but industrial ones as well. As more companies vie
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for the coveted LEED certification assigned to environmentally-responsive construction in various degrees, the trend is on the upswing. “It’s actually bringing a competitiveness in the marketplace,” he said of the highly sought designation, which is not only responsible but yields a good marketing tool in promoting real estate. The attention he hopes the work brings has already begun outside of the academic setting. A paper generated from his research was recently accepted for presentation for the Euro-MedSec-01 Conference, and it will be published in its proceeding book. Long before trade relations with Cuba began to recently thaw after nearly 60 years of a U.S.-imposed embargo, architect WILLIAM DUPONT has made regular journeys to the Caribbean island nation as part of his university research. A noted expert in heritage conservation, Dupont is the San Antonio Conservation
Society Endowed Professor and director of the university’s Center for Cultural Sustainability. For the last few years, his visits to Cuba have centered on preservation expertise sought to preserve the Museo Hemingway, which is Ernest Hemingway’s Finca Vigia estate, the place the celebrated novelist once called home. “I lead a technical team of experts nationally in going to Havana, assisting our Cuban colleagues with their work at Museo Hemingway,” he explained. His trips are financed through a mix of private funding sources and foundation grants chanelled through the Finca Vigia Foundation in Massachusetts.
HIS WORK YIELDS A SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP; WHILE HIS CUBAN COUNTERPARTS GAIN FROM HIS EXPERTISE, HE'S ABLE TO RETURN WITH PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE ON PRESERVATION TECHNIQUES THAT WILL BE APPLIED LOCALLY TOWARD PRESERVATION OF SAN ANTONIO HISTORIC DISTRICTS.
Back home, the student-aided work recently took on exponentially greater significance. In 2015, the San Antonio missions, including the historic Alamo, secured World Heritage status. The milestone was announced at the annual UNESCO World Heritage committee meeting in Bonn, Germany. In gaining the distinction, the missions join an elite list of just 22 existing U.S. landmarks so classified, including the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall and even such world wonders as the Great Wall of China. The heritage designations heighten a broader awareness into the importance of historical structure preservation. But in tandem with that goal, Dupont has gained unique perspective into the importance not only of saving brick-and-mortar structures, but the areas around them where people live — a generational living history who have shaped their historic surroundings, and represent a cultural continuum from the past. “What I train my students to understand is the differences between a ‘dynamic’ heritage site and a ‘static’
heritage site,” he explains, discerning the difference between the former involving communities of historic places and the latter denoting a preserved site displaying a fixed historic period.
“A historic museum site in the U.S. is often static. It has a relevance, meaning and value but it doesn’t change,” he said. “It’s a time capsule that helps us inform the present.” But inattention to the dynamic surrounding elements could compromise the surviving cultural heritage of a society and invite degradation via displacement of residents or commercial development with negative impact. “We need to be out in front of these sorts of issues,” Dupont said of preserving dynamic attributes. “Intangible heritage is fragile, and by the time gentrification is observed, it’s too late to stop.” Asked to give examples of dynamic locales that begat reflective communities steeped in local history needing to be preserved — beyond the obvious ones dotted by historical Missions — Dupont quickly ticks off a list: the historic areas around the city’s Westside, including Lerma’s Nite Club, an iconic conjunto music venue; and the numerous residential historic districts on the edges of downtown such as Lavaca, Tobin Hill, Government Hill, and Dignowity Hill. The infectious accordion-based music once echoing from Lerma’s, the circa 1940s building at 1612 North Zarzamora, has long been silenced since the club’s closure. But the building is no mere structure; rather, it’s an outgrowth of the Latino community it reflects.
Despite its listing on the National Register of Historic Places and having set the stage for such seminal musical acts as Flaco Jimenez and Esteban “Steve” Jordan, whose music evokes the culture, the site once was in danger of being razed. The City of San Antonio recently appropriated $500,000 to save it from destruction, partially attributable to the supporting efforts of Dupont and his students. The building will be saved and the strains of accordion music may once again emanate from its interior again in cultural celebration. The academic work’s importance to the city at large is illustrated in myriad ways. Councilwoman Villagran has invited Dupont to help with planning and participation in symposia about World Heritage issues. The university puts a premium on the work as well, with Dupont’s position one of just a handful of endowed professorships in historic preservation nationally. “That’s the sea change happening in the profession now globally,” Dupont said. “That we actually have to sustain the cultural fabric of a community, not only the tangible remains of history.”
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UTSA HOSTS THIRD ANNUAL
AWARDS THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN
(UTSA) recognized UTSA physics professor ARTURO AYON as its 2015 Innovator of the Year for his productivity, based on his new invention disclosures, filed patent applications, and licensing of his technology, at its third annual Innovation Awards. Ayon’s Surface Mounted Monitoring System detects the presence of both ordinary and excessive loads on a surface, and provides realtime or near real-time trending data. ANTONIO
Ayon joined UTSA in 2006 and specializes in micro devices, photovoltaics, metamaterials, sensors and materials science of thin films. He investigates the physics of materials at the micro and nanoscale level, and their potential uses in practical applications. Additionally, UTSA recognized 17 members of its research community at its Innovation Awards ceremony. Organized by the UTSA Office of Commercialization and Innovation 16 D I S C O V E R Y | V O L U M E 8
(OCI), these annual awards are presented in four categories, reflecting UTSA’s success at commercializing new knowledge and technologies. “Our Office of Commercialization and Innovation is helping our faculty and students by providing resources and expertise to develop avenues to commercialize their research and inventions,” said MAULI AGRAWAL, UTSA vice president for research. “Ultimately, we should find ways for the public to benefit from our discoveries. Our faculty and students are true innovators. Their achievements strengthen our capabilities and solidify our reputation to be recognized as a top-tier research university.” The OCI works with UTSA faculty to facilitate technology transfer and commercialization, and to assist with university-industry partnerships. Through the OCI, the university provides intellectual property management and licensing, proof-ofconcept development, new venture incubation, entrepreneurial training, and policies and procedures that accelerate and ease the transition of intellectual property from the university to industry. The following researchers and community leaders were recognized for advancements in their fields.
RECIPIENTS OF ISSUED PATENTS
Arturo Ayon, Professor, Physics & Astronomy, was issued – along with Cory Hallam, Director of UTSA CITE – three foreign patents in 2015 for their invention, “Surface Mounted Monitoring System”. The patents were issued in Australia, China and New Zealand, licensed by a San Antonio company.
Jose Lopez-Ribot, (Not Pictured)
Joo L. Ong, Professor, Biomedical Engineering, was issued United States Patent 8,916,228 for “Bi-Layered BoneLike Scaffolds”. This patent is licensed by a New Jersey company.
Steven Robbins, Professor, Computer Science and Kay Robbins, Professor, Computer Science, were issued United States Patent 9,111,459 for a “Classroom Response System”.
Professor, Biology; Anand Ramasubramanian, (Not Pictured)
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering; and Anand Srinivasan, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering were issued United States Patent 8,962,531 for the “Development of a High-Throughput Screen for the Identification of Novel Antifungal Drug Candidates”.
Rajendra Boppana, Professor,
Computer Science and Ram Tripathi, Professor, Management Science & Statistics, were issued United States Patent 8,868,630 for “Verification of Pseudorandom Number Streams”.
Rena Bizios, Professor, Biomedical
Engineering, was issued United States Patent 8,945,894 for an “Alternating Electric Current Directs, Enhances, and Accelerates Mesenchymal Stem Cell Differentiations into Either Osteoblasts or Chondrocytes but not Adipocytes”.
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This category recognizes the recipients of licensing revenue derived from technology that has been optioned or licensed and is generating returns for the inventors, their labs, and the university.
Arturo Ayon, Professor, Physics
& Astronomy, “Surface Mounted Monitoring System”.
This category recognizes faculty and staff who participated in the federal I-Corps™ program, overseen by the National Science Foundation. An I-Corps™ team is awarded a $50,000 grant to evolve its research to fulfill a market need whether it’s a new therapy, invention or device. A business mentor from the local community is matched with a principal investigator (PI) and a student; these matches are facilitated by the OCI. The team is then immersed in a seven-week entrepreneurial curriculum to understand how to take the laboratory’s research to market. Teams are led by the student with assistance from the PI and mentor who provide guidance and their network of experts and resources. Currently, UTSA has four national I-Corps™ teams. Two teams were recognized for completing the program (see below), a third finished this past December, and the fourth is currently ensconced in the boot camp.
The Gdovin Laboratory
Zachary Jordan, Research Associate,
Science/Biology. Zachary recently graduated from UTSA with a Master’s Degree, specializing in Cell/Cellular and Molecular Biology. Matthew Gdovin, Professor of Biology, College of Sciences. Becky Cap, President at Athena
Doug Frantz, Professor, Chemistry,
“New Chrial Phosphite Ligands for Asymmetric Catalysis”.
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The Gdovin team has developed a photodynamic cancer therapy that can target cancer growth in triple negative breast cancer without attacking or destroying the healthy cells or the organs that surround it. The business training provided by the I-Corps™ grant helped them focus on the next steps to move this research closer to market. With 18 students from the lab assisting with the research, the team is hoping the therapy can be ready for phase 1 clinical trials in the near future.
The Feng Laboratory
Michael Lasch, Research Assistant/ Lab Manager. Michael has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from UTSA and is currently working on his Master’s Degree. Yusheng Feng, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering. John Fritz, M.S, MBA, MHA, is
the Senior Business Development Manager at UT Health Science Center at San Antonio’s Office of Technology Commercialization. The Feng team developed a medical suction device to clear the airways of critically injured patients without damaging other body parts. The technology, noted for its ease of use, can be used in clinics or in the field. The I-Corps™ program helped them solicit input on engineering specifications from a wide range of users to maximize the needs of the end user.
OFFICE OF COMMERCIALIZATION AND INNOVATION
The Office of Commercialization and Innovation (OCI) promotes the creation and commercialization of intellectual property at UTSA by faculty, staff, and students. OCI manages the university’s portfolio of intellectual property, engages companies in research and commercialization partnerships, and provides intellectual property education and training. OCI also helps bridge the gap between basic research and applied innovation by operating a proof-of-principle fund, supporting commercialization development programs such as the NSF I-Corps™, and promoting entrepreneurship. Through the UTSA New Venture Incubator, we enable university startups and partner companies to grow our commercialization activities on campus.
OFFICE OF COMMERCIALIZATION AND INNOVATION THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO ONE UTSA CIRCLE SAN ANTONIO, TX, 78249
OCI@UTSA.EDU 210.458.6963 HTTP://COMMERCIALIZATION.UTSA.EDU
THE STATE OF THE MONARCH
BY SARAH HADA
nstantly recognizable by its distinct black, white, and orange markings, the monarch butterfly is known for its yearly migration. From the northern plains of the United States, the monarch migrates each year to the mountains of Michoacán in central Mexico for the winter and returns north in the springtime. San Antonio sits in the middle of the “Texas Funnel” as the butterflies pass through in mid-October and again in March. The monarch butterfly became the official Texas state insect back in 1995 by a resolution of the state legislature. However, their overall numbers are dwindling and it is estimated that the population has declined over 90% over the past twenty years. In May 2015, UTSA received a $300,000 grant from the Texas State Comptroller’s Office to study the reasons why the monarch butterfly is decreasing. DR. JANIS BUSH, UTSA Director of the Environmental Science Academic Programs, is the lead investigator. Her field of study involves plant ecology, specifically factors that
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impact plant species. UTSA will study whether the decline in monarchs is related to their main source of food, the native milkweed. The team will examine the types of native milkweed species, their abundance and distribution across the state and what effect land management has on the monarch. Rounding out the UTSA research team is DR. TERRI J. MATIELLA and DR. FERNANDO MARTINEZ.
The project is coordinated by the Texas State Comptroller’s Office. Other partners include the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the San Antonio River Authority, the Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust and Authority, the US Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Data from the UTSA group will help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determine the best management and policy practices as it relates to the monarch, and to determine if the monarch should be federally protected.
During the spring migration, there will be at least four generations of monarchs moving in a “leap-frog fashion” with each successive generation traveling further north than their parents along a route from Texas to the northern U.S. and southern Canada. They leave their winter roost in late February and March and spread out along the route. When they return south, one generation flies the entire distance from the north to the south.
Milkweed is the monarch larva’s main food source. There are 35 different species of milkweed in the state of Texas – the largest number in any state in the country. Milkweeds are the baby food for monarchs and serves as the nursery during their development to adults. Milkweeds also provide chemicals for the larva that offers protection from some predators. For example, birds will vomit after eating the monarch due to the toxins the monarchs get from the milkweed. During the fall migration, all nectar-producing flowers are needed as energy sources as they migrate south.
The UTSA Monarch and Milkweed team completed roadside surveys this past summer and in early fall. Led by project manager TYLER SEIBOLDT (UTSA MSc 2015), faculty, graduate and undergraduate UTSA students stopped every ten miles to collect data on the plant communities present. They measured the number of milkweed, identified and counted the specific type of vegetation present; along with pests and the presence of monarch eggs, larvae (caterpillars), and their numbers. The team is focused on determining the current status of native milkweed in the central portion of the state since this is the migratory pathway of the monarch. The project is a perfect opportunity to teach and train students with real-world research experience. These students are an invaluable part of the project.
MANNA FOR MONARCHS
The monarch research team has built a butterfly house inside of their greenhouse on the western grounds of the UTSA Main Campus where they are conducting experiments. They are studying whether there is a feeding preference by monarch larva for the native Texas milkweed species. Another study will look at the growth requirements for some of the native milkweed. Propagation of various species of milkweed has already begun. A total of four graduate students in the Environmental Science Academic Programs will be conducting their thesis research on questions related to this project.
The research team is also examining how land management practices – such as grazing, burning, and mowing – are affecting the growth of milkweed “If we keep landowners involved and informed, we will be able to advise them how best to manage their land to help increase the monarch population, [once the study is completed]. For example, whether changes in a mowing schedule could have an effect on growth. The study will help discover what those factors are, and will lead to best conservation practices,” explained Dr. Matiella. V O L U M E 8 | D I S C O V E R Y 23
When the study is completed in May 2017, a final report will be submitted to the Comptroller‘s Office. It is part of an integrated project, which involves other agencies and program partners. The goal is to take the data that has been collected and apply it to develop efforts and management practices needed to increase the number of the monarchs. Everyone is working together; and by combining all the data, the partners hope to find a solution to the disappearing monarchs.
DR. TERRY J. MATIELLA AND TYLER SEIBOLDT
The team is also focused on educational outreach. This past summer, a curriculum committee was started and elementary schools identified as possible partners for monarch outreach. The team will give presentations on monarch conservation practices. They also have been asked to speak at a local Lions’ Club, the Native Plant Society of Texas, the Exchange Club, and the Alamo Heights and Terrell Hills Garden Club. This coming summer a camp for 8-10 year-olds focusing on monarch and milkweeds will be offered. Along with the National Wildlife Federation and the San Antonio Zoo, the team was an integral part of the outreach to the City of San Antonio and other stakeholders to promote the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge Program. As a result, San Antonio is the only MONARCH BUTTERFLY CHAMPION CITY in the country: the first to pledge to complete all 24 action items of the Monarch Pledge Program issued by the National Wildlife Federation. Since launching the pledge back in September 2015, forty-three cities have signed it but only San Antonio has adopted all 24 action items. This includes changing city ordinances, hosting festivals and encouraging planting of native milkweed and butterfly-friendly flowers.
HOW TO HELP
You can help out by planting native milkweed in your garden. Nectarproducing plants are also important for the fall migration so the monarch can fuel up for their long journey.
MONARCHS, MILKWEED AND MIGRATION FESTIVAL AT THE SAN ANTONIO ZOO
RESOURCES http://tpwd.texas.gov http://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/ http://www.KeepingTexasFirst.org http://www.monarchwatch.org http://texasbutterflyranch.com/ http://www.learner.org/jnorth
Friday, March 4 to Sunday, March 6, 2016 10:30am - 2:00pm San Antonio is celebrating its designation as the first and only Monarch Butterfly Champion City in the nation. Join partners, City of San Antonio, UTSA, San Antonio River Authority to celebrate butterflies and learn how one can help end the decline of the Monarch Butterfly. 1,500 milkweed seeds will be distributed and events include a butterfly release at the Zooâ€™s butterfly house, insect presentations and displays, crafts, games and more. https://www.facebook.com/SanAntonioZoo/
has joined the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), a non-profit member organization of over 200 American and international universities, along with governmental and non-profit research institutions. Membership to the organization, which includes more than 3,000 individual inventor members and fellows, is by invitation. THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO (UTSA)
Founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the NAI enhances the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourages the disclosure of intellectual property, educates and mentor innovative students and translates the inventions of its members to benefit society.
MAULI AGRAWAL, UTSA VICE PRESIDENT FOR RESEARCH
NAI membership supports UTSA’s mission to advance knowledge through top-tier research and discovery. UTSA has developed an innovation ecosystem that bridges student and faculty entrepreneurship training, prototyping, start-up competitions, venture mentor network, and investment opportunities, available to all UTSA students and faculty through the Office of the Vice President for Research and Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE). “By joining the National Academy of Inventors, UTSA can build collaborative relationships with other member institutions that value innovation and research as we do,” said CHRISTINE BURKE, director of the UTSA Office of Commercialization and Innovation. “We can also leverage the collective knowledge of the membership.”
OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, UTSA HAS GROWN ITS INNOVATION AND COMMERCIALIZATION PROGRAM BY PROVIDING NEW DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES AND RESOURCES, INCLUDING:
• • • •
The first Texas NSF I-Corps site Boot camps and an annual $100,000 competition A mentorship network A New Venture Incubator program to encourage universityindustry collaborations • Novel industrial partnerships • A proof-of-concept fund for prototype development, and • An Entrepreneurs Academy™ that has grown to provide a support network across the entire UT System.
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With an academic culture that encourages undergraduate research, UTSA also benefits from its 20 independent research centers and institutes. Hosting the top ranked Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) network in the country, UTSA generates a $1.2 billion annual impact on the local community.
THERE ARE 582 NAI FELLOWS HOLDING MORE THAN 20,000 PATENTS COLLECTIVELY. THEY REPRESENT MORE THAN 190 RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES AND GOVERNMENTAL AND NON-PROFIT RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS. DR. AGRAWAL WILL BE INDUCTED ON APRIL 15, 2016, AS PART OF THE 5TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF INVENTORS AT THE UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE (USPTO) IN ALEXANDRIA, VA.
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TODAY THE $125 BILLION MUSIC INDUSTRY IS GOING THROUGH A MONUMENTAL SHIFT. THE MEDIUMS WE USE TO TRANSMIT, RECEIVE, AND PURCHASE MUSIC HAVE TRANSFORMED HOW WE EXPERIENCE MUSIC IN OUR DAILY LIVES AND HOW MUSIC'S CULTURAL VALUE HAS CHANGED OVER TIME. THE ONGOING RESEARCH OF THE MUSICOLOGISTS WILLIAM SHERRILL, Ph.D, DREW STEPHEN, Ph.D, MARK BRILL, Ph.D, AND ERIC SCHNEEMAN, Ph.D, USES A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE TO PLACE THIS CHANGING INDUSTRY INTO A CULTURAL, HISTORICAL CONTEXT.
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THE WORK OF WILLIAM SHERRILL focuses on the emergence of musical notation in the 11th century. Though hundreds of years stand in between the Middle Ages and today, the problems still remain the same. Sherrill’s research demonstrates that musical notation developed in various guises and under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church to ensure that the music of the Latin Mass remained the same from church to church and from country to country. In many ways, this is the first attempt to build a global music industry in Europe: Sherrill is examining manuscripts that were written in the Aquitanian region of France after receiving the music repertoire from Rome. According to Sherrill, though the notation may look kind of strange, “it’s actually similar to our modern notation.” The reason that musical notation developed in Europe was the need of Church leaders to create a musical system that transmitted the necessary information to performers in various regions. Sherrill’s work shows us some of the earliest steps toward developing that system.
Whereas Sherrill looks at the influence of medieval European cultures upon each other, MARK BRILL has dedicated his research to the cross-fertilization of European and indigenous musical practices during the colonization of Mexico and Latin America. The secondary
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aim of Brill’s research attempts to uncover the impact of globalization and Westernization on the music of the indigenous populations of the western hemisphere from the 17th to 19th centuries. His research has taken him to archives throughout Mexico, and in 1995, Brill uncovered a hitherto unknown treasure trove of music manuscripts at the Oaxaca Cathedral. His work has brought about a new repertoire for ensembles to perform for the public: recently the Austin Baroque Orchestra performed these rediscovered works at Mission Concepcíon in San Antonio. Currently he is working with UTSA music students and ensembles to perform a setting of the Catholic Mass by the 18th-century Mexican composer Manuel de Sumaya. As Brill notes, “my research is satisfying on many levels: bringing long-forgotten music back to life is one of the most gratifying (and useful) endeavors I can pursue as a musicologists. Additionally, exposing students to these traditions, and having them engage in the task of recreating this music is also rewarding. San Antonio, with its remarkable culture and history, is exactly the place where we should be exploring and performing Mexican and Latin-American music and culture.” When he’s not researching the music of Mexico, Brill also examines “exoticism” in the film music of Bernard Herrmann. Musicologists research not only the scores and musical notation but also the development of instruments themselves and how changes to instruments impact performance and compositional practices. DREW STEPHEN has made the history of the horn the central focus on his research. His examinations are twofold: on one level, his research examines the performance practices related to the natural horn compared to the modern
valve horn, which we’re familiar with today. It’s too complicated to explain the difference between the horns here, but you can watch Stephen’s demonstration of the natural horn online at: https://medialibrary.utsa. edu/Play/9637. Furthermore, you can hear Stephen play the natural horn with the Austin Baroque Orchestra and other music organizations in the area. On another level, Stephen’s research draws the horn into larger cultural practices by examining the instrument’s association with the hunt. We may think of the hunt as a solitary sport in which silence is key to stalking animals, but from its inception to the 19th century, the horn was an integral part of the hunting experience, as its rhythmic and melodic signals were used to bring organization to the hunting activities. In his most recent publication, “The Wild Hunter, the Wandering Jew, and the Flying Dutchman: The Hunt In Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer” (Intersections Vol. 33, No. 2), Stephen shows how mystical legends of the Wild Hunter and the Wandering Jew informed the composer Richard Wagner’s conception of the opera. By examining the cultural meanings of the hunt in the historical context of the 19th century, Stephen provides a richer context for understanding the opera for listeners today, who are largely unfamiliar with the hunting motif and unaware of its implications. Stephen is currently working on a monograph about Johannes Brahms’s Trio for Piano, Violin and Horn (Op. 40), which addresses the composer’s unusual instrumentation and its broader cultural meaning in the context of late 19th-century modernization. Ultimately as Stephen sees the role of musicology as the study of “a collaborative effort that involves a large number of people and mediating factors. By connecting musical texts to their social contexts and seeking to
understand their creation and continued existence as a process of collective social activity, I further our understanding of musical works as cultural constructions that reflect societal beliefs and values through the medium of sound.”
condition that mirrors our own experience. Additionally, Schneeman likes to analyze the sampling techniques in hip-hop music, having written on the biography and music of Curtis Jackson III, who performs under the name 50 Cent.
It’s this cultural aspect of music history that fascinates and informs ERIC SCHNEEMAN’S current research projects. Focusing on the music and culture of 19th-century Germany, Schneeman has demonstrated the manner in which politicians, writers, and historians have manipulated and appropriated the biographies of past composers to further their own political, aesthetic, and ideological agendas.
When they are not digging in archives or writing articles, UTSA’s musicologists are participating in San Antonio’s $1.2 billion culture industry by performing in ensembles, writing concert notes, or providing pre-concert lectures. Stephen, for example, performs the natural horn with the Austin Baroque Orchestra, while Schneeman serves on the board of Music Offerings to help with repertoire selection and providing preconcert lectures. In this manner, they can use their research to assist performing arts organizations address the cultural needs of their constituents. Musicologists also contribute to San Antonio and American culture industry by reviewing books, recordings, and films. Through our evaluations of these materials we help foster thoughtful considerations of music among the general public. Furthermore, their research is a vital part of the classroom experience as students assist in ongoing research projects and discover works from longforgotten composers.
Using archival materials from the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (The National Library in Berlin), his recent article, “Perceptions of Musical Cosmopolitanism in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-century Europe: The Case of Christoph Gluck and Giacomo Meyerbeer” (Oxford Handbook Online), examines how 19th-century German critics used the biography of the 18th-century composer Gluck to justify the cosmopolitan career of the 19th-century German-Jewish composer Meyerbeer. In the end, his article upends current ideas of 19th-century German history, which have typically emphasized the growth of nationalism and nation building, showing instead that many 19th-century thinkers considered cosmopolitanism an important aspect of the German identity. Schneeman also has an interest in the intersections of music and literature, and is currently finishing up an article about music and noise pollution in E. T. A. Hoffmann’s fiction and music criticism. Schneeman sees the 19th century as a time when music pervaded and intermingled with daily life — a
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HILE SOME THINK of
interns and student workers as assistants who take care of rote tasks, IED student researchers are changing that paradigm and have fuller roles steeped in experiential learning. Instead of seeing an IED student researcher hovering over a copy machine or running errands around campus, you might see them briefing an international delegation, developing a foreign investment business plan, accessing a specialized database to develop a marketing plan for a national client, conducting data collection, or presenting research findings to a CEO.
"STUDENT RESEARCHERS ARE A CRITICAL COMPONENT OF OUR CLIENTS' SUCCESS," SAID UTSA SENIOR ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ROBERT MCKINLEY, "THEIR RESEARCH PROVIDES ENTREPRENEURS WITH VALUABLE INFORMATION AND SOLUTIONS, MEANWHILE STUDENTS GAIN PRACTICAL BUSINESS EXPERIENCE."
student researchers. Students “get real world experience and have customer contact beyond the textbook,” said Martinez. They have the opportunity to take their “finance, marketing and customer service skills to a whole other level and participate in activities in the real business world that they’re not getting in other types other internships,” Martinez continued. Since TIBA’s inception in fiscal year 2011, it has been responsible for over 1,800 new direct jobs created and over $136 million in foreign investment to Texas.
In 2015, the IED generated $2.6 billion in economic impact, supporting entrepreneurs through 76,137 consulting hours with small businesses and 8,958 research hours. ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ-BAEZ serves as a senior international business advisor with the International Trade Center at the IED and provides consulting services. He also mentors student researchers through a customized training program and reviews all their work before it is shared with clients. Rodriguez-Baez is quick to point out that the student researchers are more than just interns—they are the market research team. “By giving them titles such as ‘international market research specialists’, our clients know that they are very important to us. It also sets a tone for the students to work and deliver at that professional level,” said RodriguezBaez. Amanda Midence, a senior in the College of Business, agrees that the title matters to build credibility for the team. This is particularly important when they join Rodriguez-Baez in presenting research findings to a CEO client. The Texas International Business Accelerator (TIBA) is a specialty program within the International Trade Center at the IED. JAIME MARTINEZ, Senior Project Manager, leads the program and a team of foreign investment specialists, aka
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Each year the IED welcomes 20-30 delegations to learn about IED activities, the U.S. Small Business Development Center model and how the International Trade Center assists countries adapt the model for their local market context. When delegations tour the IED, a favorite stop is the research area to talk with student researchers. DR. BARBARA SCHNEEMAN, U.S. Higher Education Coordinator with the U.S. Agency for International Development, met with researchers from the International Trade Center. Schneeman said, “I’m glad I had this opportunity” to meet with the researchers from the International Trade Center “and I was very impressed by the student[s]”. The IED International Trade Center has assisted more than 20 countries via a five-phase adaptation process to transfer the SBDC methodology under the Small Business Network of the Americas initiative. This Public-Private-Academic (PPA) partnership was announced at the 2012 Summit of the Americas by President Obama with the goal of creating a hemisphere-wide network of SBDC programs that will assist many thousands of small businesses in starting and growing their operations. “The UTSA International Trade Center has been working with countries on building SBDC networks since 2003. The first international SBDCs opened their doors in Mexico and there are now more than 82 SBDCs throughout Latin America with another 210 to be launched in 2016,” said CLIFF PAREDES, director of the UTSA International Trade Center. In a recent visit to the UTSA IED for a briefing, the U.S. State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary SUE SAARNIO said, “It is clear that your work on the Small Business Network
of the Americas has an enormous impact.” Saarnio also had an opportunity to talk in-depth with the student researchers about their latest activities for clients. Students regularly meet with delegates who include senior officials from Washington, DC, such as Dr. Schneeman and DAS Saarnio, foreign ministries, and local and state government. JORGE SANCHEZ, a recent University of Texas graduate and current researcher, said we have been “trained very well to present findings in a formal fashion.” His colleague, RANGEL ROSADO, a junior in the College of Business, said we are “used to presenting in front of our peers and professors.” This research opportunity gives us “practice in presenting in a professional setting.” In 2016, the UTSA student researchers will have the chance to lead for the first time an international online training on how to create a student research unit within an International Trade Center. This training will be designed and delivered by the research team in collaboration with their mentor RodriguezBaez as part of the SBDCGlobal Trade Consultant Certification Series. In the training, “we anticipate participation from Small Business Network of America countries, as well as national SBDC directors,” said Rodriguez-Baez. The IED offers additional paid opportunities for students to participate in research. The IED Center for Community and Business Research (CCBR), lead by DR. THOMAS TUNSTALL, employs a range of undergraduate and graduate researchers. Since “research draws upon specialized skills from a variety of disciplines CCBR welcomes student researchers from all UTSA Colleges,” said research economist and mentor Dr. SHERYLLYNN ROBERTS.
In addition, the Small Business Development Center Network known as SBDCNet is the official National Information Clearinghouse of the U.S. Small Business Administration housed at the IED. SBDCNet provides small business research services to the entire 1,000+ member SBDC Network of Small Business Development Centers located in all 50 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. Student researchers are able to contribute to a broad range of financial, market and demographic research reports customized to client industry and geographic location. Assisting businesses reach their full potential and grow goes hand-in-hand with assisting UTSA student reach their full potential through service-learning roles with the IED. For professors and students interested in student-researcher placements, please contact: MATTHEW JACKSON (210) 458-2449 or Matthew.Jackson@utsa.edu.
100K VENTURE COMPETITION AND EXPOSITION ON DECEMBER 1, 2015, twenty-eight teams from across UTSA exhibited their projects, of which six teams competed for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture company. New and continuing sponsors include Cox|Smith, the Harvard Business Club of San Antonio, Rackspace, the San Antonio Technology Center, Humphries Medical Media, the Targeted Technology Fund, the Whittington Group, and the UTSA College of Business and the College of Engineering.
There was a myriad of inventions and devices that could easily be found in the marketplace of the future. From pressure-sensing motorcycle gear to secure cooling server cases, from a photo-based inventory system to safe dosing methods, from sustainable design for managing campus storm water to multiple wheelchair designs, the expo was a design smorgasbord of useful possibilities that can save you time or save a life.
was co-founded by LANCE from the College of Business and TYLER BAILEY from the College of Engineering, and includes team members CARLA VILLARREAL, JOHN WURZBACH, JEFF KITCHEN and STORM GRAY. The EZ-Torque adapter is a precision torqueing instrument that allows a technician, for the first time ever, to analyze the job at hand and determine the most effective way of driving a fastener. Its clutch pack technology reduces the liability of human error by disengaging the output torque upon reaching the user-selected torque range. The team were awarded $2,000 in cash, and $46,000 worth of services, including office space for one year at either Geekdom downtown or the San Antonio Technology Center to develop their company. EZ-TORQUE
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is an air-based compression sleeve that is directed towards cerebral palsy patients. This medical compression sleeve contains hot, cold, and massaging applications used to relax muscles and promote an acceptable range of motion in relation to the patient’s therapy preferences. Team members are JAIME ARREDONDO, ANDREA DEL RIO, SANTIAGO LASCURAIN, BLAKE PERALES, ARMANDO SAIDE, and CHRIS ZURCHER. THERM-MOIST THERAPY
"THE COMPETITION IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR UTSA STUDENTS TO WORK IN A CROSS-DISCIPLINE TEAM WITH MEMBERS WHO BRING DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES, MIND-SETS, AND EVEN LANGUAGE, MUCH LIKE THE REAL WORLD. THEY COME TOGETHER AND LEARN THE PROCESS OF TAKING A TECHNOLOGY IDEA TO THE MARKETPLACE. WE HELP THEM ALONG THE WAY WITH FINDING THE RIGHT BUSINESS MODEL, WRITING A CREDIBLE BUSINESS PLAN, PAIRING UP MENTORS WHO ADVISE THEM THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS, AND DEVELOPING A TECHNOLOGY DEMONSTRATOR THAT WILL SERVE AS A PROOF OF CONCEPT FOR THE FINAL PRODUCT, WITH THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF BEING SUCCESSFULLY COMMERCIALIZED." ~ DIEGO S. CAPELETTI, UTSA CENTER FOR INNOVATION, TECHNOLOGY AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP COORDINATOR
SYNCED-IN is an app developed
by CLESMIE BURDEN and WILLIAM CAVANAUGH that is dedicated to the success of college students, both academically and socially. This app will provide students with a more efficient and organized way to view and track assignments from each of their classes in an easy-to-use format.
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This annual showcase provides real-life, hands-on experiences in undergraduate studentsâ€™ field of interest, while developing critical and independent thinking, creativity, and problem solving. http://research.utsa.edu/showcase/
The UTSA cyber security program was ranked the best in the nation in 2014, according to a national survey of certified information technology security professionals and more recently, the university was designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/ Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. In regards to his current cyber security research, Krishnan says that the need to share information online while confining it to authorized recipients is one of the most challenging problems in cyber security. His CAREER funding will focus on the policy problem of specifying, analyzing and enforcing information sharing policies.
BY DEBORAH SILLIMAN | COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING
assistant professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. He will be receiving more than $544,000 in support of his research on Group-Centric Secure Information Sharing - Models, Properties, and Implementation.
“Professionally, I am delighted that both NSF and my academic peers are convinced that my proposed career path can have a significant impact, and is worth investing in,” said Krishnan. “This funding will help me to establish a strong cyber security research and education portfolio at UTSA over the next five years. Personally, receiving this award is very rewarding. My collaborators and colleagues here at UTSA have been very supportive over the years. A big thanks to all of them!” NSF CAREER awards are exclusively reserved for junior faculty to help develop their career as a teacher-scholar. That means this award will support Krishnan’s pursuit in academia to conduct innovative research, tightly integrated with a compelling education program. “This funding will also help support and train undergraduate and graduate students at UTSA in research topics related to cyber security,” he said.
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“The College of Engineering is very proud of Dr. Krishnan’s accomplishments at UTSA, and this CAREER award is yet another reflection of his academic excellence,” said JOANN BROWNING, dean of the UTSA College of Engineering. “Coupling this award with his Regent’s Teaching Award this year, I think you begin to understand how much of an impact Dr. Krishnan makes on his students, colleagues, and engineering programs.” The CAREER Program is a foundationwide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacherscholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. In addition to Krishnan, The Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering currently has two CAREER award winners in the department: Professor YUFEI HUANG, and Professor and Interim Department Chair CHUNJIANG QIAN.
UTSA Receives its largest grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
PLASMODIUM LIVER STAGE PARASITE IMAGE COURTESY OF DR. KIRSTEN HANSON
Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon, Portugal in 2013. She and her team developed new assays to identify compounds capable of killing liver stage malaria parasites, and performed a pilot screen with compounds After receiving the initial grant, there is only one chance to secure additional funding in the subsequent two years. Shortly after joining UTSA, Dr. Hanson applied and found out in late autumn she was successful.
KIRSTEN K. HANSON
assistant professor with the department of biology and the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, is the Principal Investigator for a $670,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant was given as part of their Grand Challenges Explorations program, a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems.
KIRSTEN K. HANSON, PH.D,
It is the largest Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation award given to the University of Texas at San Antonio; it is Dr. Hanson’s second BMGF grant award. The Grand Challenges Explorations program issues specific challenges to solicit and fund key advances in preventing, treating, and curing diseases of the developing world. They want out of the box thinking to find real world solutions for global problems. Respondents submit a two-page proposal, which is then scored blindly. Anyone affiliated with an institution can submit therefore it is highly competitive. Dr. Hanson received Phase I funding to address the challenge “New Approaches for the Interrogation of Anti-malarial Compounds” while she was a postdoctoral fellow at the
“Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites that infect red blood cells, but these parasites must first grow and mature in the liver. During this time, a person is infected but asymptomatic and cannot transmit the disease. The liver stage is a truly a key intervention point before any parasites reach the bloodstream, and we are focused on finding novel compounds that can target the parasite as it nears maturity in the liver,” explained Dr. Hanson. In Phase II, Dr. Hanson will continue her work on identifying and developing novel liver stage antimalarials to protect those in malaria endemic areas. She and her team will refine their assays, and plan to screen more and larger compound collections. Dr. Hanson is also working with DR. MATTHEW J. HART at the Center for Innovative Drug Discovery (CIDD), a joint venture between The University of Texas at San Antonio and The University of Texas Health Science Center, at UTHSCSA. High content image-based screening will be carried out at CIDD in collaboration with Dr. Hart and his team. “This grant award not only recognizes the academic rigor of Dr. Hanson’s work but also it has a real world application. It’s top tier research to resolve a global health crisis being done right here in San Antonio”, added DR. FLOYD WORMLEY, Associate Dean of Research & Graduate Studies for the UTSA College of Sciences.
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A Memorandum of Understanding was signed at UTSA, forming a partnership between the UT System and Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT). A framework was created for our 14 academic and health institutions to collaborate with CONACYT to develop a wide variety of STEM-elated research and academic programs for faculty and students.
With REP. LLOYD DOGGETT and SENATOR MENENDEZ in attendance, UTSA and our partners celebrated the designation of the eight-county “Alamo Manufacturing Partnership Consortium ” as an IMCP Manufacturing Community by the United States Department of Commerce. Under the leadership of UTSA, the AMP consortium is a collaborative effort of several organizations from industry, academia, civic, and government organized to assist communities that have demonstrated best practices within a specific manufacturing sector to further cultivate an environment to create well-paid manufacturing jobs and targeted industry growth. This designation gives the San Antonio-based partnership preferential treatment when applying for more than $1 billion in economic development grants from 11 different federal agencies. We are now planning which federal grants to bring to the San Antonio area and we will also assist in matching grant opportunities with researchers and AMP partners. 42 D I S C O V E R Y | V O L U M E 8
This past summer, hundreds of representatives from the Department of Defense, along with colleagues from UTHSCSA, UTSA, local, state and national organizations attended one of the city’s largest professional development forums focused on health care research. The first ever San Antonio Military Health System (SAMHS) and Universities Research Forum (SURF) featured the latest research and discoveries of trainees, faculty, staff and students from health-related disciplines. Not only was it an opportunity to share research, learn and network, but further collaboration between attendees will continue long after the forum.
DR. THOMAS FORSTHUBER, Department of Biology & The South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, was selected for publication in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The article focuses on how IFN-γ, a signaling protein normally released by immune cells in defense against microbial pathogens, helps in disease recovery in an animal model of the human disease multiple sclerosis, where the immune system erroneously attacks the central nervous system, by limiting the deterioration of myelin, a mix of fat and protein which protects the nerves in the brain.
COMING UP 2016 The second annual SAN ANTONIO MILITARY HEALTH SYSTEM AND UNIVERSITIES RESEARCH FORUM (SURF)
has been confirmed for FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2016.
With attendees from the military, government, education and industry, it is one of the city’s largest professional development forums focused on health care research. In addition to connecting members of the military with local scholars, SURF will provide members of the military with the opportunity to earn CME and CEU credits.
CITATION Sosa RA, Murphey C, Robinson RR, Forsthuber TG. IFN-γ ameliorates autoimmune encephalomyelitis by limiting myelin lipid peroxidation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Sep 8;112(36):E5038-47. doi: 10.1073 / pnas.1505955112. Epub 2015 Aug 24. PubMed PMID: 26305941; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4568689.
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Last September, members of the executive team from The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL)— the Army’s corporate research laboratory — came to the UTSA campus, a visit facilitated by UT System Office of Federal Relations. As part of their daylong visit, DR. THOMAS RUSSELL, executive director of the ARL, gave a public presentation on ways UTSA and ARL can work together to further research and innovation. Collaborations could include placing ARL staff on campus for short or long-term projects or vice versa; UTSA researchers could apply 44 D I S C O V E R Y | V O L U M E 8
to access red clean rooms that have the highest level of security clearance; ARL can also offer letters of support for grant applications whether for shared resources, facilities, materials, staffing and/or research. It’s an interesting time for the Army. The decisions for 2025 are 85% completed. The acquisition programs are underway and equipment is already being purchased. At this juncture, they are now considering the concept of the “Deep Future”: where are we going to be in 2040? The Army is asking us to think about how do we innovate the future, and how do we set strategic direction?
THE ARMY IS LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS TO THESE CHALLENGES, AND FOR INNOVATION IN THESE SELECTED AREAS: •
Intelligence systems & autonomy; how we do we get a machine to understand strategic intent?
Human-machine interface in real-time
Heads up display for soldiers
Human performance in real-time
Cyber research e.g. ARL has unclassified real-time data available for cyber research
Batteries material research
SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL TRANSFORMATION A $3.2 million grant awarded by the US Dept. of Education to UTSA to improve the academic success of transfer students. The newly-created PIVOT program is led by RHONDA GONZALES (History) with assistance from RAQUEL MARQUEZ (Sociology) and PATRICIA SANCHEZ (BiculturalBilingual Studies). CLOUD, CYBER, COMPUTING & ANALYTICS The Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security’s GREG WHITE (Computer Science) was awarded a five-year $11 million grant from the US Department of Homeland Security, to help establish cyber information sharing organizations around the country.
INTEGRATED BIOMEDICINE (Biology) was awarded $1,835,150 from the National Institute of of Health to study dopamine bursts in the brain that may have applications, yet to be determined, for clinical depression, drug addiction, schizophrenia or Parkinson’s disease. CARLOS PALADINI
ADVANCED MATERIALS (Chemistry) was awarded two grants: the first by The National Science Foundation for “New Catalytic Reactions of Nitroxy Compounds”; and the second from the Welch Foundation for “New Catalytic Strategies for the Synthesis of Complex Heterocycles”. Dr. Larionov’s research focused on methodology and complex molecule synthesis, with a special focus on compounds targeting cancer.
SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES AND CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE LES SHEPHARD of the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute was awarded $620,000 to transform and modernize the electric sector, partnering with CPS Energy Grid of the Future.
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A team of researchers led by ERIC SCHLEGEL, Vaughn Family Endowed Professor in Physics at UTSA, has discovered a powerful galactic blast produced by a giant black hole about 26 million light years from Earth. The black hole is the nearest supermassive black hole to Earth that is currently undergoing such violent outbursts. Schlegel’s team used NASA’s Earth-orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory to find the black hole blast in the famous Messier 51 system of galaxies. The system contains a large spiral galaxy, NGC 5194, colliding with a smaller companion galaxy, NGC 5195. “Just as powerful storms here on Earth impact their environments, so too do the ones we see out in space,” Schlegel said. “This black hole is blasting hot gas and particles into its surroundings that must play an important role in the evolution of the galaxy.”
Schelegel’s findings made the news around the world and was featured on the BBC, NPR, Washington Post, CNN, The Guardian (UK), Science World Report, Sina.com (China) and The Australian Financial Review.
World-renowned nanotechnology researcher (Physics & Astronomy) and his colleagues DR. ARTURO PONCE and graduate student DIEGO ALDUCIN, worked with collaborators at Northwestern University, the DOE, Argonne Lab and Stony Brook University to produce a new material called borophene — a first in the world — and the newest member of the flatland, or 2D, family. In two dimensions, materials exhibit new properties. Graphene, boronitrene layers, phosphorene, silicene, and transition-metal dichalcogenides are the most studied materials. PROFESSOR MIGUEL JOSE YACAMAN
Layers of boron were deposited on a single atomically thin sheet, essentially a monolayer. Using Helenita — UTSA ultra high resolution electron microscope — the team could finally see, examine, and analyze this new material. Borophene exhibits strong covalent bonding and is the missing link on the flatland between semi-metalic materials such as silicene, and fully covalent materials such as grapheme. Borophene will be particularly important in the development of photonic and nanoscale electronic devices. 46 D I S C O V E R Y | V O L U M E 8
What is SALSI?
Areas of Research
SALSI is the San Antonio Life Sciences Institute
and it has one mission—conquer the challenges
facing healthcare in Texas and the nation.
Infectious Diseases & Vaccinations
To achieve this, SALSI uses the collaborative
expertise of The University of Texas Health
Science Center at San Antonio and The
University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA),
both of which are premier research institutions
within Central Texas.
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO ONE UTSA CIRCLE SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS 78249
San Antonio, Texas PERMIT NO. 2474
EXCEPTIONAL RESEARCH At The University of Texas at San Antonio, research is about exceptional opportunities: in the classroom, in the laboratory, at conferences, and in the field. Research is about discovering our world and improving our way of life. With world-class faculty, hands-on lab experiences, and research opportunities for everyone — undergraduates to faculty — UTSA has a unique culture that encourages all forms of creative and scientific inquiry. This is what makes a top-tier university. UTSA’s excellence is made possible by community and donor support, peer collaboration, industry partnerships and government relations. By leveraging all of its partners, UTSA is able to delve into groundbreaking and world-changing research. For more information on research at UTSA or to comment on the latest issue of Discovery, please contact us at email@example.com. Share your research stories ideas too!