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Research Alert

Research Prizes and Honors

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

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Research Prizes and Honors

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


Dr. Christopher Bielawski, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has received a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

Based on institutional nominations, the program provides discretionary funding to faculty at an early stage in their careers. Criteria for selection include an independent body of scholarship attained within the first five years of their appointment as independent researchers, and a demonstrated commitment to education, signaling the promise of continuing outstanding contributions to both research and teaching. The Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program provides an unrestricted research grant of $75,000.

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News and Information


A conference on biosafety issues in university research will be held May 14 at The University of Texas at Austin.

Speakers include experts in working with select agents and toxins, administrators tasked with keeping laboratories safe, and environmental health professionals.

The university’s Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) is the conference sponsor.

The committee’s chair, Dr. Alan Lloyd, an associate professor in the Section of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, said that biosafety is a complex and constantly changing issue at research and medical institutions.

“These institutions are dedicated to the safety of employees, researchers and the surrounding communities while also providing a climate where high-level research and medicine can be performed,” he said. “Conferences such as this one present opportunities for biosafety professionals and anyone concerned with biological safety to come together to share the latest information on safety issues, regulations, and the needs of researchers and their communities.”

The conference is geared toward researchers, administrators concerned with compliance with research regulations, university officials, members of committees overseeing research practices, and those responsible for enforcing biosafety regulations.

Presentations run from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Avaya Auditorium, room 2.232, in the Advanced Computation and Engineering Sciences (ACE) Building on The University of Texas at Austin campus. A catered buffet will be available for all registered attendees during the lunch break.

Speakers are:

  • Dr. Robbin Weyant, director of select agents and toxins, Centers for Disease Control
  • Dr. Bruce Whitney, institutional biological safety officer, Texas AandM University
  • Christopher Johnsen, director of research government affairs, University of Texas Medical Branch
  • Dee Zimmerman, environmental health and safety consultant, University of Texas Medical Branch
  • Tam Johnson, occupational health nurse manager, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Attendance at the conference is free, but registration is required. Register online.

Please contact Connie Brownson at 512-232-6391 if you have any questions.


The annual Hamilton Book Author Awards banquet will now take place each fall, instead of the spring as before. The changes have been published with all of the Fall 2007 materials:

“A formal banquet hosted by the University Co-operative Society in October 2008 will honor all participating authors.”

The banquet is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008, at The Four Seasons.

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QuotedUT Researchers in the News

[A sampling of recent quotes by university faculty members and researchers. To be included in this section, let the Research Alert know when you or a colleague have been quoted.]

The New York Times
May 5, 2008
HEADLINE: Are Events on the Trail Changing Election Results?

Political scientists have long debated whether the labors of the candidates, strategists and campaign workers — not to mention the journalists who chronicle them — do much to change the results on election day. The dominant ”minimal effects” school of interpretation has reasoned that what really count are fundamental factors like economic conditions and party identification.

”There has been a consensus that presidential campaigns are primarily the means by which we arrive at predictable outcomes,” Daron R. Shaw of the University of Texas, Austin, wrote in ”The Race to 270: The Electoral College and the Campaign Strategies of 2000 and 2004.”

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Research Opportunities

Important university research deadlines:
Awards and Grants
Limited Submissions

DOD Autism Research Program Concept Award
Deadline: July 30, 2008

DOD Autism Research Program Synergistic Idea Award
Deadline: Sept. 3, 2008

Phosphors and Conversion Materials
Deadline: June 19, 2008

The Early Doctoral Student Research Grant Program and Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Program
Deadline: June 12, 2008

Healthy Homes and Lead Technical Studies Program
Deadline: July 3, 2008

Research Opportunities Space and Earth Sciences – 2008
Deadline: May 30, 2009

Pathogenesis And Treatment Of Lymphedema And Lymphatic Diseases
Deadline: June 5, 2008; also, Oct. 5, 2008

Functional Genetics And Genomics Of Drug Addiction
Deadline: June 5, 2008; also, Oct. 5, 2008

Research on Social Work Practice and Concepts in Health
Deadline: June 5, 2008; also, Oct. 5, 2008

International Research Collaboration on Alcohol and Alcoholism
Deadline: June 5, 2008; also, Oct. 5, 2008

Mechanisms of Alcohol-Induced Tissue Injury
Deadline: up to May 7, 2011

Physiological and Structural Systems
Deadline: July 12, 2008

Physics of Living Systems
Deadline: July 31, 2008

Physical Oceanography
Deadline: Aug. 15, 2008

Process and Reaction Engineering
Deadline: Sept. 15, 2008

Expeditions in Computing
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, July 10, 2008; Preliminary Proposal; Sept. 10, 2008; Full Proposal, Jan. 10, 2009

Scleroderma Foundation
New Investigator Grant
Deadline: Sept. 15, 2008

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Research Project

[Let the Research Alert know about your research projects.]

Interpersonal Processes, Identity and Smoking Cessation

FACULTY: James Pennebaker and William Swann, professors, Department of Psychology, co-principal investigators
AGENCY: National Institute On Drug Abuse
AMOUNT: $179,232

Past theory and research give rise to two competing predictions regarding the influence of identity on smoking behavior. Most approaches make the straightforward prediction that the more people identity themselves as smokers, the more they will smoke. Nevertheless, advocates of the disease model of addictions make the opposite prediction, arguing that for people to resist addictive behavior, they must first incorporate the addict identity (e.g., smoker).

This conceptualization may apply especially well to “Pseudo-non-smokers”–people who smoke but do not consider themselves to be Smokers. The latter identity is potentially important because it may serve as a gateway identity, a transitional identity that encourages people to engage in behaviors that eventually lead to full blown addiction.

The first goal of the proposed research will be to develop and validate a methodology for determining where people fall on a continuum that ranges from distancing (wherein a label such as Smoker is acknowledged but remains separate from the person’s conceptualization of self) to incorporation (wherein the label is fully assimilated into the person’s conceptualization of self).

Three distinct methods for measuring degree of distancing vs. incorporation will be developed; a traditional self-report measure, a pictorial measure and an open-ended measure. These measures will be developed and validated using samples of Web users and college students. After establishing the internal consistency and test-retest reliability of these instruments, predictive validity will be assessed focusing on outcomes such as health-related behaviors like well-being, smoking and enrollment in smoking cessation programs. Discriminant validity will also be assessed.

Tests will be performed to assess main effects (e.g., incorporation is associated with less smoking) as well as interactions (e.g., incorporation is associated with less smoking among some personality types but more smoking among other personality types). The second approach will be to test the effectiveness of an intervention designed to reduce smoking behavior. Smokers will be assigned to one of three treatments. Some will be encouraged to distance themselves from the smoker identity. Others will be encouraged to incorporate the smoker identity into their conceptions of self. Still others will be in a baseline control condition. The impact of these manipulations on smoking behavior, well-being and enrollment in smoking cessation programs will be assessed.

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