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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. Send an e-mail to timgreen@mail.utexas.edu.]

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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. Send an e-mail to timgreen@mail.utexas.edu.]


James W. Tunnell, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, has received a Phase II Early Career Award from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation to support his work in developing optical spectroscopy for the early detection of skin cancer. The award provides $260,000 over two years to develop a prototype and conduct clinical trials that will be carried out at MD Anderson Cancer Center and UTMB.

The Phase II award recipients were chosen from the Phase I award recipients that showed promise for commercialization. Seven Phase II awards were chosen of the 23 Phase I awardees. Tunnell received the Phase I award in 2006.

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News and Information


The Office of Sponsored Projects is presenting a class called The Life Cycle of a Sponsored Research Grant.
It will be from 2-4 p.m. on Oct 21, 2008 in Room 4.106A in the North Office building (NOA). Registration is through TXCLASS SP101 (formerly PN111).

Participants will learn about the services available from the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), which serves as the coordinating office for externally funded research projects submitted by The University of Texas at Austin.

The presentation will provide an overview of the grant award process and will include information and tips on using electronic research administration tools, budget development, and other pre-award issues, as well as grant account administration issues. Related policies and procedures will also be discussed. This class is open to everyone but is most appropriate for entry-level research administrators.

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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 Research Alert know when you or a colleague have been quoted.

Business Week
Sept. 17, 2008
HEADLINE: WALL STREET STAGGERS: What brought down the markets? Bad choices, greed–and never learning from past mistakes

[Law Professor Henry Hu comments on weakness in some complex financial instruments.]

For four years in the mid-1990s, LTCM (Long-Term Capital Management) boasted extraordinary profits based on supposedly flawless computer formulas devised by a team that included two Nobel laureates. But in the summer of 1998, Russian credit disintegrated, one of several concurrent global shocks that the LTCM crew had failed to factor into their algorithms. After losing more than $4 billion in a few months–in retrospect, the amount seems almost quaint–the hedge fund received a federally organized rescue, although it later shut down altogether.

Financial “rocket scientists,” says Henry T. Hu, a corporate law professor at the University of Texas in Austin, have a knack for neglecting low-probability, catastrophic events. The smartest guys in the room at Enron similarly assumed away risks they didn’t want to confront. “These models…work in normal circumstances but not during times of market stress, when it really matters,” Hu says. “It is almost like a safety belt that only fails in a serious car crash.”

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Research Opportunities

Important university research deadlines:
Awards and Grants
Limited Submissions

Long Range Broad Agency Announcement For Navy And Marine Corps Science And Technology
Deadline: Sept. 30, 2009

Demonstration of Electron Beam Technology for SO2 and NOx Reduction
Deadline: Dec. 1, 2008

High-Performance Networks for Distributed Petascale Science
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, Oct. 31, 2008; Application, Dec. 17, 2008

Wireless Communications With Subway Passengers
Deadline: Nov. 12, 2008

Small Research Grant to Improve Health Care Quality through Health Information Technology
Deadline: Feb. 16, 2009

Exploratory Studies in Cancer Detection, Diagnosis and Prognosis
Deadline: Feb. 16, 2009

Replication and Fine-Mapping Studies for the Genes Environment and Health Initiative
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, Oct. 24, 2008; Application, Dec. 1, 2008

Innovative Approaches to Target Identification and Assay Development for Fungal Diagnosis
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, Jan. 12, 2009; Application, Feb. 11, 2009

Educational Programs for Population Research
Deadline: Jan. 25, 2008

The Role of Cardiomyocyte Mitochondria in Heart Disease: An Integrated Approach
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, April 20, 2009; Application, May 19, 2009

Discovery Research K-12
Deadline: Jan. 8, 2009

Cyber-Physical Systems
Deadline: Feb. 27, 2009

American Association for Cancer Research
Landon Foundation-AACR INNOVATOR Award for Cancer Prevention Research
Deadline: Nov. 20, 2008

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Research Project

Let us know about your research projects at timgreen@mail.utexas.edu or 512-475-6596.


FACULTY: Itty Abraham, Director, South Asia Institute, associate professor,
Department of Asian Studies, Department of Government, principal investigator
AGENCY: National Science Foundation
AMOUNT: $107,500

This project studies the conception of social risk held by a community that lives in an area of high natural background radiation. The project will seek to ascertain local understandings of sources of disease and threat, wellness and health, conceptions of place and community history, and social migratory patterns are ascertained by using ethnographic methods, interviews, and life histories.

This understanding is set against the risk assessments produced by state health agencies that find no measurable danger in this region and environmental non-governmental organizations that find significant levels of genetic disturbance. The analysis combines interviews and documentary analysis. The focus of this project is the community living in the high natural radiation belt just north of Kollam, in southern India.

The project is part of a larger book project that focuses on two intertwined stories: the first is the history of a rare earth mineral, monazite; the second is the history of a community that is now entirely defined by its proximity to a radioactive material, thorium.

Monazite was, before Hiroshima, a raw material for industry. After the nuclear age began, combined with the realization that thorium was one of the elements found in monazite, monazite became valuable as a potential nuclear fuel. India’s long-term nuclear power strategy depends on building breeder reactors that will use thorium as fuel.

The community of people that live around the beach sands with high concentrations of rare earths were, before 1945, a marginal community composed of miners and fishermen. Following Hiroshima, they became a community that was primarily defined by their proximity to a radioactive material, even as their livelihoods and condition of life changed little. The project examines the mutual constitution of a people whose current identity was shaped by the nuclear age, and a material whose life history was transformed by nuclear fission.

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