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Research Alert

Read the research blog Further Findings. New on the blog: UT Austin’s Foucault Pendulum and Lucy in the Scanner.

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Read the research blog Further Findings. New on the blog: UT Austin’s Foucault Pendulum and Lucy in the Scanner.

Research Prizes and Honors

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


Dr. Karl Galinsky, a professor in the Department of Classics, has been awarded a 2009 Max Planck Research Award for International Cooperation for his study of history and memory.

The Max Planck Society, in collaboration with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, awards the $965,000 prize in humanities to two scholars every four years. The German recipient of the 2009 prize is Dr. Aleida Assmann, professor of English and cultural studies at Konstanz University.

The 2009 prize has a thematic focus on cultural memory, which Galinsky will apply to ancient Roman civilization, particularly the age of the emperor Augustus. Galinsky’s research also explores connections between antiquity and its perception in modern culture. The award committee credited him with building bridges “to current themes such as disenchantment with politics and multiculturalism.”


Dr. Steven Weinberg, a professor in the physics and astronomy departments, received the James Joyce Award of the Literary and Historical Society of University College, Dublin. As part of the award ceremony, Weinberg presented a lecture titled “The Craft of Science and the Craft of Art.”

The Literary and Historical Society was founded in 1855 by Cardinal John Henry Newman, and has been addressed by such figures as Seamus Heaney, Jesse Jackson and Noam Chomsky. While in Dublin, Professor Weinberg also participated in a debate at the College Historical Society of Trinity College, Dublin, founded by Edmund Burke in 1770. In this debate he argued for the proposition that “this House believes Israeli action is justified.”

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News and Information


At the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of Sponsored Projects will host Special Agent Kevin Gounaud for a presentation on the case of Dr. J. Reece Roth, a retired University of Tennessee professor convicted of violating export controls regulations by illegally exporting military information to a citizen of the People’s Republic of China.

The session will be from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2009 in ACES 2.302. The session is free and no registration is required.

For information about the session, send an e-mail to Elena Mota.

For information on export control issues at The University of Texas at Austin, contact Kay Ellis, OSP associate director/export controls officer.

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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 Forward
Feb. 20, 2009
HEADLINE: Chagall’s Political Art; The Lesser-Known Works

[From an article about Marc Chagall’s contributions to Yiddish publications.]

In addition to children’s pamphlets, Chagall contributed to the Yiddish literary magazines Shtrom and Khalyastre (Stream; Gang) in the early 1920s. These pamphlets and journals contained works of high art but were poorly produced in tiny print runs that reflected the poverty and ultimate impermanence of Russia’s oppressed Jewish minority. “We’re talking about a world that is like the theater of the oppressed,” said Seth Wolitz, an expert in Yiddish modernism on the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin. “It’s a miracle that they even found the means to get anything published.”

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Research Opportunities

Important university research deadlines:
Awards and Grants
Limited Submissions

Innovative and Advanced Technologies and Protocols for Monitoring/Verification/Accounting (MVA), Simulation, and Risk Assessment of Carbon Dioxide (Co2) Sequestration in Geologic Formations
Deadline: April 17, 2009

Research and Evaluation on Sexual Violence and Teen Dating Violence
Deadline: Registration with Grants.gov required prior to Application deadline, March 30, 2009

Crime and Justice Research
Deadline: Registration with Grants.gov required prior to Application deadline, April 9, 2009

Understanding the Role of Nonchemical Stressors and Developing Analytic Methods for Cumulative Risk Assessments
Deadline: June 17, 2009

American Folklife Center
The Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund Award
Deadline: March 6, 2009

Surveillance and Response to Avian and Pandemic Influenza
Deadline: April 13, 2009

Alcohol Pharmacotherapy and the Treatment and Prevention of HIV/AIDS
Deadline: April 16, 2009

Bioengineering Research Partnerships
Deadline: June 5, 2009

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Research Scholar Development Award
Deadline: June 12, 2009

Mechanisms of Alcohol and Nicotine Co-Dependence
Deadline: June 16, 2009

Deadline: June 1, 2009

Workforce Program in the Mathematical Sciences
Deadline: June 15, 2009

Deadline: July 16, 2009

William T. Grant Foundation
Understanding the Acquisition, Interpretation, and Use of Research Evidence in Policy and Practice
Deadlines: Letter of Inquiry, May 12, 2009; Invited Proposals, Oct. 6, 2009

Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society
Outcomes Research
Deadline: May 31, 2009

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Research Project

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


RESEARCHER: Mary Jo Kirisits, assistant professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, principal investigator
AGENCY: National Science Foundation
AMOUNT: $400,001 (five years)

Nanomaterials are produced globally with the worldwide market for products incorporating nanotechnology estimated to be $2.4 trillion dollars by 2014.

Nanomaterials have a tremendous range of beneficial uses including controlled delivery of therapeutic agents, efficient conversion of solar energy to electrical energy and effective removal of micropollutants from water.

In spite of their many beneficial applications, nanomaterials may have unintended adverse effects on natural and engineered systems. The principal objective of this proposal is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the effect of a variety of nanomaterials on bacteria, particularly those found in engineered systems pertaining to drinking water, wastewater and water reuse.

The proposed research tasks will be conducted to test the following four hypotheses: (1) bacteria develop increased tolerance and resistance to nanomaterial exposure, (2) nanomaterial exposures change microbial community structure, (3) biofilm bacteria respond differently than planktonic bacteria to a nanomaterial exposure and (4) biofilm mechanical properties are affected by nanomaterials.

In this research, six common nanomaterials–carbon fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, nanoscale cerium oxide, nanosilver, nanoscale titanium dioxide, and nanoscale zero valent iron–will be examined for their effects on pure bacterial cultures and on mixed microbial communities representative of drinking water, wastewater, and water reuse applications.

A major part of the educational plan will be the launch of a pilot outreach program at San Juan Diego High School in Austin, which serves mostly Hispanic, economically disadvantaged students. Kirisits will adopt the freshman class in 2010 and will provide various informational and experimental opportunities for them throughout their high school years as part of a recurring seminar program. In addition, through San Juan Diego’s corporate work study program, Kirisits will sponsor one high school student per year to work in her lab.

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