Research Tracks

A publication of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Baylor University

September 15, 2014
by Baylor OVPR
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Baylor students get back to nature in the fight against antibiotic-resistant pathogens

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Michael Cotten (left), a graduate student in biology, looks on as undergraduates Shelby Armstrong and Shanze Zar examine a petri dish containing isolates found in soil samples.

For most patients, hospitals are very safe environments in which to receive treatment and recover. However, despite hospitals’ best efforts, some patients, especially those with compromised immune systems, may be at risk of contracting dangerous infections. A particular group of germs called E.S.K.A.P.E. pathogens — named for the Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumonia, Acinetobacter baumanii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter bacteria — has become a growing concern for health care providers, because the pathogens have adapted to develop a resistance to current antibiotics. According to the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, 19,000 patients die every year from an infection caused by an E.S.K.A.P.E. pathogen. The problem of today’s antibiotics failing to combat pathogens that have grown a resistance to them is a serious one and one that a group of Baylor undergraduate students and their faculty mentors have devoted time and effort toward solving. Continue Reading →

April 29, 2014
by Baylor OVPR
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URSA honors top student research from 2014 Scholars Week

The 2014 edition of Scholars Week was one of the largest ever, with 165 students presenting the results of their independent research and scholarly activities.  The event included two days of platform presentations and two days of poster sessions where students had the chance to present their research findings to their peers.  The OVPR thanks the Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement (URSA) Steering Committee as well as students involved in Baylor Undergraduate Research in Science & Technology (BURST) for all their hard work.

This year, for the first time, the URSA Steering Committee and Baylor University Libraries presented awards for the most outstanding platform presentations.  Library staff attended each presentation and selected the most outstanding student research in four divisions: Arts and humanities, nursing, social science and STEM.

As in previous years, the top research posters in a number of departments were recognized by faculty with outstanding poster designations.  The anthropology, biology, environmental science, geology, physics and psychology & neuroscience departments, along with the Louise Herrington School of Nursing, recognized top posters presented by students mentored by their faculty.  These posters are currently on display in the walkway between the Moody and Jones libraries.  The exhibition will continue through commencement weekend, May 16 and 17.

Click “Continue Reading” to see a full list of outstanding platform presentations and posters from Scholars Week 2014.
Continue Reading →

March 17, 2014
by Baylor OVPR
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OVPR announces recipients of FY 2015 URSA Small Grants

The Office of the Vice Provost for Research and the Undergraduate Research & Scholarly Achievement (URSA) Steering Committee have announced the recipients of the FY 2015 URSA Small Grants program.  The grants are intended to provide opportunities for faculty-student interaction through mentored research experiences.  Students who work on URSA-funded projects also develop presentation skills through participation in URSA Scholars Week. Continue Reading →

Baylor researchers discover secrets hidden in whale ear wax

September 24, 2013 by Baylor OVPR | 0 comments

Scientists have known for years that the layers of ear wax produced by whales can help determine an animal’s age. But now, research by two Baylor faculty members has shown that there is a lot more we can learn from these foot-long plugs of waxy buildup.

Dr. Sascha Usenko, assistant professor of environmental science, and Dr. Stephen Trumble, assistant professor of biology, discovered that blue whales’ ear wax plugs function as a sort of time capsule, storing traces of contaminants and hormones that can yield knowledge about the whale’s development and exposure to pollutants throughout its lifetime.

Whales produce a new layer of ear wax every six months, so the placement of chemicals in the wax plug allowed Usenko and Trumble to pinpoint chemical exposure to a particular time in a whale’s life.  This knowledge will greatly improve scientists’ ability to measure the timing and impact of pollution on whales and their ecosystems.

The groundbreaking study, published in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, has received attention from news outlets around the world.  Click the links below to read more coverage of this exciting research.

May 16, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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URSA ceremony honors contributions to undergraduate research

The OVPR and the Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement (URSA) steering committee sponsored the first-ever URSA awards ceremony this month. Dr. Truell Hyde, vice provost for research, presented plaques and certificates honoring administrators, faculty and students who have contributed to the growth of undergraduate research at Baylor.

Continue Reading →

May 14, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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University Research Committee announces recipients of FY 2014 small and mid-range grants

The OVPR and the University Research Committee are proud to announce the results of the 2014 URC Small and Mid-Range Grant Programs.  These grants are intended to expand Baylor faculty members’ research capacity by providing support for research or creative activities in any academic area.

Continue Reading →

May 9, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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IACUC requires new CITI training module for faculty working with fish

As part of its mission to assure humane treatment of vertebrate animals used in research or instruction, Baylor’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) requires prospective investigators to complete online training modules.

All investigators who submit protocols to IACUC are required to complete core modules in the CITI training system which cover general animal research principles and the responsibilities of investigators, students and staff. Additional modules may be required for investigators who work with particular species.

Continue Reading →

May 3, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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OVPR announces URSA Small Grant Program awards for FY 2014

The Office of the Vice Provost for Research and the Undergraduate Research & Scholarly Achievement Steering Committee are proud to announce the results of the FY 2014 URSA Small Grants program. URSA Small Grants provide funding to faculty mentors who support undergraduate students conducting independent research or scholarship in their field.

Undergraduate students Josh Flores, Gabrielle Leonard, Rachel Calhoun, and Chris Gerac field questions from the audience following their presentation at the 2013 Scholars Week event.

Students who participate in URSA-funded research have the opportunity to work alongside graduate students and faculty on research projects that expand knowledge and help to solve real-world problems. Through exposure to research, students develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving and data analysis that make them better prepared to pursue graduate, medical or professional education after college. URSA-funded students also have the chance to hone their communication and presentation skills by participating in URSA Scholars Week, an annual campus-wide celebration of undergraduate scholarship (click here to read more Research Tracks coverage from the 2013 Scholars Week).

Please join the OVPR in congratulating each of this year’s URSA Small Grant recipients!

FY 2014 Undergraduate Research & Scholarly Achievement Small Grants Program

Dr. Tamarah Adair
Senior Lecturer, Department of Biology
College of Arts & Sciences
Variation of the effect of blue light on different strains of Staphylococus aureus
Abstract (PDF)

Dr. Lori Baker
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
College of Arts & Sciences
Morphometric and Biogeochemical Skeletal Analysis of Deceased Undocumented Border Crossers
Abstract (PDF)

Dr. Donna Burnett
Assistant Professor, Department of Family & Consumer Sciences
College of Arts & Sciences
Why College Students Gain Weight: A Qualitative Investigation
Abstract (PDF)

Dr. Clay Butler
Senior Lecturer, English Department
College of Arts & Sciences
Managing Conflict Talk
Abstract (PDF)

Dr. Pat Danley
Assistant Professor, Biology Department
College of Arts & Sciences
The Genetic Basis of Conspecific Aggression in Lake Malawi Cichlid Fishes
Abstract (PDF)

Dr. Nathan Elkins
Assistant Professor, Department of Art, Art History
College of Arts & Sciences
Coinage and Power in the Reign of Nerva (AD 96-97)
Abstract (PDF)

Dr. Shelby Garner
Lecturer, Louise Herrington School of Nursing
Picture This! The Use of Photovoice to Illuminate Perceived Challenges and Rewards of Nursing Identified by Future Nurses in Bangaluru, India
Abstract (PDF)

Dr. Karol Hardin
Assistant Professor, Department of Modern Foreign Languges
College of Arts & Sciences
An Analysis of Spanish Language and Culture Education for Health Care Personnel
Abstract (PDF)

Dr. Bill Hockaday
Assistant Professor, Geology Department
College of Arts & Sciences
An Analysis of Sampling Techniques for Particulate Organic Matter and Implications for Understanding River Carbon Cycling
Abstract (PDF)

Dr. Bob Kane
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
College of Arts & Sciences
Characterization of Islet Surface Modification Chemistry
Abstract (PDF)

Dr. Joaquin Lugo
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology & Neuroscience
College of Arts & Sciences
Pharmacological Optimization of Learning and Memory
Abstract (PDF)

Dr. Kevin Pinney
Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
College of Arts & Sciences
Structure Activity Relationship Studies Related to Small-Molecule Tubulin Binding Analogues
Abstract (PDF)

May 2, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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URSA honors outstanding posters from 2013 Scholars Week

Top undergraduate research posters from 2013 URSA Scholars Week are on display in the corridor between Moody and Jones Libraries through commencement weekend.

Last month, over 180 Baylor undergrads presented results of their independent research at URSA Scholars Week, a four-day celebration of undergraduate research sponsored by the OVPR and the Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement (URSA) steering committee (click here to read more Research Tracks coverage of the 2013 Scholars Week event).

This week, the departments of anthropology, biology, chemistry & biochemistry, environmental science, physics and psychology & neuroscience have recognized the top Scholars Week posters from their disciplines.

The top posters from these six departments are on display in the corridor between Moody and Jones libraries.  The posters will remain on display through commencement weekend, May 17 and 18, thanks to an arrangement between URSA, the Baylor Libraries, and Baylor Undergraduate Research in Science and Technology (BURST), a student organization dedicated to promoting independent research among undergraduates.  Students and faculty mentors involved with these projects will be honored at an upcoming awards ceremony sponsored by the OVPR and URSA.

Click “Continue Reading” to see the full list of outstanding research posters from these departments.

Continue Reading →

March 19, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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Research seminar this Friday sponsored by BU Department of Biology and Sigma Xi

Research Seminar FlyerBaylor’s Department of Biology and Sigma Xi present a research seminar with Dr. Rob Harrod.

Harrod is an assistant professor in SMU’s Department of Biological Sciences and the SMU Center for Drug Discovery, Design and Delivery.  His laboratory investigates the origin, development and effects of viruses which cause blood diseases like leukemia and HIV.  The goal of his research is to develop therapeutic targets and identify biomarkers of infectious diseases and virus-induced cancers.

p53-Dependent Survival Signaling Promotes Oncogene-Activation during Viral Carcinogenesis

Friday, March 22, 2013
12:20-1:10 p.m.
Baylor Sciences Building, room C.105