Research Tracks

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

Video: Baylor faculty & graduate students explain what makes the BRIC an ideal setting for research and discovery

May 19, 2015 by Baylor OVPR | 0 comments

Faculty and graduate students explain how the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC) benefits their research in a new video produced by the Baylor Graduate School.  Check out the video above, then click here to learn more about the BRIC.

Video: Baylor and Harvard Medical School research shows how digital photography can make a rare pediatric eye cancer easier to detect

November 18, 2013 by Baylor OVPR | 1 Comment

New research by Dr. Bryan Shaw, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry in Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences, suggests that digital photography can help parents and doctors detect a rare form of pediatric cancer.

In the video above, Shaw explains how he and his wife noticed early in their son Noah’s life that in some pictures, his right eye glowed white instead of red — a condition called leukocoria or “white eye.”  Noah would later be diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer.  Leukocoria has long been known as a marker of advanced retinoblastoma, but Shaw and his wife had noticed the effect in some of their earliest baby pictures, beginning when Noah was just 12 days old.  The discovery made Shaw curious as to whether white eye in an infant’s pictures might indicate retinoblastoma early enough to improve treatment options for children with the disease.

In collaboration with Noah’s doctors at Harvard Medical School, Shaw analyzed thousands of photographs of Noah and other retinoblastoma patients.  Their research revealed that the white glow can show up in pictures earlier in the disease’s progression than was previously believed, and that the degree of leukocoria correlates with the size of tumors present.  The discovery may help parents seek diagnosis sooner and improve the prognosis for children afflicted with this serious form of cancer.

Shaw’s research, published recently in the journal PLOS ONE, has been covered in a variety of media outlets.  Click the links below to learn more.

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.

Video: Baylor professor separates fact from fiction on two well-known historical figures

August 5, 2013 by Baylor OVPR | 1 Comment

America’s history is filled with tales about ingenious or heroic actions by men and women who made significant advancements in science and technology.  Two of these well-worn narratives concern Thomas Edison’s status as the inventor of the light bulb and Benjamin Franklin’s “discovery” of electricity with his famous kite experiment.  But how much of what we know about these two stories is really true?

Dr. Blaine McCormick, an associate professor of management in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, recently appeared on the Military Channel program “America: Facts vs. Fiction,” where he discussed the popular understanding of these stories and suggested that what many of us learned in our history classes may not be completely accurate.

May 21, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
1 Comment

Video: Baylor faculty and students use forensic science techniques to identify undocumented remains

Dr. Lori Baker, an associate professor of anthropology, uses forensic science techniques to attempt to identify remains of undocumented immigrants buried in unmarked graves near the U.S.-Mexico border.  Baker says that hundreds of immigrants die each year while trying to … Continue reading