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FEBRUARY 2016

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UAB LEADS NATIONAL CARDIAC ARREST STUDY OF NEW BREATHING TUBE

Investigators at UAB want to determine whether a newer, easier-to-use breathing tube will produce better results than existing endotracheal tubes in cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. UAB’s Alabama Resuscitation Center is spear-heading a national trial involving paramedics in five U.S. metropolitan areas. Henry Wang, M.D., professor and vice chair for Research in the UAB Department of Emergency Medicine is the national principal investigator for the Pragmatic Airway Resuscitation Trial – or PART – which will examine the older endotracheal tube’s performance against the newer King laryngeal tube to see whether either produces higher 72-hour survival rates in adults with cardiac arrest treated by EMS responders.

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UAB PARTICIPATES IN NATIONAL STUDY WHICH FINDS MOST GENERAL DENTISTS DO NOT FOLLOW STANDARD OF CARE GUIDELINES FOR ROOT CANAL TREATMENT

A large national study of dentists conducted by the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network has found that only 47 percent of dentists always use a dental dam during root canal treatment, with an additional 17 percent using it 90-99 percent of the time, according to a recent scientific publication in BMJ Open. In this study, 1,490 general dentists who represent a diverse range of dentist characteristics, practice types and patient populations served completed an anonymous questionnaire about dental dam use and their attitudes toward its use. The study found a substantial variation in dental dam use and attitudes.

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UAB RESEARCHERS WORKING TO ANSWER CONCUSSION’S CRUCIAL QUESTIONS

At the moment, there is no medical test to diagnose a concussion – and there are few treatments to help the brain heal. There’s no reliable way to predict which patients will recover quickly from a blow to the head, and which ones will have lingering difficulty with headaches, balance problems, irritability or other concussion symptoms. Neither is there a way to assess the cumulative effects of the smaller hits that athletes take over the course of a season. Researchers across UAB are tackling these problems as part of a wide-ranging, multidisciplinary effort that reaches from basic science labs to large clinical studies. The work is aided by close collaborations with physicians at the UAB Sports Medicine Concussion Clinic at Children’s of Alabama, along with other partners in the Alabama Concussion Task Force, which brings together clinicians, researchers and other experts from UAB, Children’s and state agencies. Their studies could help address many lingering questions that are fueling the raging national debate over head injuries in football and other contact sports.

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UAB RESEARCH SHOWS TYPICAL AMERICAN DIET CAN WORSEN CHRONIC PAIN

Sufferers of chronic pain are more susceptible to prolonged and pronounced health issues when practicing poor diet habits, according to new research published by University of Alabama at Birmingham researcher Robert Sorge, Ph.D., and team in the Journal of Pain. Sorge’s study highlights the negative effects of poor diet quality with respect to recovery from hypersensitivity and susceptibility to chronic pain. The implications of the research could be significant.

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UAB IDENTIFIES FUNCTIONAL BIOMARKER FOR AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION

Adults whose eyes are slow to adjust to the dark have a greater risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, according to new findings from the University of Alabama at Birmingham published online in Ophthalmology. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in older adults in the United States. The findings validate a concept the UAB team first considered nearly 16 years ago: Slowed dark adaptation is an early functional biomarker for AMD.

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UAB STUDIES TARGET NEW APPROACHES FOR TREATMENT-RESISTANT DEPRESSION

UAB’s Mood Disorders Program, is evaluating new genetic tools that point clinicians to the most appropriate medications for individual patients. Preliminary results at UAB show that these tests could help up to 80 percent of patients achieve full remission. UAB researchers are also studying several treatments – including novel drugs and electromagnetic stimulation therapy – that give them hope of reaching a large portion of the remaining 20 percent.

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UAH CMER RESEARCH SCIENTISTS TRAVEL TO SWITZERLAND TO ASSIST SPACE COMPANY

Nicholas Loyd, Director of the Center for Management and Economic Research, and Jeff Siniard, CMER Research Scientist, traveled to Zurich, Switzerland, to assist RUAG Space’s U.S. Industrialization project. RUAG supplies payload fairings to the United Launch Alliance in Decatur, AL and will be re-locating some of its Swiss operations to Decatur in 2016.

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UAH CMER BUSINESS RESEARCHER COMPLETES ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY

CMER Business Researcher Jeff Thompson completed a research project with the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. The project included an economic impact study and a proposed expansion of the Institute.

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PAPER CO-AUTHORED BY UAH ASSOCIATE DEAN AND PROFESSOR ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION

Jatinder Gupta, Associate Dean, Eminent Scholar, and Information Systems Professor, had a paper entitled, “A Heuristic for Maximizing Investigation Effectiveness of Digital Forensic Cases Involving Multiple Investigators” accepted for publication in Computers and Operations Research Journal.

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UAH INTERIM DEAN HAS PAPER ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION

Robert Scherer, Interim Dean for the College of Business Administration, co-authored a paper entitled “Performance of Professional Firms from Emerging Markets: Role of Innovative Services and Firm Capabilities,” which was accepted for publication in the Journal of World Business.

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UAH ENGINEERING PROFESSOR AWARDED GRANT FROM ARIZONA STATE

Dr. Ravi Gorur, Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor, was awarded a grant from Arizona State University to perform dielectric research.

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UAH PROFESSORS WIN GRANT FROM US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Dr. Sampson Gholston, Associate Professor in the ISEEM Department, and Dr. Michael Anderson, Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, won a $128,903 grant for “Nationwide Best Practices to Implement Freight Transportation Careers.”

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UAH COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING FACULTY WIN NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY AWARD

Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Professors David Coe, Aleksandar Milenkovic, and Jeffrey Kulick teamed up with Computer Science Professors Letha Etzkorn and Sun-il Kim to win a grant from the National Security Agency to develop a lightweight architecture that can be used to build cybersecurity into systems that are part of the so-called Internet of Things (IOT).

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UAH COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AWARDED SAFETY RESEARCH

Drs. Michael Anderson and Tingting Wu were awarded a research project from the Alabama Department of Transportation to investigate accidents due to wet pavement in the state to assess better roadway safety.

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UAH CLINICAL ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF NURSING CO-AUTHORS PUBLICATION

Dr. Lori Lioce co-authored the publication, “Utilization of the Standards of Best Practice Simulation: A Descriptive Study.” Published in the Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 2016, Vol. 6, No. 3.

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UAH CLINICAL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF NURSING CO-AUTHORS PUBLICATION

Ms. Sharon Spencer co-authored the publication entitled, “Patient Teachng: Short Peripheral I.V. Catheters” in Nursing Management, 2015, 46 (11), 31-32.

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UAH ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE ASSISTANT PROFESSOR WINS NASA CONTRACT

Department of Atmospheric Science Assistant Professor Dr. Robert Griffin, partnering with the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, won a 5-year contract with NASA to operate the EarthKAM STEM-education camera system aboard the International Space Station.

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UAH SPACE SCIENCE PROFESSORS PUBLISH BOOK

Department of Space Science Professors, Drs. Nikolai Pogorelov and Gary Zank published a book titled Numerical Modeling of Space Plasma Flows: ASTRONUM-2014 with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

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UAH ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE RECEIVES CYSTIC FIBROSIS FOUNDATION GRANT

Department of Biological Sciences Assistant Professor Dr. Eric Mendenhall was awarded a Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc. research grant for Epigenome Editing Strategies to Alter CFTR Transcriptional.

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UAH PHYSICS ASSISTANT PROFESSOR RECEIVES THREE NASA RESEARCH GRANTS

Department of Physics Assistant Professor Dr. Ming Sun received three research grants with a total of $146,133 from NASA on three Chandra X-ray Observatory projects.

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UAH CROSS-COLLEGE FACULTY RECEIVE RESEARCH GRANT

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Dr. Shannon Mathis, PI, and Assistant Professor of Biological Science Dr. Gordon MacGregor, Co-I, received a $5,000 grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development for “Calcium loss in sweat: An unrecognized risk factor for bone fracture and osteoporosis.”

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UAH SIMULATION CENTER RESEARCHER CO-AUTHORS PAPER

Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center Researcher, Professor William Kaukler, co-authored a paper presented at the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research. The paper was titled “Evaluation of Two Ionic Liquid-Based Epoxies from the MISSE-8 (Materials International Space Station Experiment-8) Sample Carrier.”

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UAH SIMULATION CENTER RESEARCHER AWARDED CONTRACT

Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center researcher Mr. David Arterburn was awarded one of seven initial contracts from the FAA Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Center of Excellence to study Ground Impact Severity of Small UAS totaling $96,500. Mr. Arterburn is the Principal Investigator for the FAA UAS Center of Excellence on the A4 Task studying Ground Collision Severity of small UAS to assist the FAA in rulemaking related to integration of small AUS platforms into the national Airspace System.

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UAH RESEARCH SCIENTIST RECEIVES AWARD

Thor Wilson, Research Scientist in the Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center, was awarded $56K to develop an iSAT Power Profile Model.

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UAH RESEARCH SCIENTIST RECEIVES BOEING AWARD

Clay Colley, Principal Research Scientist in the Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center, received a $221K award from Boeing to provide student support to the Boeing Huntsville Design Center in the development of the 767-SC Tanker Program and the Space Launch System.

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UA-AFFILIATED TECHNOLOGY AIMS TO IMPROVE DRINKING WATER

A method of cleaning drinking water with light is being tested and developed at UA with the hope of creating a product available for homes and businesses. LiTeWater, a company spun off from the technology, was one of five teams competing in the Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition in Huntsville. Cleaning drinking water from a faucet with ultraviolet light, along with standard filters, could not only remove chemicals but potentially harmful viruses and bacteria. Commercially available filters for homes and businesses use activated carbon and other minerals to remove contaminants, but they do not disinfect the water from pathogens. LiteWater is part of a host of start-up companies that receive early assistance and mentoring through the Office for Technology Transfer within the UA Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

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TRANSFORMERS TOYS PROVIDE KEY CHARACTER LESSONS, UA RESEARCHER SAYS

Parents looking for gifts that instill character should consider the Transformer toys and DVDs, a UA researcher said. In a study to be printed in the spring of 2016, Dr. Peter Harms, assistant professor of management in the Culverhouse College of Commerce, says the Transformers franchise provides key lessons about leadership, teams and the characteristics necessary to get ahead. The study, “Children’s Stories as a Foundation for Leadership Schemas: More than Meets the Eye,” by Harms and his coauthor from Binghamton University will be featured in Emerald Group Publishing’s book series Monographs in Leadership and Management. The research team drew its findings from analyses of personality characteristics provided on the boxes of the children’s toys and from the messages conveyed in the original 1980s television show.

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UA PROFESSOR HELPS DISCOVER THEORY IN HOW GLACIERS INFLUENCED LAND FORMATIONS

UA assistant professor of geography Dr. Sarah Praskievicz’s forecasting model has helped determine heavily glaciated areas in North America more than 25,000 years ago significantly affected temperatures and land formations in unglaciated areas more than 200 miles away. She was tasked with determining what the climate was like in the Oregon Coast Range during the Last Glacial Maximum, close to 21,000 years ago, for a collaborative study titled “Frost for the trees: Did climate increase erosion in unglaciated landscapes during the late Pleistocene?” The study, published in the November 27 issue of Science Advances, was led by Dr. Jill Marshall, of the University of California at Berkeley. Praskievicz and Marshall collaborated on the study while both were at the University of Oregon.

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UA ASTRONOMERS’ WORK BEGINS WHERE ALICE IN WONDERLAND MEETS EINSTEIN

One hundred years ago, Albert Einstein published his theory of general relativity, one of the most important scientific achievements in the last century. Recent research results from the “Cheshire Cat” group of galaxies show how manifestations of Einstein’s 100-year-old theory can lead to new discoveries today. The research was co-authored by University of Alabama astronomers. Dr. Jimmy Irwin, an associate professor in UA’s department of physics and astronomy, is the lead author of the research recently publishing in the Astrophysical Journal about the Cheshire Cat group. Astronomers have given the group this name because of the smiling cat-like appearance. Some of the feline features are actually distant galaxies whose light has been stretched and bent by the large amounts of mass.

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 UA PROFESSORS TO BEGIN VETERANS NEEDS STUDY IN SOUTH ALABAMA

The UA School of Social Work has partnered with The Community Foundation of South Alabama to assess the needs of military veterans in the southern region of the state. Dr. David Albright, Hill Crest Foundation Endowed Chair in Mental Health and associate professor of social work at UA, will lead the needs assessment of an estimated 63,000 known veterans in the eight-county region (Mobile, Baldwin, Escambia, Conecuh, Monroe, Clarke, Choctaw and Washington counties). The study, which will include data on topics like healthcare access, education and employment, will identify the unmet needs and perceived gaps in available services for veterans and their families and provide the basis for an effective veterans and family support initiative in South Alabama.

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BUILDING TALLER, STURDIER WOOD BUILDINGS THE GOAL OF UA RESEARCH

UA researchers are leading an effort that could lead to the construction of taller and sturdier wood-framed buildings in earthquake-prone areas. Dr. Thang Dao, UA assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, hopes to combine two methods of constructing tall-wood buildings to yield a new system that could lead to wood-framed buildings reaching eight to 12 stories that withstand earthquakes better than current methods that top out at seven stories. The research project sponsored by the National Science Foundation will use equipment in the Large Scale Structures Lab on the UA campus to mimic earthquakes on partially built structures connected to computer simulations that give feedback on how the entire building would perform.

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UA RESEARCHER HOPES TO CHANGE HEALTH OUTCOMES ONE COMMUNITY AT A TIME

Dr. Debra Whisenant, assistant professor in UA’s Capstone College of Nursing, has received a one-year, $7,500 grant from the Southern Nurses Research Society to launch a health promotion program in multiple communities in Jefferson, Walker and Blount Counties. The concept is simple. By working with faith-based and civic organizations, Whisenant and her team will train volunteers in these communities to provide basic health education to residents. Whisenant’s team has surveyed several church congregations to determine what topics are of interest. The primary responses have been hypertension, diabetes and preventing cancer. There was also some interest from younger residents on preventing the spread of infectious diseases, including sexually transmitted diseases.

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WOOD-BASED ALTERNATIVES IN CHEMISTRY FUEL UA SCIENTIFIC COLLABORATION

Researchers at UA, in collaboration with colleagues in Germany, have developed a new way to use wood or other kinds of biomass to make chemical materials without relying on the usual non-renewable petrochemical starting materials. The idea, the researchers said, is to produce everyday products from renewable resources while remaining economically competitive and without harming the environment. Toward that end, researchers, including Dr. Anthony J. Arduengo III, the Saxon Professor of Chemistry at UA, show that traditional petroleum-based products can be synthesized in a way that recruits all the carbon atoms of a molecular skeleton exclusively from wood-based raw materials. Arduengo and his associates have collaborated with researchers at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.

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UA EDUCATION PROFESSOR HONORED WITH RESEARCH AWARD

Dr. Sara McDaniel, assistant professor of special education at UA, is the 2016 winner of the E.G. “Ted” Carr Initial Researcher Award, given annually by the Association for Positive Behavior Support. The award is presented to early career researchers whose work reflects a commitment to positive behavior support and shows promise of substantial contribution to the field. McDaniel will be recognized at the 2016 APBS conference in San Francisco, CA. McDaniel’s research has focused on the second tier of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports framework, a model established by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs to define, develop, implement and evaluate a multi-tiered approach to helping schools by impacting emotional, social and academic outcomes for students with disabilities.

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UA RESEARCHERS DESIGNED MATERIAL THAT MORE EFFECTIVELY SLOWS LIGHT

Researchers at UA designed and made a material that manipulates the speed of light in a new, more effective way than previous methods, according to findings recently published in Scientific Reports by the Nature Publishing Group. The research by two professors and three grad students in the UA College of Engineering could help in creating next-generation optical networks and sensors that rely on variances in the speed of light. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation.