NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Recognition & Honors

Paige Evans (teachHOUSTON, Mathematics) received the 2022 UTeach STEM Educator’s Outstanding Master Teacher Award. The award recognizes demonstrated excellence in teaching STEM education in the role of the UTeach Master Teacher, the heart of UTeach programs. Presented at the annual UTeach STEM Educators Conference, the award is given by the UTeach STEM Educators Association, a network of 50 universities preparing outstanding secondary STEM teachers across the country.

Jimmy Flynn (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) is collaborating in a Department of Energy research project called TRACER, which stands for TRacking Aerosol Convection interactions ExpeRiment. The year-long program has entered its intensive operations phase, lasting from June to September 2022. Dozens of scientists from around the country have descended on Houston to study the impact of aerosols on clouds and storms. Aerosols are tiny, solid particles in the atmosphere that can be emitted by natural sources like dust, or from manmade sources such as refineries, power plants, or cars. In La Porte, Texas, near the municipal airport, TRACER researchers set up a large observatory that gathers data 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Weather balloons, or radiosondes, are also launched from this location and measurements are taken using the UH Mobile Atmospheric Lab.

Wenjiang Fu (Mathematics) has been awarded a Senior Research Fellowship from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The year-long opportunity means he will work with bureau staff to analyze data from complex issues relevant to their programs. His fellowship began on July 1. He works with the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey, National Compensation Survey, and Employment Cost Index data. The goal of his research with the BLS is to help improve the modeling and efficiency in estimating and monitoring economic growth.

Mamie Moy (Chemistry) is the recipient of the 2023 Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society. Created in 2001, the award recognizes individuals who exemplify the spirit of volunteerism and have contributed significantly to ACS’s goals and objectives. She is being honored for more than 40 years of volunteer service to the ACS, to education, and to humanity.

Ioannis Pavlidis (Computer Science) published a paper in American Scientist magazine with colleagues from Texas A&M University and University of California, Merced. The paper addressed science convergence, where knowledge from multiple scientific disciplines is integrated into new overarching knowledge that propels modern civilization. In the paper, the researchers show that despite appearances to the contrary, convergence is not a new phenomenon that took science by storm, but a streak that runs deep into science’s nature. Spanning 10 years, they modeled the evolution of convergence by analyzing millions of scientific works using machine learning and other advanced data analytic methods. They identified several stages in the evolution of science, each characterized by a different form of convergence. From early science to now, the team identified four stages of convergence and predicted a next stage to come in the mid-21st century. Read More

Robert Schwartz (Biology & Biochemistry) published articles in The Journal of Cardiovascular Aging on May 19 and June 15. The papers report on a first-of-its-kind technology that not only repairs heart muscle cells in mice but also regenerates them following a heart attack, or myocardial infarction as it’s medically known. The groundbreaking finding has the potential to become a ‘powerful clinical strategy’ for treating heart disease in humans. The new technology developed by the research team uses synthetic messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) to deliver mutated transcription factors — proteins that control the conversion of DNA into RNA — to mouse hearts.

Shaun Zhang (CNRCS, Biology & Biochemistry) received a $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support his work to improve oncolytic virotherapy, a type of immunotherapy used to treat cancer. Oncolytic viruses are those that can kill cancer cells while leaving nearby healthy cells and tissues intact. In oncolytic virotherapy, the treatment also exerts its influence by activating an antitumor immune response made of immune cells such as natural killer (NK) cells. His lab has created a new oncolytic virus called FusOn-H2. Zhang and team believe that this armed FusOn-H2 will produce a three-pronged effect to enhance the antitumor efficacy against solid tumors in colon and lung cancer. Read More