NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Recognition & Honors

Ashley Askew (Dean’s Office/Student Success) and Eduardo Cerna (Scholar Enrichment Program) attended the Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education Conference in Austin, February 28 through March 2. While there, they were able to network with over 200 higher education professionals from across the state and attend sessions that empowered them in the areas of personal and professional growth and how to better serve students in the years to come after the COVID-19 pandemic. Notable sessions included Transforming the Next Generation’s Mindset, Empowered Women, Level up Your Professional Worth, and Black Wall Street: Why was Such Information Hidden from History/Textbooks.

Naihao Chiang (Chemistry) received a three-year, $741,940 grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. With the grant, he is developing a plasmon-induced intracellular delivery method. Chiang’s intracellular delivery uses a highly localized and intensified electromagnetic field to bring materials into the cell using gold, plasmonic non-contact nanopipettes he and his lab will make. Read more

Paul Chu and Liangzi Deng (Physics, TcSUH) published in the Journal of Superconductivity and Novel Magnetism. The article outlined their work that included the first time a pressure-quench process has been used to retain the high-pressure-enhanced superconductivity of materials in a high-temperature superconductor at atmospheric pressure. The ultimate goal of this experiment was to raise the temperature to above room temperature while keeping the material’s superconducting properties.

Kerri Crawford, Rebecca Zufall (Biology & Biochemistry) and recent Ph.D. graduate Hannah Locke were part of an international study of parallel evolution carried out in cities globally. The study looked at Trifolium repens, or white clover, which is found across all continents except Antarctica. Hundreds of scientists used it to test the evolution of the production of hydrogen cyanide in white clover in urban and rural environments and published their findings in the journal Science. The small plant produces the chemical to protect it from herbivores and drought stress.

Min Ru (Mathematics) was awarded a four-month research professorship at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California. He will share his expertise in Diophantine geometry, a branch of number theory. His assignment-in-residence begins January 17, 2023, and ends May 26, 2023. Diophantine geometry is one of three programs the institute will organize next year. The aim of the program is to bring together experts and young researchers to gain knowledge from one another, begin and continue collaborations, and to further advance the field by solving mathematical problems. According to the Institute, professorships are reserved for distinguished researchers who can make key contributions to their programs.

Yuhong Wang (Biology & Biochemistry) and Shoujun Xu (Chemistry) are developing a new imaging technique with super-resolution to peer into ribosomes. In cellular biology, ribosomes are workhorses, veritable factories inside cells, whose job is to make proteins. They are developing a type of spectroscopy to help understand how ribosomes make proteins deep within cells, the discovery of which could potentially guide drug design to treat cancers and viral infections. The work is funded by a $1.2 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.