The Explorer: University Of Arizona

University Of Arizona

Wednesday 06/11/2014
What's Up UA? - UA Undergrads Conducting Microgravity Research Aboard NASA's G-Force One

Six University of Arizona engineering, math and biology students are getting set to turn somersaults in the name of research.

The students are members of the UA Microgravity Research Team, which is one of 18 U.S. undergraduate teams chosen to participate in NASA's 2014 Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program. Acrobatics aside, their mission is to explore the effects of weightlessness on organic polymer synthesis.

Polymers are large molecules composed of many repeated subunits, called monomers. Naturally occurring examples include starch, cellulose and rubber. Synthetic polymers are used in a wide variety of products, ranging from replacement heart valves to sports helmets.

The team's research will lay the groundwork for onboard production of polymers for spacecraft repair, the fabrication of insulation for spacesuits, and materials production on long missions.

The UA Microgravity Research Team is at the Johnson Space Center in Houston for a visit that began May 30 and ends Saturday.

The highlight of the week will be a flight on NASA's Low-G Flight Research aircraft. This plane – called G-Force One – flies researchers and their experiments through a series of parabolic flight patterns in a weightless environment, topping out at 34,000 feet above the Gulf of Mexico.

After descending from the apex of a parabola, leveling out and beginning another ascent, humans and their gear are pinned to the floor by double the gravitational force humans experience on the Earth's surface. As the plane pushes over the top of the parabola, weightlessness takes over – the technical term is microgravity – and it's research time.

Microgravity aboard G-Force One lasts about 25 seconds, which calls for very efficient experimentation.

"All we have to do is flip a switch," said aerospace engineering student Ruben Adkins, founder of the Microgravity Research Team. The switch activates a heat gun aimed at test tubes full of organic liquid whose molecules have a structure based on chains of six carbon atoms. Gasoline molecules, by comparison, have chains of eight carbon atoms. The heat initiates the polymerization process and turns the liquid six-carbon monomers into a solid foam polymer made up of carbon chains thousands of atoms long.

The UA team's experiments are expected to address as yet unanswered questions. For example, is tensile strength improved in polymers that are fabricated in microgravity? What happens to density? Thermal resistance? Impact strength? The team has already conducted experiments on Earth to determine the properties of the foam polymer created at normal gravity. When the students return, they will conduct the same experiments on the foam created under microgravity aboard G-Force One and compare results to see how different gravities affect the polymer's properties.

"We're working in an area that hasn't been quantified before," Adkins said.

The plane is expected to fly as many as 35 parabolas, and the UA team had 26 tests planned.

When they're not working, they'll enjoy a G-Force One tradition: weightless playtime.

The gleeful somersaults, back flips and walks across the ceiling of the cabin last for only a few seconds. Then it's back to the padded floor for another descent and ascent.

The steep ascents and descents – with weightless interludes – can wreak havoc on the digestive system. Hence the plane's nickname: the Vomit Comet. All passenger flight suits have an airsickness bag tucked into the breast pocket. Unlucky users get belted into a seat for the remainder of the flight.

After their time aboard G-Force One, the Microgravity Research Team will analyze data and prepare a report. They're also planning educational outreach programs for Arizona schools.

 

Posted in University of arizona on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 11:59 am. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Microgravity , Nasa , Comments (0)

Monday 06/09/2014
What's up UA? - UA to Host U.S. and Mexico Officials Exploring Collaborations in Education, Innovation, Research

Officials from Mexico and the United States will meet at the University of Arizona next week to explore cross-border collaborations as part of a bilateral initiative established by President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. The UA Office of Global Initiativeswill host the meeting, which will focus primarily on innovation and research opportunities.

The event is the sixth and final meeting being held as part of the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research (Foro Bilateral sobre Educación Superior, Innovación e Investigación, or FOBESII for short). Obama and Peña Nieto established the forum in May 2013 as a way to expand opportunities for educational exchanges, scientific research partnerships and cross-border innovation for both countries.

Through the Bilateral Forum, the U.S. and Mexican governments seek to bring together government, the higher education community, the private sector and civil society sectors to promote education and research cooperation. Another important goal is to encourage broader access to quality post-secondary education especially for traditionally underserved students in both countries, as well as providing scientific, technology, engineering and mathematics education – or STEM – opportunities. The program also hopes to expand student, scholar and teacher exchanges, increase joint research in areas of mutual interest and share best practices in higher education and innovation. A portion of prior meetings held under the program have focused on second language acquisition.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for both nations to develop really for the first time, a common strategy on many important issues. The University of Arizona is honored to have the privilege to serve in this effort," said Mike Proctor, vice president for global initiatives at the UA. "The overarching strategy is aimed at enhancing the position of Mexico and the U.S. as partners in the global economy."

The forum – happening Monday and Tuesday – is designed to focus on four main pillars, including increasing academic mobility, strengthening language acquisition, promoting greater workforce development, and expanding joint research and innovation.

The first five meetings were held across the U.S. and Mexico, and focused on topics ranging from promoting student exchange to creating ideas for increasing academic mobility. The sixth meeting, dedicated to research and innovation, will be held Monday and Tuesday at the UA, bringing together representatives from government agencies, higher education, industry and non-governmental organizations.

More than 400 stakeholders from the U.S. and Mexico have participated in the meetings to date, representing more than 38 universities. The U.S. delegation is led by the U.S. Department of State and includes participation from other agencies, including the departments of Education, Commerce and Energy, the National Science Foundation, and others. For Mexico, the initiative is co-chaired by the Ministries of Public Education and Foreign Relations and includes participation from the Ministries of Economy and Energy, and the National Council of Science and Technology.

Several of those attending the Bilateral Forum also will take part in a UA seminar happening this weekend at Miraval Arizona Resort, located north of Tucson. The seminar will focus on binational strategy more generally, with a deeper exploration at the Binational Forum into the focus areas of health; environment; materials and advance manufacture; and logistics and infrastructure.

During the seminar, 30 top government, academic and private sector leaders from Mexico and the U.S. will convene to discuss how the two countries can work together to ensure that a focus on innovation remains at the top of efforts around bilateral policy aimed at creating a region of prosperity. The seminar marks the transition from exploration to action and will be focused on planning, commitment and execution, according to the organizers.

"This effort of both governments is really quite unique and potentially transformative," Proctor said. "It gives our region a real opportunity to craft a coherent binational strategy for research and innovation that could influence relationships and collaborations between researchers and innovators in both countries for years to come."

The University of Arizona/Miraval Institute is a think tank founded as a partnership between the Miraval Arizona Resort and the UA to facilitate communication surrounding health, wellness and sustainability issues, which reflect core areas of strength at the UA. The inaugural institute, held April 27-29, examined how technological advances can provide healthy and productive aging beyond 100. The second event, held May 4-6, centered on innovative diagnostics for personalized medicine.

The Miraval seminar and the Binational Forum complement Obama's "100,000 Strong in the Americas" initiative, which aims to increase student mobility between the U.S. and other countries in the Western hemisphere. The forum also harmonizes with Mexico's "Proyecta 100,000," which seeks to send 100,000 Mexican students to the U.S. and bring 50,000 U.S. students to study in Mexico by 2018.

For more information about the UA Office of Global Initiatives, visit global.arizona.edu.

More information about the Miraval Institute is available here.

Posted in University of arizona on Monday, June 9, 2014 1:25 pm. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Mexico , Arizona , Education , Comments (0)

Thursday 06/05/2014
What's Up UA? - New Wilderness Medicine Class Hones Patient Care Skills in Rugged Conditions

The call of the great outdoors is irresistible to many, and in Southern Arizona you can count on nearly 300 sunny days per year. But venturing into the wilderness and exploring can mean entering into an extreme environment, where an injury can leave you stranded on a mountaintop or in the desert, hurt on a remote bike path, or severely dehydrated. 

During the spring semester, the University of Arizona's new Wilderness Medicine and Advanced Wilderness Life Support class, offered by theDepartment of Emergency Medicine, provided certification and training for graduating medical students, medical residents and faculty, teaching them to apply their medical expertise in the great outdoors. The new medical student elective course is intended to instill a lifelong appreciation for wilderness medicine, both as a practical tool for future forays into the wild and as a legitimate academic pursuit.  

Two weeks of lectures and in-class training were led by Dr. Christopher G. Williams, clinical assistant professor of wilderness medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Williams started the course to teach medical students how to plan, organize, triage, diagnose and treat patients and how to improvise and provide the best medical treatment possible outside of a traditional clinical setting.

The true test of students' skills came through simulated emergency medical situations in the field at Madera Canyon in the Coronado National Forest, 25 miles southeast of Tucson.

On a cold, blustery Saturday, UA medical students encountered mock medical scenarios along the trail in Madera Canyon, where they had to take on, assign or assume various roles to make sure patients' immediate medical needs were met and also ensure the patient's rescue and recovery, while also keeping themselves safe. Students were evaluated on their ability to secure the scene, obtain patient history and perform an interview, develop a likely diagnosis, initiate appropriate treatment – including assessing medication needs and/or fabricating splints, all while ensuring patient comfort.

"It is important to get the students out in the field. You can only do so much during the lecture and it's not real enough until you are out in the gusty wind and cold focusing on patient safety, working on fractures and figuring out how to pack people out and evacuate. Then it becomes real," said Dr. Vivienne Ng, assistant professor of simulation in the Department of Emergency Medicine.

Ng and colleagues from the Department of Emergency Medicine led the students through various simulation exercises that included assessing and treating volunteer patients with heat-induced injuries or cold-induced injuries; managing arterial bleeding, diabetes or low blood sugar; and treating mountain biking and climbing injuries, including fractures. Students also did a bit of injury sleuthing involving a nearby snake, allergies and seizures.

One of the more complicated simulation exercises involved a wounded mountain biker with arterial bleeding. The students split into teams and focused on a variety of needs, such as stopping the bleeding, sending out a team to call for an airlift, clearing an evacuation path, building an improvised stretcher using whatever materials were on hand and hoisting the patient to safety.

"Wilderness medicine means you have to be adaptive," said Corey Steinbrecher, a member of the Southern Arizona Rescue Association, which helped stage the simulated emergency medical situations. The association is a nonprofit, all-volunteer search and rescue organization that has served Southern Arizona and Pima County since 1958.

"Part of wilderness rescue is that the scene is hectic and isolated and you don’t have everything you need, so you have to improvise and provide the best care you can under any circumstances," said Steinbrecher, who has been accepted to the UA College of Medicine – Tucson and begins classes this summer.

An additional benefit of the class was the opportunity to earn Advanced Wilderness Life Support certification.

"I have a new perspective for being out in the wilderness. I learned so much from this class and am now much better prepared," said Kelley Stanko, a 2014 UA College of Medicine – Tucson graduate who opted to earn certification in Advanced Wilderness Life Support and who will begin her residency training in emergency medicine at the University of Toledo in Ohio. "Nothing can compare to being out in the wilderness. They did a fantastic job preparing us for what we need to know and what to continue to learn and prepare for in the future being out in the wild."

Williams added: "There are few fields I've found that incorporate the degree of creativity, practicality and fundamental understanding of physiology quite like wilderness medicine. The improvisation and skills we're trying to foster won't occur in a vacuum; they have to be practiced, and a degree of muscle memory and cognitive, experienced-based skills must be developed. I teach my students that only after they understand concepts like physiology, hospital systems, emergency medical system logistics, biology, outdoor survival, psychology and leadership will they be in a position to use that knowledge abstractly and adaptively."  

To certify and train more wilderness-certified physicians, the class will be offered again next spring.

Posted in University of arizona on Thursday, June 5, 2014 11:26 am. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Wilderness , Medicine Class , Comments (0)

Tuesday 06/03/2014
Track Cats Send Eight Athletes to TrackTown USA

The University of Arizona Wildcat No. 20 men’s and No. 14 women’s track and field teams wrapped up competition at NCAA West Preliminaries in Fayetteville, Ark. The NCAA West Preliminaries is the first and second rounds of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Arkansas’ John McDonnell Field played host to the meet. The semifinals and finals of the NCAA Championships will take place June 11-14 in Eugene, Ore. At the end of the meet, the Wildcats will send four student-athletes from the women’s team and four from the men’s team to Eugene.

“I’m very happy with the meet overall,” head coach Fred Harvey said. “I like the position that we are in going into the NCAA Championships because everybody that is going legitimately has an opportunity to score there at the finals. We’re pretty excited about that. All in all, we’re out of here healthy.”

Senior Lawi Lalang, the seven-time NCAA Champion will look to add two more to his collection at the NCAA Championships in Eugene. In 2013, Lalang had the No. 1 time in the country for the 1,500 meters even through the NCAA Championships, but chose to run the 5K and 10K at the NCAA West Preliminaries. He ended up winning individual titles in both events. On Saturday, the senior from Eldoret, Kenya was first in heat one and first overall in the 1,500-meter quarterfinal with a time of 3:40.35. Lalang returned to the track for the 5K and took second place overall and in heat two with an easy time of 13:43.55. It is the third-straight year Lalang has qualified for two races at the semifinals/finals of the NCAA Championships.

“We were trying to take it as easy as possible,” Lalang said. “90 minutes after the 1,500 meters was the 5K. So I ran easy and well controlled. (In the 5K) I had a plan of following (Kennedy) Kithuka (Texas Tech) for a while and just staying in good position so I don’t have to worry about making it to nationals. Once I was in a good position, I just took it easy. I’m really confident. I’m going to go there and do my best, I know I’m in great shape.”

In the women’s 5,000-meter race, redshirt junior Elvin Kibet finished in fourth place overall and fourth place in heat two with a time of 16:06.51. It is the second-straight year (redshirted 2013) that Kibet has reached the finals of the 5K and 10K at the NCAA Championships. In 2012, Kibet earned first-team All-America accolades in the 10K and second-team honors in the 5K.

“The race was really good,” Kibet said. “Coach (James) Li just told me to go in there and stay in the front and wait until they start kicking to go. I followed the plan perfectly and it was good. I was able to hold the pace until the end, too. I’m really happy that I’m able to go to Eugene and race the 5K and 10K. It’s been a really great season so far and I’m really excited because I’m ending the season performing well and I don’t take that for granted at all. I’m really happy that I’m able to help out the team and get as many points as possible.”

Senior Shapri Romero added another event to her slate at the NCAA Championships in Eugene on Saturday. She took 10th place overall and fourth place in heat two with a time of 23.20 (+1.4 wind). That is the second-best time of her career. It is the first time she has made the semifinals of the NCAA Championships, and she will be competing in two events for the Wildcats.

In the men’s discus competition, freshman Gerhard De Beer had a personal-best toss of 182-3 (55.57m) but failed to advance to Eugene, taking 15th place overall. In the women’s high jump competition, juniorShakayla McEaddy cleared 5-7.75 (1.72m), she took 29th place due to misses. Senior Nick Ross fouled on his first two attempts in the triple jump, his third attempt was 47-3 (14.40m), good for 40th place.

In the women’s 4x100-meter relay consisting of senior Tamara Pridgett, Romero, sophomore Traci-Lynn Hicks and senior Germe Poston, the Wildcats took 13th place with a time of 44.83. 12th place, the last qualifying spot, clocked a time of 44.79. The women’s 4x400-meter relay team of sophomore Nnenya Hailey, freshman Jasper Gray, Pridgett and Romero finished in 15th place overall and fifth place in heat three. They finished the race with a time of 3:37.02. Sophomore Kate Penney could not complete the women’s 1,500-meter quarterfinal, with around 100 meters to go, she collapsed on the track due to some complications. She is in good condition now; she was helped off the track and was later walking around without any problems.

In the men’s 5K, junior Sam Macaluso clocked a time of 14:22.58 and finished in 21st place overall. On the women’s side, junior Molly Callahan had a time of 17:10.02 and finished in 38th place overall.

The women’s team will send Romero in the 200 meters and 400 meters to Eugene. Kibet will run the 5K and 10K. Hailey will compete in the 400-meter hurdles and senior Julie Labonte will compete in the shot put. The men’s squad will send Lalang in the 1,500 meters and 5K. Ross will compete in the high jump. Redshirt freshman Aaron Castle in the shot put and redshirt freshman Jordan Young in the hammer throw.

For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat men’s and women’s track and field, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and follow @ArizonaTrack on Twitter.
 

Posted in University of arizona on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 9:15 am. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Tracktown , Usa , Eight Athletes , Comments (0)

Monday 06/02/2014
What's Up UA? - Bringing a Spacecraft Back From the Dead

More than 25 years ago, an abandoned NASA spacecraft fulfilled its mission, fell silent and has since been hurtling around the sun, somewhere between the orbits of Earth and Mars. Now, a University of Arizona engineering student is trying to wake it up.

Jacob Gold, an undergraduate student majoring in aerospace engineering, is on a mission against time. If he can't make contact with the SUV-sized space probe when it swoops by the moon this summer, it will disappear into the depths of space, not to return until Gold is 50 years old.

"We hope to establish contact this week," says Gold, who traveled to NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, to join five other space enthusiasts all working toward the same goal: to breathe new life into an abandoned space probe and put it to use for science one more time.

"We have a lot to do, and not much time to do it."

Launched by NASA in 1978, the International Sun/Earth Explorer was the first man-made object placed into the so-called L1 halo orbit, which is a point in space where the gravitational forces of the Earth and the sun balance each other, dragging the spacecraft with them around the sun. The probe, known as ISEE successfully measured the interaction of the solar wind – high-energy charged particles expelled by the sun – with the Earth's magnetic field.

In 1982, NASA reassigned the probe to a mission no spacecraft had ever attempted before: to fly through the tail of a comet. Renamed ICE for International Cometary Explorer, it managed to plunge into the tail of Halley's comet and take measurements.

In 1999, budget cutbacks forced NASA to decommission the communication equipment on the spacecraft and leave it to its own devices.

Gold and his fellow team members want ISEE/ICE to resume its measurements of the solar wind lapping against the Earth's magnetosphere – the area of space around it where charged particles come under the influence of the planet's magnetic field.

In the absence of NASA funding, Gold's team, which set up its headquarters at Skycorp Inc. at Ames Research Center, raised $132,000 in acrowdfunding campaign.

"This is not an inexpensive project, and we are working on a very short timeline," Gold says. "With more money, we are more likely to succeed because we can throw more expensive hardware at it."

"NASA has been incredibly helpful with this," he adds. "As soon as we expressed interest, they gave us all the information they had on it."

"This satellite can still do science," he says. "We can put it back to work for tenth of a percent of the cost of a new mission."

Gold says the team plans to connect the probe's instruments to a Web page, so anyone can download any of the data from it.

"We think this can be a very powerful STEM education tool. High school classes could propose an experiment and track it through the course of their term. There are not many satellites that beam their data in real time to anyone who wants to use it." STEM refers to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

But before any of this can happen, the ground crew of garage engineers has to coax the spacecraft back into its original orbit around the sun. And before they can do that, they have to wake it up.

"The first step is to talk to the satellite," Gold says. "Only then can we check its systems and its thrusters to make sure they behave the way we expect them to.

"We need to be able to speak its language, and all the programs used to make contact with the probe no longer work on anything. We have to reinvent absolutely everything."

If the probe had been built with modern technology, "we could just say, 'Tell me everything you know,' and it would just stream the data back to us,'" Gold explained. "But it doesn't work that way. It's basically a remote-controlled spaceship. Which means you have to send a command for it to give you a response."

While members of the team are busy writing computer code to communicate with the spacecraft, others are preparing the 305-meter dish of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico to transmit the signals to contact the probe.

"We are fortunate to be able to use that telescope, but it's not easy," Gold says. "You have to keep in mind that the last person to control a satellite from the Arecibo radio telescope was a villain from a James Bond movie."

On Aug. 10, the probe will buzz the moon's surface within just over 10 miles so it can take advantage of the gravity and be flung into its new trajectory.

The team has to be able to command the spacecraft because precise burns from its thrusters will be required to steer it onto the desired orbit.

"The longer we wait, the more fuel it will take," Gold says, "and fuel is limited. Once the probe is past the moon, it's gone."

Posted in University of arizona on Monday, June 2, 2014 8:41 am. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Spacecraft , Nasa , Ames Research Center , Comments (0)

Friday 05/30/2014
What's Up UA? - Heart Attack Patient Defies Odds with Tailored Surgical Treatment at UA Medical Center

When cardiothoracic surgeon DrSreekumar Subramanian first saw Charles Barnes last November, he knew the odds were stacked against the patient. After suffering a massive heart attack, Barnes' kidneys were shutting down and his heart and lungs were failing. Based on his medical condition, Barnes, who was in a coma, was given a 25 percent chance of survival.

The heart team at the University of Arizona Medical Center and the UA Sarver Heart Center sprang into action and performed "hybrid" surgical procedures tailored to his condition to save his life. Hybrid cardiac surgery combines conventional surgery and catheter-based intervention, with cardiac surgeons and cardiologists working side-by-side to achieve the optimal result for the patient.

The procedure was risky because Barnes – who had several heart attacks starting in 2006 and had previous cardiac bypass surgery – was critically ill with severe lung and kidney dysfunction, and re-operating on a patient who has had previous heart surgery is challenging.

The tailored surgical treatment that gave Barnes a chance at recovery included complicated re-operative off-pump (beating heart) coronary artery bypass grafting, or CABG, which was followed by stenting to help blood flow in an artery that was too diseased for bypass. A stent is a small mesh tube used to treat narrow or weak arteries.

"Re-operative off-pump CABG is technically more complex and requires skilled anesthesiologists. This technique was chosen for Mr. Barnes because of his lung and kidney dysfunction. While minimally invasive heart surgery is an ideal option for some patients, a complex, open-heart surgery was required to save Barnes' life. We chose the redo sternotomy approach because of the condition of his lungs," Subramanian said.

"It's always higher risk than the first time around," Subramanian said. "With that risk of mortality, many surgeons will opt for stenting all the blocked arteries. We elected to go to the operating room because he is young and his best chance for long-term survival was to put an arterial bypass graft onto his main coronary artery."

"We tailored the approach for him," Subramanian said. "We used the internal mammary artery from the inside of the chest wall, which had not been used in the first operation, and that is the best graft material you can use to do bypass surgery. We connected that to his left anterior descending coronary artery."

After Barnes recovered well from that surgery, cardiologist Dr. Ranjith Shetty put a stent in an artery where bypass was not an option.

"It's a good example of a hybrid approach between surgery and cardiology to bring out the benefits of different technology and minimize the impact on the patient," Subramanian said.

The complex surgery was performed without the use of the heart-lung machine, which temporarily takes over for the heart and lungs during surgery.

"Although the heart-lung machine is extremely helpful for most heart operations, with his pre-existing lung and kidney dysfunction, it could have put Barnes at greater risk," Subramanian said.

Barnes was in a coma for almost two weeks of his hospitalization. He was transferred to a rehabilitation facility and now is at home, getting stronger. He is off the ventilator and dialysis.

"There is dramatic improvement in his heart function," Subramanian said. "It shows you what excellent perioperative care we have to help patients through really complex problems using a team approach."

Barnes and his wife of 33 years, Kim, are thankful for that team.

"I would have been dead without surgery," said Barnes, a civilian employee with the Pima County Sheriff's Department. "Now I'm getting stronger. I'm looking forward to puttering around the house. I'm looking forward to enjoying our life."

"Dr. Subramanian was always right there with us," Kim Barnes said. "He is a very wonderful doctor and he cares about his patients. I appreciate all the doctors and nurses. I will never forget them."

Barnes, an Air Force veteran, looks forward to taking walks and bike rides with his wife, and returning to work at the Pima County Sheriff's Department, where he repairs phones.

"It was a miracle," Kim Barnes said. "Dr. Subramanian will always be Dr. Superman to me."

Posted in University of arizona on Friday, May 30, 2014 1:40 pm. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Heart Attack , Surgical Treatment , Comments (0)

Thursday 05/29/2014
What's Up UA? - UA Marketing Students Win National AT&T Competition

University of Arizona marketing students won a nationwide advertising competition in which they developed and executed an employment recruitment campaign for AT&T.

Students in the Marketing 425 course "Advertising Management" at the Eller College of Management– affectionately nicknamed "425 Catvertising" – spent the semester developing the campaign around AT&T's internships and full-time job opportunities in sales, technology and retail. Their motive was to entice students to pursue employment with the company.

The project was part of the AT&T Campus Marketing Challenge, in which university teams vied for a chance to present at a networking event held Tuesday and Wednesday at AT&T headquarters in Dallas.

"Being the first University of Arizona advertising team since 2009 to capture the win against several other schools feels special," said team memberDavis Bauer, a marketing senior.

"And the fact that AT&T executive directors are looking to implement our solutions following our presentation is what meant the most for me. It's obviously a big accomplishment, to be nationally recognized by a company like AT&T," he said. "I will be able to bring this victory into future interviews I have and look back on such a great experience I had with the rest of my advertising team."

 

In 2010, the UA's Catvertising 425 team was a finalist in a Public Service Announcements for International Disasters competition. Also, UA students won the 2009 Honda Insight marketing competition, taking the $5,000 prize, for a promotional plan that targeted university students.

"The students that presented in that case all have jobs in advertising - and they insist that this class is what launched their collective careers and speak about the importance of this type of hands-on learning," said Ed Ackerley, an adjunct instructor for the UADepartment of Marketing in the College of Management. "We are privileged as instructors to be able to offer our students opportunities that enhance their education."

This year's competition was sponsored through a partnership between AT&T and EdVenture Partners, which funds the student campaigns. Each team was given $3,000 to develop their ideas.

"Winning the EdVenture Partners AT&T Brand Challenge is an excellent experience for our Eller College marketing students and great preparation for career and life," Ackerley said. Five students presented on behalf of the 62-member class, meeting top executives in the company. 

All of the students in Ackerley's class worked on the AT&T campaign. One major component was peer-to-peer marketing to inform other students about possible careers with AT&T. Studies relied on social media, such as Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook, and also conducted surveys.

For the AT&T campaign, the UA team came up with the slogan "Unlock Your Future." As part of the campaign, students were divided into six different "departments," including the creative team and groups responsible for public relations, research and finance, among other tasks.

"Our students actually engaged just under 1,000 students who said they were interested in possible careers with AT&T.  From that, AT&T would like to find, train and employ dozens of students from the UA," Ackerley said, adding that two students in the class will be joining AT&T this summer, and several others are applying for jobs.

"It's like an agency, all hands on deck when needed," Ackerley said of the course, which is designed like a small advertising agency. "They are given real-life experience before they leave school so they get to put theory into practice."

Over the course of the semester, the campaign engaged UA students who signed up to receiving information about AT&T and different job opportunities.

Bauer, who would like to work with AT&T in account management or public relations, said he believes he and his team were not only effective, but highly creative, especially in targeting students via social media.

"I learned to never stop improving myself throughout the competition, and work closely with groups of people in a highly effective manner," he said. "I also learned different techniques in conducting a proper needs assessment for the client we had, and they were obviously impressed with our recommendations for them."

Michelle Orci, a UA marketing senior and director of the campaign, oversaw all six departments, acting as a liaison between the class and AT&T.

"All of these campaigns have been a great learning experience," Orci said. "We got a taste of the real world and learning how to apply real-world rules of advertising."

Posted in University of arizona on Thursday, May 29, 2014 12:59 pm. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Ua Marketing , At&t Competition , Eller College Of Management , Comments (0)

Tuesday 05/27/2014
What's Up UA? - Scientists Discover Genetic Basis of Pest Resistance to Biotech Cotton

An international team led by scientists at the University of Arizona and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has discovered what happens on a molecular basis in insects that evolved resistance to genetically engineered cotton plants.

The findings, reported in the May 19 issue of the journal PLOS ONE, shed light on how the global caterpillar pest called pink bollworm overcomes biotech cotton, which was designed to make an insect-killing bacterial protein called Bt toxin. The results could have major impacts for managing pest resistance to Bt crops.

Caterpillars of the pink bollworm are one of the most detrimental pests to cotton production worldwide. First detected in the U.S. in 1917, this invasive insect species wreaked havoc on Arizona's cotton-growing industry, with larvae infesting as many as every other cotton boll (the fruit capsule containing the valuable fibers).

A breakthrough came in 1996 with the introduction of Bt cotton, a genetically engineered crop containing a gene transferred from the bacterium, Bacillus thuringensis, endowing the plants with a protein that kills some, but not all insects. Organic growers have used Bt proteins in sprays for decades because they kill certain pests but are not toxic to people and most other organisms. Pest control with Bt proteins – either in sprays or genetically engineered crops – reduces reliance on chemical insecticides. Although Bt proteins provide environmental and economic benefits, these benefits are cut short when pests evolve resistance.

"Bt crops have had major benefits for society," said Jeffrey Fabrick, the lead author of the study and a research entomologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Maricopa, Arizona. "By understanding how insects adapt to Bt crops we can devise better strategies to delay the evolution of resistance and extend these benefits."

"Many mechanisms of resistance to Bt proteins have been proposed and studied in the lab, but this is the first analysis of the molecular genetic basis of severe pest resistance to a Bt crop in the field," said Bruce Tabashnik, one of the paper's authors and the head of the Department of Entomology in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He also is a member of the UA's BIO5 Institute.

Based on laboratory experiments aimed at determining the molecular mechanisms involved, scientists knew that pink bollworm could evolve resistance against the Bt toxin, but they had to go all the way to India to observe this happening in the field.  

Farmers in the U.S., but not in India, adopted tactics designed to slow evolution of resistance in pink bollworm. Scientists from the UA and the USDA worked closely with cotton growers in Arizona to develop and implement resistance management strategies such as providing "refuges" of standard cotton plants that do not produce Bt proteins and releasing sterile pink bollworm moths. Planting refuges near Bt crops allows susceptible insects to survive and reproduce and thus reduces the chances that two resistant insects will mate with each other and produce resistant offspring. Similarly, mass release of sterile moths also makes it less likely for two resistant individuals to encounter each other and mate.

As a result, pink bollworm has been all but eradicated in the southwestern U.S.  Suppression of this pest with Bt cotton is the cornerstone of an integrated pest management program that has allowed Arizona cotton growers to reduce broad-spectrum insecticide use by 80 percent, saving them over $10 million annually. In the U.S., pink bollworm populations have not evolved resistance to Bt toxins in the wild.

In India, however, resistant pink bollworm populations have emerged.

The emergence of resistant pink bollworm in India provided the researchers an opportunity to test the hypothesis that insects in the field would evolve resistance to Bt toxin by the same genetic mechanism found previously in the lab. In the lab strains, the scientists had identified mutations in a gene encoding a protein called cadherin. Binding of Bt toxin to cadherin is an essential step in the intoxication process. Mutations that disrupt cadherin block this binding, which leaves the insect unscathed by the Bt toxin.

"We wanted to see if field-resistant pink bollworm from India harbored these same changes in the cadherin gene," Fabrick said. He said that by collaborating with Indian scientists, "we discovered that the same cadherin gene is associated with the resistance in India, but the mutations are different and much more numerous than the ones we found in lab-selected pink bollworm from Arizona."

Tabashnik added: "In 17 years of research and screening more than 10,000 individuals from Arizona, we identified four cadherin-based resistance mutations. And in just eight individuals from India, we found 19 different cadherin variants that confer resistance. It blew our minds." 

By sequencing the DNA of resistant pink bollworm collected from the field in India –which grows the most Bt cotton of any country in the world – the team found that the insects produce remarkably diverse disrupted variants of cadherin. The researchers learned that the astonishing diversity of cadherin in pink bollworm from India is caused by alternative splicing, a novel mechanism of resistance that allows a single DNA sequence to code for many variants of a protein. "Our findings represent the first example of alternative splicing associated with Bt resistance that evolved in the field," said Fabrick, who is also an adjunct scientist in the Department of Entomology at the UA. 

Mario Soberón, a Bt expert at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Cuernavaca, who was not an author of the study, commented, "This is a neat example of the diverse mechanisms insect possess to evolve resistance. An important implication is that DNA screening would not be efficient for monitoring resistance of pink bollworm to Bt toxins."

In addition to Fabrick and Tabashnik, the following authors collaborated on the study: Jeyakumar Ponnuraj from the National Institute of Plant Health Management in Hyderabad, India, who studied pink bollworm resistance as a visiting scholar in Tabashnik's lab; Amar Singh and Raj Tanwar of the National Centre for Integrated Pest Management at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi; and Gopalan UnnithanAlex YelichXianchun Li and Yves Carrière from the UA Department of Entomology.

Posted in University of arizona on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 8:24 am. Updated: 8:29 am. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Biotech Cotton , Genetic Basis Pest Resistance , Comments (0)

Friday 05/23/2014
What's up UA? - Four UA Students Picked for Pat Tillman Foundation Scholarships

Three veterans attending the University of Arizona, along with the spouse of an Air Force member, have been named Tillman Military Scholars in honor of their years of service and academic and leadership potential.

Established to support military veterans and their spouses, the Tillman Military Scholars program helps cover tuition, fees, books, living costs and other expenses for veterans working toward undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Sixty students were chosen this year for the nationwide program and, with four students named, the UA has the hightest number of scholars in thesixth cohort.

"The Tillman Military Scholarship is not a gift; it is an investment in excellence and potential," Marie Tillman, president and co-founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation, said in a statement released this week.

"Pat lived his life with a passion for learning and action – he didn’t sit on the sidelines. The Tillman Military Scholars selected embody the same ideals that he lived by every day," Tillman said in her statement. "Through our mission, we are proud to support and empower these outstanding leaders as they pursue their educational goals and strive to impact significant, positive change for our country and communities after their military service."

More than 7,500 people applied for this year's scholarships, which are funded by the Pat Tillman Foundation. Since its founding in 2004, the organization has provided more than $10 million in support for service members, veterans and military spouses.  

The UA recipients are:

  • Kyle Brown, a graduate student in environmental health sciences, who served as a U.S. Army Ranger. 
  • Brandon Hammond, a third-year College of Medicine – Phoenix student, who served in the U.S. Navy.
  • Sarah Severson-Hutchison, whose husband is a member of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command Team. This fall, Severson-Hutchison will begin her fourth year in the medical program at UA College of Medicine – Tucson.
  • Andrew Medburg, a first-year College of Medicine – Phoenix student beginning in the fall, who served with the U.S. Marines.

"All of our scholars, and specifically our new scholars, truly exemplify service above self," saidCody Nicholls, UA assistant dean of students for Veterans Education and Transition Services.

"Sara, Kyle, Andrew and Brandon embody the core values of the Pat Tillman Foundation," Nicholls said. "They reflect strength of character, a commitment to service, demonstrate extraordinary academic and leadership potential and a deep desire to impact change through their studies."

After earning his economics degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, Hammond served in the U.S. Navy. He served as a supply corps officer responsible for logistics, business and contract management from 2004 to 2012. During his service, Hammond was stationed aboard the USS Ronald Reagan and also in Kuwait and Washington, D.C.

Hammond, who has long wanted to pursue medical studies, said he was drawn to the UA for three reasons: its strong reputation for supporting student veterans, the research emphasis and the medical school's strong ties to community physicians, enabling immersive hands-on training.

"I spent quite a bit of time planning for and thinking about my decision to pursue medicine," Hammond said. His interest in serving as a physician, specifically in emergency and critical care medicine, relate back to his father's stroke, and years later, his mother's heart attack.  

"I credit the emergency medicine doctors for saving both my parents," said Hammond, who aspires to participate in international humanitarian missions, as well as providing care in rural communities.

Brown, who served with the 2nd Ranger Battalion with the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment as an infantryman from 2005 to 2009, was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan four times.

"When I enlisted, I became part of a community, and this service to others, and society as a whole, made a huge difference in my life and changed me for the better," said Brown, a new UA graduate, having earned his bachelor's degree in environmental sciences.

While completing his graduate studies, Brown would like to help improve quality of life and life expectancy in communities around the world and hopes to study infectious diseases and environmental health.

"The Tillman scholarship embodies continued service to others through academic education," Brown said. "That's what being a Tillman scholar means to me."

Posted in University of arizona on Friday, May 23, 2014 8:27 am. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Pat Tillman Foundation Scholarships , Three Veterans , Marie Tillman , Comments (0)

Wednesday 05/21/2014
What's Up UA? - Scientists Discover Genetic Basis of Pest Resistance to Biotech Cotton

An international team led by scientists at the University of Arizona and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has discovered what happens on a molecular basis in insects that evolved resistance to genetically engineered cotton plants.

The findings, reported in the May 19 issue of the journal PLOS ONE, shed light on how the global caterpillar pest called pink bollworm overcomes biotech cotton, which was designed to make an insect-killing bacterial protein called Bt toxin. The results could have major impacts for managing pest resistance to Bt crops.

Caterpillars of the pink bollworm are one of the most detrimental pests to cotton production worldwide. First detected in the U.S. in 1917, this invasive insect species wreaked havoc on Arizona's cotton-growing industry, with larvae infesting as many as every other cotton boll (the fruit capsule containing the valuable fibers).

A breakthrough came in 1996 with the introduction of Bt cotton, a genetically engineered crop containing a gene transferred from the bacterium, Bacillus thuringensis, endowing the plants with a protein that kills some, but not all insects. Organic growers have used Bt proteins in sprays for decades because they kill certain pests but are not toxic to people and most other organisms. Pest control with Bt proteins – either in sprays or genetically engineered crops – reduces reliance on chemical insecticides. Although Bt proteins provide environmental and economic benefits, these benefits are cut short when pests evolve resistance.

"Bt crops have had major benefits for society," said Jeffrey Fabrick, the lead author of the study and a research entomologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Maricopa, Arizona. "By understanding how insects adapt to Bt crops we can devise better strategies to delay the evolution of resistance and extend these benefits."

"Many mechanisms of resistance to Bt proteins have been proposed and studied in the lab, but this is the first analysis of the molecular genetic basis of severe pest resistance to a Bt crop in the field," said Bruce Tabashnik, one of the paper's authors and the head of the Department of Entomology in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He also is a member of the UA's BIO5 Institute.

Based on laboratory experiments aimed at determining the molecular mechanisms involved, scientists knew that pink bollworm could evolve resistance against the Bt toxin, but they had to go all the way to India to observe this happening in the field.  

Farmers in the U.S., but not in India, adopted tactics designed to slow evolution of resistance in pink bollworm. Scientists from the UA and the USDA worked closely with cotton growers in Arizona to develop and implement resistance management strategies such as providing "refuges" of standard cotton plants that do not produce Bt proteins and releasing sterile pink bollworm moths. Planting refuges near Bt crops allows susceptible insects to survive and reproduce and thus reduces the chances that two resistant insects will mate with each other and produce resistant offspring. Similarly, mass release of sterile moths also makes it less likely for two resistant individuals to encounter each other and mate.

As a result, pink bollworm has been all but eradicated in the southwestern U.S.  Suppression of this pest with Bt cotton is the cornerstone of an integrated pest management program that has allowed Arizona cotton growers to reduce broad-spectrum insecticide use by 80 percent, saving them over $10 million annually. In the U.S., pink bollworm populations have not evolved resistance to Bt toxins in the wild.

In India, however, resistant pink bollworm populations have emerged.

The emergence of resistant pink bollworm in India provided the researchers an opportunity to test the hypothesis that insects in the field would evolve resistance to Bt toxin by the same genetic mechanism found previously in the lab. In the lab strains, the scientists had identified mutations in a gene encoding a protein called cadherin. Binding of Bt toxin to cadherin is an essential step in the intoxication process. Mutations that disrupt cadherin block this binding, which leaves the insect unscathed by the Bt toxin.

"We wanted to see if field-resistant pink bollworm from India harbored these same changes in the cadherin gene," Fabrick said. He said that by collaborating with Indian scientists, "we discovered that the same cadherin gene is associated with the resistance in India, but the mutations are different and much more numerous than the ones we found in lab-selected pink bollworm from Arizona."

Tabashnik added: "In 17 years of research and screening more than 10,000 individuals from Arizona, we identified four cadherin-based resistance mutations. And in just eight individuals from India, we found 19 different cadherin variants that confer resistance. It blew our minds." 

By sequencing the DNA of resistant pink bollworm collected from the field in India –which grows the most Bt cotton of any country in the world – the team found that the insects produce remarkably diverse disrupted variants of cadherin. The researchers learned that the astonishing diversity of cadherin in pink bollworm from India is caused by alternative splicing, a novel mechanism of resistance that allows a single DNA sequence to code for many variants of a protein. "Our findings represent the first example of alternative splicing associated with Bt resistance that evolved in the field," said Fabrick, who is also an adjunct scientist in the Department of Entomology at the UA. 

Mario Soberón, a Bt expert at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Cuernavaca, who was not an author of the study, commented, "This is a neat example of the diverse mechanisms insect possess to evolve resistance. An important implication is that DNA screening would not be efficient for monitoring resistance of pink bollworm to Bt toxins."

In addition to Fabrick and Tabashnik, the following authors collaborated on the study: Jeyakumar Ponnuraj from the National Institute of Plant Health Management in Hyderabad, India, who studied pink bollworm resistance as a visiting scholar in Tabashnik's lab; Amar Singh and Raj Tanwar of the National Centre for Integrated Pest Management at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi; and Gopalan UnnithanAlex YelichXianchun Li and Yves Carrière from the UA Department of Entomology.

Posted in University of arizona on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 4:07 pm. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Scientists , Genetic Basis , Biotech Cotton , Comments (0)

OV Mayor Candidates Debate

The Oro Valley Mayor Candidates Dr. Satish I. Hiremath, and Pat Straney debated on July 30 at ...

Wednesday 06/11/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Undergrads Conducting Microgravity Research Aboard NASA's G-Force One

Monday 06/09/2014

What's up UA? - UA to Host U.S. and Mexico Officials Exploring Collaborations in Education, Innovation, Research

Thursday 06/05/2014

What's Up UA? - New Wilderness Medicine Class Hones Patient Care Skills in Rugged Conditions

Tuesday 06/03/2014

Track Cats Send Eight Athletes to TrackTown USA

Monday 06/02/2014

What's Up UA? - Bringing a Spacecraft Back From the Dead

Friday 05/30/2014

What's Up UA? - Heart Attack Patient Defies Odds with Tailored Surgical Treatment at UA Medical Center

Thursday 05/29/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Marketing Students Win National AT&T Competition

Tuesday 05/27/2014

What's Up UA? - Scientists Discover Genetic Basis of Pest Resistance to Biotech Cotton

Friday 05/23/2014

What's up UA? - Four UA Students Picked for Pat Tillman Foundation Scholarships

Wednesday 05/21/2014

What's Up UA? - Scientists Discover Genetic Basis of Pest Resistance to Biotech Cotton

Monday 05/19/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Tunnels Get Carbon Fiber Makeover

Thursday 05/15/2014

What's Up UA? - Earning a UA Degree, in a Grandfather’s Memory

Tuesday 05/13/2014

What's Up UA? - UA's Phoenix Cancer Center is 'Topped Off,' Joins Award-Winning Medical School Building

Thursday 05/08/2014

What's Up UA? - University of Arizona to Offer Nation’s First Bachelor of Arts in Law

Monday 05/05/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Combating Health Disparities to Build Healthier Communities

Wednesday 04/30/2014

What's Up UA? - Scientists at the UA Make Critical End-Stage Liver Disease Discovery

Friday 04/25/2014

What's Up UA? - A Century-Long Track Record of Serving Arizona and Benefiting the State's Economy

Wednesday 04/23/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Opens Nation’s First Resource Center for Student Vets Studying Health Care UA Wildcat Instant Decision Days at PCC campuses April 29-May 2

Monday 04/21/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Scientists to Begin Construction on NASA Spacecraft that will Visit Asteroid in 2018

Thursday 04/10/2014

What's Up UA? - Spring Fling Celebrates 40th Anniversary With Return to UA Mall

Monday 04/07/2014

Mauga’s Walkoff Sweeps Stanford

Thursday 04/03/2014

What's Up UA? - 4-H Programs Bring Enrichment and Learning to Thousands in Arizona

Monday 03/31/2014

What's Up UA? - The Viruses You Don't Know About (Yet)

Tuesday 03/25/2014

What's Up UA? - Twice Torn Apart: A UA Alumna's Road to the Paralympic Games

Tuesday 03/18/2014

What's Up UA? - Tucson Village Farm Honored as Model Program for the Nation

Friday 03/14/2014

What's Up UA? - Several UA Graduate Programs Reach New Heights

Tuesday 03/11/2014

What's Up UA? - Olympics Interns Share Sochi Experiences

Friday 03/07/2014

What's Up UA? - Seeing Cancer Differently

Wednesday 03/05/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Offers Accelerated Bachelor's to Master’s Program in Environmental Health Sciences

Tuesday 03/04/2014

What's Up UA? - Third-Ranked Men's Basketball Heads to Corvallis to Face OSU

Friday 02/28/2014

What's Up UA? - UA College of Optical Sciences to Celebrate 50th Anniversary With Laser Fun Day

Thursday 02/27/2014

What's Up UA? - Obesity-Related Gut Bacteria Higher in People in Northern Climes

Monday 02/24/2014

Wildcats Sweep Sunday Doubleheader, Series From Alcorn State

Thursday 02/20/2014

What's Up UA? - First-Year UA Minority Student Retention Rate Highest Ever

Monday 02/17/2014

What's Up UA? - The Flu and You

Friday 02/14/2014

What's Up UA? - Miller to Add to Arizona’s USA Basketball Legacy

Wednesday 02/12/2014

What's Up UA? - $10M Gift to Optical Sciences is Largest Gift for Scholarships in UA History

Monday 02/10/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Study Shows Aggressive Management of Gunshot Wounds to Brain Significantly Increases Survival

Thursday 02/06/2014

Arizona Football Announces 2014 NLI Class

Tuesday 02/04/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Wind Quintet is Finalist in National Competition

Thursday 01/30/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Undergraduate Researcher Earns Prestigious National Award

Tuesday 01/28/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Renewed as a Tillman Foundation Partner

Thursday 01/23/2014

What's Up UA? - Thousands to Celebrate Chinese New Year at UA

Tuesday 01/21/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Mathematician Earns Presidential Early Career Award

Friday 01/17/2014

What's Up UA? - Prefer dry heat to arctic chill? Genetics might be the reason

Thursday 01/16/2014

Four Players Added to January Enrollee Group

Wednesday 01/15/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Study Shows Intensive Exercise Training Program for Dementia Patients Improves Care in Clinical Setting

Monday 01/13/2014

What's Up UA? - UA-Developed Avatar is Helping to Screen New Arrivals at Bucharest Airport

Friday 01/10/2014

What's Up UA? - The First and the Best in More Than Basketball
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