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Conferences / Symposia / Programs


APRIL 2016


Psychologist Discussed Predictors of Suicidal Behavior in Teens in UA Talk

Social stressors can change DNA and brain chemistry, particularly in adolescent girls, and lead to increased risk for self-harm, according to Dr. Mitch Prinstein, the John Van Seters Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prinstein delivered a talk titled “Predicting Adolescent Suicidal Behavior” as part of the UA Center for the Prevention of Youth Behavior Problems speaker series. His research primarily focuses on how adolescents’ interpersonal experiences, particularly among peers, are associated with depression, self-injury and health-risk behaviors. Prinstein is testing which social stressors change DNA and brain chemistry. Although cells are constantly dying off and new ones are being born, the body’s response to social stressors will start to activate previously dormant DNA, he said.


Tested Filmmaker Discussed Social, Education Issues at UA

Activist and filmmaker Curtis Chin screened his education and equality documentary Tested at UA as part of the James P. Curtis Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted annually by the UA College of Education. Tested chronicles a dozen New York City eighth-graders from racially and socio-economically diverse backgrounds as they prepare for a single standardized test to gain admission into the city’s most elite public high schools. The documentary explores such issues as access, affirmative action and the perception that certain minority groups have higher achievement rates. New York City’s public school system has 1.1 million children, the largest in the country. Chin said the solution to narrowing the achievement gap between the rich and poor and the racially diverse is simple: focus on improving families.

K-12 Students Visited UA for Regional Science Competition

More than 400 middle- and high-school students participated in the 2016 regional Science Olympiad competition at UA. Science Olympiad is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1982 that promotes teamwork in the disciplines of life science, earth and space science, physical science, chemistry, technology and engineering among elementary-, middle- and high-school students. The regional competition for middle- and high-school students, hosted by UA, is one of many across the country. More than 12,000 schools from all 50 states participate in Science Olympiad events each year. This year, teams competed in more than 20 events – including crime busting, air trajectory, bridge building, food science, cell biology, invasive species and more.


Psychologist Discussed Evolution of Language in UA’s ALLELE Lecture

Dr. Morten Christiansen, a professor of psychology at Cornell University, presented a lecture on the evolution of language at UA as part of  the Alabama Lectures on Life’s Evolution series at UA. The lecture was titled “Darwin’s Insight: The Cultural Evolution of Language.” After explaining Darwin’s original theory of the origin of languages, Christiansen discussed his own research, showing that the evolution of language involves biological and cultural constraints. While some researchers believe that biological factors play a larger role in language development, Christiansen has found that culture is the predominant reason for similarities in languages today. The ALLELE series brings speakers to the UA campus to discuss aspects of evolution.


UA’s Paul Jones Gallery of Art Unveiled ‘Black is Beautiful’ Exhibit

UA students curated an art exhibition that responds to stereotypical portrayals of African-Americans. The exhibit, titled “Black is Beautiful,” opened recently at the Paul R. Jones Gallery of Art in downtown Tuscaloosa and will be on display until April 29. The students curated the exhibit as part of an African-American art class taught by Dr. Wendy Castenell, assistant professor of art history at UA. Upon coming to the University last semester, Castenell immediately incorporated visits and projects involving the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art into her classes. The collection, housed at UA, includes more than 2,100 pieces and is one of the largest collections of African-American art in the world.


UA’s Sonic Frontiers Series Presented Five Days of Collaborative Performances

Art can take any form. Sound, movement of the body, electronics, stone, cloth and paint represent just a few of the media from which artistic expression can spring. That diversity was shown for five consecutive days as part of “Work in Progress,” an art performance sponsored by UA’s New College and Sonic Frontiers concert series. Each day a different artist who specializes in a particular medium fashioned a piece while musician and composer Dr. Andrew Raffo Dewar, UA associate professor in New College, created saxophone and electronic music in the Ferguson Center Art Gallery. The work of each of the six Alabama-based artists inspired the sound that Dewar created, and in turn their work was inspired by his music. The meshing of the two art forms created a single, collaborative audio-visual work of art.


UA’s Nursing Lectureship Focused on ‘Healthy Caregivers, Healthy Patients’

The UA Capstone College of Nursing hosted the 2016 Donna Cox Bridger Endowed Lectureship in Nursing and Health Care. “Healthy Caregivers, Healthy Patients” was the topic explored this year. The Donna Cox Bridger Lectureship was established by Joseph C. Bridger to honor the memory of his wife and to promote awareness of current topics in the fields of nursing and health care from an inter-
disciplinary perspective. The event was open to faculty, students, health care professionals and the community. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Cynthia Clark, a nurse consultant for ATI Nursing Education, professor emeritus at Boise State University and a licensed registered nurse with more than 30 years of experience in health care practice and academic settings.


UA Offered Physics Contest for Students in High School

UA’s department of physics and astronomy hosted its 40th annual physics contest for students in high school in the Ferguson Center on campus. Each year, the contest draws hundreds of students from several states to compete for scholarships, awards and bragging rights. The event included individual and team competitions as well as demonstrations of physics in action, a program for teachers, an open house in Gallalee Hall and informal opportunities to observe campus life at UA. Student competitors attended a viewing of the moon, planets and other deep sky objects session with UA’s 16-inch Ritchey-Chretien reflector telescope in the roof-top observatory at Gallalee Hall.


State Education, Child Advocacy Leaders Took Part in Conference at UA

Children’s advocacy leaders and education experts met at UA to address child and family needs and to explore ways to improve the quality of life in Alabama. The 10th annual “Doing What Matters for Alabama’s Children Conference” was held at the Bryant Conference Center at UA. Speakers at the conference included Rhonda Mann, policy and research director of VOICES for Alabama’s Children; Nancy Buckner, commissioner, Alabama Department of Human Resources; and Dr. Thomas R. Bice, superintendent of education for the state of Alabama. Dr. Charles Nash, Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, UA System, moderated the first discussion, “The State of Schools for Our Children,” which featured Dr. Peter Hlebowitsh, dean of the UA College of Education, as one of three panelists.


UA’s Darwin Day Evolved to a Three-Day Regional Conference

Darwin Day, an annual event hosted by UA’s Evolutionary Studies Club, has evolved into the Southeastern Evolutionary Perspectives Society conference on the UA campus. The conference featured interdisciplinary speakers, a banquet and a keynote lecture given by evolutionary anthropologist Dr. Dean Falk, the Hale G. Smith Professor of Anthropology at Florida State University. Dr. Christopher Lynn, an associate professor of anthropology at UA, directs the evolutionary studies program and helped coordinate the event. According to Lynn, the conference is an opportunity to generate discussion, promote evolutionary perspectives to students, help teachers who may be struggling to teach it, and bring public visibility to the topic.


UAB Hosts Rare Disease Genomics Symposium        

UAB, Children’s of Alabama and the Center for Genomic Medicine at UAB/HudsonAlpha recently hosted the Rare Disease Genomics Symposium on February 26. Speakers from UAB, HudsonAlpha and the National Cancer Institute presented on topics such as genome sequencing, pediatric cancer genetic counseling and tuberous sclerosis. UAB created an Undiagnosed Diseases Program in 2013 and, along with HudsonAlpha, Children’s of Alabama and UAB Medicine, is committed to providing patients with access to high-quality care and cutting-edge research. HudsonAlpha is providing the capabilities for whole genome sequencing as well as the ability to rapidly innovate in this emerging arena of medicine.


Surgeons From Around Nation/World Gather at UAB for Seminar on Robotic Surgery

Surgeons and administrators from hospitals in 26 states and several foreign countries attended the 2016 Academic Session on robotic-assisted surgery at UAB on February 19-20. The session was co-sponsored by Intuitive Surgical, developers of the da Vinci surgical system, the most common surgical robots in use in the United States. The event featured presentations from leading surgeons in the field of robotic-assisted surgery from UAB and around the nation, and offered three live-streamed surgical case observations performed by UAB surgeons.


Salmonella Expert Presents at 28th Bertram Marx Lecture at UAB

Roy Curtiss III, PhD, 2014 Life-time Achievement Award recipient from the American Society of Microbiology, presented the 2016 Bertram M. Marx Lecture hosted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Microbiology on March 15. Professor of infectious diseases and pathology at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Curtiss lectures on “Inducing mucosal immunity­historical past and the present using salmonella as our friend.” Curtiss’ current research focuses on the design, construction and evaluation of vaccines to elicit protective host immune responses in agriculturally important animals and in humans, mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis, and host immune responses to infections and vaccines.


UAH Professor Emeritus Presents Papers

James McCullom, Professor Emeritus in Management, presented two papers at the Romanian American University in Bucharest, Romania. As part of an information technology symposium, Dr. McCullom presented a paper entitled “The importance of systems engineering in project management.” He also presented his paper entitled “Love your constitution” at a second symposium on international law.

UAH Eminent Scholar Presents Cyber-Physical Systems Research Overview

Dr. L. Dale Thomas, The University of Alabama in Huntsville Eminent Scholar of Systems Engineering, presented a lecture on campus on February 26. “An Intersection of Needs, Methods, and Trends in Cyber-Physical Systems Engineering” focused on ongoing research, Dale’s vision on how to take advantage of new systems engineering paradigms to cope with today’s complex cyber-physical system developments, and thoughts on how to improve the state-of-practice of systems engineering.

UAH Professor participates in Alabama Lean Six Sigma Conference 2015

An ISEEM faculty member, Sampson Gholston, delivered a presentation at the first annual Alabama Lean Six Sigma Conference sponsored by UAH, Alabama Aerospace Industry Association, Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association, and Alabama Technology Network. The presentation focused on developing plans for successful implementation and sustainment of Lean Six Sigma.

UAH Political Science Professor Presented at Conference

Dr. Shuang Zhao, Assistant Professor of Political Science, presented her paper “Do Regulators Allow Bordering Facilities to Emit More Air Pollution? An Empirical Assessment of the Interstate Free Riding Problem” at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association in January.

UAH Communication Arts Faculty Member Participated in TED Talk

Dr. Pavica Sheldon, Assistant Professor of Communication Arts, was invited through the College of Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences’ Speakers’ Bureau to participate in a TED Talk by Jennifer Golbeck: “The Curly Fry Conundrum: Why Social Media ‘Likes’ Say More Than You Might Think” in January.

UAH Nursing Faculty Co-Presenters at Conference

Anne Dillard and Casey Norris, members of the Nursing Faculty at UAH, gave a poster presentation titled “Leading digital natives: A journey to cross the chasm” at the Concept-Based Learning Institute 2016: Curriculum for the 21st Century conference in Orlando, FL.

UAH Nursing Faculty Gave Presentation at Summit

Kristen Herrin and Mark Reynolds gave a talk titled “Transforming texters into leaders” at the Alabama Student Nurses Association Leadership Summit in Tuscaloosa, AL.


UAH Clinical Associate Professor Gives Poster Presentation

Dr. Marlena Primeau gave a poster presentation titled “STAT: A strangulation assessment tool for field use” at the International Association of Forensic Nurses in Orlando, FL.


UAH Associate Professor Gives Oral Presentation

Dr. Pam O’Neal gave an oral presentation titled “Efficacy of triclosan and povidone-iodine as disinfectants against escherichia coli isolated from neonatal oronasopharyngeal suctioning devices” at the Alabama Academy of Science in Florence, AL.

UAH College of Science Professor Gives Talks in the AGU Fall Meeting

Dr. Gary Zank, Eminent Scholar, Distinguished Professor, and Chair of the Department of Space Science, attended the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in December 2015 and presented two invited talks: “The Generation of Kappa Distributions at Perpendicular Shocks and the Heliospheric Termination Shock” and “Particle Acceleration at Small-Scale Flux Ropes in the Heliosphere.”

UAH College of Science Professor Participates in the AGU Fall Meeting

Department of Space Science Assistant Professor, Dr. Qiang Hu, participated in and presented at the annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco, CA, December 13-18, 2015.  Dr. Hu also convened and chaired a session entitled “Small-Scale Magnetic Flux Ropes throughout the Heliosphere”.

UAH College of Education Assistant Professor Presents at Conference

Dr. Sandra Lampley, a first-year Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction presented at the Alabama Science Teachers Association conference. The topic of the presentation was “Revising Old Lessons to do New Tricks: Modifying for the Alabama Course of Study Standards.”


UAH College of Education Clinical Assistant Professor Presents Research at Conference

Dr. Andrea Word-Allbritton spoke to a large group of P-12 and university educators at the Alabama-Mississippi TESOL (AMTESOL) conference, the regional professional conference for Teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages.  Dr. Word-Allbritton presented on the analytical framework being developed as a result of the work done by herself and CoED Department of Curriculum & Instruction colleague Dr. Jason O’Brien on their U.S. Department of Education-funded grant: Project HAPPENS.


UAH Rotorcraft Center Sponsors Army Aviation Home-on-Home Meeting of Senior Leaders

The UAH Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center sponsored a meeting of senior leaders and portfolio managers from the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, the US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center’s (RDEC) Aviation Development Directorate, the US Army Tank and Automotive RDEC, the US Army Communication and Electronics RDEC as well as leaders from the Office of Naval Research, NASA and DARPA.  These key leaders discussed the future of research efforts supporting the current fleet, future vertical lift and unmanned aerial systems in an effort to align the science and technology community with achieving significant contributions in closing technology gaps to maintain technical superiority of weapon systems in a rapidly changing environment.


UAH Systems Center Researchers Participate in Earth Science Winter Meeting

The UAH Information Technology and Systems Center (ITSC) was represented at the 2016 Winter Meeting of the Federation for Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) by several research scientists. Manil Maskey presented a poster on the Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) Information System, currently under development. Helen Conover and others in the ESDIS Standards Office (ESO) met with ESDIS and community experts to improve information provided to new NASA missions on International Standards Organization (ISO) compliant metadata requirements.