One-on-One with Tier One: Dr. Jan Bergmanson

UH Research

Dr. Jan Bergmanson Dr. Jan Bergmanson

Did you remember to apply sunscreen today? As skin is the largest organ of the human body, it is hard to ignore the effects of damaging sunlight. However, have you considered the sun’s effects on your eyes? Like the skin, the human eye is exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun each day. Commonly, individuals believe standard UVR-blocking sunglasses are adequate protection against harmful radiation. However, because these lenses can reduce one’s innate behavioral aversion to bright sunlight and the squint mechanism, they can lead to an increase in a person’s dosage of UVR and result in a “sunburn” effect on the ectoderm tissue of the eye. Some frame styles, though effective at protecting the frontal optical axis, can leave one susceptible to harmful rays that affect the lateral surfaces of the eye. Dr. Jan Bergmanson, professor of optometry in the University of Houston College…

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One-on-One with Tier One: Dr. Jokūbas Žiburkus

UH Research

Photo of Dr. Jokūbas Žiburkus. Dr. Jokūbas Žiburkus

Dr. Jokūbas Žiburkus, assistant professor of biology and biochemistry at the University of Houston, recently received a $185,000 award from the Dravet Syndrome Foundation to study seizures in pediatric epilepsy. Žiburkus is currently working in collaboration with Dr. Jeffrey L. Noebels, professor of neurology, neuroscience, and molecular and human genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine, to determine whether treatment with adenosine can potentially rescue children from repetitive seizures as well as potentially improve the associated social dysfunctions and learning disorders of Dravet syndrome. UH, on behalf of Žiburkus, has filed a non-provisional patent to use the adenosine agonist as a potential therapy for pediatric epilepsy.

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One-on-One with Tier One: Dr. Ferenc Bunta

UH Research

by Kim Pierre

Drs. Jennifer Wickesberg and Ferenc Bunta Drs. Jennifer Wickesberg and Ferenc Bunta

Dr. Ferenc Bunta, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Houston (UH), was awarded a $450,000 grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to study phonological acquisition in bilingual children who use cochlear implants. Currently, this population is underserved because little is known about their speech and language development and there are no existing measures that can assess their abilities accurately. Bunta and his research team are working in collaboration with Dr. Jennifer Wickesberg, adjunct assistant professor at UH and Director of Audiology at The Center for Hearing and Speech, to investigate how bilingual children with cochlear implants develop speech and language.

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One-on-One with Tier One: Dr. Xun Jiang

UH Research

by Kim Pierre

Dr. Xun Jiang Dr. Xun Jiang

Dr. Xun Jiang, associate professor of atmospheric science in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Houston, received an award from the National Atmospheric Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to study atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Jiang is currently working in collaboration with Dr. Yuk L. Yung, Smits Family Professor of Planetary Science at the California Institute of Technology. The researchers will use NASA’s first dedicated Earth remote sensing satellite, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2), to measure carbon dioxide (CO2) and identify the locations of carbon dioxide sources and sinks. As carbon dioxide is produced in abundance by human activities, it is considered the primary cause for climate change. Researchers hope after OCO-2 is launched in 2014, it will provide an accurate measurement of carbon dioxide so that they are better equipped to estimate the rate…

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One-on-One with Tier One: Dr. Richard Bond

UH Research

by Kim Pierre

L-R: Drs. Burton F. Dickey, UTMDACC, Richard A. Bond, UH, and Nicola Hanania, BCM.

Dr. Richard A. Bond, professor of pharmacology at the University of Houston (UH), received a $59,000 award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue to study the effects of the beta-blocker nadolol in individuals with asthma. Though nadolol is contraindicated for use in the treatment of asthma, Bond’s previous research has displayed its potential to decrease airway resistance commonly found in individuals with asthma. Bond, a two-time UH alumnus, is conducting primary research via in vitro and in vivo studies, while teams at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Duke University and Washington University in St. Louis are conducting clinical trials.

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One-on-One with Tier One: Amanda Venta, Carolyn Ha and Dr. Carla Sharp

UH Research

by Kim Pierre

Dr. Carla Sharp, Carolyn Ha and Amanda Venta Dr. Carla Sharp, Carolyn Ha and Amanda Venta

Oxytocin, a naturally occurring hormone in the brain, has been the subject of multiple recent studies within psychology. Amanda Venta and Carolyn Ha, doctoral candidates in the Child and Family track of the Clinical Psychology Program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston, received awards from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to study the effects of intranasal oxytocin on attachment and social cognition in adolescents. Though commonly thought of as a love hormone, the researchers hope to uncover oxytocin’s effects on participant’s attachment and social cognition in the context of significant relationships. Dr. Carla Sharp, associate professor of clinical psychology and director of the Developmental Psychopathology Lab at the University of Houston, will serve as their advisor and guide the researchers as they work in collaboration with…

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One-on-One with Tier One: Dr. Jay Neal

UH Research

by Kim Pierre

Dr. Jay Neal Dr. Jay Neal

Dr. Jay Neal, assistant professor of food safety in the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston (UH), received a $59,000 award from the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation to research hotel room hygiene. Norovirus, a contagious illness that affects the gastrointestinal tract, affects approximately 19 to 21 million people per year. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates norovirus is the most common disease caused by a foodborne pathogen. It can be contracted from infected individuals, contaminated food or water, or by utilizing communal objects and surfaces like those commonly found in hotels. As hotels and lodging represent a $137 billion industry in America, implementation of effective sanitation methods is of utmost importance. Neal, an expert in the areas of food microbiology and food safety, is working in collaboration with

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