Mic/Nite Spring 2012 Presentations
The Spring 2012 Mic/Nite was held on Wednesday, March 7 at the Relix Variety Theatre located at 1208 North Central Ave, Knoxville, TN 37917.
Click on the thumbnail images below to view the presentation abstracts.
College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
Neal Stewart, Racheff Chair in Plant Science
“Teaching Plants to Speak the Color Orange”
Phytosensors are engineered plants to report when specific contaminants and disease-causing agents are present in a plant's environment. Gene switches—called promoters—are being discovered which naturally sense, for example, when a harmful bacterium or virus attacks the plant. They naturally switch on a cascade of defenses. Our research group is designing stronger synthetic promoters, which are then used to control the expression of fluorescent protein genes. The brightest discovered fluorescent protein happens to be orange. However, it is still not bright enough to usually be visible under the control of even our stronger designer promoters. Recently, the group has made modifications to make a “Big Orange” fluorescent protein that is accumulated much higher in the plant, which yields three times higher fluorescence than its predecessor. Plants can be engineered temporarily for orange fluorescence, perhaps just in the leaves, to comprise a brief reporter system.
College of Architecture and Design
Gregor Kalas, Assistant Professor of Architecture
“Reconstructing Early Medieval Monasticism”
Recently, scholars have begun to question the view that early medieval monasticism was unified during the Carolingian Empire by the imposition of St. Benedict’s Rule. Evidence that monastic architecture diverged from some of the Rule's dictates due to the development of enclosed gardens and spacious dining chambers for abbots, for example, indicates that the sixth-century text of St. Benedict instigated a reconsideration of the enclosed life. Digital reconstructions of Carolingian monasteries provide a basis for understanding how architectural spaces emerged from the Rule.
College of Arts and Sciences — 1
Hap McSween, Chancellor’s Professor
“Vesta, A Virgin No More: A Limerick”
Vesta is the second-most massive asteroid. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, now orbiting and mapping the body, has revealed its secrets. Dawn’s ion propulsion system has made it the fastest manmade object. The spacecraft carries cameras to image the surface and spectrometers to measure its composition, and tracking of its orbital path constrains the nature of its interior. Meteorites, which may have been excavated from Vesta, are used to interpret Dawn results, and the distributions of similar volcanic rocks have been mapped. Craters of all sizes pockmark Vesta’s surface. A huge impact created a basin at the south pole that scattered material over half the body, exposed the deep interior, and created curious ridges encircling the equator. Ancient Vesta is one of a very few surviving planetesimals like those that accreted to form the Earth, and thus it provides a unique window on early solar system processes.
College of Arts and Sciences — 2
Gregory L. Stuart, Professor of Psychology
“Alcohol Use and Intimate Partner Violence”
Alcohol use is theoretically and empirically linked to various forms of intimate partner violence (IPV). This presentation will focus on our body of work that illustrates the connection between alcohol use and IPV perpetration and victimization. Our studies demonstrate that IPV is overrepresented in populations of individuals in treatment for substance abuse, and that substance abuse is overrepresented in men and women who are mandated by the court to attend batterer intervention programs. Our work has shown that the prevalence and frequency of IPV decrease after an individual receives treatment for alcohol problems. The course of IPV and the efficacy of interventions for men arrested for IPV will be addressed. Our efforts to improve violence outcomes in randomized clinical trials involving alcohol treatment with arrested batterers will be described. Our ongoing studies, including an examination of genetic predictors of IPV and substance use, as well as genetic predictors of treatment outcome, will be discussed.
College of Business Administration
Bill Fox, Chancellor’s Professor
“Taxing the Internet: Is this good for the US?”
Internet sales exploded from $1.1 trillion in 2000 to more than $3.8 trillion in 2012. A 1992 Supreme Court ruling hampers the ability of states to collect sales taxes on many of these transactions because the vendors do not have taxable presence. Some argue that a tax-free environment should foster growth of the Internet and that low taxes have been an important part of its rapid growth. Further, they maintain that it is too expensive to comply with the tax laws of 45 sales-taxing states and more than 9,000 local governments. Others argue that uneven taxation of e-commerce versus bricks-and-mortar commerce harms the US economy and costs state and local governments tax revenues. These counterpoints will be evaluated along with UT faculty research that evidences annual tax losses of at least $12 billion and elimination of jobs in bricks-and-mortar stores.
College of Communication and Information
Michael J. Palenchar, Associate Professor, School of Advertising and Public Relations
“The Interdisciplinary Role of Crisis Communication and New Media Technologies”
Do you ever wonder why organizations make such horrendous communication mistakes during a crisis? The simultaneous reality of an industrial and economic risk society and the development of new digital, online mobile capabilities require a re-evaluation of organizational strategies for effectively communicating about risk. Palenchar will discuss the interdisciplinary role of crisis communication and new media technologies in managing crisis events. Technological advances have transformed how crisis management professionals and researchers view, create, interact with, and disseminate information to affected communities and other stakeholders during a crisis. Early research shows that many organizations are struggling to define the best practices for using social media, including digital mobile devices, for risk and crisis communication and measuring its return on investment. Potential issues and implications, such as control, security, right to know, uncertainty, speed, training, intentionality, transparency, information push, privacy, self-efficacy, and leveraging stakeholders' communication are quickly discussed in this presentation.
College of Education, Health and Human Sciences
Ashleigh Huffman and Sarah Hillyer, Clinical Assistant Professors of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies
"Sport, Peace, and Society: A Local and Global Perspective"
The presentation will highlight our use of sport to promote community development, global solidarity, and female empowerment. In the last twenty years, we have implemented groundbreaking sports development projects in ten different countries, including Iran, Iraq, Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, China, Inner Mongolia, and Zimbabwe. In the fall of 2010, we also co-developed an undergraduate service-learning class designed to use sport, physical activity, and recreation as a way to assist a growing number of Iraqi refugees in their transition to the Knoxville community. As a result of our international experiences and local service, we have been invited to launch the Center for Sport, Peace, and Society at the University of Tennessee. The center will be the academic hub for interdisciplinary research in the area of sport for development.
College of Engineering
Mariya Zhuravleva, Research Assistant Professor, Scintillation Materials Research Center, Materials Science and Engineering
Crystals are not only aesthetically pleasing materials, such as the gemstones, used in jewelry, but are also used in many technical applications. Some crystals, called scintillators, visibly glow with bright colors when exposed to radiation. Scintillator crystals can be used to record X-ray images similar to the manner in which photographic film can be used to record light images. Crystalline scintillators with three dimensional patterns of perfectly ordered atoms are used to produce high resolution images of cancer and Alzheimer's disease and to reveal the presence of hidden radioactive materials being illegally transported across borders. A team of students, researchers and faculty at the Scintillation Materials Research Center discovers new scintillator crystals and develops new technologies to manufacture them. The crystals are grown by slowly cooling a molten substance in a specially designed furnace. The resulting crystals are the key components in the fabrication of modern radiation sensing devices.
College of Law
Joan M. Heminway, Distinguished Professor of Law
“Crowdfunding: Where Social Networking Meets Venture Capital”
The meteoric rise of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networking web sites presents many opportunities and challenges for law, society, and the economy. With small businesses—historically engines of economic growth—finding it difficult to raise start-up funds and capital for new projects, social networking seems like a logical way to find new "friends" from whom to raise the necessary investment dollars. This form of raising monies has become known as “crowdfunding,” and has been popularized by websites like Kiva and ProFounder. Yet, securities regulations in the US effectively prevent ventures from using the Internet to raise funds that generate returns to investors because of required compliance with a resource-intensive federal and state registration process. The main fear of regulators is that investors will be defrauded on the faceless Internet. Can we legalize desired forms of crowdfunding without creating an opportunity for fraud and other misuse?
Anne Bridges, Associate Professor and Interim Head of Research Services, and Ken Wise, Associate Professor
“University Libraries: Great Smoky Mountains Regional Project”
The Great Smoky Mountains Regional Project at the University of Tennessee Libraries collects, preserves, and makes available to researchers material on the Smokies region of both Tennessee and North Carolina. Founded in 1997 by librarians Anne Bridges and Ken Wise, the project has three main initiatives. The first is a bibliography project, which will result in a printed volume of entries of written material from the sixteenth century to the founding of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1934. The second part of the bibliography project will be an online bibliography encompassing the years 1935 to the present. The second initiative is The Great Smoky Mountains Regional Collection, the largest collection of material in all formats, including books, articles, government documents, and manuscripts, in the region and perhaps in the nation. The third initiative is a corpus of online photographs and documents from significant Smokies photographers including Albert "Dutch" Roth and Jim Thompson and a grant-funded project on the history of the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School in Gatlinburg.
College of Nursing
Carole R. Myers, Assistant Professor of Nursing
“Health Reform: What's In It for Me?”
The complexity of the problems which led to the passage of national health reform in 2010 after 100 years of failed attempts, current political bickering, and national concern about America's financial viability and social supports have crowded out the public's opportunity to garner factual and relevant information about the Affordable Care Act and understanding about the personal impact of the law. An overview of the major thrust of the law and key provisions related to health insurance and delivery system reforms, cost-savings, and financing will be discussed. In addition, the timing and status of the law's multi-year implementation will be reviewed and potential obstacles discussed. The question “what's in it for me?” will be discussed from the perspective of those individuals insured via public and private programs and those who lack insurance. The aim is to demystify and simplify the law in a discussion absent of partisan and philosophical debates.
College of Social Work
Terri Combs-Orme, The Urban Child Institute Professor
“Infant Brain Development: Touch, Talk, Read, Play”
Although brain development is genetically programmed, its form and shape result from an infant's early experiences. In the last few decades, neuroscience research has dramatically illustrated the influence of early experiences on infant brain development through the use of new brain imaging technology. The Urban Child Institute (TUCI), a nonprofit whose goal is to enhance the lives of Memphis children, is taking this knowledge directly to parents. TUCI is currently offering one of the first programs for disadvantaged parents that utilizes the findings from neuroscience research to enhance the early brain development of infants in poverty. This presentation demonstrates the Touch-Talk-Read-Play program, which is being delivered by TUCI through the Neighborhood Christian Center, a faith-based organization. Program participants learn fundamental knowledge about the brain and its functions, as well as how ordinary experiences such as skin contact, talking to babies, and reading and playing with them influence brain development.
College of Veterinary Medicine
Amy K. LeBlanc, Associate Professor and Director of Translational Research
“Companion Animals in Translational Imaging-Based Research”
Molecular imaging, specifically Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT), is integral to the clinical management of human patients with a variety of diseases, most notably cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurologic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, as a noninvasive tool for biomedical research and drug development, PET/CT is a powerful tool for researchers and more recently, an expanding field in clinical veterinary medicine. It is now widely accepted that companion animals such as dogs and cats can serve as spontaneous, relevant disease models for many common human ailments. Novel PET imaging reagents can be validated in such animal models in order to inform the development pathway of these molecules, to the benefit of humans and pets alike. This presentation highlights work demonstrating the application of 18F-PET tracers utilizing PET/CT imaging to a variety of veterinary diseases, thus paving the way for UT as a leader in translational imaging-based research.
Presentation Video Podcasts (iTunes U)
A video podcast for each of this event's presentations is available for viewing and download through iTunes.
Complementary parking in an unreserved staff lot for 2012-13 thanks to the Office of the Provost:
Laura Buenning, Office of Research/Science Alliance
Two tickets to the Clarence Brown Theatre production of “Black Pearl Sings:”
Ray DeGennaro, Department of Finance
Two tickets to the Clarence Brown Theatre production of “Kiss Me Kate:”
Brandon Horvath, Department of Plant Sciences
Two tickets to the Clarence Brown Theatre production of “Dean Man’s Cell Phone:”
Rachel Rui, Department of Chemistry
Four tickets to a Lady Vol Softball game provided by the Department of Athletics:
Deb Haines, Instructional Resources
Four tickets to a Vol Baseball game provided by the Department of Athletics:
Mike Martinez, School of Journalism and Electronic Media