January 2014: Month in Review

University Communications
Jan. 31, 2014

With did the new year bring? 

  • Record-breaking performances by UA student-athletes.
  • A drug created at the UA that is now being developed and commercialized in Europe and Japan.
  • The UA being able to retain its partnership with the Pat Tillman Foundation.
  • And news that three UA students have been selected for internships with NBCUniversal during the Sochi 2014 Olympics.

Here are some of the top UA stories, and we are only one month into 2014:

Walking the Walk: What Sharks, Honeybees and Humans Have in Common

Photo credit: Brian Wood/Yale University

A research team led by UA anthropologist David Raichlen has found that the Hadza tribe’s movements while foraging can be described by a mathematical pattern called a Lévy walk – a pattern that also is found in the movements of many other animals.

UA: The First and the Best in More Than Basketball

The UA men's basketball team has had quite a season, remaining undefeated for weeks into its season. Off the court, the UA has plenty of other No. 1 distinctions, bests and first-evers. From leading a mission to Mars to saving lives with a total artificial heart, there's a long list of reasons why it's a great time to be a Wildcat.

Who Won't Take Their Medicine?

UA anthropologist Susan J. Shaw and UA pharmacist Jeannie Lee have been awarded $1.48 million from the NIH to study medication adherence and health literacy.

Fungi are the 'Secret Police' in Rain Forest Diversity, Study Finds

Photo credit: Jake Bryant/Envirophoto

A new study has revealed that fungi, often seen as pests, play a crucial role policing biodiversity in rainforests. Rachel Gallery, an assistant professor of microbial ecology in the University of Arizona's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, contributed to the project by analyzing and identifying fungal communities.

Licensing Agreement Brings UA-Developed Drug to Cancer Patients Outside U.S.

Eugene Gerner (left) is a UA professor emeritus and co-founder of Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Jeffrey Jacob (right) is the company's CEO. (Photo credit: Chris Mooney)

A drug developed at the UA will be developed and commercialized in Europe and Japan through a licensing agreement coordinated by Tech Launch Arizona, the UA's research commercialization initiative. The agreement is between Tucson-based company Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals Inc., which was co-founded by UA professor emeritus Eugene Gerner, and Swiss-based Tillotts Pharma AG, a subsidiary of Zeria Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. in Tokyo. The agreement provides for European and Japanese rights to develop and commercialize an anti-cancer combination drug called CPP-1X/sulindac, which resulted from basic cancer research done at the UA. Doctors use CPP-1X/sulindac to treat familial adenomatous polyposis, or FAP, an orphan disease, and other gastrointestinal conditions. CPP specializes in prevention therapies for people with an elevated risk of cancer.

UA, Google Creating Digital Maps to Help Preserve Cultural Heritage of Russian Community

Photo credit: Benedict Colombi

Indigenous communities from Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula are dealing with an issue of great concern – the possible impending loss of the Itelmen language, which, in the community of 4,000, is only spoken by roughly one dozen elders. To ensure that younger generations of the Itelmen ethnic group retain their heritage, University of Arizona anthropologist Benedict Colombi and Tatiana Degai, an Itelmen student pursuing a doctorate in American Indian Studies at the UA, have been working with the community in partnership with Google Earth Outreach, a program supporting non-profit organizations raising awareness of global issues, to create interactive and engaging digital maps of locations that hold cultural and historic significance.

Three UA Students Picked for Internships at Winter Olympics

Joseph Shaw and Desiree Piazza, both seniors majoring in Russian and Slavic studies, and Heather Smyser, who has a master's degree in Russian and Slavic studies from the UA and is currently pursuing her doctorate in second language acquisition and teaching, were chosen for internships with NBCUniversal after demonstrating outstanding proficiency in Russian language and culture.

UA Mathematician Earns Presidential Early Career Award

David Savitt, an associate professor in the University of Arizona Department of Mathematics, has been chosen to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor the U.S. government bestows upon science and engineering professionals who are in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Lives Threatened, Lost: UA Study Reveals Dangers to Mexican Journalists Along U.S. Border

Photo credit: Sgt. 1st Class Gordon Hyde via Wikipedia

From intimidation threats to assassinations, the daily danger faced by many Mexican journalists is the focus of a newly published UA research study. The study ranks Mexico as one of the most dangerous places in the world for reporters to work. "Silencing Mexico: A Study of Influences on Journalists in the Northern States" (PDF), published by The International Journal of Press/Politics in November, focuses on five of Mexico's states along the U.S. border, an area that has experienced a surge of conflict in recent years due to organized crime warring over illicit drug and human smuggling routes.

UA Renewed as a Tillman Foundation Partner

The University of Arizona has been selected again as a partner institution of the Pat Tillman Foundation, enabling the UA to continue to soliciting and submitting candidates for the Tillman Military Scholarship.

 UA Celebrates the Year of the Horse with Festival

To ring in the Chinese new year and celebrate the year of the horse, the Confucius Center at the University of Arizona co-hosted a festival at Centennial Hall. Performances at the Chinese New Year Festival included traditional and contemporary dance, martial arts displays, children's choirs and music by the Purple Bamboo Ensemble, the performing group of the UA Asian Music Club.

Prefer Dry Heat to Arctic Chill? Genetics Might Be the Reason

Photo credit: Jacob Chinn

UA researchers who have investigated human responses to climate, whether it be extremely high or low temperatures, say adaptability comes with time. "It's a very complex balance between adaptation and environmental stimulus. The trigger that sets the kinds of responses in motion varies between individuals and between groups, and is something that is often determined over a long time of exposure," said Ole Thienhaus, who chairs the UA Department of Psychiatry.

Vampires & Shades of Grey: How Media Shapes Who We Are

Are you a Homer Simpson or a Dexter? How about a Clair Huxtable or a Carrie Bradshaw? Chances are you don't think of yourself as a doughnut-loving oaf, a brilliant serial killer, an unflappable power-mom/lawyer nor a lovelorn fashionista. But when you watch these characters on television, your brain is doing something you may not even realize, says University of Arizona associate professor of marketing Hope Jensen Schau: figuring out who you are.

Design Tech Showcase Reveals Secrets Behind the Magic of Theater

On Jan. 18, advanced design and technology students in the School of Theatre, Film and Television held a showcase of their work for fellow students,  professors and industry professionals. The displays included scale models of set designs, intricate costumes, trick and movable props, and pieces that have actually been used on stage in Arizona Repertory Theatre productions.




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