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Research Report, 2012-2013

Lisa Baird, PhD, Department of Biology, evaluated gene expression of two defense-related transcripts in control and infested plants of buffalograss genotypes varying in chinch bug resistance. Results indicated that not only could tolerant plants synthesize proteins that assist in defense but that these genotypes also had higher levels of defense-related proteins prior to exposure to insects.

Can Bilsel, PhD, Department of Art, Architecture + Art History, traveled to Paris in April 2013 to meet with colleagues in the French National Art History Institute (INHA) and discussed his new project entitled: “The Intelligence of a City: Marcel Poëte and the Origins of Urbanism in France.” Dr. Bilsel also conducted library research while he was there. He will return to the archives in Paris in January 2014, with the hope of preparing an article for publication.

Mary Doak, PhD, Department of Theology & Religious Studies, worked with a colleague at St. Mary's College in Indiana to edit a volume of essays exploring the intellectual challenges of understanding religious traditions in different contexts. This volume appeared as Translating Religion, published by Orbis Books, 2013.

Halina Duraj, PhD, Department of English, worked on her novel, Black Rock Beach. Black Rock Beach is a literary scientific-murder-mystery in which a female molecular biologist, disillusioned with her laboratory work and undergoing a crisis of personal and professional dimensions, channels her research skills into investigating an unsolved double-murder that has rocked a close-knit, Northern California beach community. The novel explores themes of scientific ethics, faith, trauma, and memory.

Colin Fisher, PhD, Department of History, completed article manuscript entitled, “Whiteness in the White City: European Immigrants, Race, and the 1893 Columbian Exposition.”

Jane Friedman, PhD, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, worked on her project, “Fitting Two-Phase Linear Models to Data.” This project involves a method of choosing between a simple linear and a two-phase linear model, using either OLS or RMA regression.

Victoria Fu, MFA, Department of Art, Architecture + Art History, created and displayed artwork for two exhibitions: one at Samson Projects, a commercial gallery in Boston, MA; a non-profit venue, Flashpoint Gallery, in association with CulturalDC; and a scheduled special exhibition at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX. The works created included 16mm projections, digital video installations, framed and mounted color photographs, framed graphite drawings.

Maura Giles-Watson, PhD, Department of English, wrote two essays: “Playing as Literate Practice: Humanism and the Exclusion of Women Performers by the London Professional Stages,” and “John Rastell's 1520s London Stage: Reconstructing Repertory and Collaboration.”


Faculty Newsnotes Issue Number 440

John Glick, PhD, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, developed a program to perform piecewise linear regression using the differential evolution optimization technique. The code, written in the C programming language, is parallelized to run on a multiprocessor computer.

Nadav Goldschmied, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences, continued work on his project, The Underdog Experience. The 2 X 2 analysis of variance showed no significant main effect for the nature of the prior experience (underdog vs. top-dog) on number of blocks completed.

Aaron Gross, PhD, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, worked on his forthcoming monograph, The Question of the Animal and Religion. It is now in press with Columbia University Press and his article, “The Study of Religion After the Animal,” has been published as a chapter in Animals as Religious Subjects: Transdisciplinary Perspectives (eds. David Clough, Celia Dean-Drummond, Becky Artinian-Kaiser. New York: T&T Clark, 2013).

Diane Hoffoss, PhD, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, along with Dr. Joseph Maher of CUNY Staten Island, completed an investigation relating two different topological widths of any 3-manifold with three corresponding geometric widths of the same manifold. A paper entitled, “A Comparison of 3-Manifold Widths,” has been written.

Michael Ichiyama, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences, continued research on his project, “Attention Deficits, Drinking Motives, and Alcohol Involvement Among College Undergraduates.” This project is ongoing and he is mentoring a USD psychology major, Samantha Schiavon, in all phases of the study. They are currently in the process of submitting co-authored proposals based on this project to the 2014 conventions of the Western Psychological Association and/or American Psychological Association as well as the USD Undergraduate Research Conference.

Rebecca Ingram, PhD, Department of Languages and Literatures, advanced her book manuscript, Recipes for Spanishness: Culinary Cultures in Modernizing Spain. Dr. Ingram also had her article, "Popular Tradition and Bourgeois Elegance in Emilia Pardo Bazán’s Cocina Española," accepted for the peer-reviewed Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, and she completed an additional article on Benito Pérez Galdós novel, La Desheredada (1881), currently under review.

Michelle M. Jacob, PhD, Department of Ethnic Studies, served as the keynote speaker at the Yakama Authors Festival in Toppenish, WA in March. Dr. Jacob’s book, Yakama Rising: Indigenous Cultural Revitalization, Activism, and Healing, was featured in an Author Meets Critics Session at the Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting in Portland, OR in March. Dr. Jacob also served as Chair and Presenter for the Decolonizing Indigenous Health Research session at the National Association for Ethnic Studies Annual Meeting in Oakland, CA in April.

Eric Jiang, PhD, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, conducted a comparative study on undergraduate computer science programs in China and the US, and the results from the study will be published as a refereed chapter in the upcoming book, International Education and the Next-Generation Workforce: Competition in the Global Economy.

Anne Koenig, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences, tested whether people who act “blind” to another person’s race or gender are seen as less prejudiced by others. Student participants rated a target individual who picked between two individuals who either varied in their gender or their race to go to the movies or join a study group. Results indicated that participants did see the person who made a choice as more prejudiced than people who claimed they picked randomly.

Louis Komjathy, PhD, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, wrote and completed revisions on a general introduction to Daoism (Taoism) titled, Daoism: A Guide for the Perplexed.

Curtis Loer, PhD, Department of Biology, worked on his project, “Biological Function of Biopterin-dependent Lipid Metabolic Enzyme AGMO.” These studies demonstrated that the biopterin-dependent lipid metabolic enzyme alkyl-glycerol monooxygenase (AGMO) in the nematode C. elegans functions in skin cells to generate a proper external cuticle, which protects the worm – including from bacterial pathogens. In this work, Dr. Loer studied where the gene is expressed, and the abnormalities in mutants lacking AGMO function, describing the first known biological function for this enzyme found in all animals.

Karma Lekshe Tsomo, PhD, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, investigated the new roles that women are playing in the revival of Buddhism in Russia. The resurgence of interest in religion that swept Russia in the aftermath of Soviet rule is also evident in the three Buddhist republics of Buryatia, Kalmykia, and Tuva, giving rise to new institutional forms and a greater awareness of women’s potential.

Michael Mayer, PhD, Department of Biology, along with some of his students, worked on their project, “The Phylogeny of Cylindropuntia: Revealing the Patterns and Processes of Cholla Cactus Evolution.” They successfully collected sequence information from four different regions of the chloroplast genome (trnH-psbA, trnQ-rps16, rpL16, and rpS16) for at least one representative from approximately 32 species of cholla, for a total of about 70 samples x four sequences each. Analysis of these sequences has provided some exciting insight in the relationships and evolution of this group.

Michèle Magnin, PhD, Department of Languages and Literatures, authored an article titled, "Marguerite Durand - Un Remarquable Parcours Insolite et Didactique," that will be published in The French Review Vol. 88 (2014). Dr. Magnin curated and transcribed the three-volume collection of Durand’s hand-written notes that are the basis for the article.

Kristin McCabe, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences, developed a manuscript examining cultural differences in parenting behaviors across European American and Mexican American families in collaboration with external investigators and USD students. The manuscript has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Child and Family Behavior Therapy.

Duncan McCosker, MFA, Department of Art, Architecture + Art History, photographed figures that populate the monuments that are iconic to Paris, primarily the Eiffel Tower, but also the Tuileries gardens and Sacre Coeur. Of special interest were the vendors and tourists that occupy the same space in symbiotic relationships.

Vidya Nadkarni, PhD, Department of Political Science and International Relations, collected empirical data and wrote a preliminary chapter on the India-China border dispute in its contemporary manifestation, having earlier written preliminary chapters on the theoretical aspects of boundary conflicts and one on the national narratives in India, China, and Pakistan about the meaning of statehood and nationhood.

Marjorie Patrick, PhD, Department of Biology, localized two transporters involved in sodium secretion in the posterior rectum of salt tolerant O.taeniorhynchus larvae.

Amanda Petersen, PhD, Department of Languages and Literatures, worked on her project, “The Ruinous Female Body par excellence: Coatlicue in the Mexican Imaginary.” Coatlicue, the Aztec goddess of creation and destruction, might in fact be the ruinous female body par excellence in the Mexican cultural imagination. This project examines the figure of the ruinous female body in visual representations and in a short story by Elena Poniatowska.

Kenneth Serbin, PhD, Department of History, conducted research and did writing for his book project, From Revolutionaries to Rulers: How Brazil’s Radical Left Went from Kidnapping the American Ambassador to Building a Capitalist Giant. He signed an advance book contract with the University of Notre Dame Press.

Adam Siepielski, PhD, Department of Biology, worked on his project, “Local Adaptation and the Evolution of Species Range Size.” The major insight gained from this work is a way to think about how ecological and evolutionary dynamics act to regulate local population dynamics. Results from a series of experiments revealed that local ecological factors are more important that local adaptive evolution for regulating population dynamics.

Susannah Stern, PhD, Department of Communication Studies, examined how media producers construct images of teens in the media. The long term goal is to interview a range of people, ranging from journalists to movie and television program directors/producers, who contribute to the popular understanding of teens.

Monica Stufft, PhD, Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, published an article entitled, “Putting Collaboration Front and Center: Assessment Strategies for Theatre Departments in Theatre Topics,” Volume 23.1, March 2013. The article details her development of collaboration based assessment tools and the implementation of those tools during Stufft's direction of a production of Charles Mee’s Mail Order Bride.

Annette Taylor, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences, worked on her project, “Refutational Teaching Effects on Longitudinal Changes in Knowledge of Psychology.” Dr. Taylor completed three of six data collections for the initial sample of participants in examining their changes in false prior preconceptions. Because she was unable to get the required sample size, she had to continue the initial data collection into this past Fall and should complete all data collection in four years.

Karen Teel, PhD, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, accomplished substantial research and writing for her book, tentatively titled, The Unbearable Whiteness of Jesus.

Clara Oberle, PhD, Department of History, researched and wrote on narrative practices of reconstruction and the use of myth and metaphors in postwar Berlin re-ordering discourses, 1945-1949. Results were two accepted publications on the topic, a paper in progress, two papers delivered at competitive conferences, as well as further progress on the book manuscript.

Bethany O’Shea, PhD, Department of Marine Science and Environmental Studies, along with two Environmental Studies students completed a project investigating the occurrence of arsenic in rocks of Central Maine where groundwater is elevated in arsenic. They found that the mineral pyrite commonly hosts arsenic in these rocks, but that another mineral, biotite, may also influence arsenic concentrations in rocks and well waters of this region.

Zhi-Yong Yin, PhD, Department of Marine Science and Environmental Studies, used the Thornthwaite water balance model to simulate moisture conditions in the alpine environment of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau for tree growth considering orographic rainfall and temperature change with elevation. A biological drought index was constructed using the results of simulation and extended back to approx. 3500 BC using the tree ring data.

Matt Zwolinski, PhD, Department of Philosophy, completed three chapters of the book he is writing with John Tomasi of Brown University: A Brief History of Libertarianism. This book is currently under contract with Princeton University Press, and a complete draft was submitted to the publisher in January 2014.