YEAR IN REVIEWUH faculty achieve research breakthroughs in 2008
From groundbreaking research about the vulnerability of Harris County's roads and buildings due to surface faults to pioneering technology aimed at helping patients awaiting heart transplants, the work of University of Houston faculty members made a difference in 2008. As the fall semester draws to a close and the holidays quickly approach, we welcome you to revisit these stories that illustrate the work UH researchers did over the past year to improve our daily lives.
Beating the bulge
The Saving Lives, Staying Active (SALSA) research study, funded in part by M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Texas Obesity Research Center at UH, is tracking minority women who have added a healthy dose of Latin hip motion into their lifestyles to slim down and tone up. More on this story.
Too much love hurts
Partners who tend to evaluate their self-worth solely based on the outcomes of their romantic interactions can become devastated when something goes wrong and ultimately undermine their relationships, a UH psychology professor has found. More on this story.
Thanks, but no thanks
A virtual reality environment provides a safe setting for addicts of all kinds to practice saying "no," according to associate professor Patrick Bordnick at UH's Graduate College of Social Work. More on this story.
A UH psychology professor has co-authored a new workbook to help those with anxiety conditions manage their fears and moments of stress without the guidance of a therapist. More on this story.
All Harris County's faults
Buried beneath the Bayou City and surrounding areas are more than 300 surface faults that shift and shimmy, compromising the integrity of buildings, roads and infrastructure. UH assistant professor Shuhab Khan and Ph.D. student Richard Engelkemeir used advanced radar-like technology to make a comprehensive map pinpointing their locations. More on this story
`Green' from the get-go
Going "green" starts small. It isn't enough to design energy-efficient buildings - the building materials and components themselves have to be environmentally friendly, too. UH's Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture is prepared to forge that vision with industry partnerships and pioneering technology, all made possible by nearly $1 million in grants from the Houston Endowment and the Meadows Foundation. More on this story.
Waste of time, money?
Do you want to crawl under your cubicle when it's mandatory training season at your workplace? They say effective training programs are the cornerstones for any successful, productive organization. But many companies fail to evaluate the programs. At UH's Center for Applied Psychological Research, a study is under way to assess their effectiveness - and that of the trainers. More on this story.
Bottom line: We're tops
The entrepreneurship program at UH's C. T. Bauer College of Business was ranked No. 1 in the nation on The Princeton Review's list of top undergraduate programs for Entrepreneur magazine this year. More on this story.
Real estate resource
UH's Center for Public Policy has set out to study the region's housing market in the wake of the nation's crisis among leading financial institutions. More on this story.
The 2008 election put a renewed emphasis on the changing nature and role of America's youth. Developing the next generation of the nation's leaders is the mission of UH's Center for Applied Leadership, and so it has partnered with local high schools to teach juniors and seniors how to be lifelong leaders. More on this story.
Success on tap
UH's alcohol-abuse prevention program has been ranked among the top five in the nation, and the U.S. Department of Education has provided $124,000 to expand it. Find out what makes it work. More on this story.
$12 million renovation
Through a consulting services agreement with Hilton Hotels, the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at UH is redeveloping its existing hotel property into a state-of-the-art lodging and conference center and student training facility. More on this story.
Prenatal lead exposure
Scientists long have known exposure to low levels of lead can result in learning disabilities, hearing and vision loss, and language impairment, but a newly discovered side effect is adult-onset obesity in men, according to UH professor Donald Fox. More on this story.
First do no harm?
Challenging the basic tenet of the Hippocratic Oath - first do no harm - research by Richard Bond, associate professor of pharmacology at UH, suggests that suffering through asthmatic symptoms for a month may help patients in the long run. More on this story.
While more doctors are introducing personalized medicine into their practices, it remains largely unclear how receptive patients are to undergoing genomic testing to tailor-make drugs. That's why Amalia Issa's research team at UH has initiated a project to determine patient preferences - and, thus, educate health policymakers and physicians. More on this story.
The beat goes on
Patients on the waiting list for a heart transplant soon may have more options thanks to a new device - a pulseless total artificial heart - being developed by the Texas Heart Institute in collaboration with two University of Houston professors. More on this story.
Fat as heart therapy?
For those of us trained to read nutrition labels, conventional wisdom tells us that fat isn't good for the heart. But a team of University of Houston researchers has set out to use fat cells to beef up heart muscles damaged by heart attack - and it's using an out-of-this-world device to do it. More on this story.