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Rice Magazine 2


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Rice Magazine is published by the Office of Public Affairs of Rice University and is sent to university alumni, faculty, staff, graduate students, parents of undergraduates and friends of the university.

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Rice Magazine 2

  1. 1. 14 | Children’s Campus • | Work of Heart 11 • 4 | Environmental Puzzles • 41 | Emmy Winner 22 THE CENTENNIAL CAMPAIGN 32 GLOBAL HEALTH 36 RICE’S HIGH -TECH ADVANTAGE 44 THE TEXAS BOWL Hot Coffee Cool Conversation BROCHSTEIN PAVILION TAKES OFF Rice Magazine • No 1 • 2008 1
  2. 2. Contents 6 1 10 Biological processes promise environmen- tally friendly meth- ods for producing pharmaceuticals. 11 Rice engineers helped develop the 14 Continued growth marks the Rice campus. world’s first artifi- cial heart, and once again they’re going straight to the heart of the matter. 38 Take a journey 13 ‘Smart’ shock absorbers through Rice’s own are built to take the “Fantastic Voyage.” quake. 42 How they collected 19 Rice students are “things in which taking the brew- we believe.” master’s art to new — and healthier — levels with BioBeer. 9 Find your path the high-tech way with Rice’s new interactive online maps. 13 You might have more in common with the microscopic, sea-dwell- ing Trichoplex than you imagine. On the cover: Build it and they will come. Brochstein Pavilion has become a favorite campus gathering place.
  3. 3. Students 20 Young heart patients often Features face a lifetime of operations to replace faulty valves. But not if Elizabeth Stephens has anything to say about it. 18 And the Austrian Mathematical 22 A Second Century of No Upper Limit Society’s award for best Much has changed since Rice University master’s thesis goes to. ... opened its doors in 1912, but the ideals that have made Rice a powerhouse in education 18 One of the world’s largest and research continue to drive its endeavors. producers of oil and gas and By David W. Leebron alternative energy knows how critical Rice graduates are to its 24 Rice: Living Its Vision For The business. Second Century Arts With the launch of the Centennial Campaign, Rice strengthens its legacy and looks toward the future and its second century. By Christopher Dow 39 Alert! Giant Styrobot and mutant graphics take over Rice Gallery! 27 Three Big Ideas 40 Life’s ambiguities and the The Centennial Campaign distills Rice’s future inevitability of change mark into three main areas. filmmaker’s award-winning work. 28 A Conversation Centennial Campaign co-chairs Susanne M. 41 Emmy-winning cinematographer Glasscock and Robert B. Tudor discuss what’s 22 found inspiration at Rice. important for Rice and how the campaign will move the university forward. 32 Global Health: Taking the Lead in Bookshelf Education and Prevention 42 Poems of time, distance and Solutions to the world’s most pressing health the contours of the American issues won’t come from technology alone. Southwest They’ll be driven by people with vision — people like Rebecca Richards-Kortum and her 43 When navigating unknown intrepid band of undergraduates. terrain, you need a good By Deborah J. Ausman guidebook, and few know the 32 Middle East like Edward P. 36 Turning Rice Research into Reality Djerejian. The Office of Technology Transfer is the place where Rice-born technologies become real-world products. Sports By Mike Williams 44 Did you say, ”Texas Bowl?” The Owls say, ”Bowl ‘em over!” 48 These two Rice Owls never met a pass they didn’t like. 36 Rice Magazine • No. 2 • 2009 1
  4. 4. Rice Magazine Vol. 65, No. 2 FOREWORD Published by the Office of Public Affairs Is my dictionary trying to tell me some- Linda Thrane, vice president thing? Immediately following the word Editor Christopher Dow “campaign” is “campanile.” It’s a serendip- Editorial Director Tracey Rhoades itous juxtaposition considering that Rice Creative Director is embarking on an extraordinary fund- Jeff Cox Art Director raising campaign to ensure its legacy in Chuck Thurmon the century to come, and the “Campanile” Editorial Staff Merin Porter, staff writer yearbook represents the personal legacy of Jenny West Rozelle, assistant editor Photographers alumni who have attended the university. Tommy LaVergne, photographer Jeff Fitlow, assistant photographer The Centennial Campaign is the boldest fundraising challenge in Rice’s history — the plan is to raise The Rice University Board $1 billion by June 30, 2013, half of which was raised before the campaign’s public launch on Nov. 7, of Trustees James W. Crownover, chair man; J.D. 2008. You can read about the campaign in this issue, from President David W. Leebron’s call to ac- Bucky Allshouse; D. Kent Anderson; Keith tion, to campaign co-chairs Susie Glasscock and Bobby Tudor’s reasons for spearheading the effort, T. Anderson; Teveia Rose Barnes; Alfredo to the specific ways Rice is approaching the future with targeted initiatives that will both strengthen Brener; Vicki Whamond Bretthauer; Robert and enhance the university and its programs. T. Brockman; Nancy P. Carlson; Robert L. Clarke; Bruce W. Dunlevie; Lynn Laverty You’ll also read a lot of reasons to participate and support the campaign, and they’re good rea- Elsenhans; Douglas Lee Foshee; Susanne sons. But look just as closely at the other stories in this issue — the stories about the researchers and Morris Glasscock; Robert R. Maxfield; M. students at Rice who are making a real difference in lives of people like you and me the world over. Kenneth Oshman; Jeffery O. Rose; Lee H. When you get down to it, people are what the Centennial Campaign is really all about. Rosenthal; Hector Ruiz; Marc Shapiro; L. E. Simmons; Robert B. Tudor III; James S. There’s no better place to start than the feature titled “Global Health: Taking the Lead in Education Turley. and Prevention,” which tells how students in Rebecca Richards-Kortum’s Rice 360° program are generating ideas and using a hands-on approach to create technologies that will help people in Administrative Officers developing countries prosper in a safe and healthy environment. Or read about Elizabeth Stephens, David W. Leebron, president; Eugene Levy, provost; Kathy Collins, vice president whose work to grow replacement heart valves from a patient’s for Finance; Kevin Kirby, vice president own tissue is showing great promise. And speaking of hearts, you for Administration; Chris Muñoz, vice might know that Rice engineers had a hand in developing the first president for Enrollment; Linda Thrane, vice artificial heart pump, but what you might not have heard is that a president for Public Affairs; Scott W. Wise, vice president for Investments and treasurer; new generation of Rice engineers is working to create the smallest Richard A. Zansitis, general counsel; Darrow and most efficient heart pump yet. Zeidenstein, vice president for Resource There’s much more, including beer that contains anticancer Development. agents, “smart” earthquake shock absorbers for buildings and pharmaceuticals manufactured using environmentally friendly Rice Magazine is published by the Office of production techniques. These stories illustrate just a small fraction of the valuable work going on at Public Affairs of Rice University and is sent Rice, and they’re exactly the sorts of efforts in which Rice students and researchers excel and the to university alumni, faculty, staff, graduate students, parents of undergraduates and kinds of things that the Centennial Campaign will help foster in the university’s second century. friends of the university. But life — even at Rice — isn’t all work and no play. Be sure to visit the Rice Web site at www. for new interactive maps and amazing virtual tours that give you full 360° views of a num- Editorial Offices ber of campus locations. For the full 360° effect, click on an image and drag the mouse around to get Creative Services–MS 95 P.O. Box 1892 a dizzying view of how stunning this campus and its surroundings are. And after you recover from Houston, TX 77251-1892 TX your vertigo, go further to see how the campus is expanding and to check out familiar haunts. Fax: 713-348-6751 And whatever you do, don’t neglect our coverage of the exciting Texas Bowl — the culmination E-mail: of one of the Owls’ most outstanding football seasons ever — and the record-breaking efforts of two players who helped spearhead the effort. Postmaster Go Owls! Send address changes to: Rice University Development Services–MS 80 P.O. Box 1892 Houston, TX 77251-1892 © F EB. 2 0 0 9 RICE UNIVE RSIT Y Christopher Dow 2
  5. 5. THROUGH THE Sallyport Corrosion Control It’s a slow process that usually occurs out of sight, silently but incessantly destroying the integrity and life span of buildings, bridges, pipelines and vehicles. It’s corrosion, and it’s a problem that costs the United States an estimated $276 billion a year. To fight this nemesis of the nation’s infrastructure, Rice has established the National Corrosion Center, which also involves NACE International, an association of more than 20,000 scientists, engineers and technicians concerned with corro- sion prevention and control. Learn more: › › › t i n yu r l . c o m /6qxm 2b Rice Magazine • No. 2 • 2009 3
  6. 6. Prof Pursues Pill to Halt Gaucher’s, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s What if a pill could keep the effects of Gaucher’s and similar diseases in check? That’s the goal of Laura Segatori, who is working to treat lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs) like Gaucher’s and Carrie Masiello and Tibisay Perez Tay-Sachs in ways that could also help Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s sufferers. All four diseases are the result of genetic mutations or sporadic condi- tions that disrupt the way proteins, the body’s basic building blocks, fold within cells. The way a protein folds determines its function, and any Fresh Perspective on problems with the folding or changes within the structure can compromise Environmental Puzzles the protein’s activity. Segatori, the T.N. Law Assistant Professor in Chemical and Bio- molecular Engineering, hopes to make Gathering information is never easy for an en- — which is 300 times as powerful a greenhouse gas as treating the diseases easier and less vironmental scientist, but it gets harder when carbon dioxide — by adjusting the methods farmers use to fertilize crops. expensive by arresting the process monkeys are throwing, uh, stuff at you. Nitrous oxide is emitted when bacteria digest nitrogen that causes proteins to misfold. “I was setting up an experiment in the rain forest from broken-down plant matter or from fertilizer that “The idea is to look at these in Costa Rica. I looked up and saw all these really has not been consumed by crops. Perez and Masiello are neurodegenerative diseases in a cute monkeys,” recalled Tibisay Perez, professor at looking for ways to properly fertilize corn, switchgrass and completely different way by enhanc- the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research in sugar cane — all major sources of biofuel — for maximum ing the cells’ quality-control system,” Caracas. “I guess they were angry, because they all growth and minimal damage to the environment. Segatori said. “Right now, the therapy started throwing monkey poop at me!” “Worldwide, the nitrogen-applied fertilizer plant uptake that exists, particularly for Gaucher’s Years later, she’s still laughing about it. She is about 30 percent,” said Perez. “The other 70 percent is lost disease, is enzyme replacement, in also knows that, while the monkeys might not have by leaching, runoff and soil emission of nitrogenous gases, appreciated her at the time, her research was good such as nitrous oxide, produced by microorganisms that feed which the enzyme (aka the protein) for them and for humanity, too. off that fertilizer.” Finding ways of minimizing that enormous is synthesized and injected into the Perez, who is at Rice to continue her study of fertilizer loss by adding microorganism inhibitors or charcoal patient. It’s extremely expensive, and global warming as an International Visiting Fellow could save money and cut emissions, a win-win mitigation you need a lot of injections.” in Energy, the Environment and Sustainability, is the strategy Perez hopes will take root among farmers. Segatori’s treatment consists first of four researchers who will work here this year The issue becomes more important as developing of regulators that promote the and next. The visiting fellows program, part of Rice’s nations ramp up agricultural production to ensure the proper folding of LSD proteins, Energy and Environmental Systems Institute, encour- security of their food supply and for the possible expansion despite genetic mutations that would ages close collaboration with international professors of biofuel crops. “We want to determine the net global otherwise keep them from doing so. and fulfills a goal of Rice’s Vision for the Second warming potential due to biofuel production in the tropics The regulators not only would be Century by building relationships with research over long-term scales to evaluate if it is environmentally institutions beyond our shores. sustainable,” Perez said. cheaper to manufacture, but they Perez’s specialty is collecting and analyzing data Masiello, who is seeking funding to continue the could be administered orally in the on the emission of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous visiting fellows program beyond 2009, applauded the fresh form of a pill. oxide, and she’s done so in rain forests and on farms perspective Perez and the others bring to Rice and the —Mike Williams in South and Central America — areas that are under- issues at hand. “Scientists in the developing world have represented in current studies of greenhouse gases expertise we need,” she said. “As we think about building a Read more about the research: and climate. sustainable future, we need to partner with them.” ›› › t i n y u r l . c o m / 5 bw9se Perez is a longtime colleague of Rice Assistant —Mike Williams Professor of Earth Science Carrie Masiello, whom Read the research paper in the journal she met while both were earning their doctorates at Cell: the University of California at Irvine. Perez expects Learn more about the international visiting fellows program: ›› › t i n y u r l . c o m / 64o3o6 their work to lead to a better understanding of how ›› › t i n y u r l . c o m / 6 f 9 7 f v to control the atmospheric release of nitrous oxide 4
  7. 7. THROUGH THE Sallyport Global Warming’s Ecosystem Double Whammy James Coleman Plants and soils act like sponges for atmospheric carbon dioxide, typical of a normal year, and the other half were subjected to but new research finds that one abnormally warm year can sup- abnormally warm temperatures — on the order of those pre- dicted to occur later this century by the Intergovernmental Panel press the amount of carbon dioxide taken up by some grassland on Climate Change. In the third year of the study, temperatures ecosystems for as long as two years. The findings followed an un- around the warmed plots were turned down again to match precedented four-year study of sealed, 12-ton containerized grass- temperatures in the control plots. The CO2 flux — the amount of land plots at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Reno, Nev. carbon dioxide moving between the atmosphere and biosphere — was tracked in each chamber for all four years of the study. “We confirmed that ecosystems respond to climate change in a The scientists found that ecosystems exposed to an anoma- much more complex way than one might expect based solely on lously warm year had a net reduction in CO2 uptake for at least traditional experiments and observations,” said study co-author two years. These ecosystems trapped and held about one-third James Coleman, Rice vice provost for research and professor the amount of carbon in those years than did the plots exposed to of ecology and evolutionary biology. “Our results provide new normal temperatures. information for those who are formulating science-based carbon “Large reductions in net CO2 uptake in the warm year were policies.” Scientists found that ecosystems exposed to an anomalously warm year had a net reduction in CO2 uptake for at least two years. The four-year study involved native Oklahoma tallgrass prairie caused mainly by decreased plant productivity resulting from ecosystems that were sealed inside four living-room-sized envi- drought,” explained co-author Paul Verburg of DRI, “while the ronment chambers. To minimize the disturbance of plants and lack of complete recovery the following year was caused by a soil bacteria, a dozen of the 12-ton, six-foot-deep plots were ex- lagged stimulation of CO2 release by soil microorganisms in tracted intact from the University of Oklahoma’s prairie research response to soil moisture conditions.” facility near Norman, Okla., and moved to DRI, where scientists The collaborative study, which also involved scientists from replicated the daily and seasonal changes in temperature and the University of Nevada, Reno; the University of Oklahoma; rainfall that occur in the wild. the University of New Hampshire; and the National Center for Plants and soils in ecosystems help modulate the amount of Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., was funded by the CO2 in the atmosphere when plants, which need CO2 to survive, National Science Foundation and was published in the journal absorb the gas during spring and summer growing seasons, stor- Nature. ing the carbon in their leaves, stems and roots. The stored carbon —Jade Boyd returns to the soil when plants die, and it is released back into the atmosphere by soil bacteria that feed on the dead plants. This relatively stable cycle was disrupted in the second year of Learn more: ›› › t i n y u r l . c o m / 5 gw kz 8 the study when half of the plots were subjected to temperatures Rice Magazine • No. 2 • 2009 5
  8. 8. No. 1 Pats on the Back In the 2008 edition of “America’s Best-Value Colleges,” published by The Princeton Review, Rice University is ranked as the nation’s No. 1 best value among private col- leges. That’s the good news for students, but the good news Entrepreneuring Program from them can be found in the 2009 edition of Princeton Review’s “Best 368 Colleges.” Rice’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate In that survey of 120,000 students attending the 368 colleges chosen for their outstanding aca- School of Management ranks demics, Rice ranks No. 2 nationally both for best 16th in the U.S. according to a quality of life and for plenty of interaction among report released by The Princeton students of different races and classes. Rice has Review and Entrepreneur mag- consistently ranked in the top 10 in both of these azine. The ranking is based on categories over the past several years and placed No. 1 in the 2007 edition. The university also survey data from more than 2,300 ranks No. 15 for “happiest students.” Only about U.S. undergraduate and gradu- 15 percent of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges and two ate schools. Canadian colleges are profiled in the book. It’s the second year in a row that Rice Complete profile: ›› › t i n y u r l . c o m / 5 7 6 j a k has been ranked in the top 25 in the nation, and the program moved up six places from last year. Rice again had Top 20 the only graduate entrepreneurship program in Texas that made the top Rice University ranks among the top 20 best national uni- 25 ranking. versities on U.S. News & World Report’s list for 2009, and New academic programs at the it made the top 10 on the magazine’s “Great Schools, Great Jones School include a concentration Prices” list. in entrepreneurship, a capstone proj- Rice is 17th among 262 schools classified as “na- tional universities” — institutions that offer a full ect in entrepreneurship required of all range of undergraduate majors and master’s and Executive MBAs and a life science en- doctoral degrees and are committed to producing trepreneurship certificate program. groundbreaking research. Rice also did well on several of the other lists comparing national universities: 10th best value, Read more about the rankings: 7th in percentage of graduates who have the least › ›› 5zjyox amount of debt, 15th in economic diversity of students, 17th in undergraduate programs among engineer- ing schools whose highest degree is a doctorate, 10th in Learn more about the graduate biomedical engineering and 15th in computer engineering. programs at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management: Read more: ›› › t i n y u r l . c o m / 5 t t 7 b 5 › ›› Learn more about the Rice Alliance Top 200 for Technology and Entrepreneurship: Saying you’re in the top 200 might not sound so good, until › ›› you realize that means the top 200 universities worldwide. It sounds even better to say you’re No. 78 on that list. That’s where Rice University stands according to rankings by Times Higher Education and QS Quacquarelli Symonds based on a peer review of more than 6,000 academics and 2,000 employers around the globe. The organization also looked at data on research, teaching and the international orientation of universities and noted that Rice has had some of the most frequently cited research in academic papers published around the world during the past five years. Complete list: ›› › t i n y u r l . c o m / 4 h u t b a 6
  9. 9. THROUGH THE Sallyport SMALL MATTERS Big Endeavor The irony of research at the smallest scale is that it often requires the greatest effort. Enter the he International Collaborative Center on Quantum Matter, a joint venture by Rice University and China’s Zhejiang University intended to enhance long-term international research in the emerging area of quantum materials and magnetism. LEARN MORE › ›› tin yurl. com /5 s w2 6 q Tracking Nanomaterials With industrial-scale production of materials that use nanopar- ticles on the near horizon, it has become important to understand how these tiny substances move through the environment and to learn what impact they may have on the health and function of natural systems. Rice University is on the right track. LEARN MORE ›› › tinyur l .com/ 6ow f mw Rice Magazine • No. 2 • 2009 7
  10. 10. Making a CAREER of It Rice University’s appeal to talented young faculty can easily be quantified with one glance at the National Science Foundation’s awards list: Rice tied for second place among private American universities in the num- ber of CAREER Awards received last year, with funding given to seven professors who are just beginning to make their marks here and in the scientific community. CAREER Awards, which are the most prestigious grants that young faculty members can get in the ba- sic sciences, support the early development of junior faculty who seem likely to become academic leaders in their fields of study. The five-year grants are worth up to $500,000 and are among the most competitive at NSF, which awards only about 400 of the grants across all disciplines each year. View the full list of Rice CAREER Award winners: ›› › t i n y u r l .c o m/ 6 4 v7q p Baker Institute Collaborates on Breakthrough in External Funding Online Archive Rice University attracted more than $100 million in fiscal year The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy has become a 2008 for sponsored research and educational initiatives — a participating organization in PolicyArchive, the nation’s first com- milestone in its 96-year history and an extraordinary 28 percent prehensive, searchable, open-access online archive of research increase over award funding for 2007. from foundation-funded and other public-policy think tanks. The funding came from a variety of sources, including founda- Baker Institute fellows and scholars will be able to distribute, tions and private industry, but the lion’s share was from the publicize and archive their research through the site, which will federal government. be a tremendous resource for policymakers, members of the news media and the interested public. Learn more about Rice’s external funding breakthrough: ›› › tiny url. com /5 6 km qk Learn more about PolicyArchive: ›› › w w w.p o l i c y a rc h ive . o rg Learn more about the Office of Sponsored Research: ›› › os r. rice. edu Rice MBA Program Ranks First in the Southwest According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the business-to-business arm of The Economist magazine publisher Economist Group, the four most important outcomes to students pursuing an MBA are the ability to pursue new career op- portunities, the expansion of personal development and educational experiences, an increase in salary, and networking. Using those metrics, EIU ranks the MBA program at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management among the world’s best. Topping the rankings in Texas and the Southwest, the Rice MBA program ranked 25th in the U.S. and 44th globally. The ranking’s global distribution to business professionals gives the Rice MBA tremendous international visibility. View survey results and overall rankings: ›› › e c o n o mi s t .c o m Learn more about Rice’s highly respected MBA program: ›› › t i n y u r l .c o m/ 5 c u ja n 8
  11. 11. THROUGH THE Sallyport Calling All Facebook Fans More than 10,000 Facebook members, including students, alumni, faculty and staff, already identify themselves as part of the Rice network, and you can join in the fun and show support for the university on Rice’s newly launched Facebook page. For Facebook members: Add the Rice Facebook page: ››› t i n y u r l . c o m / 6 5 7 2 a 5 New to Facebook: Create your Facebook page for free: ››› w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m Find Your Way the High-Tech Way Experience the Rice virtual tour: ›› › www. rice. edu/v i r t u a l t o u r s Those who say a map is not the territory haven’t visited Rice’s interactive campus map. Have a look here. Click around there. Activate a blue dot, and you’ll see a picture of the building it’s attached to. Click a name in the building list, and you’ll be taken to the building — virtually, of course. Click down to street level under “Related Information,” and drive along the tree-lined lanes. It’s all part of a grand plan to make the new virtual tour of campus, where Rice more accessible to everybody. you can find 16 different 360-degree, The page, which sits atop a Google interactive panoramas taken on and map and adds building details and nearby campus. Each panorama is photos to its standard street names and accompanied by a brief text box that satellite views, allows users to locate explains the scene and provides links bus stop markers and locate police to other information. The feature call boxes throughout campus, as well also includes a map showing where as to get the street views provided by the shots are located. More virtual Google. High on the list of features vignettes will be added in the future to come are more descriptive text as new projects around campus are to go with the building photos, cell completed. phone access to maps and GPS locator It still may be true that a map is capabilities so users can pinpoint their not the territory, but the Rice interac- location on campus. tive map and virtual tour are the next And if that isn’t enough, check out best thing to being there yourself. View the Rice interactive campus map: ›› › Rice Magazine • No. 2 • 2009 9
  12. 12. Green Pharmaceutical Production Weighing the Effects of What if you could bring medications to the mar- ketplace faster and at lower prices? It sounds CO2 Restrictions on World even better if your production process is envi- ronmentally friendly. Those are the goals of two Energy Markets Rice University researchers whose long-term collaboration seeks to develop an environmen- tally friendly bacterial process to replace cur- rent chemical production methods. “A chemical factory uses hydrogen gas and metal to perform a reaction,” said George Bennett, the E.D. Butcher Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. But in a bio- logical system, enzymes are the workhorses that carry out the process, acting as catalysts to produce pure chiral molecules, which serve as pharmaceutical agents that can be tailored for specific uses in desired areas of If concerns about global warming lead politicians to impose restric- the body. “Our group is one of the very first tar- tions on greenhouse gas–producing emissions, natural gas demand geting what we call ‘cofactor engineering,’” will rise substantially because it is the fossil fuel with the lowest said Ka-Yiu San, the E.D. Butcher Professor ratio of CO2 emissions to energy output. “Our group is one of the very This is one conclusion of research con- Europe, whose natural gas has tradition- first targeting what we call ducted by Rice economists Peter Hartley ally been supplied by Russia, may see an ‘cofactor engineering.’” and Ken Medlock, whose analysis relied on opening of providers. “Europe is a major the Rice World Gas Trade Model (RWGTM) consuming market that seeks to import —Ka-Yiu San they have been developing for a number natural gas from a variety of sources,” of years. The model is designed to predict Medlock said. fluctuations in natural gas supply, demand The RWGTM predicts that gas from in Bioengineering and Bennett’s partner and prices over the next few decades, the Middle East will dominate European on the project. A cofactor is a chemical taking into account the possible effects of imports after 2020, displacing supplies from compound that acts as a helper in the political disturbances as well as technologi- Russia and the Caspian States, and that process of biochemical transformation. San cal change. Turkey, because of its geographical location, and Bennett set up a biochemical reaction Hartley, academic director of the Shell is likely to become a major transit hub for that continually replenishes the supply of Center for Sustainability, and Medlock, a fel- natural gas headed to Greece, Bulgaria and the cofactor NADPH — critical in forming low in energy studies at the James A. Baker the rest of Europe. chiral molecules — inside metabolically engineered E. coli cells. “This can be used not only for medical compounds, but also for other biochemicals and biofuels,” said San, who notes that Turkey, because of its geographical location, is likely patents for the process are in the works. to become a major transit hub for natural gas. —Mike Williams III Institute for Public Policy, also found The researchers concluded their analysis that some of the consequences of natural with a note of caution: “Developments (or gas prices and dependence on Russia and lack thereof) in Russia as well as hindrances the Middle East could be lessened if the in the Middle East can alter the most ef- United States opened domestic areas that ficient outcome.” are currently off-limits to exploration and production. —Franz Brotzen “An increase in domestic gas production will change the elasticity of response of the market to disruptions and shocks,” Hartley View working paper version of the Rice World Gas said. However, he concluded, the effects are Trade Model online: unlikely to be large enough to completely › › › t i nyurl . co m / 5 o 4 rwn Ka-Yiu San and George Bennett offset the effects of tightened emission controls. 10
  13. 13. THROUGH THE Sallyport Heart of the Matter Researchers Matteo Pasquali, Dhruv Arora and Bob Benkowski Heart failure is the leading cause of death in the United States, and the American will mimic the self-regulating function of the heart in an effort to ensure that the left Heart Association estimates the direct and indirect cost of heart failure in the and right ventricles stay in sync with each United States for 2008 at nearly $35 billion. It’s a major predicament whose only other and to make the pumps respond to the body’s changing needs for blood, such solution seems to be the creation of a simple and reliable artificial heart. as during exercise. “The heart has a built-in self-regulating ability,” Pasquali said. “Since the two pumps, In fact, Denton Cooley, president and small size will ease implantation and use in constituting the total artificial heart, bypass surgeon-in-chief of the Texas Heart Institute children as well as adults. the whole heart, it’s important to build a (THI), said, “The availability of an effective, Rice’s role is to develop a computer mechanism for regulation in the devices. reliable mechanical replacement for the fail- model to analyze blood flow and any dam- Otherwise, you could get an accumulation of ing human heart would have an enormous age to the blood cells and platelets that might blood in the lungs if the left pump is pump- impact on health care.” He should know. In result as blood travels through the pump. ing too slow compared to the right pump.” 1969, Cooley became the first surgeon to im- “Because these pumps will be implanted plant a complete artificial heart in a human. Since then, several implantable artificial hearts have been developed, all of which were designed to mimic the pulse of the natural heart. As a consequence, they are somewhat bulky and mechanically complex, which leads to issues of reliability. To solve the problem, the National Institutes of Health has funded a project to design small- Rather than mimic the pulse of the natural heart, the ventricular assist device pumps blood continuously. er and more reliable heart pumps under the Bioengineering Research Partnership, a for the long term, we have to make sure The researchers will apply what they special program to encourage collaborations that blood damage is minimal,” said Matteo learn from computer simulation to physical among medical and engineering experts. Pasquali, Rice associate professor in chemi- models of the pump that are manufactured Led by THI, the project includes engineers cal and biomolecular engineering and in and tested in laboratories at MicroMed. This from Rice University, St. Luke’s Episcopal chemistry. Houston-based company makes the MicroMed Hospital, MicroMed Cardiovascular Inc. and Pasquali and his colleagues will monitor DeBakey ventricular assist device (VAD) that the University of Houston. the computer models for two main types of is being used for this study. The pump, which The researchers are developing two blood damage: excessive release of hemo- already is used in human patients in Europe, heart-assist pumps that individually perform globin from the red blood cells, which can is named for the late heart surgeon Michael the function of the left and right ventricles. be toxic to the kidneys and liver, and the DeBakey, who pioneered the development Rather than trying to mimic the pulses platelet activation process that leads to for- of heart pumps. In the 1960s, he collaborated of the natural heart, the devices pump mation of white thrombi, or clots of white with chemical engineering professor Bill blood continuously. The one for the left blood cells, which could cause a blockage Akers, who led Rice’s Biomedical Engineering ventricle — the heart’s main pumping in the brain or small blood vessels. Laboratory, to produce the first successful left chamber — circulates blood throughout “We are trying to understand why and ventricular heart bypass device — a precursor the body; the one for the right ventricle where these thrombi form so we can sug- to the VADs used as the base design in the pumps blood to and from the lungs. The gest how to change the shape of the pump,” current research project. continuous-flow pumps are smaller — about Pasquali said. —B.J. Almond the size of a C battery — and simpler than Researchers at the University of Houston their complex, rhythmic predecessors. Their are investigating the control mechanism that Learn more: › › › t i nyurl . com/6 3 y c r2 Rice Magazine • No. 2 • 2009 11
  14. 14. Finding Molecular Clues to Wilson Disease Agustina Rodriguez-Granillo protein with that of the nonmutant and It’s amazing how a single small mutation can have such a large effect. In the case found very little difference, so it was of a subtle genetic change to a complex protein called ATP7B, the result is Wilson unclear how this small change led to disease, a genetic disorder that alters the protein’s ability to work, causing cop- the devastating effects that are seen in per to build up to toxic levels in the liver, brain, eyes and other organs. Wilson disease.” Rodriguez-Granillo, Wittung- Stafshede and postdoctoral researcher Erik Sedlak (now at the University of Over time the disease can cause life- a small amount for key enzymes Texas at San Antonio) looked spe- threatening organ damage. Wilson involved in, for example, respiration cifically at the portion of the protein disease affects as many as 150,000 peo- and brain functions. ATP7B sits in an where the mutation occurs and not ple worldwide. But a combination of internal membrane and acts something only confi rmed that the protein’s computer simulations and cutting-edge like a warehouse manager, locking up function was significantly reduced in lab experiments by physical biochem- bulk quantities of copper and handing the mutant form, but found that the ists at Rice University may offer some it out when it’s needed. mutation caused structural changes in hope. The researchers focused on a ge- other sections of the protein far from “The mutation that causes most cas- netic flaw that is caused when just one the mutation site. They plan further “Our study looks at the overall puzzle to see how such a small mutation can alter the shape and function of such a large and complex protein.” —Agustina Rodriguez-Granillo es of Wilson disease is well-known,” of the more than 1,400 amino acids in research to examine these changes said the study’s lead author Agustina ATP7B is changed. to learn exactly how they alter the Rodriguez-Granillo, a Rice doctoral “This mutation occurs at a crucial protein’s function. student in biochemistry and cell biol- location where the protein typically The research was supported by ogy who carried out the mathematical binds with a molecule that provides The Robert Welch Foundation and is simulations and laboratory research. the energy the protein needs to move available online from the Journal of “Our study looks at the overall puzzle copper from place to place,” said study Molecular Biology. to see how such a small mutation can co-author Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, alter the shape and function of such a an associate professor of biochemistry —Jade Boyd large and complex protein.” and cell biology at Rice and Rodriguez- Although large quantities of copper Granillo’s adviser. “Past studies have Learn more: › › › t i nyurl . com/6 zy d lo can be toxic, the human body needs compared the behavior of the mutant 12
  15. 15. THROUGH THE Sallyport Recognizing common genes among many ‘Smart’ Shock Absorbers Take the Quake species helps scientists figure out their To envision what a building undergoes in an earthquake, Satish Nagarajaiah sug- lineage, as well gests imagining yourself standing in a mov- as where they ing bus or train. diverge. It also “Riders make their bodies and muscles tense when the bus moves, and they relax as soon as the sudden motion stops,” might help sci- said Nagarajaiah, professor in civil and environmental engi- neering and in mechanical engineering and materials science. entists learn the “The typical steel-framed building or bridge can’t do that, but we want to find technologies like adaptive stiffness and ways groups damping systems that can give structures that ability.” About 100 U.S. buildings and bridges — including the of genes famed Golden Gate Bridge — have been built or are being retrofitted with large, passive dampers that use pistons and function. hydraulic fluid to absorb the impact of sudden shocks the way that shock absorbers do in a car. But passive dampers are designed to perform the same way in every earthquake, and Nicholas Putnam as quake researchers have discovered in recent years, not all quakes are created equal. The 1994 Northridge earthquake in California, the 1995 Kobe earthquake in Japan, the 1999 Chi Tiny Creature Is a Big Subject Chi earthquake in Taiwan and the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China are each examples of quakes that delivered a massive initial shockwave that was particularly damaging for struc- tures near the epicenter. We may not look anything like tiny, amoeba-like creatures that live in “Our aim is to create smart structures that can sense the sea, but what we have in common with them — and with all the what kind of shock is arriving and react with the best possible creatures on Earth — interests Nicholas Putnam. strategy to minimize damage,” said Nagarajaiah, principal investigator on the project, which is funded by $1.6 million An assistant professor in Rice’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary from the National Science Foundation. Nagarajaiah’s past Biology, Putnam co-authored a study published in the journal Nature that research on smart structures and structural control for seis- breaks down the genetic code of Trichoplax, a simple saltwater creature one mic protection has led to quake-protection systems that have might find anywhere in the world — even in household aquariums. been implemented in China and Japan. “We’re trying to identify genes in the —Jade Boyd Trichoplax, which Trichoplax that also are found in other animals,” Learn more: › › › t i nyurl . co m / 6 n x h s9 Putnam said. Recognizing common genes among is a tiny little many species helps scientists figure out their lin- pancake of cells eage, as well as where they diverge. It also might help scientists learn the ways groups of genes you can barely function. Why Trichoplax? see without a “Sequencing a genome is a big effort and a microscope, has a big investment, so we have to choose carefully,” Putnam said. Trichoplax, which is a tiny little relatively low place pancake of cells you can barely see without a in the evolutionary microscope, has a relatively it ideal forin the But evolutionary chain, making low place study. chain, making it despite its lowly status, Trichoplex shares genetic elements with humans. A gene index published as ideal for study. part of the Nature paper clearly shows many large collections of genes that group together on both Trichoplax and human chromosomes. Putnam hopes to understand the purpose these large, conserved groupings of genes serve, as well as the reason they’re together and the effects on the health of the organism if they get separated by a mutation. The study was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the University of California and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. —Mike Williams Satish Nagarajaiah Learn more: ››› tinyu r l .c o m/55b8q s Rice Magazine • No. 2 • 2009 13
  16. 16. Construction @ rice Family Matters New Rice child care center helps keep kids healthy and happy The new Rice Children’s Campus (RCC) doesn’t just meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental and rest times, children are encouraged to Design standards — it takes them by the hand and dances a waltz with them. Everything about the satisfy their natural curiosity through learn- Chaucer Street building is graceful, from its five-point sawtooth roof with north-facing windows to ing and exploration. CECE is also working its undulating blue entryway ceiling that’s more than a little reminiscent of ocean waves. with the Rice School Literacy and Culture Project to provide a storytelling curricu- lum that has been proven to support and On the exterior, bands of bricks in colors water-efficient fixtures and one of the build- enhance childhood vocabulary knowledge like robin’s egg blue, bright yellow and sea ing’s most unconventional features — an and literary skills. foam green are interspersed with 10,000 8,000-gallon underground rainwater cistern “Each classroom environment is tan bricks salvaged from the homes that fed by collection sites on the building’s roof. equipped to ensure the success of all once stood on the building site. “I didn’t The collected water will be used to irrigate students, with teachers facilitating learning anticipate how truly amazing they would the building’s landscape, which show- in five key areas: math, language, science, look,” Rice Director of Sustainability Richard cases local, low-maintenance plant species. sensory development and everyday living Johnson said of the recycled bricks. “They “Ordinarily, people don’t view storm water skills,” said Lisa Hall, a consultant with Rice really help connect the building with as a resource, but we did,” Johnson said, “Each classroom environment is equipped to ensure the success of all students, with teachers facilitating learning in five key areas: math, language, science, sensory development and everyday living skills.” —Lisa Hall the rest of the street, and that was made adding that Rice saved more than $200,000 University who acts as a liaison between the possible because we viewed the previous by installing a cistern instead of a storm campus community and the operator. “Life homes as potential resources. I’m very sewer. lessons of respect, cooperation, appreciation proud of that outcome.” The RCC is divided into four color- of others, problem solving and responsibil- But recycled building materials aren’t coded quadrants, with preschoolers in ity are modeled and practiced on a daily the RCC’s only environmentally sensitive the southeast, toddlers in the southwest, basis by children and staff.” attribute. Among others are features that infants in the northeast, and the support The campus, which opened last enable the building to enjoy an energy and teacher areas in the northwest. More September, has a maximum capacity of 86 savings of about 20 percent over buildings than 80 students between the ages of 6 students, who must be the children of Rice that are simply built to code, including light weeks and 5 years have enrolled at the faculty, staff or students to be eligible for ad- sensors, programmable thermostats for school, which is operated by Metropolitan mission. To learn more about the RCC or to each of five separate zones, double-paned Montessori Schools through the Center for fill out a wait-list application, please visit the energy-efficient windows and overhangs Early Childhood Education (CECE) and CECE Web site at that block the strong southern sun. Other which employs the progressive Montessori elements should result in substantial savings method of instruction. With activities like —Merin Porter in domestic water consumption, such as art projects, songs, stories, lessons, recess 14
  17. 17. THROUGH THE Sallyport Tower of Power The holidays at Rice had a little more sparkle with the completion of the South Plant’s 85-foot- tall glass steam tower last month. Designed by renowned architect Antoine Predock, the South Plant will provide the chilled water and steam necessary to heat and cool the BioScience Research Collaborative at the corner of Main Street and University Boulevard, as well as other buildings that eventually will make their home on the south- west side of campus. For a more in-depth look at the South Plant, visit: › › › t i nyur l. com /73yr qo Webcam: › › › t inyur l. com /6m m h2q Rice Magazine • No. 2 • 2009 15
  18. 18. Construction @ rice Making a living New graduate student apartments make life a little cheaper — and a lot more fun For a building that’s the equivalent of a 40-story skyscraper lying buildings on the north side of Shakespeare Street, which were in on its side, it’s no surprise that the new Rice Village Apartment much worse condition structurally than the Morningside Square buildings on the south side of Shakespeare. (RVA) complex is turning local apartment living on its ear. Not “With the additional acreage, we had the opportunity to demol- only will Rice graduate students who move into the 137-unit, ish our existing units that were nearing depletion and replace them 237-bed residence enjoy close proximity to campus — only one with a higher-density and better-programmed structure,” said Mark block west of the university in Rice Village — they’ll also benefit Ditman, associate vice president of housing and dining. “The pri- from extremely competitive monthly rates, plus amenities like a mary reason we did this was to do our part to strengthen graduate programs by offering a third community that would help attract and clubhouse, a laundry room on each of four floors, a study room retain high-caliber graduate students.” equipped with computers and even a Although the new complex is off community herb garden. campus, it still maintains the Rice feel with a brick-and-stucco exterior remi- Apartments, which range in size from niscent of Hanszen and Baker colleges. efficiencies to two-bedroom, two-bath It also follows the lead of other new units, are fully furnished and feature free campus buildings in that it was designed basic cable and Internet. The complex and built to Leadership in Energy and also offers four handicap-accessible units, Environmental Design standards. although the entire community complies “We were really conscientious about with the Americans with Disabilities Act. energy conservation in this building While the facility has fewer parking because the graduate students pay spaces than you’d find at a commercial their own utility bills,” said Director of apartment building, there are many more Sustainability Richard Johnson, who than are typically available at a student said the new complex is at least 30 housing facility. Still, Rice is hoping there percent more efficient than a standard will be plenty of parking spaces to spare. apartment building. That means that if “Rice committed to a robust shuttle a student typically pays $100 per month schedule and bicycle storage spaces as for utilities, they’ll only pay $70 at RVA a means of minimizing the need for — which creates substantial savings over residents to have cars,” said Rice Graduate Housing Manager Abeer the course of a year. Mustafa. “We also included a bicycle option as part of an early move- “The project team devoted considerable attention to selecting in reward program where, in exchange for promising not to bring ENERGY STAR appliances, developing efficient lighting strategies a car to the apartments or to park one on neighborhood streets, and providing ample natural daylight for the apartments,” Johnson students receive a new bicycle when they move in.” said. “By offering apartments that are so energy efficient, we are Rice decided to build RVA — its third graduate student residence essentially embedding financial aid into the building itself.” — in 2005, when the waiting lists for Morningside Square and the —Merin Porter Rice Graduate Apartments were burgeoning and the purchase of five lots on Shakespeare Street made the construction feasible. The new lots were adjacent to nine existing Morningside Square apartment Learn more: › › › g ra d a p t s. ri ce. ed u 16
  19. 19. THROUGH THE Sallyport Prefab Masterpieces The Museum of Modern Art in New York has long served as home to magnificent pieces by Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso, but one of the mu- seum’s recent acquisitions may be its most extraordinary: Rice University’s new college bathrooms. Nip, tuck, Featured in the museum’s Cellophane House exhibit last fall, the 7-by-7-foot prefabricated lavatories were built in a score! factory and delivered to Rice’s Duncan College and McMurtry College con- struction sites as completed units, with showers, sinks, toilets and even mirrors in place. That means less traffic to sites, reduced construction waste and fewer Autry Court renovation is a net gain for Rice subcontractors — all of which align with Rice’s goal of achieving Leadership in After 57 years of accumulated structural wrinkles and sags, Autry Court Energy and Environmental Design certifi- was due for a facelift. cation for every new campus building. “Using prefabricated bathroom pods Thanks to $24 million in financial support from Youngkin ’90 and his wife, Suzanne, and it houses actually prevents waste before it is even generous donors, the site for Owls basketball a study area for student–athletes, a hydrotherapy created, thanks to the use of lean manu- and volleyball home games underwent a dramatic room with hot and cold whirlpools, a first-aid room, transformation that included renovations and up- and staff offices that overlook a weight and train- facturing processes,” said Rice Director dates to the arena, seating arrangements, sound ing room. The center connects Autry Court with of Sustainability Richard Johnson. “This and game information systems, restrooms and the existing Fox Gymnasium, and students and fits the spirit of Duncan and McMurtry concession areas — among many other improve- fans will enter the renovated facility via an all- colleges, where we also are recycling ments. Now the basketball and volleyball teams new plaza, which provides access to all of Rice’s on the order of 90 percent of all of the enjoy gleaming new locker rooms; fans can shop at sports venues and offers a feeling of continuity to construction waste that is generated.” a team store; and donors have access to a luxuri- the campus’s “athletic quadrant.” ous club room, which offers a balcony overlooking On Nov. 15, just 16 months after renovations College Way and provides an area to meet, greet began, Tudor Fieldhouse unveiled its new look at and eat prior to games. an Owls basketball game, where athletes and fans In addition to a new look, the building also re- alike enjoyed the center-hung LED scoreboard, ceived a new name. Dubbed the Tudor Fieldhouse crystal-clear sound and new student seating in honor of major donor and Rice trustee Bobby section on the court’s south side. After nearly six Tudor ’82 and his wife, Phoebe, it encompasses decades, Autry Court looks better than ever — Autry Court and the new Youngkin Center, which and has finally taken its place among the nation’s replaced the facility’s old administrative section. premier athletic facilities. Youngkin Center was named after donor Glenn —Merin Porter Construction Web Site Remodel Looking for news on the many construction projects around campus? Visit Rice’s recently renovated con- struction Web site to take advantage of an interactive map with project locations and descriptions, plus Web camera views, photos and videos. Also be sure to check out the latest construction news and alerts as well as up-to-the-minute notices of road closures, util- ity outages and much more. Learn more: ››› cons t r u c t i o n . r i c e. e d u Rice Magazine • No. 2 • 2009 17
  20. 20. Energy Scholarships to Energetic Students BP, one of the world’s largest produc- ers of oil and natural gas as well as one of the world’s largest investors in “People always alternative energy, knows how criti- cal it is to get quality graduates to fill its workforce. The company not only is looking to Rice, but also is helping out with schol- said the U.S. arships awarded to 18 select full-time students who have expressed an interest is a better place to be, in energy-related careers. The $10,000 scholarships are intended to help offset tuition, fees and other expenses. and I wanted The scholarships reflect the close relationship that BP has developed with Rice. BP also has asked Rice to lead a consortium of universities in develop- ing petrotechnical training that will enhance the dissemination of knowl- to find out for edge and skills among BP’s employees around the world. —B.J. Almond myself.” —Helge Krüger Learn more: ››› emtyb Doctoral Mathematics doctoral student Helge Krüger has been named winner of the annual Student Studentenpreis, awarded by the Austrian Mathematical Society for the best master’s Wins thesis written in Austria. He wrote the thesis as a graduate student at the Austrian University of Vienna. Titled “Relative Oscillation Theory for Sturm-Liouville Operators,” it was Math built on a theorem on differential equations by 19th-century mathematician Charles-François Award Sturm, who first calculated the velocity of sound through water. Krüger said that meet- ing Rice associate profes- sor of mathematics David Damanik, now his faculty adviser, was an important factor in his decision to come to Rice, but that the university’s outstanding reputation and friendly atmosphere were im- portant, too. “People always said the U.S. is a better place to be, and I wanted to find out for my- self,” said Krüger, an avid reader and Frisbee aficionado. “The professors here are excellent. You can talk to people, and they always want to talk to you. There’s a feeling here of a com- munity doing things, which I think is great and BP Gulf of Mexico Chief Financial Officer Peter Zwart which I didn’t experience in Europe.” spoke during a luncheon honoring BP scholarship recipients. 18