Portal to the World Arriving at St. Edward’s – Sept. 2016

What would you do if you had 10 minutes to communicate with someone from the other side of the world? Share a meal?  Share a song?  Perform a short play? Would you speak?  What if you didn’t know the language? How do we communicate with others in cultures different from our own?  What can we learn about each other and ourselves?

Starting 30 August 2016 and continuing throughout September, St. Edward’s University will host a portal (a technologically enhanced shipping trailer) from Shared Studios.  The gold colored portal will be on our campus to provide our students, faculty, and staff as well as Austin area schools and our Austin community family members a chance to connect to a part of the world they might otherwise never experience in person.

Take on Your World in the Shared Studios Portal.  Learn more about what others have done on Instagram for Shared Studios and on YouTube and see the significant media coverage of this groundbreaking project that we now have the chance to bring to our campus.

More details to come, including reserving times for your planned activities.  Watch for future posts with more information.

How will you spend your time in the Portal?  And where will you go?

This project is coming to St. Edward’s thanks to the efforts of the Office of Information Technology with support from faculty and staff in Instructional and Emerging Technology, the Global Engagement Office, the School of Humanities, and the School of Natural Sciences.

NEW INFO:  Here’s a link to the sites with which the portal will be connected:


Lucian Professorship History

Prior to the summer of 1982, J.B.N. Morris and family (hs ’48, ’52) established an endowment with the University to honor the name of Brother Lucian Blersch, CSC, a longtime professor of engineering, who died in 1986.  Proceeds from the endowment support a faculty chair in the name of Brother Lucian.

The Lucian Professor, among other tasks, has been the lead faculty member in organizing the Lucian Symposium each year, a roster of renowned experts in a particular subfield of interest to the Lucian Professor.

There have been 4 Lucian Professors appointed since the endowment was established:

Brother Daniel Lynch, CSC (biology):  1982 – 1997
Dr. Jean McKemie (mathematics):  2000 – 2005
Dr. Allan Hook (biology):  2005 – 2009
Dr. Eamonn Healy (chemistry):  2010 – 2016

Lucian Professor – Eamonn F. Healy

Dr. Eamonn F. Healy is the Brother Lucian Blersch Professor of Science and Professor of Chemistry at St. Edward's University.

Dr. Eamonn F. Healy is the Brother Lucian Blersch Professor of Science and Professor of Chemistry at St. Edward’s University.

Eamonn F. Healy, PhD, is the Brother Lucian Blersch Professor of Science and Professor of Chemistry at St. Edward’s University. The general focus of his research involves the use of molecular modeling to design structure-activity probes for the purpose of elucidating enzymatic activity. Recent targets have included HIV-1 integrase, the c-Kit and src-abl proteins associated with tumor development and certain leukemias, and the metalloproteinases. Dr. Healy’s group has also developed in silico characterizations of the mechanism of action for the heat shock response associated with the Mtb alpha-crystallin protein, the heat shock response of Escherichia coli, and the observed suppression of spinocerebellar ataxia and superoxidxe dismutase (SOD1) aggregation by human alphaB-crystallin, He received his doctorate in Chemistry from UT–Austin.

Lucian Symposium Speakers 2016 – Antonio Fojo

Dr. Antonio Fojo is Professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Antonio Fojo is Professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Columbia University Medical Center.

Antonio “Tito”Fojo, M.D. Ph.D. is Professor in the Division of Hemotology and Oncology at Columbia University Medical Center. He received his M.D. and Ph.D.from the University of Miami and completed internal medicine training at Washington University School of Medicine / Barnes Hospital. Prior to his arrival at Columbia Dr. Fojo was a Principal Investigator in the Medicine Branch, and Program Director for the Medical Oncology Fellowship Program, of the National Cancer Institute, where he established a highly successful translational clinical program. Dr. Fojo works to understand the molecular basis of drug resistance, and has worked on the development of novel microtubule-targeting agents therapies for endocrine and neuroendocrine cancers, Dr. Fojo is also active in the design, conduct and interpretation of oncology clinical trials.

Lucian Symposium Speakers 2016 – Beverly A. Teicher


Dr. Beverly A. Teicher, Cheif of the Molecular Pharmacology Branch at the National Cancer Institute

Dr. Beverly A. Teicher, Cheif of the Molecular Pharmacology Branch at the National Cancer Institute

Beverly A. Teicher, PhD is Chief of the Molecular Pharmacology Branch at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Dr. Teicher completed a PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University and postdoctoral training at Yale University School of Medicine. After positions at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Teicher served as Research Advisor in Cancer Drug Discovery at Lilly Research Laboratories and Vice President of Oncology Research at Genzyme. Dr. Teicher is best known for her work in solid tumor models and physiologic measurements of tumor hypoxia and oxygenation. She has authored or co-authored more than 400 scientific publications, edited eight books, and is editor for the journal Clinical Cancer Research, the journal Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and the Cancer Drug Discovery & Development book series.

Lucian Symposium Speakers 2016 – Michael A. White

Prof. Michael A. White, U. Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Prof. Michael A. White, U. Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Michael A. White, Ph.D. is Professor of Cell Biology and the Grant A. Dove Chair for Research in Oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. His research is aimed at uncovering the molecular nature of cell autonomous regulatory mechanisms with the goal of permitting appropriate responses of human cells to their environment. Dr. White received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina. Through elaboration of the biogenesis of catabolic organelles, Dr. White’s laboratory is helping to uncover some of the central principles that govern cellular homeostasis, and examining the processes governing the adaptive modulation of cell growth and self-renewal. His ultimate goal is to identify authentic intervention targets for the development of a sufficiently diverse cohort of therapies to contend with oncological heterogeneity.

Lucian Symposium 2016 – Global Health and Infectious Disease: CANCER – NOVEL TARGETS AND THERAPIES

Displaying the relationship among target proteins by representing the Euclidean distance among gene signatures.

Displaying the relationship among target proteins by representing the Euclidean distance among gene signatures.

Despite billions of dollars, decades of research, and an unparalleled level of international cooperation between research scientists and clinicians, cancer remains a major cause of death worldwide.

Therapies have improved and many forms of cancer are now treatable, but the disease still kills over eight million people throughout the world each year. For this reason, cancer research funding represents one of the largest expenditures of the United States federal government, and has led to improved medical treatments as well as greater understanding of the molecular intricacies of the disease. However because cancer is now considered not simply one disease but rather a multitude of independent disorders that can all result in malignant cellular growth, the dream of a cure for cancer, the “magic bullet”, to miraculously eliminate the disease, is now considered unrealistic in light of these overwhelming complexities.

Activation of the C-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK2) through conformational change from the DFG-out (yellow) to DFG-in (blue) state.

Activation of the C-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK2) through conformational change from the DFG-out (yellow) to DFG-in (blue) state.

The interdisciplinary approach that has emerged is offering new hope for therapies and treatment. Since not all tumors are the same, molecular targeting, or the attempt to tailor therapy to the specific abnormalities causing disease, has become one of the most promising areas in cancer biology research. By combining molecular biology and biochemistry with combinatorial chemistry and organic chemistry , pharmaceutical research has embraced the field of rational drug design as a specific application of molecular targeting. In the past few years, the rapidly advancing field of cancer immunology has produced several new methods of treating cancer. These immunotherapies increase the strength of immune responses against tumors.

However, cancer cells are sometimes able to avoid detection and destruction by the immune system. Drug development takes time, and it is years, often decades, before a drug that shows promise in the lab will make it into the clinic. And of course resistance to chemotherapy and molecularly targeted therapies remains a major problem. This symposium seeks to highlight some of the innovative and creative approaches being pursued in light of these challenges.


EVENT SCHEDULE – Friday , September 23rd , JBWS Carter Auditorium

9.30 am           Welcome

9.40 am           Dr. Eamonn F. Healy (St. Edward’s University): “Modulating Kinase Activity Through Desolvation”

10.10 am         Dr. Michael A. White (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center):  “Towards Patient-based Cancer Therapeutics”

11.00 am         Break

11.15 am         Dr. Beverly A. Teicher (National Cancer Institute): “Antibody conjugate therapeutics: challenges and potential”

12.05 pm         Dr. Antonio Fojo (Columbia University Medical Center): “Novel Therapies for Cancer:  Why Dirty Might Be Better ”

1.00 pm           Lunch and Student poster session: Foyer, JBWN

A phagocytosis assay utilizing the murine macrophage cell line J774.A1

A phagocytosis assay utilizing the murine macrophage cell line J774.A1

Sustainability Internship with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Student Internship Program introduces interested college students to career opportunities in positions located statewide and job settings to gain practical experience and training in natural and cultural resource fields.

Paid internships are available in various divisions depending on available funding. The student internship program employment period varies depending on the specific intern opportunity.  NOTE:  If selected for a paid opportunity, intern will be paid at the rate of pay reflected from the completed hours on the fall transcript.  Spring semester credit hours do not count towards the rate of pay for the internship.

The Infrastructure Division provides design and construction project management expertise for the repair and development of all built-environment facilities for the TPWD.  Under the direction of the Sustainability Program Manager within the Infrastructure Division, the Sustainability Internship position is an opportunity designed for students to obtain relevant work experience to be competitive for future positions in environmental and facility sustainability project implementation. Areas of focus will include waste management, energy efficiency and water conservation with the implementation of projects to improve conservation efforts within these categories.

This Internship is responsible for performing a range of tasks to learn various aspects of environmental sustainability and program implementation.  Duties include, but are not limited to:  conducting utility data entry and analysis; assisting in development of sustainability website and social media information; assisting in development and implementation of small-scale sustainability projects; assisting in development of “Green Building” product guides and information; participating in site visits and project meetings; assisting in operations of the TPWD Green Team.  Performs additional duties as assigned.  Complies with all Agency, Division, and Branch rules, regulations, and procedures. 

Click here to apply!

 The posting will only be up for a couple of weeks, so apply today!

For more information, contact Nicolette Ledbury.

Basecamp for Teachers

Basecamp is an online team and project management tool, similar to Slack. Both Basecamp and Slack are popular with big and small entities (business, non-profits, schools, etc.) , allowing various modes of communication, task assignment, and file sharing, with each having good mobile apps. C&EN, the official magazine of the American Chemical Society, covered How Slack-ing helps chemists manage their labs. I used Basecamp this summer to to manage my research group’s communication and activities. It was a hit with students and I loved it too!

I set up a Basecamp account and created a basecamp called ‘Burks Lab’ and invited by summer students to join. This basecamp’s home page is below.

basecamp loading page

Each basecamp features a Campfire (instant chat), The Messages Board (longer living announcements), To-Dos (task assignments), Docs & Files, Schedules, Pings (private messages), Automatic Questions (of your choosing, e.g. “What did you do today?”), and a variety of Reports. As administer of the basecamp, I can set-up a variety of campfires and to-do lists by project and/or team. Both myself and students can post messages, chat in campfires, comment on assignments, examine our individual reports or schedules.   My favorite feature is To-Dos for two reasons – it keep both me and the students on-point.

For me, it required that I clearly articulate each task in writing, which forced me to consider each task more deeply then when I simply rattle off “blah blah, then do blah blah and let me know.” Each task is assigned to a user (or more!) and has a due date. The assigned user checks off the task when complete and I get a notification. I review the work, providing feedback as a comment to the To-Do. If more work needed to be done, I would uncheck the assignment and it would go back into the To-Do queue. Each To-do offers me and the student opportunities to communicate extensively about a particular task. They could comment with questions regarding the assignment and to share preliminary results (with attachments). Often, students would suggest additional assignment components.

What about off-the-cuff conversations in the lab or my office that led to a new task or modification of a task? I would summarize and create a new To-Do or edit an existing one. I think using Basecamp in this fashion enhanced task management and team communication. Student liked checking off tasks, getting ‘Applause’ from me on their comments, and see the list of “To-Dones” grow. In Basecamp, students can quickly see what’s on their individual To-Do lists and run reports to see what they’ve done or have on deck. This proved helpful in writing up their weekly reports for Dr. Kopec, in addition to managing their time. Below is an example of Basecamp’s ‘What has someone been up to?” report.

basecamp report

These reports also helped me keep a day-by-day record of team activities, as well as more “big picture” project progression. This is critical for reporting to funding agencies and other entities. Basecamp allows me to manage my team and generate documentation concurrently – a chemist’s dream!

Let’s talk turkey – what does it cost? Absolutely nothing. Teachers get Basecamp for free and teachers get unlimited basecamps. For instance, I can maintain my Burks Lab basecamp and add one for upper division class I am teaching. This program does have limits…

“…can only be used for your classroom work. It can’t be used for personal, professional, or for-profit projects outside of the classroom. We’re on the honor system here, but if we do discover abuses we reserve the right to revoke the account or remove the free status.” (see Teachers get Basecamp for free)

If I wanted to set up a basecamp for working on a grant or paper with colleagues, we’d all have to enroll in a class. I joke! Or do I?


TOPP Alumna Covers Go-For-Launch! at St. Edward’s University

Natalie Ferrari, one of nearly 100 alumni of the Tropospheric Ozone Pollution Project (TOPP), now works at KXAN as an on-air meteorologist.  She came to St. Edward’s on Tuesday, 12 July, as part of Go-For-Launch! to both give a talk to the participants on her career trajectory as well as to do a story on the camp itself.  You can see that story, which appeared on the 6 pm news on Wednesday, 13 July, here!

During her presentation, she talked about the importance of making connections, pursuing internships, and communicating with others.  Her broadcast career got started with an unpaid internships at Fox affiliate KRIV in Houston during her senior year at the University of Houston (UH).  She worked in Abilene and College Station before arriving in Austin last Fall.

It was the first time Dr. Gary A. Morris, Dean of Natural Sciences at St. Edward’s, and Natalie had met in person in more than 5 years.  Natalie graduated with a degree in Environmental Science from UH in 2011.  While she was there, she took a class in Advanced Atmospheric Data Analysis and Laboratory from Dr. Morris during a semester in which he was a visiting faculty member at UH.  She joined the TOPP team and helped launch weather balloons instrumented to measure ozone as well as temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction.

“It’s always nice to meet up with former students to see what they’re up to and where they’ve been along the way,” said Dr. Morris.  “I’m very proud of Natalie — she’s made it in a very tough field!  And it’s fun to think that her experience as an undergraduate with our balloon research project might have helped her on that path.”

You can see Natalie on KXAN on the weekend and morning reports.  Thanks to Natalie and KXAN for covering our inaugural Go-For-Launch! event at St. Edward’s University.

Natalie Ferrari (KXAN meteorologist), Mike Foreman (retired NASA astronaut), and Michelle Lucas (founder and CEO of Higher Orbits) at Go-For-Launch, 11 - 13 July 2016 at St. Edward's University

Natalie Ferrari (KXAN meteorologist), Mike Foreman (retired NASA astronaut), and Michelle Lucas (founder and CEO of Higher Orbits) at Go-For-Launch, 11 – 13 July 2016 at St. Edward’s University