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Undergraduates Research Rett Syndrome to Raise Awareness, Improve Patient Care

Rett Syndrome ResearchersThree undergraduate students at UT are researching Rett syndrome, a progressive neurological disorder that afflicts one in 10,000 females. They want to raise awareness about the disorder and hope their discoveries translate into improved care for patients.

Izabella Nill Gomez, Taryn Lester, and Ashlee Tannehill are working in the lab of Keerthi Krishnan, assistant professor of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology.

They are among more than 1,400 UT undergraduates involved in research. Between 2015 and 2016 the number of UT undergraduates doing research more than doubled and the number of faculty mentors increased 87 percent.

Rett syndrome is an autism-associated disorder that primarily affects girls and women. It is not inherited but results from a random, spontaneous gene mutation. It leads to several impairments that impact nearly every aspect of life, including the ability to speak, walk, eat, and breathe easily.

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Education Grad Student Claims Top Honors in UT’s First 3MT Competition

Vincent PriceVincent Price, a doctoral student in education, claimed the top prize during the final round of UT’s Three-Minute Thesis Competition held last week as part of Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week.

The competition challenged master’s and doctoral students to present a compelling talk on their thesis or dissertation to an audience unfamiliar with the topic. Students had three minutes to explain their research and could use only one image or slide. Semifinal competitions took place over the past few weeks and narrowed the field to the 12 finalists who made their presentations last Friday.

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Recognitions, April 21

  • Accomplished faculty, staff, and students were honored Wednesday evening at the annual Chancellor’s Honors Banquet, the university’s largest recognition event of the year. See a full list of 2017 awardees here.
  • Charles Sanft, associate professor of history, has been named a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies.
  • Sergey Gavrilets, distinguished professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Mathematics, has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • Wardell Milan, a New York City-based visual artist, will be recognized for his accomplishments as part of UT’s African American Trailblazer Series on Tuesday, April 25.

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UT Music Student Finds Unique Tune in Grindcore Research

Paul RoyseMusically speaking, Paul Royse, a senior in music theory and piano performance, is going where no one has gone before.

Royse, of Knoxville, got interested in research during a music theory class analyzing rock music. His focus: grindcore, a genre of music fusing aspects of heavy metal and hardcore punk that originated in the mid-1980s but has been virtually absent in music research literature.

Royse is among more than 1,400 UT undergraduates participating in research or creative activities that help them apply what they’re learning in the classroom and prepare them for graduate school or launching a career. Between 2015 and 2016 UT more than doubled the number of undergraduates involved in research or creative achievement and saw an 87 percent increase in the number of faculty serving as mentors.

Royse, who is also an accomplished composer, learned about grindcore two years ago from a friend who is a singer in a local Knoxville grindcore band, Rat Punch.

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Funding Opportunities, April 21

Federal Opportunities

Please contact Paul Montgomery ( regarding your interest in federal opportunities.

DHS Funding Opportunity on Bio-threat Agent Collection & Analysis

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently published a solicitation entitled Methods and Technologies to Enhance the Collection and Analysis of Biothreat Agents in the Environment, which seeks to “improve the detection and characterization of biological agent signatures, and provide novel and significant improvements to current capabilities.”
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