Updates and Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
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COVID-19 Forces Changes in Research and Creative Activity

Not all research conducted during this time was related to COVID-19 outbreak. UT greatly reduced on-campus research and creative activities that impacted everyone. Without the ability to travel, conduct interviews, or perform laboratory work, the pandemic threatened to effectively halt UT’s discovery enterprise. Determined scientists, however, found creative ways to continue their research efforts remotely. 

Study of Butterflies, Caterpiullar, Pupa, and Chyrsalis from Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium c. 1705, Maria Sibylla Merian, Hand-colored copperplate engraving, Gifted to McClung Museum by of John Glynn.

Study of Butterflies, Caterpiullar, Pupa, and Chyrsalis from Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium c. 1705, Maria Sibylla Merian, Hand-colored copperplate engraving, Gifted to McClung Museum by of John Glynn.

McClung Graduate Student Uses Research to Combat Gender Inequity in the Arts

The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture’s curatorial graduate student, Emma Grace Thompson, worked on researching women artists within the museum’s permanent collections. Thompson, who graduated with her Master of History in May, used her research to contribute to the annual #5WomenArtists social media campaign led by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, with a goal toward “ending gender inequity in the arts.” She also curated the artwork featured in McClung’s Women’s Work exhibition, which opens in January 2021.  

New Research Examines a Decade of Gender Separation in Sports Information

In August, Erin Whiteside, associate professor of journalism and electronic media in the College of Communication and Information, and graduate student Charli Kerns presented a paper at the Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, entitled, “Occupational and Job Sex Segregation in Sports Information: A 10-year Update”

The study looks at the job roles and responsibilities of women working in athletic communications. It shows that while the industry as a whole may be becoming more gender diverse, women are left out of high-status job assignments. If women don’t get access to high status job responsibilities and assignments, they cannot build the credibility needed to be considered for promotion to more prominent positions. 

Graduate Student Studies Potential for Disease Transmission in Bats

hand holding vampire bat

Graduate student Mallory Tate holds a vampire bat while conducting research in Belize. A fecal sample was collected from each bat to understand diet.

Bats can carry many viruses, including COVID-19. For this and other reasons, they are perceived negatively by the public, even though they are a food source for people around the world. 

Mallory Tate, a master’s student in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, is part of a group that traveled to Belize in 2018 to study community perceptions of bats. The group recently published the paper, Can Farmers and Bats Co-exist? Farmer Attitudes, Knowledge, and Experiences with Bats in Belize. 

Adam Willcox, research assistant professor and the UTIA Smith International Center coordinator, said that while the group didn’t specifically study the transferral of COVID-19 from bats to humans, they did study “other farmer risk perceptions of diseases that humans can possibly contract from contact with bats.” 

Veterinary Summer Research Program Continues Amidst Pandemic

The Comparative and Experimental Medicine program and the Center of Excellence in Livestock and Human Health sponsored 21 veterinary students mentored by 32 faculty during a 10-week summer research program. The COVID-19 pandemic compelled them to reorganize the programs to respect social distancing, new hygiene standards, and minimize the number of people present when in-person activities were needed. The Summer COE presentations were given via ZOOM as were laboratory meetings, and student presentations. Each student participated in project design, conducted the studies, and made a scientific presentation at the end of the summer. In addition to this program, three students presented at the 2020 National Veterinary Scholars Symposium

Associate Professor Studies Effects on Dementia, Alzheimer’s Caregivers

In a recent study funded by the National Institute on Aging, Joel Anderson, associate professor of nursing, collected data about the experiences of LGBTQ+ caregivers of people with dementia, using social media to engage the caregivers. 

Anderson witnessed firsthand the physical and emotional strain caregivers can experience as he watched his grandmother and mother put their own health needs aside to care for his great-grandmother, who had dementia. His family experience and his fascination with the brain and how it works became the basis for his research.

Tennessee RiverLine Seeks to Develop Regional Water-based Trail System

Sunrise on the TN river

The sun rises over the Tennessee River.

The Tennessee RiverLine developed the Tennessee RiverTowns Program, a three-stage program that cultivates collaboration and innovation among river communities to achieve the Tennessee RiverLine vision. The Tennessee RiverLine is a vision for a continuous 652-mile paddle-hike-bike experience from the start of the Tennessee River in Knoxville to its confluence in Paducah, Kentucky. It originated in 2016 in the College of Architecture and Design and UT Herbert College of Agriculture and through the Governor’s Chair for Energy + Urbanism. Today, it is conducted by the Tennessee RiverLine Partnership with ongoing strong financial support from UT Knoxville, Tennessee Valley Authority and other engaged partners. The first cohort of the Tennessee RiverTowns Program will be announced September 28, 2020.

Global Supply Chain Institute Research Helps Reduce Risk, Increase Efficiency

The Advanced Supply Chain Collaborative (ASCC) is a joint initiative of the Global Supply Chain Institute (GSCI) and the Department of Business Analytics and Statistics at the UT’s Haslam College of Business. ASCC, which ended its inaugural year in July, engages industry experts with UT faculty to explore advanced concepts in supply chain management.

In April, GSCI published two white papers, one on best practices to reduce cyber risk across the end-to-end, integrated supply chain, and the other on the synchronization of end-to-end strategies that create competitive advantages with a goal toward achieving total value in the supply chain. The institute is currently working on another white paper that will be released in October on the future of transportation.

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