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Recognitions, October 30

UT Professor Awarded NIH MIRA Grant for 3D Genome Structure Research

Skin cancer cell nuclei buckle, bend, and deform as the cells squeeze through narrow constrictions in a dense collagen gel. The more these nuclei can change their shape, the more likely the skin cancer is to become metastatic, crawling through the body to spread to distant sites. Figuring out how these shape changes happen will be a step toward improving diagnosis and treatment of metastatic cancer.

A UT biophysicist has been awarded a $1.84 million Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institute for General Medical Science (NIGMS) to investigate how the 3D folded structure of the human genome reacts to physical stress in health and disease.

The award provides funding to operate Rachel Patton McCord’s lab and research program. McCord is an assistant professor in UT’s Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology.

NIGMS is among the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The MIRA program provides long-term stability—the funding is granted over five years—and allows for flexibility if the direction of a project shifts.

McCord’s project seeks to clarify the role of a chromosome’s structure in its biological response to physical stress, which can inform future disease diagnosis and treatment.

Ellen McIntyre Named Dean of UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences

UT has selected Ellen McIntyre, dean of the Cato College of Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, as the next dean of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. She will join the university January 21, 2020.

McIntyre succeeds Interim Dean Jeff Fairbrother, who was appointed to the position in July after Dean Bob Rider informed the college of his plans to return to the faculty.

As dean, McIntyre will oversee operations of the college, including eight departments and 17 centers, institutes, and academies. The college’s Bailey Graduate School of Education was recently ranked among the top 50 public institutions and has earned a top rating for teacher preparation in Tennessee the past two years, annually preparing approximately 200 teachers for licensure.

UT Student Entrepreneurs Win US Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Awards

Coonhound Camping is a company run by, left to right, Michael Richards, Jeremy Piper, Dalton Maddox , and Christopher Mikulec

Coonhound Camping is a company run by, left to right, Michael Richards, Jeremy Piper, Dalton Maddox , and Christopher Mikulec

Growing up, UT student entrepreneurs Jeremy Piper, Dalton Maddox, Christopher Mikulec, and Michael Richards enjoyed hundreds of nights camping outdoors. Now, they’re making it their business to help others experience the same joy.

“One of the main reasons people don’t camp is lack of experience,” said Piper. “We knew we could create a solution that allowed more people to comfortably and conveniently enjoy camping.”

The college seniors used their shared passion for the outdoors to form Coonhound Camping, a business providing no-hassle campsite set-ups. Customers choose a location, provide campsite specifications, and leave the work to the Coonhound Camping team.

“We set up, so you can set out,” said Piper.

Coonhound Camping recently received the US Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneur Achievement Award. The national award was presented in Washington, DC, as part of the chamber’s annual Dream Big Awards, which honor the achievements of small businesses and highlight their contributions to America’s economic growth.

Coonhound Camping also won the Community Excellence award, celebrating the business’s connection to community and customers.

School of Architecture Receives National AIA Innovation Award

The American Institute of Architects has awarded a coveted AIA Innovation Award to an academic institution, the School of Architecture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Architecture and Design. Most often awarded to architecture firms, the Innovation Award recognizes technologies and practices of architects and designers related to buildings or research in practice or academia.

The award recognizes the overhaul of the school’s curriculum that leads to a Bachelor of Architecture degree. This new educational paradigm could serve as a model for schools across the country as it integrates the content of stand-alone courses focused on technology into the design studio experience. This innovative, interrelated curriculum leverages and expands the college’s digital agenda and leads to a broader and more applicable design education.

“Our faculty created a new model for integrating building technology with design studio in ways that both anticipate the realities of integrated practice and meet design students where they are,” said Jason Young, director of the UT School of Architecture. “The new model uses team-taught, project-based modules to enliven and sustain content that has long lacked meaningful reinforcement in the studio. We’ve changed how and therefore why we teach building technology for the benefit of our students.”