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Music Grad Student Wins Research Award to Have KSO Play His Compositions

Assistant Professor Andrew Sigler works with graduate student Dennis Belisle.

At 46, in the midst of a successful career as a commercial musician, music director, teacher, and performer, Dennis Belisle decided to enroll in UT’s School of Music to pursue a new dream—being a composer.

He completed a bachelor’s degree in sacred music in spring 2018 and immediately began working on his Master of Music degree in composition degree with a theory pedagogy certificate.

Belisle graduates in December, and he’s wrapping up his studies on a very high note: members of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra will perform his musical compositions during a special concert at 8 p.m. on Friday, November 15, at the Powell Recital Hall in the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center.

Belisle received the inaugural Robert W. Pedersen Memorial Research Award to fund the performance. Pedersen, a UT alumnus, left money to the university in an endowment earmarked “for awards for outstanding performance by students and/or faculty.”

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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.

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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 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.

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.”

Read more about the School of Architecture’s award.