Rice Magazine 1


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Rice Magazine is published by the Office of Public Affairs of Rice University and is sent to university alumni, faculty, staff, graduate students, parents of undergraduates and friends of the university.

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Rice Magazine 1

  1. 1. 24 | Talking Oil • 28 | Earthquake Watch • 36 | When They Get Ambitious • 40 | From MOB to High-Tech IKE “MY PRIDE IN THIS UNIVERSITY HAS NEVER BEEN GREATER.” —President David Leebron 14 THE LITTLE NETWORK THAT COULD 17 PAPER, PLASTIC OR NANO? 44 TAKING BOWS AT THE KENNEDY CENTER 50 COURTING THE COLLEGE WORLD SERIES Rice Magazine • No 1 • 2008 1
  2. 2. Contents 19 10 How can you possibly 13 Rice makes the Best see grains of sand orbit- Places to Work ranking ing distant stars? Ask for the third year in a astronomer Christopher row. Johns-Krull. 16 Fill ’er up with buckyballs! Introducing new high-pressure storage for hydrogen. 14 A low-cost wireless net- work developed at Rice 20 Buckytubes and bones has become a valuable resource for sociologists, form a fast-growing medical researchers and partnership. anthropologists studying neighborhood dynamics. 15 New Rice trustee Lee Rosenthal is judged to be among the best. 21 Researchers are put- 13 Astronaut Peggy ting the pressure on Whitson ’86 loves cartilage. breaking things in 11 A chemist makes a space. remarkable archaeological discovery. 17 Gobbling spilled oil on demand: Meet the nano- 12 Biomedical research baton sac. gets a boost. On the cover: View of Hurricane Ike from the International Space Station.
  3. 3. Students 23 Looking for an alternative to Features the traditional office? Look no further than Caroline Collective. Arts 3 Hurricane Ike 42 From the Summer Window From making sure students were safe to Series to the student art show, organizing community relief efforts, Rice the Rice Gallery showcases the weathered Hurricane Ike with resilience and old and the new. compassion. 46 If there is a way for a composer 24 Lynn Laverty Elsenhans to write music for walking on Lynn Laverty Elsenhans ’78, the new CEO and cloud nine, Kurt Stallmann will president of Sunoco, reflects on global energy probably find it. concerns, the challenges facing women in the corporate world — and her favorite university. 47 Summer music camp fills the 3 air with ... well, the sound of By Christopher Dow music. 28 Cracking Quakes and Other Earthy Matters We might not be able to prevent earthquakes, Bookshelf but decoding the signals that precede them 48 If you think that architecture could minimize loss of life and property students just design buildings, damage. Rice Earth scientists are cracking the you might be surprised by “The code. Things They’ve Done.” By Jade Boyd and Christopher Dow 49 April DeConick was intrigued 32 Historic Building 32 by National Geographic’s With “green” roofs cropping up on new Rice translation of the Gospel of buildings, the Recreation Center rising next to Judas — until she read the the Rice Memorial Center and “The ‘John and original for herself. Anne’ Grove” enticing strollers with its cooling shade, the campus is looking better than ever. By Merin Porter Sports 36 Green as Grassroots 50 No matter what the outcome, A student-led initiative to lessen the you know these outstanding environmental footprint of the campus is student–athletes worked hard to earn Rice’s seventh trip to producing tangible results for Rice. 36 the College World Series. By Merin Porter 52 Class act Cole St. Clair ’08 40 The Entrepreneur Next Door receives the 2008 CLASS High-tech entrepreneur David Zumwalt ’81 Award. brings his touch for success to the University of the Virgin Islands Research and Technology Park, where he helps provide opportunities for the region’s rising business and technology stars. By Merin Porter Rice Magazine • No. 1 • 2008 1
  4. 4. Rice Magazine Fall 2008, Vol. 65, No. 1 Published by the Office of Public Affairs WELCOME TO OUR NEW LOOK Linda Thrane, vice president As Rice University takes bold Editor Christopher Dow strides to achieve its Vision Editorial Director Tracey Rhoades for the Second Century plan Creative Director Jeff Cox to grow the institution in size, Art Director Chuck Thurmon impact and reputation, it Editorial Staff Merin Porter, staff writer Jenny West Rozelle, assistant editor deserves a flagship publication Photographers Tommy LaVergne, photographer worthy of its aspirations. Jeff Fitlow, assistant photographer The Rice University Board of Trustees In that spirit, we’ve spent much of the last year looking at what we’ve been doing right with James W. Crownover, chairman; J. D. Bucky Allshouse; D. Kent Anderson; Keith this magazine, what needs improvement and what we can do without. Now, with the dust T. Anderson; Teveia Rose Barnes; Alfredo of renovation finally settling, we’re pleased to unveil the new Rice Magazine. Brener; Vicki Whamond Bretthauer; Robert T. Brockman; Nancy P. Carlson; Robert L. The process of charting a fresh course for the magazine was made possible, in large Clarke; Bruce W. Dunlevie; Lynn Laverty part, by our recent readership survey. Many of our decisions were based on your sugges- Elsenhans; Douglas Lee Foshee; Susanne tions and comments, and we sincerely thank you for your valuable time and input. Morris Glasscock; Robert R. Maxfield; M. Kenneth Oshman; Jeffery O. Rose; Lee H. The first thing you probably noticed — aside from the magazine’s dimensions — was Rosenthal; Hector Ruiz; Marc Shapiro; L. the absence of the name “Sallyport” on the masthead. The overwhelming number of E. Simmons; Robert B. Tudor III; James S. responses to the question concerning the name indicated that it had limited recognition Turley. outside of the university community and did not adequately communicate the magazine’s Administrative Officers affiliation with Rice. This is a critical point since the purpose of the magazine is to help fur- David W. Leebron, president; Eugene Levy, president provost; Kathy Collins, vice president vost ther Rice’s mission and reputation as the university expands its influence beyond Houston for Finance; Kevin Kirby, vice president for and Texas. Administration; Chris Muñoz, vice president We’ve adopted the simple but evocative name, Rice Magazine, to better achieve iden- for Enrollment; Linda Thrane, vice president Enrollment for Public Affairs; Scott W. Wise, vice president tification with the university we represent. At the same time, we felt that “Sallyport” is a for Investments and treasurer; Richard A. time-honored, symbolic name, and it will live on in a major Zansitis, general counsel; Darrow Zeidenstein, department, “Through the Sallyport,” where you can read vice president for Resource Development. campus news and articles on people and research. Rice Magazine is published by the Office of You’ll find a number of changes inside, as well. While Public Affairs of Rice University and is sent we’ve kept many of the basic bones that made Sallyport to university alumni, faculty, staff, graduate such a durable publication, we’ve trimmed the fat, toned the students, parents of undergraduates and friends of the university. muscle and given the magazine a face-lift. We’re making the magazine a lot more fun to read, as well. Shorter, livelier Editorial Offices features will allow us to increase our coverage of the kinds Creative Services–MS 95 P.O. Box 1892 of teaching, research, engagement and international impact that have long characterized Houston, TX 77251-1892 TX Rice. And because there’s just too much going on at Rice to adequately cover in a quarterly Fax: 713-348-6751 magazine, we’ll leave you with lots of Web resources so you can delve more deeply into E-mail: ricemagazine@rice.edu topics that strike your fancy. Postmaster One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is our excitement at presenting all the great Send address changes to: people, discoveries and resources that make Rice one of the best universities anywhere. Nor Rice University Development Services–MS 80 has our commitment to our readers — alumni and many others who share an affinity with P.O. Box 1892 Rice. So, without further ado, I invite you into the pages of the new Rice Magazine. ... Houston, TX 77251-1892 © OCT. 2 0 0 8 RICE UNIVE RSIT Y Christopher Dow cloud@rice.edu 2 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
  5. 5. HURRICANE Ike Stop the Presses! Actually, we didn’t have much choice. Just as our newly designed Rice Magazine was hit- ting the presses, a big fellow named Ike strode across the Houston area and stopped them for us. Now that we’re up and running again, we’ve added a special section to let you know how Rice fared during and after the storm. In short, very well, thanks to thoughtful planning before the storm, quick action throughout and helpful responses — both on campus and in the wider community — in its aftermath. But see for yourself. For more in-depth coverage of Hurricane Ike and Rice, visit: ›› › media.rice.edu/media/20081.asp Rice Magazine • No. 1 • 2008 3
  6. 6. O W L S I N T H E S T O R M BY D AV I D W. L E E B R O N People and institutions often are defined by how they respond to crises. For more than four years, I have had the privilege of being part of the extraordinary Rice community, and my pride in this university has never been greater than during the week af- ter Hurricane Ike as I watched my colleagues and associates respond to both the threat and the aftermath of the storm. Baker Institute Director Ed Djerejian’s in the last day or so before it made news media. important new book is titled “Danger landfall, veered northward and largely Once the winds subsided on and Opportunity.” He takes this title spared the Houston area from serious Saturday, we immediately began to from the Chinese word for crisis, which damage. We learned a lot from that assess damage, clean up and make is composed of two characters — one experience and implemented changes to repairs to prepare for a speedy return to derived from the character for danger our procedures. normalcy. This was especially important and the other from the character for op- In the days before Ike and even in light of the large number of students portunity. In short, the word embodies during the storm, the Rice Crisis living on our campus who were eager the idea that in each crisis lurks both Management Team met regularly via to return to classes. danger and opportunity. conference call to review every aspect While recognizing that the campus That has surely been our experi- of preparation, action and response. had been spared major damage, we In the days before Ike and even during the storm, the Rice Crisis Management Team met regularly via conference call to review every aspect of preparation, action and response. ence with Hurricane Ike. Make no We went into high gear on Thursday also understood that much of the city mistake: For Houston and certainly and Friday to batten down the campus, had suffered substantial losses, and for Galveston and nearby shore areas, set up special shelters for our students millions of people were without power. this was a once-in-a-quarter-century and lay in food and water supplies. Water pressure throughout the city had hurricane (we certainly hope!) in terms Ping and I walked the campus to meet dropped, creating sanitary threats. Trees of its strength, its size and directness with students, who were cheerful and were down, gasoline was in short sup- of the hit. The last hurricane that was patient as they faced the prospect of ply and transportation was challenging. similar to Ike, both in force and loca- being crowded into shelters for the The response of our community to tion, was Alicia in 1983. night. Throughout, we communicated all this was nothing less than amaz- Literally years of preparation at with parents and others through e-mail ing — a case study in both resilience Rice paid off. In 2005, we were fully and postings on the Web, in part to and compassion. Everyone pitched prepared for Hurricane Rita, which, counteract the hyperbolic reports in the in. Our students stood side by side 4 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
  7. 7. HURRICANE Ike with our Facilities, Engineering and battered city. Volunteers began lining overflow injuries from hospital emer- Planning crews to clean up tree debris up to help almost before the storm had gency rooms. that blanketed the roads and blocked subsided. Hundreds of students and And, throughout, we never forgot walkways on campus. Our construction staff helped sort and pack food at the that we are a community of learning crews redeployed to open up roadways Houston Food Bank and organized and research. As the storm approached, and repair water and wind damage. Our collections of supplies and money. Jerry Dickens, professor of earth science Housing and Dining staff found and They joined crews cleaning up parks and master of Martel College, gave a prepared fresh food for people sheltered and hard-hit neighborhoods. Several lecture to the students on hurricanes. on campus. members of our basketball team helped Before and after the storm, Rice faculty While we got Rice back on its feet remove debris in Galveston, which was members served as resources for the in just a few days, many in our com- seriously damaged by the storm. media and others on a range of issues The response of our community to all this was nothing less than amazing – a case study in both resilience and compassion. Everyone pitched in. munity — students, faculty and staff When hospitals in the Texas Medical regarding the weather and related — still lived under difficult conditions. Center lost their helicopter landing topics. We did our best to accommodate those pads, we opened up our bicycle track in Most of all, Rice emerged from circumstances, from canceling tests the parking lot of Rice Stadium to allow Ike with a reaffirmation that we are a to setting up day camps for children them to land. Our neighbors clapped community that cares: We care about whose schools remained closed. We cre- and cheered as the helicopters released each other, we care about our neighbors ated emergency loans for staff members their injured passengers and ambulanc- and we care about the world beyond. in need, handed out ice and opened es whisked them away for care. We also That is a big part of what makes Rice so up showers and laundry facilities on delayed the opening of the Oshman special, and what makes the work we campus. If people needed time to deal Engineering Design Kitchen for a week do so important. with repairs, flexibility was the rule. so disaster-assistance medical teams We also turned our attention to our could use it as a triage center to handle Rice Magazine • No. 1 • 2008 5
  8. 8. Rice Gets Back to Business After a challenging weekend, Rice’s Vice President for Administration Kevin Kirby felt confident the uni- versity had passed the test posed by Hurricane Ike, the most serious storm the campus has seen in decades. “It’s a judgment call as to what we call ‘normal- cy,’ but I think we’ll be there by Monday,” he said a few days after the hurricane, looking at blue skies through the windows in his Allen Center office. “We don’t have any building we can’t use, though we had damage to almost every build- ing,” he said. “Most of the problems are with windows and roofs — nothing that would keep us from operating or using the buildings.” Several construction projects, including the new Rice Children’s Campus on Chaucer Drive and the Collaborative Research Center at the cor- ner of Main Street and University Boulevard, suf- fered minor damage that was expected to only minimally delay their completion. “The biggest challenge to all the construc- tion is that the labor force was significantly re- duced in the week post-Ike,” said Barbara White Bryson, vice president for Facilities, Engineering and Planning (FE&P). The “R” Room at Rice Stadium sustained some damage, but other athletic facilities came through the storm fine. “Rice Stadium has been standing since 1951, and it’s not going any- where,” said Athletics Director Chris Del Conte, who added that the baseball stadium and Autry Court, which is nearing the completion of its renovation, also are in good shape. Bryson said it will take some time to fix the “R” Room, as six windows facing the football stadium were blown out by Ike, and the inte- rior sustained substantial water damage. It was among the initial buildings to get attention from FE&P cleanup crews. “Our first-response tasks were to maintain infrastructure, address life-safety issues, board up windows where they were broken and clean up the largest water-intrusion areas,” Bryson said. “We had water in a few basements, most seriously over at Brown College. Those kinds of things had to be attended to right away. Happily, we kept power to most of the campus all the way through the event.” On a scale of one to 10, she said, Ike probably was a three for Rice in overall impact. “But it’s the kind of event,” Bryson said, “that we end up dealing with for weeks and months in an effort to get everybody back to normal operations.” —Mike Williams 6 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
  9. 9. HURRICANE Ike Rice Students Ride Out Ike When Will Rice College freshman Hannah Thalenberg decided to attend Rice last year, she never thought her first month on campus would be so exciting. “My mom in Atlanta knew I was safe at Rice during Hurricane Ike, and my dad in Brazil was ecstatic,” Thalenberg said. “My dad said that our Polish ancestors could never have imagined a Thalenberg riding out a hurricane. I’m first-generation!” To pass the time, Thalenberg said, about a half-dozen students made cookies with Paula Krisko, a master at Will Rice, while others played games, watched movies or read. Excitement appeared to be the sentiment of most Rice un- dergraduate students hunkered down in their respective colleges. Most said Rice was well-prepared with water, food and shelter. “Rice is the safest place in Houston to be,” said Annie Kuntz, Sid Richardson College sophomore. She is from Houston and decided to stay on campus rather than return to her parents’ home on the north side. “You know Rice is going to have power, being so close to the Texas Medical Center.” For Jones freshman Brianna Mulrooney of New Jersey, this wasn’t her first brush with a hurricane. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd dumped 15 inches of rain on the upper East Coast, killing 57 people. “This hurricane was very much like Floyd,” said Mulrooney, who, along with Kuntz and many others at Rice, donated blood to a Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center that was set up in Farnsworth Pavilion. Making the best of it was the mantra of the day. An unconfirmed but widely spread report said certain Martel College students were flying kites during the tropical storm-force winds that preceded the hurricane. Also unconfirmed are reports that the Martel kites had special messages written on them for Jones College residents. “Most of us were having a good time and making the best of the situation,” said Brown College senior June Hu of Katy, Texas. “We saw Shepherd School students practicing a quartet in the Rice Memorial Center, so it put us in the mood to watch the movie ‘Titanic.’” Both Hu and Brown senior Kevin Liu commented on the eerie sounds of Hurricane Ike. “We couldn’t see what was going on out- side, but we could hear it,” said Liu, of San Antonio, Texas. Like all other undergraduate Rice students, Hu and Liu left their rooms to take shelter in hallways or other interior areas within build- ings and away from glass when the actual storm hit campus. “We were in the hallways from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.,” Liu said, “and I don’t think most of us slept much.” While undergraduate students stayed at their colleges, graduate students who lived in Rice housing or mandatory evacuation zones were sheltered at Janice and Robert McNair Hall and Rice Memorial Center until Monday. Rice officials had to inspect and secure the apartment buildings, due to downed power lines and 15-pound roof tiles that were a potential threat. “It was frustrating because we really wanted to get back to our apartments Saturday to have access to our clothing, food and other items,” said Andrew Staupe, a Shepherd School of Music graduate student from Minnesota. “At the same time, we knew that they wanted to make sure it was safe for us to go back.” —David Ruth Rice Magazine • No. 1 • 2008 7
  10. 10. Alumni Go Long to Keep Rice Water Pumping It’s not often that you see football players turn into water boys, but it may be the most important play these two former Owls ever made for Rice. It started when the city lost its pumping station at Trinity River, which feeds the water treatment plants in Houston. When water pressure started to drop on campus, Rice turned to its backup well, but the pump motor burned out during an electrical surge. “It was never a drinking-water issue — we had plenty of bottled water,” said Kevin Kirby, vice president for admin- istration. “We needed water for sanitary reasons, for toilets and showers. We needed water for the boilers so we could From Design Kitchen to Medical Triage Center produce steam and hot water for cooking and cleaning. And we needed water to run the air-conditioning system — the It may have happened by chance rather than design, but Rice’s newly chillers and the cooling tower. After the safety of our stu- completed Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, with its quiet, climate- dents and employees, water pressure turned out to be our controlled atmosphere, proved to be the perfect location for an emergency biggest concern during this whole storm.” medical triage center. The center was organized through a collabora- Enter Rice Athletics Director Chris Del Conte. “I was tive effort among Rice and Memorial Hermann, St. Luke’s, Ben Taub and in a conference call with the Crisis Management Team, Methodist hospitals. About 70 physicians, assistant physicians, nurses and and one of the things that came up was the well,” he said. paramedics who came from the Houston area and as far away as New Jersey, “We needed a massive motor. My first thought was that Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida treated about 250 patients a day, trying to get water must be like trying to get oil, and we most suffering from low-acuity ailments such as bruises, bumps and rashes have a lot of former students working in the oil industry. or needing further information about resources. If anybody knows how to get something from 1,600 feet —Jessica Stark underground, it would be those guys.” Learn more about the Rice triage center by visiting: Del Conte put in a phone call to former football play- › › › tinyurl.com/4m69 v y ers John Huff ’69 and Jay Collins ’68 of Oceaneering International Inc., a Houston company that supplies prod- ucts to the offshore oil and gas industries. Collins succeed- ed Huff as president and CEO of the company in 2006. The former Owls had a 2,500-pound motor as- sembly in Tennessee, and they wasted no time in mak- ing arrangements to get it to Rice. Two members of the Rice University Police Department, Jim Baylor and Niraj Rajbhandari, were dispatched to meet the delivery truck halfway, in Morgan City, La., to escort it to campus. It was installed soon after it arrived. —Mike Williams Photos: Matt Dunaway Disaster Day Camp With power out across much of the Houston area in the wake of Hurricane Ike, Rice coaches and student–athletes offered sports day camps for the Instrument shop worker Terry Phillips, left, and supervisor Carl Riedel children of Rice faculty and staff whose schools were closed. stand with the pump motor that was shipped from Tennessee to Rice by former Rice football players John Huff and Jay Collins of Oceaneering International Inc. Images from the camps can be viewed at: › › › tinyurl.com/4 4tely 8 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
  11. 11. HURRICANE Ike Parents Respond to President’s Messages “We continue to be impressed with Rice’s emergency readiness — actually, we are impressed with everything about Rice and its leadership.” —Margaret Swartz Before, during and after Hurricane Ike, Rice President David Leebron made it a priority to post notices on the university’s Web site to describe the conditions on campus and reassure stu- dents’ parents that their sons and daughters were safe. His efforts were rewarded with a number of grateful e-mail responses from parents. Here is a sampling: “My daughter is a freshman and 1,650 miles away “My wife and I have many friends, family members from home. Your reassuring e-mails and the timely and colleagues in the Houston area. Of all of them, Web site updates, as well as the reports from my “ If our children are our daughter — the Rice student — was the one daughter regarding all the precautions taken, were about whom we had the least worries.” extremely comforting. The sense of community remarkable it is, in part, —Steve Altchuler eased the anxieties both on campus and off.” because they have “We want to thank you and the entire Rice commu- received a remark- —Susan Corkett nity for ensuring the safety and well-being of all Rice “Although I wanted my daughter to come home to Austin as Ike approached, she chose to stay able education at Rice students during this past weekend. Even though our son is living off campus this year, it was so comforting on campus. Between the Rice Web site, your University, both inside to know that he and his roommates were welcome reassuring e-mail messages and cryptic text mes- and expected back at Jones during the storm.” sages from my daughter, I knew during the whole and outside the class- —Ann and Louis Gilbert weekend that she was safe and well cared for. In retrospect, I’m glad she stayed on campus as she room. Thank you for “We live thousands of miles from Houston in the had the opportunity to have a positive growing ex- perience during the hurricane and got to see how a keeping them safe and small country of Serbia. You can only imagine our anxiety as this terrible natural disaster stormed community can work together to protect itself and for instilling in them the through your city and state. I had no way of com- do the right thing.” —Denise C. Fischer importance of coming municating with my son, and the only bright lights in that long night were the constant updates on the to the aid of those less Rice University Web site. Your letters calmed me, a “We know that Rice cares about its students’ well- helpless mother so far away from her child. Thank being more than it does about the university’s rank- fortunate.” you and all the other people at Rice who remained ing, performance and achievement. We appreciate with our children and helped them unconditionally all the devotion you put into the campus.” — Marci Waters and C. J. Steuernagel throughout the storm and its aftermath.” —David and Fen Wang —Zorica Nakic and Boban Zivojinovic Rice Magazine • No. 1 • 2008 9
  12. 12. Imagine trying to glean useful information from pro- cesses that take millions of years or from objects so far away they can’t be seen. Welcome to the world — or, rather, the universe — of the astronomer. Sometimes, though, ingenuity can help bridge even interstellar dis- The tances and shed light on the unknown. “Precisely how and when planets form is an open Universe question,” said Rice astronomer Christopher Johns- Krull. “One theory is that the disc-shaped clouds in a Grain of dust around newly formed stars condense into microscopic grains of sand that eventually clump into of Sand pebbles, boulders and whole planets.” Johns-Krull is a member of an international team that analyzed a binary star system using data collected during the past 12 years from a dozen observatories around the world. The team’s findings may help explain how Earthlike planets form. The researchers looked at a pair of stars called KH-15D in the Cone Nebula (image at left). The stars are about 2,400 light-years from Earth, and they are only about 3 million years old, compared to the sun’s 4.5 billion years. But the stars’ youth wasn’t their only important feature. “We were attracted to this system because it ap- pears bright and dim at different times, which is odd,” Johns-Krull said. This hinted at a situation that might allow the researchers to directly observe processes taking place near the stars, which normally is dif- ficult because glare from a star obscures its nearby region. Until now, astronomers have used infrared heat signals, instead of direct observation, to identify microscopic dust particles around distant stars, but the method isn’t precise enough to tell astronomers just how big the particles become and how closely they orbit their star. KH-15D offered a solution. The researchers found that the Earth has a nearly edge-on view of KH-15D. From this perspective, the disc of dust surrounding the system blocks one of the stars from view, but its twin has an eccentric orbit that causes it to rise above the disc at regular intervals. When it rises above the disc, its light reflects off the dust, allowing the researchers to take photometric and spectrographic readings to determine the dust’s composition and chemical makeup. “One theory is that the The results were the first measured evidence of disc-shaped clouds small, sandy particles orbiting a newborn solar system of dust around newly at about the same distance as the Earth orbits the sun. formed stars condense The research was funded by NASA and the Keck into microscopic grains Foundation, and the report was published online in of sand that eventually the journal Nature. clump into pebbles, —Jade Boyd boulders and whole planets.” Nature article: › › › tinyurl.com/ 5ojsv f —Christopher Johns-Krull Animation of KH-15D: › › › tinyurl.com/6c5aaf 10 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
  13. 13. THROUGH THE Sallyport Ron Parry’s favorite destination has a name: It’s called “the middle of nowhere.” Nothing makes the full-time Rice chemistry professor and part- time environmental activist happier than wandering through uncharted wilderness areas. “I don’t really think of it as taking a vacation,” he said. “It’s more like ‘revisiting reality.’” Parry has been exploring those places “least overrun with human artifacts” since the 1960s, but his passion for wilderness areas really began in his early teens. “I grew up in Los Angeles, and we had a big yard with lots of plants and foliage,” he said. “I became fasci- nated by the interplay between science and the natural world.” As he grew older, the self-proclaimed desert rat explored England during his postdoctoral fellowship and spent some time in Costa Rica, but he developed a particular affinity for the rugged terrain and arid environment of the American Southwest. He spends plenty of time in Arizona and Nevada, but, like a true adventurer, he also loves the lure of unexplored territory. He takes the bait as often as possible, usually during a semester or midterm break. In choosing where to go, Parry finds a sufficiently intriguing “vacant area on the map” and heads out. These days, he avoids heavy equipment and backpacks and prefers to use his car as a base camp. Parry has become deft at packing his gear, which usually includes a sleeping bag, food and water, a tent, first aid materials, clothing, a hat, sunscreen, wildlife guidebooks, maps and “something interesting to read.” He got lost once in a little-known section of the Grand A Place Canyon and found his way out — dangerously dehydrat- ed — a day and half later, so he carries a global position- ing system now, too. Parry’s trips usually last for nine or in the Sun 10 days, mostly because it takes him “about three days to slow down.” He also travels alone for the most part. “The key is to pay attention,” he said, “and that’s usually easier to do when you’re by yourself.” Parry may walk 10 miles in a day, but he’s not walking to log distance. Rather, he walks to satisfy his curiosity as he watches the unspoiled world unfold in its daily dance around him. Sometimes, the world surprises him, as it did during a recent trip to 120,000 acres of Arizona wilderness. Parry was resting next to a spring when he spotted something astonishing. The hillside next to him was covered in Native American artwork — drawings of horses, birds and other animals, of humans and deities and cultural symbols. The petroglyphs hadn’t been charted in any guidebook, and that was fine with him: Less publicity means fewer opportunities for vandalism and exploitation. While discoveries like these are exciting, they aren’t the only reasons Parry traverses the unknown. “What I get from these trips is mostly intangible,” Parry said. “It provides perspective, and it allows me to disconnect the electronic umbilical cord. That’s satisfy- ing in its own right.” —Merin Porter Rice Magazine • No. 1 • 2008 11
  14. 14. Gift Boosts Biomedical Research Pictured from left are Virginia and L. E. Simmons of the Virginia and L.E. Simmons Family Foundation; David Leebron, president of Rice University; Mark Wallace, president and CEO of Texas Children’s Hospital; and Ron Girotto, president and CEO of the Methodist Hospital System. “The health of nations is more important than commitments this city has ever made toward breakthrough research that will the wealth of nations,” wrote philosopher and help people throughout the world.” Simmons is president and founder historian Will Durant. That may be, but mod- of SCF Partners, an investment firm that provides management expertise to en- ern biomedical research often takes substan- ergy service companies. He also is presi- dent of L.E. Simmons and Associates, a tial financial backing — the kind Rice recently private equity fund manager and general received from the Virginia and L.E. Simmons partner of SCF. He serves as chairman of Oil States International Inc., a leading Family Foundation. global provider of specialty products and services to oil and gas drilling and production companies. Virginia Simmons The $3 million, five-year gift will enable programs that can be sustained by is vice president of the Simmons Family Rice University, Texas Children’s Hospital the National Institutes of Health, the Foundation, which supports religion, art and the Methodist Hospital Research National Science Foundation and other and culture organizations, education, Institute to work together on biomedical sources of competitive funding. and youth and medical associations. —B.J. Almond research aimed at discovering new ways to treat disease and benefit the health of both children and adults. “The future of biomedical research will involve skills and knowledge that “The future of biomedical research will in- draw from highly specialized and volve skills and knowledge that draw from premier institutions,” said L. E. Simmons, highly specialized and premier institutions. president of the Simmons Family In the end, it will be the people working Foundation and a trustee of all three of together who will make the discoveries these Texas Medical Center institutions. that change people’s lives. We want to help “In the end, it will be people working together who will make the discoveries make it happen.” —L. E. Simmons that change people’s lives. We want to help make it happen.” The fund is intended to assist researchers who have new ideas, Simmons said he is excited about junior researchers who do not yet have each of the three institutions’ commit- funding and experienced researchers ment to research. “Collectively, they are Learn more: who might not otherwise collaborate spending nearly a billion dollars on facil- › › › www.rice.edu/go?id= 0 01 with the other institutions. Ideally, ities, equipment and resources to begin the projects supported by the fund new biomedical research,” he said. “It will develop into successful research may well be one of the most important 12 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
  15. 15. THROUGH THE Sallyport Dog Days When Colleen Dutton, director of compensation and employee relations for Rice’s Office of Human Resources, went to look for her copy of the latest Rice a great place to learn is also a great place to work? Magazine, she found her 2-year-old terrier/ Chihuahua, Macy, already relaxing with it Rice’s reputation as a first-rate educational institution has again on the sofa. been complemented by its reputation as a great place to work. For the third year in a row, Rice made the Houston Business Journal’s list of “Houston’s Best Places to Work” in the category of businesses with more than 500 employees. The winners were determined by responses of employees who completed an on- line survey measuring a variety of attributes associated with employee satisfaction and involvement with the workplace. High-Flying Records Rice faculty member and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson ’86 has broken a few things during her two stints aboard the International Space Station, but nobody is complaining. Whitson, who served as the space station’s first-ever science officer her previous time aloft, broke the gender barrier this past spring as the station’s first female commander. She also broke the record for cumulative time in space for a U.S. astronaut, topping Mike Foale’s previous record of 374 days by two days. In addition, Whitson performed five spacewalks during the most recent expedition, for a total of six career spacewalks encompassing 32 hours, 36 minutes. It’s an out-of-this-world accomplishment that puts her 20th on the all-time list — the highest ranking by a female astronaut. Cyber Sleuth The set of letters written by Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, looked innocuous enough on the auction house Web site. But Lynda Crist immediately smelled a rat. Crist, editor of Rice’s Jefferson Davis Papers project, knew the documents, worth $15,000, actually belonged to Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky., because she had microfilmed them for inclusion in one of the project’s volumes. Among the items were letters and notes written by Davis and his wife, Varina, dated from 1847 to 1898. The documents had gone missing in 1994. After Crist notified Transylvania University of her find, the university contacted the auction house and the police. Eugene Zollman, a Jefferson Davis impersonator who researched documents to make his impressions more authentic, was charged with theft of major artwork. Rice Magazine • No. 1 • 2008 13
  16. 16. Next-Gen Wireless When Rice computer scientist Edward Knightly and his graduate stu- dent Joseph Camp began to design and build an experimental wire- less network in 2003, they thought they were working on a model of how broadband wireless Internet might one day be provided to whole cities. Little did they know how far their network would reach. The network they built, centered in East Houston’s working-class may be able to manage chronic conditions more effectively. Pecan Park neighborhood, uses a new technology that is more Lin Zhong, a Rice assistant professor in electrical and comput- efficient and less costly to operate than the Wi-Fi gear currently er engineering, is examining another of the network’s unrealized used in homes and businesses. potentials by laying the foundation for long-term field studies in “We are supporting more than 4,000 users in three square the community. kilometers with a fully programmable custom wireless network,” “My group is interested in how mobile devices like cell said Knightly. “This allows us to dem- phones can provide IT access to under- onstrate our research advances at an served communities,” Zhong said, “par- operational scale.” ticularly when they are coupled with The project has drawn the atten- low-cost wireless broadband networks.” tion of the National Science Foundation, TFA President and CEO Will Reed which recently awarded $1.5 million to said that when his organization first a Rice-led research team for the expan- joined the project, he had no idea that sion of the network and the design it would lead medical researchers, and testing of experimental mobile anthropologists and other researchers systems — and something else: health- to take such a keen interest in Pecan monitoring devices. Collaborating on the Park. “The community isn’t the kind of five-year project are researchers from the well-to-do neighborhood where this Methodist Hospital Research Institute, the type of technology typically would be nonprofit Technology For All (TFA) and Edward Knightly and Joseph Camp rolled out,” he said. “As a result, people the University of Houston’s Abramson are knocking down our door to find out Center for the Future of Health. how our residents are using the network, what they think of it The researchers will examine how patients with chronic and how it’s affecting them.” diseases can use next-generation wireless networks, cell phones —Jade Boyd and health sensors to participate in their own medical treatment. Using sensors, patients with congestive heart failure, asthma or metabolic syndrome will be able to painlessly and noninvasively take stock of several key aspects of their health status on a Learn more: daily basis. For example, an early design, called Blue Box, can › › › www.rice.edu/go?id=002 compare current readings with a patient’s history and provide im- › › › www.techforall.org/tfa_wireless.html mediate, user-friendly feedback. By taking medical readings ev- ery day, rather than only during physician visits or crises, doctors 14 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
  17. 17. THROUGH THE Sallyport U.S. District Judge Rosenthal Joins Rice Board of Trustees U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal has been elected to the Rice University Board of Trustees. She has served the Houston division of the Southern District of Texas since 1992. “Lee Rosenthal has outstanding experience in public service, the high- est stature as a jurist and savvy judgment,” said Jim Crownover ’65, chairman of the Rice Board of Trustees. “Her insight and experience will richly benefit the university and everyone we serve.” In addition to presiding over a busy docket, Rosenthal chairs the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, “The community isn’t the kind of well-to-do to which she was appointed in 2007 by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. The neighborhood where this type of technology committee supervises the rule-making typically would be rolled out. As a result, process in the federal courts and over- sees and coordinates the work of the people are knocking down our door to find out Advisory Committees on the Federal Rules of Evidence and of Civil, Criminal, how our residents are using the network, what Bankruptcy and Appellate Procedure. they think of it and how it’s affecting them.” Prior to 2007, Rosenthal was a member, then chair, of the Judicial Conference —Will Reed Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Chief Justice Judge Lee H. Rosenthal William Rehnquist appointed Rosenthal to that committee in 1996 and as chair in 2003. Under Rosenthal’s leadership, the discovery rules were amended to address the impact of changes in information technology in 2006. In 2007, the entire set of civil rules was edited to be clearer and simpler without changing substantive meaning. The work clarifying and simplifying the rules used in the trial courts won the committee the 2007 “Reform in Law” Award from the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement, an award issued with the Library of Congress and the Law Library of Congress. “We are truly fortunate to have Judge Rosenthal as the newest member of our board,” said Rice President David Leebron. “She has a reputation of being a thoughtful, dedicated and decisive leader, and she is widely known as one of the most outstanding judges in the country. Her experience and judgment will be invaluable to Rice as we continue to pursue our high ambitions as an international research university.” The Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists se- lected Rosenthal as trial judge of the year in 2000 and 2006. She has received the Houston Bar Association’s highest bar-poll evaluation for judges three times — in 1999, 2005 and 2007. Rosenthal is a member of the board of editors for the Manual for Complex Litigation, published by the Federal Judicial Center. She is a member of the American Law Institute (ALI) and was recently elected to its council. She serves as an adviser for the ALI’s Aggregate Litigation Project and Rules of Transnational Civil Procedure Project. Rosenthal has several connections to Rice. Her mother, Ferne Hyman, was assistant university librarian at Fondren Library until her retirement in 1999. Her father, Harold M. Hyman, is the William P. Hobby Professor Emeritus of History at Rice. Her husband, Gary Rosenthal, is a member of Leebron’s President’s Advisory Board. Rice Magazine • No. 1 • 2008 15
  18. 18. NANO NEWS Today, the hunt is on in earnest for viable alternative fuels to power automobiles. One of the most promising is hydrogen, which is so clean- Tiny burning and abundant that the U.S. Department of Energy has devoted Buckyballs more than $1 billion to developing technologies for hydrogen-powered automobiles. But there is a snag. Because hydrogen is the lightest ele- Squeeze ment in the universe, it is very difficult to store in bulk. It is estimated Hydrogen that a hydrogen-powered car with the range of a gasoline-powered car Like Giant would require a storage system that could hold the element at densities greater than those found in pure liquid hydrogen. That’s a pretty strong Jupiter container, but Rice materials scientists may have found it, and it’s a lot smaller than expected. Buckyball small. Materials scientists at “Based on our calculations, it ap- “These bonds are what make diamond Rice University have pears that some buckyballs are the hardest known substance, and our made the surprising dis- capable of holding volumes of hy- research showed that it takes an enor- covery that buckyballs drogen so dense as to be almost mous amount of internal pressure to are so strong they can metallic,” said lead researcher deform and break the carbon-carbon hold volumes of hydro- Boris Yakobson, professor of bonds in a fullerene.” gen nearly as dense as mechanical engineering and ma- If a feasible way to produce hy- those at the center of terials science at Rice. “It drogen-filled buckyballs is Jupiter. appears they can hold developed, Yakobson said, it about 8 percent of might be possible to store their weight in hy- them as a powder. drogen at room “They will likely temperature, assemble into weak mo- which is consid- lecular crystals or form erably better than a thin powder,” he said. th e fe d e ra l ta r- “They might find use in get of 6 percent.” their whole form or be In layman’s terms, punctured under certain that’s nearly as dense conditions to release pure as the pressures at the hydrogen for fuel cells or oth- center of Jupiter. er types of engines.” Yakobson said scientists have The research, which was support- long argued the merits of stor- ed by the Office of Naval Research and ing hydrogen in tiny molecular the U.S. Department of Energy, ap- containers like buckyballs, and peared on the cover of the American experiments have shown that it’s Chemical Society’s journal Nano possible to store small volumes Letters. of hydrogen inside buckyballs. —Jade Boyd The new research by Yakobson LEARN MORE: and former postdoctoral research- ›› › tinyurl.com/55emea ers Olga Pupysheva and Amir Farajian offers the first method of precisely calculating how much hy- drogen a buckyball can hold before breaking. “Bonds between carbon atoms are among the strongest chemical bonds in nature,” Yakobson said. 16 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
  19. 19. THROUGH THE Sallyport Paper, Plastic or Nano? What do you do when you have a mess? You bag it up suspended in water became encapsu- lated because of the structures’ tendency and throw it away. But some messes — such as an oil to align their carbon ends facing the oil. spill — can’t be disposed of so easily. Or maybe they can. By reversing the conditions — suspending water droplets in oil — the team was able to coax the gold ends to face inward and Meet nanobatons: multisegmented nano- step closer to reality.” encase the water. wires that are made by connecting two The tendency of nanobatons to as- “For oil droplets suspended in water, nanomaterials with different properties. semble in water-oil mixtures derives from the spheres give off a light yellow color Mechanical engineering and materials sci- basic chemistry. The gold end of the wire because of the exposed gold ends,” Ou entist Pulickel Ajayan and his colleagues said. “With water droplets, we observe a were working with one combination dark sphere due to the protruding black — carbon nanotubes that they fused to In a development that nanotubes.” short segments of gold — when they no- could lead to new tech- The team is preparing to test whether ticed something peculiar. The nanobatons chemical modifications to the nanobatons spontaneously assembled by the tens of nologies for cleaning up could result in spheres that can not only millions into spherical sacs as large as oil spills and polluted capture but also break down oily chemi- BB pellets around droplets of oil in wa- groundwater, scientists cals. Another option would be to attach ter. Even better, the researchers found that drugs whose release can be controlled ultraviolet light and magnetic fields could at Rice University have with an external stimulus. be used to flip the nanoparticles, causing shown how tiny, stick- The research, which was supported by the bags to instantly turn inside out and shaped particles of metal Rice University, Applied Materials Inc. and release their cargo. the New York State Foundation for Science, Ajayan says that by adding various oth- and carbon can trap Technology and Innovation, was published er segments — like sections of nickel or oil droplets in water by online in the American Chemical Society’s other materials — the researchers can cre- journal Nano Letters. ate truly multifunctional nanostructures. spontaneously assem- —Jade Boyd “The core of the nanotechnology revolu- bling into bag-like sacs. tion lies in designing inorganic nanopar- ticles that can self-assemble into larger structures like a ‘smart dust’ that performs is water-loving, or hydrophilic, while the L E A R N M O R E : different functions in the world — for ex- carbon end is water-averse, or hydropho- › › › tinyurl.com/5b3n9j ample, cleaning up pollution,” Ajayan said. bic. Ajayan, graduate student Fung Suong “Our approach brings the concept of self- Ou and postdoctoral researcher Shaijumon assembling, functional nanomaterials one Manikoth demonstrated that oil droplets Rice Magazine • No. 1 • 2008 17
  20. 20. “Dan has the combination of research, teaching and management skills that will help Rice take another giant step forward in the natural sciences arena.” —David Leebron Dan Carson Carson Appointed Dean of Natural Sciences Dan Carson, currently the Trustees Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware, has been appointed dean of Rice University’s Wiess School of Natural Sciences. He will succeed Kathy Matthews when she relinquishes the Since becoming department chair in 1998, Carson has position Dec. 31 after serving as dean for 10 years. Matthews recruited 17 faculty members and developed a robust research will continue to do research as Rice’s Stewart Memorial program, with external research funding increasing from Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. $1.5 million to $10 million. His comprehensive revision of “I am thrilled to welcome the graduate program has a gifted scientist like Dan resulted in four times as Carson to Rice’s leadership many graduate students as team,” said President David “We have developed a culture of mutual respect the department enrolled 10 Leebron. “Following in Kathy here. The faculty and staff feel that they can years ago. He also has built Matthews’ footsteps is a express their views, that they will be heard and collaborations with other daunting task, but Dan has biomedical research institu- the combination of research, that things will happen.” tions in the region as well as teaching and management —Dan Carson with the university’s College skills that will help Rice take of Engineering. another giant step forward Carson, who also will in the natural sciences arena. We look to Dan to continue to serve as a professor of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice, drive the research that has made Rice a leader across a broad is a reproductive biologist. His research interests focus on range of endeavors and that will make a difference for our the molecular basis by which mammalian embryos implant students, our university, our city and the world.” into the uterine wall. His work earned him a prestigious At the University of Delaware in Newark, Carson manages National Institutes of Health MERIT Award in 2002. a department with 40 faculty members, 1,000 undergraduate Carson’s wife, Mary C. Farach-Carson, is a professor of majors, 80 graduate students and 24 support staff. Scientist biological sciences and materials sciences at the University of magazine recently named the University of Delaware one of Delaware. She has been appointed associate vice provost for the top places to work in life sciences. research at Rice. The Carsons have four children, the youngest “We have developed a culture of mutual respect here,” of whom will finish high school next year. Carson said. “The faculty and staff feel that they can express their views, that they will be heard and that things —B.J. Almond will happen.” F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N : › › › www.rice.edu/go?id=008 18 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
  21. 21. THROUGH THE Sallyport Space Medicine Webcast from Mt. Everest The International Space Medicine Summit II, held at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, featured panels on space medicine, human performance and solar radiation risks for lunar operations. A highlight was a live videoconference from 17,550 feet on Mount Everest with Dr. Christian Otto, expedition medical lead for the Canadian Mount Everest Medical Operations Expedition 2008. The expedition’s mission is to prepare for emergency medical management on long-duration space missions. VIEW THE WEBCAST HERE : › › › www.rice.edu/go?id= 004 Chip Off the Old Block Parochial Bacterial Viruses Rice University computer engineers have created a way to design Biologists examining ecosystems similar to those that integrated circuits that contain many individual selves. The chips existed on Earth more than 3 billion years ago have made can assume different identities, depending on the user’s needs. a surprising discovery: Viruses that infect bacteria are The new method enables programmers to strategically reconfigure sometimes parochial and unrelated to their counterparts application-specific integrated circuits while preserving advantages in other regions of the globe. such as speed and low power. The chips could be used for en- hanced device security, content provisioning, application metering, L E A R N M O R E : device optimization and many other design tasks. › › › www.rice.edu/go?id= 007 L E A R N M O R E : ››› www.rice.edu/go?id= 005 Single-Molecule Sensing Many of us have difficulty finding our car keys in the morning, so trying to sense a single molecule sounds daunting, no matter what time of day. But don’t try telling that to a group of research- ers at Rice’s Quantum Magnetism Laboratory and Laboratory for Nanophotonics. L E A R N M O R E : ››› www.rice.edu/go?id= 00 3 Chipping Away at Chip Pirates Pirated microchips — chips stolen from legitimate factories or made from stolen blueprints — account for billions of dol- lars in annual losses to chipmakers. But a series of techniques developed at Rice could stop pirates by locking chips with a unique ID tag that can be activated only by the patent-holder — making knockoffs and stolen chips worthless. L E A R N M O R E : › › › www.rice.edu/go?id= 006 Rice Magazine • No. 1 • 2008 19
  22. 22. TISSUE ENGINEERING SPOTLIGHT ON TISSUE ENGINEERING Replacing or repairing damaged or diseased tissue with healthy tissue is one of bioengineering’s goals. The results are even better if the healthy tissue is grown from the patient’s own body because that minimizes the risk of rejection. Discoveries by Rice bioengineers may help point the way. “Previous research has shown that carbon nanotubes give added strength to polymer scaffolds, but this is the first study to examine the performance of these materials in an animal model.” —Antonios Mikos Secret Ingredient Aids Bone Growth nanotubes. Nanotubes usually are a thou- sand times longer than they are wide, but the researchers used shorter segments that For much of his career, bioengineer Antonios Mikos has worked with porous, bio- have fared well in prior cytocompatibility degradable materials called scaffolds, which act as patterns and support for the re- studies. growth of bone tissue. With the right chemical and physical cues, bone cells adjacent While there was no notable difference to the scaffold can be coaxed into producing new bone. As the bone grows over the in performance of the two materials at four scaffold, the scaffold degrades, leaving nothing but the new bone. weeks, the nanotube composites exhibited up to threefold greater bone ingrowth after 12 weeks. And surprisingly, at 12 weeks, “Ideally, a scaffold should be highly porous, the composites contained about two-thirds nontoxic and biodegradable, yet strong as much bone tissue as nearby native enough to bear the structural load of the bone, while the straight PPF contained bone that will eventually replace it,” said only about one-fifth as much. Mikos, who is director of Rice’s Center for Mikos said the results indicate that the Excellence in Tissue Engineering. He’s also composites may go beyond being passive the lead researcher for a breakthrough study guides and take an active role in promoting that found that the growing bone can be en- bone growth. The researchers don’t know hanced by sprinkling stick-like nanoparticles why this is, though Mikos postulated that throughout the scaffolding material. changes in surface chemistry, strength or “Previous research has shown that other factors might be responsible. The team carbon nanotubes give added strength to is conducting further studies to find out. polymer scaffolds,” Mikos said, “but this is The research was funded by the the first study to examine the performance National Institutes of Health, the National of these materials in an animal model.” Science Foundation, the Welch Foundation The researchers implanted two kinds and Rice’s J. Evans-Attwell Postdoctoral of scaffolds into rabbits. One type was Fellows Program. made of a biodegradable plastic called —B.J. Almond poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF), which has performed well in previous experiments. L E A R N M O R E : The second was made of 99.5 percent › › › tinyurl.com/5fwcly PPF and 0.5 percent single-walled carbon 20 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
  23. 23. THROUGH THE Sallyport The Pressure Is On ” Rice University graduate student Benjamin Elder displays a disk of cartilage that was grown using a new high-pressure technique. Think of the body’s most important structural element. Bones, right? Not so fast. approach of using unnaturally high pres- Cartilage, the stuff between the bones, is pretty important, too, since it acts as both sure stemmed from insights gained dur- a lubricant and a shock absorber during joint movement. Unfortunately, this damage- ing years of previous experiments. prone tissue can’t heal itself, and injured cartilage often serves as the focal point for “By combining high pressure and growth factors,” Elder said, “we were arthritis formation. able to more than triple the biomechani- cal properties of the cartilage. We’re not Cartilage’s stiffness, strength and other Medicine under Rice and Baylor’s Medical sure why they reinforce one another, but mechanical properties derive not from Scientist Training Program. we do not get the same results when we living cartilage cells but from the densely In the study, Elder took samples of apply them independently.” woven matrix of collagen and proteogly- cartilage from calves’ knees, dissolved the The process results in an engineered can that surrounds them. This extracel- ECM and isolated the living cartilage cells, cartilage with properties nearly identical lular matrix (ECM) is produced during or chondrocytes. The chondrocytes were to that of native cartilage. Even better, cartilage development in children, but used to create tissue-engineered cartilage, the new method, which requires no stem this ability lapses in adulthood. Tissue which was then placed in a chemical bath cells, holds promise for growing tissues engineers have long sought a means of growth factors and sealed inside soft to repair bladders, blood vessels, kidneys, of growing new cartilage that can be plastic containers. The containers were heart valves, bones and more. So far, transplanted into adults, but unfortu- placed inside a pressure chamber and the process has yet to be tested in live nately, cartilage is difficult to engineer, squeezed for an hour a day at pressures animals, and Athanasiou cautions that it in part because it has no natural healing equivalent to those at half a mile beneath will be several years before the process is processes to mimic. the ocean’s surface. ready for clinical testing in humans. Rice bioengineer Kyriacos Athanasiou, “Our knees are filled with fluid, and —Jade Boyd whose Musculoskeletal Bioengineering when we walk or run, the hydrostatic Laboratory has focused on cartilage for pressure on the cartilage cells in the knee L E A R N M O R E : more than 10 years, might have found a approaches the pressures we used in our › › › tinyurl.com/4u57pt way around that by applying a little pres- experiments,” Elder said. “But in daily sure. Actually, a lot of pressure. The new activities, these pressures are fleeting, just findings are based on three years of data a second or so at a time.” collected by graduate student Benjamin Most of the prevailing strategies in Elder, who is simultaneously earning a tissue engineering attempt to reproduce doctorate in bioengineering at Rice and the conditions that cells experience in the a medical degree at Baylor College of body. Athanasiou said the unconventional Rice Magazine • No. 1 • 2008 21
  24. 24. A New Catalyst for Students Rice undergrads are well known for their brains and work ethic, and at Rice, they have plenty of opportunities to work side by side with researchers and graduate students in laboratories across campus. Can a student-produced science journal be far behind? Meet Catalyst: Rice Undergraduate Science Review, dedicated to highlighting and encouraging the undergraduate research experience at Rice. For a Q&A with Catalyst’s founders, visit: › ›› www.rice.edu/go?id=009 Catalyst on the Web: › ›› catalyst.rice.edu To inquire about receiving copies of Catalyst, e-mail: › ›› catalyst@rice.edu Catalyst editors, from left: Yohan Moon, Patricia Bacalao, Ye Jin Kang, Lisa Sun and David Ouyang. The Class of 2008 Rice’s 95th graduating class included 732 undergraduates, 22 undergraduate professionals and 686 graduate students. The largest number of doctoral degrees — 186 — were conferred, and a number of students graduated with multi- ple degrees, bringing the total number of degrees awarded to 1,490. 22 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine