Approximately 18 million people in the U.S. have an alcohol use disorder (AUD), according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Alcohol consumption can lead to such symptoms as blurred vision, impaired memory and gait, decreased reaction time and slurred speech, which can become evident after just one or two drinks and diminish after drinking has ceased. However, for those who have an AUD or participate in binge episodes, alcohol consumption may lead to long-term brain deficits that linger long after drinking. As a result, methods to help recover from alcohol-induced cognitive insufficiencies are of importance to clinicians. Dr. J. Leigh Leasure, associate professor of developmental psychology and Director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Lab in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston (UH), received a $407,500 award from the NIAAA to investigate the restorative effects of exercise post binge drinking. Continue reading
What do breast cancer and colon cancer have in common? Actually, they may have a lot more in common than you might think. Studying a potential link through a protein called Villin is Dr. Seema Khurana. Khurana, professor in the University of Houston’s Department of Biology and Biochemistry, has recently received an award of $1.8 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study Villin and its potential connection to certain types of cancer. She sat down with UH’s Division of Research (DOR) to talk about her work and its potential impact to cancer treatment. Continue reading
Did you remember to apply sunscreen today? As skin is the largest organ of the human body, it is hard to ignore the effects of damaging sunlight. However, have you considered the sun’s effects on your eyes? Like the skin, the human eye is exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun each day. Commonly, individuals believe standard UVR-blocking sunglasses are adequate protection against harmful radiation. However, because these lenses can reduce one’s innate behavioral aversion to bright sunlight and the squint mechanism, they can lead to an increase in a person’s dosage of UVR and result in a “sunburn” effect on the ectoderm tissue of the eye. Some frame styles, though effective at protecting the frontal optical axis, can leave one susceptible to harmful rays that affect the lateral surfaces of the eye. Dr. Jan Bergmanson, professor of optometry in the University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO) and founding director of the Texas Eye Research and Technology Center (TERTC), has been working with Essilor International, one of the largest lens manufacturers in the world, to improve the eye’s protection against ultraviolet radiation through a rating system for protective lenses.
Dr. Ferenc Bunta, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Houston (UH), was awarded a $450,000 grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to study phonological acquisition in bilingual children who use cochlear implants. Currently, this population is underserved because little is known about their speech and language development and there are no existing measures that can assess their abilities accurately. Bunta and his research team are working in collaboration with Dr. Jennifer Wickesberg, adjunct assistant professor at UH and Director of Audiology at The Center for Hearing and Speech, to investigate how bilingual children with cochlear implants develop speech and language.
As climate change and global warming become increasingly severe problems around the world, researchers are looking into ways to monitor and forecast the pollution that contributes to this borderless issue. At the University of Houston, Dr. Yunsoo Choi (YC), assistant professor of Atmospheric Chemistry, Atmospheric Modeling and Remote Sensing, has developed a short-term pollution model for southeast Texas and the continental U.S. named the System of air POllution forecasting with Captain Kirk (SPOCK). He agreed to talk to UH’s Division of Research (DOR) about his model and his upcoming projects. Continue reading