Dateline Rice for Jan. 11, 2018


Rice University lab modifies nanoscale virus to deliver peptide drugs to cells, tissues
By chipping away at a viral protein, Rice scientists have discovered a path toward virus-like, nanoscale devices that may be able to deliver drugs to cells.
National Science Foundation

Indian scientists more religious than British peers: Study
Research on the religious beliefs of scientists by Elaine Howard Ecklund, founding director of the Religion and Public Life Program and the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences, is featured.
Asian Lite International


Why Sessions’ war on weed won’t work
Katharine Neill Harris, the Alfred C. Glassell III Fellow in Drug Policy at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, authored an op-ed on marijuana policy.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This article appeared in the Jan. 11 print edition and appeared in the Chronicle’s “Gray Matters” online magazine. It was included in a previous edition of Dateline when the article was posted online.)

Many Houstonians may be unaware they live in evacuation zones
Jim Blackburn, a professor in the practice of environmental law and the co-director of Rice’s Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center, is quoted and pictured in an article on hurricane evacuation zones. “Living with Houston Flooding,” a paper authored by Blackburn, is featured.
Houston Public Media

Political roundup: Mueller interviewing Trump, and Oprah for president
Mark Jones, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies, professor of political science, fellow in political science at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and fellow at Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, participated in a panel discussion.
Houston Public Media

How Houston’s Apache Corp. joined with environmentalists to kill wastewater wells
Gabriel Collins, fellow in the Center for Energy Studies at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is quoted in an article on Apache Corp., a Houston oil company, and its efforts to help block a plan by NGL Energy Partners to build a series of wastewater disposal wells near Balmorhea State Park in West Texas.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required.)

MFAH presents the 25th annual Houston Iranian Film Festival
Rice Cinema will host screenings during the Houston Iranian Film Festival Jan. 19-21 and Jan. 26-28.
Houston Chronicle

Symphony to feature competition winners
The Houston Youth Symphony’s Winter Concert will be held Jan. 28 at Rice’s Stude Concert Hall.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This article also appeared in Ultimate West U.)

Park spotlight: F.M. Law Park
The late Jay Riviere ’56 designed the Junior Golf Learning Center at Houston’s F.M. Law Park.
365 Things To Do in Houston


Biologists create toolkit for tuning genetic circuits
Rice scientists have created a toolkit for synthetic biologists who need to precisely tune the input and output levels of genetic circuits. Matthew Bennett, associate professor of biochemistry and cell biology and co-lead scientist of the study, is quoted. Graduate student Ye Chen and postdoctoral researchers Joanne Ho and David Shis are mentioned. (This article also appeared in Nanowerk.)

White graphene makes ceramics multifunctional
Ultrathin hexagonal boron nitride sheets between layers of calcium-silicates could give ceramics outstanding properties. Rouzbeh Shahsavari, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and of materials science and nanoengineering, is quoted. (A similar article appeared in I-Connect007.)

Tiny antibiotic beads fight infections after joint replacement
An article on antibiotic beads that are implanted after joint-replacement operations mentions that Antonios Mikos, the Louis Calder Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, participated in the development of the beads.
Science Daily (Similar articles appeared in Orthopedic Design and Technology, Medical Laboratory Observer, Brinkwire and News-Line.)

American shale oil set to flood the market
Kenneth Medlock, senior director of Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Energy Studies, is quoted in two articles on oil supply. He also is quoted in articles on the shutdown of a pipeline construction project in Pennsylvania, geopolitical risks to the United States’ oil supply and estimates on 2018 crude shipments boosting oil prices. Jim Krane, the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies at the Baker Institute, is mentioned in the Outlook Series article.
Insider Car News
Crude oil shipments from Canada to United States to jump 60 percent in 2018
Still Water Courier
Infractions stop work on Mariner East 2 pipeline
Engineering News-Record
Geopolitical risks to US oil supply shrink
Outlook Series (Similar articles appeared in Bunker Ports News and Hellenic Shipping News.)
Crude oil rallies after API shocker
The Narco Path

Rice U.’s one-step catalyst turns nitrates into water and air
Engineers at Rice’s Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment Center have found a catalyst that cleans toxic nitrates from drinking water by converting them into air and water. Quoted are Michael Wong, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, of chemistry, of materials science and nanoengineering and of civil and environmental engineering and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the lead scientist on the study, and co-author Kim Heck, a research scientist in Wong’s lab.
Bio Fuel Daily (This article was featured on the home page at Seed Daily.)

CE roundtable: What issue will dominate the civil engineering industry in 2018?
Yvette Pearson, associate dean for accreditation and assessment in Rice’s School of Engineering, is quoted.
American Society of Civil Engineers News

Other materials stories that may be of interest
Porous particles of calcium and silicate show potential as building blocks for a host of applications like self-healing materials, bone-tissue engineering, drug delivery, insulation, ceramics and construction materials, according to Rice engineers who decided to see how well they perform at the nanoscale.
American Ceramic Society

Roswell Biotechnologies harnesses molecular electronics for chip-based DNA sequencing
James Tour, the T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, professor of computer science and of materials science and nanoengineering, is a member of Roswell Biotechnologies’ scientific advisory board. Tour also is quoted in an article on a study by his lab that found adding water to asphalt-based sorbents made them better at capturing carbon dioxide from gas wells.
Genome Web
Just add water for carbon capture
Materials Today

Anxiety ‘chain reaction’ opens door to diabetes
Scientists have uncovered a link between emotional stress and diabetes, with roots in the brain’s ability to control anxiety. Christopher Fagundes, assistant professor of psychology, and Kyle Murdock, a postdoctoral research fellow in psychology, are quoted.
Knowridge Science Report


Spring reading series begins with story of overcoming domestic violence
Lacy Johnson, an assistant professor of creative writing, will open the University of Houston-Victoria/American Book Review Reading Series Jan. 25.
University of Houston at Victoria Newsroom

Students get up-close view of science at Kids’ Tech U
Kelly Weinersmith, adjunct faculty member and the former Huxley Fellow in Ecology and Evolution, will present “Sci-Fi Comes to Life: When Parasites Control Host Behavior” at Bowling Green State University’s Kids’ Tech University program March 24 in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Bernard “Bun B” Freeman, former distinguished lecturer at Rice, will headline the Tucson Hip-Hop Festival Feb. 24 in Tucson, Ariz.
Tucson Weekly

CUNY Dance Initiative and John Jay College in collaboration with Dusan Tynek Dance Theatre present the world premiere of ‘Anna’
James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace on the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion at Rice is mentioned.
Broadway World

Happiness and activism in the Anthropocene
A Q&A with Matthew Schneider-Mayerson mentions he was a postdoctoral fellow at Rice.
Planet Forward at GW

Standout student: Austin Shelton
A high school senior hopes to attend Rice.
ArkLaTex Homepage
KMSS-TV (Shreveport, La.) (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.)


SWIM: Jan. 10 athletes of the week
Wiess College senior Kaitlyn Swinney was named Conference USA’s swimmer of the week. Swinney and Baker College senior Alicia Caldwell, Duncan College senior Marie-Claire Schillinger, Sid Richardson College sophomore Nicole Limberg, Wiess College senior Lauren Rhodes, Lovett College senior Kiley Beall, McMurtry College sophomore Brittany Bui, Jones College junior Hanna Huston, Duncan College sophomore Ellery Parish, Will Rice College sophomore Lindsay Mathys, Baker College senior Kaitlin Benjamin, Lovett College senior Jaecey Parham and Will Rice College sophomore Kelsey Evans are mentioned in a roundup of meets.
This week in WAC swimming and diving

2018 draft: College top 100 prospects
Jones College junior Ford Proctor is No. 82 in’s ranking of Major League Baseball draft prospects.

Baylor women’s tennis bolsters roster
The Rice women’s tennis team faces Baylor University Jan. 21.

Cowboys’ Will McClay declines Houston Texans GM interview
Former Rice football player Will McClay ’89 will stay with the Dallas Cowboys. The Houston Texans wanted to interview him for their vacant general manager position.


Nanotube fibers in a jiffy
The terms “handmade” and “high tech” are not commonly found in the same sentence, but they both apply to a Rice method to quickly produce fibers from carbon nanotubes. The method developed by the lab of chemist Matteo Pasquali allows researchers to make short lengths of strong, conductive fibers from small samples of bulk nanotubes in about an hour.

White graphene makes ceramics multifunctional
A little hBN in ceramics could give them outstanding properties, according to a Rice scientist. Rouzbeh Shahsavari, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, suggested the incorporation of ultrathin hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) sheets between layers of calcium-silicates would make an interesting bilayer crystal with multifunctional properties. These could be suitable for construction and refractory materials and applications in the nuclear industry, oil and gas, aerospace and other areas that require high-performance composites.

Rice U. biologists create toolkit for tuning genetic circuits
Rice scientists have created a toolkit for synthetic biologists who need to precisely tune the input and output levels of genetic circuits. The research, which is online in Nature Communications, is a boon for life scientists who systematically engineer bacteria and other organisms to perform tasks they wouldn’t naturally do.

Rice political scientist available to discuss Abbott’s $43.3M war chest and what it means for 2018 elections
Amid news reports that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has amassed an astonishing $43.3 million in his campaign war chest, Rice political scientist Mark Jones is available to discuss what this means for other Texas politicians looking to defend themselves in the upcoming 2018 election.

Baker Institute expert: ‘Iranian protests ought to serve as a warning’ to Saudi Arabia
While Saudi Arabia may be gloating publicly over the recent anti-government protests in longtime adversary Iran, the country could face similar protests in the future, according to Jim Krane, the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Krane outlined his insights in an op-ed for and is available to discuss the economic issues that sparked the protests in Iran and explain how Saudi Arabia, like Iran, is reducing subsidies and raising energy prices for its citizens.

About Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is a senior editor in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.