Dateline Rice for Jan. 12, 2018


Aerospace talent in Texas lauded
Rice President David Leebron recited a portion of President John F. Kennedy’s “Moon Speech” given at Rice Sept. 12, 1962, while speaking on collaboration among government, industry and academic institutions at an aerospace conference in League City, Texas, hosted by the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This article also appeared in the Jan. 12 print edition, and it also appeared in Aviation Pros.)


A bit of white graphene could give ceramics extra powers
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.
Futurity (This article appeared in the Jan. 12 issue of Futurity Today. Similar articles appeared in more than 10 other media outlets.)

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.
Science Daily (This article also was featured on the homepage of the National Science Foundation’s Science360 News, and similar articles appeared in more than 10 other media outlets.)

Anna Mikulska, senior research analyst for energy studies at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is mentioned in a post on liquid natural gas and offshore wind power.


Abbott reports record $43.3 million in re-election war chest
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, is quoted in stories on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s re-election campaign. Jones also is quoted in a column on the Montgomery County judge race.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This article also appeared in the Jan. 12 print edition with a different headline, “Abbott sets record with $43.3M in campaign coffers.”)
KUT-FM (Austin, Texas) (Click the audio button to listen to the broadcast.)
In Montgomery County, far-right group Empower Texans sees chance for more power
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This column also appeared in the Jan. 12 print edition with a different headline, “Conservative activists target Montgomery County judge race.”)

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. This article also appeared in the Jan. 12 print edition with a different headline, “Activists get potent ally in wastewater well fight.”)

Newsmakers Extra: Everything you need to know about tax reform
John Diamond, director of the Center for Public Finance at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, discusses the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

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.
Crossroads Today


‘Texas Standard’
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 in a story on Houston hurricane evacuation zones.
KUT-FM (Austin, Texas) (Click the audio button to listen to the broadcast.)

‘Great Day Houston’
Bernard “Bun B” Freeman, former distinguished lecturer at Rice, and Anthony Pinn, the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and professor of religion and fellow at Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, discuss hip-hop culture.
KHOU-TV (Houston) (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.)


Watch: Method developed for handmade nanotubes that can be made in 1 hour
The lab of Matteo Pasquali, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, of materials science and nanoengineering and of chemistry, developed a method to quickly produce strong, conductive fibers from carbon nanotubes. Pasquali and lead author and graduate student Robby Headrick are quoted. A Rice video of the process is featured.
Electronics 360 (Similar articles appeared in more than 10 other media outlets.)

Are cheaper fuel cells on the horizon?
Nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes, along with modified graphene nanoribbons, may be suitable replacements for platinum for fast oxygen reduction, the key reaction in fuel cells that transform chemical energy into electricity, according to Rice researchers. Boris Yakobson, the Karl F. Hasselmann Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering and professor of chemistry, is quoted.
In Compliance (A similar article appeared in EMT Worldwide.)

Surgeon develops antibiotic beads to fight infections in artificial joints
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.
Physical Therapy Products (A similar article appeared in Medical Dialogues.)

Physicists discover new type of quantum material
U.S. and European physicists searching for an explanation for high-temperature superconductivity were surprised when their theoretical model pointed to the existence of a never-before-seen material in a different realm of physics: topological quantum materials. Qimiao Si, the Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Professor of Physics and Astronomy; postdoctoral fellow Hsin-Hua Lai; and graduate student Sarah Grefe are quoted and pictured.
Cryogenic Society of America

Just add water for carbon capture
James Tour, the T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, professor of computer science and of materials science and nanoengineering, 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.
Materials Today

Cleanliness is close to godliness for carbon nanotubes
Carbon nanotubes bound for electronics not only need to be as clean as possible to maximize their utility in next-generation nanoscale devices, but contact effects may limit how small a nano device can be. Andrew Barron, the Charles W. Duncan Jr.-Welch Professor of Chemistry and professor of materials science and nanoengineering, is quoted. Rice images are featured.
IEEE Spectrum (A similar article appeared in EE Sage.)

Modere appoints Asma Ishaq as chief executive officer
Alumna Asma Ishaq ’02 was named CEO of Modere.
Markets Insider (This article also appeared in PE Hub.)

‘Managing Energy Price Risk 3rd Edition: The New Challenges and Solutions’
Vincent Kaminski, professor in the practice of management, authored “Managing Energy Price Risk Third Edition: The New Challenges and Solutions.”
Military Technologies

Indian-American seeks Democratic party nomination in Texas
Sri Preston Kulkarni, son of the late Venkatesh Kulkarni, a novelist who taught in the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Rep. Pete Olson ’85 in Texas’ 22nd Congressional District.
Business Standard (This article also appeared in Financial Express, Outlook India,, New Indian Express, Daily Excelsior and NDTV.)

Neuer katalysator knackt nitrat im trinkwasser
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.
Wallstreet Online (An English translation is not available. This article also appeared at, and a similar article appeared in Ikons.)

El Petro, declarado inconstitucional por la Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela
Francisco Monaldi, a fellow in Latin American energy policy at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is quoted in an article on Venezuela’s oil industry.
Crypto Economy (An English translation is not available.)


Institute for CyberScience names spring 2018 distinguished visiting researchers
Maarten de Hoop, the Simons Chair in Computational and Applied Mathematics and Earth Science, professor of computational and applied mathematics and professor of Earth, environmental and planetary science, is one of two selected for Pennsylvania State University’s Institute for CyberScience Distinguished Visiting Researcher Program.
Pennsylvania State University News

Faculty Friday: Megan Ming Francis
Alumna Megan Ming Francis ’03 is featured.
University of Washington News

Top MBA schools are on sale
Sue Oldham ’90, director of MBA for Professionals admissions at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business, is quoted on the school’s merit-based scholarships.
Poets and Quants

Why you shouldn’t try the Gwyneth-approved ‘coffee enema’
Roberta Anding, lecturer in kinesiology at Rice, a dietitian and sports nutritionist for Rice Athletics and the Houston Astros and the performance dietitian for Baylor College of Medicine Corporate Programs, is quoted in an article on health advice found on actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle website.
Best Life

Liz Vogel is new CEO at Jewish Family Service
Alumna Liz Vogel ’91 was named CEO of Jewish Family Service.
The American Israelite


College basketball: Texas A&M women hand Tennessee first loss
A college basketball roundup mentions the Rice women’s team defeated Florida Atlantic University 67-53 Jan. 11 in Boca Raton, Fla. Duncan College sophomore Erica Ogwumike is mentioned.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This article also appeared in the Jan. 12 print edition.”)

2018 CBD season preview and predictions: Conference USA
The Rice baseball team is analyzed. Jones College junior Ford Proctor, Will Rice College junior Dominic DiCaprio, Wiess College senior Ryan Chandler, Lovett College freshman Trei Cruz, Martel College junior Braden Comeaux, Lovett College freshman Luis Aviles, Sid Richardson College junior Matt Canterino and Will Rice College freshman Dane Acker are mentioned, as is former player Glenn Otto.
College Baseball Daily

Pioneers set to compete at Florida Gulf Coast Invitational
An article on Denver University women’s tennis mentions Rice will compete at the Florida Gulf Coast Invitational Jan. 13-15 in Fort Myers, Fla.

Q&A with former Rice and current Steelers kicker Chris Boswell
Former Rice football player Chris Boswell participates in a Q&A.
Houston Chronicle

Around sports: Third basemen among top arbitration names
Former Rice baseball player Anthony Rendon, who plays for the Washington Nationals, is mentioned.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This article also appeared in the Jan. 12 print edition.)

Track to ice: Pacific Northwest bobsledder on verge of making 2018 Olympic team
Former Rice football player Sam McGuffie, who is on the U.S. bobsled team, is mentioned. (This article also appeared at, Spokane Public Radio, My News Network and

Florida basketball: Egor Koulechov scores 23 against MSU, continues to prove himself in SEC debut
Former Rice basketball player Egor Koulechov ’17 scored 23 points in the University of Florida’s victory over Mississippi State University Jan. 10.
SEC Country

Maurice Rivers
Former Rice basketball player Maurice Rivers, who now plays at Jackson State University, is featured.
Jackson Free Press


Fed grant will help unlock embryonic secrets
Rice bioscientist Aryeh Warmflash has won a major National Institutes of Health grant to analyze a protein-signaling pathway that directs the differentiation of embryonic stem cells into the cells of the skin and the nervous system. The five-year R01 grant for more than $1.5 million from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences will allow Warmflash to build upon his research into human embryonic development and the mechanisms by which nearly identical cells morph over time into the hundreds of types that become a mature organism.

Shepherd School to host annual Family Concert Jan. 20
Rice’s Shepherd School of Music will host its annual Family Concert Jan. 20. The annual event, hosted by The Shepherd Society, will take place in Alice Pratt Brown Hall and will feature the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra performing Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77, with violin soloist Boson Mo, a Shepherd School doctoral student.

About Matt Wilson

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