Dateline Rice for April 13, 2018


Rice, partners envision innovative future for retired Sears building in Midtown
Rice will transform the iconic Sears property in Midtown into a new innovation district, part of an effort to spur a vibrant local startup community. President David Leebron is quoted in the Houston Chronicle article and pictured in the slideshow. He also is pictured and quoted in several other articles and broadcasts on the innovation district. Ed Egan, fellow of Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and director of the institute’s McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, is quoted in Bisnow and Houston Public Media articles.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This article appeared on the front page of the April 13 print edition with a different headline, “Old Sears to transform into new site for startups” and a subhead, “Rice University leads effort for Midtown landmark to become tech innovation hub.” Similar articles appeared in the San Antonio Express-News, CoachIT, the Telegraph, CW39,, Reality News Report and PaperCity.)
How a Midtown innovation hub will impact Houston’s burgeoning tech scene
Houston Business Journal (Subscription is required. This was the cover story of the April 13-19 print edition, which featured the headline “New hub to become Houston’s tech temple.”)
Photos: Step inside Houston’s future innovation district in Midtown
Houston Business Journal (Subscription is required.)
Former Sears building to be new Houston innovation district
TMC News
Innovation hub in former Sears Is Houston’s answer to Amazon’s snub
Watch: Former Midtown Sears site to be Houston ‘innovation district’
Houston Public Media
Houston Mayor unveils plan to convert ‘Midtown Innovation District’ at iconic Sears site
KTRK-TV (Houston) (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.)
Watch: Mayor Turner to announce plans for Midtown innovation district
KIAH-TV (Houston)
KIAH-TV (Houston) (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.)
KHOU-TV (Houston) (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.)
KPRC-TV (Houston) (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.)
KTRK-TV (Houston) (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.)
KTRH-AM (Houston) (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.)


US seeks to outshine China at Latam summit, without Trump
Fear of a U.S.-China trade war casts its shadow over the Summit of the Americas in Lima, where North American leaders will convene to discuss their own trade policies. Erika de la Garza, program director of the Latin American Initiative at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is quoted.
Reuters (This article appeared in more than 60 other media outlets.)


Timothy Morton is Houston’s own catastrophe guru
Described as an eco-savvy philosopher-celebrity, Timothy Morton, the Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English, is featured in an article about how his experiential art installations resonate with audiences. A Big Bend Now article mentions that Morton is also co-organizer of a group exhibition titled “Hyperobjects,” which is on display as part of the “Marfa Myths” arts festival.
Texas Monthly
Marfa Myths music, a new Ballroom Marfa exhibit and a drag queen show
Big Bend Now

Small schools don’t need extra cash across the board
An op-ed mentions a recent study by Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research titled “Life After the Diploma,” which found especially low rates of postsecondary education attainment among Latino graduates of the Houston Independent School District, along with other insights. Brian Holzman, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Houston Education Research Consortium at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, is mentioned.
Houston Chronicle

Houston developers uncomfortable with flood regulations isn’t a bad thing
New solutions, including regulations, to prevent future flooding in Houston are needed despite consternation from developers, according to 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 (SSPEED) Center.
Houston Business Journal (Subscription is required.)

Coming in 2020: Travis County election system with better security, paper trail
An article mentions that Dan Wallach, professor of computer science and of electrical and computer engineering and a Rice Faculty Scholar at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, and Michael Byrne, professor of psychology, collaborated with Travis County election officials to create an electronic voting machine that will produce a paper document linked to the electronic record in the database.
Reporting Texas

Putting more National Guard troops along Texas-Mexico border draws fire from some
Tony Payan, the Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and director of the institute’s Mexico Center, is quoted.
Weatherford Democrat (This article also appeared in Cleburne Times-Review, Royse City Herald Banner, Jacksonville Daily Progress, Athens Daily Review and Mineral Wells Index.)

Norma Bartol: Outstanding events spring up as seasons change
History Professor Douglas Brinkley will speak April 18 at the Greenwich Historical Society is Connecticut.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This article also appeared in 10 other media outlets.)

The best, most romantic places to get engaged in Houston
James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace on the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion is pictured.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required.)

Queer things to do in Houston this weekend: April 12-15A roundup of LGBTQ events around Houston mentions an event titled “The Latinx Experience at Rice: Discussion and Celebration.”


Consumers see many brands through political lens
Vikas Mittal, the J. Hugh Liedtke Professor of Marketing at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business, is featured in an interview discussing his recent study titled “The Unequal Effects of Partisanship on Brands.”
Houston Public Media

Whitson honored: Credits ‘work ethic of a farmer’
Astronaut and Rice alumna Peggy Whitson ’86 was honored by the Iowa legislature with a joint House and Senate Resolution. Whitson is also the recipient of the “Pillar of Character Award.”
Iowa Public Radio (Versions of this article appeared in more than 10 other media outlets.)
Pillar of Character Award
WHO-TV (Des Moines, Iowa) (Click on the video button to watch the broadcast.)


107 free online courses from the best colleges in the US — including Princeton, Harvard and Yale
Rice is mentioned in a roundup of free online courses offered by top colleges and universities.
Business Insider

Improved memory devices for synthetic cells
Matthew Bennett, associate professor of biochemistry and cell biology, and postdoctoral fellow Joanne Ho co-authored an article on advances in cell-based memory systems.

Eroding mountains could release, not trap, greenhouse gases
Scientists believed that the erosion of mountains caused carbon dioxide in the atmostphere to drop, but some mountain ranges may be sources, not sinks, of carbon. Mark Torres, an assistant professor of Earth, environmental and planetary sciences, is quoted.
Science (This article also appeared in Newscaf.)

Small institutions have big impact on inclusion in higher education
Rice is featured for its individualized attention and support for students. Roland Smith, associate vice provost for diversity and inclusion and adjunct professor of education and sociology, is quoted and pictured.
Insight into Diversity

First Latino dean of an academic college at Rice University
Peter Rodriguez, dean of Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business, is quoted and pictured.
Insight into Diversity

Sensor strategy a boon for synthetic biology
Jeffrey Tabor, assistant professor of bioengineering and of biosciences, is quoted in an article about a new technique introduced by his lab that allows scientists to dial up or down the sensitivity of two-component systems — a class of proteins that bacteria use to sense a wide variety of stimuli. Alumnus Brian Landry ’17 and graduate student Lucas Hartsough are mentioned.
Nanowerk (This article also appeared in Biocompare.)

Rice U. students develop flying platform for sophisticated sensing applications
Six Rice electrical and computer engineering seniors who developed the hardware and software necessary to coordinate sensor-carrying drones are featured. Sid Richardson College’s Kevin Lin and Joshua Phipps, Baker College’s R.J. Cunningham and Pharson Chalermkraivuth, McMurtry College’s Andrew Brooks and Lovett College’s Emilio Del Vecchio are pictured. Lin, Del Vecchio and Brooks are quoted. A Rice video is included.
Microwave Journal (Similar articles appeared in Scribd and Technology.)

Rice University bioengineering students develop add-on pad for defibrillators
Seniors in Rice’s bioengineering program created an add-on for automated external defibrillators that literally punches through the skin to help deliver a jolt to a person in cardiac arrest. Sid Richardson College’s Jamie Leong and Natalie Bolton, Lovett College’s Billy Jeon and Sylvia Cai and Jones College’s Alexander Lu are pictured. Lu, Jeong, Leong and Cai are quoted. Eric Richardson, lecturer and director of Global Medical Innovation, is mentioned. A Rice video is included.
Medical Dealer

Large single-crystal graphene could advance scalable 2-D materials
Is there a way to make big sheets of pristine graphene or other two-dimensional materials? The answer is blowing in the wind. Boris Yakobson, the Karl F. Hasselmann Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering and a professor of chemistry, is quoted.
Space Daily

With US growth toward global energy dominance, infrastructure, technology advances remain critical
Charles McConnell, executive director of Rice’s Energy and Environment Initiative, is mentioned.
American Infrastructure

Can a for-profit, venture-backed company keep OER free — and be financially sustainable?
OpenStax, a Rice-based publisher of open educational resources, is mentioned.

STEMscopes preK-12 digital curriculum named finalist for EdTech Cool Tool Award in STEM Solution category
Rice is mentioned.
District Administration (This article also appeared in Education Dive and Tech and Learning.)

Houston mobilizes for mankind’s shared future
President John F. Kennedy’s “Moon Speech” given at Rice Sept. 12, 1962, is mentioned.
Executive Intelligence Review

Houston Early Music closes season with rare performance of ‘The Mystery Sonatas’
Heinrich Biber’s “The Mystery Sonatas” will be performed May 5 at Rice’s Shepherd School of Music.
Broadway World


Grinnell music major alumna Allie Kieffer visits campus
Allie Kieffer, assistant professor of musicology at Rice’s Shepherd School of Music, is featured and pictured. She gave a lecture at Grinnell College titled “Inharmonious Bells: Materialities of Listening in Ravel’s ‘La Vallée des cloches.’”
Scarlet and Black

Community Winds perform Saturday
Alumnus Tomasz Robak ’13 is featured
Los Alamos Daily Post

Funds use public info to complement private signals
Hedge funds that frequently accessed SEC filings such as annual reports posted better-than-average returns in the following month compared with non-users, according to a Rice paper titled “Do Hedge Funds Profit From Public Information?” Findings by co-authors Alan Crane, Kevin Crotty and Tarik Umar, assistant professors of finance, are featured.

Daughters of Revolution to hold annual conference in Nampa
Corresponding with the 275th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth, John Boles, the William Pettus Hobby Professor of History and author of “Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty,” will speak April 13 in Nampa, Idaho.
Idaho Press-Tribune

Student-athlete turns scholar
Zacharias Papadakis, lecturer in the Department of Kinesiology, is mentioned and pictured.
Cardinal Points


Proud dad Lance Armstrong shares news that his oldest son Luke has committed to play football at Rice University
Luke Armstrong, who has signed to play football at Rice, is featured and pictured.
Daily Mail (Similar articles appeared in Texas Monthly, The Spun and Express Digest.)


Sensor strategy a boon for synthetic biology
Rice University scientists who say biological sensors aren’t sensitive enough are doing something about it. The lab of synthetic biologist Jeffrey Tabor has introduced a new technique to dial up or down the sensitivity of two-component systems – a class of proteins that bacteria use to sense a wide variety of stimuli. The technique could enable the engineering of tailor-made biosensors for diagnostic gut bacteria, detection of environmental pollutants or automated control of nutrient levels in soil. Two-component sensors, the focus of a new paper describing the work in Nature Communications, are a large family of genetically encoded sensors that bacteria use to sense a specific input and turn on a specific gene in response to changes in their environment.

About Stefan De La Garza

Stefan De La Garza is a news analyst in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.