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UNT briefs

Women’s history museum chief to speak

Joan Wages, chief executive officer and president of the National Women’s History Museum in Alexandria, Va., will give a lecture at the University of North Texas today.

The free lecture, “Mainstreaming Women’s History,” will be at 4:30 p.m. in Room 180 of UNT’s Business Leadership Building, 1307 W. Highland St. It is presented by the UNT Department of History as its annual Women’s History Month Lecture.

Wages was named as president and CEO of the museum in 2007, after serving as a founding board member.

The National Women’s History Museum was founded in 1996 to provide collections and exhibits on contributions of women to U.S. cultural, economic, political and social life.

Wages previously was the president of a government affairs consulting firm and a registered lobbyist, focusing on women’s issues.


UNT Libraries presents Edible Book Festival

Cakes decorated with themes of specific books and other tasty tomes will be offered at the UNT Libraries’ Edible Book Festival on Monday. The 10th annual festival is scheduled from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the first-floor Forum of Willis Library, one block east of Highland Street and Avenue C.

UNT students, faculty and staff members enter their completely edible representations of books in several categories, including Best Adult Nonfiction Book, Best Children’s Book and Best Non-Cake Book.

Past entries have included two unclothed Barbie dolls seated on a plate of sandwiches and lettuce to represent William S. Burroughs’ novel Naked Lunch and a line of soft drink cans to represent John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. Elaborately decorated cakes are always on the festival’s menu. Attendees judge the entries on originality and creativity, skill and construction, visual appearance and adherence to the theme of a book.

The UNT Libraries began its event as part of the observance of the International Edible Book Festival, scheduled each year on or near April 1.

The event is free to those who want to enter a tasty creation and those who want to attend to eat the books. For more information, contact Kristin Boyett at 940-565-2486 or .


Research paves way for new treatment

Researchers at UNT have identified new compounds that may lead to new drugs to treat forms of hereditary cardiomyopathy, a disease that weakens the heart and can lead to heart failure. It is the leading cause of sudden death in young athletes.

UNT Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science students Alysha Joseph and Diana Wang worked on the project with biology professor Douglas Root, who has been researching cardiomyopathy and muscle contractile proteins, which produce muscle contractions.

Joseph and Wang looked at a number of different small molecule compounds that could bind to the protein region, and the students found that using small positively charged polyamine compounds stabilized the weakened region of the heart muscle protein. Identifying such compounds is the first step toward the development of a new drug.

Root plans to continue researching the stabilizing effect of the compounds.

Joseph, Wang and Root will present their research in Washington, D.C., April 23 and 24 at Posters on the Hill, an annual event hosted by the Council on Undergraduate Research. The 2013 event received more than 800 applications from around the U.S. and only 60 projects have been chosen for presentation.


Improvements made to Music Library

Recent changes at UNT’s Willis Library have helped the Music Library better utilize space and update its facilities and services in response to the changing needs of patrons.

By reorganizing and consolidating items, the Music Library was able to use space in the southern part of the fourth floor of Willis to construct a 1,400-square-foot room. That room, which houses music technical services, is a dedicated space for processing new acquisitions and donations, and cataloging.

The Music Library also gained space off-site with a state-of-the-art remote storage facility and new, movable shelving. Most of the items with the highest use in the library’s nearly 100 special collections will be stored there, as well as non-digital sound recordings.

Focusing on the current needs of patrons, the Music Library has subscribed to Web-based music streaming sources and put some recordings from special collections, including College of Music recordings, online.

Music Library hours are 7:30 a.m. to midnight Monday to Thursday; 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. to midnight Sunday.


UNT offers ecology for environmental science

UNT is now offering a Bachelor of Science degree in ecology for environmental science.

The Department of Biological Sciences in UNT’s College of Arts and Sciences has a long history of education and research programs focusing on ecology, conservation and environmental science, and is in a unique position to offer the new degree.

Students who go through UNT’s program could find employment as biological technicians working on environmental problems with consulting firms, conservation groups or government agencies, as lab or field technicians or outdoor educators, or continue on to graduate school.

Students will be able to tailor degrees to their future goals, and can take classes including community ecology, evolution and environmental philosophy.

Students can enroll for the degree program by contacting the Department of Biological Sciences. Classes will begin this fall.


Team studying grape seed compounds

Richard Dixon, a UNT research professor, has joined a research team involving Mount Sinai’s Ichan School of Medicine (MSSM) and Purdue University investigating how grape seed compounds affect Alzheimer’s disease.

Dixon’s work is funded by a National Institutes of Health grant through MSSM, and will continue a first-of-its-kind study indicating that grape seed compounds help to prevent the development or delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in mice.

Dixon’s lab will develop synthesized versions of the grape seed-derived compounds that actually reach the brain, and researchers at Purdue will then compare the synthesized and natural compounds to verify that they are exact matches. Dixon also will develop a standardized procedure other researchers will rely on to develop and test these compounds in the future.