March 2022

Research Insider

April Research Month Heading

April is Research Month

Several activities featuring the research and scholarship activities of faculty, staff, and students of UT Tyler and UT Tyler Health Science Center are scheduled for April!

East Texas Research Conference – April 11, 2022

On behalf of the Senior Vice President of Research at the University of Texas at Tyler, we are pleased to invite you to attend the 2022 East Texas Research Conference (ETRC 2022), which will be held online using Zoom on Monday April 11, 2022, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The conference features a keynote address, oral presentations, and panel discussions around the theme of Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. Conference participants will have an opportunity to hear and interact with an array of academic and health professionals who will share new and emerging research in health and wellness, education, engineering, business and industry, and arts and sciences. 

Conference registration is now open, and attendance is free. To register and view the conference program visit the ETRC webpage. Please share with students and encourage them to register and attend the conference.

For more information, contact Kouider Mokhtari, Associate Vice President for Research via e-mail kmokhtari@uttyler.edu or phone 903.565.5561.

Three Minute Thesis – April 15, 2022

The Graduate School with host the Virtual Three Minute Thesis (3MT ®) on Friday, April 15, 2022. The competition challenges graduate students to present compelling spoken presentations on their research in just 180 seconds, using language that people outside the discipline can understand. The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia.

Graduate students click here to register!

For questions, accommodations, or more information, contact Kent Willis, Associate Dean of the Graduate School via email kwillis@uttyler.edu.

Celebration of Scholarship Luncheon – April 19, 2022

The Robert R. Muntz Library, the Office of Research and the Office of the Provost invites you to “A Celebration of Scholarship Luncheon.” This annual event recognizes UT Tyler faculty and staff who have published or presented at professional venues or conferences in their field. It will be held Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM, in the University Center Ballroom. A reservation email will be sent out soon.

7th Annual Lyceum Research Showcase – April 22, 2022

The Lyceum gives UT Tyler undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to share their research in oral or poster presentations. The Lyceum is co-sponsored by the Honors Program and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and will be held Friday, April 22, 2022, in the UT Tyler University Center.

Congratulations!Nael Barakat

Dr. Nael Barakat was recommended by the Peer Review Panel of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and World Learning for placement on the Fulbright Specialist Roster for a tenure of four years beginning February 11, 2022.  Dr. Barakat is a professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. As a candidate on the Fulbright Specialist Roster, Dr. Barakat is now eligible to be matched with projects designed by host institutions in over 150 countries globally.

Michael BarnettDr. Michael Barnett was invited by the National Institutes of Health, Center for Scientific Review, to serve as a reviewer on a special emphasis panel covering topics in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease. Dr. Barnett is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Counseling and is director of the Memory Assessment and Research Center and the Aging, Neuropsychology, and Technology Lab. He participated in the virtual panel meeting on Friday, March 25, 2022.

Dr. Neil Ford, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology, wrote a book entitled, Journeys of a Field Biologist. Adventures with Snakes & Other Critters, that was published in 2021 by the UT Tyler Press. The book received an excellent review in Herpetological Review, a peer-reviewed quarterly that publishes articles and notes concerning the study of amphibians and reptiles, as well as book reviews, commentaries, regional and international herpetological society news, and letters from readers directed to the field of herpetology.

Shaadi KhademiDr. Shaadi Khademi attained Fellow status in the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) in February 2022. Dr. Khademi is an associate professor in the Department of Occupational & Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Community and Rural Health at the Health Science Center. ACOEM is dedicated to promoting the health of workers through preventive medicine, clinical care, research, and education. The Fellow designation is ACOEM’s highest acknowledgment that recognizes years of dedication to exceptional education, leadership, and commitment to the specialty.

Dr. Thomas Kramer has been selected for a 2022 Association for Talent Development (ATD) Dissertation Award. He graduated with his PhD in Human Resource Development from UT Tyler in 2021 and is currently a lecturer at PennState Mont Alto. Dr. Kramer will be recognized in a ceremony on May 16, 2022, to take place during the ATD International Conference & Exposition at the Orange County Conference Center in Orlando.

Paul McGahaThe UT Tyler Health Science Center has been awarded a $2,603,515 contract with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) for a project entitled COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy and Confidence Survey: A Rapid Community Assessment in Texas.
Dr. Paul McGaha, chair and associate professor in the Department of Community Health at the Health Science Center’s School of Community and Rural Health and will serve as the principal investigator for this 10-month long project that started in February.

  • Dr. Yordanos (Yordi) Tiruneh, associate professor in the School of Community and Rural Health, will serve as a co-investigator and help lead the project with Dr. McGaha. Additional co-Yordi Tirunehinvestigators include Dr. Christian Alvarado, assistant professor, Dr. Michelle Crum, assistant professor, and Dr. Kimberly Elliot, assistant professor, all in the School of Community and Rural Health at the UT Tyler Health Science Center.

  • The project involves two surveys, one focusing on community members and the second focusing on medical providers to assess COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and confidence within the state of Texas. The surveys are designed to engage with 20,000 Texas residents from diverse racial, ethnic, geographic, and economic backgrounds through online and telephone modalities to assess acceptability of and attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccine and assess barriers to and facilitators of receiving vaccine for prevention of COVID-19.

Mark Owens

  • The award includes a sub-award to UT Tyler for $1,081,430. Dr. Mark Owens, associate professor in the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences, will serve as a co-investigator and oversee the administration of the telephone surveys. Another subaward of $614,079 will be provided to The University of Texas Health Science Center Houston to conduct data management and analyses.

Dr. Paul McGaha and team, including Carlton Allen, MS, Dr. Michael Morris, and
Dr. Michelle Crum at the Health Science Center’s School of Community and Rural Health (SCRH), were included in a story in the Texas Public Health Journal (TPHJ), a quarterly peer-reviewed journal published by the Texas Public Health Association. The 2022 spring issue of the journal features a special section focused on the “National Institutes of Health All of Us Research Program – The Texas Story,” a research program that the SCRH team along with researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston are participating. The All of Us Research Program is an ambitious effort funded by the National Institutes of Health to gather health data from one million or more people living in the United States to accelerate research that may improve health.

Shawana TabassumUT Tyler has been awarded a $200,000 grant award from the National Science Foundation for a proposal submitted by Dr. Shawana Tabassum entitled, Crop-FIT: Technology to Support Integrated Wearable Fitness Trackers for Plants. Dr. Tabassum is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and will serve as the principal investigator. The goal of this project is to design wearable sensors for plants that generate real-time quantitative indicators of plant health for early identification of any potential stressors that may adversely affect growth. The research will be conducted in collaboration with Texas A&M University-College Station and offers opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students at UT Tyler to participate in  research. The two-year research project starts in May 2022.

Upcoming Changes That May Affect Federal Grants

Build America, Buy America Act: ensures that Federal financial assistance programs for infrastructure require the use of materials produced in the United States, increases requirements for American-made content, and strengthens the waiver process associated with Buy American provisions. Section 70914 (Application of Buy America Preference) provides in part, that “Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act [November 15, 2021], the head of each Federal agency shall ensure that none of the funds made available for a Federal financial assistance program for infrastructure, including each deficient program, may be obligated for a project unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.” Section 70914 is also referred to as the “domestic content procurement preferences.” The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will work with agencies to develop guidance to ensure agencies have appropriate policies and procedures in place to comply with this new requirement by May 14, 2022. OMB memo M-22-08 provides initial guidance to the heads of executive departments and agencies. Stay tuned as the application of this new requirement is finalized.

UEI Replaces DUNS: Government transition from DUNS number to new Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) will occur on April 4, 2022. This transition allows the government to streamline the entity identification and validation process, making it easier and less burdensome for entities to do business with the federal government.

  • After April 4, 2022, if you are employed by The University of Texas at Tyler main campus you will enter: L4XJEPDB3QJ9 as the UEI on federal forms.
  • If you are employed on the UT Tyler Health Science Center campus, it is important to use the Health Science Center’s legal name (The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler) in grant proposals and after April 4, 2022 use FPCUDWBE7DX2 as the UEI. 

Trade Restrictions Regarding Russia and Belarus: UT System has engaged counsel at Morgan Lewis to assist UT System and UT Institutions as we navigate the developing trade restrictions and sanctions against Russia and Belarus.  Morgan Lewis is providing resources via its website, including this summary of the current export restrictions. Pointers and reminders:

  • Use caution and additional scrutiny when assessing any proposed transaction or agreement involving Russian or Belarussian entities, including Russian or Belarussian financial institutions.
  • Generally, the export restrictions do not impact communications with Russian or Belarussian nationals physically present on your campuses—i.e., as a general matter, you do not need to treat communications with Russian or Belarussian nationals located in the United States as “deemed exports.”
  • Details of the export regulations can be found here.

Please contact Anna Kurdowska, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Research and Research Compliance Officer, who oversees Export Control at The University of Texas at Tyler main and Health Science Center campuses with specific questions.

News from NSF

SurpriseHave you been putting off creating your biosketch in SciENcv? Now may be a good time to do it because NSF plans to discontinue use of the fillable PDF format effective January 2023. Not only can you use SciENcv to create NSF formatted biosketches, but you can also create NIH formatted biosketches and Department of Education biosketches from SciENcv without entering any information more than once. You can import biosketch information from other sources into SciENcv to make it even easier to start using this tool. The Office of Research and Scholarship will offer a workshop on using SciENcv in the fall.


Fastlane is Going Away
: According to NSF, Fastlane will not be a submission option for grant proposals beginning January 2023. All proposals must then be submitted using Research.gov.

NSF has established a new Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships to accelerate discovery, innovation and impact across the United States: This new directorate -- NSF's first in more than 30 years -- builds upon the agency's commitment over seven decades to serve as a beacon of U.S. innovation, advancing the frontiers of research and education across all fields of science and engineering. TIP will accelerate the development of new technologies and products that improve Americans' way of life, grow the economy and create new jobs, and strengthen and sustain U.S. competitiveness for decades to come. Click here to read more.

NSF Virtual Grants Conference: Join the National Science Foundation for the Spring 2022 NSF Virtual Grants Conference, to be held during the week of June 6-10, 2022. Just like the in-person grants conferences, the NSF Virtual Grants Conference is a must, especially for new faculty, researchers, and administrators. Registration will be free of charge and opens on Wednesday, May 11th at 12 p.m. EST. Sign up here to be notified of conference registration details. For those who cannot attend the live conference, all conference sessions will be available on-demand shortly after the event.

News from NIH

The National Institutes of Health issued a revised Grants Policy Statement (GPS) in December 2021 and the revisions are applicable to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements with budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2021. A significant changes table was published alongside the GPS update.

The NIH salary cap has been increased from $199,300 to $203,700 effective January 2, 2022.

FORMS-G Grant Application Forms & Instructions must be used for preparing proposals with due dates after January 25, 2022. These documents and other useful information can be found on the NIH How to Apply – Application Guide webpage.

NIH also updated their Biosketch and Other Support format for applications, Just-in-Time (JIT) Reports and Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs). As of January 25, 2022, NIH requires the use of the updated format pages. Learn more: NOT-OD-21-110 and Biosketch FAQs & Other Support FAQs

NIH Expansion of the Requirement for eRA Commons IDs to Include All Senior/Key Personnel: An eRA Commons ID must be entered in the “Credential, e.g., agency login” field for all personnel listed on the R&R Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Form as of January 25, 2022. NIH defines senior/key personnel as “The PD/PI and other individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not they receive salaries or compensation under the grant. Typically, these individuals have doctoral or other professional degrees, although individuals at the masters or baccalaureate level may be considered senior/key personnel if their involvement meets this definition. Consultants and those with a postdoctoral role also may be considered senior/key personnel if they meet this definition. Senior/key personnel must devote measurable effort to the project whether or not salaries or compensation are requested.” This requirement for an eRA Commons ID applies to all senior/key personnel regardless of where the personnel are located (i.e., U.S. or foreign country). Individuals needing scientific roles (Program Directors, Principal Investigators, Scientist, Post-Doc, Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, Project Personnel) should only have one eRA Commons ID for the life of their research career.

UT Tyler RCR-Basic training modules must be completed by no later than May 2, 2022

A reminder that UT Tyler is providing at no cost to participants an online RCR-Basic training provided by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). This RCR-Basic training is required for all faculty, post docs, lab assistants, technicians, undergraduate or graduate students who are engaged in research. Once completed, the training is valid for three years.