One-on-One with Tier One: Drs. Nicolás Kanellos and Carolina Villarroel

For the past two decades, Dr. Nicolás Kanellos, Brown Foundation professor of Hispanic Studies and Director of Arte Público Press at

Dr. Nicolas Kanellos (above) is a Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Houston.

Dr. Nicolas Kanellos (above) is a Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Studies at the UH

the University of Houston (UH), has been working in collaboration with researchers around the world to collect and restore thousands of historic documents written by Latinos prior to 1960. Since its inception, the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project has aimed to provide access to rare texts that enrich our national culture and expand our breadth of knowledge on the contributions of the Latino community. Recently, Kanellos and Dr. Carolina Villarroel, Director of Research for the project, sat down with us to discuss the project’s history and its continued success. Continue reading

One-on-One with Tier One: Dr. J. Leigh Leasure

Dr. J. Leigh Leasure

Dr. J. Leigh Leasure

Approximately 18 million people in the U.S. have an alcohol use disorder (AUD), according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Alcohol consumption can lead to such symptoms as blurred vision, impaired memory and gait, decreased reaction time and slurred speech, which can become evident after just one or two drinks and diminish after drinking has ceased. However, for those who have an AUD or participate in binge episodes, alcohol consumption may lead to long-term brain deficits that linger long after drinking. As a result, methods to help recover from alcohol-induced cognitive insufficiencies are of importance to clinicians. Dr. J. Leigh Leasure, associate professor of developmental psychology and Director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Lab in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston (UH), received a $407,500 award from the NIAAA to investigate the restorative effects of exercise post binge drinking. Continue reading

One-on-One with Tier One: Dr. Jan Bergmanson

Dr. Jan Bergmanson

Dr. Jan Bergmanson

Did you remember to apply sunscreen today? As skin is the largest organ of the human body, it is hard to ignore the effects of damaging sunlight. However, have you considered the sun’s effects on your eyes? Like the skin, the human eye is exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun each day. Commonly, individuals believe standard UVR-blocking sunglasses are adequate protection against harmful radiation. However, because these lenses can reduce one’s innate behavioral aversion to bright sunlight and the squint mechanism, they can lead to an increase in a person’s dosage of UVR and result in a “sunburn” effect on the ectoderm tissue of the eye. Some frame styles, though effective at protecting the frontal optical axis, can leave one susceptible to harmful rays that affect the lateral surfaces of the eye. Dr. Jan Bergmanson, professor of optometry in the University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO) and founding director of the Texas Eye Research and Technology Center (TERTC), has been working with Essilor International, one of the largest lens manufacturers in the world, to improve the eye’s protection against ultraviolet radiation through a rating system for protective lenses.

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One-on-One with Tier One: Dr. Ferenc Bunta

Drs. Jennifer Wickesberg and Ferenc Bunta

Drs. Jennifer Wickesberg and Ferenc Bunta

Dr. Ferenc Bunta, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Houston (UH), was awarded a $450,000 grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to study phonological acquisition in bilingual children who use cochlear implants. Currently, this population is underserved because little is known about their speech and language development and there are no existing measures that can assess their abilities accurately. Bunta and his research team are working in collaboration with Dr. Jennifer Wickesberg, adjunct assistant professor at UH and Director of Audiology at The Center for Hearing and Speech, to investigate how bilingual children with cochlear implants develop speech and language.

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One-on-One with Tier One: Drs. Milena Keller-Margulis and Allison Dempsey

Dr. Milena Keller-Margulis

Dr. Milena Keller-Margulis

In the United States, various factors are associated with preterm birth, including maternal characteristics, environmental factors and socioeconomic status. While medical advancements have increased premature survival rates, potential developmental and medical difficulties as a result of preterm birth remain variable, though the amount of prematurity functions as an indicator of possible impairments. Dr. Milena Keller-Margulis, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Houston (UH) and co-principal investigator Dr. Allison Dempsey, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and at the Center for Clinical Research and Evidence-Based Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, were awarded a $19,530 grant from the Society for the Study of School Psychology (SSSP) to investigate early indicators of academic and behavioral difficulties among children born preterm. Continue reading