We’re two weeks away from the beginning of the college football season. And this weekend, the Associated Press released its preseason poll of the top 25 teams, headlined by defending national champion Alabama.
(The Research!America office includes fans of Northwestern, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Ohio State, Boston College, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State, so you can be sure that we’ll all have something to rib each other about as the season goes on – good-naturedly, of course.)
With the release of the AP poll, we thought we’d take a look at the research each school performs. Of course, not every school has a major focus on medical and health research; in instances such as those, we’ll detail what research work is done there. And the asterisks indicate that the school itself or some part of that school is a Research!America member; links to the relevant areas are included as well.
Without further ado, the preseason AP Top 25:
1. Alabama. The school’s Institute for Social Science Research is currently working on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded project called “Behavioral Study to Investigate Youth DUI and Risky Driving.” The study, led by Nancy Rhodes, PhD, is trying to understand social and other factors that makes teens riskier drivers.
2. Ohio State* (and one additional link). Ohio State includes 27 major interdisciplinary research centers, which include areas such as robotic surgery, critical care, IT innovations in health care, molecular neurobiology, behavioral medicine and sports medicine.
3. Boise State. Shawn Benner, PhD, an associate professor in the department of geosciences, served as the lead hydrogeologist on the research described in this Nature article. The study, produced in collaboration with researchers at Stanford, looked at the causes of elevated arsenic levels in groundwater in Asia, a problem that adversely affects 100 million people.
4. Florida*. While the story of Florida’s development of Gatorade (named after its mascot) is well known, the university’s more recent developments include a bacteria-resistant bandage, a termite prevention system and hurricane-resistant housing.
5. Texas (links here, here, here, here and here). If you’re stressed at your job, the University of Texas is looking out for you. Its multidisciplinary Occupational Health Psychology Laboratory aims to take psychology’s lessons and apply them to life at the workplace.
6. TCU. Researcher Nancy Meadows, EdD, studied kids from TCU’s Starpoint School and KinderFrogs – another TCU school that serves young children with Down’s syndrome – who then made the jump to public middle schools. Her research led to a greater understanding of social and academic transitions.
7. Oklahoma*. The University of Oklahoma houses a National Institutes of Health-funded center on clinical research, which provides investigators with the facilities and resources to conduct clinical research.
8. Nebraska* (and an additional link). One of the major programs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center is regenerative medicine, and the center is conducting research in four areas: stem cells, growth factors, tissue engineering and guided tissue regeneration.
9. Iowa* (additional links here and here). The University of Iowa’s Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing was the first center of its kind in the world, and it remains the largest. “Our goal,” the center’s website states, “is to reshape the agricultural, chemical nutritional, and pharmaceutical industries by combining the intellectual talents of top scientific faculty with the practical delivery of new technologies.”
10. Virginia Tech. Of Tech’s 10 university-level research centers, the Virginia Water Resources Research Center is the oldest; it was founded in 1964. It was part of congressional legislation that established 54 water resource programs at land-grand schools across the country.
11. Oregon. The Pacific Northwest takes its natural resources very seriously. At Oregon, two of its major initiatives are trying to make that state a go-to center for green product research; it also hosts the Sustainable Cities Initiative, which serves to research and educate the design and development of sustainable cities.
12. Wisconsin*. In 1974, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health developed sun protection factor ratings. You know them today as the SPF number on your favorite sunscreen.
13. Miami*. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami gave math problems to study participants before and after an aromatherapy session. Those who were subjected to lavender (a relaxing odor) were sleepier, less depressed and did the math problems correctly. Those who were subjected to rosemary (a stimulating odor) were more alert, more relaxed and did the math problems faster – though not always correctly.
14. USC* (additional links here and here). An initiative between the Keck School of Medicine and the school’s Viterbi School of Engineering seeks to solve human problems through a combination of science, medicine and engineering.
15. Pittsburgh* (additional links here, here and here). Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health recently announced that it had been awarded a NIH grant to establish a Center of Excellence in Modeling of Infectious Diseases. The center will develop and implement computer models that will help evaluate prevention strategies to contain infectious disease outbreaks.
16. Georgia Tech. Researchers at Georgia Tech have found that video-game practice and technology can be transferred to applications in the defense, education and health care industries.
17. Arkansas*. The University of Arkansas for Medical Science’s Center for Addiction Research recently published guidelines for adolescents alcohol users. Although interventions for adolescents who use marijuana had been developed, the school could not find any guidelines relating to alcohol abuse – even though a 2003-04 national study had found 6.1% of children aged 12 to 17 needed treatment for alcohol abuse.
18. North Carolina* (additional links here and here). UNC’s Gillings School of Public Health hosts a monthly Lunch with the Dean series. Four faculty members of varying levels of seniority and from through the school present updates on their current work to the dean, Barbara Rimer, DrPH, and several other faculty members.
19. Penn State*. Penn State’s med school isn’t located on its main campus in State College; it’s a few hours south in Hershey. In 1963, the M.S. Hershey Foundation offered the school $50 million to establish a medical school in Hershey; that grant and $21.3 million from the U.S. Public Health Service helped to establish the school, a research center and a teaching hospital. (The M.S. Hershey Foundation, of course, was established by Milton S. Hershey, the chocolate magnate.)
20. Florida State. FSU’s Office of Research includes the Council on Research & Creativity, which is a university-wide committee of faculty from various academic backgrounds. The council, founded in 1968, is appointed by the vice president for research and helps stimulate growth and innovative thinking in FSU’s research community.
21. LSU*. The LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans maintains a PDF of its technologies that are available for licensing.
22. Auburn. Auburn University is one of 105 member institutions in the Universities Space Research Association. It hosts its own Space Research Institute, which develops energy, transportation and security technologies for space-based and terrestrial applications.
23. Georgia. Under the umbrella of the vice president of research is the Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, which aims to promote “scholarly inquiry and creative activity.”
24. Oregon State. Researchers at Oregon State have found that Mt. Hood – the tallest mountain in Oregon and within sight of Portland, the state’s biggest city – gives different clues about when it will erupt than other Cascade Range mountains. Their research could help predict when an eruption is imminent.
25. West Virginia* (and an additional link). The Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center includes the West Virginia Rural Health Research Center, which seeks answers to health problems for the state’s the country’s rural populations.