A&S in the News: August 25-31, 2019

Alzheimer’s Disease

Animal models of Alzheimer’s disease embrace diversity: Nature – Aug. 19

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has long been thought of as somewhat of a monolithic affliction, “this one umbrella that’s mainly characterized by amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles of tau,” says Kristen Onos, a research scientist at The Jackson Laboratory. “That’s what Alzheimer’s disease is: end of story.” That story, however, is changing; as human datasets grow, patients are identified earlier in the course of their disease, and computational biology starts to tackle all that human data, it’s becoming apparent that there is not necessarily one definition of AD. “When you consider what our population, what our society is facing, as we are all getting older and living longer,” says Guy Caldwell, a Caenorhabditis elegans researcher at The University of Alabama, “we need an all-hands-on-deck approach.”


Moundville Archaeological Park (live interview): CBS 42 – Aug. 23

Dr. Alex Benitez, we were talking about the partnership with The University of Alabama. UA actually owns this site and some of the digging is still being done. You said this park is only about 10-15% excavated? Yes, we think most of the site is still preserved, and about 15% has been excavated.


‘Cats’ musical tests ACT cast’s strength, endurance: Tuscaloosa News – Aug. 26

Bethany Knight, who grew up in Hamilton and is now a sophomore vocal performance major at The University of Alabama, said rehearsals have been challenging but fulfilling. “The best thing has been watching myself and the rest of the cast slowly learn to move their bodies like cats, and then as their specific character on top of that” Knight said. “The unscripted moments in this show are everywhere and many of them are simply each actor losing themselves in their character and creating art with their bodies.”
Meridian Star – Aug. 31

‘Choir Boy’

Chasing ‘Choir Boy’: Off-Broadway show gives a voice to black, queer males: Crimson White – Aug. 26

Despite repeated bullying throughout the play, Young stayed focused on his personal goals in the choir and maintained an unwavering humor. In a scene between Young and Anthony ‘AJ’ James, a cis-gendered, heterosexual baseball player and choir member played by UA student Christian Hatcher, the two bonded while James gave Young a haircut. 

Use of Force

Law enforcement ‘use of force’ study moves forward: Phys.org – Aug. 28

In 2017, University of Alabama researchers began studying responses and brain activity of law enforcement officers in virtual “shoot/don’t shoot” situations. Their goal was to address incidents of the officers’ use of force by using neural data to help improve police training and officer selection.

Mississippi River Valley

Archaeologist unearths history in Mississippi River Valley: Mirage News – Aug. 28

In the farmlands of the Mississippi River Valley, earth is continuously cleared and leveled – a result of the region’s booming agriculture industry. But beneath the soil lies an important piece of American history, one a Florida State University anthropology professor is working to piece together. “The farming operation, through the course of moving 3 to 4 feet of soil off the surface, uncovered a village with houses and burials,” Mehta said. “I became involved as a representative of the state of Mississippi to consult with Native American groups, remove disturbed burials, and to work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the University of Mississippi, The University of Alabama and other universities to study the site.”
Phys.org – Aug. 29

United Solo Festival

Allison Hetzel’s “Step Mama Drama!” comes to the United Solo Festival: Broadway World – Aug. 28

After a successful run at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Allison is excited to stage the show in New York. Step Mama Drama! is based on true stories and personal experiences; step monsters and loving friends are included in this journey exploring the role of the stepmother. This new work looks at the many facets of being a stepparent or stepchild. Allison hopes that you will enjoy the joys and the dramas found in Step Mama Drama. Allison is an Associate Professor at the University of Alabama, and has performed in NYC at the East to Edinburgh Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the International Theatre Festival of Sibiu, Romania, Switzerland, and at ancient theatres in Greece.

Black History Class

1st high school black history class of its kind taught at Tuscaloosa: Al.com – Aug. 29

A group of Tuscaloosa high schoolers will learn how to unearth their city’s black history during the first African American history class of its kind in Alabama, according to educators. The “History of Us” course at Central High School is an examination of history from when African slaves were brought to America through the administration of President Barack Obama. The course is more than just what students gain inside the classroom, according to John Giggie, a University of Alabama professor who is one of the instructors for the course.

Factitious Disorder

Dr. Marc Feldman discusses Factitious disorder on the Dr. Phil Show: Dr. Phil (National) – Aug. 29

I would like to add to the conversation Dr. Marc Feldman. Now, Dr. Feldman is an adjunct professor of psychology at The University of Alabama and an international expert on factitious disorder and related conditions. He’s written five books on the so called medical deception. Dr. Feldman, good to talk to you again.

Joel Brouwer

News brief: Joel Brouwer named UA Associate Provost: The Crimson White – Aug. 29

Joel Brouwer, a member of The University of Alabama English department, will assume his appointment as associate provost for faculty affairs on Sept. 1 following the resignation of Dr. Jennifer Greer, who took a position at the University of Kentucky this month.

Hurricane Dorian

UA geography professor discusses Hurricane Dorian: WVUA – Aug. 30

We spoke to UA geography professor Dr. Jason Senkbeil today, who says it’s not just the strong winds that will cause problems. “We could be dealing with the storm all the way through next Friday. If it doesn’t get its act together and decide to start moving a little faster, there’s places that could see 24 to 36 inches of rain.”

Time Perception

As seasons change, psychologists say it’s important to savor the moment: Inverse – Aug. 31

It’s obvious that the seasons change and time moves forward, yet the passing of time can still feel like a surprise. We’re supposed to live and work and have fun, all while processing the existential and theoretical construct that is time? That seems unreasonable. Why the concept of time can feel just too extra could be because our brain isn’t the best at understanding it in the moment, and we’re still learning about how time works in general. Philip Gable, Ph.D., is an associate professor of psychology at The University of Alabama who studies time perception. He explains that while a lot of work shows how things influence time, scientists still have much to learn about the neural processes that cause us to perceive time.