Houston, TX, United States
Houston, TX, United States

The University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, United States is a comprehensive Catholic university, grounded in the liberal arts. Founded in 1947 by Basilian Fathers, it serves as the only Catholic university in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. It is endorsed by The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. Wikipedia.

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Fukutomi S.,University of St. Thomas, Texas
Food and Foodways | Year: 2014

This article introduces the Japanese concept of kodawari-meaning obession and a detailed personal aesthetic-as an analytical category to think about the process by which everyday foods are valorized as gourmet. I show that the kodawari of chefs and consumers influence each other and combine to create an aesthetic appreciation of rāmen noodles, elevating it from its inexpensive background to an object of gourmet desire in contemporary Japan. Kodawari is an individual experience, and chefs develop their own techniques to make their rāmen bowls stand out. Likewise, consumers learn to appreciate the personal touches of chefs and shops, while at the same time developing their own complex sensorial appreciation for rāmen from their individual vantage point. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in rāmen shops in Tokyo with chefs and aficionados, this article shows how their efforts result in the valorization of an everyday food item. © 2014 Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Prentis E.L.,University of St. Thomas, Texas
International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy | Year: 2014

The goal of this paper is to test if the promised U.S. electrical system high reliability standards are being maintained, once states deregulate their electric utilities. This research is the first in the literature to combine states that offer retail choice, by deregulating their electric utilities, with North American Electric Reliability Corporation reserve margin forecasts, from 2014-2023, to analyze whether deregulated retail-choice states are adding adequate generating capacity to meet demand, and thus provide high electrical system reliability, when compared to the U.S. as a whole. This paper’s results on electrical system reliability in the deregulated states are timely and important for U.S. electricity energy policy. Additionally, this is the first paper in the literature to propose a new spacetime business model that adequately addresses the complex, multidiscipline, multidimensional, U.S. electrical system deregulated market. Future research will specify the new business model’s mathematical formulation. © 2014, Econjournals. All rights reserved.

Prentis E.L.,University of St. Thomas, Texas
International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy | Year: 2015

Economic theory states that “free market” competition naturally achieves lower prices—thereby increasing efficiency and benefiting society. This is the first paper in the literature to use means testing to statistically analyze electricity prices, from 1970-2011, for states that restructure their electric utilities—pre-and-post restructuring—relative to U.S. electricity prices; thus determining whether restructured electricity utility states are more or less efficient, after restructuring, than before. This fundamental empirical evidence is sought to explain whether expected operating synergies are being realized and stockholders are gaining or losing relative value—once states restructure—and electric companies are merged or acquired. This paper’s empirical results are timely and important to future energy policy—in this crucial to the economy electric power industry—and establish whether “free market” economic theory is being appropriately applied in states that restructure their verticallyintegrated government-regulated natural monopoly electric utilities. Future research is suggested. © 2015, Econjournals. All rights reserved.

Marciano D.C.,Baylor College of Medicine | Lua R.,Baylor College of Medicine | Katsonis P.,Baylor College of Medicine | Amin S.,Baylor College of Medicine | And 3 more authors.
Cell Reports | Year: 2014

Natural selection for specific functions places limits upon the amino acid substitutions a protein can accept. Mechanisms that expand the range of tolerable amino acid substitutions include chaperones that can rescue destabilized proteins and additional stability-enhancing substitutions. Here, we present an alternative mechanism that is simple and uses a frequently encountered network motif. Computational and experimental evidence shows that the self-correcting, negative-feedback gene regulation motif increases repressor expression in response to deleterious mutations and thereby precisely restores repression of a target gene. Furthermore, this ability to rescue repressor function is observable across the Eubacteria kingdom through the greater accumulation of amino acid substitutions in negative-feedback transcription factors compared to genes they control. We propose that negative feedback represents a self-contained genetic canalization mechanism that preserves phenotype while permitting access to a wider range of functional genotypes. © 2014 The Authors.

Moses J.I.,Space Science Institute | Visscher C.,Lunar and Planetary Institute | Keane T.C.,Russell Sage College | Sperier A.,University of St. Thomas, Texas
Faraday Discussions | Year: 2010

Using one-dimensional thermochemical/photochemical kinetics and transport models, we examine the chemistry of nitrogen-bearing species in the Jovian troposphere in an attempt to explain the low observational upper limit for HCN. We track the dominant mechanisms for interconversion of N2-NH 3 and HCN-NH3 in the deep, high-temperature troposphere and predict the rate-limiting step for the quenching of HCN at cooler tropospheric altitudes. Consistent with some other investigations that were based solely on time-scale arguments, our models suggest that transport-induced quenching of thermochemically derived HCN leads to very small predicted mole fractions of hydrogen cyanide in Jupiter's upper troposphere. By the same token, photochemical production of HCN is ineffective in Jupiter's troposphere: CH4-NH3 coupling is inhibited by the physical separation of the CH4 photolysis region in the upper stratosphere from the NH3 photolysis and condensation region in the troposphere, and C 2H2-NH3 coupling is inhibited by the low tropospheric abundance of C2H2. The upper limits from infrared and submillimetre observations can be used to place constraints on the production of HCN and other species from lightning and thundershock sources. © 2010 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Morosan C.,University of St. Thomas, Texas
Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology | Year: 2012

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to analyze the applicability of biometric systems in travel and explain how they can be used in response to today's increasing security problems. Design/methodology/approach: This research is conceptual. Its analysis is based on an extensive review of literature on biometric systems. Findings: Biometric systems can improve travel security without compromising consumer value, convenience, and privacy. Deployment of various applications of biometric systems (i.e. immigration/visitor management systems, trusted traveler programs) improve specific aspects of travel security. Biometric systems present challenges, associated with consumers' perceptions of system functionality, privacy, trust, and anxiety, which must be examined in the context of consumer adoption. To achieve synergy in travel information technology and provide benefits to all stakeholders, biometric systems must seamlessly integrate with other travel technologies, both intra-firm and inter-firm. Research limitations/implications: This research provides a domain statement for biometric systems in travel and stays at the foundation of a methodical approach for the study of biometric systems in travel. It offers a conceptual framework that asserts that an integrated deployment and adoption of biometric systems in travel can transform the current travel system into an ideal, more secure system. Further, this study formulates a number of propositions for further empirical examination of biometric systems in specific fields within travel. Practical implications: This research provides specific suggestions to integrate biometric systems with the existing systems to achieve synergies and derive benefits for travel stakeholders. Social implications: Addressing the security-privacy relationship, biometric systems have social implications. Travelers' concerns about privacy, fear of harm, trust, and anxiety are found to influence their view of biometric systems, with potential implications for adoption and use. Originality/value: To date, there is scant academic research examining how biometric systems improve travel security. Thus, the position of this research is unique: it offers insight into a technology that is promising for both research and practitioners investigating the role of biometric systems in improving travel security and paves the way for a multitude of specific research directions. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Savva C.G.,Texas A&M University | Savva C.G.,University of Cambridge | Dewey J.S.,Texas A&M University | Dewey J.S.,University of St. Thomas, Texas | And 5 more authors.
Molecular Microbiology | Year: 2014

At a programmed time in phage infection cycles, canonical holins suddenly trigger to cause lethal damage to the cytoplasmic membrane, resulting in the cessation of respiration and the non-specific release of pre-folded, fully active endolysins to the periplasm. For the paradigm holin S105 of lambda, triggering is correlated with the formation of micron-scale membrane holes, visible as interruptions in the bilayer in cryo-electron microscopic images and tomographic reconstructions. Here we report that the size distribution of the holes is stable for long periods after triggering. Moreover, early triggering caused by an early lysis allele of S105 formed approximately the same number of holes, but the lesions were significantly smaller. In contrast, early triggering prematurely induced by energy poisons resulted in many fewer visible holes, consistent with previous sizing studies. Importantly, the unrelated canonical holins P2 Y and T4 T were found to cause the formation of holes of approximately the same size and number as for lambda. In contrast, no such lesions were visible after triggering of the pinholin S2168. These results generalize the hole formation phenomenon for canonical holins. A model is presented suggesting the unprecedentedly large size of these holes is related to the timing mechanism. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

To K.H.,Texas A&M University | Dewey J.,University of St. Thomas, Texas | Weaver J.,Texas A&M University | Park T.,Cornell University | Younga R.,Texas A&M University
Journal of Bacteriology | Year: 2013

Y is the putative holin gene of the paradigm coliphage P2 and encodes a 93-amino-acid protein. Y is predicted to be an integral membrane protein that adopts an N-out C-in membrane topology with 3 transmembrane domains (TMDs) and a highly charged C-terminal cytoplasmic tail. The same features are observed in the canonical class I lambda holin, the S105 protein of phage lambda, which controls lysis by forming holes in the plasma membrane at a programmed time. S105 has been the subject of intensive genetic, cellular, and biochemical analyses. Although Y is not related to S105 in its primary structure, its characterization might prove useful in discerning the essential traits for holin function. Here, we used physiological and genetic approaches to show that Y exhibits the essential holin functional criteria, namely, allele-specific delayed-onset lethality and sensitivity to the energization of the membrane. Taken together, these results suggest that class I holins share a set of unusual features that are needed for their remarkable ability to program the end of the phage infection cycle with precise timing. However, Y holin function requires the integrity of its short cytoplasmic C-terminal domain, unlike for S105. Finally, instead of encoding a second translational product of Y as an antiholin, as shown for lambda S107, the P2 lysis cassette encodes another predicted membrane protein, LysA, which is shown here to have a Y-specific antiholin character. © 2013, American Society for Microbiology.

Taj S.,University of St. Thomas, Texas | Morosan C.,University of St. Thomas, Texas
Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management | Year: 2011

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of lean operations practice and design on the Chinese manufacturing performance, using lean assessment data from 65 plants in various industries. Design/methodology/ approach - Exploratory factor and regression analyses are used to examine the associations among operations practice, production design, and operations performance. Three constructs are developed, two for operations practice (human resources and supply chains) and one for production design. Findings - Factor analysis shows that three factors are sufficient to represent the lean performance dimensions of flow, flexibility, and quality. Regression analysis shows that the lean performance factors are strongly related to operations practice and production system design. Using lean factors and operations practice/design, our results indicate significant gaps in lean manufacturing practices among different industries, with the petroleum and hi-tech industries performing relatively best. In addition, the garment industry performs very well in flexibility, indicating it does not compete just on price, but also on rapid response. Finally, all industries perform well in quality, underlining the emerging economy character of China. These results support other recent findings of the positive impact of lean operations on the performance of the Chinese manufacturing sector. Research limitations/implications - The paper's findings, which are based on the experience of selected manufacturing plants in China, should not be interpreted as indicative of the characteristics of the Chinese manufacturing plants in general. Originality/value - This paper advances the evidence on the role of lean manufacturing in two ways. First, to derive more robust statistical results, the paper relies on primary lean assessment data, as opposed to secondary opinion survey data common to most other studies. Second, to obtain more general findings, the paper makes use of a wider set of relevant variables, both for assessing manufacturing practice and performance, than is usual in the literature. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Simmons A.D.,University of St. Thomas, Texas | Carvalho C.M.B.,Baylor College of Medicine | Lupski J.R.,Baylor College of Medicine
Methods in Molecular Biology | Year: 2012

The elucidation of genomic disorders began with molecular technologies that enabled detection of genomic changes which were (a) smaller than those resolved by traditional cytogenetics (less than 5 Mb) and (b) larger than what could be determined by conventional gel electrophoresis. Methods such as pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) could resolve such changes but were limited to locus-specific studies. The study of genomic disorders has rapidly advanced with the development of array-based techniques. These enabled examination of the entire human genome at a higher level of resolution, thus allowing elucidation of the basis of many new disorders, mechanisms that result in genomic changes that can result in copy number variation (CNV), and most importantly, a deeper understanding of the characteristics, features, and plasticity of our genome. In this chapter, we focus on the structural and architectural features of the genome, which can potentially result in genomic instability, delineate how mechanisms, such as NAHR, NHEJ, and FoSTeS/MMBIR lead to disease-causing rearrangements, and briefly describe the relationship between the leading methods presently used in studying genomic disorders. We end with a discussion on our new understanding about our genome including: the contribution of new mutation CNV to disease, the abundance of mosaicism, the extent of subtelomeric rearrangements, the frequency of de novo rearrangements associated with sporadic birth defects, the occurrence of balanced and unbalanced translocations, the increasing discovery of insertional translocations, the exploration of complex rearrangements and exonic CNVs. In the postgenomic era, our understanding of the genome has advanced very rapidly as the level of technical resolution has become higher. This leads to a greater understanding of the effects of rearrangements present both in healthy subjects and individuals with clinically relevant phenotypes. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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