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Faculty Favorites: Why This Research Paper Matters to Me

From professional reasons to personal connections, faculty across campus share why they’re fond of certain works they penned.

Research  |  Apr 18, 2017  |  By Raegen Pietrucha

 Photo by R. Marsh Starks / UNLV Creative Services

Research begins with questions, a thirst for new knowledge that can change our understanding of the world. But the search for answers isn’t easy. When researchers embark on the journey toward discovery, they know they will be dedicating months or years of their lives to the quest.

Eventually, though, with any luck, they find the answers they seek. And then it’s time to revel in the fruits of their labor. Scholarly publications help researchers share what they’ve learned and celebrate the hard-earned end of the odyssey. 

We asked some of UNLV’s most prolific explorers which publication of theirs means the most to them and why. Here’s what they had to say.

Alyssa Crittenden

Lincy Assistant Professor of Anthropology Alyssa Crittenden studies how changes in the human diet have led to changes in our behavior and reproduction. Her research has been published in 43 outlets so far, including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Current Biology. But “Gut Microbiome of the Hadza Hunter-Gatherers,” published by Nature Communications, is nearest and dearest to her. “It was the first analysis of the gut microbiome among a foraging population, and the data indicated that some of our old longstanding ideas about the differences between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ gut bacteria needed to be re-evaluated,” she said.

Daniel Ortega

Daniel Ortega, associate professor and program coordinator of UNLV’s Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Program, examines cultural connections to landscapes and how technology shapes and affects the places we live in. His research appears in more than 30 outlets, including Landscape Review and The Journal of Sustainability Education. He’s most proud of Innovations in Landscape Architecture, which he co-authored/edited with Ryerson University’s Jonathon Anderson. The book brings more than 30 distinct perspectives from practitioners, researchers, and educators alike together to examine how innovations have made it possible for landscape architecture to address complex issues shaping our constructed environments.

Elisabeth Hausrath

To understand weathering, water quality, and soil formation on Earth and Mars, look no further than associate professor of geoscience Elisabeth “Libby” Hausrath, who investigates chemical interactions between water and rocks as well as the plant and microbial influences on those reactions. With more than 25 publications under her belt—including articles in Nature Geoscience, Nature Communications, and Geology—Hausrath has much to boast about. But she’s more gratified by the first publications two of her now-graduated PhD students, Chris Adcock and Seth Gainey, co-authored with her than anything else. “I am very proud of the members of my research group and their successes,” Hausrath said.

Frank Cucinotta

Francis Cucinotta, professor in the Department of Health Physics and Diagnostic Sciences, studies the impact of radiation on humans, including astronauts. With appearances in a whopping 350 journals and nine books—including Nature Reviews Cancer, Reviews of Modern Physics, and Science—highlighting a single publication is asking a lot. Still, Cucinotta pointed to “Cancer Risk From Exposure to Galactic Cosmic Rays: Implications for Space Exploration by Human Beings” from The Lancet Oncology as being one of particular note because it highlighted the health risks associated with humans’ space travel endeavors.

Greg Moody

How do humans behave in the online world, and how does that behavior impact organizations’ security? Ask Greg Moody, assistant professor in the Lee Business School, who’s published nearly 40 journal and conference papers in outlets such as Management Information Systems Quarterly and Information Systems Research on that and related subjects. His favorite article, though, is “Lost in Cyberspace: The Impact of Information Scent and Time Constraints on Stress, Performance, and Attitudes Online,” which appeared in the Journal of Management Information Systems. “I like this paper a lot because it focuses on why I started researching in the first place: [to gain] a better understanding how websites impact users … and thus provide better guidance for organizations in the development of their websites,” Moody said.

Guogen Shan

Guogen Shan, assistant professor of biostatistics, studies adaptive designs and statistical inferences related to clinical trials, which helps draw more accurate conclusions from data gathered during trials, better protects patients, and reduces costs associated with such studies. Since joining UNLV in 2012, Shan has published a book and more than 50 articles (33 of which he was first author on) in journals including Statistical Methods in Medical Research and Statistics in Medicine. He pointed to “Exact Confidence Intervals for the Relative Risk and the Odds Ratio,” published by Biometrics, as one point of pride for him because a pharmaceutical company approached him to serve as a consultant and implement the statistical approach he’d proposed in the paper after it was published.

Jessica Doolen

Few have a better understanding of the importance of teamwork than Jessica Doolen, assistant professor of nursing and educational director of the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas. She researches the impact teamwork can have on real-world health care experiences by studying nurses and medical residents practicing simulation scenarios and has published 18 articles on the subject in International Journal of Nursing Education and Scholarship, the Journal of Nursing Education, and more. She’s most proud of her appearances in Clinical Simulation in Nursing, however, as it’s “the primary nursing journal on simulation in nursing practice and education … and publishes cutting-edge learning strategies with simulation,” Doolen indicated.

Linda Edwards

E.L. Cord Foundation Professor of Law Linda Edwards studies the role of narratives and other persuasive strategies in the courtroom—areas that remain undertheorized though fundamental to legal work, she says. Edwards has produced five books and nearly 20 articles with Wolters Kluwer, the Journal of Legal Education, and The Wake Forest Law Review, to name a few. But she’s especially looking forward to a publication forthcoming later this year in the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism titled “Telling Stories in the Supreme Court: Voices Briefs and the Role of Democracy in Constitutional Deliberation,” which will analyze a new, controversial form of appellate narrative argument: briefs that share stories of individuals not parties to the case at hand.

Marcia Ditmyer

Marcia Ditmyer, assistant dean for assessment and instruction and an associate professor in the School of Dental Medicine, researches diabetes and oral health in adolescents to inform the development of educational programs, interventions, and policy. She has 55 publications and counting, including appearances in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry, the Journal of Investigative and Clinical Dentistry, and the Journal of Dental Education. The one that’s most near and dear to her heart, though, is “Pediatricians’ Perceptions and Practices Regarding Prevention and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Children and Adolescents,” published by the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, which was the culmination of her dissertation.

Melissa Bowles-Terry

Melissa Bowles-Terry, head of educational initiatives and associate professor at the University Libraries, explores how libraries contribute to student retention, progression, and overall success. She’s produced 15 publications on the subject, which appear in journals such as College & Research Libraries, Reference and User Services Quarterly, and Reference Services Review. However, she’s most proud of a book she co-authored with University of Wyoming’s Cassandra Kvenild, Classroom Assessment Techniques for Librarians, published by the Association of College and Research Libraries. “As we were writing,” Bowles-Terry recalled, “we were able to travel and offer workshops based on the book. It was really interesting to get feedback from colleagues in various countries as we worked on the material.” 

Mohamed Trabia

Mohamed Trabia, Associate Dean for Research, Graduate Studies, and Computing and a professor of mechanical engineering, studies mechanical systems design, behavior, materials, optimization, and control. He’s produced 133 conference proceedings, 51 articles in journals such as Smart Materials and Structures and Applied Thermal Engineering, four book chapters, and a few patents to boot. His favorite publications are the ones that were the first to tackle new terrain, such as “A Two-Stage Fuzzy Logic Controller for Traffic Signals,” published by Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, in which he discusses a unique type of control system that uses a humanlike set of linguistic commands to control traffic flow.

Sarah Tanford

When the hotel industry wants to improve its strategies, it can turn to the work of Sarah Tanford, associate professor of hospitality management, for guidance. Tanford has published her research on hospitality consumer behavior such as customer loyalty, reward programs, and the influence of online customer reviews in more than 30 publications, including Tourism Management and Journal of Travel Research. Her point of pride is “Antecedents and Outcomes of Hospitality Loyalty: A Meta-analysis,” which she completed in a six-month solo effort during sabbatical. “I submitted the article to my first choice of journal, Cornell Hospitality Quarterly,” she said. “The crowning moment was when it was accepted without revision three weeks after submission.”

Travis Olson

Travis Olson, associate professor in UNLV’s College of Education, studies the curriculum, content development, and knowledge base of math teachers to improve K-12 educational outcomes. He’s produced just under 30 scholarly publications, which have been picked up by The Mathematics Educator, Investigations in Mathematics Learning, and the NCSM Journal for Mathematics Education Leadership. His book, Putting Essential Understandings of Ratios and Proportions into Practice in Grades 6-8, published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, is particularly special to him. “I had the pleasure of writing this book with my father (both my mother and father are also mathematics educators who have recently retired), which was particularly special for me,” Olson said.

William Sousa

William Sousa, director of the Center for Crime and Justice Policy and associate professor of criminal justice, studies police management, crime prevention, and more with the goal of advancing police practice. He’s produced a book and nearly 40 additional scholarly publications, which have been showcased in the Journal of Experimental CriminologyCriminal Justice Studies, and more. He’s particularly proud of “Research on Body Worn Cameras: Meeting the Challenges of Police Operations, Program Implementation, and Randomized Controlled Trial Designs,” published in Police Quarterly, because the larger project upon which the paper is based represents one of several ongoing partnerships between the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and UNLV.