October was a busy month for UNLV, as our students and experts grappled with a flurry of events with significant impact on the university, city, state, country, and world.
Amid COVID-19, UNLV students expanded a contact tracing program to combat the virus, while UNLV faculty experts provided tips on social distancing. To help shore up the physician shortage in Nevada, the UNLV School of Medicine broke ground on a new campus building, paving the way for increased enrollment of future Nevada physicians. As the presidential election and other political events raged on, university experts analyzed and explained the reasoning behind debates and virtual politics. And after decades of research, a team of scientists, including a UNLV researcher, have made a breakthrough discovery with a revolutionary superconductor that could change the future of energy efficiency.
All this and more in the latest edition of UNLV Newsmakers.
UNLV Receives Grant to Expand Funding for Contact Tracing Program
How does a university play a part in fighting against the pandemic? Since March, UNLV students have been serving the community via a COVID-19 contact tracing program through which they monitor and prevent the spread of infectious disease. The program recently received a $3.4 million state grant to expand training and boost the ranks of student volunteer contact tracers from 60 to 200. The program’s leaders — School of Public Health Dean Shawn Gerstenberger and Professor Brian Labus — shared the news with the press.
Landmark Discovery in Revolutionary Superconductor
At last – scientists have solved a decades-old scientific conundrum by creating the first room-temperature superconductor. The discovery by UNLV physicist Ashkan Salamat, along with a team of researchers from the University of Rochester, has implications for the way energy is stored and transmitted, and paves the way for improved energy efficiency in everyday technological devices, such as laptops and MRI machines. “The discovery is new, and the technology is in its infancy and a vision of tomorrow, but the possibilities are endless,” Salamat tells the Pahrump Valley Times. “This could revolutionize the energy grid, and change every device that’s electronically driven.”
- BBC, Science Mag, EurekAlert! (twice), Phys.Org, Scientific American, Futurism, Quanta Magazine, New Atlas, Ars Technica, SciTechDaily, KSNV-TV: News 3, Sci News, Wired, Futurity, BBC News Mundo, International Business Times, Inverse, Innovation Toronto
Groundbreaking Ceremony for The UNLV School of Medicine
Developers officially broke ground Oct. 28 on a permanent campus for the UNLV School of Medicine. The five-story structure — slated for completion by summer 2022 — will allow the school to increase enrollment and address the physician shortage in Nevada. “That is really about three years ahead of schedule,” Dr. Marc J. Khan, dean of the School of Medicine, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The future health care of the valley — of Las Vegas — depends on our ability to train the next generation of physicians, and what better place to do that than a modern, technologically advanced medical education building.”
UNLV Center of Innovation Sponsored by DraftKings
UNLV has officially partnered with DraftKings in a multiyear agreement, sponsoring the International Gaming Institute’s Center of Gaming Innovation. The agreement includes the opening of the DraftKings Innovation Studio on campus, designed to strengthen ties in Las Vegas and to connect local talent and innovations to the company itself. Director of the Center for Gaming Innovation Daniel Sahl explains the significance of the partnership.
UNLV Public Health Researcher on COVID-19
It’s been more than seven months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. And, unfortunately, no end to the public health crisis is in sight. As the pandemic wears on and the holidays draw near, UNLV Public Health Professor Brian Labus shares tips on how to live, work, and celebrate safely.
- Yahoo!, HuffPost, Bumble, The Nevada Independent, KTNV-TV: ABC 13, Verywell Health, Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice) (three times), (four times), (five times), (six times), (seven times), (eight times), (nine times), KUNR, KSNV-TV: News 3, KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, Vegas PBS
UNLV Experts Take On the 2020 Election Season
The lead-up to the election brought myriad political-related events, all of which have significantly impacted the future of the United States. The controversy surrounding the replacement for a late Supreme Court Justice, analysis of several heated presidential and vice presidential debates, and polling guesses about who will be elected president are just a few items that made headlines. UNLV’s experts have kept a close eye on the happenings, providing expert analysis to local and national media outlets.
- Political science professor Rebecca Gill offers insight about navigating ballots, the Supreme Court confirmation battle over Amy Coney Barrett, and more.
- Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute executive director Robert E. Lang examines regional demographics, and how such factors play a significant role in the election.
- UNLV Debate Team director Jacob Thompson analyzes the first and second presidential debates, offering keynotes on what presidential and vice presidential candidates argued well and poorly.
- Political science chair David Damore discusses the importance of polling, metropolitan regions in red states, bluelining, and more as the national election draws near.
- Assistant professor of communication studies Natalie Pennington goes into depth with online politics and relationships, and how social media political arguments can be detrimental.
- Political science professor Kenneth Miller gives advice to voters on Wyoming Public Media and Bucks County Courier Times.
- Political scientist Dan Lee shares his expertise with City and State, The Nevada Independent, Jewish Insider, and KNPR on the importance of districts and the demographic shift in political parties and elections.
- Professor of political science John P. Tuman explains how Latino voters will affect the election on Wall Street Journal, Las Vegas Review-Journal, KSNV-TV: News 3, and KNPR.
- Psychology professor Stephen D. Benning explains election fatigue to KSNV-TV: News 3.
- Law professor David Orentlicher explains how the U.S. The Supreme Court can avoid controversy in politics in WBGH.
- History professor Michael Green reviews the history of mail-in ballots, the Bill of Rights, and current-day polling on KVVU-TV: FOX 5, Reno News & Review, and Gambling Compliance.
- Immigration Clinic director and law professor Michael Kagan explains the reasons behind Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barett’s previous denial of an asylum request on The Intercept.
- Professor of sociology Robert Futrell analyzes Trump’s speeches and radical groups on Nevada Current, Downtown News Magazine, and Wyoming Public Media.
- Professor of law Francine J. Lipman talks about tax fraud on USA Today and MarketWatch amid the investigation of Trump’s taxes while in office.
General Expert Roundup
- Gaming historian David G. Schwartz comments on gambling during COVID-19, as well as the history of Las Vegas resorts and female casino owners.
- Melva Thompson-Robinson, professor of social behavioral health, and Tyler D. Parry, African American and African Diaspora Studies professor, explain how race plays a part in medicine: KTNV-TV: ABC 13
- Couple in Family Therapy Program professor Katherine M. Hertlein offers a solution in providing intimacy amid social distancing, as well as tips on how to successfully date during a pandemic.
- Associate professor of architecture Dak Kopec gives tips on autumn decoration and adjustments for homeowners with disabilities to Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice).
- Psychology professor Stephen D. Benning discusses with the Las Vegas Review-Journal and El Tiempo why some Oct. 1 victims argue against changing the event’s death toll.
- Robert E. Lang in Urban Affairs discusses the grand opening of Circa Resort amid the pandemic with Las Vegas Sun and AP.
- Public History Program associate director Deirdre Clemente explains the history of tracksuits in The Zoe Report.
- Johan C. Bester, the UNLV School of Medicine’s director of bioethics, elaborates on the unethical approach on herd immunity and COVID-19 in Verywell Health.
- Associate professor of law Benjamin Edwards evaluates the concept of materiality and awards with RIA Intel.
- Biostatistician Richard Tillett explains why we need a vaccine for COVID-19 in the Los Angeles Times.
- Center for Business and Economic Research director Stephen Miller talks about the economic recovery after COVID-19 to Vegas Inc, The Simple Dollar, Bankrate, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Casino.Org.
- Five finalists received $900,000 from the Lee Prize competition in order to help the travel and hospitality industry amidst COVID-19. Troesh Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Director Leith Martin tells Las Vegas Review-Journal how this funding will help the selected winners.