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Introduction

Texas ScholarWorks was established to provide open, online access to the products of the University's research and scholarship, to preserve these works for future generations, to promote new models of scholarly communication, and to help deepen community understanding of the value of higher education.

UT Tower and campus image credit: Earl McGehee, CC-BY, https://www.flickr.com/photos/ejmc/7452145850

 

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Recent Submissions

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We are not planning for equity: an analysis of contemporary comprehensive plans
(2023-12) Ogusky, Adam; Oden, Michael; Paterson, Robert G; Lentz, Roberta; Mueller, Elizabeth
This research analyzes contemporary comprehensive plans for the extent and quality of their inclusion of equity, in addition to analyzing the meanings of equity found in the plans and how such meanings relate to plan quality with regard to equity. Despite the growing importance of equity to planning practice, education, and scholarship, the term remains murky, frequently left undefined and underspecified. Moreover, there is very little research indicating the degree to which equity is included in planning work and how the term is employed. Using comprehensive plans as a proxy for planning practice, this project fills this gap in our knowledge of equity and planning. A sample of 25 large U.S. cities with recently passed comprehensive plans was analyzed using a modified plan quality evaluation rubric. Plans were found almost without exception to be of very low quality with regard to their inclusion of equity. In particular, plans largely failed to define equity and were especially poor at delineating problems with regard to equity, remaining almost entirely silent on current and historical conditions of inequality and injustice in their jurisdictions. However, plans were found broadly to claim an interest in equity despite the poor quality of its incorporation, indicating a wide rhetoric/substance gap with regard to their treatment of equity. To analyze the meanings of equity the plans were characterized according to a typology of theories of justice drawn from the literature on justice from moral and political philosophy. On aggregate, plans tended to be characterized as highly liberal and system-maintaining with regard to their conceptions of equity, which aligned with theories of justice that were conservative (versus ideal), distributive (versus corrective), non-comparative (versus comparative), and individual-oriented (versus group-oriented). Plans that took a view of equity aligned with system change-oriented conceptions of justice correlated with higher quality with regard to their treatment of equity, especially plans that took a corrective justice-oriented view of equity.
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Dynamics and regulation of polarity proteins during epithelial polarization in primed mouse embryonic stem cells
(2023-12) Shi, Yu (Ph. D. in cell and molecular biology); Dickinson, Daniel J.; Stein, David S; Cambronne, Lulu Ang; Kim, Jonghwan; Vokes, Steven A
Epithelial polarity, defined by distinct apical and basolateral domains, is fundamental for animal embryonic development and organ function. During organogenesis, epithelia often develop from unpolarized precursor cells. How mammalian epithelial cells establish polarity de novo from an initially unpolarized state has remained unclear, in part due to an inability to observe this process in real time in non-transformed cellular systems. Here, we leverage recent advances in 3D spheroid culture of mouse embryonic stem cells, fluorescent protein knock-in and live imaging techniques to study the process of epithelial polarity establishment. We show that non-muscle myosin II (myosin) activity, regulated by MLCK, is crucial for the establishment and maintenance of epithelial polarity. Actomyosin cortical flows transport ZO-1, a tight junction component that interacts with apical polarity protein, to establish the apical membrane. A second pool of myosin, regulated by Rho kinase, localizes basally, and contributes to tissue shape. This implies the existence of opposing apical and basal actomyosin pools that regulate epithelial polarization. Our work paves the way for further exploration into the cellular basis of epithelial polarity establishment.
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A guide to photocuring catalyst selection
(2023-12) Stafford, Alex Michael; Page, Zachariah; Korgel, Brian A; Sessler, Jonathan L; Roberts, Sean T
The utilization of light as an energy source to convert liquid resins (termed photopolymers) into solid plastics is a burgeoning field in polymer science. Photopolymerizations have found broad applications in imaging and curing technologies (e.g. photoresists, photolithography, and photocurable coatings) and the driving of rapid polymerizations with visible to near-infrared light will enable nascent technologies in the emerging fields of bio- and composite-3D printing. However, current photopolymerization strategies are limited by long reaction times, high light intensities, and/or large catalyst loadings. The improvement of efficiency remains elusive without a comprehensive, mechanistic evaluation of photocatalysis to better understand how composition relates to polymerization metrics. With this objective in mind, a series of BODIPYs, azaBODIPYs, thiopheneBODIPYs and thionaphthalimides were synthesized and systematically characterized to elucidate key structure–property relationships that correlate to efficient photopolymerization driven by visible to near-IR light. For all these scaffolds, access to longer lived photoexcited states was shown as a general method to increase polymerization rate, quantitatively characterized using a custom real-time infrared spectroscopy setup. Furthermore, a combination of steady-state emission quenching experiments, electronic structure calculations, and ultrafast transient absorption revealed that efficient intersystem crossing to the lowest excited triplet state was a key mechanistic step to achieving rapid photopolymerization reactions. Unprecedented polymerization rates were achieved with extremely low light intensities (<1 mW/cm²) and catalyst loadings (<50 μM), exemplified by reaction completion within 60 s of irradiation using green, red, far-red, and near-IR light-emitting diodes. The photoredox catalysts were additionally employed to produce complex 3D structures using high-resolution visible light and near-IR 3D printing, demonstrating the broad utility of these catalysts in additive manufacturing.
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The Afro-Pampas: Black consciousness, cultural activism and queer subjectivity at Brazil's southern frontier
(2023-12) Morrison, Ryan B.; Leu, Lorraine; Domínguez-Ruvalcaba, Héctor; Roncador, Sônia; Arroyo-Martínez, Jossianna
Since the nineteenth century, the greater Pampas of South America, spanning Porto Alegre, Brazil to Buenos Aires, Argentina, have received more European immigrants than any other territory in Latin America. Deliberate investments in the racial imaginary of the region through literature and iconography have transposed a constructed narrative of whiteness and racial exceptionalism upon it. In “The Afro-Pampas: Black Consciousness, Cultural Activism and Queer Subjectivity at Brazil’s Southern Frontier,” I use Critical Race Theory, Border and Frontier Studies and Black Feminist and Queer to situate Blackness as central to and transformative of the construction of the real and imagined Pampas. While cultural hegemony in this transnational region predicates itself upon spatial and temporal displacement of its Black population, my racial-spatial analysis probes and contests this historical assertion precisely by locating Blackness in the region, in a real and imagined space that I call the “Afro-Pampas.” Through literary, iconographic and ethnographic studies, I make two major claims. First, Black subjects and communities foster a historic and fundamental kinship with the geopolitical and epistemological borders of the Pampas, in their fugitive relationship to the nation-states of the region. These racialized bodies frame the “character” of the territory as scripted by hegemonic discourses of whiteness and racial exceptionalism, while these subjects destabilize and transform these same constructed consensuses. Second, Blackness and queerness work in tandem to subvert the racialized hypermasculinity of the transnational Pampean frontiers specifically, and the borderlands of the Americas more broadly.
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Speech reconstruction from articulatory movement for laryngectomees
(2023-12) Cao, Beiming; Wang, Jun, Ph. D.; Thomaz, Edison; Harwath, David; Tewfik, Ahmed; Koul, Rajinder
Laryngectomees are individuals who have their larynx surgically removed due to the treatment of laryngeal cancer. They lost their ability to vocalize speech but can still articulate after the surgery. As a result, they rely on alternative methods for communication (e.g., alaryngeal speech). However, alaryngeal speech generates unnatural-sounding voice, which discourages their willingness to speak and causes social isolation and even depression. Silent speech interfaces (SSIs) convert non-audio human bio-signals (e.g., tongue and lip movement) to speech, which have the potential to reconstruct speech with natural-sounding voice and even speaker identity. Although the concept of SSI and its feasibility has been demonstrated in the field, SSI development still faces a few major challenges, including small data size, lack of algorithms for laryngectomees, and lack of wearable devices for daily use. A series of studies were conducted to address these challenges. This dissertation contributed to the field from different aspects, including novel algorithms and approaches for articulation-to-speech mapping, new knowledge to improve the design of SSI, and evaluation of newly developed wearable devices.