WTVA: Grant Funds Study of Cancer Gene kRAS

OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) — The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy will help with a U. S. Department of Defense study of a cancer gene called kRAS.

The school is receiving a grant for $333,878 to study the DNA make up the gene.

Researchers say kRAS is an important gene in the progression of pancreatic, lung and other cancers.

Read the entire story. 


NEMS Daily Journal: Markley Finds Passion in Higher Education

TUPELO – Derek Markley’s first visit to Tupelo did not come at the most opportune time.

The new executive director of the University of Mississippi’s Tupelo and Booneville campuses had his job interview with the school scheduled for late April. Two days before he arrived, Tupelo was struck by an EF3 tornado that carved a 31-mile path of destruction.

It was the first time the Auburn, Indiana, native had seen any area that had been freshly hit by a twister. It didn’t dissuade him from the job.

Read the full story.

New York Times: Mississippi Death Row Case Faults Bite-Mark Forensics

In one of the country’s first nationally televised criminal trials, of the smirking serial murderer Ted Bundy in Florida in 1979, jurors and viewers alike were transfixed as dental experts showed how Mr. Bundy’s crooked teeth resembled a bite on a 20-year-old victim.

Mr. Bundy was found guilty and the obscure field of “forensic dentistry” won a place in the public imagination.

Since then, expert testimony matching body wounds with the dentition of the accused has played a role in hundreds of murder and rape cases, sometimes helping to put defendants on death row.

But over this same period, mounting evidence has shown that matching body wounds to a suspect’s dentition is prone to bias and unreliable.

A disputed bite-mark identification is at the center of an appeal that was filed Monday with the Mississippi Supreme Court. Eddie Lee Howard Jr., 61, has been on death row for two decades for the murder and rape of an 84-year-old woman, convicted largely because of what many experts call a far-fetched match of his teeth to purported bite wounds, discerned only after the woman’s body had been buried and exhumed.

Read the entire story.

Inside Science: Astronauts May Grow Better Salads On Mars Than On The Moon

Any explorers visiting Mars and the moon will have to boldly grow where no man has grown before.

Setting up lunar or Martian colonies will require that explorers raise their own food. New research finds that simulated Martian soil supported plant life better than both simulated moon soil and low-quality soil from Earth. But many problems must be solved before astronauts can pick their first extraterrestrial eggplant. The study appears in the journal PLOS ONE.

“Research like this is needed to fine-tune future plans for growing plants on Mars, which I think is going to be a very useful thing if we want to have colonization or even a shorter-term stay on Mars,” said John Kiss, a plant biologist at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, who did not participate in the research. “It’s hard to carry all the food with you.”

Read the entire story.

Mississippi Business Journal: Ole Miss makes ranking of most beautiful campuses in U.S.

OXFORD, Miss. – Best College Reviews, a ranking service for American colleges and universities, has released a list of the 100 most beautiful college campuses in America, and the University of Mississippi made the cut.

The 100 campuses were selected based entirely on aesthetics. The author placed particular emphasis on natural features such as green spaces, bodies of water, and arboretums as well as man made features, primarily notable architecture and look and feel of campuses as a holistic, cohesive whole. Higher education become more competitive every year, which brings higher amounts of stress to college students, and one way of mitigating that stress is attending school in a beautiful setting, whether that means bucolic, relaxing grounds or a vibrant, architecturally interesting campus.

Read the entire story.

Mississippi Business Journal: Robert Khayat wins 2014 Mississippi author award

OXFORD, Mississippi — The Mississippi Library Association has announced the winners of the 2014 Mississippi Author Awards. Robert Khayat, author of The Education of a Lifetime (Nautilus), was named Mississippi Author of the Year in the nonfiction category. Previous winners in nonfiction include Eudora Welty, Willie Morris and Margaret Walker. The winner in the fiction category was Michael Farris Smith for his novel Rivers.

Otha Keys, Mississippi Author Awards committee member and a librarian at South Jones High School, said, “This memoir by Robert Khayat is one I could not put down. He is an excellent storyteller and he definitely has had an ‘education of a lifetime.’”

Robert Khayat, who heard about the award at his home in Oxford, said, “My family and I are profoundly grateful to the Mississippi Library Association for the Non-Fiction Award—a complete and pleasant surprise to us.”

“The overarching goal of the book was to move the perception of Ole Miss and Mississippi from 1962 to the present. I felt it was my responsibility to help others understand us . . . and for us to acknowledge our challenges,” Khayat added.

Read the entire story. 

Clarion Ledger: Mannings, UMMC develop healthy-living campaign

Imagine, for the moment, every famous athlete gave back to their community in the manner the Archie Manning family does. Just imagine.

Dr. Jimmy Keeton, who heads up the University of Mississippi Medical Center, has.

“The world would be a better place,” Keeton says. “Mississippi would be a much more healthy place.”

Read the entire story by Rick Cleveland.

Jackson Free Press: My Freedom Summer

As I reached out to introduce myself to Dr. Robert Parris Moses Jr. on June 2, I realized there was something more to our traditional greeting. Dr. Moses’ eyes said more than, “Pleased to meet you.” He grasped my hand for what seemed to be just a second or so longer than he had the other individuals I accompanied to hear him speak.

As we made eye contact, I understood his silent gesture toward me.

Even if he did so unintentionally, Dr. Moses’ eyes communicated to me that something in his heart and mind wanted me to comprehend. In the short glance we made toward each other, I felt that he truly hoped that the wisdom he had outlined that afternoon would stick with me; whether it was the history of the United States Constitution and how people used its articles to mask their prejudices and warrant their oppressive behaviors; the confidence, self-respect and self-determination to demand and exercise every right promised to me; or stepping up to the task of defending those citizens I encounter who are deprived of their own rights and educating them of their importance so that they can find the strength to fight for themselves.

As a black male opening the doors of adulthood, I would need each. Read the entire story.

CollegeChoice.net: 50 Best Colleges for Summer School

University of Mississippi named as one of top locations to study

Students looking to boost their academic credentials over the summer needn’t give up their precious vacation time completely. Some university campuses are naturally conducive to a healthy work-life balance; some are set in cool college towns replete with outdoor restaurants and cafés, happening music scenes, and interesting cultural activities; and yet other campuses are ideally placed for major music festivals. What’s more, many U.S. universities accept visiting and even international students, so as well as staying put, there’s also the option of heading somewhere new and exciting.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the 50 most desirable U.S. colleges at which to attend summer school. The following institutions were selected based on their proximity to hip summer festivals, surf-ready beaches, majestic mountain scenery, hiking and cycling hotspots, water sports-friendly lakes and rivers, and action-packed towns where there’s always something going on.

Click here to see the full list.

Washington Post: New case again demonstrates duplicity of embattled Mississippi medical examiner

In February, I wrote about a Fifth Circuit decision rejecting the claims of a defendant who was convicted based on improbable testimony from the controversial medical examiner Steven Hayne. Over the course of about two decades, Hayne nearly monopolized Mississippi’s criminal autopsy referrals, performing 1,500-1,800 autopsies per year all by himself. Most of these were done for the state’s prosecutors. Hayne’s testimony was responsible for several convictions that later resulted in acquittals after a new trial, dismissed charges, or DNA exonorations.

I’ve been covering this scandal for the better part of a decade now. Hayne has been found to have given testimony completely unsupported by science, regularly worked with known charlatans like the discredited “bite mark expert” Michael West, and has been sharply criticized by colleagues for his improbable workload, sloppy practices, and dubious testimony. He has also been shown to have perjured himself about his qualifications. Despite all of this, and despite the fact that there are literally thousands of people in prison due in part or mostly to Hayne’s autopsies and testimony, neither state nor federal courts have shown any interest in determining just how much damage Hayne may have done to the criminal justice system of Mississippi (and to a lesser extent Louisiana). The Mississippi legislature hasn’t shown much interest. And state attorney general Jim Hood continues to defend Hayne. (Hood often used Hayne during his time as a district attorney.)

In past cases, Hayne has included in his autopsy report the weight of a man’s spleen, and made comments about its appearance, even though the man’s spleen had been removed four years prior to his death. In an autopsy on a drowned infant, Hayne wrote down the weight of each of the child’s kidneys, even though one of them had previously been removed. In one murder case, Hayne documented removing and examining the victim’s ovaries and uterus even though the victim was male. Read the entire story.