Research

[Community Garden]
1/24/2023
WACO, Texas (Jan. 24, 2023) – Faith organizations have traditionally served as first responders when crisis occurs in personal lives as well as in the community. Yet, for all the good they do, faith organizations can do so much more if their efforts and resources could be better recognized and leveraged, through public-private partnerships to sustain and grow their work, according to a case study by Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion.
[Dr. Jessica Akers]
1/19/2023
WACO, Texas (Jan. 19, 2023) - Jessica Akers, Ph.D., assistant professor of educational psychology in the Baylor University School of Education, has received a $893,409 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop an innovative treatment model for children with autism and their siblings.
[Allie North]
1/9/2023
WACO, Texas (Jan. 9, 2023) Silicic volcanoes on the Moon, specifically the mysterious Gruithuisen Domes, are a lunar geologic mystery that still perplexes scientists more than half a century after they were discovered. Based on early telescopic and spacecraft observations, these extinct volcanoes have long been suspected to be silicic in composition, in some ways similar to terrestrial strato volcanoes like Mount St. Helens in Washington state.
[Caleb Martin, Ph.D.]
12/15/2022
WACO, Texas (Dec. 15, 2022) – Baylor University chemist Caleb D. Martin, Ph.D., and his team have developed a new state-of-art Lewis superacid – with applications in the production of most common plastics – that is more efficient to produce, safer for the environment, and could potentially save billions of dollars in manufacturing costs.
[Sports Analytics]
12/7/2022
WACO, Texas (Dec. 7, 2022) – Baylor University data scientists along with colleagues from four other universities have been awarded one of the largest National Science Foundation grants to explore new approaches to engage and prepare the next generation of data scientists through sports analytics.
[Team Prayer]
11/30/2022
WACO, Texas (Nov. 30, 2022) - Athletics can occupy an ambiguous place within a university's greater mission, particularly at religious institutions. Yet, little research has been conducted - until now - to understand student-athletes connection with personal religious beliefs.
[Global Scientific Conference on Human Flourishing]
11/28/2022
WACO, Texas (Nov. 28, 2022) – Baylor University is among the institutions participating in the inaugural Global Scientific Conference on Human Flourishing, an interdisciplinary conference organized by Templeton World Charity Foundation in partnership with leading academic and policy research centers around the world.
[Remote Work]
11/16/2022
WACO, Texas (Nov. 16, 2022) - Remote work has its own distinct set of challenges, and businesses that help employees respond to these challenges will benefit with a more productive and healthier workforce, according to research led by remote/hybrid work expert Sara J. Perry, Ph.D., associate professor of management at Baylor.
[FM72 Prayer Tent]
11/14/2022
WACO, Texas (Nov. 14, 2022) – While peer influence is the top factor that leads to Baylor University students to attain higher levels of vertical faith maturity and horizontal faith maturity, respectively, attending a local place of worship is a powerful predictor of both measures of faith maturity, according to research from Baylor’s ongoing Faith and Character Study, which tracks the long-term impact of a Baylor education on a person’s faith and character.
[STEM Day Card]
11/7/2022
WACO, Texas (Nov. 7, 2022) – For National STEM Day, Baylor University is starting a new outreach project, which provides teachers, families and students with do-it-yourself projects designed to make science, technology, engineering and math come alive.
[Ashley Barrett, Ph.D.]
11/3/2022
WACO, Texas (Nov. 3, 2022) – Ashley Barrett, Ph.D., BA ’07, MA ’09, associate professor in Baylor’s Department of Communication, has earned a highly coveted CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the impact of new information technologies on the communication they facilitate in healthcare settings and seek ways to promote compassionate communication and empathy in these ever-evolving patient-provider interactions.
[Templeton Foundation Grant]
10/17/2022
WACO, Texas (Oct. 17, 2022) – An interdisciplinary team of Baylor University researchers in psychology, religion and bioethics will explore how to tackle the complex problems of human flourishing by training theologians to incorporate the methods and insights of the psychological sciences into their work through a $2.5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
[NLP graphic]
10/13/2022
WACO, Texas (Oct. 13, 2022) – Pablo Rivas, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science in Baylor University's School of Engineering and Computer Science, is the principal investigator on a National Science Foundation grant to use technology to identify and disrupt illicit transactions online. Baylor colleague Tomas Cerny, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science, also serves on the five-person research team.
[BSIR]
9/26/2022
WACO, Texas (Sept. 26, 2022) – Baptist scholars recently gathered at Oxford University for the 2022 Baptist Scholars International Roundtable (BSIR), hosted by the Baylor University Graduate School, to promote Baptist scholarship among faculty around the world.
[Cell phone satisfaction]
9/26/2022
WACO, Texas (Sept. 26, 2022) –Smartphone users will be disappointed if they expect their devices and social media to fill their need for purpose and meaning. In fact, it will probably do the opposite, researchers at Baylor and Campbell Universities found in a recently published study.
[National Research Administrator Day 2022]
9/23/2022
WACO, Texas (Sept. 23, 2022) – Baylor University is celebrating National Research Administrator Day today by recognizing the team effort that supports researchers across campus and helped Baylor attain Research 1 designation – three years earlier than expected – among the nation’s top R1 universities.
[Aaron Wright, Ph.D.]
9/15/2022
WACO, Texas (Sept. 15, 2022) – Baylor University announced today the appointment of Aaron Wright, Ph.D., as the inaugural James R. Schofield Endowed Chair in Biomedical Studies. Wright comes to Baylor from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, and will provide interdisciplinary research and leadership from within the Department of Biology.
[Expedition Unknown]
8/29/2022
WACO, Texas (Aug. 29, 2022) - Research led by Baylor University faculty and students will be explored on the national stage as they share their findings from the San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project during a Season 10 episode of the popular primetime Discovery adventure series "Expedition Unknown," which premieres Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. CST on Discovery.
[Julia Chan, Ph.D.]
8/25/2022
WACO, Texas (Aug. 25, 2022) – Baylor University announced today the appointment of Julia Chan, Ph.D., as the inaugural holder of The Tim and Sharalynn Fenn Family Endowed Chair in Materials Science. Chan, a 1993 Baylor graduate who built an international reputation as a leading scientist focused on the discovery of new families of quantum materials, will provide multi-disciplinary leadership for Baylor’s materials science efforts.
[Full "Bigonia"]
8/24/2022
WACO, Texas (Aug. 24, 2022) – In a first-of-its-kind study published in Frontiers of Marine Science, Baylor University marine biologist Sarah Kienle, Ph.D., and her research colleagues gathered baseline data on the ecology and physiology of the leopard seal, the enigmatic apex predator of the Antarctic.
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WACO, Texas (Aug. 22, 2022) – Baylor University marine biologist Sarah Kienle, Ph.D., has always been fascinated by leopard seals. These prehistoric, reptilian-looking seals are often portrayed as scary villains in movies such as “Happy Feet” and “Eight Below,” but little is known about their basic biology. The combination of the extreme climate in Antarctica, the species’ solitary habits and their lethal reputation makes leopard seals one of the most difficult top predators to study on Earth. In a first-of-its-kind study funded by the National Science Foundation awarded to professor Daniel Costa (lead PI; UCSC), associate professor Stephen Trumble, PhD (Baylor), professor Shane Kanatous, PhD (Colorado State University), wildlife biologist Mike Goebel, PhD (NOAA), and professor Daniel Crocker, PhD (Sonoma State University), the PIs and Kienle (a graduate student and postdoctoral researcher at the time) set out with one shared goal: to learn more about leopard seals. Over the course of two years, the research group studied 22 leopard seals off the Western Antarctic Peninsula, an area rapidly warming and changing. They weighed and measured each seal and followed each seal’s activities and dive patterns using satellite/GPS tags. In the study – “Plasticity in the morphometrics and movements of an Antarctic apex predator, the leopard seal “– Kienle (first author) and the team documented the flexible behaviors and traits that may offer leopard seals the resilience needed to survive the extreme climate and environmental disturbances occurring around Antarctica. “This study greatly increases our understanding of leopard seals’ life history, spatial patterns and diving behavior,” Kienle said. “We show that these leopard seals have high variability (or, flexibility) in these different traits. Across the animal kingdom, variability is vital for animals adapting and responding to changes in their environment, so we’re excited to see high variability in this Antarctic predator.” Among the research team’s discoveries detailed in the journal article: • Adult female leopard seals are much larger than adult males; in fact, females are 1.5 times larger and longer. o The team measured one of the largest leopard seals ever, an adult female they nicknamed “Bigonia,” who weighed 540 kg (1,190 lbs.). o Female-biased sexual dimorphism (where females are larger) is unusual among marine mammals, a diverse group that includes polar bears, whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions, but leopard seals are the most extreme example of female-biased dimorphism among the 130+ species of marine mammals. o Why females are larger than males is not known, although Kienle explained other studies show that larger females are better at defending feeding areas, as well as stealing prey from smaller seals. Larger females also eat bigger, energy-rich prey, including fur seals and penguins, while males and smaller females often eat smaller prey like krill and fish. This suggests that the larger body size in adult females is beneficial and offers a selective advantage that Kienle and team will continue to explore. • From the movement data, female leopard seals spent more time “hauled out” – or coming out of the water to rest on ice or land – than males. o Two adult female leopard seals in this study spent two weeks straight hauled-out on ice in the middle of the ocean, not eating and not getting in the water. Kienle and colleagues suggest that this two-week haul-out period is when female leopard seals give birth and nurse their pup. o At the end of the two weeks, females return to water and begin diving for food again, and, at the same time, they likely wean their pup. It’s a short period to spend with their pups because the leopard seal is doing all of these really energetically demanding things without any food. • Male and female leopard seals swim short and long distances in both coastal and open-ocean habitats. o One seal only traveled 46 km from where the team worked with the seal, staying in and around islands off the Antarctic Peninsula. o Another seal, however, traveled 1,700 km during that same period away from the tagging location, swimming to an island more than a thousand kilometers away. • Leopard seals of both sexes are short, shallow divers—diving to an average of 30 meters and taking three-minute-long dives. o Other seals can dive thousands of meters deep and hold their breath for more than 40 minutes. However, the research team recorded the longest and deepest dive ever recorded for leopard seals made by a male nicknamed “Deadpool,” who dove to 1,256 meters for 25 minutes. “It’s interesting to see such variation [in movements and dive behavior] in a relatively small number of animals. To me, this means that leopard seals are highly flexible in their movement patterns, and that’s a really good thing in terms of adapting to changes in your environment,” Kienle said. What’s next for this team of leopard seal biologists? Kienle said the team continues to analyze additional data from these same 22 leopard seals for publication. Kienle also is excited to compare how the leopard seals from this study compare to other populations of leopard seals across the Southern Ocean. “I have so many more questions, and I’m excited to continue learning about leopard seals for years to come. There’s so much more to discover about this incredible Antarctic predator,” said Kienle, who leads the Comparative Ecophysiology of Animals Lab at Baylor that focuses on understanding how different animals work in the context of their environment. ABOUT THE AUTHORS In addition to Kienle and Trumble, the research team included Michael E. Goebel, Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, La Jolla, CA, and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA; Erin LaBrecque, Marine Mammal Commission, Bethesda, MD; Renato Borras-Chavez, Center of Applied Ecology and Sustainability (CAPES), Department of Ecology, Pontificia Universidad Cato´ lica de Chile, Santiago, Chile, and Instituto Antartico Chileno (INACH), Punta Arenas, Chile; Shane B. Kanatous, Department of Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO; Daniel E. Crocker, Department of Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO; and Daniel P. Costa, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA. This work was funded by the National Science Foundation grant #1644256. ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. ABOUT THE COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments in the sciences, humanities, fine arts and social sciences, as well as 10 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit baylor.edu/artsandsciences.