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Spirit is published three times per year by the Texas A&M Foundation, which manages major gifts and endowments for the benefit of academic programs, scholarships and student activities at Texas A&M University.

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Transcending Borders

Research at Texas A&M University makes a mark on our world, from international partnerships and professors whose studies have global implications to students who travel thousands of miles to apply classroom concepts. Here are just a few examples of the Aggie reach.

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The Arctic

A study conducted by geography professor Oliver Frauenfeld and a colleague from Southern Illinois University found that lower amounts of permafrost—permanently frozen soil found in polar regions—is directly tied to lower precipitation levels in the Eurasian Arctic. This means that if permafrost continues to degrade, Earth could one day see expanded polar deserts.

Haifa, Israel

Texas A&M University partnered with the University of Haifa in Israel to establish a research facility on the banks of the Mediterranean Sea. This new ocean observatory will allow scientists to measure and forecast long-term trends and variability in weather, climate, and coastal environments and ecosystems.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

As part of a year-long capstone research project studying trade barriers in North America and the effects of “Buy America” legislation, students from The Bush School of Government and Public Service and the Texas A&M Law School met with leaders from Mexico’s education, business, agricultural and automotive industries to learn more about trade between the Unites States and its southern neighbor.

Congo, Africa

In the first study of its kind, avian researchers Terje Raudsepp and Ian Tizard detailed chromosomes from the Congo African grey parrot and found that the species is genetically more similar to scarlet and red-and-green macaws found in South America than parrots from Australia, such as cockatiels and budgerigars. This unexpected resemblance may have originated before Africa and South America were separated by continental drift over 70 million years ago.

Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy

Using sophisticated imaging equipment, architecture majors created 2- and 3-D digital models of centuries-old churches, piazzas and crypts in this medieval Italian town to learn about architectural conservation and restoration.

Beijing, China

It’s well known that burning fossil fuels releases black carbon particles into the air, commonly called soot. But for the first time, atmospheric sciences professors Renyi Zhang and Don Collins, along with Ph.D. student Misti Levy Zamora ’10, pinpointed how much these particles impact air quality and climate. The team studied particulate matter over Houston and Beijing and found that as pollutants coat black carbon particles, they accelerate particle growth and create denser particles that absorb more sunlight in Beijing than Houston. This in turn heats the air and causes stagnation, which prevents air movement and results in the severe hazes common to Beijing.

Cairo, Egypt

As part of an 11-day study abroad course called Issues in Modern Egyptian Politics, students and faculty from The Bush School of Government and Public Service engaged with Egyptian scholars, activists and diplomats to gain firsthand knowledge of the gender, employment, economic, security and human rights issues that affect Egyptian lives. The group also met with Mahmoud Salem, an influential blogger known for his activism on social media through the Arab Spring in 2010 and 2011.

Doha, Qatar

A noninvasive device that can measure and visualize biochemical changes in oral epithelial tissue as it turns cancerous will help doctors detect oral cancer earlier. The device will be further developed and deployed through collaboration between Texas A&M University professor Javier Jo and Dr. Beena Ahmed from Texas A&M University at Qatar.

Nairobi, Kenya

Architecture and landscape architecture students designed a 4,300-acre biomedical industrial city near Nairobi, Kenya, through a partnership with the Ustawi Biomedical Research Innovation and Industrial Centers of Africa, an organization that aims to provide quality and affordable medical care throughout the nation. Designs included a hospital and a biomedical research lab.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

A team of international scientists, including oceanography professor Kathryn Shamberger, found a way to go back in time—at least in the ocean. By increasing the alkalinity levels of seawater on a coral reef, the team turned back the clock 100 years to when carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and ocean were lower, thus enhancing coral reef growth. Their study demonstrates that ocean acidification is likely already negatively impacting coral reefs.

1. The Arctic

A study conducted by geography professor Oliver Frauenfeld and a colleague from Southern Illinois University found that lower amounts of permafrost—permanently frozen soil found in polar regions—is directly tied to lower precipitation levels in the Eurasian Arctic. This means that if permafrost continues to degrade, Earth could one day see expanded polar deserts.

2. Haifa, Israel

Texas A&M University partnered with the University of Haifa in Israel to establish a research facility on the banks of the Mediterranean Sea. This new ocean observatory will allow scientists to measure and forecast long-term trends and variability in weather, climate, and coastal environments and ecosystems.

3. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

As part of a year-long capstone research project studying trade barriers in North America and the effects of “Buy America” legislation, students from The Bush School of Government and Public Service and the Texas A&M Law School met with leaders from Mexico’s education, business, agricultural and automotive industries to learn more about trade between the Unites States and its southern neighbor.

4. Congo, Africa

In the first study of its kind, avian researchers Terje Raudsepp and Ian Tizard detailed chromosomes from the Congo African grey parrot and found that the species is genetically more similar to scarlet and red-and-green macaws found in South America than parrots from Australia, such as cockatiels and budgerigars. This unexpected resemblance may have originated before Africa and South America were separated by continental drift over 70 million years ago.

5. Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy

Using sophisticated imaging equipment, architecture majors created 2- and 3-D digital models of centuries-old churches, piazzas and crypts in this medieval Italian town to learn about architectural conservation and restoration.

6. Beijing, China

It’s well known that burning fossil fuels releases black carbon particles into the air, commonly called soot. But for the first time, atmospheric sciences professors Renyi Zhang and Don Collins, along with Ph.D. student Misti Levy Zamora ’10, pinpointed how much these particles impact air quality and climate. The team studied particulate matter over Houston and Beijing and found that as pollutants coat black carbon particles, they accelerate particle growth and create denser particles that absorb more sunlight in Beijing than Houston. This in turn heats the air and causes stagnation, which prevents air movement and results in the severe hazes common to Beijing.

7. Cairo, Egypt

As part of an 11-day study abroad course called Issues in Modern Egyptian Politics, students and faculty from The Bush School of Government and Public Service engaged with Egyptian scholars, activists and diplomats to gain firsthand knowledge of the gender, employment, economic, security and human rights issues that affect Egyptian lives. The group also met with Mahmoud Salem, an influential blogger known for his activism on social media through the Arab Spring in 2010 and 2011.

8. Doha, Qatar

A noninvasive device that can measure and visualize biochemical changes in oral epithelial tissue as it turns cancerous will help doctors detect oral cancer earlier. The device will be further developed and deployed through collaboration between Texas A&M University professor Javier Jo and Dr. Beena Ahmed from Texas A&M University at Qatar.

9. Nairobi, Kenya

Architecture and landscape architecture students designed a 4,300-acre biomedical industrial city near Nairobi, Kenya, through a partnership with the Ustawi Biomedical Research Innovation and Industrial Centers of Africa, an organization that aims to provide quality and affordable medical care throughout the nation. Designs included a hospital and a biomedical research lab.

10. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

A team of international scientists, including oceanography professor Kathryn Shamberger, found a way to go back in time—at least in the ocean. By increasing the alkalinity levels of seawater on a coral reef, the team turned back the clock 100 years to when carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and ocean were lower, thus enhancing coral reef growth. Their study demonstrates that ocean acidification is likely already negatively impacting coral reefs.