SMU is a future-focused university with global impact, where research and teaching excellence come together as partners in the drive to produce World Changers. Learn more about our impact. »
Anthropologist Dr. Caroline Brettell is an internationally recognized leader in the field of migration and the immigrant experience who was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her research interests include cross-cultural perspectives on gender, challenges of women immigrants, and the impacts of emerging technologies for immigration gateway cities such as Dallas, Atlanta and Minneapolis.
Geophysicist Dr. Zhong Lu works in the areas of landslides, coastal subsidence, and human-induced geohazards using advanced data analytics tools such as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) to model ground deformations using radar images. He is part of a team at SMU that revealed sinkholes are expanding and forming in West Texas at an alarming rate, possibly through leakage at wastewater disposal well sites.
Mathematics and Education
Dr. Leanne Ketterlin Geller’s research focuses on mathematics education through instructional leadership principles and practices, informed by her experiences in K-12 education. Her work includes the development of an assessment system to measure mathematical reasoning skills for U.S. elementary and high school students.
Dr. Edward Glasscock leads SMU’s Cardiorespiratory Neurogenetics Laboratory, dedicated to understanding the genes and mechanisms underlying epilepsy and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). His research lab’s goals include the identification of genes and combinations of genes that determine whether an individual will develop epilepsy.
Criminal Justice Reform
Professor Metzger’s scholarship combines theory and practice in seeking improvements in criminal justice. Her research explores how a data-driven systems approach to high-risk practices can improve the implementation of public defense services.
Research Centers and Institutes
A university’s academic pursuits are supported and expanded by Centers and Institutes, which provide faculty and students venues for collaborative research, support, and engagement.
Making Strides with Data Science
SMU is actively developing a big-data ecosystem that includes virtual and augmented reality, and engages the disciplines across the campus, from physics to art, engineering to history, and business to education.
The opportunity to pursue truly impactful research only enhances our ability to recruit and retain outstanding educators to the Hilltop. We are focused on moving into the highest pinnacle of research universities as we ignite our future.
SMU Faculty in the News
Mercury emission estimates rarely provide enough data to assess success in eliminating harmful global gold mining practice
More than 4 million women and children at risk
A global treaty called the Minamata Convention requires gold-mining countries to regularly report the amount of toxic mercury that miners are using to find and extract gold, designed to help nations gauge success toward at least minimizing a practice that produces the world’s largest amount of manmade mercury pollution. But a study of baseline mercury emission estimates reported by 25 countries – many in developing African, South American and Asian nations – found that these estimates rarely provide enough information to tell whether changes in the rate from one year to the next were the result of actual change or data uncertainty.
Skeptical about the “use by” date on your groceries?
Tiny pH sensor developer by SMU student could be next-gen freshness predictor for packaged food
Forget that expiration date on your salmon or yogurt. A graduate student at SMU (Southern Methodist University) has developed a miniature pH sensor that can tell when food has spoiled in real time.
SMU's Research and Innovation Week to showcase scientific inquiry, impact on the North Texas region
The future of research in North Texas
SMU’s Research and Innovation Week will share the explorations of SMU students and faculty members as well as the contributions of other regional universities in a series of presentations, panels and poster sessions scheduled for March 20-25 on the SMU campus. All events are free and open to the public.
Mosasaurs and Mardi Gras: Smithsonian's ancient creature exhibit inspires Chief Shaka Zulu's Mardi Gras suit
Internationally-known for his exquisite Black Masking Mardi Gras suits, Chief Shaka Zulu got his inspiration for this year’s suit from an unlikely source: fossils of ancient creatures found by SMU paleontologists Louis L. Jacobs and Michael J. Polcyn and others.
SMU chemistry professor awarded Wilkinson Prize for innovative software in scientific computing
Devin Matthews, an assistant professor of chemistry at SMU, has been awarded the 2023 James H. Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software. The award is given by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) every four years to recognize researchers in the early stages of their careers who have created an outstanding piece of numerical software, or to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to an existing piece of numerical software.
SMU geologist Robert Gregory named AAAS Fellow
Lifelong study of stable isotopes revealed keys to the Earth and beyond
– Robert Gregory, a geologist in SMU’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, has been named an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow for distinguished contributions to his field, particularly for his research on how the earth’s dynamic systems and his teaching on how the solar system and the cosmos impact the world around us.
Chemistry conference with a Nobel history coming to SMU
More than 122 chemists from 14 countries will attend the 28th Austin Symposium on Molecular Structure and Dynamics at Dallas at SMU (Southern Methodist University) from Feb. 17-20, 2023. The conference theme of this year's symposium is “Spectroscopy Meets Theory.”
Identity, not income, drives desire to secede
Model of SMU researchers published by the National Bureau of Economic Research could have predicted breakup of the Soviet Union and global separatism
What most sparks a region’s desire to seek independence from their country - income or identity? A new study from SMU (Southern Methodist University, Dallas) and UC3M (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain) found that the group people identify with tends to play a bigger factor in secession than income per capita.
Fossils reveal single tree species dominated Ethiopia rainforest
A new study has found fossilized evidence that a rainforest growing around a volcanic lake in Ethiopia’s Mush Valley 21.73 million years ago was dominated by a single species of tree.
SMU Research Coverage Circled the Globe in 2022
SMU professors and students were “frequent flyers” in the news in 2022 for everything from helping hospitals design a more patient-friendly way of doing “compassionate dialysis” to identifying clear evidence of gerrymandering in Texas.
ALMA scientists find pair of black holes dining together in nearby galaxy merger
While studying a nearby pair of merging galaxies, scientists discovered two supermassive black holes growing simultaneously near the center of the newly coalescing galaxy.
Sea level rose much faster in Micronesia than previously thought
Spanning vast distances, the islands of the South Pacific are thought to have been populated by humans in two distinct waves. The first one followed a northern route out of what is today the Philippines and a southern route from Taiwan and New Guinea, and a second wave, maybe 1,000 years later, followed a middle route to the islands now making up the Federated States of Micronesia. But a new finding is casting doubt on the timing of that second wave of migration, suggesting that the islands in Micronesia might have been settled much earlier than supposed.
For 400 years, Indigenous tribes buffered climate's impact on wildfires in the American Southwest
Devastating megafires are becoming more common, in part, because the planet is warming. But a new study led by SMU suggests bringing “good fire” back to the U.S. and other wildfire fire-prone areas, as Native Americans once did, could potentially blunt the role of climate in triggering today’s wildfires.
SMU Math Chair and PhD graduate win SIAM/ACM prize in computational science as part of SUNDIALS team
A multi-institutional team, including SMU’s Mathematics Chair Daniel Reynolds and SMU PhD graduate David Gardner, has been awarded the 2023 SIAM/ACM Prize in Computational Science and Engineering.
Study shows chemical coatings can affect microparticles 'swimming' in mucus solutions
Research from SMU's BAST Lab and Applied Research Associates, Inc. advances microbiotics for use in targeted drug delivery
Collaborative research between SMU nanorobotics authority MinJun Kim’s Biological Actuation, Sensing, and Transport (BAST) Lab and international research and engineering company ARA has demonstrated for the first time that certain chemical coatings, applied to micro/nanoparticles, can alter their swimming propulsion within biological fluids.
People with attachment anxiety more likely to create false memories when they can see the person talking
Adults who frequently worry about being rejected or abandoned by those closest to them are more prone to having false memories when they can see who is conveying the information, a new study suggests.
New pterosaur species found in sub-Saharan Africa
With wings spanning nearly 16 feet, a new species of pterosaurs has been identified from the Atlantic coast of Angola.
SMU-led research team awarded $2 million DOE grant
Goal is to develop algorithms that improve complex energy systems
The Department of Energy announced the SMU grant as one of four included in the $8.5 million package for basic research in the development of randomized algorithms for understanding and improving the properties and behavior of complex energy. The research aims to develop new algorithms for materials design, bio-engineering, and power grid applications.
Study reveals soil moisture plays the biggest role in underground spread of natural gas leaking from pipelines
Soil moisture content is the main factor that controls how far and at what concentration natural gas spreads from a leaked pipeline underground, a new study has found.
Jessie Marshall Zarazaga, Corey Clark named Tech Titans Award finalists
Jessie Marshall Zarazaga, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Sustainability & Development Program at Lyle, and Corey Clark, Assistant Professor at Lyle and Deputy Director, Research at SMU Guildhall, were both named as finalists for the 2022 Tech Titans Award.
Biology student wins a fellowship award from the American Epilepsy Society
Kelsey Paulhus, a PhD student in the laboratory of Dr. Edward Glasscock who is an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at SMU, has received a predoctoral fellowship award from the American Epilepsy Society (AES) to support her research and professional development activities.
Yes, man run faster than women, but over shorter distances -- not by much
Research from SMU's Locomotor Performance Lab shows that men have a relatively small advantage in shorter sprints
Conventional wisdom holds that men run 10-12 percent faster than women, regardless of the distance raced. But new research suggests that the between-sex performance gap is much narrower at shorter distances.
SMU launches lab focused on reducing bias in artificial intelligence systems
Intelligent Systems and Bias Examination Lab ‘ISaBEL’ will pair industry and academic research to equalize impact in automated systems
ISaBEL’s mission is to understand how Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems, such as facial recognition algorithms, perform on diverse populations of users. The Lab will examine how existing bias can be mitigated in these systems using the latest research, standards, and other peer reviewed scientific studies.
Climate change is making lakes less blue
Blue lakes in North America and Europe will likely turn green-brown as global temperatures rise
If global warming persists, blue lakes worldwide are at risk of turning green-brown, according to a new study which presents the first global inventory of lake color.
The SteadiSpoon™ story: How a grandmother’s inspiration is driving SMU student entrepreneurs Raleigh Dewan and Mason Morland
After his grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Raleigh Dewan had witnessed the debilitating hand tremors that would not allow her to eat without spilling food everywhere. Now, SMU student partners Dewan and Mason Morland, and Emily Javedan, a Johns Hopkins student, are walking a creative and compassionate path as collaborators in a medical-tech startup named for its core product – SteadiSpoon™. It’s a self-stabilizing eating utensil that allows people suffering from disorders that cause shaking – such as Parkinson’s and essential tremors – to regain their ability to feed themselves with ease and dignity.
Dominique Baker receives NAEd/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
Dominique J. Baker, a nationally recognized expert on education policy in SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development, was one of the recipients of the 2022 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowships.
A surprising way to tamp down ugly 'Dark Triad' personality traits
A new study has found that tasks designed to make someone more agreeable also effectively reduce a trio of negative personality traits known as the “Dark Triad” – Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy.
New dinosaur species used fearsome claws to graze along the coast
Scientists have described the youngest therizinosaur fossil from Japan and the first in Asia to have been found in marine sediments.
Therizinosaurs were a large group of primarily herbivorous theropod dinosaurs (dinosaurs with hollow bones and three-toed limbs). Therizinosaurs were first discovered in Asia; the fossil records in Asian countries such as China and Mongolia are rich in therizinosaurus fossils, and fossil fragments have also been reported from Japan.
ARA and SMU announce microrobotics collaboration
ARA and the Biological Actuation, Sensing, and Transport Laboratory (BAST Lab) at SMU today announced a collaboration to further advance microrobotics technology for real world applications.
Massive Hunga volcano eruption sets new standard for crowdsourcing scientific observation of seismic events
SMU team measured infrasound – too low for human ears to hear – as acoustic waves made multiple journeys around the globe
The massive Jan. 15 eruption of the undersea Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in the South Pacific Ocean was a once-in-a-century event that allowed an international group of 76 scientists using multiple forms of technology to crowdsource their data in ways never before possible.
Research shows the role empathy may play in music
The link could pave the way for future research exploring the benefits of socially engaged, active music listening on social cognition
Can people who understand the emotions of others better interpret emotions conveyed through music? A new study by an international team of researchers suggests the abilities are linked.
Precipitation and temperature helped drive abundant dinosaur populations in ancient Alaska
SMU study reveals impact of paleoclimate structure on large herbivore populations, may provide clues related to climate change
A new study led by SMU paleontologist Anthony Fiorillo identifies the key role precipitation and temperature play in structuring vertebrate herbivore dinosaur populations in Alaska. The findings, which are published in the journal Geosciences, may also provide historical insights into the consequences of climate change.
Arm movement and running speed: Is the partnership overrated?
A new study suggests that restricting arm movement during short sprints impacts running performance only marginally.
Tiny, but precise: NASA-sponsored team creates compact device to help spaceships land safely on planets
A NASA-funded team led by SMU researchers think that their small, lightweight device developed to measure spaceship velocity will improve the odds of successful landings on Mars and other planets.
Does media coverage impact the student loan debt narrative?
Dominique J. Baker, a nationally recognized expert on education policy in SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development, has received an emerging scholars pipeline grant to explore the links between race, racism, and how student loan policies are covered in media.
International Research Team Identifies New Armored Dinosaur Species Found in Mongolia's Gobi Desert
A new species of armored dinosaur from the southern Gobi Desert of Mongolia that may have used its unique tail as a weapon has been identified by an international team of vertebrate paleontologists and researchers.
The gender gap: Nature or nurture? It’s complicated, says a large Facebook study
It’s an age-old question - are the differences between what men and women like decided by nature or nurture? A new study from SMU and UC3M in Spain produced some surprising results: the gap separating the interests of men and women on some topics is larger in countries known for promoting gender equality than in countries with more rigid gender roles.
SMU Alumna and Paleontologist Myria Perez ‘18 Featured on CBS Evening News
Myria Perez, a 2018 graduate of SMU with degrees in geology and anthropology, was recently featured in a CBS Evening News segment about a new exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
Gates Foundation Award to Study Test-Optional Admissions Impact
A multi-university research team that includes Dominique Baker, assistant professor of education policy in SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development, has been awarded a $1.4 million grant from the Gates Foundation to examine the impact test-optional admission policies in higher education had on college access and equity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
16 SMU Students Named Fulbright Semi-Finalists
Outstanding scholars in the running for prestigious graduate study, research and teaching opportunities abroad
SMU research cut a wide path in 2021
From answering pre-launch questions before a NASA mission to one of Saturn’s moons, to identifying hundreds of mostly “hidden” landslides on the U.S. West Coast, SMU professors and students fueled research with impact in 2021. Here are some of the highlights.
Gene allowing humans to feel touch may play a role in sense of smell
SMU research could lead to treatment for common COVID side effect
Researchers from SMU (Southern Methodist University) have determined that a gene linked to feeling touch may moonlight as an olfactory gene. That’s the conclusion drawn from studying a very small, transparent worm that shares many similarities with the human nervous system.
Jung-Chih Chiao elected Fellow of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
J.-C. Chiao, the Mary and Richard Templeton Centennial Chair and professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in the SMU Lyle School of Engineering, has been elected a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).
Can conquering fractions lead to algebra success?
Education researcher Leanne Ketterlin Geller earns largest single-year grant in SMU history
Renowned mathematics researcher Leanne Ketterlin Geller, Texas Instruments Endowed Chair in Education in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development, has been awarded the largest single-year research award in SMU history.
Overwhelming numbers, frequency of uninsured dialysis patients in public hospital emergency rooms may have a systemic solution
SMU analysis suggests screening protocols set by government policy – not hospitals – may be to blame for ER strain
Screening protocols to determine who qualifies for “compassionate dialysis” in hospitals with high numbers of uninsured patients are driving an unintended consequence, an SMU analysis has found. The protocols are putting too much strain on the emergency room, as measured by how long ER patients are waiting to be seen and other metrics.
SMU Provost Elizabeth Loboa and geohazards researcher Zhong Lu elected AAAS fellows for their advancement of science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals
Elizabeth G. Loboa, SMU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Zhong Lu, the Shuler-Foscue Chair in SMU's Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed by their peers upon the group’s members for scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.
Video game software patented for age-related macular degeneration research
Machine learning software for OCT images aids in identify progression and treatment options
BALANCED Media|Technology (BALANCED), in partnership with the Retina Foundation of the Southwest (RETINA) and Southern Methodist University (SMU), today announced a patent-pending medical imaging technology (U.S. Patent Application Serial No.16/538,662) that uses automated software and a video game to provide standardized, accurate, and precise identification of ocular diseases including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of visual impairment in the world.
Which personality traits can be improved without personal motivation? Research says 'it depends'
Could a company train an employee to become more conscientious, even if the worker isn’t invested in improving that trait? A new study suggests yes. But improving someone’s emotional stability without that person’s commitment is not likely to happen, says SMU psychology professor Nathan Hudson.
New high-resolution camera records holograms of hidden objects
SMU and Northwestern collaborate on technology with defense, hazard identification and medical applications
Researchers at SMU (Southern Methodist University) and Northwestern University are using new technology that enables cameras to record high-resolution images and holograms of objects that are hidden around corners, obscured from view and/or beyond the line of sight.
SMU Lyle prof listed among most "Highly Cited Researchers" for 2021
SMU’s Jianhui Wang was named to the 2021 list of Highly Cited Researchers from Clarivate. It’s the fourth time Wang, a professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, has won the award.
SMU's Research Administration provides research services to all faculty and staff at the university.
SMU encourages undergraduate students to engage in research projects outside of their class assignments.