HPU Faculty and Students Recognized for Research and Innovation

Mar 01st, 2022

HPU Faculty and Students Recognized for Research and Innovation

HIGH POINT, N.C., March 1, 2022 – Members of the High Point University community frequently conduct, publish and share research and creative works in a variety of ways. Below is a recap of recent research initiatives.

HPU Professor Publishes Research on Discovery of a New Star System

HPU Brad Barlow 1

Dr. Brad Barlow, associate professor of astrophysics, along with several collaborators, recently published a peer-reviewed paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, one of the world’s leading astronomy journals. His work focuses on the discovery of a new symbiotic star system called Hen 3-860.

The system consists of a red giant star, which is nearly 75 times larger than the sun, orbiting a dense, earth-sized white dwarf star. The two stars are close enough together that the red giant star deposits material onto the white dwarf star, leading to occasional “outbursts,” which make the system brighter. Symbiotic stars like Hen 3-860 teach astronomers more about stellar evolution and interacting binaries.

“In astronomy, we are used to working with objects that evolve over millions or billions of years,” said Barlow. “I find systems like Hen 3-860 incredibly exciting, as they show considerable changes in their properties from day to day. If we could observe the system up close in a spaceship, we would find the interaction between these stars to be quite violent from time to time!”

Barlow used the CHIRON spectrograph on the 1.5-m SMARTS telescope in the Andes Mountains in Chile to observe the system and help characterize its nature. This research was conducted by a team of astronomers from HPU, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Chile and Ontario.

HPU Exercise Science Graduate Contributes to Published Research

HPU Mia Krone 3

Mia Krone, a Class of 2021 exercise science graduate, co-wrote and published a research paper with Dr. Roger Vaughan, assistant professor of exercise science. Their paper, titled Excess Glutamine Does Not Alter Myotube Metabolism or Insulin Sensitivity,” appears in the Springer Nature 2022 journal.

Vaughan says the inspiration for Krone’s paper came from an increasing awareness of amino acids in foods that impact metabolic diseases such as diabetes. The influence of amino acids on insulin resistance and metabolism in skeletal muscle is the current focus of Vaughan’s research. Their project uniquely measured a wide continuum of exogenous glutamine levels on muscle cell metabolism and explored the effects of treatment with physiological and supraphysiological levels of glutamine on insulin signaling. Vaughan summarizes the project as a “nice overview of the effect of glutamine on metabolism and insulin sensitivity in an experimental model of skeletal muscle.”

HPU Roger Vaughan 2

“Dr. Vaughan included me, as well as the other authors of the project in every part of the research from experimental design to data collection to analysis and synthesis of the paper,” says Krone, who is now pursuing a master’s degree at Vanderbilt University. “I highly recommend getting involved in research and connecting with the faculty and staff. Doing research in undergrad taught me so much about evidence-based practice and critical scientific thinking.”


HPU Pharmacy Professors Publish Research on Team Communication among Practicing Pharmacists

Pharmacy Research 4
Pictured from left to right are Drs. Courtney Bradley, Sun Lee and Julie Cooper, professors in the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy.

 Three professors in High Point University’s Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy collaborated on an article titled “Impact of a Teamwork and Conflict Management Workshop on Growth Mindset and Team Communication.” Their work is now published in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education.

Drs. Courtney Bradley, Julie Cooper and Sun Lee, with collaborator Dr. Elizabeth Jeter, assessed practicing pharmacists’ self-views of growth mindset and team communication across multiple pharmacy practice settings. Their research stemmed from knowing pharmacists provide care in a complex adaptive health care system, which requires consistent communication and teamwork to provide patient care and address unexpected clinical outcomes.

All licensed North Carolina pharmacists were eligible to take a survey for the study, with 507 pharmacists completing the survey. The study’s conclusion found that a growth mindset is prevalent among experienced pharmacists from multiple practice settings. Pharmacists reported they recognize teamwork as an essential work element and rate their team communication skills highly.

As a team, they used the validated Growth Mindset and Team Communication (GMTC) tool, which is a multicomponent quantitative and qualitative survey instrument, to evaluate pharmacists’ self-views.

“With a growth mindset we can embrace the journey of development in many aspects of our lives,” said Cooper. “Determining the extent that practicing pharmacists have a Growth Mindset underscores how important it is for our students to develop a Growth Mindset as they prepare for their own professional pursuits.”

HPU Professors Publish Research on Public Health Guidance

Professors in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication recently published research in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. Their work focuses on the best strategies and message promotion that public health communicators should use to provide COVID-19 guidance.

HPU Matt Ritter 5

Dr. Matt Ritter and Dr. Sarah Vaala, assistant professors of strategic communication, examined the interactive effects of tweet source, message emotional appeal and audience political affiliation on U.S. adults’ perceptions of COVID-19 threat. The study also looked at the social distancing efficacy during the early months of the pandemic. Ritter and Vaala used the Extended Parallel Process Model (EPPM) to assess adults’ reactions to tweets that encourage social distancing. The experiment tested three emotional appeals of fear, humor and neutral using two sources – the CDC and celebrities.

Ritter and Vaala found that humor and fear appeal messages evoked less fear and guilt responses than a neutral tweet from the CDC. The findings also showed fear and guilt emotions predicted greater perceived threat, while hope and pride predicted efficacy constructs in relationships moderated by political ideology. The conclusion from this study is that targeting a bipartisan audience through social media may increase perceived threat by inducing fear of COVID-19 infection. Conclusions from the EPPM theory suggests boosting efficacy is also critical to message acceptance and behavior change.

HPU Sarah Vaala 6

“Our goal with the project has been to help political, health and other community leaders develop messaging strategies that work best, especially when they are developed for and distributed to vastly different audiences,” says Ritter. “We hope that during future emergencies, health messages will be less divisive and more effective.”