Faculty to present findings at UHV Research Day

March 31, 2013 at 10:04 p.m.
Updated March 30, 2013 at 10:31 p.m.

A trio of University of Houston-Victoria faculty members will demonstrate during UHV Research Day on April 4 how they put $10,000 research grants to good use.

UHV assistant professors Jun Yang, Dmitri Sobolev and Hongyu Guo have been researching three different subjects - social media for retailers, archaea in coral reefs and swarm intelligence. They will share what they uncovered and why the results are significant.

The presentations will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the UHV University Center Multi-Purpose Room, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. Each will give a 20-minute presentation and then answer questions. The event is free and open to the public.

The UHV Office of the Provost has awarded summer research grants the past four years to support junior faculty research. Junior faculty members are UHV faculty who are on a tenure track but are not yet tenured. A committee of tenured UHV professors evaluates the research proposals and then recommends who receives the awards. Yang and Sobolev were awarded grants in 2011, and Guo received his in 2012.

Jeffrey Cass, UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs, said Research Day is an opportunity for faculty members to share their findings with their colleagues and the community.

"These three assistant professors have taken advantage of the stipends to put together compelling research. We're excited to hear about the outcome of their work."

Yang, an assistant professor of marketing in the School of Business Administration, studied the value of social media for online retailers.

Yang compiled data on 500 businesses that sell products via the Internet to find what they do right. She measured how successful social media initiatives are in driving customers to the company's websites. Her study also examined how e-tailing and social media results differ across industry categories.

"The findings provide suggestions on important Web features that e-tailers should adopt," Yang said.

The project was co-authored by JungKun Park, an associate professor in human development and consumer sciences at the University of Houston.

Sobolev, an assistant professor of biology in the School of Arts & Sciences, will present the results from his analysis of coral reef samples.

Sobolev has taken an in-depth examination of archaea, a peculiar group of microbes found in Hawaiian coral reefs. Sobolev said his studies suggest that organisms responsible for chemical transformations in the environment weren't what scientists originally thought.

Guo, an assistant professor of computer science in the School of Arts and Sciences, will present about the expansion of insight into swarm intelligence.

The central focus of his project was studying the stability of the artificial gnat cloud, a swarming robotics system.

"Ants, bees and gnats often swarm together," he said. "As individuals, they are simple. But as a group, the collective intelligence of the system of individual agents makes it possible to accomplish high-complexity tasks. It's the same principle here."



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