This month in research: March 2023


Gauri Raje, News Editor

Correlation between natural disasters and business: 

Arkangel Cordero, assistant professor of management at the Alvarez College of Business, published a paper titled “Community and Aftershock: New Venture Founding in the Wake of Deadly Natural Disasters.” Through his research, Cordero found that there is an uncanny correlation between natural disasters and the creation of new business ventures. 

Cordero’s study looked at “the venturing opportunities and communal needs that arise after a natural disaster has struck, as well as precautionary measures communities and local governments should take for fast post-disaster recovery.” The study found that there is a negative effect of natural disasters in a county on “post-disaster business venturing.” 

For more information about Cordero’s research, visit

Developing a plan to reduce violence in Bexar County:

Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice Kellie Lynch has been accepted in a year-long leadership program “to develop a strategic plan to reduce violence in San Antonio and Bexar County.” The program is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lynch is part of a team of four community leaders that will develop a five-year “Violence Prevention Comprehensive Plan” for San Antonio and Bexar County. 

For more information: visit

Impact of an endowment:

Chris Combs, the Dee Howard Endowed assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UTSA, leads a research group that “explores high-speed aerodynamic and compressible flow phenomena using cutting-edge optical diagnostic experimental techniques, image processing, and data analysis.” The research is taking place in his Hypersonics Lab at the Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design.

To learn more about Combs and his work, visit

Spirituality and climate change:

Assistant Professor of Social and Environmental Challenges Jessica Eise is studying the connection between spirituality and the environment, specifically climate change. According to Eise, one in four adult Americans identify as spiritual but not religious. Given this shift, Eise conducted an exploratory study on the beliefs of people leaving religion and “cultivating spirituality” and found that these individuals often believe in a spiritual connection with the environment. Eise is using the study to build a survey about “spirituality, ethics and climate change attitudes and messaging.”

For more information about the study, visit

Exploiting vulnerabilities of smart devices:

Associate Professor Guenevere Chen, from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, published a paper in USENIX Security 2023 that “demonstrates a novel inaudible voice trojan attack to exploit vulnerabilities of smart device microphones and voice assistants — like Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa or Amazon’s Echo and Microsoft Cortana — and provide defense mechanisms for users.” As a part of the research, the team developed a Near-Ultrasound Inaudible Trojan (NUIT) and used it to attack smart devices like phones. The results showed that NUIT could maliciously control the voice interface of popular tech products that are on the market.

To learn more about NUIT and Chen’s research, visit