make strides over the summer
news: Plans halted for Qatar campus
you've been away for most of June, July and August, here you'll
find a wrap-up of some highlights from this hot, dry summer, plus
the news that U.Va. won't be building a branch campus in Qatar.
Although there are fewer classes than during the spring and fall
semesters, research progress doesnąt slow down. U.Va. faculty made
some important strides and received some key grants. Among them:
Veggies with vaccine power -- U.Va. is working with Virginia Tech
researchers to develop vegetables that when eaten will prevent
a deadly parasitic infection that causes dysentery and is common
in underdeveloped countries -- in essence, an edible vaccine.
The project is supported by a $3.3 million, five-year grant from
the National Institutes of Health and headed by Dr. William Petri,
an infectious disease specialist at U.Va.
campaign ads get thumbs down -- Virginia voters have clear views
on what is and what is not a fair campaign advertisement, according
to a study conducted for U.Va.'s Sorensen
Institute for Political Leadership. Voters reward campaign
practices perceived as fair, and punish candidates for engaging
in unfair attacks. No matter how an opponent responds, a candidate
will always do best by making a fair charge, the study found.
Multidisciplinary program on laser research funded -- A $2.5 million
National Science Foundation grant will support several U.Va. science
and engineering departments in creating a collaborative laser
research and education program with Norfolk State University and
the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility Free Electron
Laser Laboratory in Newport News. "One
of the built-in objectives of our project is to improve research
opportunities for minority science and engineering students through
our collaboration with Norfolk State," said Ian Harrison,
associate professor of chemistry who is head of the program. The
departments of Chemical Engineering, Engineering Physics, Materials
Science and Physics are also involved.
Putting American literature online -- The library's Special
Collections Department and the Electronic
Text Center got a second boost of $500,000 from the Mellon
Foundation to complete Phase II of the Early American Fiction
digitization project. Works from 1851-1875 by such writers as
Louisa May Alcott, Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain), Nathaniel
Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe and some 90
other 19th-century writers will be made available online.
Preventing juvenile violence -- The potential for youth violence
in Virginia can be reduced dramatically by standardizing intervention
programs for students and juvenile offenders and sharing information
about the most effective services, according to a statewide report
prepared by faculty in the Virginia Youth Violence Project at
the Curry School
Cocaine addiction linked to biological clock -- A study, led by
U.Va. Biology professor Jay Hirsh, indicates that cocaine sensitization
-- which is linked to addiction -- might be associated with circadian
genes, the genes that set the biological clock. Besides enabling
the potential development of drugs to treat cocaine addiction,
this research holds out the prospect that so-called "clock"
genes might have other, as yet undiscovered, roles in the body
and his team use fruit flies as their genetic models for humans,
because the two have many genetic similarities. The flies used
by Hirsh's team were mutated to lack certain circadian genes and
did not become sensitized to cocaine.
to infertility problem found -- A research team headed by Alan
B. Diekman, assistant professor of research in U.Va.'s Contraceptive
Vaccine Center, found a substance on sperm that can cause an immune
response, leading to infertility. Along with helping improve treatment
of infertility, the discovery might also help researchers at the
center, headed by cell biologist John C. Herr, in developing a
new birth control method using antibodies -- essentially a vaccine
No U.Va.-Qatar -- The University has decided against building
a branch college in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar, U.Va. President
John T. Casteen III announced Aug. 10. After year-long negotiations
with the Qatar Foundation for Science, Education and Community
Development, "the academic design for the proposed new campus
in Qatar cannot be made to fit the accreditation criteria to which
we are subject," Casteen said. The University still supports
the idea and is considering other options, such as developing
a consortium, partnership or stand-alone programs. U.Va. will
continue to assist Qatar, he said, as well as consider other possibilities
for international education.
Standard computer packages offered -- The University's Division
of Information Technology and Communication has launched the
Desktop Computing Initiative, a voluntary program that seeks to
encourage the use of standardized -- and less expensive -- computer
hardware and software by faculty, staff and students. Working
with Dell for Windows-based systems and Apple for MacIntosh systems,
U.Va. can pass along reduced prices on computers to departments
and individuals for office and home use, either on a straight
purchase arrangement or on a two- to three-year lease.
Getting oriented -- The University rolled out its new summer orientation
program for incoming students, holding eight sessions in July
and early August, drawing about 3,000 first-year and transfer
students, plus parents. During the two-day sessions, students
took placement tests, attended advising meetings and forums on
student-life issues and student self-governance and got their
ID cards, while their parents went to parallel programs. "We've
received very good comments from parents and students on the evaluation
forms," said director Eleanor Sparagana.
I.D. cards -- For non-HS employees, ID cards are now being handled
by the Business Operations office in the basement of Observatory
Hill Dining Hall.