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Thomas C. Skalak

Thomas C. Skalak

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VP for Research

New & Noteworthy
August 2013

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OpenGrounds Challenge in Partnership with Hearst Business Media
This September, OpenGrounds launches its next OpenGrounds Challenge in partnership with Hearst Business Media. The challenge asks the university's students to imagine ways to help people make better choices about their own health. Undergraduates, graduate students and post-docs from all schools and disciplines will be invited to imagine the games, biometric devices, clinical tools, and social networks that could drive people to be accountable for their own health and live disease-free.  CONTINUE READING

First Study on Teachers’ Professional Development Program Aimed at Boosting Student Learning
Researchers in the Curry School of Education have been awarded a $3.5 million federal grant to test the effects of a training program for new elementary school teachers designed to increase student learning and teachers’ classroom management skills.

Sen. Kaine: Post-Cold War America Seeking New Foreign Policy Cornerstone
From the end of World War II until the fall of the Soviet Union, American foreign policy was focused on containing and counteracting Soviet influence around the world, a strategy known as the Truman Doctrine. Since the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, America has yet to fully articulate a new guiding foreign policy principle, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., explained at Morven Farm, speaking to a conference on promoting democracy in the Middle East and North Africa. CONTINUE READING

New Momentum for Three Distinguished Faculty Researchers
Three faculty members have been selected for two new awards given by the Office of the Vice President for Research to accelerate ongoing innovative research that will have a significant affect on an area of study and will enhance the scholarly profile of the awardees and the University.  Environmental scientist Paolo D’Odorico and physicist Olivier Pfister each, both in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, have been awarded the new Distinguished Research Career Award; and electrical and computer engineer Benton Calhoun in the School of Engineering and Applied Science has received the new Distinguished Research Career Development Award. CONTINUE READING

McAuliffe, Mann Encourage Science & Technology Innovation
Terry McAuliffe and Michael Mann talked with Bill Walker, president of Hemosonics and Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Medicine. The Democrat hoping to be Virginia's next governor emphasized the importance of pioneering research and innovation alongside climatologist Michael Mann, a former faculty member in the Department of Environmental Sciences in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. CONTINUE READING

Kids Who Sleep Less Have More Behavior Problems
Four-year-olds with shorter than average sleep times have more behavior problems, exhibiting aggression and throwing tantrums, a new study has found.  "Preschool children with shorter nighttime sleep duration had higher odds of parent-reported overactivity, anger, aggression, impulsivity, tantrums, and annoying behaviors," according to the study by Rebecca Scharf, MD Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and her colleagues in the School of Medicine. CONTINUE READING

Key Questions about Wrongful Convictions
After researching hundreds of trials and tens of thousands of court documents, Brandon Garrett, the Roy L. and Rosamond Woodruff Morgan Professor of Law in the School of Law, is pursuing some critical questions about wrongful convictions. Among those:  "If rare DNA evidence proves police got it wrong, what about all those other cases where there was no DNA?" And:  "If innocent people spent years in jail, shouldn’t we be more concerned that real rapists and murderers are walking free?" CONTINUE READING

$3.5M Grant to Fund Study of 1st Year Elementary Teachers
One out of every two teachers drops out of the business within their first five years of teaching. Now, researchers at the Curry School of Education are working to tackle the problem, and getting federal funding to do it.  A $3.5 million grant will support a first-of-its-kind project to study first-year elementary school teachers, and how to improve classroom behavior and management. CONTINUE READING

Researchers Identify Promising Target for Treating Glioblastoma
Researchers in the School of Medicine’s Cancer Center have identified a promising target for treating glioblastoma, one that appears to avoid many of the obstacles that typically frustrate efforts to develop effective treatments for this deadliest of cancers.

Women and Body Image: Definitions of Beauty in Mauritania
In Mauritania, thin isn't considered beautiful. Skinny women are viewed as poor and not able to afford food. HuffPost Live speaks with body image experts about why women seem to be subject to body drama, in some cases, big or small. (Video features Lisa Toccafondi Shutt, Director of Undergraduate Programs at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies.) WATCH VIDEO

Engineering Team Studying Insect Flight to Build Robots
A team in the School of Engineering and Applied Science is creating three-dimensional simulations of insect flight to build tiny aerial robots. The Flow Simulation Research Group is observing and applying how insects use their wings to fly. CONTINUE READING

Study of 60,000 Stars Could Help Understand How Milky Way Was Formed
Astronomers with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III) have released a new online public data set featuring 60,000 stars, which could us understand how our Milky Way Galaxy formed. “This is the most comprehensive collection of infrared stellar spectra ever made,” Steven Majewsk Professor of Astronomy in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the lead scientist for the APOGEE project, said. CONTINUE READING

Can Some Women Safely Skip Breast Surgery?
Women with certain breast tissue abnormalities that raise their risk for cancer can safely take a wait-and-see approach rather than rush into surgery, a new study suggests. Previous research into two breast conditions – atypical lobular hyperplasia and lobular carcinoma in situ – have turned up conflicting results regarding the need for surgery, said Dr. Kristen Atkins, Associate Professor of Pathology in the School of Medicine. CONTINUE READING    

Award for Apnea Detection Algorithm
A study on detecting apnea – the cessation of breathing – has won its authors the 2012 Martin Black award, an annual prize for the best paper published in Physiological Measurement during the previous year. The winning paper describes an algorithm that can detect episodes of central apnea far more reliably than current methods. The authors – from the Health System, School of Medicine, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, School of Engineering and Applied Science and the College of William and Mary – used the algorithm to analyse around 100 baby-years of data. They found that even state-of-the-art bedside monitors missed about 14% of extreme events (apneas lasting more than 30 s) in infants. The new algorithm, on the other hand, only missed about 5%. It also halved the rate of false alarms. CONTINUE READING

First National and State Population Projections, Using Latest Census Data
Between now and 2040, the population of the United States will continue to grow and become older and more diverse. But these trends will not be experienced evenly across the nation. The population projections developed by researchers at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service are the first set prepared for the nation and all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) based on the 2010 Census. The projections suggest changes to be expected in overall population and in subgroups by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin between 2020 and 2040 .CONTINUE READING

Snow Around Distant Solar System Gives Clues to Planet and Comet Formation
The sight of a snowfall can thrill children, but the first-ever snow line seen around a distant star gives astronomers an even greater thrill because of what it reveals about the formation of planets and our solar system’s history.  Using the new Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope, or ALMA, in Chile, astronomers from the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have taken the first-ever image of a snow line in an infant solar system. This frosty landmark is thought to play an essential role in the formation and chemical make-up of planets around a young star. CONTINUE READING

Operating System for Your House
A presentation at Microsoft’s Faculty Summit by Computer Science Associate Professor Kamin Whitehouse in the School of Engineering and Applied Science described trials of a sophisticated use of home automation. Whitehouse installed large numbers of sensors into 20 houses to research how home automation could address energy use. CONTINUE READING

Biotech Startups Launch Operations at UVA Research Park
Two biotechnology startups, RioGin and Alexander BioDiscoveries, have begun operations at the UVA Research Park in northern Albemarle County. RioGin is working to improve the performance of pharmaceutical compounds by producing safer medicines that are taken less frequently. Alexander BioDiscoveries is seeking to channel new anti-viral drugs into the pharmaceutical market pipeline. CONTINUE READING




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