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Thomas C. Skalak

Thomas C. Skalak

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VP for Research

New & Noteworthy
October 2013

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Innovative Ventures Create Economic Growth
Office of the VP for Research
Business ventures with research-and-development ties to the University have created more than 850 jobs and pumped millions of dollars into the regional and state economies, according to a new report by UVa Innovation.  The report is based on UVa Innovation’s inaugural venture survey, distributed to 53 active companies founded on UVa research discoveries. UVa Innovation seeks to maximize the impact of University research through strategic partnerships and new business development. CONTINUE READING

Researchers part of ‘God particle’ work that won Nobel Prize
College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Britain’s Peter Higgs and Belgian colleague Francois Englert won the Nobel Prize in physics helping to explain how matter formed after the Big Bang  The discovery was made possible by the work of thousands of scientists worldwide, including researchers at the University of Virginia. UVa professors helped to plan the experiments in the collider, and built components of its particle detectors.  Physics Professor Brad Cox in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences was a member of several review committees that analyzed the data coming out of the experiments. CONTINUE READING

Residents still suffering from 'quake-brain'
School of Medicine
A more recent study has made a link with the body's immune response. Doing elaborate experiments with gene-knockout mice, School of Medicine Neuroscience Professor Jonathan Kipnis has claimed that a misfiring immune system can hit the brain by triggering a low-level inflammatory reaction. CONTINUE READING

Research Listed as ‘Featured System’ on Nature Structural Biology Knowledgebase
School of Medicine
Professor of Molecular Physiology and  Biological Physics in the School of Medicine Dr. Waldek Minor’s research was featured by Nature Structure Biology Knowledgebase online as a “Featured System.”  If you've ever worked in a biochemistry laboratory, you've probably used BSA. Bovine serum albumin is a small, stable, relatively non-reactive protein, so it is useful for all sorts of things, such as stabilizing proteins in biochemical assays, nourishing cells in culture, and acting as a standard for measuring protein concentrations. Another advantage is its ready availability. Roughly half the protein in cow blood serum is BSA, so large quantities are available from the cattle industry.  CONTINUE READING

Musical Robots Take The Stage For Harmony, Not Domination
College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Troy Rogers is a composer and instrument designer studying in the Department of Music in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Rogers and two colleagues run the group Expressive Machines Musical Instruments (EMMI) and are focused on building robots that play original work.  CONTINUE READING

Research Finds Additional Benefits of Exercising
School of Medicine
Researchers in the School of Medicine have identified an important new benefit of exercise: It increases the ability of skeletal muscle cells to remove damaged components and other cellular debris from the body.  CONTINUE READING

Bias in expert testimony
School of Law
When forensic psychologists or psychiatrists provide expert testimony in court they’re supposed to be objective, but a new study shows that their judgment tends to be biased towards the side that recruited them – the prosecution or defense. Daniel Murrie, Associate Professor in the School of Law and Director of Psychology of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, and his colleagues recruited just over a hundred forensic experts (most were psychologists) to take part in what they were told was a contract to review sex-offender cases for either a public defender service or a specialized prosecution service.  CONTINUE READING

The discovery that defied the pull of the black hole
College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
We all know what most people do with e-mails telling them they've won a million dollars; Professor Steven Balbus wasn't far from doing the same with the one he found in his inbox in May. "It actually made it through my spam filter," jokes the University of Oxford professor, who shares the US$1 million for the Shaw Prize in Astronomy with the John Hawley, Professor of Astronomy in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.  CONTINUE READING

More people express uncertainty in chance to achieve the American Dream
Miller Center
Four years into an economic recovery in which most of the benefits have flowed to the top earners, a majority believe that the American Dream is becoming markedly more elusive, according to the results of a Washington Post-Miller Center Poll exploring Americans’ changing definition of success and their confidence in the country’s future.

Dump CO2 in a shale well instead of the air? Researchers say yes
School of Engineering and Applied Science
Shale wells could be the perfect place to permanently dispose of carbon dioxide, according to researchers. Andres Clarens, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, said the pores created by hydraulic fracturing could, after the well is depleted, have enough volume to hold carbon emissions from power plants and industrial factories.  CONTINUE READING

Professor Using Texts to Improve College Enrollment
Curry School of Education
Text messaging is preparing some high school students for college, thanks to Ben Castleman, Assistant Professor in the Curry School of Education.  Castleman was granted $225,000 to use text messages to improve higher education enrollment in rural areas. CONTINUE READING

Logistics collaborative begins its first research project
School of Engineering and Applied Science
The recently formed Commonwealth Center for Advanced Logistics Systems is conducting its first research project, trying to identify cyber vulnerabilities in renewable energy storage devices. CCALS is a collaborative logistics research organization involving business, government and universities, including the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University and Longwood University.  CONTINUE READING

Moms Breastfeed Longer If They Share a Bed With Baby, Study Finds
School of Medicine
Mothers who bedshare tend to breastfeed longer, new research suggests. The findings explore and quantify the relationship between breastfeeding and bedsharing, a much-debated practice associated with an increased risk of sudden infant death.  “Many experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend not to bedshare, because bedsharing can increase the risk of SIDS [sudden infant death syndrome] and suffocation deaths,” said researcher and family physician Fern R. Hauck, MD, in the School of Medicine.  CONTINUE READING

Call for Proposals: Virginia Innovation Partnership i6 Program
Office of the VP for Research
The Virginia Innovation Partnership is a statewide network designed to accelerate innovation and economic growth. The goal is to build value for the Commonwealth by creating Virginia-based start-up companies, attracting established corporations to invest in Virginia, and enhancing the licensing potential for technologies.  In this second year of funding, the VIP will once again selectively move promising technologies and business ideas to commercialization with the rigor needed to interest potential licensees or investors.  Applications are due November 15, 2013.  CONTINUE READING



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