| UGA Today

UGA offers small business expertise to farmers

The University of Georgia is combining its expertise in agriculture and economic development into a one-day conference later this month.

The UGA Small Business Development Center, a unit of Public Service and Outreach, along with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Cooperative Extension will host a Georgia Farm Business Education Conference in Tifton on Feb. 25. Agriculture is the biggest industry in the state with a value of $14.1 billion in 2014, according to UGA's Farmgate Value report released last fall.

"UGA is known for resources for agriculture and agribusiness," said Debbie Finney, UGA SBDC Albany area director. "We wanted to focus on the business side of farming. But at the same time you can't do that without bringing in experts from both sides."

Laura Perry Johnson, UGA's associate dean for extension, said her office was excited to work with the SBDC on the conference.

"The partnership between UGA Extension and Small Business Development Center is a great example of extension and public service working together and pooling our resources to offer better service to our clientele," Johnson said.

| UGA Today

Grady Sports students to cover 2016 Olympic Games in Rio

Two University of Georgia students in the Grady Sports Media certificate program will travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August to cover the 2016 Olympic Games.

Nicole Chrzanowski and Jaylon Thompson have been selected by the United States Olympic Committee to report on the Games for the USOC's various information channels, including its website, TeamUSA.org.

"It's going to be a huge undertaking to basically be a member of the press corps at the Olympics, which is one of the events that most sports journalists aspire to cover," said Vicki Michaelis, John Huland Carmical Distinguished Professor in Sports Journalism and director of Grady Sports at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. "It's a 17-day experiment in sleeplessness and constant deadlines. They'll be in that same crucible as all of the professional journalists around them, and these are two students that I'm confident can handle that."

Michaelis was the lead Olympics reporter for USA Today through six Olympic Games and worked as a freelancer with Team USA during the 2012 Games in London. That same year, she and Malcolm Moran, director of the Sports Capital Journalism Program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, worked with the USOC to formalize a student assistant program for the 2016 Olympics.

| UGA Today

Bledsoe named inaugural UGA Athletic Association Professor in Resilient Infrastructure

Brian P. Bledsoe, a scholar with more than 25 years of experience as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist in the private and public sectors, has been appointed the inaugural Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in Resilient Infrastructure in the University of Georgia College of Engineering.

The board of regents made the special appointment at its January meeting. Bledsoe will join the engineering faculty this month.

"Dr. Bledsoe brings a tremendous record of accomplishment to the University of Georgia College of Engineering, and he will play a major role in the continuing growth of our academic program and our research enterprise," said Donald J. Leo, dean of the college. "I sincerely thank our partners in the Athletic Association for supporting our mission to educate the next generation of engineers."

Bledsoe's research is focused on the interface of hydrology, ecology and urban water sustainability with an emphasis on the sustainability and resiliency of green infrastructure including streams, floodplains and stormwater systems. His work is currently funded by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

| UGA Today

University of Georgia to collaborate with GeoVax on Zika vaccine

The University of Georgia announced today that it has entered into a collaborative research agreement with GeoVax Labs Inc. to develop and test a vaccine to prevent the emerging and virulent Zika virus infection.

The collaboration will combine the vaccine development expertise of UGA researchers led by Ted Ross, director of UGA's Center for Vaccines and Immunology, with GeoVax's novel vaccine platform technology. Ross, a professor and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Infectious Diseases in the College of Veterinary Medicine, joined UGA last fall.

The World Health Organization on Monday declared Zika virus an international health emergency, noting that Zika is spreading explosively and could affect as many as 4 million people in the Americas by the end of the year. The mosquito-transmitted virus is linked with birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, and more recently, with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the nervous system. The virus is anticipated to spread to countries throughout the Western Hemisphere, with the exception of Canada and Chile.

There is no proven vaccine or treatment for Zika, which is closely related to yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya viruses, also transmitted to people by mosquitoes.

"This important partnership with GeoVax is consistent with one of our highest priorities, namely to work effectively with industry to address important challenges facing the state, the nation and the world," said David Lee, UGA vice president for research.

| UGA Today

Researchers make link between genetics, aging

Scientists at the University of Georgia have shown that a hormone instrumental in the aging process is under genetic control, introducing a new pathway by which genetics regulates aging and disease.

Previous studies have found that blood levels of this hormone, growth differentiation factor 11, decrease over time. Restoration of GDF11 reverses cardiovascular aging in old mice and leads to muscle and brain rejuvenation, a discovery that was listed as one of the top 10 breakthroughs in science in 2014.

Scientists in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences have now discovered that levels of this hormone are determined by genetics, representing another potential mechanism by which aging is encoded in the genome.

| UGA Today

Simon Kilmurry and Monica Pearson appointed to Peabody Awards Board of Jurors

The Peabody Awards at the University of Georgia has appointed Simon Kilmurry, executive director of the International Documentary Association, and Monica Pearson, and television news journalist, to its Board of Jurors. Additionally, Fred Young has been appointed chair of the Board of Jurors and Eddie Garrett the new vice chair. Both are already jurors and Young has previously served as vice chair. The announcement was made by Peabody Awards Director Jeffrey Jones.

Simon Kilmurry became executive director of the International Documentary Association in 2015 after a tenure as executive producer of "POV," the long-running, much acclaimed PBS showcase for documentaries, and as executive director of "American Documentary," POV's non-profit parent organization. Under his leadership, "American Documentary" received a $1 million MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2013. Kilmurry was educated at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Columbia University Business School's Institute for Not-for-Profit Management. "POV" documentaries that he has executive produced have won numerous honors, including five Peabodys, a primetime Emmy, 14 News & Documentary Emmys, three DuPont Columbia Awards and two Overseas Press Club Awards.

Monica Pearson, the first woman and first minority to anchor a 6 p.m. newscast in Atlanta, retired in 2012 after 37 years with WSB-TV. She now hosts a weekly radio show on KISS 104.1 FM, writes a column, "Monica Matters," for Southern Seasons Magazine, and continues her "Closeups" interviews on www.wsbtv.com/monica. She has received numerous accolades and honors for her TV work, including 33 local and regional Emmys. In March 2012, the bipartisan Georgia delegation to the U.S. Congress honored her on the floor of the U.S. House as "a true pioneer and a trailblazer in television news." She has taught part-time at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. In addition to her degrees from the University of Louisville and the University of Georgia, she holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University), Oglethorpe University, American Bible University and a Doctor of Public Service from Young Harris College.

| UGA Today

UGA Alumni Association unveils 2016 Bulldog 100 rankings; SMD LLC tops list

The University of Georgia Alumni Association recognized the 100 fastest-growing companies owned or operated by UGA alumni during the seventh annual Bulldog 100 Celebration Jan. 30 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

The 2016 fastest-growing business was SMD LLC, founded by Shane Douthitt and Scott Mondore. Their North Carolina-based talent management and analytics company enables businesses to monetize people management. SMD's patented cloud-based talent software identifies cause-and-effect relationships between talent management and business outcomes and then converts those analytics into actionable results in just four clicks for front-line managers and individual employees. Both Douthitt and Mondore each earned a master's and doctoral degree in applied psychology from the University of Georgia.

| UGA Today

UGA president to chair SEC working group on compliance, enforcement, governance

The Southeastern Conference has appointed nine individuals from campuses across the SEC to form a working group to review and discuss issues concerning compliance with NCAA regulations and effective operation within the NCAA governance process, Commissioner Greg Sankey announced. University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead will serve as chair of the group.

Sankey announced in July 2015 at the SEC's annual Football Media Days that he would convene the SEC Working Group on Compliance, Enforcement and Governance, a collection of campus leaders to review and discuss NCAA issues.

"Compliance with NCAA regulations and the development of processes for effective participation by the SEC in NCAA governance are critical to the future of this Conference," Morehead said. "This working group is a proactive initiative to put the SEC in position to be a leader for many years to come in the development and enforcement of NCAA rules and regulations while solidifying our culture of compliance with those rules."

| UGA Today

UGA professor contributes to new science education guidelines

A new report released this week will give lawmakers, school officials and others specific direction when it comes to supporting and strengthening science teacher learning, says a University of Georgia professor who contributed to the effort.

The report, "Science Teachers' Learning: Enhancing Opportunities, Creating Supportive Contexts," produced by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, assesses and discusses essential learning opportunities for elementary, middle and high school science teachers. The book also recommends new lines of research and steps administrators and lawmakers can take to strengthen science education in the U.S.

"A lot of the time there is inequitable access to professional learning opportunities in science-for example, we're emphasizing mathematics or English and not so much science," said Julie A. Luft, Athletic Association Professor of Science and Mathematics Education in the UGA College of Education, who was one of 16 researchers, educators, scientists and science educators from across the country selected to craft the guidelines. "The recommendations themselves are great because they give policymakers direct suggestions."

The report, released Jan. 20, covers topics such as the state of science instruction, the current teaching workforce and teachers' learning needs, such as professional development. It also suggests research topics that are more in line with the Next Generation Science Standards, announced in 2013, plus specific policy guidelines for lawmakers.

| UGA Today

Law school creates elite fellowship with Goddard Foundation gift

The University of Georgia School of Law has established an elite fellowship program as a result of a $2 million founding gift from The John N. Goddard Foundation. Initially, the program will offer three law school students annually the opportunity to receive an educational experience including domestic and international externships and guided research experiences, opportunities to meet some of the country's top legal leaders and a full tuition scholarship.

"Enhancing graduate and professional education is a priority of the University of Georgia," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. "The Distinguished Law Fellows program will help us to further this goal while honoring one of our most accomplished alumni. We are grateful to the Goddard Foundation for their support."

Georgia Law Dean Peter B. "Bo" Rutledge said this fellowship program will attract the best and brightest to Athens for law school and will place Georgia Law among a small group of institutions offering full-tuition-plus law school scholarships. "I am thankful to the Goddard Foundation for their generous leadership gift that will make this new level of legal education possible at Georgia Law."

The Distinguished Law Fellows program is modeled after the university's prestigious Foundation Fellows program, which was established in 1972. The initial fellows of the law school's program will be known as Philip H. Alston, Jr. Distinguished Law Fellows and will be announced later this year.