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Two UGA students receive Goldwater Scholarships

University of Georgia Honors students Catherine "Cali" Callaway and Morrison Nolan have received 2016 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, a premier academic award for undergraduate students pursuing careers in science, mathematics and engineering.

The scholarship, which awards up to $7,500 toward the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board, recognizes exceptional sophomores and juniors across the nation. Since 1995, 51 UGA students have received the award.

"Our students' continued success in the Goldwater competition speaks volumes about the quality of education that UGA provides in the STEM disciplines," said President Jere W. Morehead. "Cali and Morrison represent the broad range of scientific interests that students can pursue at UGA, and their achievement demonstrates the value of intensive research experiences at the undergraduate level."

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Milton Masciadri named UGA recipient of SEC Faculty Achievement Award

Milton Masciadri, Distinguished University Professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Science's Hugh Hodgson School of Music, has been named the University of Georgia's recipient of the 2016 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award.

The award, which is administered by provosts at the 14 universities in the SEC, recognizes professors with outstanding records in teaching and scholarship who serve as role models for other faculty and students. Winners receive a $5,000 honorarium.

"Dr. Masciadri has inspired students and audiences here on campus as well as in nearly two dozen countries on four continents," said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten. "His extraordinary instruction and performances build bridges of understanding through the universal language of music and highlight the global impact of the arts."

Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Masciadri is a third-generation double bass player who began his professional performance career at the age of 17. He joined the UGA faculty in 1984 and was the first professor in the fine arts to be named a University Professor in 62 years when he received the title in 2010.

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UGA, Sanofi Pasteur develop new vaccine for H1N1 influenza

Researchers at the University of Georgia and Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, announced today the development of a vaccine that protects against multiple strains of both seasonal and pandemic H1N1 influenza in mouse models. They published their findings recently in the Journal of Virology.

Researchers from UGA and Sanofi Pasteur, which has a research and development collaboration agreement with UGA, will present their data tomorrow, March 30, at the World Vaccine Congress US 2016 in Washington, D.C.

"One of the problems with current influenza vaccines is that we have to make predictions about which virus strains will be most prevalent every year and build our vaccines around those predictions," said Ted Ross, director of UGA's Center for Vaccines and Immunology and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Infectious Diseases in the College of Veterinary Medicine. "What we have developed is a vaccine that protects against multiple different strains of H1N1 virus at once, so we might be able to one day replace the current standard of care with this more broadly cross-protective vaccine."

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Undergraduate research symposium at UGA breaks record, tops 400 participants

Participation in the University of Georgia's annual undergraduate research symposium has reached a record, with more than 400 students presenting original research projects in fields ranging from art to pathology and computer science at the upcoming Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Symposium.

The CURO Symposium, scheduled for April 4 and 5 at the Classic Center in Athens, includes poster sessions and presentations, and is free and open to the public. Alan Darvill, Regents Professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and director of UGA's Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, will present the keynote address April 4 at 3:30 p.m.

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten said that UGA has made expanding undergraduate research opportunities a cornerstone of its initiative to ensure that each of its students engages in experiential learning prior to graduation.

"This year's record CURO Symposium participation and the enthusiastic response to our expanded CURO Research Assistantship program underscore the intellectual curiosity of our students and their strong desire to apply their knowledge outside of the classroom," she said.

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Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta names rehabilitation gym after UGA student philanthropy

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta dedicated its Comprehensive Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit Gym as the "UGA Miracle Gym" in a ribbon cutting ceremony on March 20.

UGA Miracle is a student-run nonprofit organization at the University of Georgia that has donated nearly $6 million to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta since 1995, including a $1.068 million gift this year. CHOA informed the student group at the beginning of this year's fundraising campaign that it would name the gym for the organization if it succeeded in meeting its annual fundraising goal of $1 million.

The students surpassed their goal, announcing a final total of $1,068,358.16 at the conclusion of their annual signature event, Dance Marathon, on Feb. 21, and Children's Healthcare made good on their promise to name the gym this past Sunday.

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UGAs Michael K. Johnson named Regents Professor

Michael K. Johnson, an internationally recognized chemist at the University of Georgia whose work has implications for agriculture, energy and health, has been named a Regents Professor, effective July 1.

Regents Professorships are bestowed by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on faculty members whose scholarship or creative activity is recognized nationally and internationally as innovative and pace setting.

"Dr. Johnson's pioneering research methods and insights into the role that metals play in biological processes have earned him the respect of colleagues across campus and around the world," said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten. "The quality of his scholarship, which is evident in his extraordinary record of continuous National Institutes of Health funding, is matched by his commitment to inspiring and mentoring the next generation of scientists."

Johnson is an internationally renowned pioneer in the development of methods for investigating the biological properties of metals that are essential to life processes in plants and animals. He pioneered a technique known as magnetic circular dichroism spectroscopy, which measures the absorption of polarized light in the presence of a magnetic field at cryogenic temperatures, that has provided insights into the way metals catalyze or regulate metabolic processes.

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UGA researchers find potential treatment for prostate cancer

Researchers at the University of Georgia have created a new therapeutic for prostate cancer that has shown great efficacy in mouse models of the disease. They published their findings recently in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine.

The treatment is designed to inhibit the activity of a protein called PAK-1, which contributes to the development of highly invasive prostate cancer cells.

Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is also one of the leading causes of cancer death among men of all races.

"PAK-1 is kind of like an on/off switch," said study co-author Somanath Shenoy, an associate professor in UGA's College of Pharmacy. "When it turns on, it makes cancerous cells turn into metastatic cells that spread throughout the body."

With the help of Brian Cummings, an associate professor in UGA's College of Pharmacy, the researchers developed a way to package and administer a small molecule called IPA-3, which limits the activity of PAK-1 proteins.

They enveloped the IPA-3 molecule in a bubble-like structure called a liposome and injected it intravenously. The liposome shell surrounding IPA-3 ensures that it is not metabolized by the body too quickly, allowing the inhibitor enough time to disrupt the PAK-1 protein.

The researchers found that this molecule significantly slowed the progression of cancer in mice, and it also forced the cancerous cells to undergo apoptosis—a kind of programmed cell death.

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UGA ranked fourth among graduate schools of public affairs

The University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs ranks fourth among graduate schools of public affairs, according to the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings.

SPIA also has three highly ranked specialty programs: in public finance and budgeting, UGA is ranked second, moving up from fifth place in the 2012 rankings; the public management administration program is ranked second; and the public policy analysis program is ranked 18th.

"The School of Public and International Affairs is extremely proud of the Master of Public Administration program where the faculty members have demonstrated worldwide impact through their research and where the graduates are among the most accomplished and influential alumni serving in the public and nonprofit sectors," said Stefanie A. Lindquist dean and Arch Professor of Public and International Affairs.

At the core of SPIA's reputation in public affairs is its Master of Public Administration degree program, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. In addition, the MPA program was recognized Wednesday on both the House and Senate floors of the Georgia General Assembly for 50 years of positive impact from local to global.

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Robotics teams to invade UGA for FIRST state championship competition

The best high school robotics teams from across the state will converge on the University of Georgia campus this spring for a high-stakes, high-tech battle.

The UGA College of Engineering will host the 2016 FIRST Robotics Peachtree District State Championship April 14-16 at Stegeman Coliseum. Approximately 1,200 students representing 45 teams will participate in the competition that's billed as a "varsity sport for the mind."

The event is part of the annual For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology—FIRST—family of robotics competitions. FIRST is a nonprofit organization that works to inspire young people to become scientists and engineers. More than 400,000 students in 89 countries participate in FIRST Robotics competitions, according to the organization.

"The University of Georgia is excited to welcome the Georgia FIRST Robotics championship to our campus," UGA President Jere W. Morehead said. "Science education is flourishing at UGA, and our partnership with Georgia FIRST Robotics and the state's aspiring engineers and scientists is further evidence of our leadership in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields."

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Veterinary professor Corrie Brown named University Professor at UGA

Corrie Brown, Meigs Professor of Pathology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, has been named University Professor, an honor bestowed on faculty members who have made a significant impact on the University of Georgia beyond their normal academic responsibilities.

Brown, who was named a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor in 2004, has built international partnerships to advance animal and human health. In her 20 years at UGA, her research, instruction and outreach have shaped global initiatives and transformed lives.

"Working at the interface of animal and human health, Dr. Brown has dedicated her career to creating a healthier and more prosperous future," said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten. "She is an inspiring instructor and mentor, a pioneering researcher and a global ambassador for the University of Georgia."

Brown has worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. Agency for International Development, Veterinarians Without Borders and the federal departments of state, defense and agriculture to create programs to help veterinarians understand how to build sustainable animal health systems that improve heath, food security and economic stability. She has presented workshops or conducted training in more than 50 countries and authored several manuals that are in use across the globe.