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Researchers identify mechanisms linking early adversity, disease later in life

Early socioeconomic adversity, such as poverty, low education and disadvantaged community, has both direct and indirect long-term effects on young adults’ cardio-metabolic disease risk, according to researchers within the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

K.A.S. Wickrama, the Athletic Association Endowed Professor in human development and family science, and his research team explored a “resource focused model” examining the positive psychosocial resources—self-esteem, personality and educational attainment—linking adolescents’ early life experiences to young adults’ health outcomes as measured by nine bio-markers including blood pressure, blood glucose level and body mass index.

The research showed that in addition to early adversity’s direct impact on cardio-metabolic health, it also negatively influenced the development of these psychosocial resources, which, in turn, proved detrimental to disease risk, including diseases such as diabetes, heart disease or stroke.

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NHAF names UGAs Willson Center a national model for building humanities communities

The Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts at the University of Georgia has been profiled as a national model for fostering successful humanities communities as part of a new initiative by the National Humanities Alliance Foundation.

The Willson Center was selected to be the first organization profiled for the initiative after representatives of the NHAF visited UGA for the dedication of the Willson Center Digital Humanities Lab in April. The Willson Center—together with Georgia Humanities, the statewide affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities—will lead the working group for the state of Georgia, the first launched under the initiative.

“The humanities are flourishing at the University of Georgia, with the Willson Center paving the way toward the future,” UGA President Jere W. Morehead said. “I am pleased that this pioneering academic center is being recognized as a national model for collaboration by the National Humanities Alliance Foundation.”

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UGA law graduate Sally Yates confirmed as U.S. deputy attorney general

Yesterday, Sally Quillian Yates, former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia and a 1986 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, was confirmed as U.S. deputy attorney general.

Nominated by President Barack Obama late last year, Yates has been serving in an acting capacity in the No. 2 post at the U.S. Department of Justice. She replaced Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole.

“The university takes great pride in the significant accomplishments of our graduates,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “We congratulate Sally Quillian Yates on her outstanding career and wish her well in this important role for our country.”

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UGA Executive MBA ranks No. 14 worldwide, according to The Economist

The Executive MBA Program at the University of Georgia Terry College of Business was ranked No. 14 worldwide by The Economist in its latest assessment.

The new ranking is a step up for Terry’s EMBA program, which was No. 22 worldwide in the previous scoring by The Economist.

“I am certainly proud that the excellence of this degree is being recognized in Georgia and around the world,” said Benjamin C. Ayers, dean of the Terry College. “This ranking is a reflection of the investment and quality that our faculty put into our EMBA program, and a good indication that it truly enhances the careers of our students.”

The Economist’s rankings reflect each EMBA program’s performance in two broad categories: personal development/education experience and career development, with each category weighted equally. Terry’s EMBA program received the highest ranking among schools in Georgia and was eighth among programs based solely in the U.S.

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Noted influenza researcher joins UGA Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center

An influenza researcher whose work focuses on the interspecies transmission and pathogenesis of the virus has joined the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine as its new Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator and Caswell Eidson Chair in Poultry Medicine.

Daniel R. Pérez is based at the college’s Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center.

“Dr. Pérez’s work on avian influenza virus interspecies transmission and control will complement a robust research effort on poultry respiratory disease viruses in the department of population health, and build on an active and successful program within the college that is focused on influenza virus surveillance, diagnosis and control. We are excited about Dr. Pérez joining our faculty,” said Mark W. Jackwood, who heads both the department and the center.

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Dale Greene named dean of UGAs Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

W. Dale Greene, a long-serving faculty member and administrator in the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, has been named its dean, effective June 1.

Greene, a professor of forest operations who joined the Warnell School in 1986, previously served as its associate dean for academic affairs and has been interim dean since January.

“I have known Dr. Greene throughout his nearly 30-year career at the University of Georgia,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Given his strong credentials as one of the institution’s top faculty members, I am confident that he has the background and understanding to lead the Warnell School into the future.”

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UGA researcher develops bird flu vaccine using virus commonly found in dogs

Researchers at the University of Georgia have used a virus commonly found in dogs as the foundation for a new vaccine against H7N9 influenza, more commonly known as bird flu.

H7N9 is one of several influenza virus strains that circulate in bird populations, and the first human cases were reported in China in March 2013, according to the World Health Organization. The H7N9 virus strain is particularly concerning, however, because most patients rapidly develop severe pneumonia that sometimes requires intensive care and mechanical ventilation.

“The mortality rate for this virus is over 30 percent, so there is an urgent need to develop a good vaccine,” said study co-author Biao He, the Fred C. Davison Distinguished University Chair in Veterinary Medicine in UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “We have developed a vaccine that protected both mice and guinea pigs against a lethal H7N9 challenge, and we think it may be a very strong candidate for human vaccine tests.”

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5,600-plus will join ranks of UGA alums after spring 2015 Commencement

The University of Georgia will welcome its newest class of alumni on May 8. Approximately 4,488 undergraduates and 1,179 graduate students—a total of 5,667—have met requirements to walk in the university’s spring Commencement ceremonies.

The undergraduate ceremony will include an additional 1,022 summer candidates who were invited to walk in the spring ceremony.

The undergraduate ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Sanford Stadium, and Amy Robach of “Good Morning America” will give the address.

A 1995 alumna of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Robach has been a news anchor for ABC’s “Good Morning America” since March 2014. During her time at ABC News—she originally joined the network as a correspondent based in New York—she has traveled nationally and internationally to cover major news events.

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Noted NMR, metabolomics researcher Art Edison named GRA Eminent Scholar at UGA

One of the leading experts on nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a powerful non-invasive technology used to study biological systems, and metabolomics, an emerging field that offers scientists a broader understanding of life processes, is joining the faculty at the University of Georgia as its newest Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar.

Arthur S. Edison, who is currently a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Florida, will join the faculty of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology, the department of genetics and the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center in August as the GRA Eminent Scholar in NMR Spectroscopy. He also will serve as director of the NMR facility housed at the CCRC, replacing James Prestegard, who has directed the facility and held the GRA Eminent Scholar position since 1998.

Edison is the third GRA Eminent Scholar to join UGA this year. He brings the total number of GRA scholars at UGA to 17.

“Hiring three GRA Eminent Scholars in one year is remarkable and points to the University of Georgia’s expanding research enterprise,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Dr. Edison’s expertise will help move this institution to the forefront of an exciting new field—metabolomics—which holds answers to some of the world’s most complex challenges in human health.”

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Bachman named director of UGAs new Experiential Learning initiative

Linda Bachman, assistant dean in the University of Georgia’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has been named the institution’s director of university experiential learning. Her appointment is effective May 1 in the Office of the Vice President for Instruction.

Bachman, who chaired a university-wide committee convened by Provost Pamela Whitten in 2014 to explore an experiential learning requirement for undergraduate students, brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to provide immediate and effective leadership for this groundbreaking academic initiative. Bachman has worked closely with deans and other academic officials for the last year to help shape the proposal for a graduation requirement in experiential learning.

“Dr. Bachman brings a deep understanding of disciplinary differences and the wide range of experiential opportunities that will help students across disciplines engage in hands-on experiences,” said Rahul Shrivastav, vice president for instruction. “We are honored to have her expertise in an area that will enhance the academic performance of our students and position them for greater success after graduation.”