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UGA plant biology student wins international Dance Your Ph.D. contest

University of Georgia doctoral student Uma Nagendra flipped and twisted her way to the top prize in the seventh annual Dance Your Ph.D. contest for her video explaining biology research through an aerial dance performance.

The contest, sponsored by Science Magazine, the Association of the Advancement of Science and HighWire Press, challenged scientists around the world to explain their Ph.D. research through the art form of dance. Nagendra’s video was chosen from 12 finalists as the overall winner by an expert panel of scientists and artists. Her video also won first place in the biology category.

Nagendra, a student in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of plant biology, studies how forests regenerate after severe disturbances like tornadoes.

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Georgia Museum of Art wins exhibition and publication awards

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia won an outstanding exhibit certificate and three publication awards from this year’s Southeastern Museums Conference annual meeting, held earlier this month in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The museum’s exhibition “Cercle et Cerré and the International Spirit of Abstract Art” won the 2014 Certificate of Commendation at SEMC, an award celebrating excellence in research, design, development, educational value and effectiveness in museum exhibitions.

“This award is particularly gratifying to us,” said William Underwood Eiland, the museum’s director. “It recognizes staff-wide achievements and collaboration at the museum, as well as honors the commitment of the Pierre Daura Center to European art of the 20th century. It is the first of many Daura Center projects to follow.”

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UGA researcher studies obesitys role in breast, ovarian cancers

Mandi Murph in the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy is focusing her research efforts on the role of obesity in the promotion and development of women’s cancer, both breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

A grant from the National Institutes of Health is supporting her studies on identifying which biomarkers occurring in blood and body tissue might indicate the development of these cancers.

“Breast cancer remains the most frequent malignant tumor among North American women,” said Murph, an assistant professor in the college’s department of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences. “Research indicates that even though standard treatment modalities have improved the overall outlook and quality of life for these cancer victims, obesity in post-menopausal women has become a major risk factor for breast cancer.”

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UGA team receives $1.37 million grant to train behavioral health care counselors

University of Georgia College of Education faculty members Bernadette Heckman and Jolie Daigle have received a three-year, $1.37 million federal grant to recruit and train more than 100 UGA master’s degree students in school counseling to help increase access to mental and behavioral health services for children in Northeast Georgia’s K-12 schools.

The program will provide $10,000 stipends to school counseling students in their second year of the two-year program. The admissions deadline for the first cohort is Dec. 1. Review and selection of students will be in February 2015. Applicants to the program will be notified of their acceptance by April 2015 and admitted into the program in summer 2015.

The project will use existing resources and partnerships to provide integrative, primary care plus behavioral health services in schools.

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NASAs Roger Hunter to give UGAs fall Commencement address

Roger Hunter, a University of Georgia alumnus and associate director for programs at the NASA Ames Research Center, will deliver the university’s undergraduate Commencement address on Dec. 19 in Stegeman Coliseum. The ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the graduate ceremony to follow at 2:30 p.m.

The university’s graduate Commencement will feature Gregory H. Robinson, the UGA Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.

In his current capacity, Hunter leads the center’s small spacecraft mission and technology development programs as well as the NASA Ames Small Spacecraft Integrated Project Team. He also is a technical lead for the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s PHOENIX program.

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UGA professor wins highest conservation award from The Wildlife Society

The University of Georgia’s Robert Warren recently won The Wildlife Society’s 2014 Aldo Leopold Memorial Award, which recognizes distinguished service to wildlife conservation. Warren accepted the award, the highest one bestowed by the society, at the organization’s 21st annual conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 26.

Warren’s natural resources career was inevitable—the UGA professor of wildlife ecology and management often found himself outdoors growing up, and his curiosity of wildlife only grew stronger over the years. Since joining the faculty of UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources in 1983, Warren has proven to be one of the college’s most popular and influential teachers, and he has been repeatedly recognized for his enthusiastic support of wildlife management and conservation over the past three decades.

This is the second major recognition Warren, a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, has received from The Wildlife Society. The organization bestowed on him the Excellence in Wildlife Education Award last year in recognition of his exemplary teaching of wildlife education.

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Thai program sends top teachers to UGA

The University of Georgia is hosting 16 science and education teachers from Thailand this month as part of the country’s efforts to learn the latest teaching methods.

The program, a collaboration between the Thai government and UGA’S College of Education, will combine site visits at local schools with workshops and seminars designed to give the teachers a global educational experience. The group participated in the Georgia STEM Forum held Oct. 20 and 21 and organized by the state Department of Education.

“Thailand education has been greatly influenced by other international systems, so we are now trying to enhance our mathematics and science teachers to study more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, and trying to adjust the concepts to fit with our country’s context,” said Savittree Rochanasmita Arnold, program coordinator in the UGA department of mathematics and science education who works with the Thai government on teacher training.

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$1.44 million NIH grant funds UGA study on link between epigenetics, cancer

A University of Georgia statistics researcher has been awarded a $1.44 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop statistical models that may one day be used to predict cancer and other diseases.'

Wenxuan Zhong, an associate professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of statistics, will use the funds to develop predictive statistical models based on epigenetic change patterns.

Epigenetics—epi meaning ‘over’ or ‘other’ in Greek—is the study of changes in a gene’s behavior that can be passed down without actually altering the genetic code. Like an airport traffic controller, the epigenome passes along instructions that change the way the gene is expressed by switching genes on and off.

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Atlanta Magazines Groundbreakers class includes company founded by UGA professors

IS3D, LLC, a company founded by University of Georgia professors in the College of Veterinary Medicine to create interactive learning tools, was named to Atlanta Magazine’s Groundbreakers Class of 2014. IS3D was one of 11 finalists from a field of 100-plus entries to be recognized recently.

“Being chosen as a finalist for this award is great recognition of all the hard work the team has put into growing IS3D over the past year,” said Tom Robertson, CEO of IS3D. “This includes all of our partner teachers in Atlanta and across Georgia, and the researchers in UGA’s department of mathematics and science education in the College of Education.”

The groundbreakers program was launched in 2012 to honor the people and projects that make Atlanta a better place to live. The program focuses on innovation. In 2014, the specific emphasis was on education and learning.

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Greed, glamour, excess: University Theatre to present The Great Gatsby during UGAs Spotlight on

University Theatre at the University of Georgia will present “The Great Gatsby,” adapted for the stage by Simon Levy from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel and directed by T. Anthony Marotta, on Nov. 6-8 and 12-14 at 8 p.m. with matinee performances Nov. 9 and 16 at 2:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theatre.

Additional events surrounding this Spotlight on the Arts feature include a small opening night reception Nov. 6,  “A Party with Gatsby” Nov. 7 and a special matinee for area high school groups Nov. 11.