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UGA researchers develop breakthrough tools in fight against cryptosporidium

Researchers at the University of Georgia have developed new tools to study and genetically manipulate cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Their discoveries, published in the journal Nature, will ultimately help researchers in academia and industry find new treatments and vaccines for cryptosporidium, which is a major cause of disease and death in children under 2 years old.

Crypto, as researchers often call it, is most commonly spread through tainted drinking or recreational water. When a person drinks contaminated water, parasites emerge from spores and invade the lining of the small intestine, causing severe diarrhea. In 1993, more than 400,000 people living in the Milwaukee area were infected with crypto when one of the city's water treatment systems malfunctioned.

The parasite is especially problematic in areas with limited resources, and recent global studies have shown crypto to be one of the most important causes of life-threatening diarrhea in infants and toddlers. There is currently no vaccine and only one drug—nitazoxanide—approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for cryptosporidiosis, but it provides no benefit for those in gravest danger: malnourished children and immunocompromised patients.

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University Housing administrator earns international recognition

University of Georgia housing's M. Keener Scott recently received the Parthenon Award from the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International.

The honor recognizes outstanding collegiate housing professionals for their service, leadership, achievement and contributions to the housing field.

Scott, who serves as associate director for staff development and student conduct in University Housing as well as an adjunct professor in the department of counseling and human development services, said she wants her students to look back on their experiences without saying "what if."

"I do this work because of my servant attitude based on my faith and my desire to help others achieve their best," Scott said. "Being a member of the University Housing team is an experience that I value. Being a part of an organization that lives its mission gives me the foundation needed to do this work."

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Meg Evans named director of UGAs LGBT Resource Center

Meg Evans, currently LGBTQ resources coordinator and housefellow at Carnegie Mellon University, has been named the new director of the LGBT Resource Center at the University of Georgia.

"The student experience will be greatly enhanced by Meg's extensive experience and leadership in LGBTQ resources," said T.W. Cauthen, assistant vice president for academic, campus and community partnerships. "Her approach at Carnegie Mellon was comprehensive and effective, and we look forward to experiencing similar success here at UGA."

Evans' appointment is effective Aug. 10.

"I love this work because it means I get to engage in the difficult conversations," Evans said. "I get to work beside incredible students and colleagues who want to work together to welcome and affirm LGBT people."

The LGBT Resource Center provides programming and engagement to meet the needs of the LGBT and ally communities by creating an environment of advocacy, education and support. Current programming highlights include Dawgs Making It Better, a weeklong program to promote awareness in the campus community; the student organization Lambda Alliance; and the Safe Space program, which educates faculty, staff and students who are interested in learning how to better support and affirm the LGBT community.

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UGA Alumni Association unveils fifth annual 40 Under 40 class

he University of Georgia Alumni Association recently announced the 40 Under 40 Class of 2015. This program, which recognizes outstanding young alumni under the age of 40, is in its fifth year.

This year's honorees were selected from a nomination pool of approximately 500 graduates. Selections were based on the graduates' commitment to a lifelong relationship with UGA and their success in both personal and professional endeavors.

Nominations opened in February and remained open through mid-April. The honorees will be celebrated at the 2015 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon Sept. 10 at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta.

"It's a privilege to announce the 40 Under 40 honorees," said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations. "The selection committee spends weeks evaluating hundreds of nominations for deserving young professionals. The final list makes me proud as I see men and women, from all backgrounds, putting their UGA education to work every day. The university really is fortunate to call them alumni."

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Digital Library of Georgia expands Savannah Historic Newspapers Archive

The electronic archive of Savannah's historic newspapers has recently been expanded through the Digital Library of Georgia, based at the University of Georgia Libraries.

The Savannah Historic Newspapers Archive provides online access to 17 newspaper titles published in Savannah from 1809 to 1880. Consisting of more than 103,000 newspaper pages, the archive provides historical images that are both full-text searchable and can be browsed by date. Additionally, the site is compatible with all current browsers without the use of plug-ins or software downloads.

The archive now includes the following Savannah newspaper titles: Daily Morning News (1850-1864), Daily News and Herald (1866-1868) and Savannah Daily Herald (1865-1866), in addition to the titles previously included in the archive: Daily Georgian (1835-1847), Daily Republican (1839-1840), Daily Savannah Republican (1829-1839), Georgian (1819-1823, 1829-1835), Republican and Savannah Evening Ledger (1809-1816), Savannah Daily Georgian (1853-1856), Savannah Daily Morning News (1868), Savannah Daily Republican (1818-1824, 1840-1852, 1855-1858, 1866-1867), Savannah Georgian (1825-1829, 1847-1849), Savannah Georgian and Journal (1856), Savannah Morning News (1868-1880), Savannah National Republican (1865), Savannah Republican (1816-1818, 1824-1828, 1853-1855, 1858-1865) and Weekly Georgian (1839-1841). The archive is available at http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/savnewspapers.

The Savannah Historic Newspapers Archive is a project of the Digital Library of Georgia, as part of the Georgia HomePLACE initiative. The Digital Library of Georgia is a project of Georgia's Virtual Library GALILEO and is based at the University of Georgia. Georgia HomePLACE is supported with federal LSTA funds administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Georgia Public Library Service, a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

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UGA graduate students awarded Knauss Fellowships

Three University of Georgia graduate students studying ecology and marine science have been selected for the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.

Sponsored by the National Sea Grant College Program, the Knauss Fellowship provides educational experiences in policy and processes of the federal government to graduate students interested in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and the national policy decisions that impact those resources.

Laura Early, Jennafer Malek and Yuntao Wang were nominated for the fellowship by the Georgia Sea Grant College Program, a unit of UGA's Office of Public Service and Outreach. The UGA students were among 120 Knauss Fellowship applicants from across the country. Fifty-seven were chosen for the 2016 class, representing 25 of the 33 state Sea Grant programs. All finalists will be matched with hosts in the federal legislative and executive branches of government in Washington, D.C.

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St. Marys, GRU/UGA Medical Partnership welcome first residents

The Internal Medicine Residency Program, a joint effort of the Georgia Regents University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership and St. Mary's Health Care System, officially welcomed its first class of internal medicine residents.

The 10 residents, who began orientation on June 24, officially began work July 1.

"The start of Northeast Georgia's first residency program is an historic occasion," said Don McKenna, St. Mary's president and CEO. "It is the product of years of hard work by many people and offers the state and our community an unprecedented opportunity to enhance access to quality care by attracting a new generation of primary care physicians to our region."

"We appreciate all that Gov. Nathan Deal, the legislature, the board of regents and the leadership of GRU and UGA have done to make this program possible," said Dr. Leslie Lee, interim campus dean of the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership. "Through their foresight and dedication, they have provided the support needed to bring this dream to fruition."

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UGA researcher leads comprehensive international study on folate

A University of Georgia researcher is lead author on an international paper on folate biomarkers as part of an initiative to provide evidence-based guidance for the global nutrition and public health community.

Lynn Bailey, head of the foods and nutrition department within the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, led a comprehensive study on folate, an essential B vitamin required for DNA synthesis and normal growth and development. The paper, published in the Journal of Nutrition, includes 18 authors from around the world and represents a consensus of the top folate scientists globally.

The study’s primary focus is information relative to folate biomarkers, or biological indices that predict an individual or population group’s folate status. Biomarkers in general can be measured to determine if an individual’s or group’s health is at risk due to nutrient inadequacy.

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Developing disease-resistant poultry may be solution for multiple virus issues

Poultry disease is an international issue, especially when there is an outbreak close to home. However, it’s a particularly costly problem in developing countries.

Developing animals resistant to disease may be one of the long-term solutions. University of Georgia researchers in the Regenerative Bioscience Center have spent the last four years gathering data that could make the process a reality.

The team, which includes Steven Stice and Franklin West in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Claudio Afonso at the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, used a technology platform called shRNA—single strands of RNA that fold back on themselves—to selectively stop the production of nucleic acids that cause disease, such as the Newcastle disease virus.

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UGA researchers find potential treatment for fatal lung diseases

Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered that the drug triciribine may reverse or halt the progression of pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension, two respiratory diseases that are almost invariably fatal. They published their findings recently in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

Pulmonary fibrosis occurs when lung tissue becomes scarred, leading to loss of lung function and reduced oxygen supply to the blood. Pulmonary hypertension involves an increase of blood pressure in the arteries of the lung that can lead to heart failure.

Although no definitive cause for the disease has been identified, pulmonary fibrosis affects nearly 130,000 people in the U.S., with about 48,000 new cases diagnosed annually, according to the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis. Pulmonary hypertension is rare—with only about 15 to 50 cases per million people—but the total number of deaths attributed to the disease increased by more than 40 percent in the U.S. between 1980 and 2002, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The average life expectancy for people with these diseases is only about five years after diagnosis, and while the drug treatments we currently have may help improve quality of life, they don’t reduce mortality,” said Somanath Shenoy, co-author of the paper and associate professor in UGA’s College of Pharmacy. “Our tests show that treatment with triciribine can halt disease progression and may even reverse some of the damage to lung tissue.”