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University of Georgia places No. 10 in Kiplingers best values in public colleges ranking

Because of its high four-year graduation rate, low average student debt at graduation, abundant financial aid and overall value, the University of Georgia placed No. 10—up five spots—on Kiplinger's Personal Finance list of 100 best values among public colleges and universities for 2014.

UGA's ranking is for in-state value, an improvement from its 15th-place ranking on Kiplinger's 2013 list. UGA's out-of-state ranking is No. 13 on the Kiplinger 2014 list, which will be published in the February issue.

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First-Year Odyssey students make complex toys accessible

Students in a First-Year Odyssey course for University of Georgia freshmen learned skills that helped brighten the day of several local children.

In the "Geeks with a Cause" class offered by UGA's College of Family and Consumer Sciences' Institute on Human Development and Disability, students learned to adapt toys for use by children with physical disabilities.

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UGA start-up company moves from incubator into Athens community

One of the University of Georgia's most innovative start-up companies is preparing to expand its business after graduating from the Georgia BioBusiness Center, UGA's business incubator, which supports companies with research and technology ties to UGA.

IS3D LLC, maker of interactive educational software designed to teach high school students fundamental scientific principles, has received support from the GBBC for the past three years. In that time, the company has developed a variety of products, including interactive case studies, 3-D animations, applications, games and e-books that make science more understandable and engaging.

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UGA to conduct cultural resource inventory of Dublin

From Dec. 11-17, a team of graduate students from the University of Georgia's College of Environment and Design will conduct a public service cultural resource inventory in Dublin.

The Public Service and Outreach project to be conducted by the students will include a survey area that includes the Downtown Historic District, and the residential Bellevue Historic District. The students are part of the Center for Community Design and Preservation's FindIt! Program, a state-wide cultural resource survey program sponsored by the Georgia Transmission Corporation in partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Historic Preservation Division.

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Researchers work to clone strong, high-quality forest trees

University of Georgia researchers are working to produce faster-growing sweetgum trees by growing embryogenic sweetgum cultures in bioreactors, computer-operated systems used for growing cells under controlled conditions.

"Most people think to get more trees, you just collect seeds and plant them," said Scott Merkle, a professor of forest biology in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Merkle is assisting one of his graduate students, Siran Lu, with this project. Lu is using plant cell culture techniques to clone the cells of an artificial hybrid inside bioreactors.

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Twelve UGA Honors students receive Crane Scholarship for extracurricular engagement

Twelve University of Georgia Honors students have been awarded the William Moore Crane Leadership Scholarship, which recognizes leadership in extracurricular activities and/or involvement with civic, community or religious organizations.

The $1,000 scholarship, which is administered by UGA's Honors Program and the university's Center for Leadership and Service, is named in honor of a 1921 UGA graduate who was influential in the founding of the UGA Alumni Society.

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New targets identified to combat tissue fibrosis

Multiple types of cells are needed for patients to recover from surgery or to restore life to tissues that have lost circulation. University of Georgia researchers have identified how the cells involved in the final stage of repair, myofibroblasts, are switched on. This information can lead to drug development that could speed recovery.

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Skidaway Institute scientists study black gill in shrimp

Scientists at the University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography are investigating black gill in shrimp, a condition Georgia shrimpers are blaming for an ongoing downturn in shrimp harvests. Very little is known about black gill, so professors Marc Frischer and Dick Lee are working with shrimpers and a number of agencies in a collaborative project to answer some key questions about the condition.

Black gill is a symptom of a health problem in the shrimp. The affected shrimp are easy to identify because they exhibit large black areas on their gills, which are right behind their head. The black gill has no effect on the edible qualities of the shrimp. Shrimp affected with black gill are perfectly safe to eat, and the condition has no effect on the taste of the shrimp.

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UGA breaks ground for a research center at Wormsloe Plantation in Savannah

A groundbreaking ceremony and reception were held Dec. 2 for a new research cabin at the University of Georgia Center for Research and Education at Wormsloe Plantation in Savannah. The facility will house UGA faculty, Wormsloe Fellows and other graduate students while they conduct research at the site.

In April 2013, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia voted to accept a gift of 15.45 acres of Wormsloe property, located 10 miles southeast of Savannah, to the University of Georgia. The trustees of the Wormsloe Foundation donated the property to the state of Georgia for environmental history research and education. The intention is for the property to be used for interdisciplinary research by faculty and graduate students working in archaeology, ecology, environmental planning and design, historic preservation, landscape architecture, geography, history and engineering.

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Two UGA faculty named AAAS Fellows

Two University of Georgia faculty members have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an honor bestowed upon them by their peers for "scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications."

Debra Mohnen, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology: Mohnen is recognized for pioneering work describing the biosynthesis of pectins and unraveling their role in plant cell wall integrity.

Robert A. Scott, professor of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology and associate vice president for research: Scott is recognized for distinguished contributions to metallobiochemistry, particularly on applications of synchrotron radiation-based techniques in bioinorganic chemistry, and for outstanding student training and university administration.