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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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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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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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UGA among top producers of Fulbright scholars

UGA is listed among the top producers of Fulbright scholars under the Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2013, according to the latest ranking from the government’s flagship international exchange program.

Of research institutions, UGA had the sixth most U.S. Fulbright Scholar Awards for the 2013-2014 academic year with five UGA faculty members receiving the Core Fulbright Scholar Award to work abroad. Faculty members and the countries they are visiting are Corrie Brown, a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine (Jordan), Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor, a professor in the College of Education (Mexico), Lawrence Morris, a professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources (Brazil), Paul Quick, coordinator of teaching assistant development in the Center for Teaching and Learning (Chile), and Montgomery Wolf, a lecturer in the history department (Benin).

“I extend my congratulations to the UGA faculty who were selected as Core Fulbright Fellows this year,” said Kavita Pandit, associate provost for international education. “The fact that UGA has been regularly appearing on the list of top producers of Fulbright scholars in recent years reflects the growing international engagement of our faculty and the high reputation they enjoy abroad.”

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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 School of Law dominates regional moot court competition

The University of Georgia School of Law recently captured first place and the Best Petitioner Brief Award for Region 5 as part of the 64th Annual National Moot Court Competition. The school will now advance to compete against the top 30 teams from across the country at the national tier of the tournament, which will be held in New York City, N.Y., during February.

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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.

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Georgia, Rice, Stanford and Tulane receive the 2013 AFCA Academic Achievement Award

Georgia, Rice, Stanford and Tulane recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its freshman football student-athlete class of 2006. This is the first time Georgia and Tulane have received this award, and the second honor for Rice and Stanford. The award will be presented at the President's Kickoff Luncheon on Monday, Jan. 13, at the 2014 AFCA Convention in Indianapolis.

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UGA professor wins national agricultural science teaching honor from APLU

The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities recently honored UGA Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics professor Michael Wetzstein with the National Teaching Award for Food and Agriculture Science.

The APLU presented the award, which honors university faculty for the use of innovative teaching methods and service to students, at the126th APLU annual meeting in November in Washington, D.C.

To instill his love for economics in students, Wetzstein casts information in a form they are comfortable learning. In class, economic concepts and connections are presented by webbing a variety of learning forms-prose, graphics and numerical examples. He believes that long after students have forgotten most of the specific content within a course, they will be left with positive impressions. Wetzstein's current research emphasis is on food versus fuel security and associated climate change impacts.

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UGA professor named Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Fellow

Alfie Vick, an associate professor in the University of Georgia College of Environment and Design, was named a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Fellow at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Philadelphia earlier this month. This designation is only bestowed up on top instructors and practitioners.

Vick was among 51 international green building professionals selected to the 2013 class of LEED Fellows. The LEED Fellow Program is a professional designation from the green building industry that recognizes exceptional contributions to green building and significant professional achievement within the rapidly growing community of LEED Professionals. The LEED Fellows program is based upon peer nomination and a portfolio review process.