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HIV Drug Developer Pours Funds Back Into Research

Raymond F. Schinazi, professor of pediatrics who played a key role in the development of the anti-HIV drug Emtriva, plans to invest $12 million in a new biomedical research company in Atlanta. The funding will come from Schinazi’s share of $210 million earned through the sale of royalty rights to the drug, one of the most potent and effective AIDS drugs now in use.

Emory researchers Dennis Liotta, professor of chemistry, and Woo-Baeg Choi will share the proceeds. Emory itself will pocket $315 from the licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences, Inc. and Royalty Pharma.

“I'm going to use some of my proceeds from my recent windfall to reinvest in research,” said Schinazi in an article that appeared in the Atlanta Business Chronicle and on MSNBC. “I'm not going to put it in my pocket and just go fly-fishing for the rest of my life.”

The start-up company, RFS Parma, will focus on developing antiviral drugs to combat HIV and hepatitis C. Schinazi said that he’s already hired two physicians and hopes to hire fifteen employees in the next year.

Schinazi is also the founder of Pharmasset, Inc., which has pursued drugs for HIV and hepatitis since it opened in 1998. In July, however, the Atlanta-based company announced that it would move to Princeton, New Jersey, to take advantage of the wealth of talent in the pharmaceutical industry available in that region.

After founding the company, Schinazi remained a director of Pharmasset until late June. “It's like my baby. It's like a parent seeing their child go away and never come back,” he said. “I'm extremely disappointed. I fought tooth and nail for Pharmasset to stay in Atlanta because that was my dream.”

Vole Family Values

Scientists have wondered why some male prairie voles are faithful partners and devoted fathers who spend a lot of time with their pups, while others stray and neglect their parental duties. Emory researchers may have found out why, but whether the reason can also explain parallel behavior among humans remains to be seen.

According to Larry J. Young, associate professor of psychiatry, the variance stems from a genetic mechanism that allows for accelerated evolutionary changes, and which depends on a highly variable section of DNA that controls the gene, he wrote in a recent issue of Science. The same mechanism is embedded in the human DNA sequence, according to the researcher, though its precise influence on people’s behavior has yet to be discerned.

In voles, the control section of their DNA expands and contracts as the creatures evolve so that the wild population will carry sections of varying lengths. Male voles with long control sections are monogamous and devoted to their offspring; those with shorter control segments have multiple mates and aren’t as conscientious dads.

The same variability exists in human DNA—at least seventeen separate lengths have been detected, says Young. But a slew of cultural and social influences make it very difficult to predict whether individual men with longer control segments in their DNA will have parenting skills that mimic those of the voles. He notes that the findings contradict assumptions that discerning genetic control of behavior would be too complicated to address: “The nice thing about this story is that it tells you it's not complex,” Young told the New York Times in an article that appeared July 19th .

Marsteller Defends Colleagues

In response to an editorial in the July 27 Atlanta Journal-Constitution that calls on Emory and its faculty to "put health before wealth," Pat Marsteller, Senior Lecturer in Biology and Director of the Emory College Center for Science Education, takes Dr. George Rusk to task for his "proposed solution and . . . the aspersions cast upon not only Emory University but also upon the investigators."

Marsteller writes that the Bayh-Dole act results in "more and better research for the future." She adds that other causes supersede HIV deaths.

Marsteller also clarifies that "Emory investigators, led by Dr. Dennis Liotta, are working with developing nations, such as South Africa, to assist them in developing and training an internal work force to lead drug development and research in those nations. Liotta worked with AIDS drugs manufacturers to ensure policies that provide the drug at cost to developing nations."

To read Pat Marsteller's full editorial, click here.

To read Marsteller's AE essay on "Teaching the Teachers: Reinventing graduate and postdoctoral education," visit http://www.emory.edu/ACAD_EXCHANGE/2005/decjan/marsteller.html.

Royalty Deal Opens Questions about Money and Medicine

Last week brought the announcement that Emory had inked a $525 million agreement to sell to two private companies its royalty interests to Emtriva®, a drug developed by Emory researchers for the treatment of HIV infection in combination with other antiretroviral agents. The news sparked a Morehouse Medical School faculty member to write a newspaper editorial titled "Emory, please put health before wealth."

"Fifty years ago," writes Dr. George Rust, a professor of family medicine, in the July 27 Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Dr. Jonas Salk refused to patent the polio vaccine his research produced, in order that it might be widely disseminated for the greatest good."

According to reports, the three researchers—Dennis Liotta, Raymond Schinazi, and Woo-Baeg Choi—will share 30 percent, or $210 million, of the sale. Rust writes, "Only the researchers can decide how much of their . . . windfall they need to keep in order to meet their own family needs, but Emory University itself could establish a foundation with its portion, to assure access to affordable HIV/AIDS drugs worldwide."

According to the official announcement, Emory's 60 percent share of the deal—believed to be the largest sale of intellectual property ever in higher education—"will be reinvested in Emory's research mission following the terms of the Bayh-Dole Act passed by Congress in 1980 to encourage commercialization of research by universities." According to the AJC, President Jim Wagner has said that "the funds will be invested in scientific reserach and discovery, with a special emphasis on global health."

To read George Rust's editorial, click here.

To read the official announcement of the agreement, click here.

To read the Academic Exchange's continuing coverage of issues of intellectual property and technology transfer in higher education, visit

"For Its Own Sake: When Knowledge Isn't For Sale" (Dec 04/Jan 05)

"Money Changes Everything: Commerce, Philanthropy, and the Culture of the Academy" (Dec 02/Jan 03)

"No Conflict, No Interest: Ethical Considerations in Technology Transfer" (Feb/Mar 00)

"Ideas for Sale: Will Technology Transfer Undermine the Academy or Save It?" (Dec 99/Jan 00)

Monkeys See More Than a Stranger in the Mirror

It is widely assumed that recognizing one’s own reflection is a trait exhibited only by humans and great apes, and that other animals merely see a stranger in the mirror. But new research suggests capuchin monkeys react differently to mirrors and strangers. In a study conducted at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, investigators sought to determine whether monkeys can differentiate between their mirror image and a stranger based on a detailed comparison of how they respond to mirrors versus live individuals.

The findings, reported in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may lead to further examination of self-awareness and an appraisal of two schools of thought, one that deems only mirror self-recognition (MSR) species possess a concept of self, and another that looks at the self concept as an endpoint of gradual change.

“It is possible the monkeys reach a level of self-other distinction intermediate between seeing their mirror image as other and recognizing it as self,” said study co-author Frans de Waal, Candler Professor of Primate Behavior. “The capuchins seem to possess a greater understanding of the mirror's illusory qualities than previously assumed.”

In the study, females showed more eye contact and friendly behavior, and less signs of anxiety in front of the mirror than toward the unfamiliar animal. Males showed greater ambiguity, but still reacted differently to mirrors and strangers. These findings suggest the monkeys seem to recognize their mirror reflections as special and may not confuse them with an actual stranger.

The results also challenge the sharp boundary proposed by students of animal behavior that assumes all animals who do not exhibit MSR represent a single cognitive state and possess no concept of self, effectively lumping together in one group species ranging from fish to birds to monkeys. The current research is more closely aligned with the beliefs of some developmental psychologists who argue a level of self-awareness is an end result in a gradual process toward a concept of self.

“The reactions to a mirror and to the stranger are dramatically different, which suggests the monkeys realize the image in the mirror is not a stranger,” said de Waal.

Detractions and Distractions: History Professor Cautions Against Too Much Teaching Technology

“I find some teaching technologies helpful, but all too often they make teaching worse rather than better, distracting professors and students alike from actual education.” So writes Patrick Allitt, professor of history and director of the Center for Teaching and Curriculum at Emory, in the June 24 Chronicle of Higher Education.

Allitt recalls a recent incident in which he observed a “smart classroom” in action. The room was full of gizmos, including PowerPoint, a document camera to project book pages directly onto an overhead screen, and DVD and CD players. Every student sat before a PC. Any expectations of some kind of turbocharged learning were quickly dashed. Students created a “ceaseless” clatter from note taking on their PCs. They faced only their computers, rarely the teacher or classmates. Some checked emails or browsed the Web. Regular technology breakdowns created distractions and delays. Where was the sense of communal purpose, he wondered?

“How much better the class would have been with no more than a blackboard and a few sheets of paper!” he writes. “Note taking would have been silent; students would have talked to the teacher and each other, would have concentrated on the substance rather than the technology, and would have had more time—not less—to devote to their work. Best of all, a warm atmosphere of collective endeavor would have displaced the anonymity and chill that the machines created.”

Allitt laments that the countless hours students devote to computers hasn’t helped them write grammatically, much less coherently. Email, he adds, discourages personal contact and fosters a culture that is always on duty. Allitt, who was educated in the mostly forgotten world of chalk and fountain pens, also lambasts grammar-checking software, the temptations of the Internet (a pitiable substitute for libraries), and gripes about multiple-choice exams.

Technology, he asserts, has not changed the critical issues of education: “Students still need to learn how to read critically and write well. Most, even at a highly selective university like mine, read naïvely and write badly.”

The answer? He calls on his colleagues to “Take to class only your wits. Make yourself the center of attention. Let the students look at you, not at a screen, and let them discover the pleasure of learning as a communal activity. Let them watch and listen as you speak. Make them read aloud, regularly and expressively. Have them do not multiple-choice exams but full essays, based on research done in the library, among books. Have them hand in their work on sheets of paper. Grade it rigorously, and speak to them about it in person.”

To see the complete essay visit http://chronicle.com/prm/weekly/v51/i42/42b03801.htm.

To read Allitt’s Academic Exchange essay in the December 2004/January 2005 issue on “The Negative Benefits of Historical Study: On not applying the lessons of the past, visit http://www.emory.edu/ACAD_EXCHANGE/2005/decjan/allitt.html.

Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Religion to Merge with Law and Religion Program

Emory's Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Religion (CISR) is merging with its Law and Religion Program, effective September 1. The new entity will be called the Center for the Study of Law and Religion.

The new center explores the intersection of religious traditions and their influence on law, politics, and society. Included among its teaching, research, and public education will be

· four joint-degree programs and eighteen cross-listed courses in the law and theology, and graduate schools with both master's- and doctoral-level studies in various specialties

· ongoing research projects in Christian, Jewish, and Islamic legal studies; religion and human rights; law, morality and constitutionalism; sex, marriage and family; the child in law, religion and society; affordable housing and community development, and related themes

· faculty and student fellowships for Emory and visiting scholars
· four book series, an op-ed series, and new scholarly articles and books by participating Emory faculty

· public conferences and forums highlighting center research findings

“The merger allows us to refine our focus and offerings and increase the visibility of our work at a time when the great challenges and collisions of law and religion are front and center in the minds of the public,” said John Witte Jr., Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law at Emory Law School, who served as director of both the CISR and Law and Religion Program.

Law professor Frank Alexander founded the Law and Religion Program in 1982 with then-Emory President James T. Laney, a noted theologian, ethicist, and former ambassador to South Korea. Alexander will serve with Witte as the new center's co-director.

“In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, law schools generally were not open to discussion of law and religion except in the area of First Amendment and narrow church-state issues,” said Alexander. “The result was a shallow jurisprudence and shallow historical perspective in legal education. Our program has made possible for law schools across the country to acknowledge that scholarly inquiry into matters of law and religion is indeed scholarship of the first order. We turned the tide.”

During the last four years, the CISR and Law and Religion Program have collaborated on several research projects and forums and have shared faculty, staff, students and, in the case of Witte, a director. “We have been working with overlapping staff," says Witte. "The natural next step is to consolidate our successful efforts.”

To showcase the merger, former US President Jimmy Carter and renowned church historian Martin E. Marty will present keynote addresses at a public event, “What's Wrong With Rights for Children?” October 20-21, 2005, at Emory Law School. For more information on the conference, go to www.law.emory.edu.cisr, or call 404-712-8710.

Crackpot, or cracking the wall around poetry in academe?

An article in the December 04/January 05 Academic Exchange raised the question, “has poetry shut itself off within a narrow, ‘official’ academic subculture in creative writing programs, obsessed with recognition from an elite coterie and inaccessible to a boisterous, decentralized public?"

One research librarian at a community college in Oregon took it upon himself to become a crusader against what he perceives as an insular subculture. Alan Cordle anonymously created a website that alleges to expose corruption in the writing contests—many of which are the province of university presses—that can make or break a poet’s career.

Cordle launched Foetry.com in April 2004, according to a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, out of the frustration that his wife (who did not support his efforts) experienced trying unsuccessfully to build her reputation as a poet through the contests. Convinced that the contests were tainted, he named names and took no prisoners with vitriolic attacks on well known individuals in the world of American poetry, such as Jorie Graham and Peter Sacks.

The site grew in popularity, and other site visitors shared evidence and experiences. Eventually, however, Cordle’s cover was blown. Lawsuits may well be in the works, according to the Chronicle.

To read the Chronicle’s full account of foetry.com, click on http://chronicle.com/free/v51/i37/37a01201.htm

To read the Academic Exchange article “Poetry Happens,” click on http://www.emory.edu/ACAD_EXCHANGE/2005/decjan/poetry.html

The Mind/Machine Book Genre

Link to full article: http://chronicle.com/weekly/v51/i39/39b01201.htm

Cyber-evangelism. That’s what a June 3 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education dubs the book genre that addresses the overlap and assimilation of humans and machines. Its basic theme is that science is on the verge of a merger of machine and man (or women, though the authors of all the books cited in the article are male). While all of the authors, including Emory physics professor Sidney Perkowitz, author of Digital People: From Bionic Humans to Androids, foresee growing some human-machine integration, they disagree primarily about what extent our bodies and our humanity will be supplanted, implanted, or changed by bits and pieces created in a lab—or factory.

In Citizen Cyborg, author James Hughes, a bioethicist at Trinity College in Hartford, contends that the benefits of technology designed to artificially “upgrade” our selves greatly outweigh the risks. Potential problems, he posits, could be minimized by establishing a global system to monitor and regulate the use of devices such as brain chips that sallow humans to function beyond their biologically circumscribed limits. Hughes also advocates equipping dolphins and monkeys with brain chips to allow inter-species communication.

The Chronicle article calls Kevin Warwick’s I, Cyborg, a “masterpiece of naïve, unwittingly comic narration” that recounts, among other adventures, the surgical implantation of chips in the arms of the author and his wife, who shrieked “on only a couple of occasions when it was particularly painful.” Afterwards, Warwick, a professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading, UK, could make a fist, creating a minute electrical surge in his arm and sparking his chip to signal his wife’s chip. When she flexed her hand, Warwick reports that he felt “a beautiful, sweet, deliciously sexy charge.” Warwick called the stunt “the most incredible scientific project imaginable, one that is sure to change, incalculably, humankind and the future.” Another British scientist couldn’t decide whether Warwick was a “buffoon” or a “charlatan.”

In The Age of Spiritual Machines, Ray Kurzweil, an authority in computer science and artificial intelligence, demonstrates his own unusual worldview, predicting that within a couple decades, computers will become self-aware and autonomous, evolve rapidly and unpredictably, eventually leaving lowly humans in their cognitive dust. We will be able, however, to upload our personalities onto computers and live forever as software programs.

To stay alive until then, Kurzweil advises in Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough, exercising and meditating, eating organic vegetables and meat, drinking alkaline water (to keep the blood from being acidic), and taking nutritional supplements (Kurzweil swallows 250 pills a day). Bon appetit.

To read a review in the Academic Exchange of Perkowitz’s book, visit http://www.emory.edu/ACAD_EXCHANGE/2004/octnov/neill.html

Other books covered by the Chronicle article include
Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us, by Rodney A. Brooks
Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human, by Michael Chorost
Mind Children: The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence, by Hans Moravec

Health Policy and Management Professor Examines Adverse Drug Reactions Caused by Common Medications

A new study by Kimberly Rask, associate professor of health policy and management at the Rollins School of Public Health, and her colleagues concludes that the vast majority of adverse drug events experienced by elderly patients are caused by commonly prescribed medications, not those usually considered high-risk drugs. The highest percentage of adverse events was associated with common cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory, and cholesterol-lowering agents.

The study of Medicare patients, which appeared in the March 2005 issue of The American Journal of Managed Care, was conducted by Rask along with colleagues from the Emory Center on Health Outcomes and Quality, the University of South Florida (Tampa), Covance Clinical Development Services, (Princeton, NJ), and the Georgia Division of Public Health.

Using previous research that identified medication categories that are potentially dangerous to the elderly, Rask and her team studied pharmacy claim data from managed-care companies to identify patients at high risk for adverse drug events. They found that elderly patients who were prescribed the identified, high-risk medications had similar rates of adverse drug events as those who were not taking any of the identified medications. The most reported adverse drug events were attributed to cardiovascular agents (21.6 percent), anti-inflammatory agents (12.2 percent), and cholesterol-lowering agents (7.9 percent). Only two of the medications associated with self-reported adverse drug events were on the health plan’s list of high-risk medications.

“Our hope was to identify the patients at risk so health plans could be better designed to potentially prevent the dangerous side effects,” said Rask. “However, these results mean that trying to eliminate dangerous side-effects in older patients is difficult. There isn’t a simple distinction between ‘bad’ medicines that cause side effects and ‘good’ medicines that improve health. Instead, many important medicines that improve health can also have serious side effects.”

For the study, telephone surveys were conducted of random samples of both 211 community-dwelling Medicare managed care enrollees over age 65 who were taking a potentially high-risk medication, and a random sample of 195 similar enrollees identified as not taking a high-risk medication.

At the time of patient interviews, a total of 134 adverse drug events during the previous six months were reported by 24.4 percent of respondents. Only 1.5 percent of the self-reported adverse drug events were attributed to a medication from the high-risk drug list.

While 31.9 percent of enrollees taking a potentially high-risk medication reported an adverse drug event, 22.8 percent of enrollees not taking one of the potentially high-risk medications reported an adverse drug event. Although not statistically significant, the higher rate of adverse drug events among those in the high-risk cohort may have been due to the concurrent use of multiple medications rather than the specific use of the high-risk medications, the study concluded.

Dr. Rask noted that patients should understand why they are taking each medicine, know what side effects might occur and what they should do if they experience a side effect. It is also the patient’s responsibility, she added, to make sure their doctor is aware of all medications they are taking, including over-the-counter drugs.”

Emergency Room Physician Invents Sidelines Concussion Detector

When athletes slam their heads into other players—or immovable objects such as the playing field—a concussion is a common outcome. Often, they’ll try to “shake it off” so they can get back in the game, a strategy that can lead to serious complications, such as swelling of the brain. People can fully recover from most concussions, but repeated blows to the head after even a mild concussion can lead to permanent disability or even death.

Coaches (and even physicians) find it difficult to diagnose the seriousness of a concussion, because current screening tools aren’t reliable. Now, an experimental device may eventually help coaches evaluate head injuries in minutes and decide if further medical treatment is necessary.

“This [device] tests executive functioning—are all the brain’s connections intact and are they doing what they're supposed to be doing—and it also tracks how fast players respond,” said David Wright, an emergency room physician at Emory University Hospital and co-inventor. If response time is too slow or the answers are incorrect, the athletes may need further tests.

The computerized Display Enhanced Test for Concussions and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury System, or DETECT, which can be used on the sidelines, consists of a pair of wraparound goggles that fit snugly over the face, and large plastic headphones to shut out noise and other distractions.

An LCD display in the headgear guides the wearer through three types of neuropsychological tests that measure brain function; voice instructions are given through the headphones. Athletes use a hand-held device similar to a video game controller to respond. The device measures the wearer’s response times and gauges answer selections.

DETECT has been tested by forty-two healthy volunteers in the lab and on thirty-five patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease to determine if it could detect neurological deficits. Although final test results aren’t available, Wright said the device picked up clear differences between the impaired group and the healthy volunteers.

More than 300,000 Americans suffer brain injuries on playing fields each year. In any given season, one in five high school football players and ten percent of college players sustain concussions, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Ice hockey players, wrestlers, and baseball and softball players also have high rates of head injuries.

Because symptoms of concussion can be mild (dizziness, temporary confusion or a sense of feeling “dinged” that lasts less than fifteen minutes), they are often undetected, which can be insidious because the brain becomes more vulnerable to repeated hits.

And when an athlete doesn't fully recover from a concussion and then experiences another hit within a week or two, second-impact syndrome may occur, a rare and often fatal condition caused by rapid cerebral swelling. Even if the injuries aren't life threatening, their cumulative effects can impair mental functioning.

Many coaches and trainers evaluate an athlete's mental status with a five-minute series of questions and physical exercises known as the standardized assessment of concussion. “But the SAC test isn't comprehensive enough to pick up the variety of mental deficits that occur from a mild brain injury, and some injuries can be missed,” says Michelle LaPlaca, a biomedical engineer at Georgia Institute of Technology and a co-inventor of DETECT.

This fall, researchers plan to do more tests on the Georgia Tech football team. If all goes well, Wright says, the device could become a standard tool on the nation's playing fields within two to three years.

DeWaal Elected to Nation's Oldest Learned Society

Frans de Waal, the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Primate Behavior in the Department of Psychology and director of the Living Links Center at Yerkes Primate Research Center, has been elected to the American Philosophical Society, the nation’s oldest learned society. He joins an eminent roster that includes George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Jane Goodall, and Jimmy Carter.

De Waal is one of fifty new members recognized this year for distinguished and continuing achievements. The American Philosophical Society was founded in 1743. The society is a scholarly organization of international reputation that promotes useful knowledge in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources, and community outreach.

De Waal's current research includes studies of food sharing, social reciprocity, and conflict resolution in nonhuman primates as well as the origins of morality and justice in human society. He is the author of several books, including Peacemaking Among Primates (Harvard University Press, 1989), a popularized account of fifteen years of research on conflict resolution in nonhuman primates; the book received the Los Angeles Times Book Award. His latest book, Our Inner Ape (Riverhead, Putnam), will be released this fall.

Putting the Brakes on Avian Flu: Preventing a Pandemic Is Possible

Flu specialists anticipating the next pandemic think that one particular strain of avian flu (dubbed H5N1), which has jumped from birds to dozens of people in Asia, will inevitably spread from human to human. According to an article in the April 25 issue of Scientific American, the first local outbreaks could quickly spread around the globe, infecting perhaps a third of the world's population and killing one percent-unless the adaptation can be slowed long enough to establish and distribute supplies of vaccines and antiviral drugs.

The concept to create such a delay might be relatively simple: detect the first disease clusters quickly and then slow or squelch the emerging virus by blanketing the outbreak area with antiviral drugs, according to Ira M. Longini, Jr., Professor of Biostatistics at Emory, who was quoted in the article. Previously, “no one even considered this thought of containment on the agenda,” said Longini. “Now we have a control tool, and we know a lot more about how these things emerge.”

Longini is one of several researchers using computer models to test the strategy, according to Scientific American. At a conference in February, he described some of his findings for possible scenarios in a hypothetical Southeast Asian rural community of about 500,000 people. Density, demographics, travel habits, household sizes, work sites, and schools are all based on Thai government data, but Longini thinks they can also be extrapolated to neighboring countries.

By simulating each person's susceptibility and daily contacts, Longini's model projects how the adapted flu strain might spread. In epidemiology, an all-important variable is the disease's “reproductive number”—the average number of new infections that one infected person will cause. This figure is typically low for flu. (During the devastating pandemic of 1918, it was about two.) But the rate of infection can still be fast, because influenza's incubation period is short: Within a single day after infection and before the onset of symptoms, a person can become contagious.

Longini plugged these parameters into a computer model and ran each of several scenarios one hundredtimes, producing probabilities for different outcomes. If a flu's reproductive number is, for example, 1.4, and if health officials detected the outbreak 14 days after the first person became infected, they could target victims and contacts for treatment and prophylaxis with antiviral drugs, resulting in containment 98 percent of the time—meaning only 2 percent of the time more than five hundredpeople would become infected, and the outbreak would rarely escape the region.

Longini is already at work on new models to determine how the avian virus is likely to evolve as it gets better at spreading between people. “I really strongly believe that the reproductive number will start out low, probably a little above one,” Longini said, “and then with each generation of transmission it will increase as [the virus] adapts to the human population. It gives us a strong window of opportunity to intervene before the reproductive number evolves to a high enough level where it's basically unstoppable.”

Grimsley to Receive American Academy of Arts and Letters Award

Jim Grimsley, Senior Resident Fellow and director of Emory's Creative Writing Program, has been selected to receive the 2005 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is among only eighteen writers to receive literature awards this year from the academy that recognize “writers of exceptional accomplishment in any genre.” The awards will be presented May 18 in New York at the academy's annual ceremonial.

The literature prizes, totaling nearly $160,000, honor established and emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Additional recipients of the $7,500 Academy Award in Literature are Joseph Harrison, Edward P. Jones, Donald Margulies, Charles Martin, Jeffrey Meyers, Stephen Orgel and Burton Watson.

Candidates for the literature award are nominated by the academy's 250 members. A rotating committee of writers selects the winners. This year's committee members are Paula Fox, John Hollander, Romulus Linney, Reynolds Price, William Jay Smith and Edmund White. Anthony Hecht served on the committee until his death in October 2004.

Grimsley, born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in 1955, is an award-winning playwright and novelist. His first novel, Winter Birds (Algonquin, 1994), won the 1995 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and received a special citation from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation. His second novel, Dream Boy (Algonquin, 1995), won the American Library Association GLBT Award for Literature and was a Lambda finalist. His third novel, My Drowning (Algonquin 1997), earned Grimsley Georgia Author of the Year honors. Other novels include Comfort & Joy (Algonquin, 1999); Kirith Kirin (Meisha Merlin Books, 2000), which was a finalist for the Lambda in the science fiction/horror/fantasy category; and Boulevard (Algonquin, 2002).

His short stories and essays have appeared in Double Take, New Orleans Review, Carolina Quarterly, The Ontario Review and Asimov's, and his short fiction has been anthologized in The Year's Best Science Fiction, Volume 16, Men on Men 2000, and Best Stories From the South (2001).

Grimsley, who resides in Decatur, GA, is playwright-in-residence at About Face Theatre in Chicago under a National Theatre Artist Residency Program grant from Theatre Communications Group/Pew Charitable Trust. He has been playwright-in-residence at 7 Stages Theatre in Atlanta since 1986. In 1987, Grimsley received the George Oppenheimer/Newsday Award for Best New American Playwright for “Mr. Universe.” His collection of plays, Mr. Universe and Other Plays (Algonquin, 1998), was a Lambda finalist for drama. Grimsley also received the Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Writers' Award in 1997.

Wednesday Strategic Planning Town Hall CANCELLED

The town hall open meeting scheduled for an update and feedback session on the strategic planning process on Wednesday, April 20, has been cancelled. For more information, contact Makeba Morgan Hill at 778.4312 or makeba_morgan_hill@emoryhealthcare.org.

To read the Academic Exchange's coverage of the strategic planning process, click here.

Institute of Medicine Appoints Emory Nursing Professor to Sleep Medicine Committee

Emory nursing professor Kathy P. Parker was recently appointed to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research, an influential advisory body in the burgeoning field of sleep studies. She is the only nurse to serve on the fifteen-member, multidisciplinary committee.

One of the country’s leading researchers in sleep/wake disturbances in hemodialysis and cancer patients, Parker is the Edith F. Honeycutt Endowed Chair in Nursing at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and director of the school’s Center for Research on Symptoms, Symptom Interactions, and Health Outcomes. She is also one of five nurses in the country certified in Clinical Sleep Disorders by the American Board of Sleep Medicine and was recently elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. She maintains an active clinical practice in the Emory Sleep Center and has a secondary appointment as Professor in the Department of Neurology in Emory’s School of Medicine.

Parker’s ongoing program of research is dedicated to the study of sleep/wake cycle disturbances in patients with chronic illness and the development and testing of population-specific interventions. She is currently conducting an interventional clinical trial designed to improve the sleep of patients with renal failure on chronic hemodialysis. In addition, she is exploring the effects of opioids on sleep patterns in cancer patients who take the drugs for pain.

The field of sleep medicine and sleep research has grown exponentially over the last two decades, with sleep problems afflicting those of all ages and ethnicities. To more widely address the field of sleep, the IOM recently convened this ad hoc committee of experts in public health, academic and medical administration, and health sciences research to review and quantify the public health significance of sleep health, sleep loss, and sleep disorders; identify gaps in the public health system relating to the understanding, management, and treatment of sleep loss and sleep disorders; assess the adequacy of the current resources and infrastructures for addressing the gaps; identify barriers to and opportunities for improving and stimulating multidisciplinary research, education and training in sleep medicine; and develop a comprehensive plan for enhancing sleep medicine and sleep research. The committee’s recommendations will be published and made available to the public.

To read Kathy Parker’s essay on her research, and other articles about sleep research at Emory, in the February/March 2005 issue of the Academic Exchange, click here.

Jordan Honored for Social Justice Work

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) presented Emory's Charles Howard Candler Professor of Urban Education Jacqueline Jordan Irvine its Social Justice in Education Award for her efforts to advance social justice through education research. Her research focuses on multicultural education and urban teacher education, with special attention to the education of African-American students. She encourages social justice researchers to think of themselves as public intellectuals who have broad audiences both in and outside of the academy.

The award was presented at AERA's 86th Annual Meeting on Monday, April 11, in Montreal, where approximately twelve thousand education researchers from the United States, Canada, and forty-eight other countries will convene. Irvine is the second recipient of the AERA Social Justice in Education Award.

Through her professional activities and books, Irvine strove to link education research to social justice. She co-directs the Southern Consortium for Educational Research in Urban Schools, and was founder and director of the Center for Urban Learning/Teaching and Urban Research in Education and Schools, which has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a model of best practice in teacher professional development.

Her books include Black Students and School Failure, Growing Up African American in Catholic Schools, Critical Knowledge for Diverse Students, Culturally Responsive Lesson Planning for Elementary and Middle Grades, In Search of Wholeness: African American Teachers and Their Culturally Specific Pedagogy, and Educating Teachers for Diversity: Seeing with the Cultural Eye.

Emory Professor Receives Prestigious Film Studies Award

Matthew Bernstein, associate professor of film studies at Emory, has been selected to receive the Katherine S. Kovacs Essay Award by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, one of the most prestigious awards for scholarship in film studies.

The prize and award citation for his essay “Oscar Micheaux and Leo Frank: Cinematic Justice Across the Color Line” (Film Quarterly 57, No. 4, Summer 2004) will be presented at the 2005 annual meeting of the society March 31 in London.

The chair of the selection committee described Bernstein's essay as “careful and thorough in recounting of the history and historiography surrounding the Frank/Micheaux connection that made for very engaging reading and that beautifully captured the complexities of race, class, gender, anti-Semitism and North/South divides in the first half of the 20th century. In looking at how Micheaux transposed and radically altered the elements of the Frank case in his films, Bernstein makes an important contribution to the existing scholarship on Micheaux.”

The most recent Katherine S. Kovacs Book and Essay Awards recognize books and articles published in English between Sept. 1, 2003 and Aug. 31, 2004. They are original works that significantly advance scholarship and thinking in the field either by opening up new lines of inquiry or by consolidating existing ones at a high level of accomplishment.

On the Emory faculty since 1989, Bernstein also is the director of graduate studies in the Department of Film Studies. His book credits include co-editor (with Gaylyn Studlar), John Ford Made Westerns: Filming the Legend in the Sound Era (Indiana University Press, forthcoming); author, Walter Wanger, Hollywood Independent (University of Minnesota Press, 2000; University of California Press, 1994); editor, Controlling Hollywood: Censorship and Regulation in the Studio Era (Rutgers University Press, 2000); and co-editor (with Gaylyn Studlar), Visions of the East: Orientalism in Film (Rutgers University Press, 1997).

Colleagues Nationwide Stand Behind Emory Scholar’s Fight Against Holocaust Denier

A petition signed by hundreds of historians and social scientists at colleges across the nation demanded that C-Span cancel its plans to air a speech by David Irving, a Holocaust denier, who asserts that Hitler was not fully responsible for the mass murder of Jews.

According to a March 18 article in the New York Times and many other media outlets, the speech was to accompany a taped March 16 lecture by Deborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory, which she gave in conjunction with the release of her new book, History on Trial: My Day in Court With David Irving. Irving, a British writer, sued Lipstadt for libel for calling him a Holocaust denier. In April 2000, the British Royal High Court of Justice dismissed the lawsuit, concluding that Irving was anti-semitic and racist and that he deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence.

When Lipstadt found out C-Span’s plans, she rescinded permission for the station to broadcast her lecture. According to the Times article, Lipstadt called the producer at C-span and told her that the idea of airing Irving’s views for the sake of “balance” made no sense, considering his clearly false claims regarding the Holocaust. The Times quoted Lipstadt as saying, “I told C-Span that I assumed that if they weren't going to tape my lecture, they also wouldn't use David Irving, but they said no, they were committed to having him on. This is a man who's said that Holocaust survivors are all liars, and that more people died in Senator Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than in the gas chambers.”

According to a C-Span spokesman, plans to air Irving’s talk, which was delivered at Atlanta’s Landmark Diner the weekend before Lipstadt’s lecture, are now on hold.

Soon after word got out of the station’s original broadcast plan, a petition circulated by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies began gathered more than two hundred signatures in forty-eight hours. That number has reportedly jumped by many hundreds. The petition states, in part, that “falsifiers of history cannot 'balance' histories,” and that “if C-Span broadcasts a lecture by David Irving, it will provide publicity and legitimacy to Holocaust-denial, which is nothing more than a mask for anti-Jewish bigotry,”

In a Times quote, Rafael Medoff, director of the Wyman institute, said that “I've never before heard of a television network offering free time to a Holocaust denier, so it was surprising and it may be unprecedented. I think once C-Span realizes the depth of public concern and the strong opposition of the academic community, they will reconsider.”

To read the Academic Exchange coverage of Lipstadt’s legal battle against Irving, click on

Open community meetings on strategic planning

Meetings have been scheduled by the Strategic Planning Steering Committee for the Emory community on March 22, 23, 28, and April 8 and 20. Agendas include updates on the planning process and opportunities to provide feedback on the strategic plan, which will be finalized this summer. These events include two town hall meetings, open sessions of the signature theme brainstorming committee meetings, and a Futurist Forum.

The first Town Hall meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 23, from 12-1:30 p.m. in the Cox Hall Ballroom and will focus on a discussion of the signature themes. The second will be held Wednesday, April 20, from 12-1:30 p.m. (location TBD).

Open sessions of the signature theme brainstorming committee meetings will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Emory Conference Center on March 22, 23 and 28. If you plan to attend, please e-mail Makeba Morgan Hill (makeba_morgan_hill@emoryhealthcare.org) two days prior to the meeting. The schedule of open meetings is:

Tuesday, March 22
Societies in Conflict and Transition
Religion, Society and the Human Experience
Predictive Health and Society

Wednesday, March 23
Mind, Brian and Neuroscience
Policy Solutions and Implementation
Global Health

Monday, March 28
Race, Racism and Society
Citizen as Scholar and Scholar as Citizen
Critical Inquiry and Creative Experience

The "Futurist Forum" on Friday, April 8, will bring fifteen of the country's foremost thought leaders together for a panel presentation on the future trends they see affecting the study of the arts, humanities and sciences, including social, physical and biological sciences. The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon in the Emerson Concert Hall of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. The panelists also will meet with the signature theme brainstorming committees later that afternoon.

For more information, visit the strategic planning website at:

For the Academic Exchange's coverage of the strategic planning process, visit http://www.emory.edu/ACAD_EXCHANGE/2004/octnov/


New childhood vaccine reduces cases of pneumonia, antibiotic resistance

The problem of increasing antibiotic resistance in cases of streptococcus pneumoniae, a major cause of pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis, was dramatically reversed following the licensing and use of a new conjugate vaccine for young children in February 2000, according to research conducted at Emory, the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Georgia Division of Public Health. The researchers also found a significant decrease in the
incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease in both vaccinated children and unvaccinated adults after the vaccine was introduced.

David S. Stephens, professor and vice chair of medicine and division director of infectious diseases at Emory, led the research. The findings appear in the March 5, 2005 issue of The Lancet.

The vaccine was put into general use for young children in the U.S. in February 2000, and in Atlanta by the end of 2000. Antibiotic resistance in pneumonia, after increasing steadily in Atlanta from 4.5 per 100,000 in 1994 to 9.3 per 100,000 in 1999 fell to 2.9 per 100,000 by 2002. The incidence of invasive pneumonia in Atlanta fell from a mean annual incidence of 30.2 per 100,000 in the period January 1994 to December 1999 to 13.1 per 100,000 in 2002.

In addition to declining rates of pneumonia in young children, the researchers also found significant drops among adults aged 20 to 39 (54 percent), 40 to 64 (25 percent), and 65 and older (39 percent) who did not receive vaccine, an effect known as herd immunity.

“The decline in antibiotic resistance in invasive pneumococci in Atlanta between 2000 and 2002 was the result of introducing the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine,” said Stephens. “The vaccine had both direct and herd immunity effects as shown by the striking decline in disease incidence in children under five years, as well as in adults who were not vaccinated.”

The most striking reductions in invasive pneumococcal disease were in the youngest children, which also was the age group targeted to receive the vaccine. Children younger than two years old experienced an 82 percent decrease in invasive disease, and children two to four years old had a 71 percent decrease.

“Our study showed just how quickly vaccines can become effective in overcoming antibiotic resistance, but also just how quickly antibiotic resistance can spread when antibiotics are used inappropriately,” added Stephens. “It will be important to continue combining vaccines with programs that emphasize appropriate use of antibiotics.”

Help for faculty newcomers

Working with the Faculty Council, the Office of Institutional Research has compiled an on-line guide for new faculty. The site includes information about the campus, transportation, parking, and benefits; academic resources, calendars, and faculty development and governance; other campuse resources such as computing and bookstores; and information about relocating to the Atlanta area.

The site is available at http://www.emory.edu/PROVOST/newcomers/.

Where does the new come from? Relocating the Transnational African Artist

On Thursday, March 10, Sidney Kasfir, Associate Professor of Art History, will deliver a talk titled "Where Does The New Come From? Relocating the Transnational African Artist." The lecture, scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. in the Carlos Hall Conference Room of the Carlos Museum, is sponsored by the Institute of African Studes. For more information, contact Yvan A. Bamps at 727.6402 or ybamps@emory.edu.

Emory Nursing Professor Trains Kurdish Nurses in Northern Iraq

Linda Spencer, associate professor of nursing at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, knows what war can do to a community. She saw it first-hand while assessing and training Kurdish nurses in war-torn Iraq. Now, on the heels of Iraq’s first democratic elections in more than fifty years, the nurses she helped train could play a major role in the development of an Iraqi health system.

In August 2003, just after the war in Iraq began, Spencer joined a program sponsored by the Washington Kurdish Institute, and traveled to hospitals in Dohuk, Erbil, and Suleimaniyah, three villages northeast of Mosul and Kirkuk, where she worked to enhance the clinical practice of the Kurdish nurses and helped them develop a continuing education program.

Dr. Spencer’s team assessed the Kurdish nurses’ situation by asking three basic questions: What are the challenges you face? What are your duties? What new skills do you want to learn? The team found a bright, eager group of caregivers who had little organization and inconsistent training and standards.

“We discovered that there are no specific standards of care, no nursing leadership organization, no job descriptions, and that the nurses’ education varied from a six-month program after sixth grade to a three-year college program after high school,” said Spencer.

Spencer and other program participants focused on the basics of care: physical assessment and body systems, hand washing and hygiene, CPR training, the Heimlich maneuver, choking and body mechanics, and preventing bed sores.

“These nurses are amazing and inspiring,” said Dr. Spencer. “I was humbled to see their dedication and determination in providing care for the Kurds in what many Western nurses would consider very bleak conditions. The nurses each have thirty-five to forty patients to take care of at a time, many of whom are burn victims or have birth defects, which are both huge problems in northern Iraq.”

To read about other Emory scholars whose work has been influenced by international unrest, visit "The Trouble with Travel" at http://www.emory.edu/ACAD_EXCHANGE/2003/octnov/index.html.

Study Reveals Major Influence of Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising

Increased direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceutical companies disproportionately targets women and older viewers, according to a study conducted by Emory researcher Erica Brownfield, assistant professor of medicine, and her colleagues.

The study, which appears in the November/December issue of the Journal of Health Communications, concludes that while such ads may increase public awareness of over-the-counter (OTC)and prescription medications, as well as knowledge of specific conditions and available treatments, they also set the stage for inaccurate self-diagnoses and incorrect perceptions of illness risk or treatment efficacy.

Conducted for one week in the summer of 2001, the study recorded the quantity, frequency, and placement of prescription and OTC drug advertisements on three major networks in Atlanta—ABC, CBS, and NBC. Over the sample week, direct-to-consumer ads for prescription and OTC drugs were most commonly aired during middle-afternoon and early-evening hours. Nearly 60 percent of all direct-to-consumer drug advertising appeared during news programs and soap operas.

Brownfield says that because the average American is probably exposed to more than thirty hours of direct-to-consumer advertisements each year, many show up at doctor’s appointments with biased opinions about certain medications.

“If you look at all direct-to-consumer drug advertising for prescription and over-the-counter drugs, the number, the amount, and the percentage of commercial time is actually pretty high,” says Brownfield. “In addition, these ads were placed in news programs or soap operas, and when you think about who watches soap operas and news programs, you realize it’s usually women, who are the major healthcare decision makers in the family, and the elderly, who consume the most amount of medication.”

The research team found that an average television viewer who only watched the three networks would have been exposed to almost forty minutes of direct-to-consumer OTC and prescription advertising in one week. Overall, drug ads occupied more than 8 percent of all commercial airtime over the study period.

Reading Reading Lolita?

Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran is a book that seems to ignite different kinds of passion. If you are one of the people who kept insisting others to read it when it was first published, Lynna Williams, a professor in creative writing, would like to talk to you for an article about the enthusiasm shown for this story. What made it special for you? Please email her at lwill03@emory.edu. (She'd also be happy to hear from you if you're someone who has an alternate list of books about Iran you wish also were getting the star treatment in the United States.)

"No fair!" Chimpanzees more prone to cry foul in close-knit relationships

The evolution of the sense of fairness may have involved the quality of relationships, according to behavioral researchers at the Yerkes Primate Research Center.

By observing variability in chimpanzees’ responses to inequity, Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal, both researchers in Yerkes’ Division of Psychobiology and the Yerkes-based Living Links Center, determined that chimpanzees’ responses depended upon the strength of their social connections. This is the first demonstration that nonhuman primates’ reactions to inequity parallel the variation in human responses to unfair situations, which are often based on the quality of the relationship. The findings appear on the January 26 Proceedings of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Series B web site (http://www.journals.royalsoc.ac.uk), and also in the journal’s February 7th print edition.

“Human decisions tend to be emotional and vary depending on the other people involved,” says Brosnan. “Our finding in chimpanzees implies this variability in response is adaptive and emphasizes there is not one best response for any given situation but rather it depends on the social environment at the time.”

In the current study, Drs. Brosnan and de Waal made food-related exchanges with chimpanzees from groups that had lived together either their entire lives or a relatively short time (less than eight years). Animals were paired to determine how they would react when their partners received a superior reward (grapes) instead of a less-valued reward (cucumbers) for the same amount of work. Chimpanzees in the close-knit social groups were less likely to react negatively to the unfair situation than were the chimpanzees in the short-term social groups, who refused to work when their partners received a superior reward. Such a reaction is seen in humans who might react negatively to unfair situations with a stranger or an enemy, but not with a family member or friend.

“Identifying a sense of fairness in two, closely-related nonhuman primate species implies it could have a long evolutionary history,” Brosnan says. “The capuchin responses as well as those of the chimpanzees—the species most closely related to humans—could represent stages in the evolution of the complex responses to inequity exhibited by humans and may help explain why we make certain decisions.”

Faculty Forum on the Humanities and Race

On Wednesday, January 26, the Center for Humanistic Inquiry (CHI) is sponsoring a Faculty Response Forum on "The Humanities and Race." The CHI Faculty  Response Forum is an annual event that examines the role of the humanities in contemporary culture. The evening begins with faculty members having moderated discussions at individual tables around particular subtopics, followed by dinner.

This year's discussion subtopics and their moderators are:

The Intersection of Religion and Race (Laurie Patton, Religion, and Dianne Stewart, Religion)

Race: Teaching and Research (Walter Adamson, History, and Thee Smith, Religion)

Race and Place: Atlanta (Walt Reed, English, and Kimberly Wallace-Sanders, ILA)

Race and Language (Jack Zupko, Philosophy, and Cynthia Willett, Philosophy)

From Integration to Transformation (Leslie Harris, History, and Catherine Manegold, Journalism)

From Representation to Full Participation (Robert Ethridge, Equal Opportunity Programs)

Race, Speech Acts, and the Academic Campus (Michael Elliott, English)

Race in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Bruce Knauft, ICIS and Anthropology)

Race, Cultures, Class and Ethnicity: Sorting the Ethical Challenges and Guidelines for Framing and ADdressing Racial Prejudice and Conflict (James Fowler, Center for Ethics)

Race and Migration (María Carrión, Spanish, and José Quiroga, Spanish)

The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the Michael C. Carlos Museum Reception Hall. Reservations are required. For more information or to participate, please contact the CHI at 727-6424 or chi@emory.edu.

To read the Academic Exchange coverage of related topics, visit "Race and the Professoriate" at http://www.emory.edu/ACAD_EXCHANGE/2004/aprmay/lead.html

Concluding King Week event on Friday

On Friday, January 21, the faculty and students affiliated with Emory's language departments and the Emory College Language Center will present "Words of Peace," a Listening Project. The writings of human rights activists around the world will be read, and will mark the conclusion of Emory King Week. This free event will begin at 3 pm in the Jones Room of the Woodruff Library. For more information, contact Juana Clem McGhee at 727.2575 or jmcghee@emory.edu.      

New Venture Lab Accelerates Transfer of Science from Lab to Marketplace

New treatments for common and devastating illnesses such as cancer, HIV, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular diseases could reach patients sooner thanks to the new Venture Lab program in Emory University’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT). Venture Lab was set up to identify potentially marketable university research discoveries in their early stages and help find the funding necessary for scientists to establish the “proof of principle”necessary to bring the technologies to market.

“The proof of concept is not always straightforward and not necessarily what academicians are focused on,” says Kevin Lei, formerly Emory’s assistant director of technology transfer and now associate director and new director of the Venture Lab. “Our program will help scientists look at their discoveries in a new way. Understanding what is required for a product to be successful is a different focus than basic research, which focuses on publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.”