Nursing School receives$5 million

An innovative program at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing for creating more university-trained nurses has received a five-million-dollar boost from the Helene Fuld Health Trust.

The gift—one million dollars annually for five years—will be used to establish an endowment to support the Nursing Segue Program, which allows students with a bachelor’s degree in another field to get a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing.

The School of Nursing also received $1.4 million in National Institutes of Health research funding last year, and is now ranked fifth in the nation in NIH funding among private nursing schools.


































































Today, the smallpox virus is stored legally in only two places: a Russian government laboratory in Siberia and a maximum containment lab at the Atlanta headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But the possibility of this “horrific parasite,” eradicated in its natural form twenty-five years ago, resurfacing as a weapon of war or bioterrorism is very real, said author Richard Preston, speaking at the Woodruff Health Sciences Center as part of the Vaccine Dinner Club–a lecture series that brings together scientists from Emory, the CDC, and the University of Georgia to hear about the latest advances in vaccine research. In his latest best-seller, The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story, Preston asserts that a number of countries, including Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, are suspected by United States intelligence agencies of keeping clandestine stocks of smallpox for use as a weapon.

“We, as a species, are at the verge of controlling nature in a new way,” he said. “Biologists are in the position of nuclear physicists in the late 1930s.”

Unlike atomic bombs, however, which must be built and deployed, biological weapons present a terrifying new twist: a virus is primed to survive through rapid proliferation and jumping from host to host. “Plutonium doesn’t know how to make copies of itself,” Preston said. “But smallpox is alive.”

After discontinuing routine smallpox vaccinations in 1972, the government now finds itself manufacturing millions of doses of the vaccine and debating whether to launch a mass smallpox vaccination campaign. “To keep ourselves safe from smallpox,” he said, “we must now take it out of the freezer, thaw it . . . awaken it.”

But even a vaccination doesn’t guarantee protection, Preston added, since it is designed to work against the natural form of the virus–which jumped from animals to humans about ten thousand years ago–and not a biologically engineered strain.

Preston, who has a Ph.D. in English literature from Princeton, has written two previous best-sellers: The Hot Zone, a look at the deadly Ebola virus, and The Cobra Event, a fictional account of bioterror unleashed on America.

Giving a nod to the scientists and military personnel in the audience, Preston says he is not a doomsayer. “We are protected by people who know what they’re doing. The CDC is an incredible asset for the U.S., for public health, for the world as a whole. These are clever people, able to think outside the box and try new things.”

Clever enough, one hopes, to outsmart a demon.–M.J.L.

The Vaccine Dinner Club is a lecture series bringing together scientists from Emory, the CDC, and the University of Georgia to hear about the latest advances in vaccine research. To find out more, go to

Other Précis articles:

A return to scholarship

End of an era

• Triumph of imagination

• A not-so-modest proposal

• Seeing with new eyes

• Faculty author resigns

• Way cool

• SAT prep made easy

• Remembering Michael C. Carlos

• Remembering Sanford S. Atwood

• Henry who?

• Awakening the demon

• Bringing science to life




© 2003 Emory University