Research briefs

Alexander, Konner named to AAAS for achievement in scientific advances

Two Emory professors were awarded the distinction of fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) during the association's annual meeting in Baltimore on Feb. 10.

R. Wayne Alexander, R. Bruce Logue Professor of Medicine and director of the cardiology division and the Center for Vascular Medicine in the School of Medicine, and Melvin J. Konner, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology and associate professor of psychiatry and neurology, received the honor, which was given to 273 individuals nationwide in recognition of their achievements in advancing science.

Alexander is committed to helping people prevent heart disease through behavior change, and to intervening with the newest developments in cardiology when behavior change is not enough. He also is a pioneer in characterizing vascular structure and function, and the role vessel walls play in the development of atherosclerotic plague. Alexander joined the Emory faculty in 1988.

Konner, who came to Emory in 1982, is author of the best-selling The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints On the Human Spirit (an American Book Award finalist); Becoming a Doctor, about his experiences at Harvard Medical School; co-author of The Paleolithic Prescription; and author of the recent PBS tie-in books, Childhood and Medicine At the Crossroads. An expert on health care reform who has testified before the U.S. Congress on the issue, Konner also is author of Dear America: A Concerned Doctor Wants You to Know the Truth About Health Care Reform.

Founded in 1848, AAAS represents the world's largest federation of scientists and has more than 140,000 individual members. The association publishes the weekly, peer-reviewed journal Science.

American Suicide Foundation awards Emory two-year institutional block grant

The American Suicide Foundation has awarded Emory a two-year institutional grant totaling $50,000. Reunette W. Harris Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Charles B. Nemeroff will serve as both principal investigator and chair of a committee that is soliciting and reviewing grant applications from researchers across campus interested in suicide research. The committee is awarding seed grants averaging $3,000 to $8,000 per year to junior faculty or to senior faculty who are new to the area of suicide research. Final deadline for grant applications is March 1. Interested faculty may contact Mary Lassiter at 727-8383 for information.

The following faculty have already received awards: Zachary N. Stowe, who will be studying suicidality in post-partum depression; William McDonald, who is interested in suicidality in the nursing home population; and Robert Agnew, who is conducting a social-psychological analysis of suicide.

Lectureship in retinal disease named for Paul Sternberg

The Eye Center's annual distinguished lectureship in retinal disease has been named for Paul Sternberg Jr., head of the retina service and Thomas M. Aaberg Professor of Ophthalmology. Sternberg established the series four years ago and has since helped raise the funds needed to make it a permanent series.

"It's an honor he has earned in every way," said Eye Center Director Thomas Aaberg. "Dr. Sternberg is recognized internationally for his research and clinical care in the retina, from the retinopathy of prematurity, which threatens the vision of newborns, to age-related macular degeneration, a common cause of vision loss in older people. This lecture series, which brings the most distinguished retina specialists to Atlanta to share their knowledge, is yet another example of Paul's commitment to the field."

Sternberg was surprised the lecture series was to be named for him -- and even more surprised when he heard who one of the contributors was. His wife, Gloria, said she contributed to the fund on the occasion of her husband's being made a full professor, "to honor Paul and his academic achievements, and the Emory Eye Center, through the continuity provided by a teaching lectureship."

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