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Emory Nursing Dean Urges New Strategies to Cure National Nurse Shortage
April 27 , 2007

The future health care of millions of Americans will be compromised if the U.S. doesn't develop innovative strategies to tackle the national nursing shortage, says Emory University nursing leader Marla Salmon.

“Most of us assume that when we need nursing care, someone will be there to provide it,” says Salmon, dean and professor at Emory's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. “The assumption that nurses will be there when we need them is simply no longer true. For the first time ever, this country is facing a shortage of nurses that threatens the health of each of us. And unless urgent measures are taken, this shortage will become increasingly more severe over the next fifteen years.”

Dr. Salmon address the severity of the U.S. nursing shortage at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on April 25. The national deficit of registered nurses is expected to rise to 29 percent by the year 2020, leaving a gaping shortage of more than 400,000 nurses by 2010. She described the nursing population as “an equation that is failing,” with mainly “white, middle-class, middle-aged women” who don't represent demographic trends.

In 2005, nursing schools across the country rejected about 150,000 qualified applicants—an 18 percent increase from the year before—because they did not have enough teachers, according to the National League for Nursing.

“So at the same time that we're looking at increased enrollments, the question arises of who will teach nurses in the future,” Salmon said. At Emory, about 75 percent of the nursing faculty is over 50. She added that the lack of nurses is being compounded by the extra duties required of them, and that nurses spend between 25 and 50 percent of their time doing administrative tasks. “Think of that as a shortage in itself," she said.

Salmon was one of several health policy experts from the Atlanta university to speak at Emory Day at the National Press Club in Washington, where they discussed ways to prevent crises in the health-care system. Arthur Kellermann, chair of the department of emergency medicine, said the nursing shortage was part of a confluence of health-care problems, including overcrowded emergency rooms and rising levels of uninsured patients.

Trethewey Wins 2007 Pulitzer for Poetry
April 17 , 2007

Poet and Emory Associate Professor of English Natasha Trethewey has been awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for book of poetry Native Guard (2006, Houghton Mifflin).

A native of Gulfport, Mississippi, “Native Guard” draws on her personal experience and Southern history. Growing up in the South, Trethewey was never told that in her hometown, Black soldiers had played a pivotal role in the Civil War. Off the coast, on Ship Island, stood a fort that had once been a Union prison housing Confederate captives. Protecting the fort was the second regiment of the Louisiana Native Guards—one of the Union’s first official Black units. The title poem imagines the life of a former slave stationed at the fort, who is charged with writing letters home for the illiterate or invalid POWs and his fellow soldiers. Just as he becomes the guard of Ship Island’s memory, Trethewey recalls her own childhood as the daughter of a Black woman and a white man. Her parents’ marriage was still illegal in 1966 Mississippi. The racial legacy of the Civil War echoes through poems that honor her own mother and the forgotten history of her native South.

The Pulitzer Prize is the most recent honor for the poet. Trethewey’s first poetry collection, Domestic Work (Graywolf Press, 2000), won the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize, a 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. Her second collection, Bellocq's Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002), received the 2003 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, was a finalist for both the Academy of American Poets’ James Laughlin and Lenore Marshall prizes, and was named a 2003 Notable Book by the American Library Association. Her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry 2003 and 2000, and in journals such as Agni, American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and The Southern Review, among others.

Trethewey has a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia, an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Massachusetts. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

To hear Trethewey read from Native Guard, go to southernspaces.org.

Emory's Public Intellectuals on NPR
April 12 , 2007

Several Emory faculty members have appeared on National Public Radio in recent weeks.

On the March 11 edition of Weekend, the show hosted by Bob Edwards, Kevin Young, professor of English, discussed his poetry and being the curator of the Danowski poetry collection.

On the March 19 Morning Edition, Reshma Shah, marketing professor, talked about the ubiquity of advertising during a segment about a new look for Atlanta’s MARTA buses, Some of which are wrapped in a “glow skin” that display luminescent ads, and which can seem to float through space along dark streets.

“You can't really turn very far without seeing some kind of message somewhere,” Shah told NPR, adding that much has changed in the last decade about how people see advertisements, in large part because most people no longer stay home after work to watch television or read newspapers, spurring advertisers to get their messages across in new ways. “There are studies out there that show we see on average five thousand to six thousand messages from marketers in a day. So consumers have to have some way to filter out what they see. Marketers know that consumers are filtering out things, at the same time they are getting more savvy how they get under our perceptual radars.”

On the March 29 Morning Edition, David Rye, an Emory neurologist and director of the Healthcare Program in Sleep, joined several experts to discuss restless leg syndrome (RLS), a condition that causes strange sensations (sometimes described as “tugging” or “creepy crawly”) and uncontrollable leg movements, and can lead to moderate to extreme distress. Often, symptoms occur when a person is trying to relax or sleep. Rye has the disorder and has used himself as a guinea pig. At one point, he attached a special device to his leg to measure how often he kicked while he was asleep. An estimated eight percent of Americans have experienced RLS in the last years, and there is good evidence that  the condition has a strong genetic component. Rye thinks he and others are close to finding a gene responsible for the condition.

Drugs used to treat RLS are imperfect, and in some patients may cause a worsening of symptoms. One of the first drugs used contained levodopa, often used for Parkinson’s disease. It seemed to work well and made patients grateful, says Rye, “They would remain happy for weeks to months,” he says. “Then invariably you'd get a phone call saying they were worse than when they first came to see you. What they were screaming and describing to you is not something you would want to repeat to your children.”

Ethics Center Receives New Home, New Name, $5 million
March 30, 2007

Emory has received a gift of $5 million from John and Sue Wieland of Atlanta to support its Center for Ethics, which will be renamed in their honor and move into a new building under construction at the heart of the campus. The announcement was made public at the building's groundbreaking ceremony March 20.

“John Wieland has been an important part of the life of the Center for Ethics since 1994,” said Kathy Kinlaw, interim director of the Center for Ethics. “With this gift, which makes a new home for the center possible, John and his wife Sue help us to cultivate deep roots, making tangible the vital role that the center and ethical engagement play in the life of Emory.”

Wieland, founder, chairman and chief creative officer of John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, is a founding member of the Advisory Council of the Center for Ethics and is the immediate past chair of the council, a position he served in for eight years.

The new John and Susan Wieland Center for Ethics will occupy the first floor and 10,000 square feet in a new $34 million, 70,000-square-foot structure near the quad. It will also be the new home for Emory's Candler School of Theology. The center’s new home will triple its current space, with seventeen faculty/staff offices, a library, conference room and seminar room, in addition to a hundred-seat flexible-use room for classes, seminars and public lectures. 

Emory Physicist Peers Through Walls In Search of Leonardo
March 25, 2007

The talents of Ray DuVarney, chair of Emory’s Physics Department, have been tapped by the art world to determine if a suspected mural by Leonardo da Vinci is, in fact, where it started out—behind a wall in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio. According to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal/Constitution, DuVarney thinks he can build a machine that would use nuclear energy to locate “The Battle of Anghiari.” Leonardo painted—though never finished—the dynamic scene 1504. But in 1563, artist Giorgio Vasari painted his own fresco in the same spot. The question is did Vasari destroy “The Battle of Anghiari” when he created his mural, or did he first build another blank wall in front of it? If so, did the hidden mural survive?

DuVarney is no stranger to solving significant technological problems and designing precision instruments. With a grant from NASA, he developed the Wavefront Sensor Camera that eliminates distortions caused by atmospheric turbulence, and which is in use at observatories worldwide. 

He first learned of the search after hearing a talk by Maurizio Seracini, a Florentine who has been searching for the painting for thirty-two years. “Seracini mentioned that he had run into a wall, literally,” DuVarney said. “He couldn't drill a hole or take out a brick. He asked if anyone knew of a non-destructive way to see through a wall. Nobody did. In fact, I didn’t either at that moment. That evening I was sitting around thinking about it, and I came up with an idea.”

DuVarney believes that it might be possible to design a camera that would project a neutron beam through the wall of the Palazzo Vecchio. By counting and measuring the wavelengths of the returning gamma rays, he could plot an image of what’s behind the wall. Seracini embraced the idea: “I thought it was simply the best idea I had heard,” said Seracini, director of the newly formed Center for Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology at the University of California, San Diego. The Florentine government is now considering the proposal. But when they’ll make a decision is hard to predict. “It's Italian time,” Seracini said.

“I've learned a lot about art,” said DuVarney, who noted that the departments of art history and physics have inaugurated a course called “Investigating Art With Physics.”

Emory Cited Among Best Places to Work for Postdoctoral Students
March 16, 2007

Emory has been named the eighth best institution in the nation for postdoctoral fellows by The Scientist magazine. It was the second year in a row that the school placed in the top ten in the “Best Places to Work for Postdocs” survey. The university employs nearly six hundred postdoctoral fellows in laboratories in the School of Medicine, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Rollins School of Public Health, and Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. The survey covered eleven categories in which respondents judged their respective institutions. Categories included the quality of mentoring, the level of communication, and opportunities for networking and career development. The most important factor cited was the quality of training and career preparation offered by an institution.

“Postdocs are the lifeblood of academic science,” said The Scientist editor Richard Gallagher. “Our survey is one of the few nationwide efforts to assess their needs and desires and to recognize excellence in postdoc programs.”

“We owe our success to our dedicated faculty, the early establishment of an office for postdoctoral fellows by Dr. Susan Rich in 1999, and the continual support of postdoctoral fellows through the years by Emory University administration and many university offices,” said Mary Delong, the School of Medicine’s new director of postdoctoral education.

Emory top ranked for commercialized research
March 8, 2007

A report released last week by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) ranked Emory first in commercialization revenue in 2005 among reporting universities, with more than $585 million in licensing revenue. That year Emory sold its future royalties from the Emory-discovered HIV/AIDS drug Emtriva to Gilead Sciences and Royalty Pharma for a one-time payment of $525 million. Emtriva, along with another Emory-invented HIV/AIDS drug, Epivir, is among the most commonly used HIV/AIDS therapies, in combination with other drugs. Emory also created four start-up companies in 2005, executed thirty licenses, filed fifty-four new patent applications, received issuance of seventeen U.S. patents, and had total research spending of $345.7 million. Over the past fifteen years, commercialized Emory research discoveries have resulted in revenues in excess of $720 million to the university.

“Part of the mission of Emory University is to create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity, and our technology transfer program does exactly that,” said Todd Sherer, director of Emory's Office of Technology Transfer. “Our robust pipeline includes world-class products in all stages of development and regulatory approval, and will continue to ensure that outstanding discoveries from our faculty become available for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, as well as other consumer needs.”

The most widely used drugs for HIV/AIDS, diagnostic tests for genetic disorders, a technology to improve angioplasty, and imaging software for diagnosing cardiovascular disease are among Emory University discoveries now commercially available for patients and physicians. And dozens more Emory-discovered products are in the pipeline on their way to the marketplace.

“A large proportion of recent royalties, including those from Emtriva, are being used to implement the relevant components of Emory's new strategic plan, which includes faculty recruitment, financial aid, and new initiatives in predictive health, global health, neurosciences, and computational and life sciences,” said Michael Mandl, executive vice president for finance and administration. 

Emory's technology transfer program has resulted in sixteen licensed therapeutic products already in the marketplace and thirty-eight licensed products in various stages of drug discovery, clinical development, or regulatory approval. In addition, thirty-seven companies have been started around Emory’s technology, leading to seven publicly traded companies and seven companies selling product on the market.

To read the AE's coverage of technology transfer issues at Emory, visit

For Its Own Sake: When knowledge isn't for sale

Money Changes Everything: Commerce, philanthropy, and the culture of the academy

Ideas for Sale: Will technology transfer undermine the academy or save it?

African scientists join search for new drugs at Emory
February 23, 2007

African scientists will soon begin training at Emory University as part of a unique partnership between Emory and the Republic of South Africa.  The South Africa Drug Discovery Training Program will address the rising dangers of diseases that unduly affect developing countries. By training African scientists in drug discovery, the partnership is designed to give South Africans not only a voice but also a choice in how best to combat their disease epidemics.

“As part of this collaboration, the scientists will work with academic researchers in departments and schools throughout the Emory campus, including chemistry, pharmacology and other basic biomedical science departments,” said Dennis Liotta, professor of chemistry. “The scientists will gain hands-on experience in translating research into healthcare solutions and will then return to their home countries to receive post-training placement in industrial or academic positions.” The visiting scholars will initially come from South Africa, but scientists from all over sub-Saharan Africa will soon take part in the training.

Liotta noted also that HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria all have an enormous impact on Africa’s impoverished populations. “One of the issues with TB, for example, is that we know how to control the disease,” he said. “We have drugs that are 50 plus years old, and they work, but the problem is that patients have to take them for six to nine months. With such a prolonged dosing period, it is very difficult for people to remain compliant.” He and his collaborators are hoping to develop anti-tuberculosis drugs that will require only two-week regimens.

“To effectively battle the neglected infectious and immunologic diseases of poverty, the transfer of money and technology is not enough—it is expertise in the discovery and development of new medicines that is the intrinsic requirement,” Liotta said. He and his colleagues have produced several new drugs, including crucial anti-HIV drugs used in the majority of AIDS cocktails today.

Support for the South Africa Drug Discovery Training Program will come from the South African government and the Emory Global Health Institute, which was established to support Emory faculty, students, and alumni in their work to find solutions to critical global health problems.

Rushdie's Valentine
February 16, 2007

Salman Rushdie says that he receives an annual “sort of Valentine’s card” from Iran every February 14 letting him know the country has not forgotten its vow to kill him, according to an Associated Press article, as well as numerous other news sources.

He made the comment in Atlanta one day before the eighteenth anniversary of the death threat he received for writing The Satanic Verses. Rushdie was forced into hiding for a decade after the late Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a 1989 fatwa, or opinion on Islamic law, ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie because the book allegedly insulted Islam. In 1998, the Iranian government declared it would not support but could not rescind the fatwa. But the yearly notes continue. “It's reached the point where it's a piece of rhetoric rather than a real threat,” Rushdie said.

Rushdie also said that his relationship with Emory will be his only long-term commitment with a United States university because he wants to focus on writing more novels. He picked Emory “because they asked me and nobody else ever had,” he said at a news conference. “The opportunity this offered is to go into much greater depth with a subject and with a group of people—both students and faculty.”

During his five-year appointment to Emory’s faculty, Rushdie will lecture, teach, and work with students for several weeks each year. His first class was Tuesday. He has also donated to Emory his notes, photos, manuscripts, letters, and two of his early unpublished novels. The material will also include the private journal that Rushdie kept to detail his life under the fatwa, said Steven Ennis, director of Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Library. Of Emory’s library, Rushdie said “There is an attempt to build an extraordinary library here. The idea of becoming a part of developing that archive into another direction, which is prose, became very attractive to me,” Rushdie said.

School of Nursing Ranked Second in Scholarly Productivity
February 8, 2007

The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing has been ranked second in the nation among nursing schools in scholarly productivity, according to a new index released this month and reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The 2005 Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index surveys the productivity of faculty among 7,200 doctoral programs, including nursing, across the country. Faculty productivity is measured using data variables assessing publication activity, federal-grant funding, and honors and awards.

The index ranked Emory’s faculty the highest among the top ten nursing programs for citations per faculty and per paper. Specifically, Emory’s doctoral faculty averaged more than fifty citations per person and more than twelve per paper.  These numbers are more than double the next highest ranked program on the list.

Kenneth Hepburn, the School of Nursing's associate dean for research, said the report suggests a high level of productivity for a relatively small, yet growing, program: “The high level of citation indicates our faculty's expertise and leadership reach broadly to important audiences, and in turn they have a great measure of influence.”
The School of Nursing established its doctoral program only eight years ago. Since, then, the program has graduated fifteen PhD in nursing students. Currently, twelve students are enrolled in the program that focuses on the development of nursing science and knowledge to improve health care.

Emory Physician Responds to AE Cover Story on "Drugs and Money"
February 5, 2007

Dear AE,

Thank you for highlighting one of the most important issues facing medical education and academic medicine—"Drugs and Money". There are clearly many different views on this issue, ranging from severing all ties with drug companies to allowing full access. However, in order to address these issues honestly, we must be honest with ourselves. I was astonished by the comments of Dr. Peter Block, the medical director of our Clinical Trials Office and an interventional cardiologist. Dr. Block states that he "needs a lot of things" in order to train students, residents and fellows. He argues that without the generosity of drug reps, he could not have journal clubs and other conferences, because "someone has to pay for lunch". I hope we are not that desperate as a medical school or as a profession that we cannot afford to buy a few pizzas and cokes for a lunchtime conference. Are interventional cardiologists unable to afford their own lunches? A teaching conference that is worth attending should attract participants whether or not food is served. The reality is, that many of these conferences are held at some of the priciest restaurants in the city and have less to do with the academic exercise than the chance for a "free" fancy meal. Dr. Block also states that he is not beholden to the company who is paying for lunch or dinner. The research on this topic, which is extensive, concludes that this is unlikely. Humans, including doctors, who receive gifts, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, ARE beholden to the gift giver. We as physicians cannot continue to deceive ourselves that we are somehow different and immune to influence.

Jonathan D. Glass, MD
Professor, Neurology and Pathology
Emory Center for Neurodegenerative Disease

Emory Historian Speaks Out About Carter Book
January 31, 2007

Last week, Ken Stein, William E. Schatten Professor of Contemporary Middle Eastern History and Israeli Studies, spoke on National Public Radio about his disagreements with Jimmy Carter over Carter’s book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Here are some excerpts from that interview:

The difficulty comes between me, the historian, and Jimmy Carter, the mediator. He tends to want to be more agile in the use of the facts. I'm a little bit more rigid and historically consistent. And my disagreement with him comes from that.

In response to Carter’s use of the word "apartheid," Stein said,

I would argue with the terminology. I think in his interview with you on Thursday he used the word total domination, he used the term harsh oppression. Make no mistake about it, the manner in which the Palestinians have lived in the territories since 1967 has been bad. Part of that has been clearly imposed and applied by the Israelis. Part of it has been clearly imposed by leadership that has not been able to demonstrate that it’s more interested in the Palestinians than it's interested in itself. In other words, what Carter has done in his book has put the burden of responsibility on one side…. The difference to me is that part of this problem is that the Palestinians have chosen to use terrorism. And every time they've chosen to use terrorism, the Israelis have come into the territories or they have closed the territories and they have made it more difficult for the Palestinians to have regular life. There's no doubt that the Israelis have confiscated Palestinian lands—confiscated Palestinian lands illegally. But if you tell of the Arab- Israeli conflict, and you tell the history of it, you cannot unpack it in such a way that one side is just seen to be responsible. History always tells us that truth is someplace in between.

Economist Responds to Lawley's Remarks on Promotional Practices of Pharmaceutical Companies
January 23, 2007

In his “State-of-the-School Address,” partially reprinted in the AE Weekly Volume 7, Issue 20, Monday, January 22, 2006, Thomas J. Lawley, Dean of Emory Medical School discusses several behaviors by the pharmaceutical companies, including distribution of free samples, promotion to physicians and consumers, and several other forms of spending.  He concludes by asking us to “Just think of what all of these activities do to our health care costs.”

While it is reasonable to assume that added costs lead to higher prices for medicines, the economics of pharmaceuticals is peculiar, and in fact these forms of spending actually benefit patients.  It costs a huge amount to produce a drug; recent estimates have been as high as $800 million, and costs have been increasing.  But these costs are what economists call “fixed costs” – the costs of creating a new drug and getting it approved for sale by the FDA.  Once a drug is approved, in most cases the “marginal cost” – additional cost of producing an extra unit – is quite low.  It sometimes said that the cost of the “first pill” it $800 million and the cost of the “second pill” is on the order of $1.00 or less.

In this circumstance, promotion and other expenditures that lead to increased sales of drugs can have great beneficial effects.  By expanding the size of the market, these forms of expenditure increase the revenues of drug companies and make it worthwhile for them to invest in the high costs of developing new drugs.  If these expenditures were reduced, the reduction in sales that would follow would mean that Dr. Lawley and his colleagues and students would have many fewer drugs to prescribe, and we patients would have fewer medicines available.

—Paul H. Rubin, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Economics and Law

Dean Lawley's comments:

Pharmaceutical, device, and equipment companies have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to make money. Physicians have a moral and ethical obligation to their patients, their peers, and their trainees, a social obligation to the public, a professional obligation to their profession and societies, and a fiduciary duty to their universities. Physicians have an obligation to put patient care and the education of their trainees and peers first….

The top nine pharmaceutical companies spent about $58 billion on marketing alone in 2004—a figure that is twice the size of the NIH annual budget then. The money was spent on free samples, drug representatives and direct-to-physician promotions, direct-to-consumer advertising, and physician education, including funding of medical meetings, journal advertising, company educational events, continuing medical education, graduate medical education, travel and expenses for faculty, and my personal favorite, speakers bureaus. These spending categories raise issues for academic medicine. Free samples from pharmaceutical companies are beneficial in the care of indigent patients, but they raise the cost of drugs. Should they be provided directly to and dispensed by individual physicians or provided to pharmacy for distribution? All of us support better education as part of improved health care for our patients, but is health care well served by direct-to-consumer advertising? Often, funding for physician education comes in the form of unrestricted gifts, but are they unrestricted when it is understood that the company’s name will be directly associated with the gift to the individuals who receive it? Speakers bureaus raise concerns because the purpose is for industry to use the names of prestigious faculty, as well as the linked names of their institutions, to support, endorse, or sell the product. Just think of what all of these activities do to our health care costs.

—Thomas J. Lawley, Dean of Emory Medical School, from his State-of-the-School Address, “Professionalism and Conflict of Interest: Heightened Challenges for Academic Medicine,” October 10, 2006

Carter Agrees to Speak At Brandeis Amidst Book Controversy
January 17, 2007

Former U.S. president, Nobel laureate, and Emory professor Jimmy Carter has been embroiled in a heated controversy over his latest book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. After declining an initial offer to speak at Brandeis University, Carter changed his mind and agreed to speak and field questions on the book, according to the Boston Globe.

The book sparked outrage among Jewish groups and others immediately after its release late in 2006. According to the Globe, Carter originally declined to speak because Brandeis had suggested that he debate Alan Dershowitz, a professor at Harvard Law School and a strong critic of the book. Carter has since agreed to speak for fifteen minutes and answer questions for forty-five minutes on January 23, according to campus officials. A spokeswoman for Brandeis said that the president has set no conditions and would answer as many questions as possible. This will be the first time Carter has spoken about the book at a university.

Dershowitz told the Globe that he vowed to attend: “I will be the first person to have my hand up to ask him a question,” he said. “I guarantee that they won't stop me from attending.” He went on to say that he would like to ask Carter why the former president has accepted money from Saudi Arabia and why the Carter Center has been critical of Israel while not looking into “the far more extensive human rights abuses” in Saudi Arabia.

Carter’s book led to the resignation of fourteen members of the Carter Center’s advisory board, who charged that the book unfairly blamed Israel for the failure of the Mideast peace process. They also objected strongly to the use of the word “apartheid.” And said they could “no longer in good conscience continue to serve.”

Kenneth Stein, William E. Schatten Professor of Contemporary Middle Eastern History and Israeli Studies at Emory, executive director of the Carter Center from 1983 to 1986, and a Carter Center fellow for Mideast affairs since 1983, also cut his ties with the center. In a letter he called the book “replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions and simply invented segments.” Stein told the New York Times that he had used similar language in a private letter he sent to Carter but received no reply.

Emory Acquires Love Letters of Ted Hughes And Assia Wevill 
January 10, 2007

Emory University’s Robert W. Woodruff Library has acquired the correspondence from Ted Hughes, the late-poet laureate of Britain, to his lover Assia Wevill. In one letter in the collection Hughes instructs Wevill to “please burn all my letters,” an instruction she obviously did not follow. The surviving correspondence begins in March 1963, continues until 1969, and “offers readers unprecedented access to Hughes’s state of mind at a time of crisis in his personal and professional life,” said Stephen Enniss, director of Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

The collection includes more than sixty letters from Hughes to Wevill, six from her to him, as well as a number of notes, sketches, fragmentary diary entries, and a small number of photographs of Wevill. Wevill is remembered as the woman with whom Hughes began an affair in the summer of 1962, which led to the separation of Hughes and his wife, poet Sylvia Plath. After Plath’s death in the winter of 1963, Hughes and Wevill struggled to establish a new basis for their life together. Wevill debated whether to leave her own husband, poet David Wevill, and in the years that followed she and Hughes tried a variety of living arrangements, at times living together, sometimes apart. In 1965 Assia gave birth to a daughter, Shura. The couple never married, and in March 1969 Wevill took her life and that of her young daughter in a manner that bore a resemblance to Plath’s death.

The correspondence spans the period in Hughes’s life when he was writing “Gaudete,” editing Plath’s “Ariel” for publication, and writing the sequence of poems based on the life of a mythical crow figure. This intimate correspondence reveals Hughes’ struggle to find peace in the years after Plath’s death and his sometimes tortured relationship with Wevill. “You’ll see that I’ll fulfill all my promises eventually,” he assures her in one poignant letter. In another, written to Wevill’s sister, Celia Chaikin, in the weeks after her death, Hughes confesses that their life together had been complicated by the presence of “old ghosts,” but adds, “Assia was my true wife.”

To read AE coverage of Emory's growing prominence in poetry, click here.

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, 1941-2007
Updated January 4, 2007

The Funeral Mass for Elizabeth Fox-Genovese will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, January 5 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 2855 Briarcliff Road NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30329-2501. The church has a website: http://ihmatlanta.org/. Their phone number is 404.636.1418.

Immediately following the Mass, a reception for family and friends will be held at the Briarcliff Woods Beach Club, 1830 Morris Landers Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30345. Directions are available on the website: http://www.bwbc.net/.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the following address: Society of St. Vincent de Paul, National Council of the United States, 58 Progress Parkway, St. Louis, Missouri 63043-3706.

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Eléonore Raoul Professor of the Humanities, died yesterday. She had been a faculty member since 1986. Fox-Genovese leaves behind a long legacy of accomplishment. She was the founding director of Emory’s Institute for Women’s Studies, and in 2004 received the National Humanities Medal, which honors individuals “whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand America's access to important resources in the humanities.” She also served on the Governing Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Fox-Genovese served as editor for The Journal of The Historical Society and spoke widely on public policy, education, history, literature, religion, and women's issues. She received, among other grants and awards, the Cardinal Wright Award from the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, the Doctor of Letters from Millsaps College, the C. Hugh Holman Prize from the Society for the Society of Southern Literature, and the ACLS and Ford Foundation Fellowship.

She received her BA from Bryn Mawr College, and her MA and PhD from Harvard.

Her publications include:

  • Women and the Future of the Family (2000)
  • Reconstructing History: The Emergence of a New Historical Society, co-edited with Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn (1999)
  • “ Feminism Is Not the Story of My Life”: How the Elite Women’s Movement Has Lost Touch With the Real Concerns of Women (1996)
  • Feminism Without Illusions: A Critique of Individualism (1991)
  • Fruits of Merchant Capital: Slavery and Bourgeois Property in Rise and Expansion of Capitalism, with Eugene Genovese (1983)
  • The Origins of Physiocracy: Economic Revolution and Social Order in Eighteenth-Century France (1976)

Chemist Hill Awarded Multiple Honors
December 13, 2006

Chemist Craig Hill has been elected a fellow of  the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor bestowed upon members by their peers. Awarded to 449 members this year, the individuals were chosen because of their efforts to advance science or applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. This year’s AAAS Fellows were announced in the November 24 issue of the journal Science, and will receive the award February 17 at the AAAS annual meeting in San Francisco. Hill was also elected a Distinguished Fellow of the Victorian Institute of Chemical Sciences, an Australian honor, and will give talks in several locations in Australia in June and July 2007. In addition, the National Science Foundation Workshop in Inorganic Chemistry elected him as their chair for 2007-2009.

Hill, the  Goodrich C. White Professor of Chemistry, joined Emory in 1983 and is renowned for his work in inorganic, catalytic, and nanomaterials chemistry. Hill and his research group, among other accomplishments, have developed a pollution-free method of converting wood pulp to paper. The process uses oxygen instead of chlorine as the whitener and water as the solvent, thus generating only carbon dioxide and water as byproducts instead chlorinated chemical pollutants. This bleaching/conversion approach mimics nature with the use of inorganic mineral cluster compounds called polyoxometalates to break down and whiten the wood pulp.

In general, Hill and his research group design and investigate the properties of nanosize cluster molecules and develop their applications in medicine and technology, including environmentally-friendly green chemical processes, the detection and destruction of toxic compounds, catalysis and other uses. They also do fundamental research on the nature of reactions involving inorganic compounds and materials.
Hill was cited by AAAS “for establishing many of the fundamental properties of metal oxygen anion clusters (polyoxometalates) and pioneering unprecedented catalysts, pharmaceuticals, and functional materials based on this science.”

Founded in 1848 the AAAS and its journal, Science, form the world’s largest general federation of scientists.

Defibrillator Patients Cope Best After Counseling
November 22, 2006

Patients with newly implanted cardiac defibrillators, or ICDs, experience less anxiety and depression when they spend time with professionals who help them understand what to expect and ways they can actively cope with the challenges ahead.

ICDs can shock irregular hearts back to normal rhythms. But patients are also affected by the emotional burden associated with the device, as well as unpredictable electrical jolts that occur unexpectedly when the device discharges in response to irregular heartbeats. Apprehension over when a charge may occur often leads to anxiety, fear, and depression in some patients.

Sandra B. Dunbar, the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Cardiovascular Nursing at Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, found that defibrillator recipients who receive counseling are better able to cope with the psychological implications of the new device. During the first weeks after implantation, ICD patients are usually keenly aware of the new implant, which is inserted in the pectoral area and is slightly larger than a pacemaker, said Dunbar. In addition to psychological effects that come with having an ICD, patients may experience pain, sleep difficulties, and limited arm movement. These side effects tend to subside after the first six weeks, however.

In her study, one group of patients received counseling by telephone or in groups that focused on positive self-appraisal and proactive coping skills (such as seeking social support from family and friends), returning to activities enjoyed before receiving the ICD, and learning to turn negative thoughts about their health into constructive ones. Another group of subjects received no extra interventions. Subjects receiving the extra education and counseling reported less anxiety by three months and were less likely to have depressive symptoms at twelve months.

"Previous work has found that patients have a better psychological outcome if they were able to view their situation with hope and optimism and use more active problem solving and coping strategies," said Dunbar. "The group intervention sessions were very interesting because the patients shared their experiences in detail. They talked about what they had found that worked for them, what they could and couldn't do. And they were very concerned about each other. The telephone sessions also were informative and patients received individual education and coping assistance in a convenient, cost-effective manner."

Carlos Museum Enlists Airline Technicians to Inspect Venus
November 14, 2006

When the Michael C. Carlos Museum bought a 1,900-year-old statue of Venus—and her detached head—last summer, they gave it a high-tech physical exam to determine her internal health. Together with airline maintenance inspectors from Delta Airlines, who routinely use x-ray imaging to search for cracks in the welds and repairs in jet engines, they turned the equipment on the statue to see where it had been before and how old repairs have held up. Carlos conservators will look for rusting metal pins that might have been inserted to fix cracks, which could date from antiquity to as recently as two hundred years ago. The condition of those repairs will guide reconstruction of the 4’6” statue.

“I spend two-thirds of my time reversing other people’s good intentions,” museum conservator Renee Stein said in a November 3 Associated Press article.

The statue, by an unknown artist, is a copy of a Greek bronze sculpture that many scholars say is the most widely reproduced female statue in antiquity. This restoration is significant because few statues are as large and nearly intact as this one, missing only the right arm. The head broke off sometime in the past 170 years.
The museum bought the statue for $968,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in New York on June 6. A private collector in Houston, Texas, agreed to sell the head to the buyer of the body, and the museum purchased it for about $50,000. Delta inspectors, who have previously worked with the museum on a vase and a statue, volunteered their time.

The statue portrays Venus caught off guard as she, having removed all her clothes to take a bath, glimpses an unseen onlooker. She tries to cover herself with her hands, with a result that’s more provocative than protective. A small figure of Eros rides a dolphin at her feet, a reference to the goddess’ birth from the sea. The statue probably stood next to a fountain or pool in the gardens of a villa somewhere in the Roman Empire, possibly in today’s France. It was first documented in the collection of Napoleon’s art adviser in the 1830s, said Jasper Gaunt, curator of Greek and Roman art at the Carlos.

Stein will have to drill through the plaster keeping in place an old pin that was inserted in the head to prop it up on a display stand, as well as a lead insert on the base of the neck. She’ll most likely replace it with a stainless steel pin. Because the jagged edges in the break between the head and the neck were smoothed over, curators will have to study how much space to fill in once the pieces are superimposed again. Venus is expected to strike her pose at the Carlos sometime in the spring.

An image of the statue's body is available at http://images.usatoday.com/tech/_photos/2006/06/15/venus.jpg

And an image of its head is available at

Turkish Lecture Series Features Murat Sungar, First Deputy Secretary General of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, Thursday, November 9 Inspect Venus
November 7 , 2006

The Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning is hosting a reception and lecture on Thursday, November 9, as part of the Turkish Lecture Series. The event features Murat Sungar, First Deputy Secretary General of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and Former Ambassador of Turkey to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The event will take place in the law school (Gambrell Hall) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The reception takes place at 6:30 in the Hunter Atrium (third floor), and the public lecture, "Turkey and the U.S.: An Important Relationship for the Black Sea Region," begins at 7:15 in Tull Auditorium.

After 36 years of civil service, Ambassador Murat E. Sungar of Turkey assumed his duties as First Deputy Secretary General of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) last May. Representing nearly 350 million people, the BSEC was established in 1992 as a political and economic initiative aimed at fostering interaction and harmony among the member states in the Black Sea region. In June 2007, Ambassador Sungar will chair a meeting of twelve heads of state from the region.

From 2002-2005, Ambassador Sungar was the Turkish Government's Secretary General of European Union Affairs, responsible for all negotiations between Turkey and the EU on the issues surrounding future EU membership. From 1998-2002 he served as the Ambassador of Turkey to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

Born in Ankara, Turkey in 1942, Sungar began his career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) as third and second secretary in the NATO Department from 1970-1972. He subsequently was promoted to second and first secretary in the Turkish Delegation to NATO at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, where he served from 1972-1975.

In 1975, Ambassador Sungar moved to Islamabad, Pakistan where he became the first secretary at the Turkish Embassy. After spending two years in Pakistan, he returned to Ankara and assumed the position of head of section of the NATO Department from 1977-1979. He was then sent to Washington, D.C. for his first tour of duty in the United States as counselor at the Turkish Embassy from 1979-1983.

In 1983, he returned to Turkey to become an advisor to the under-secretary of the MFA from 1983-1985. From 1985-1989 he served as consul general of Turkey in New York City, and from 1989-1991, he served as spokesman of the MFA. His next foreign mission found him in India where he served as ambassador of Turkey for four years, after which time he returned to Ankara to take the post of senior advisor to the Prime Ministry. Between 1997-1998, he served as deputy undersecretary of the MFA.

Ambassador Sungar holds an undergraduate degree from Ankara University's School of Political Sciences and an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Cincinnati.

An initiative of Emory College, the Turkish Lecture Series has been in existence since 2003. The series brings scholars of the highest caliber in the fields of Ottoman and Turkish studies, including history, politics, and culture, to deliver speeches and visit Emory classrooms, students and faculty.

New AAUP Report Examines Gender Inequity in American Professoriate
October 31, 2006

According to a new report released last week by the American Association of University Professors, responsibility for the persistence of faculty gender inequity in U.S. colleges and universities largely falls to the institutions themselves.

Even though Title IX legislation prohibiting sex discrimination was passed thirty-four years ago, "women still find themselves struggling to be admitted to the top faculty ranks in colleges and universities," according to the report. "The academy must make further efforts to convey to women that they no longer need to make a choice between raising children and becoming tenure-track faculty members."

The report targets four "indicators" of equity within the academy: 1) The proportion of full-time faculty members who are female; 2) The percent of women within the tenured and tenure-track ranks; 3) The proportion of women who are full professors; and 4) The average salary of female faculty members compared with males. The report includes a campus-by-campus listing of how doctoral universities, master's institutions, baccalaureate colleges, and two-year colleges measure up on each. The data came from both the U.S. Education Department and an annual survey of faculty salaries that the AAUP completes each year.

Percent of full-time faculty who are women

Church-Affiliated Doctoral Universities
Private-Independent Doctoral Universities
Washington University
Duke University


Percent of tenured faculty who are women

Church-Affiliated Doctoral Universities
Private-Independent Doctoral Universities
Washington University
Duke University


Percent of tenure-track faculty who are women

Church-Affiliated Doctoral Universities
Private-Independent Doctoral Universities
Washington University
Duke University


Percent of faculty at full professor rank who are women

Church-Affiliated Doctoral Universities
Private-Independent Doctoral Universities
Washington University
Duke University


Average Salary of female faculty members as percent of men's

Church-Affiliated Doctoral Universities
Private-Independent Doctoral Universities
Washington University
Duke University


The entire report is available at http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/research/geneq2006

The Dolphin in All Of Us
October 19, 2006

Frans de Waal, professor of psychology, is an unapologetic defender of dolphins, and other higher mammals) In an op-ed piece in the October 9 issue of the New York Times, de Waal took issue with claims by other scientists that dolphins’ intelligence is exaggerated and based on questionable assumptions, such as that the animal’s brains are so large in order to keep the organ warm in a cold ocean.

“Based on this observation, [South African scientist] Professor [Paul] Manger couldn’t resist speculating that the intelligence of dolphins and other cetaceans (like whales and porpoises) is vastly overrated. He offered gems of insight, such as that dolphins are too stupid to jump over a slight barrier (as when they are trapped in a tuna net), whereas most other animals will. Even a goldfish will jump out of its bowl.”

Could it be that the dolphin’s huge brain, which is about 15 percent larger than those of humans, threatens our ego? And how do you explain the billions of neurons that dolphins possess?

“What is so upsetting to some people about the closeness between animal and human intelligence, or between animal and human emotions, for that matter? Just saying that animals can learn from each other, and hence have rudimentary cultures, or that they can be jealous or empathic, is taken by some as a personal affront. Accusations of anthropomorphism will fly, and we’ll be urged to be parsimonious in our explanations. . . . Since Aristotle, humans have known that dolphins are incredibly social. Each individual produces its own unique whistle sound by which the others recognize him or her. They enjoy lifelong bonds and reconcile after fights by means of 'petting.' The males form power-seeking coalitions, not unlike the politics of chimpanzees and humans. Dolphins also support sick companions near the surface, where they can breathe. They may encircle a school of herring, driving the fish together in a compact ball and releasing bubbles to keep them in place, after which they pick their food like fruit from a tree.”
De Waal offers additional examples of dolphin intelligence and concludes, “I must admit that the whole dolphin affair has also offered me some fresh insights. From now on, if I find my goldfish thrashing on the floor, I will congratulate him before dropping him back into his bowl.”

Progesterone Shows Promise as Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury
October 11, 2006

Emory researchers have found that patients who experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and receive the hormone progesterone shortly afterwards reduce their risk of death and degree of disability. The results of their study—the first clinical trial of its kind in the world—are available online in the October issue of the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.

“Progesterone treatment for TBI has been extensively studied in laboratory animals for more than fifteen years, but this is the world’s first use of progesterone to treat brain injury in humans,” said Arthur Kellermann, professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine and a study co-author.
Approximately 1.5 to 2 million people in the U.S. sustain a TBI each year, leading to 50,000 deaths and 80,000 new cases of long-term disability. It is also a major cause of death and disability among children and military personnel. Despite the enormity of the problem, scientists have failed to identify effective medications to improve outcomes following a TBI.

The phase II double-blinded study involved one hundred participants who had suffered a blunt traumatic brain injury and reached Grady Memorial Hospital (a level-one trauma center) within eleven hours. Eighty percent received intravenous progesterone, and the remainder received placebo. Thirty days after injury, objective rating scales were used to assess each participant’s neurological function and level of disability.
“We found encouraging evidence that progesterone is safe in the setting of TBI, with no evidence of side effects or serious harmful events,” said David Wright, assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and lead author of the study. “In addition, we found a fifty percent reduction in the rate of death in the progesterone-treated group. Furthermore, we found a significant improvement in the functional outcome and level of disability among patients who were enrolled with a moderate brain injury.”

Donald Stein, Asa G. Candler Professor of Emergency Medicine and neurobiologist, discovered the neuroprotective properties of progesterone almost two decades ago. “Our research has found that male and female rats with brain injury developed less brain swelling and recovered more completely when they are treated with progesterone shortly following the injury,” Stein explains. “The hormone seems to slow or block damaging chemicals that are released after a brain injury, protecting the brain from the death of brain cells.” Progesterone is also inexpensive, widely available, and has a long track record of safe use in humans to treat other diseases.

Researchers say the next step will be to confirm their findings in a much larger group of traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients in a multi-center, phase III clinical trial, which is being planned.

Psychiatry's Nemeroff Caught in Controversy over Journal Article
October 4, 2006

Several scientists, including one from Emory, recently reviewed vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), a controversial treatment for depression, in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology. But the article failed to state that all of the authors are paid advisers to the company that manufactures a VNS device that was approved last year by the Food and Drug Administration. The resulting hubbub was described in the August 4 issue of Science.

The article’s lead author, Charles B. Nemeroff, professor of psychiatry and chair of the psychiatry department, who also happens to be editor-in-chief of the journal, said that he and his co-authors informed the journal about their ties to Cyberonics in Houston, Texas, manufacturer of the device, and that the failure to mention those ties in the article, as required by journal policy, was an “oversight and nothing more.” Nemeroff had recused himself from the journal’s editorial process for this article.

Critics were troubled not only by the convergence of Nemeroff’s position at the journal but also that the first draft of the paper was prepared by a professional writer hired by the device’s manufacturer who was not listed among the authors. Some in the field have strongly reproached Nemeroff.  Bernard Carroll, former chair of psychiatry at Duke University, emailed colleagues and the press accusing him of running a “slick public relations disinformation campaign” and “incestuously" placing the article in his own journal. Psychiatrist Richard Wurtman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said the incident has “sorely devalued” both the journal and ACNP, “and I'm afraid this perception won't disappear for a long time."
Others rose to his defense. Alan Schatzberg, chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford, said that “these things are being hypermagnified beyond their importance,” and called Carroll’s accusations “outlandish.” A September 19 Wall Street Journal letter to the editor, written by two Emory faculty, Boadie Dunlop, assistant professor of psychiatry, and Kerry Ressler, associate professor of psychiatry, and signed by forty-five other professional colleagues of Nemeroff, stated “the concern about this is much overdone, as Nemeroff has reported his collaboration with the maker of vagal nerve stimulators in numerous other publications, as well as public and academic presentations. Nemeroff's decision not to pursue another appointment as editor of Neuropsychopharmacology is highly unfortunate, as this journal is more focused on the biological mechanisms of psychiatric diseases and their treatments than any other, and Nemeroff is extremely well-qualified to lead it.”

An-Na'im Featured in New Yorker Article
September 28, 2006

“I was very torn. I am a Muslim, but I couldn’t accept Sharia” (Islamic law). “I studied Sharia and I knew what it said. I couldn’t see how Sudan could be viable without women being full citizens and without non-Muslims being full citizens. I’m a Muslim, but I couldn’t live with this view of Islam.” That’s what Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Charles Howard Candler professor of law, said in the article “A radically peaceful view of Islam,” in the September 11 issue of The New Yorker.

An-Na’im, a native of Sudan, was torn between his conservative Muslim upbringing and his drift toward the political left. He found a resolution when he first heard Mahmoud Muhammad Taha, an unorthodox Sudanese mystic whose viewpoints ran counter to conservative Islamic thought. Taha favored, among other reforms, a new Sudanese constitution that reconciled “the individual’s need for absolute freedom with the community’s need for total social justice,” which, he argued, could be best achieved not through Marxism or liberalism but through Islam in its original, uncorrupted form, in which women and people of other faiths were accorded equal status.

An-Na’im told The New Yorker that hearing Taha speak created in him a profound sense of peace and changed his life. “I never saw him frustrated, I never saw him angry, I never heard him shout,” An-Na’im said. “Taha could not transmit his religious enlightenment to us by talking about it. We would see the fruit of it by his personal life style, in his attitudes. His honesty, his intellectual vigor, his serenity, his charisma—those are the things that we can observe, and from them I understood that this is someone who had a transformative religious experience.” Taha was executed in 1985 by the Sudanese dictatorship for sedition and apostasy.

To view the entire article, visit http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060911fa_fact1

Hazing Among Medical Students Can Be Fatal
September 20, 2006

U.S. medical students typically face harassment, insults, and intimidation by attending physicians and resident doctors, according to an Emory researcher. In some cases, pressure on students becomes so bad that it spurs depression and even suicide.

“Most medical students in the United States are graduating from medical school having had experiences that they report as being either belittling or harassing,” says lead author Erica Frank, an associate professor and vice chairwoman of the Emory School of Medicine. Frank was quoted in a September 17 issue of the Chicago Tribune.

She found that 42 percent of seniors said they had been harassed by other students, residents, preclinical professors, clinical professors, attending physicians, or patients. Eighty-four percent said they had been belittled, and 40 percent said they had been harassed and belittled. Some students felt faculty did not care about them, and others said they regretted training to become a doctor.

This type of treatment can have serious consequences for students’ mental health, Frank told the Tribune. “Rates of depression and suicide are higher. They are also less likely glad that they trained to be a physician if they were belittled or harassed.” The study appears in the September 6 online edition of the British Medical Journal.

Neurologist Receives First Research Award to Study ALS
September 13, 2006

Michael Benatar, assistant professor of neurology, has received the first clinical research award of its kind to study new therapeutic approaches for familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) through the ALS Association (ALSA) and the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

Funded by the two organizations through a new initiative called Translational Research Advancing Therapy for ALS, or TREAT ALS, the initiative aims to accelerate drug discovery and create clinical trials for ALS. The award, totaling $155,000 over two years, will be granted to one clinical researcher each year.

Benatar, in collaboration with colleagues Jonathan Glass, professor of neurology, and Meraida Polak, ALS research nurse, will use the funding to continue exploring the feasibility of a research study involving people with a strong family history of ALS and people who may carry one of the inherited genetic abnormalities known to cause ALS.

“If enough of these people can be identified, then we will be in a better position to design and implement a clinical trial in asymptomatic people at risk for developing the disease, with the end goal of determining whether it is possible to delay or prevent the onset of disease,” explains Benatar.

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that usually attacks both upper and lower motor neurons, producing progressive weakness of muscles critical for moving, speaking, and eventually, breathing. Cognitive functions are usually left intact. Familial or inherited ALS is very rare, with only 10 percent of those diagnosed inheriting the disease from a parent.

For more than a year, the team has been advertising for people who think their family carries the disease, and the response has been overwhelming. So far, 147 families have come forward with derived pedigrees that cover 7,000 people.

“This effort helps us to identify the number of people at risk of developing familial ALS, and how many would be willing to take part in a trial to test treatment and reduce that risk,” says Glass. “This research award, along with other funding, will help us move forward in our mission.”

Chimps Transmit Cultural Behavior Through Generations
August 30, 2006

For the first time, researchers have shown that chimpanzees exhibit generational learning behavior similar to that in humans. Unlike previous findings that indicated chimpanzees simply conform to the social norms of the group, the results show that behavior and traditions can be passed along a chain of individual chimpanzees. The findings will be published online in the August 28 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Using a research design that simulated transmission over multiple generations, Victoria Horner of the University of St. Andrews and the Yerkes Research Center, along with Yerkes researcher Frans B.M. de Waal, and St. Andrews researcher Andrew Whiten, closely examined how chimpanzees learn from each other and the potential longevity of their culture. They confirmed that a particular behavior can be transmitted accurately along a chain of up to six chimpanzees, representing six simulated generations equaling about ninety years of culture in the wild.

In the study, chimps in two social groups learned a to open a special testing box one of two ways—by sliding or lifting the door—to reveal fruit inside. Chimps in a third, control group, were allowed to explore the testing box but given no instruction. Once each individual animal from the first two social groups proved successful, another animal from the same social group was allowed to observe the process before interacting with the testing box. Once the second animal succeeded, another chimpanzee would enter and observe the technique, and so on down the chain. In the two social groups trained to slide or lift the door, the technique used by the original animal was passed to up to six chimpanzees. The chimpanzees in the control group were able to discover both methods through individual exploration, suggesting the exclusive use of a single technique in the noncontrol groups was due to behavioral transmission from a previous animal.

“The chimpanzees in this study continued using only the technique they observed rather than an alternative method,” said Horner. “This finding is particularly remarkable considering the chimpanzees in the control group were able to discover both methods through individual exploration. Clearly, observing one exclusive technique from a previous chimpanzee was sufficient for transmission of behavior along multiple cultural generations.”

Gearing up for the rankings race, 2006-07
August 16, 2006

Playing the rankings games while pretending that they don’t matter has become an annual ritual in the academic calendar. As an August 16 New York Times piece noted, “Early this morning, U.S. News & World Report will send e-mail messages to hundreds of college administrators, giving them an advance peek at the magazine’s annual college ranking. They will find out whether Princeton will be at the top of the list for the seventh straight year, whether Emory can break into the top 15 and where their own university ranks.”  

One bit of news is already public knowledge:  Emory has been named in Kaplan/Newsweek’s 2007 “How to Get Into College Guide” as one of the “New Ivies”—colleges whose first-rate academic programs, combined with a population boom in top students, have fueled their rise in stature and favor among the nation’s top students, administration, and faculty.

According to Newsweek, “the demand for an excellent education has created an ever-expanding supply of big and small campuses that provide great academics and first-rate faculties.”

 At the same time, however, eleven of Canada’s universities made their opinion known about such rankings. The schools are refusing to participate in the Maclean’s university ranking issue because they hold the magazine’s methodology to be “oversimplified” and “arbitrary.” The issue is a Canadian version of the controversial college ranking issue published by US News & World Report.

According to an article in The Globe and Mail, a national Canadian newspaper, a coalition of the school presidents sent a letter to Maclean’s saying that they will no longer provide data to the magazine for it’s annual fall survey of universities. The letter stated that “ in various ways and for some years, many institutional spokespersons have expressed considerable reservations about the methodology used in the Maclean’s university survey and the validity of some of the measures used. Thus far, these serious concerns have gone largely unaddressed, and there is still no evidence that Maclean's intends to respond to them.”

Tony Keller, managing editor of special projects at Maclean’s, said that the ranking issue will continue, and that none of the boycotting schools will be “punished” or excluded from the rankings.

Peter George, president of McMaster University, said that rankings may sell magazines, but they do not provide information to students about their particular programs or university life in general.

To view the New York Times article, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/16/business/media/16leonhardt.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

To view the Newsweek story, visit http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14325172/  

To view the Globe and Mail story, visit

To view the AE article “By a Nose: Jockeying in the rankings race,” visit http://www.emory.edu/ACAD_EXCHANGE/2005/octnov/lead.html.

Preaching to the Pocketbook
August 9, 2006

“Recently I visited the Atlanta church led by the Reverend Creflo Dollar—yes, his real name. In the middle of an otherwise good sermon, he began to speak adoringly about a Rolls Royce given by a friend. He urged listeners not to confuse this Rolls with the one provided by the church years earlier.”

That’s how Professor of Theology Robert Franklin began a scathing commentary aired on a recent broadcast of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.

Didn’t ministers use to promise amazing grace for people burdened by bad choices, Franklin wondered? He went on to criticize the mercenary bent of “prosperity preachers” who distort “the simple ethic of love, forgiveness and service at the heart of the religion of Jesus.” 

In Franklin’s view, such preachers do a disservice to their flocks by purveying little more than a culture of feeling good. These “religious entrepreneurs” are more concerned about wealth, success (their own), and patriotism. It was not always so, he observed, calling up images of preachers who, in troubled times, rallied the faithful by calling for repentance, intellectual clarity, and unity in pursuit of righteous goals.

“Once again, the country is in conflict,” said Franklin. “But our most visible preachers have departed from a noble American tradition of social-ethical preaching. They’ve entered the pulpit with strange manuscripts that answer questions no one’s asking. I’d love to hear fewer sermons about luxury cars and seed gifts, and more of them about economic justice for those left behind by a growing economy. Today’s preachers of prosperity and piety should rediscover the social-ethical values in that old-time religion. Maybe then our pulpits will thunder with the sounds of truth, justice, and the American way.”

To hear Franklin’s complete commentary, visit http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5624473

HIV Researchers Receive Major Grant
August 2, 2006

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given $4.5 million to two Emory researchers seeking a vaccine for HIV and AIDS. The grant, announced last week, is part of a $30.1 million donation from the foundation to the worldwide effort to develop such a vaccine, according to a July 29 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The two faculty spearheading the Emory effort are Bali Pulendran, an immunologist and professor in the Department of Pathology in the medical school and a researcher in the Emory Vaccine Center, and Rafi Ahmed, director of the Emory Vaccine Center and professor of immunology.

Pulendran says that vaccines are in the developmental pipeline and that “tremendous progress” has been made in finding drugs to keep people who are infected with HIV alive and living better, but an effective vaccine probably won’t emerge for another decade or longer. “There are some processes we understand very much, but there are some huge unsolved puzzles,” Pulendran says. “There is every reason to be hopeful, but that must be balanced by a sense of realism. This virus has so many tricks up its sleeve that we have to figure out how to combat those.”

Specifically, the two Emory scientists will be studying the immune system and looking for ways to encourage it to adapt to offer immunity to HIV, which means, according to Pulendran, harnessing the innate immunity to boost the body's defenses against HIV.

Transatlantic Slave Voyages Data To Go Online
July 27, 2006

Backed by grants totaling more than $350,000, Emory will revised and expand a renowned database of slave trade voyages, according to a recent article from the Associated Press. The records, which contain eight-two percent of the entire history of the slave trade, will be made available for free on the Internet for the first time.

Funding includes $324,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and $25,000 from Harvard University’s W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research. The expansion of the current database is based on the seminal 1999 work “The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,” a CD-ROM that includes more than 27,000 slave trade voyages and has been popular with scholars and genealogists.

“We’re trying to do for African Americans what’s been done for Euro-Americans already,” says David Eltis, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History and one of the scholars who published “The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.” Eltis and Martin Halbert, director of digital programs and systems for Emory’s libraries, are directing the project. 

“There are more data on the slave trade than on the free migrant movement simply because the slave trade was a business and people were property, so records were likely to be better,” says Eltis. “What the database makes possible is the establishment of links between America and Africa in a way that already has been done by historians on Europeans for many years.”
The expanded database making its debut on the Internet will include auxiliary materials such as maps, ship logs, and manifests. It also will be presented in a two-tier format: one for professional researchers, another for K-12 students and general audiences. At the end of the two-year project, online researchers also will be able to submit new data to an editorial board for vetting and future inclusion in the database. 

The project is part of Emory Library’s MetaScholar Initiative, which focuses on supporting a range of scholarly work with the goal of realizing the possibilities for research and scholarship in the digital age. Through the initiative, Emory is gaining a national reputation as a leader in digital library development. In the past five years, the initiative has received more than $3.6 million in grant support from organizations such as the Mellon Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and NEH.

Emory Pulls Physicians from Grady Hospital Staff
July 24, 2006

In a move reflective of tensions between Emory and Grady Hospital, Emory Medical School is dismissing seventeen physicians who work on the Grady staff, according to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Money has gotten tighter and tighter for Emory and Grady,” Claudia Adkinson, executive associate dean at Emory School of Medicine, told the AJC. "We are trying to focus our resources more on our academic mission. These physicians in neighborhood clinics were not carrying out our academic mission.” The clinic doctors were employed as a courtesy to Grady, she added, and the amount Grady owes Emory tends to increase when Grady struggles financially. “Grady would pay us if they could,”

Emory, the article continued, said it hoped the doctors would stay at the clinics as Grady employees. The medical school plans to keep other doctors now working at Grady in place, and Grady has offered to hire the Emory physicians. But since the dismissals were announced last year, six doctors have departed, and it’s not known how many will continue at the clinics as Grady employees. The doctors will no longer be Emory employees beginning September 1.
The situation underscores Grady’s precarious financial position. Emory has provided physicians to the hospital for decades, and in turn the school trains medical residents and students there. Emory provides about 80 percent of the physicians who care for patients at Grady facilities. The rest come from Morehouse School of Medicine. Grady pays Emory about $60 million annually for use of hundreds of its physicians, but the hospital is currently past due on $43 million that it owes to the school.

Emory “is abandoning its commitment it made to these doctors,” said Henry Kahn, a volunteer physician at a Grady clinic and retired Emory School of Medicine professor. “Emory doesn’t appreciate the importance of primary care.”
Adkinson, however, said that is not the case. “Grady is undergoing difficult times. We try to work with them very closely.”

Emory Recognized as Among "Best Workplaces for Commuters"
July 12, 2006

Emory has been named one of the “Best Workplaces for Commuters” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in the EPA’s first annual list of notable schools. The school is among seventy-two institutions of higher education that earned the designation as environmental leaders that improve air quality, save energy, and reduce traffic congestion in their communities. The U.S. Department of Transportation cosponsors the recognition program with the EPA, and Emory first made the EPA’s general list of workplaces in 2001.

Emory’s administration has spent the past decade encouraging employees to ditch their cars or hitch a ride with colleagues. This fall, the number of campus shuttle routes will nearly double, and the Park-and-Ride program will expand. More than half of Emory’s buses are alternatively fueled (CNG and electric) and the university is developing a recycled biodiesel program (creating fuel from its own used cooking oil) that should help fuel the rest of the fleet by fall. The university’s efforts to ease traffic congestion and improve air quality have also been recognized each year since 2000 by Atlanta’s Clean Air Campaign, and the school has been cited by The Chronicle of Higher Education as a “green campus.”

Commuter options at Emory provide employees with a wide range of choices. The university has twenty-four vanpools operating from eight counties. Both employee and student carpoolers receive parking discounts, and employee carpools with more than three riders qualify for a free parking hangtag and a reserved parking space. Employees in the bike/walk program receive twenty one-day passes on MARTA every other month for a total of one hundred passes per year. Employees registered in the transit program receive free monthly MARTA passes.