Moving Targets

Micrograph by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
courtesy of CDC

A lot has happened since you received the summer issue of Emory Magazine.

Until late July, Ebola virus disease had not been treated in the United States. The outbreak in West Africa was bad and getting worse, and concern was mounting among public health officials, but it was not yet making headlines here. That changed on the morning when American physician and missionary Kent Brantly woke up in Monrovia, Liberia, feeling sick and scared.

Since then, Brantly and fellow missionary Nancy Writebol have been successfully treated for Ebola virus disease at Emory University Hospital. After nearly a month in the care of a special Emory Healthcare team, they were released and returned to their families. Brantly and Writebol were the first two patients to be treated for the virus in the US, making their arrival and their recovery historic for Emory. Unfortunately, they were not the last. Additional patients with Ebola virus also have been treated at US facilities, and one has died.

I was in San Francisco on vacation when the news of the first two patients’ arrival broke, and I watched in disbelief as the story exploded, making Emory the center of international attention. It quickly became clear that the events that followed should be reflected in Emory Magazine, and associate editor Maria Lameiras threw herself into research, interviews, and writing. As our special report took shape during August and September, we kept hearing the words “moving target”—things were changing day by day, and Maria updated the story continually.

It seems like a long time ago now that Ebola and Emory first became buzzwords, and a lot of other things have happened, too. For one, Goizueta Business School graduate Pavlo Sheremeta 95MBA, who accepted a position as finance minister for Ukraine back in February, resigned from the post in August, necessitating a revision of our feature profile by Steven Saum 89C 90G. That story, too, proved to be a moving target, and still the news of Ukraine’s struggle for stability evolves daily.

In September, Emory Professor Mahlon DeLong accepted the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, one of the most prestigious science honors in the world. In his decades of research, DeLong’s own moving target has been elusive structures at the base of the brain that have now proven to be effective sites for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. His discoveries have transformed therapies for movement disorders, and that research continues to advance.

And a few weeks ago, the Class of 2018 arrived at Emory College and Oxford College, ready for whatever the next four years might bring. If a lot can happen in three months, imagine how much those students will grow, learn, and transform in four years. A handful of them are spotlighted in our feature story on shaping a new class, and their optimism and excitement about what they hope to accomplish at Emory shines. Their changing stories, and those of their approximately 1,800 classmates, will be followed and enjoyed by their professors, friends, and family—and no doubt some will find their way into future issues of Emory Magazine.

On a related note, since our last issue, my own son started his senior year of high school (as did Maria’s oldest). I began my work with the magazine the day after his fourth birthday, when the transition to prekindergarten, birthday party themes, and training wheels seemed like important concerns. Now he’s nearly eighteen, driving (kind of), and applying to college—inspiring emotions for his parents that are poignantly captured in our closing essay by David Raney 99PhD, who delivered a daughter to college and a son to daycare in the same week.

Talk about a moving target.—P.P.P.

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