Isom Center Director Grayzel Returns to Full-Time Teaching

History faculty member says she is proud of accomplishments during her tenure

Susan Grayzel

Susan Grayzel

OXFORD, Miss. – Susan Grayzel, director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies for four of the last five years, will soon step down to return to teaching history full time.

Grayzel became the Isom Center’s director in 2013 after having served as interim director since 2011. Having been awarded an American Council of Learned Societies Collaborative Fellowship, she was on leave during 2014-2015 and came back to finish up a four-year term. That is up and the time for a new leader is right, she said. 

“When I came on, I said I thought this position should rotate,” Grayzel said. “I think an interdisciplinary program needs different voices and different visions. I think it is really important that different people have an opportunity to lead at our university.”

Grayzel said she’s proud of the center’s work during her tenure. Leading the center is a rewarding job, and she expects the next director will also find the work fulfilling.

“There are not that many opportunities faculty can have to learn from the experience of engaging with something that is academic, but also has programming functions that are interdisciplinary and put you in touch with so many different parts of the campus,” Grayzel said.

Kirsten Dellinger, chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, is an Isom Center-affiliated faculty member and has served on the center’s advisory board since 1998. She said the university was fortunate to have Grayzel leading the center.

Dellinger is tasked with finding a new director and hopes to find someone with some of Grayzel’s qualities and her dedication to lead the center. 

“She is a brilliant gender scholar with an international reputation and she is dedicated to making this campus a better place,” Dellinger said. “As a longstanding member of the Isom Center-affiliated faculty, I appreciate Sue’s dedication to a democratic approach to leading the center and for all of her efforts to achieve gender equality for a broad range of groups on campus and in the community.”

Grayzel’s accomplishments include increased work on women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers, a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner on campus, high-caliber guest lecturers, a mechanism for applying for conference travel funds for affiliated faculty and graduate students, and increased student involvement, Dellinger said.

Grayzel said she’s proud of creating the center’s assistant director position, which could be redefined going forward as an associate director job. She credits Theresa Starkey, gender studies instructor, for excelling in the new role for the center.

Expanding programming, including helping create two “Rethinking Mass Incarceration in the South” conferences in 2014 and 2016, working with stakeholders on issues of sexual violence and child care and parenting, and also instituting an annual “queer studies” lecture were other major achievements. Expanding the gender studies minor to include an emphasis on sexuality was another important project, and Grayzel said she is proud of the first sets of students in the graduate certificate in gender studies who have completed that program.

Susan Grayzel, director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, is stepping down to return to teaching history full time.

Susan Grayzel, director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, is stepping down to return to teaching history full time.

Moving forward, the center is poised to continue offering multidisciplinary programming that includes art and film and music, as well as academics.

The center faces some challenges to overcome to raise its profile at Ole Miss. Many students aren’t aware the Isom Center moved to the Lyceum basement a few years ago when renovations at Johnson Commons began, Grayzel said. The center needs a permanent home, she said.

“Our lack of visibility is really an issue,” Grayzel said. “Students can’t find us.”

Grayzel joined the Department of History in 1996 after receiving her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a scholar of modern Europe, the cultural history of war, and women’s and gender history.

She looks forward to returning to the classroom to focus on teaching about modern warfare, gender and sexuality, and 20th-century Europe, and also to working on a book project examining how in the 1920s and 1930s, European countries such as Britain and France imagined and prepared for the prospect of the first war using weapons of mass destruction, namely chemical arms.

She’s fulfilling one of her long-term goals this fall by teaching the first UM stand-alone class on the global history of World War I during the 100th anniversary of its fighting in 1914-1918. She and Susan Pedigo, a UM biochemistry professor, also plan to teach a course they developed on “science and war in the 20th century” for the second time.

The Isom Center is named for UM faculty member Sarah McGehee Isom, who was also the first female faculty member at a coeducational institution of higher learning in the Southeast. She taught here from 1885 until her death 20 years later. The Sarah Isom Center was established in 1981 with the goal of providing a forum for the study, discussion and advancement of women and gender studies.

When UM opened its doors to women in 1882, 11 female students registered for classes. Today, women constitute half the student body. But, the campus, state and nation will continue to confront sexism, racism, homophobia and other problems, and the Isom Center will always have a vital role in the university’s response to those issues, Grayzel said.

“Our work is not going to go away anytime soon,” Grayzel said. “I know Isom will continue to fight against intolerance generally and fight for gender equality with all of our allies on campus who want this truly to be a welcoming, inclusive space where everyone is safe and valued. That’s the core of what I think this job is.”

Derek and Kelly King Honored with Inaugural Mullins Scholarship

Mississippi Teacher Corps alumni pursue graduate degrees with help from new scholarship

Derek and Kelly King stand with Andy Mullins in Lyceum at UM. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Derek and Kelly King stand with Andy Mullins in Lyceum at UM. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Just ask University of Mississippi alumni Derek and Kelly King about their students in the North Panola School District in Sardis, and the husband and wife team light up with excitement.

As the instructional coach for North Panola High School (Kelly) and the assistant principal at North Panola Middle School (Derek), the Kings can personally name more than 710 students between their two schools this year – just ask them.

“Both of us love teaching and being in the classroom,” said Kelly, who provides instructional leadership to more than 32 faculty members at her school. “Once you get into teaching, it’s really addictive. I’ve directly taught at least three-fourths (of those students) myself.”

The Kings are UM’s inaugural recipients of the Andrew P. Mullins Jr. MTC Alumni Scholarship, which supports Mississippi Teacher Corps alumni who wish to pursue advanced graduate study.

The endowed scholarship is available to Teacher Corps alumni with at least three years’ of teaching experience in K-12 education and may be awarded twice to individuals. Recipients may pursue an advanced degree in any field of their choosing on the Ole Miss campus.

Founded in 1989, the Teacher Corps has placed more than 630 new teachers in critical-needs school districts throughout the state. The alternate-route teaching program is highly competitive and has attracted recruits from 216 colleges and universities around the country. All participants receive job placement and two years of funding to earn a master’s degree in education from UM.

Derek and Kelly were selected for the honor by a committee of administrators within the School of Education and will each receive $1,500 per semester toward tuition throughout the next academic year.

“It’s an honor to receive anything with Dr. Mullins’ name on it,” said Derek, who has also served as head coach for men’s track and football at North Panola. “I think (Dr. Mullins) is proud to see Teacher Corps people who are still working in education here in Mississippi. It’s an honor to just to be a small part of what he originally envisioned for the program.”

In addition to their full-time jobs at North Panola, Derek and Kelly – who met during their first year in the Mississippi Teacher Corps – are enrolled in UM graduate programs in K-12 leadership. Derek hopes to finish a doctorate within the next two years, and Kelly is on track to claim her second Ole Miss diploma in December when she finishes a Specialist in Education degree that will grant her a state school administrator’s license.

“It warms my heart to see this scholarship awarded to two such worthy recipients,” said Mullins, Mississippi Teacher Corps co-founder and former chief of staff to the chancellor. “They have both been valuable resources to the school districts in which they have served.”

As 2010 recruits for the Teacher Corps, the Kings came from very different parts of the country before joining the program and landing their first teaching jobs at Byhalia Middle School.

Kelly, a Boston native, received a bachelor’s degree in black studies from Amherst College. Derek, a native of Fairfield, Alabama, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rhodes College, where he played football and baseball and even began his coaching career as an undergraduate while working for Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Memphis Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School.

Back then, the Teacher Corps offered opportunity for the two aspiring educators to enter the classroom after college. After an intensive summer training program, Kelly took a job teaching social studies. Derek taught English and coached men’s track and football.

They did not, however, expect that it would lead to a whole new life. After dating for four years, the couple found themselves both working at North Panola High School and soon married. The couple, alongside numerous other current and former Teacher Corps members, played key roles in the school’s drastic graduation rate turnaround. Between 2010 and 2014, the school increased its graduation rate by nearly 30 percent and rose from failing to “B” status.

“This is my sixth year in education,” Kelly said. “I have been able to see how Teacher Corps has transformed (North Panola) over the years. It’s as close as you can get to a ‘Teacher Corps School.’

“There are several other Teacher Corps people at my school. One in her seventh year of teaching and one in her fifth, and before that we had other people who stayed at least four or five years. The program has made a strong lasting impact in that district.”

After their graduate studies, the Kings hope to continue pursuing opportunities in education. Kelly hopes to pursue a leadership position at the district level, helping teachers develop and coordinate curricula, and Derek hopes to one day serve as a full principal or perhaps a career in academic development for student-athletes.

“When two people are doing graduate school at the same time, it’s definitely a big investment,” Derek said. “So, it is amazing to receive this first scholarship. Any amount of scholarship helps, but to have one named after Dr. Mullins makes us both very proud.”

Ikhlas Khan Receives UM Distinguished Researcher Award

Associate director of National Center for Natural Products Research excels in leadership, scholarship

University of Mississippi Interim Vice Chancellor of Research and Sponsored Programs Josh Gladden presents Ikhlas A. Khan with the Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award during Commencement 2016. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

University of Mississippi Interim Vice Chancellor of Research and Sponsored Programs Josh Gladden presents Ikhlas A. Khan with the Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award during Commencement 2016. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – External recognition is always appreciated, but being honored internally by peers is far better. So says Ikhlas A. Khan, who received the University of Mississippi’s 2016 Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award on Saturday (May 14).

The UM research professor of pharmacognosy and associate director of the National Center for Natural Products Research was presented the prestigious honor, which includes $7,500 and a personal plaque, during the university’s annual Commencement ceremonies in the Grove.

“I was humbled and honored to be considered for this prestigious award,” Khan said upon learning of his latest accolade. “I have received many awards before, but getting recognition at home always has special meaning and is a feeling which is hard to describe.”

Josh Gladden, UM interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, said Khan is most deserving of the award.

“The University of Mississippi is fortunate to have had a very qualified pool of outstanding candidates for this year’s award,” Gladden said. “Each candidate is evaluated by a panel of distinguished researchers from across the UM research community, and Dr. Khan quickly rose to the top.

“Dr. Khan’s prolific and impactful work has been well recognized on a national and international level, and we are pleased to recognize his accomplishments on his home campus.”

Khan also recently received the IAMSTAM Zandu International Award for Excellence in the Field of Ayurvedic and/or Natural Products and the Outstanding Contribution in Natural Products Research/Water’s Corp.

He holds a doctorate in pharmacy from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology in Munich, Germany, and joined UM as a research scientist in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1992. Because of his valuable contributions and potential for leadership, he was appointed as a research assistant professor in the university’s Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Department of Pharmacognosy three years later.

In 2001, Khan was promoted to associate professor and in 2002 became NCNPR assistant director. Within three years, he was again promoted to professor, and promoted to his current position in 2015. Khan also serves as director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Excellence, Sino-US TCM Research Center and Center for Research of Indian Systems of Medicine at UM.

During his tenure at the university, Khan’s scientific achievements have gained him international recognition as a scholar, leader and innovator. He is renowned for his collaborative work with the U.S. FDA to ensure quality and safety of botanical dietary supplements worldwide.

His other honors include the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Director’s Special Citation Award, Varro E. Tyle Prize from the American Society of Pharmacognosy and ABC’s Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award.

Khan has authored or co-authored more than 600 refereed journal articles, served on dissertation committees for 29 graduate students and trained more than 100 post-doctoral associates and visiting scholars. He serves/served as an editorial or advisory board member for more than 15 international research journals and has presented over 100 invited lectures globally.

As a principal or co-principal investigator, he has generated more than $30 million in external funding for NCNPR research in the last 15 years. Khan serves as PI in UM’s cooperative agreement with FDA and as a co-PI in the NIDA Marijuana Project.

His professional memberships include the International Society of Ethnopharmacology, New York Academy of Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, American Society of Pharmacognosy, International Society for Horticultural Science, American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and many more.

“It is very gratifying to us in NCNPR to see Dr. Khan’s career research contributions recognized in this way by the University community,” said Larry A. Walker, NCNPR director and research professor. “The laboratory pursuits in his group have greatly contributed to scientific reference standards and methods for botanical identity, purity and safety.

“Just as importantly, his interface with industry, regulatory groups, scientific and trade associations, government health agencies, and research collaborators worldwide have framed a robust dialog and raised awareness for higher quality and greater accountability in the marketing and regulation of herbal and medicinal products.”

Khan already has plans for how he will spend funds that come with his award.

“I’m going to celebrate with the people who contributed through their hard work to achieve this award,” he said.

Khan and his wife, Shabana, a principal scientist at NCNPR, have a son, Farjad, a third-year pharmacy student at Ole Miss, and a daughter, Sariya, who is graduating from Oxford High School and has been accepted into the university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

Created in 2008, the annual honor recognizes a faculty member who has shown outstanding accomplishment in research, scholarship and/or creative activity. It is sponsored by Pharmaceutics International Inc., whose CEO, Syed Abidi, is a UM alumnus. 

Much like Hall of Fame inductions, recipients can receive the honor only once. Nominees must be an associate or full professor (including research associate professors or research professors who are not tenure-track faculty) and must have been continuously employed full-time by the university for at least five years.

UM College of Liberal Arts Honors Faculty Members for Excellence

Three professors noted for inspiring students and peers with their passion for teaching

College of Liberal Arts Dean Lee Cohen, second from left, with award recipients Gerard Buskes, Matthew Murray and Joshua Brinlee. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

UM liberal arts Dean Lee Cohen, second from left, with award recipients Gerard Buskes, Matthew Murray and Joshua Brinlee. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi College of Liberal Arts recognized three faculty members Friday (May 13) for their outstanding work in educating students.

Joshua Brinlee, an assistant professor of art and art history, received the Cora Lee Graham Award for Outstanding Teaching of Freshmen. Gerard Buskes, professor of mathematics, was named the Liberal Arts Outstanding Teacher of the Year. The Liberal Arts Outstanding Instructor of the Year award went to Matthew L. Murray, instructional associate professor of sociology and anthropology.

“The College of Liberal Arts has a strong commitment to excellence in teaching,” said Lee Cohen, UM liberal arts dean. “As such, it is an honor and a privilege to recognize Mr. Brinlee, Dr. Buskes and Dr. Murray as this year’s award recipients. I am certain that our students appreciate these outstanding educators.”

Brinlee was awarded the Cora Lee Graham Award because of his commitment to excellence in freshman education, intellectual stimulation of students and concern for students’ welfare. Brinlee earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts at the Memphis College of Art. He arrived at UM in 2012 as an adjunct professor and in 2014 accepted the position of assistant professor and foundations coordinator.

Brinlee said he is humbled and honored to receive this award.

“This award of recognition was totally unexpected,” he said. “To be given the opportunity to teach students how art enriches and informs their daily lives is an award all by itself. The students are the reason I chose to be an arts educator, and why I will always commit myself to helping them achieve their educational goals.

“Every year I see my former freshmen students graduating and moving on with their lives. My hope is that one day they will look back on their college experience and know that there was a teacher that cared, encouraged, challenged and supported them.”

“He has made a terrific and excellent difference in our department in a short time,” faculty member Sheri Reith said in a letter of nomination. “The students he is teaching are attentive and interested in the information he is giving. Josh teaches hands-on problems and calls on his students to produce written work as well.

“At the end of his classes, I see his students talking with him, and he is smiling and so are they. He cares for them.”

Buskes has been at UM since 1985, after receiving advanced degrees in mathematics from Radboud University in the Netherlands. He received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year award for his excellence in teaching and dedication to his students.

“He truly cares about his students understanding the material in his class, a trait which unfortunately is a rare find in mathematics,” UM student Maegan Easley said in a nomination letter. “His 50-minute lectures often seem like 10 minutes because he makes his class so fun and engaging! He creates a rapport with his students that is unique in the mathematics department.”

Buskes has also inspired other faculty members. David Fragoso Gonzalez co-taught a calculus course with Buskes for the last three fall semesters.

“To ensure a seamless transition between our classes, we have sat in each other’s lectures many times, which has allowed me to observe the impact that Dr. Buskes has over his students,” Gonzalez said in a letter of nomination. “By example and by mentorship, my experience with Dr. Buskes has also shaped the way that I try to teach my own classes, and the way that I develop a relationship with students.”

However, Buskes said other faculty members continue to inspire him as well.

“I am so honored by this award and the affirming statements of my colleagues and students,” Buskes said. “I certainly had teachers who inspired and guided me, and to be seen in that light is such a thrill.”

Murray arrived at UM as an assistant professor in 2003. He studied at the University of Connecticut and the University of Salzburg in Austria, and was awarded a doctorate from Harvard University in 1995.

“I am delighted to accept the award as Outstanding Instructor of the Year,” Murray said. “In all of my classes, I encourage students to engage personally and collectively with complex ideas and difficult problems, which I hope prepares them to become informed and involved global citizens.”

Kirsten Dellinger, chair of sociology and anthropology, nominated Murray for the award based on his method of teaching and care for students.

“Dr. Murray’s student evaluations and peer observations have consistently ranked him as an excellent or superior teacher,” Dellinger said in a nomination letter.

“The sheer number of written comments for all courses indicates an enthusiasm and engagement in Matthew’s courses rarely seen when reviewing faculty who have been nominated for teaching awards.”

Dellinger said Murray encourages students to “learn by doing” and gives students the resources they need to do that.

“We are fortunate to have such a well-rounded, research-active faculty member in the department introducing students to anthropology and geography as well as providing advanced training for students who will move on in the field of archaeology,” she said. “I am thrilled that he has received this well-deserved honor.”

All three recipients were recognized at the spring faculty meeting and will be honored Saturday during the college’s commencement ceremonies. Each received a commemorative plaque and $1,000.

Accountancy Professor, Violence Prevention Officer Win Frist Awards

Recipients honored for their exceptional service to students

Lindsey Bartlett Mosvick

Lindsey Bartlett Mosvick

OXFORD, Miss. – Each day, University of Mississippi students are affected by the words and actions of faculty and staff members who extend their work beyond classrooms, labs and office space.

Two of them – Brett Cantrell, assistant professor of accountancy in the Patterson School of Accountancy; and Lindsey Bartlett Mosvick, assistant director of the Office of Violence Prevention in the Counseling Center – have been selected as this year’s Frist Student Service Award honorees in recognition of their exceptional service to students.

They were chosen from among dozens of nominees, submitted by students, alumni, faculty and staff. A chancellor’s committee weighed all the nominations and made the picks.

“Of all the awards we bestow on faculty and staff each year, the Frist Awards are extra-special because they recognize unwavering commitment to serving our students and making sure they are successful,” Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. “Students are the central reason we are here, and service is part of our core mission. I am grateful for the work of Ms. Mosvick and Dr. Cantrell, and on behalf of the entire university, thank both of them for their dedication and remarkable example.”

The awards, one for faculty and one for staff, were established with a gift from Dr. Thomas F. Frist Sr. of Nashville, a 1930 UM graduate. This is the 22nd year for the awards.

Cantrell and Mosvick each receive $1,000 and a plaque, and are to be recognized May 14 at the university’s main Commencement ceremony. Both recipients expressed surprise upon learning that they had been chosen for the recognition.

Brett Cantrell

Brett Cantrell

“My first thought was, ‘I wonder if this is really correct?'” Cantrell said. “There are just so many professors at the University of Mississippi that go above and beyond in student service, and who have been doing so for so much longer than I have. I certainly see that here in the accounting school.”

Mosvick was equally astonished to receive the award.

“The work I do in the violence prevention office frequently involves confidential information, so I never expected something like this to happen,” she said. “I also thought I have not worked here long enough to deserve the honor. I am starting a master’s program in higher education through the university and I will put this (her stipend) toward those costs.”

Cantrell, who joined the Ole Miss faculty in 2013, received his doctorate in accounting from the University of Texas. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting are from UM.

His research examines the quality and usefulness of bank accounting estimates such as the allowance for loan losses. Cantrell’s work has been published in The Accounting Review, and he is a certified public accountant in the state of Mississippi. Before his doctoral studies, he served in the audit practice of KPMG’s Birmingham, Alabama, office.

“This is really the first award I’ve won,” said Cantrell, faculty adviser for the UM chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants. “I am certainly honored to get to serve in that position, and I imagine it had something to do with me winning this award.

“Our chapter works to foster a sense of community for African-American students in the accounting school as well as developing the professional skills of our members.”

One nomination for Cantrell, from a graduate student, stated in part: “Dr. Cantrell not only does his duties as NABA adviser . . . but he goes above and beyond. He has generously opened his home to all of NABA on numerous occasions and is always willing to help us when needed. He has even donated money to start the Patterson School Minority Summer Scholarship.”

In another nomination, a former student wrote: “Dr. Cantrell has worked diligently to always keep our best interest at heart. He has been a voice for our community.”

Mosvick, who earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia law school, has also been employed at the university since 2013. Formerly project coordinator in the Office of Violence Prevention, she also works as adviser of Rebels Against Sexual Assault, the campus student organization that assists in raising awareness about sexual assault and implementing peer education programs.

She previously received the Students First award at the first annual Women’s Empowerment Awards in March 2015.

“That award was also an honor, but this award obviously leaves a greater legacy,” Mosvick said. “Learning about how my name will be on display in Martindale Hall and seeing this list of names I am joining is just as great an honor, as it includes many folks who I admire greatly like, Valeria Ross and Thelma Curry.”

One nomination for Mosvick, from a staff member, stated: “Lindsey is always putting the needs of her students above her own. She works weekends, nights and early mornings to ensure the survivors are getting the care and attention that they deserve. She never complains about the intense workload because she truly cares about the lives of Ole Miss students.”

A student wrote, “The professional support she provides is important, but the emotional support that she is willing to give is what sets her apart from the rest. I am convinced that, if financially able, Lindsey would do this work for free. That’s how much she cares about our students.”

Cantrell and his wife, Stacey, have a 1-year-old daughter, Bronwynn.

“She’s a delight,” he said. “Since having Bronwynn, the concept of leisure time seems pretty foreign to us, but I used to read and play sports.”

Mosvick is married to Nicholas Mosvick, a doctoral candidate in the university’s Arch Dalrymple Department of History.

“If not for him, I would have never joined the university in the first place,” she said. “Outside of the office, I enjoy reading, cheering on my favorite sports teams and spending time with my family, especially my 1-year-old nephew.”

UM’s Granger Wins SEC Faculty Achievement Award

Distinguished professor is active in research and in mentoring next generation of biomedical scientists

Dr. Joey Granger

Dr. Joey Granger

JACKSON, Miss. – Dr. Joey Granger, Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professor of physiology and biophysics, is the 2016 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award winner for the University of Mississippi.

“I am deeply honored to have received this recognition and am humbled to be in such a distinguished group of faculty scholars,” Granger said. “I also appreciate the SEC for their recognition of scholarly activity as an integral part of SEC universities.”

To be eligible for the SEC Faculty Achievement Award, an individual must be a teacher or scholar at an SEC university, have achieved the rank of full professor, have a record of extraordinary teaching and have a record of scholarship that is recognized nationally and/or internationally.

A graduate of the UM School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, Granger joined the faculty in 1990. His research focus has been on preeclampsia, a dangerous but poorly understood complication of pregnancy. His interests include the mechanisms linking placental ischemia and cardiovascular dysfunction in preeclampsia and identifying potential drug targets for preeclampsia treatments. Granger’s research has been continuously funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute since 1985.

Granger is dedicated to training the next generation of biomedical scientists by mentoring graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. He is the principal investigator of the Medical Center’s NHLBI Institutional Training Grant for hypertension and cardiorenal diseases research.

Granger is dean of the UM School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences and director of the Cardiovascular Renal Research Center. He served as the 2012 American Physiological Society president.

“The University of Mississippi community joins me in congratulating Dr. Granger,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “His pioneering work in understanding hypertension is paving the way for life-saving technologies and new treatment approaches. Dr. Granger is a model teacher, mentor and scholar, and a great example of the value of our outstanding faculty and their research to our state and nation.”

“Dr. Granger is not only a distinguished scientist and teacher widely respected by his peers and loved by his students, he has been a strong leader of our School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences for many years,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UM vice chancellor for health affairs. “And the crawfish etouffee, seafood gumbo and bread pudding he makes for his school’s annual holiday party are second to none.”

Selected by a committee of SEC provosts, the SEC Faculty Achievement Awards and the SEC Professor of the Year Award are part of SECU, the academic initiative of the Southeastern Conference, which sponsors, supports and promotes collaborative higher education programs and activities involving administrators, faculty and students at its 14 member universities.

SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners receive a $5,000 honorarium from the conference and become his or her university’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award. The SEC Professor of the Year, to be named in April, receives an additional $15,000 honorarium and will be recognized at the SEC Awards Dinner.

Granger is the second UM Medical Center physiology faculty member in three years to win the award. Dr. John Hall, Arthur C. Guyton Professor and chair, was recognized as UM’s SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner in 2014 SEC and was later named SEC Professor of the Year.

Gov. Bryant, UMMC Mark Highpoint in School of Medicine Construction

Officials celebrate 'topping out' of new facility

Artist rendering of the new School of Medicine building.

Artist rendering of the new School of Medicine building.

JACKSON, Miss. – Gov. Phil Bryant today helped celebrate a milestone in the construction of an emerging School of Medicine building during a “topping-out” ceremony at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Touting the economic and health care implications of a more spacious, state-of-the-art medical school, Bryant was among some 100 dignitaries and other attendees who watched as a construction crane hoisted a structural beam to the top of the building, signifying that it has reached its maximum height.

Along with medical students, as well as representatives of UMMC and the construction contractor, Bryant signed the beam before it was lifted, hewing to a construction tradition also meant to express appreciation to the building contractor and crew.

“This new medical school will have a $1.7 billion impact on our state by 2025 and will help create a support system of 19,000 – that’s 19,000 – jobs created,” Bryant said.

The 151,569-square-foot, five-story building will help advance Bryant’s goals of increasing the number of physicians working in Mississippi and boosting the state’s health care economy.

“Bringing one physician into a community has a $2 million impact,” he said. “It is the most effective economic development opportunity we have in the state of Mississippi.”

Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, thanked Bryant for “being a great champion” of the effort to build a new school and ultimately providing greater access to health care for more of the state’s residents, particularly those in rural areas.

“We are on a mission to train Mississippians to take care of Mississippians in this state,” Woodward said.

She also thanked her predecessor at UMMC, Dr. James Keeton, for his dedication to the construction project, as well as to the crew of Roy Anderson Corp. Contractors.

Construction on the building is on track for completion within 12 to 14 months, that is, the spring of 2017, Woodward said. Medical students will start classes in the new facility the following fall.

This new space will enable the School of Medicine to enlarge its incoming class size each year from 135 students to at least 165.

“Down the road, this is a great day for the state of Mississippi,” Woodward said.

Rising in the northeast area of the campus, facing Lakeland Drive, the new school will be similar in size to the UM law school in Oxford. Road work linked to the site has been completed.

UMMC has not had a new School of Medicine facility since the current one opened in 1955 as part of the Medical Center complex on State Street. Medical students have no dedicated medical school building, but use several: the Research Wing, University Rehabilitation Center, the VA Medical Center, Jackson Medical Mall and various other educational buildings and clinical sites on- and off-campus.

“We have classrooms and labs that are not just our space alone,” said Michelle Wheeler of Greenwood, a first-year medical student and one of the students who signed the construction beam.

“Having a new medical school gives me a feeling of gratitude that someone cares enough to give us our own building. We’re going to love it and cherish it.”

The economic impact of the practicing Mississippi physicians who trained at the School of Medicine is $6.3 billion annually. They support an estimated 60,395 jobs and generate about $706 million in annual federal and state tax revenue.

The new school will, among other things:

  • Consolidate most classes and labs into one building, decreasing cross- and off-campus travel by students.
  • Offer flexible, technology-rich classrooms with all-movable furnishings adaptable for lecture-style learning, teamwork sessions and other nontraditional learning methods.
  • Provide a dedicated floor for simulation labs where medical and other health-professions students can learn techniques on software programs and computer-controlled interactive mannequins.
  • Give students space for individual study, group study, congregating and social interaction.
  • Provide large, tiered auditoriums with unobstructed views, room to swivel and work in groups, and wide desktops suitable for laptops, texts and notebooks.

Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years After Einstein’s Prediction

UM scientists join colleagues in celebration of historic achievement

Members of the University of Mississippi LIGO Team include (from left) Camillo Cocchieri, visiting scholar; Mohammad Afrough, graduate student; Marco Cavaglia associate professor of of physics and astronomy; Katherine Dooley, assistant professor of physics and astronomy; Jared Wofford, undergraduate researcher; and Hunter Gabbard, undergraduate research assistant. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Members of the UM LIGO Team include (from left) Camillo Cocchieri, visiting scholar; Mohammad Afrough, graduate student; Marco Cavaglia associate professor of of physics and astronomy; Katherine Dooley, assistant professor of physics and astronomy; and Jared Wofford and Hunter Gabbard, both undergraduate research assistants. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of space-time called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.

The gravitational waves were detected at 4:51 a.m. Sept. 14, 2015 by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory detectors in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington. The LIGO Observatories are funded by the National Science Foundation and were conceived, built and are operated by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The discovery, accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters, was made by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, which includes the GEO Collaboration and the Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Astronomy, and the Virgo Collaboration using data from the two LIGO detectors.

“Using sophisticated algorithms and data analysis techniques, we estimate that the black hole collision took place about 1.3 billion years ago,” said Marco Cavaglià, University of Mississippi associate professor of physics and astronomy and assistant spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. “The two black holes had a mass of about 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun.”

The black holes collided with each other at nearly half the speed of light, said Katherine Dooley, UM assistant professor of physics and astronomy and senior member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

“The explosion released so much energy that about three times the mass of the sun was converted to gravitational waves in only a fraction of a second,” Dooley said. “These are the gravitational waves that LIGO has observed.”

LIGO research is carried out by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, a group of more than 1,000 scientists from universities around the United States and in 14 other countries. More than 90 universities and research institutes in the LSC develop detector technology and analyze data; approximately 250 students are strong contributing members of the collaboration.

UM has been a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration since 2007. Cavaglià founded the group at UM and has contributed to understanding artifacts of the instrument data that come from sources other than gravitational waves, a critical component for being able to positively identify a gravitational wave signal. Since 2012, Cavaglià has served as the collaboration’s assistant spokesperson.

Dooley joined UM this past fall after having worked for over nine years on building and improving the LIGO and GEO600 detectors. The detectors use laser light to measure infinitesimal changes in the distance between mirrors mounted 2-1/2 miles (4 kilometers) apart.

“The detected gravitational waves changed this distance by one-billionth of a billionth of a meter, about one-thousandth the diameter of a proton,” Dooley said. She designed techniques to control the angular pointing of the laser beam, helping push the limits of the precision measurement technology that was needed to make this detection possible.

Cavaglià, Dooley, UM post-doctoral research assistant Shivaraj Kandhasamy and three doctoral students from the UM-LIGO team are among the authors of the discovery paper. The UM LIGO team also includes a master’s student, an undergraduate and three undergraduate exchange students from Italy.

“LIGO’s detection opens a new way to look at the cosmos,” Cavaglià said. “I think LIGO will go down in history in the same way as we now remember Galileo’s telescope.”

The entire university community shares in the excitement of this extraordinary achievement, UM Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said.

“This astounding breakthrough is the result of decades of international collaboration by a talented team of scientists and engineers,” Vitter said.  “Everyone at UM congratulates our colleagues in the physics department for their role in this historic discovery. The University of Mississippi is committed to pursuing research and scholarship that helps us understand and improve our world.”

The discovery was made possible by the enhanced capabilities of Advanced LIGO, a major upgrade that increases the sensitivity of the instruments, compared to the first-generation LIGO detectors, enabling a large increase in the volume of the universe probed – and the discovery of gravitational waves during its first observation run.

LIGO was originally proposed as a means of detecting these gravitational waves in the 1980s by Rainer Weiss, MIT professor emeritus of physics; Kip Thorne, Caltech’s Richard P. Feynman Professor Emeritus of Theoretical Physics; and Ronald Drever, Caltech professor emeritus of physics.

The LSC detector network includes the LIGO interferometers and the GEO600 detector. The GEO team includes scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute), Leibniz Universität Hannover, along with partners at the University of Glasgow, Cardiff University, the University of Birmingham, other universities in the United Kingdom and the University of the Balearic Islands in Spain.

Several of the key technologies that made Advanced LIGO so much more sensitive have been developed and tested by the German UK GEO collaboration. Significant computer resources have been contributed by the AEI Hannover Atlas Cluster, the LIGO Laboratory, Syracuse University and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

Several universities designed, built and tested key components for Advanced LIGO: The Australian National University, the University of Adelaide, the University of Florida, Stanford University, Columbia University in New York and Louisiana State University.

The NSF leads in financial support for Advanced LIGO. Funding organizations in Germany (Max Planck Society), the U.K. (Science and Technology Facilities Council) and Australia (Australian Research Council) also have made significant commitments to the project.

Virgo research is carried out by the Virgo Collaboration, consisting of more than 250 physicists and engineers belonging to 19 different European research groups: six from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France; eight from the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare in Italy; two in The Netherlands with Nikhef; the Wigner RCP in Hungary; the POLGRAW group in Poland and the European Gravitational Observatory, the laboratory hosting the Virgo detector near Pisa in Italy.

“This is a momentous event,” Dooley said. “LIGO has opened our ears to the universe. For the first time ever, we can now listen to the cosmos.”

For more information on the UM LIGO team, go to

UM Recognized Among Country’s Elite Research Universities

Carnegie Classification recognizes R&D investment, doctoral degrees granted and faculty achievement

Caleb Ezell (left) and Eleanor Anthony, both students in the UM Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, work with English professor Gregory Heyworth to examine a 15th century Italian manuscript for Oberlin College. The work is part of the Lazarus Project, which uses multispectral imaging technology to analyze old and/or damaged documents and recover faded or erased text. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Caleb Ezell (left) and Eleanor Anthony, both students in the UM Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, work with English professor Gregory Heyworth to examine a 15th century Italian manuscript for Oberlin College. The work is part of the Lazarus Project, which uses multispectral imaging technology to analyze old and/or damaged documents and recover faded or erased text. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi is included in the elite group of R-1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the definitive list for the top doctoral research universities in the United States.

UM is among a distinguished group of 115 institutions including Harvard, MIT and Johns Hopkins in the “highest research,” or R-1 category. This group represents the top 2.5 percent of institutions of higher education.

The Carnegie Classification analyzes Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or IPEDS, data from all U.S. post-secondary institutions and evaluates measures of research activity for doctoral universities in making its assessments, which are released every five years.

“As a flagship university, the University of Mississippi is determined to play a key role in the cycle of research and discovery that drives and sustains our community and world,” Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. “This ranking was achieved thanks to our outstanding faculty and their dedication to research and education.”

The Carnegie Classification’s assignment to categories of highest, higher and moderate research activity is based on research and development expenditures, science and engineering research staff including post-doctoral candidates and non-faculty staff members with doctorates, and doctoral conferrals in humanities and social sciences fields, in STEM fields and in other areas such as business, education, public policy and social work.

Dr. Wael ElShamy, director of the UMMC Cancer Institute’s Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Program, has received a patent on a method to diagnose and treat several cancer types and subtypes. The method may lead to the first targeted therapy for triple negative breast cancer and add to therapies for other cancers.

Dr. Wael ElShamy, director of the UMMC Cancer Institute’s Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Program, has received a patent on a method to diagnose and treat several cancer types and subtypes. The method may lead to the first targeted therapy for triple negative breast cancer and add to therapies for other cancers.

Alice Clark, UM vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, applauded the university’s new classification and affirmed the vital economic role that a world-class research institution plays in the state and region.

“Attaining the Carnegie ‘highest research activity’ classification is historic for our university,” Clark said. “It illustrates the value we place on scholarly inquiry and the application of our expertise to understanding and improving our world and educating future leaders. Our faculty, staff and students deserve this recognition of their efforts to create and innovate.”

Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine at the UM Medical Center, was elated at the Carnegie distinction.

“We are very pleased and proud to be a part of a university where research and scholarly activity are highly valued,” she said. “From internationally renowned basic science research in physiology to large population studies being conducted through the MIND Center and the Jackson Heart Study, UMMC is leading the way in research on the diseases that impact Mississippians most.”

The university received more than $117 million in sponsored awards, with more than $105 million in research and development expenditures, during fiscal year 2015. Of that total, more than $77 million was in federal grants, more than $16 million was from foundations, about $11 million came from the state of Mississippi, approximately $8 million was from industry and roughly $4 million came from other sources.

UM researchers submitted 876 proposals and 546 research projects were funded in the last fiscal year.

Among the university’s most prestigious and longstanding research projects is the Jackson Heart Study. UMMC researchers are collaborating with Tougaloo College and Jackson State University on the world’s largest long-term study of cardiovascular risk factors in African-Americans.

In 2013, the university joined the American Heart Association and Boston University for “Heart Studies v2.0,” which will expand upon the landmark Framingham and Jackson studies to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular ailments.

The population study has followed the health of 5,000 participants, producing data that continues to yield insights into the underlying causes of cardiovascular disease. In 2013, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, each a part of the National Institutes of Health, announced renewed funding for the JHS.

Other long-term prestigious projects are the marijuana research project conducted by the university’s National Center for Natural Products Research, jet noise reduction studies at the National Center for Physical Acoustics, known as NCPA, and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory collaboration through the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Faculty and postdoctoral researchers in the physics department played major roles in the search and discovery of the Higgs boson, the subatomic particle thought to be responsible for all mass in the universe. The discovery was announced July 2012 by scientists at CERN, a multinational research center headquartered in Geneva.

Most recently, two faculty members within the physics department and NCPA received a $3 million Department of Energy grant to study nuclear fuel storage safety and stability.

Three Ole Miss professors received Faculty Early Career Development Awards from the National Science Foundation within the past eight months. Patrick Curtis, assistant professor of biology, is the seventh CAREER award recipient at the university in the last eight years. Sarah Liljegren, associate professor of biology, received the award last November and Jared Delcamp, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, earned a similar award in June 2015. This marks the first time three UM faculty members were selected in the same academic year.

From its first class of 80 students in 1848, UM has grown to a doctoral degree-granting university with 15 academic divisions and more than 23,800 students. Located on its main campus in Oxford are the College of Liberal Arts; the schools of Accountancy, Applied Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Journalism and New Media, Pharmacy and Law; and the Graduate School. The Medical Center in Jackson trains professionals in its schools of Medicine, Nursing, Health Related Professions, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Graduate Studies.

In all, more than 100 programs of study offer superior academic experiences that provide each graduate with the background necessary for a lifetime of scholastic, social and professional growth. Strengthening and expanding the academic experience are the acclaimed Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Croft Institute for International Studies and Lott Leadership Institute.

For more information about research at UM, visit

Vitter: UM, UMMC Collaboration Promotes Growth, Success

Dr. Jeffrey Vitter (left), the University of Mississippi's new chancellor, gets an explanation of how the trauma room at the pediatric ED operates from emergency medicine pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Dillard.

Jeffrey Vitter (left), the University of Mississippi’s new chancellor, gets an explanation of how the trauma room at the pediatric ED operates from emergency medicine pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Dillard.

When Jeffrey Vitter speaks of the University of Mississippi in Oxford, he speaks of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

“The University of Mississippi is one university, and the two campuses are incredibly important components,” said Vitter, who on Jan. 1 begins work as UM’s chancellor. “We have the synergy and the opportunities to collaborate, grow and expand, and we have a real competitive advantage if we can improve how faculty at both campuses collaborate.”

Vitter on Thursday spent the day at UMMC, meeting with faculty and staff and visiting hospitals and research facilities. His tour led by Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and School of Medicine dean, included the Guyton Research Center, the Conerly Critical Care Hospital, the Children’s Cancer Clinic, and the adult and pediatric Emergency Departments.

He got a bird’s-eye view of the expanse of the Medical Center at the helipad from which AirCare flies, and a visual update on construction of the new School of Medicine and the Translational Research Center.

“It was really an impressive display of how much this Medical Center means to the state of Mississippi,” said Vitter, who comes to UM after serving as provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas. “It really reinforced how important UMMC is to the state and nation.”

A computer scientist and New Orleans native, Vitter earned his undergraduate degree in math from the University of Notre Dame and his Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford. He also has an MBA from Duke.

Vitter, who hopes as chancellor to spend one day a week at UMMC, said during meetings with students on both campuses in October that his key areas of focus will be increasing academic excellence, building international ties, expanding research and fundraising, and improving diversity in faculty and staff.

During his tour of UMMC, Vitter visited Mississippi MED-COM and was briefed about the Medical Center’s critical role in statewide disaster response. MED-COM provides a single point of emergency and disaster contact statewide, explained Jonathan Wilson, UMMC’s chief administrative officer. “On our hand-held radios, we can talk (to emergency responders) from the Gulf Coast to Memphis,” Wilson said.

When the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf Coast unfolded in 2010, “we were the only common link between agencies,” said Donna Norris, MED-COM’s clinical director. “We were the hub that helped everyone link together.”

Dr. Renate Savich, professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Neonatology and Newborn Services, and Dr. Bolaji Famuyide, associate professor of pediatrics and neonatology and medical director of NICU and Nursery Services in the Division of Newborn Medicine, escorted Vitter through the 100-bed NICU, where he saw tiny babies receiving specialized care from nurses, physicians, residents and fellows.

“More space, and more modern space – that’s one of our most acute needs,” Woodward told Vitter.

“We have lots of caregivers here,” Savich said. “It’s a phenomenal mentality. We’re working hard.”

When Vitter stopped to chat with a half-dozen pediatric residents and fellows who were in a rounding group, he jokingly asked them what their favorite television medical show is. “Scrubs!” they answered, referring to the comedy that chronicled the lives of employees in a fictional teaching hospital.

The work of UMMC’s pediatric team, however, is serious, Savich said. “They’re talking about every patient. What’s the plan? What will we be doing for this patient over the next 24 hours?” she explained to Vitter. “It takes hours to round, because there are so many patients.”

“I was very impressed by the Children’s Hospital,” Vitter said following his campus tour. “I was extremely moved by the NICU, and the incredibly tiny infants brought up to be healthy individuals for a lifetime because of their care here.”

Just one example of collaboration between the two campuses, Vitter said, is “reporting data as a whole instead of for separate campuses. “Both campuses can do some much more if they can build on each other’s connections and strengths,” he said.

There’s a huge opportunity, Vitter said, to elevate the university nationally through building on the longstanding UM-UMMC relationship.

“The leadership team at UMMC is very strong,” he said. “I want to work to advance the university and help bring in the necessary resources, and to allow smooth operations with the state so we as a university can be as successful as possible.”