UM, General Atomics to Collaborate on Unmanned Submarine Technology

Company moving into Insight Park offices and labs Nov. 1

The University of Mississippi and General Atomics are working together to develop new technology for unmanned underwater vehicles. The joint effort is based at UM’s Insight Park. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi and General Atomics are beginning an on-campus collaborative effort focusing on acoustic sensing and navigation technologies for unmanned underwater vehicles to aid Department of Defense operations in deep-sea areas.

GA Electromagnetic Systems Group will occupy offices on the UM campus at Insight Park beginning Nov. 1. The Insight Park facility will help GA-EMS strengthen the relationship established with UM and its National Center for Physical Acoustics to facilitate the investigation of acoustic-based techniques for navigation and control of unmanned underwater systems.

The collaboration ultimately will likely involve not just the NCPA, but other campus groups as well, said Josh Gladden, UM interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs.

“We are so pleased to have General Atomics plug into the university community through Insight Park,” Gladden said. “Over the course of the past year, we have identified multiple research groups on campus that could partner with GA-EMS to help find solutions for modern needs of the Department of Defense.

“I’m sure as our partnership continues to strengthen, both GA and UM will find this a mutually beneficial relationship.”

GA-EMS has a history of collaboration with universities to advance acoustic and infrasound technologies. This partnership is a natural one, said William Nicholas, Insight Park’s assistant director.

“Our location provides GA-EMS with close proximity to the National Center for Physical Acoustics and other key schools, colleges and centers at the University of Mississippi,” Nicholas said. “We are especially excited to provide our students with opportunities to intern with such an innovative company.”

Officials with the company look forward to being on-site at UM to continue researching and developing critical technologies designed for real-world applications, said Hank Rinehart, business lead for surveillance and sensor systems at GA-EMS.

“The broad spectrum of talent at Ole Miss and the focus on engineering disciplines is a great match for GA-EMS,” Rinehart said. “We are excited to work with students and faculty in an environment that not only advances game-changing technologies, but also fosters community growth and entrepreneurship.”

GA-EMS will initially occupy approximately 1,800 square feet of office space and laboratory for general electronic and mechanical systems and subsystems development, testing and prototyping. It is expected to expand operations to 3,500 square feet within the first half of 2018.

The company also has extensive manufacturing facilities in Tupelo and Iuka.

About General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group is a global leader in the research, design and manufacture of first-of-a-kind electromagnetic and electric power generation systems. GA-EMS’ history of research, development and technology innovation has led to an expanding portfolio of specialized products and integrated system solutions supporting aviation, space systems and satellites, missile defense, power and energy, and processing and monitoring applications for critical defense, industrial and commercial customers worldwide.

University, ERDC Officials Discuss Partnership Opportunities

UM aims to increase collaborations with agency on several research projects

UM Vice Chancellor for Research Josh Gladden (far right) chats with (from left) ERDC Deputy Director David Pittman, NCPA Director Craig Hickey and ERDC Director James Holland during a visit Feb. 9 to the National Center for Physical Acoustics. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Several University of Mississippi administrators met with two top representatives from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center who visited campus Thursday (Feb. 9) to discuss strengthening mutually beneficial collaborations.

ERDC Director Jeff Holland and Deputy Director David Pittman visited Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter; Alex Cheng, dean of the School of Engineering; and Craig Hickey, interim director of the National Center for Physical Acoustics, to talk about funding opportunities and strategies. The ERDC officials also met with William Nicholas, director of the Hub at Insight Park; and Ryan Miller, associate director of the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence.

“We’ve had a wonderful relationship with the University of Mississippi for many years,” Holland said. “While it’s important that researchers at both ERDC and the university collaborate with each other, it’s also important that senior administrators at both places do the same. I believe we absolutely accomplished that objective today.”

Both Cheng and Hickey touted the value of the visit.

“In terms of engineering research, EDRC is one of the strongest assets in the state of Mississippi,” Cheng said. “The School of Engineering looks forward to educating students for high-tech careers who, hopefully, will seek and find employment at ERDC, thereby boosting the state’s economic growth.”

“As primarily a research organization on campus, NCPA and ERDC have multiple common research areas of interests,” Hickey said. “I can foresee scientists at both facilities continuing to communicate and increasing collaboration.”

Before Thursday’s meetings, UM and ERDC officials conducted visits, tours and calls at both sites. They agreed that the resilience of earthen dams and levees is a topic with mutual interest and capabilities that meets a national need.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter (left) enjoys conversations with (from left) ERDC Director James Holland and Deputy Director David Pittman during a visit to the Lyceum. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

“Over the past several years, UM and ERDC have put more energy into exploring collaborations, and we are excited about new opportunities that are emerging,” said Josh Gladden, interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs.

Last fall, the university signed an Educational Partnership Agreement and joined the ERDC Graduate Institute. The move allows both Ole Miss and ERDC to host coursework, pursue internships and engage in other activities.

The university and ERDC have shared interest and expertise in infrasound and earthen dam and levee monitoring and assessment, Gladden said.

“There are immediate opportunities in these fields for us to pursue together,” he said. “Other areas of potential collaboration are acoustic monitoring techniques for fish ecology, sediment transport, blast- resistant materials and general disaster resilience. As our relationship strengthens, it is likely this list will expand.

“Dr. Holland and I are on the same page about the need to foster higher-tech businesses in the state. They have looked at the business ecosystems around other large government research facilities which have vibrant small high-tech startups as potential models for ERDC and Vicksburg.”

Pittman and Miller said the agency’s partnership with the university will result in continued successful outcomes.

“We’ve had a wonderful association with the University of Mississippi for many decades,” Pittman said. “With new leaders coming into place, we look forward to our relationship becoming even stronger.”

“Having Drs. Holland and Pittman on campus was a great honor and a testament to the relationship we have with them and want to continue developing,” Miller said. “They had a great tour of the CME and discussed how manufacturing education here might play into research that ERDC is doing.”

UM is included in the elite group of R1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the definitive list of the nation’s top doctoral research universities. The group, which includes Harvard, MIT and Johns Hopkins, represents 2.5 percent of institutions of higher education in the U.S.

UM Volunteers Working at Career Expo in Tupelo

Three-day event designed to help junior high school students focus on opportunities

UM Field Station Director Scott Knight (center) shares with 8th grade students during the Career Expo. (Submitted photo by William Nicholas)

UM Field Station Director Scott Knight (center) shares with eighth-grade students during the Career Expo. Submitted photo by William Nicholas

OXFORD, Miss. – More than 60 University of Mississippi staff and students are working to get area eighth-graders thinking about their future at the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo this week.

The event began today (Oct. 4) and ends Thursday (Oct. 6) at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo.

With the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund at CREATE Foundation as its lead sponsor, the three-day expo is designed to make eighth-graders aware of opportunities available after graduation. Some 7,000 students from more than 70 schools, including Oxford and Lafayette County schools, are expected.

“Our primary responsibility will be to manage UM’s various exhibits and engage with the students,” said William Nicholas, director of economic development at UM’s Insight Park and one of the organizers. “However, there will be ample opportunity to contribute in a number of ways. They need volunteers to check-in students, manage parking, distribute packets, distribute water, door greeters and so forth.”

Other UM organizers for expo are Ellen Shelton, director of pre-college programs in the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education; John Holleman, director of graduate studies in the School of Education; and Allyson Best, associate director for technology management in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

Other UM divisions participating include the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence, the Center for Mathematics and Science Education, the UM Field Station, the Center for Intelligence and Security Studies and the university’s Tupelo regional campus.

“The CREATE Foundation was created to support an improved quality of life for people residing in 17 counties in northeast Mississippi, including Lafayette County,” Nicholas said. “CREATE does a number of things to fulfill their mission, and this expo is one of them. Dr. Alice Clark, vice chancellor for university relations, serves on the board.

Amanda Pham (forefront) of UM's Center for Mathematics and Science Education gave a robotics demonstration during the Expo. (Submitted photo by William Nicholas)

Amanda Pham (forefront) of UM’s Center for Mathematics and Science Education gave a robotics demonstration during the Expo. (Submitted photo by William Nicholas)

“UM is participating in the expo because we share in CREATE’s passion to connect with eighth-grade students and help them understand career opportunities available after graduation.”

Other Ole Miss organizers affirmed Nicholas’ observation.

“We want the participants to know that their experiences with UM can begin with summer programs for junior high and high school students,” Shelton said.

“The opportunity for eighth-grade students to connect with a wide variety of career functions represented at the career expo truly allows them to begin thinking about the world of work,” Holleman said.

The Imagine the Possibilities expo features activities connected to 18 career pathways: aerospace; agriculture, food and natural resources; architecture and construction; arts, A/V technology and communications; business management and administration; education and training; energy; engineering; finance; government and public administration; health science; hospitality and tourism; human services; information technology; law, public safety, corrections and security; manufacturing; marketing; and transportation, distribution and logistics.

UM Graduates Selected for Prestigious Business Development Program

Developers of Curtsy dress rental app headed to Silicon Valley to expand venture

Students listed left to right; (back row) Sara Kiparizoska, Manuel Cubillo, William Ault, Eli Allen, Jake Johnson, Mary Margaret Tardy (front row) Clara Agnes Ault, Haley Vassios, Allie Seay

The full Curtsy team listed left to right; (back row) Sara Kiparizoska, Manuel Cubillo, William Ault, Eli Allen, Jake Johnson, Mary Margaret Tardy (front row) Clara Agnes Ault, Haley Vassios, Allie Seay

OXFORD, Miss. – Two University of Mississippi graduates have landed major support from a Silicon Valley business incubator as they work to expand their mobile platform that helps college students rent formalwear to and from fellow students.

Sara Kiparizoska, of Laurel, who graduated earlier this month with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, and William Ault, a 2015 graduate in computer science from Charlotte, North Carolina, created an app called Curtsy that helps university students rent their formalwear or other clothes.

Curtsy is among 100 startups chosen for a summer program at the Y Combinator, one of the country’s best-known and successful business incubators and accelerators. Companies such as Dropbox and Airbnb have their roots there. This is the first time a Mississippi company has been chosen by the investment group.

“We are thrilled to be accepted and now will be moving to California,” Ault said. “Y Combinator has the most successful model in starting high-impact, high-growth companies. We are excited for the opportunity to refine our product and grow as fast as possible.”

Y Combinator will provide seed funding of $120,000 in exchange for 7 percent equity in each startup company that satisfactorily completes the three-month program.

Ault, Kiparizoska and their team are moving to California for the summer to immerse themselves in the entrepreneurial and technological culture of Silicon Valley. They’ll exchange ideas and experiences with similar companies, learn all they can and work to build Curtsy into the premier platform in their market.

Eli Allen,David Oates and William Ault

Eli Allen,David Oates and William Ault

Curtsy’s story began in early 2015, when Kiparizoska was going to a formal social event but found herself without a dress that matched the occasion. She’d previously borrowed dresses from friends but this time couldn’t find one she liked.

“I thought, ‘Wow, I wish there was a way to see everyone’s closets in Oxford,'” Kiparizoska said.

She initially thought she would create a website, but when she mentioned the idea to Ault, her roommate’s brother, he had an idea that would make the platform more accessible.

“William, being the entrepreneurial mind that he is, said, ‘Everyone has their phone with them all the time. Let’s make an app instead,'” she said.

Curtsy iOS LLC was born.

The business got off the ground at Insight Park, the university’s research park, where Ault had interned, working with other student-led startups in the facility’s incubator. He knew Insight Park could provide the resources and entrepreneurial atmosphere to help their young company grow.

By honing their idea through the university’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship student competitions and receiving seed money from the Rebel Venture Capital Fund, Ault and Kiparizoska put together a team and successfully launched Curtsy in January 2016.

The app is widely used in the Oxford area. Some 3,100 people have signed up for it and 2,100 dresses have been posted, generating 300 rentals in the last 100 days.

Expansion has already begun to the Southeastern Conference towns of Starkville; Athens, Georgia; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; and Columbia, South Carolina. Plans call for Curtsy to expand to the rest of the SEC this summer.

With the app’s increasing popularity and user base, the developers knew they were ready to take the next step. They applied to Y Combinator, knowing that Curtsy’s application was far from a sure thing. Of roughly 6,000 applicants, only 100 startups were chosen for the summer program.

Although the company is moving and Ault is excited about the program and opportunities for guidance under Y Combinator, Curtsy’s roots are at Ole Miss, he said.

“We went from students with an idea to a company raising venture capital from large firms in California,” Ault said. “We’re two years into our overnight success. There were plenty of points when we could’ve turned away, but we’ve poured our lives into this project, and the hard work is just starting.”

University and Insight Park officials are confident of the group’s success.

“William and Sara are outstanding entrepreneurs,” said William Nicholas, UM director of economic development and Insight Park. “Both of them are very bright and high achievers, but they are also quick to seek and accept advice when necessary. They demonstrate many of the key characteristics of successful entrepreneurs, and I am confident they will be very successful.”

After the summer program concludes, Kiparizoska plans to continue working with the team this fall while attending medical school at the UM Medical Center in Jackson.

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 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 http://research.olemiss.edu/.

UM Vice Chancellor Honored as Prestigious AAAS Fellow

Alice Clark cited for research achievements, service to National Institutes of Health

Alice M. Clark

Alice M. Clark

OXFORD, Miss. – Alice M. Clark, vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs and Frederick A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor of Pharmacognosy at the University of Mississippi, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Election as a fellow is bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers based on the candidates’ scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. This year’s 401 new AAAS fellows will be formally announced in the Nov. 28 issue of the journal Science, the largest peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with 1 million readers.

“This is an outstanding recognition of Vice Chancellor Alice Clark’s accomplishments,” said Morris Stocks, UM provost. “She is an exemplary educator and a distinguished scientist who holds the respect of her colleagues. Her commitment to excellence is matched only by her commitment to research and service.”

Being named an AAAS fellow is one of the highest honors in the sciences and engineering, one shared by only three other current UM faculty members. Clark joins Julius Cruse, professor and director of immunopathology in the UM School of Medicine, who was elected in 1970; Marjorie Holland, a professor of biology who was elected in 1991; and Steven Case, professor of biochemistry in the School of Medicine, who was elected in 2002.

Stephen Duke, research leader at the USDA Agricultural Research Service unit in the university’s National Center for Natural Products Research, also is an AAAS fellow, elected in 1993. Russell Aven, a retired UM professor of chemical engineering, was elected in 1960 and former pharmacognosy professor James McChesney was elected in 1995.

“I am deeply honored and humbled by this recognition,” Clark said. “I realize my good fortune to have enjoyed an exciting and fulfilling career at an institution that values scholarship and service to society. I also know full well that whatever accomplishments are attributed to me are, in truth, shared accomplishments with my many colleagues here at the University of Mississippi and throughout the country with whom I’ve had the privilege to work. I accept this honor as a tribute to our collective efforts over 35 years.”

A member of the organization’s Section on Pharmaceutical Sciences, Clark was cited for her “tremendous contributions to pharmacognosy of anti-infective agents, leadership in university science and stellar service to the National Institutes of Health review system.”

As part of that system, Clark has served on for many years or chaired scientific review panels that evaluate NIH and other grant applications to help the agencies fund the most promising research.

Clark earned her bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Troy State University and her master’s and doctoral degrees in pharmacognosy at UM. After spending a year as a Robert F. Welch Fellow at the Drug Dynamics Institute at the University of Texas, she returned to Ole Miss, where she helped establish the longest continually funded antifungal research program in NIH history.

Working in the School of Pharmacy, Clark and colleagues, including Charles Hufford, the school’s associate dean for research and graduate programs, found and patented several compounds that killed or inhibited Candida albicans, the fungus behind an opportunistic infection that threatens AIDS patients and others with compromised immune systems. The team’s research program has been funded by NIH since 1984 and has brought in more than $7.4 million and led to the identification of many new natural products.

They also developed a microbial model for predicting the human metabolites of primaquine, an antimalarial drug that produces hemolytic anemia in some people and to which some parasites have become immune.

Clark has authored or contributed to more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles and numerous invited book chapters, nonrefereed publications and presentations.

She also has served on NIH’s AIDS and Related Research Experimental Therapeutics Study Section and on the Biorganic and Natural Products Chemistry Study Section, and is associate editor of the Journal of Natural Products. She is a past president of the American Society of Pharmacognosy and an American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Fellow, a designation limited to the association’s top pharmaceutical scientists.

For her successes, Clark was awarded the university’s Burlington Northern Foundation Faculty Achievement Award for Outstanding Teaching and Scholarship in 1989 and the School of Pharmacy Faculty Research Award in 1993. She was named the director of the then-new National Center for Natural Products Research in 1996 and was named as a Frederick A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor in 1998.

Since 2001, she has served as the university’s chief research officer, working to increase awareness of the university’s research enterprise and serving as an advocate for all faculty researchers as they seek funding and recognition for their efforts.

“In her role as vice chancellor, Dr. Clark has made great strides in advancing scientific research in countless university programs,” said David D. Allen, dean of the UM School of Pharmacy. “Her commitment to research awareness has been demonstrated repeatedly through her many efforts at the national level, specifically by serving on National Institutes of Health scientific review panels. She even put together a Pharmaceutical Sciences session for the AAAS annual meeting last year.

“We are fortunate that she spent two decades working for the pharmacy school before assuming her current post. This incredible honor from AAAS is well-deserved, and I congratulate her on this achievement.”

In her role as vice chancellor, Clark coordinated the university’s involvement in Blueprint Mississippi, an extensive one-year research project focusing on how public and private sectors can strengthen and expand the state’s economy and competitiveness, and responses to Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She also has overseen the development of Insight Park, the university’s research park, and its centerpiece, the Innovation Hub.

“Through visionary leadership, meritorious efforts and unwavering dedication, Dr. Clark has helped lead the University of Mississippi through a period of remarkable growth and scientific achievement,” Stocks said. “I am pleased that Dr. Clark has been recognized and selected for this tremendous honor. She has made a profound and lasting impact on the University of Mississippi. We are indebted to Dr. Clark for her countless contributions.”

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society. Founded in 1848, it includes 254 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Besides Science, the association also publishes the journals Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling.

The nonprofit is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education and more. For more information, go to http://www.aaas.org.

UM Efforts Recognized in TVA Community Sustainability Program

Announcement scheduled for Jan. 28 at Insight Park

Insight Park

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s combined sustainability efforts are being recognized as Oxford-Lafayette County is designated a Tennessee Valley Authority Valley Sustainable Gold Community.

“The Office of Sustainability was thrilled to make the solid connection between sustainability and economic development and demonstrate that the two are mutually beneficial,” said Anne McCauley, assistant director of UM’s Office of Sustainability. “It allows us to reach a whole new audience and groups of people who are also working to strengthen communities.”

A program officially announcing the award is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday (Jan. 28) at the Innovation Hub at Insight Park. Ian Banner, director of UM Office of Sustainability, university architect and facilities planning director, will welcome visitors to the event on behalf of the university. Other scheduled appearances include Janice Antonow, Oxford alderman; Jon Maynard, president and CEO of the L-O-U Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation; former Oxford Mayor Richard Howorth; and John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of economic development.

“For our recently established Innovation Hub and Insight Park, the designation is a key marketing advantage,” said Richard Duke, Insight Park executive director. “Being located in a mixed-use, sustainable environment is key to attracting the knowledge-based companies we are targeting and recruiting with help from partners, like TVA Economic Development.”

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Where the Crime Lab Meets the Classroom

EPSCoR Mississippi program invigorates middle school science teachers

Kristy Tindall (left) and Kimberly Jackson conduct a blood spatter experiment.

OXFORD, Miss. – More than a dozen north Mississippi middle school science teachers recently spent two weeks studying blood spatter and footprint evidence, but they weren’t helping search for a killer. Rather, they were looking for new ways to engage their students in the classroom.

The teachers attended a workshop at the University of Mississippi on using crime scene investigation strategies. Called Creative Sciences through Inquiry, aka CSI Mississippi, the program provides professional development for in-service teachers each year. This is the first time it has been hosted in north Mississippi.

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Young Business Owner Thrives at Insight Park

Ole Miss alumnus takes fast track to launch to own health care product business, go international

Jonathan Scala.  Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Jonathan Scala. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Walking the halls at the University of Mississippi’s Insight Park, one might glimpse a lean young man dressed in Ole Miss tennis gear and mistake him for an MBA intern. But Jonathan Scala is nobody’s intern – he’s the unassuming president and CEO of JS Health Partners.

And he might be dressed casually because he’s headed out to Dubai to discuss expanding his business globally.

A native of San Diego, Scala went to high school in Oxford and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accountancy at Ole Miss. He became a licensed CPA in Tennessee and, after working in public accounting only six months, became a vice president of finance for a commodity trading and distribution firm. Two years later, in 2009, he started JS Health Partners.Read the story …