Ideas and Innovations


A College Without Walls

students on the GreenOn January 1, UAB’s schools of Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Social and Behavioral Sciences merged to create the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. The School of Education also has been incorporated into the college but retains its identity as a distinct unit. The merger will not affect students’ majors or their progress toward a degree. Jean Ann Linney, Ph.D., formerly dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences, is the college’s interim dean. In announcing the move, UAB President Carol Garrison, Ph.D., and Provost Eli Capilouto, D.M.D., Sc.D., M.P.H., said that the new college will strengthen interdisciplinary research and scholarship, enhance advising and other student services, pave the way for improved retention and graduation rates, and offer an innovative approach to today’s learning and teaching challenges.

 

Team Approach

The UAB School of Health Professions (SHP) and the Lakeshore Foundation—an acclaimed rehabilitation center based in Birmingham—have joined forces to create a premier research program in rehabilitative science. The Lakeshore Foundation/UAB Research Collaborative is funded by $2 million from Lakeshore, which will help establish an SHP endowed chair; a nationwide search will recruit a rehabilitative-science leader to hold the chair and direct the collaborative. “Lakeshore is world-renowned for its fitness, recreation, and sports programs, as is UAB for research expertise and infrastructure,” says SHP dean Harold Jones, Ph.D. “Together we can validate successful therapies, develop promising therapeutic strategies, and disseminate the results to the world rehabilitation community.”

 

Smile for the Camera

sp2010_dentist2Dentistry and digital video come together in the new BioHorizons Clinical Research Facility at the UAB School of Dentistry. Faculty and students will use the facility to evaluate innovative implants, crowns, digital impression devices, and ceramic and other dental materials. Digital cameras help UAB extend outreach and professional training by streaming video to distance-learning sites and rural dentists. BioHorizons, an oral reconstructive device company and UAB spin-off, and various donors contributed project funds and equipment installation.

 

Field Notes: Students Learn on Location

  • BULGARIA—Students in a UAB experimental theatre class performed an original play in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. Orpheus: An Experimental Myth explores the ancient Greek tale through music, vocals, sound, and expressive, abstract movement. Following the performances, the class, joined by other UAB theatre students, traveled to Greece to research the play Eurydice, based on the same Greek myth, for a Theatre UAB performance.
  • MASSACHUSETTS—A trio of UAB computer and information sciences doctoral students won the People’s Choice Award in the national finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup international technology competition. The team developed graphical medical software that runs on handheld devices and provides patient diagnoses and treatment information; the interface relies on illustrations of the body to help health-care workers in developing countries—who often have only a basic knowledge of reading and writing—to care for expectant mothers and children. The UAB team won the award after receiving more online votes than 15 other teams in the finals.
  • TUSCALOOSA COUNTY—UAB anthropology students helped unearth pieces of Alabama’s past at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, a Civil War industrial site. The class helped excavate the slave quarters, finding pottery, plates, and nails; they also learned how to record, analyze, and interpret the artifacts. The experience was part of a course examining the history, archaeology, and culture of slavery, from the ancient Near East to modern human trafficking.

 

 

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Powerful Piece

“Field of Reeds,” a large kinetic work by John Powers, M.F.A., UAB assistant professor of sculpture, won seventh place in an international art competition attracting more than 1,200 entries (click image above to see larger version). The winners of ArtPrize, held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, were determined by votes from the public. Powers’s sculpture features 1,001 vertical, swaying reeds set in motion by an electric motor. To peek inside Powers’s studio as he creates another kinetic sculpture, click here.

 

Scientific Match

sp10_rmlogosmVolunteers who want to participate in medical research now have an easy, convenient way to find studies that fit them. UAB and 41 other institutions have linked up with ResearchMatch.org, the first national, not-for-profit research recruitment registry. The site’s purpose is to connect volunteers and researchers so that scientists have enough participants to complete their studies, which can quicken the discovery and development of new medical advances. Volunteers can register at www.ResearchMatch.org.


"The Team is Docking the Robot Now..."

A worldwide audience joined UAB surgeon Martin Heslin, M.D., live in the operating room last October when UAB “tweeted” its first surgery. As Heslin successfully removed a tumor in a robotic adrenalectomy procedure, a medical coordinator offered minute-by-minute commentary on the social networking site Twitter.com. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook are now popular communications tools on campus. UAB Parking and Transportation Services, for example, uses both to update students and staff about street closings, construction, and special events. Read more

 

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Social Studies

Social networking sites aren’t just for fun—or for the young. As part of a five-year, $1.9-million grant from the National Institute on Aging, graduate students in UAB’s departments of sociology and social work are helping 300 senior adults in Alabama assisted- and independent-living facilities learn to use the Internet, e-mail, and Facebook and other social networking sites. UAB sociologist and principal investigator Shelia Cotten, Ph.D., says that once older adults “cross the digital divide,” they often find it easier to take control of their health and wellness.

sp2010_chalktalkChalk Talk

A new art installation in the School of Public Health has sparked heated debate—which is just what dean Max Michael, M.D., had in mind. Michael wanted to “further communication within the school in a fun way,” so he challenged Birmingham artist Justin Cordes to design a sculpture for the school’s lobby that would get people talking. Cordes created three stylized structures connected by two large chalkboards, complete with chalk and eraser, where students and faculty can speak their minds on public health issues near and far. Since the comments are largely anonymous, says Michael, “it’s a safe, private way to share ideas publicly—much like commenting on Internet blogs.”