Sightings and Soundings

2009_sands1THOUGHT LEADER

UAB has earned a top-five ranking among U.S. institutions in The Scientist magazine’s new list of the best places to work in academia. Others in the top five include the J. David Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, Princeton University, New York’s Trudeau Institute, and Michigan State University. The rankings are the result of a survey in which the magazine’s readers assess their working environments according to several criteria, from infrastructure and research resources to relationships with coworkers and mentors.

CREATIVE SPARK

2009_sands2UAB art students got into the heat of the action at Birmingham’s historic Sloss Furnaces, learning to create cast-iron sculpture alongside resident metal artists. Beginning with wax versions of their works, the students built sculpture molds out of hard sand, then suited up to pour in molten iron heated to 2,450 degrees Fahrenheit. See more photosof the pour and the finished sculptures.

BEST REGARDS

2009_sands3The nation’s largest investigation of stroke disparities just got a little bit bigger. The REGARDS (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) study received a $20.8-million grant renewal from the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke to continue research into regional and racial differences in stroke illness and death. The study’s aim is to determine reasons for higher stroke death rates in the “Stroke Belt” stretching across Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. Researchers are also investigating genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that may explain why stroke rates are higher for African Americans than whites. “One of the great strengths of this study is that we go into the communities and into the homes of study participants to gather the measurements that we need, from height and weight to blood pressure readings, prescription names, and other details,” says UAB biostatistician George Howard, Dr.P.H., the study’s principal investigator. “Other studies, like the Framingham Heart Study or the Cardiovascular Health Study, ask participants to go into the clinic.”

GOODBYE TO BASIC BLACK

2009_sands4Stuffy black graduation robes are a thing of the past at UAB, which rolled out its first Green & Gold Commencement in May. Half of the 2,083 spring graduates took part, sporting green and gold robes at Bartow Arena. The robes “are a new tradition at UAB,” says Doug Rigney, Ph.D., vice president for student affairs. “Over the past few years we have seen the opening of the Campus Recreation Center; the Dining Commons; Blazer Hall, our freshman residence hall; and Heritage Hall, our new academic classroom building. School spirit has never been higher.” The commencement address was delivered by technology entrepreneur Julie Hanna, who received the National Alumni Society’s Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award. The founder of Scalix, an open-source leader in corporate e-mail software, Hanna received her bachelor’s degree in computer and information sciences from UAB in 1987. An honorary doctor of humanities was given to Herman Bolden, a donor to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and other charities.

 

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