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Bird flu web site provides updates, health information

 

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University Gazette

 

bullet Carolina First: Gift of the Month
bullet Shelton is finalist for University of Arizona post
bullet Massey award nomination forms due by Feb. 2
bullet Employee Forum News: Employee Forum opens year with daylong retreat
bullet JOMC school announces three finalists for dean
bullet UNC safety campaign aimed at crosswalks on campus
bullet University to again host international conference
bullet UNC, VPI receive grant to create new SILS curriculum
bullet UNC leads public research universities in study abroad
bullet Robertson grant applications open  
bullet Studies search for treatment for lung problems

bullet Health declining as youth become adults, study finds

bullet RENCI helps with tools for understanding melanoma

bullet Ernie Williamson Athletics Center: A new era for Carolina sports

bullet Whitman, former EPA head and N.J. governor, will speak Feb. 13

bullet Campus police urge caution, offer safety tips in wake of recent robbery

bullet LearnIT workshops available for high-performance computing

bullet EPAWeb system developed to help manage employee information

Carolina First: Gift of the Month

DECEMBER 2005  

bullet Gift: $1,333,000  

bullet Donor:        Don Caudle, Winston-Salem  

bullet Purpose:  Medical Foundation  

Winston Salem’s Don Caudle, a 1979 philosophy graduate of Carolina, has committed $1.333 million to the Medical Foundation to fund a professorship in transplant surgery. Caudle is the proprietor of Pinehurst Golf Realty in Pinehurst.  

This 2005 fiscal year, the Carolina First Campaign reached $100 million in gifts and grants in record time. The December tally raised the fiscal year total to more than $106 million, as Carolina broke the $100 million mark before the end of the calendar year for the first time. December was the fifth biggest month since the campaign began.

bullet Amount of campaign complete:
76 percent

bullet Amount raised in December:
$30.7 million

bullet Campaign runs through:
Dec. 31, 2007

bullet More information: carolinafirst.unc.edu

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Shelton is finalist for University of Arizona post

Robert Shelton photo
Shelton

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Robert Shelton met with administration, faculty, staff and students of the University of Arizona on Jan. 20 as part of the selection process for the next campus president. Shelton is among four finalists for the position.

Fred Boice, chair of the University of Arizona Presidential Search Committee, announced the names of four candidates who accepted an invitation to interview with the search committee on Jan. 18 and 19.

Following those interviews, the search committee recommended that the university consider all four to replace Peter Likins, retiring president.

“The University of Arizona has paid Carolina the highest compliment by looking to Robert Shelton as a candidate to become its next leader,” Chancellor James Moeser said. “Though his departure would be a major loss for our University, I have no doubt that he is ready to assume such an important leadership role for the Arizona university system.”

Under Shelton, Carolina has made excellent progress in advancing the process by which we manage our academic programs, particularly in developing our annual budget proposal and guiding a process that produced our academic plan, Moeser said.

“He has earned the trust of the University community through hard work focused on making Carolina even better,” Moeser continued. “He has been an effective and collegial advocate for faculty, academic and research needs, while at the same time maintaining a balanced perspective on the best interests of the entire University.”

The other finalists are: Tom Campbell, dean and professor of business, Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley; Deborah A. Freund, vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost and Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and Economics, Syracuse University; and Yash P. Gupta, Dean and Professor of Operations Management, Robert R. Dockson dean’s chair in business administration, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California.

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Massey award nomination forms due by Feb. 2

Nominations are due on Feb. 2 for this year’s C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Awards. Bestowed for “unusual, meritorious or superior contribution made by an employee, past or present,” these awards may be given by the chancellor to “any living full-time or part-time employee, whether faculty or staff.”

Nominations may be submitted by completing an online nomination form at www.unc.edu/masseyawards/nominate. 

Letters of nomination may be sent instead to: Carolyn Squires, C. Knox Massey Awards Committee, University Development Office, CB# 6100, 208 West Franklin St. Nominations received after 5 p.m. on Feb. 2 will be considered in 2007.

Each nomination should contain the name of the proposed recipient, whether the nominee is a present or past University employee (if past, an indication of the dates when the nominee was employed), a brief description of the service rendered, why the contribution is considered sufficiently “unusual, meritorious or superior” to deserve an award and the signature of the nominator.

Because of the signature requirement, nominations and seconds will not be accepted by fax or e-mail.

To receive a copy of guidelines and past recipients, call 962-1536 or e-mail Squires at carolyn_squires@unc.edu.

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Employee Forum News

Employee Forum opens year with daylong retreat

Chancellor, others discuss key
staff issues facing UNC in 2006  

Employee Forum members brought fresh ideas and goals to a retreat Jan. 11 at the Friday Center. Chair Ernie Patterson welcomed about 50 delegates to the meeting, which included comments from Chancellor James Moeser, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Robert Shelton and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Nancy Suttenfield.

NEW COMMITTEE STRUCTURE  

During the annual retreat, Employee Forum delegates unanimously approved a new committee structure. These committees focus on areas of importance to the University. The new standing committees are:

bullet Executive

bullet Communications and Public Relations

bullet Community Affairs, Recognition, Awards and Outreach

bullet Compensation and Wages

bullet Education and Career Development

bullet Health Benefits

bullet Legislative Action

bullet Membership and Assignments

bullet Staff Relations, Policies and Practices

Moeser began the meeting with encouraging words for employees.

“The good news is that the economy of the state is good,” he said. “There is a projected budget surplus. I am optimistic that we will see decent salary increases for state employees.”

This report drew applause from the delegates in attendance.

Employee compensation is again a top priority, Moeser said.

“The state has resources and we need to make a major push for compensation,” he said, “meaning more than salary. We need to improve salaries and benefits.

Shelton said this is the first budget surplus he has seen in five years at Carolina.

“Although, we really won’t know what the surplus means until May,” he said. “The governor has said he will put his budget out then. But, there is reason to be optimistic.”

The UNC system is also entering a honeymoon period with a new leader, Moser added.

“All of us are energized and excited by Erskine Bowles, the new president of the university system,” Moeser said. “I have had several opportunities already to work with him. He has told his own staff at General Administration that they are the staff for the universities.”

Following his address, forum members asked the chancellor about campus issues. Among the most important topics was construction on main campus and the end of available space.

“The development of Carolina North is so important for UNC,” he said. “Our ability to support with infrastructure and the cost of construction has taken us to a critical tipping point. We are coming to the virtual full build out of the main campus. Our room for expansion is in fact Carolina North.”

Employees also asked about effectively co-governing the campus.

“That is what I want,” Moeser said. “We are not an authoritarian organization. We operate most effectively when people believe that something is the right thing to do. All of your meetings and activities are opportunities for us to understand each other and move forward as a community,”

Suttenfield thanked members and applauded their efforts.

“The Employee Forum and its members are leaders on this campus,” she said. “You are more than just representatives - you are leaders as well. You create an environment for others to do their best work. I look forward to working with you in the coming year on the important issue of compensation, but also on the other issues wherein we share a common interest for making Carolina as good as it can possibly be.”

Employees later gathered in smaller group sessions to share concerns and comments on a rotating basis with Shelton, Suttenfield and Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest.

Employees voiced concern over the costs of supplies, parking, new employee orientation, health care, sustainability and state funding.

“With regard to the universities, we have a special situation here in North Carolina,” Shelton told one group. “There are two states that support, on a per capita basis, the public universities far and away better than any others: California and North Carolina. Citizens of North Carolina have always supported higher education. That said, our state support is a smaller percentage of our budget than ever before. It is about 23 or 24 percent of our total budget each year.”

Finding the right balance between state support of higher education and the individual contribution to the cost of attending college is important to the future, Shelton said. The median income for the family of a child at Carolina is more than $100,000, he noted, which can affect expected contributions to the cost of attending UNC.

One delegate asked about proposals that will increase the number of out-of-state students admitted to UNC.

“We have guaranteed to increase the number of North Carolina students we admit,” Shelton said. “The percentage may go down, but the actual number of in-state students will go up. The number one reason in-students give for not attending UNC is that there are too many students from their class coming already. There is a question of balance and diversity among students.”

In closing remarks, Moeser thanked employees for their efforts on behalf of the University.

“To all of you who are starting the new term, what you do is important,” he said. “You don’t have to do this. We recognize that this is a voluntary effort on your part to come together, to work together to make this University a better place for everyone.”

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Journalism school announces three finalists for dean

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication Dean Search Committee recently named Laurence Alexander, Jean Folkerts and Charles Self as finalists for dean of the school. Each planned visits to campus for late January.

Laurence Alexander is a professor and former chair of the department of journalism at the University of Florida. Since joining the faculty in 1991, he has taught courses in mass media law and newspaper editing. His research focuses on legal issues involved in newsgathering, and he has written extensively on the testimonial privilege of journalists.

A native of New Orleans, Alexander received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Orleans, a Master of Arts from the University of Florida and a law degree from Tulane University. Before working at the University of Florida, he served on the faculty of Temple University and the University of New Orleans. He will visit the school Jan. 25 to Jan. 27.

Jean Folkerts is professor of honors and of media and public affairs at George Washington University. At George Washington, she has served as director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, interim dean of Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and associate vice president of Special Academic Initiatives.

Before entering academia, Folkerts was a general assignment reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal and assistant press secretary to the governor of Kansas. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas and Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science from Kansas State University. She taught at the University of Texas at Austin and at Mount Vernon College before moving to George Washington.

She visited the school Jan. 22 to Jan. 24.

Charles Self is Edward L. and Thelma Gaylord Professor at the University of Oklahoma. He stepped down as journalism dean at Oklahoma in August 2005 to return to teaching and research.

As dean, Self oversaw the school's move to a new building, a substantial increase in new faculty, initiation of a doctoral program and a successful fund-raising effort. His professional experience includes stints as an editor at U.S. Army newspapers and as a reporter for United Press International. His administrative experience includes being chair of the department of journalism at the University of Alabama and head of the department of journalism at Texas A&M University.

Self's research interests include news credibility, media technology and communication theory. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Andrews University, his Master of Arts from the University of Missouri and his doctorate from the University of Iowa. He will visit the school Jan. 31 to Feb.2.

Open forums are planned for each candidate.

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UNC safety campaign aimed at crosswalks on campus

The Department of Public Safety’s Traffic and Pedestrian Safety (TAPS) recently began a new campaign designed to increase pedestrian safety on campus by encouraging pedestrians to use signalized intersections and marked crosswalks.

Beginning Feb. 13, people observed to be violating pedestrian safety laws will be issued citations totaling $135 with court costs.

The campaign includes three phases. On Jan.18, officers started a two-week preliminary phase, during which pedestrians crossing campus roadways in violation of state statutes will be verbally warned. The following two-week period will include written warnings.

“It has always been our goal to educate the entire campus community about pedestrian safety,” said Jeff McCracken, deputy chief of UNC’s public safety department. “We’ve primarily focused on motorists since we activated our TAPS unit in 2001, but pedestrian safety hinges on educating both drivers and pedestrians.”

Citable offenses for pedestrians include impeding traffic by such actions as crossing a roadway outside of a marked crosswalk or crossing against a crosswalk signal. Motorists can be cited for speeding or failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.

Pedestrians are urged to heed the following safety tips when negotiating the campus by foot or bicycle:

bullet Do not assume drivers can or will stop. It is the responsibility of the pedestrian to ensure that it is safe to proceed across the roadway.

bullet Traffic flow and/or congestion may prevent a driver from seeing pedestrians or from stopping. Stepping in front of oncoming traffic and expecting it to stop could cause an accident involving the pedestrian, the motorist or other motorists and may result in personal injury.

bullet Do not assume a driver has seen the pedestrian. Establish eye contact with the driver before entering a crosswalk.

bullet Watch all lanes to be crossed. Even though one vehicle has stopped, vehicles may pass in another lane or in an opposite direction.

bullet Cross the street within the marked lines of the crosswalk. The pedestrian’s full attention should be directed to oncoming traffic.

bullet If the pedestrian crosses the street at a place other than within a designated crosswalk or intersection, the vehicle has the right-of-way. It is the pedestrian’s responsibility to yield to the vehicle.

bullet Use good judgment. Watch traffic at all times. Just having the right-of-way will not prevent a pedestrian from being hit.

Since the creation of the three-member TAPS unit, hundreds of citations have been issued to motorists for failure to yield to pedestrians in marked crosswalks. The unit also has conducted nearly 500 pedestrian safety programs in residence halls, fraternities, sororities and with other campus groups.

Those wishing to report a problem area or notify public safety of potential problems for motorists or pedestrians on campus are encouraged to call the pedestrian hotline at 843-PEDS (7337).

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University to again host international conference

Global Education Center construction
Workmen “hang steel” on the framing for the Global Education Center, located on the corner of McCauley and Pittsboro streets. The center will help bring Carolina’s international efforts under one roof and serve as a vibrant hub of international teaching, research and public service.

The University Center for International Studies (UCIS), in collaboration with the Center for the Study of the American South and with funding from Quintiles Transnational Corp., will again host a major interdisciplinary conference on the global American South.

The conference, scheduled for March 2 – 3 at the Friday Center, will focus on a variety of economic, political, cultural and social aspects of globalization in the southern United States, while seeking to further understand the implications of this regional change on the world stage.

More than 70 moderated panel presentations will explore topics such as civic and corporate responses to changing economic realities, migration and labor mobility, urban and rural market and trade adjustments in the region, educational adaptations, alterations in media, innovations in health care, as well as changing political configurations and policy responses to global repercussions across the region.

Quintiles’ funding allows the conference to take place for a second year and supports efforts begun last year with funding from The Rockefeller Foundation.

In addition to panel presentations, there will be sessions with roundtables, morning plenaries and two keynote lunch speakers, along with a network meeting and evening reception.

“This conference is about identifying, exploring and evaluating the prevailing and contested issues of global change in the American South,” said UCIS Executive Director Niklaus Steiner.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to bridge academics with practitioners, policy makers and corporate leaders and make fresh contributions to the debate over globalization’s benefits, consequences and implications for this changing region of contrasts.”

The conference begins March 2 with a plenary meeting on the role of higher education in helping society adjust to global changes.

Harry Watson, director of the Center for the Study of the American South will be featured, along with Molly Broad, president emeritus of the University of North Carolina, and Larry Powell, professor and chair of history at Tulane University.

Friday morning’s plenary session will be a discussion of North Carolina’s Hispanic population and its substantial contribution to the state’s economy, featuring the authors of a newly published study conducted by UNC’s Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise for the North Carolina’s Bankers Association, in cooperation with the Mexican Consulate of Raleigh.

John Kasarda, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Management at Kenan-Flagler Business School and director of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, and James Johnson Jr., William Rand Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Management and director of the Institute’s Urban Investment Strategies Center, will present research results and substantial conclusions.

This is the first major comprehensive analysis of the rapidly growing Hispanic population and its contribution of more than $9 billion to North Carolina’s economy, through its purchases, taxes and labor, while expensing the state budget a net of $102 per Hispanic resident in health care, education and correctional services.

Axel Lluch, director of Hispanic/Latino Affairs for the N.C. Office of the Governor and Matty Lazo-Chadderton, director of Hispanic/Latino Affairs for the N.C. Senate ProTempore’s Office, will also discuss the study.

For more information about the study visit www.kenaninstitute.unc.edu.

For further information about the Navigating the Global American South conference or to register, please visit www.ucis.unc.edu/globalsouthconference06.

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UNC, VPI receive grant to create new SILS curriculum

The National Science Foundation recently awarded a three-year grant of $500,000 to the University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University to develop a digital library curriculum.

The project is called “Collaborative Research: Curriculum Development: Digital Libraries.” At the School of Information and Library Science, Barbara Wildemuth, principal investigator and Francis Carroll McColl Term Professor, and Jeffrey P. Pomerantz, co-principal investigator and assistant professor, will lead the effort.

“The research will focus on developing and field-testing individual lessons and modules that can be incorporated within courses or used to support an entire course,” said Wildemuth. “With the assistance of our advisory board, students in doctoral consortia and other experts, we will design, implement and field-test the modules.”

Programs in computer science and information and library science — at any institution with interest in digital libraries — may draw on the project to enhance existing courses, add digital library (or related) courses or deploy digital library curricula.

The award was effective Jan. 1 and expires Dec. 31, 2008. UNC was awarded $83,558 for the first year, with expected awards of $89,867 and $88,982 for 2007 and 2008, respectively. Virginia Tech was awarded $88,431 for the first year, with expected awards of $90,038 and $93,718 for 2007 and 2008, respectively. Those amounts total nearly $534,600.

For more information about the School of Information and Library Science, visit: sils.unc.edu/.

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UNC leads public research universities in study abroad

For the third consecutive year, the University had a higher rate of students going abroad than any other public research university nationwide, according to Open Doors 2005, an annual report published by the Institute of International Education.

The full report states that 1,362 UNC undergraduates studied in other countries during the 2003-04 academic year — the latest data available for the annual report. This represents 36.7 percent of the 3,715 undergraduate degrees conferred (up from 34.6 percent the previous year), a higher rate than any other public research university.

UNC ranked sixth among all public and private research universities for the total number of undergraduate and graduate students going abroad (1,657), up from seventh place the previous year. Leading the list are New York University (2,475), Michigan State University (2,269), the University of California at Los Angeles (2,034), the University of Texas at Austin (2,011) and Pennsylvania State University's University Park campus (1,874).

Carolina ranked 16th among all public and private research universities for the rate of students going abroad. UNC and the University of Virginia (17th) were the only public universities listed among the top 20. Leading the list were the University of St. Thomas (61.6 percent), Pepperdine University (61.5 percent), Wake Forest University (58.8 percent), Dartmouth College (58.1 percent), the University of Notre Dame (53.6 percent) and Duke University (49.4 percent).

“The increasing number and percentage of Carolina students going abroad is a direct result of our commitment to prepare students for life and work in a global society,” said Bernadette Gray-Little, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We have been expanding our international facilities, academic programs and scholarships, and continue to seek private funds for these initiatives, so that all students can gain a better understanding of other nations and cultures and of the role of the United States in the world.”

The University has raised about $18 million in private funds for study abroad scholarships and programs during the Carolina First Campaign. There are several scholarships specifically for North Carolina students.

UNC's Office of Study Abroad offers 313 programs in 71 countries. Students may participate in programs led by UNC faculty or their counterparts at foreign institutions. They also may engage in independent studies, research projects and internships overseas. Programs in English and in other languages are available for a semester, a summer or an academic year. In addition, special programs exist for science students.

Last year, 31 percent of Carolina students going abroad chose programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. This year UNC faculty will lead new programs in China and Japan, Oaxaca, Mexico and Siberia, Russia.

The Institute of International Education is a leading nonprofit educational and cultural exchange organization. Additional details about the report are available online at www.opendoors.iienetwork.org.

 

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Robertson grant applications open

The Robertson Scholars Program is accepting grant proposals for its collaboration fund. The Robertson Scholars Collaboration Fund has been instituted to fund projects that have the potential to initiate or enhance collaborative projects between Carolina and Duke. Faculty, staff and students on both campuses are eligible to apply. One-year grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded.

Applications are due April 7. Funds will be expendable from July 1 through April 30, 2007.

The Robertson Scholars Program is a merit-based scholarship program at UNC and Duke University. In addition to recruiting bright, talented, and engaged undergraduates to the two institutions, the program seeks to increase collaboration between UNC and Duke.

This collaboration fund is another catalyst to bring the two campuses closer together.

For more information on the collaboration fund, a list of past grantees and application instructions, see www.robertsonscholars.org/collaboration or contact Eric Mlyn (843-7506, mlyn@unc.edu).

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Studies search for treatment for lung problems

Working half a world away from each other, two teams of medical scientists have identified what they believe is a simple, effective and inexpensive treatment to reduce lung problems associated with cystic fibrosis (CF), the leading fatal genetic illness among whites.

The new therapy, identified through studies supported chiefly by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, also appears to be safe and easy to take.

By inhaling a saltwater aerosol solution almost twice as salty as the Atlantic Ocean for between 10 and 15 minutes at least twice a day, young patients should be able to avoid a significant part of the damage the disease causes to their lungs, researchers said. That’s because the aerosolized saltwater restores the thin lubricant layer of water that normally coats airway surfaces. This water layer promotes the clearance of the naturally occurring mucus the body uses to trap harmful bacteria, viruses and other foreign particles.

One scientific team consists of faculty members at the School of Medicine and UNC Hospitals. The other, also supported in part by the U.S. and Australian CF foundations, includes faculty and staff at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the University of Sydney and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, all in Sydney.

Reports on both studies, which were collaborative and complementary, appear in the Jan. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Authors of the first report, all at UNC, are Scott H. Donaldson, assistant professor of medicine; William D. Bennett, research associate professor of medicine; Kirby L. Zeman, research associate at the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology; Michael R. Knowles, professor of medicine; Robert Tarran, assistant professor of medicine; and Richard C. Boucher, professor and director of the Cystic Fibrosis Research and Treatment Center.

“We are very excited that this simple and inexpensive therapy turned out to be so effective and well-tolerated in patients with CF,” said Donaldson, who, along with Bennett, was the paper’s first author. “It is especially gratifying to see patients in our own clinical practice embrace and benefit from it.

“These results could change how physicians elsewhere care for patients with CF,” he said. “As we look at the combined results of our study and those of our Australian colleagues, it gives us great hope that use of this therapy will reduce how often patients feel ill, will slow the decline of lung function over time and will help these people live longer.”

James Kiley, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Division of Lung Diseases, said the treatment “sets the stage for the development of additional therapies in CF patients.”

Cystic fibrosis appears on average in one of four children of parents who both carry a defective copy of a gene known as CFTR, Donaldson said. Children born with the disease soon develop chronic lung damage, since their lungs cannot clear excessively sticky mucus by sweeping it to the mouth, where it is swallowed and eliminated. Respiratory failure is the leading cause of death in CF patients.

This research is important both for its immediate application and because it provides the roadmap for development of future effective therapies for CF, Boucher said. This study appears to establish the concept that the surfaces of the lungs of CF patients are dehydrated, and restoring hydration with hypertonic saline treats the basic cause of this disease.

In healthy people, a thin film of water only five-to-10 microns thick coats and lubricates the open areas of the lungs, Boucher said.

“Our studies demonstrate that CF lungs are missing this watery layer, and, hence, to treat the disease effectively, you have to re-hydrate CF airway surfaces. This can be done with inhaled water solutions that are seven or eight times more salty than blood or about three-quarters as salty as the Dead Sea.

“Salt essentially sucks water from the lung tissues out onto the airways. The irony is that the therapy works better in CF subjects than non-CF subjects,” Boucher added.

The UNC study involved 24 CF patients who each inhaled the salt solution with or without pretreatment with a compound known as amiloride over two-week periods. Analysis of mucus clearance and lung function showed that the high-salt aerosol alone worked best, which somewhat surprised the medical scientists. Laboratory studies established that the failure of amiloride to promote the effect of hypertonic saline reflected a novel action of the drug — i.e., to block water transport. This novel observation in part established hydration of airway surfaces as the mechanism of action for hypertonic saline.

Following communication with the UNC group, the Australian researchers used a comparable protocol to study another 164 patients for a longer period, almost a year. During the longer span, the Sydney researchers also found fewer lung problems with the concentrated saline than with normal saline, less need for antibiotics to treat lung infections over time, and improved attendance by patients at school, work and other activities during the 48 weeks.

Because salt solutions are so cheap to make, another attractive aspect of this new therapy is that its clinical benefits will come at a minimal treatment expense, in contrast to many other available therapies, Donaldson said.

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Health declining as youth become adults, study finds

Can becoming an adult be hazardous to your health? A new study from the Carolina Population Center indicates that may be the case, with leading health indicators showing serious declines as adolescents become adults.

A survey involving an ethnically diverse and nationally representative sample of 14,000 young people found diet, inactivity, obesity, health-care access, substance use and reproductive health to worsen with age. Only self-perceptions of personal health, including mental health, and exposure to violence improved with age.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, appears in the January issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

The drop in health indicators spanned both sexes and all racial and ethnic groups. The study compared the health of whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics and American Indians. All groups showed significant declines in health from adolescence into young adulthood.

The report used a unique source of data, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), which follows a national sample of more than 14,000 adolescents through their transition into young adulthood. Most previous studies of health disparities have used data collected at a single time point.

“This is the first longitudinal study to track the developmental trends in health disparities among a national cohort of young people with new findings showing a general decline in health during the transition to adulthood,” said the lead author Kathleen Mullan Harris, Gillian T. Cell distinguished professor of sociology at UNC, a fellow at the Carolina Population Center and director of the Add Health study.

UNC has been the home base for Add Health since its initiation in 1994 with federal funding.

Add Health survey participants were recruited from high schools and middle schools nationwide. They were first interviewed from 1994 to 1995, when they ranged in age from 12 to 19 years, and again, in 2001 and 2002, when they were between 19 and 26 years old.

They responded to questions on diet, inactivity, obesity, tobacco use, substance use, binge drinking, violence, reproductive health, mental health and access to health care.

According to the report, as adolescents become young adults, an increasing proportion have no current health insurance, do not receive health care when they need it and do not receive regular dental or physical examinations.

For most of the health indicators that worsened over time, racial and ethnic disparities also increased, although no one single ethnic group stood out as consistently disadvantaged. For example, smoking and binge drinking increased significantly for all groups, with increasing disparity between racial groups over time, with the greatest disadvantage found among whites.

The study showed great variability in the levels and trends of racial and ethnic disparity across a large array of health indicators.

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RENCI helps with tools for understanding melanoma

Scientists studying the genetic changes in skin tissue linked to a life-threatening skin cancer, or melanoma, will soon have new analysis tools and more research data at their fingertips, thanks to collaboration with the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI).

RENCI is a joint institute of Carolina, Duke University and North Carolina State University that combines the strengths of these institutions with the social, business and research opportunities of the state and Research Triangle Park.

William Kaufmann, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at UNC’s School of Medicine, is working with a RENCI team led by Xiaojun Guan, a senior research scientist, to overcome some of the technical challenges in understanding melanoma. Their work could lead to better treatments for the deadly disease.

Those challenges include pulling together biological data from disparate databases and experiments, merging data sets into comprehensive data visualizations, and developing standard methods for visualizing genetic pathways —  the series of interactions that take place among related genes that lead to mutations and the development of cancer cells.

“These scientists work with data from their own research subjects and from databases of protein interactions that are accessed through the Internet,” Guan said. “Very often, the data are in different formats and use their own nomenclatures, which makes it difficult to do the large-scale comparative studies that are needed in this field.”

Kaufmann’s research looks at the genetic changes in skin cells brought about by ultraviolet radiation. Researchers know that prolonged or extreme exposure to radiation can trigger protein interactions that change the structure and function of skin cells. If they can zero in on the genes involved in these interactions, they will be a step closer to developing more effective strategies for preventing and treating melanoma.

“The sophisticated computational tools being generated at RENCI will provide us with the ability to rapidly monitor the system of response to DNA damage, which is known to suppress the development of cancer and is often a target of chemotherapy,” Kaufmann said. “By comparing the system in normal and malignant melanocytes, we will be able to identify the molecular changes in cells that underlie development of the disease and that make melanomas resistant to standard chemotherapy.”

With funding from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois, the RENCI group is developing software that will allow the researchers to merge data obtained from their own research subjects and from databases distributed over the Internet into one unified format, a process called data federation.

According to Guan, the RENCI software developed for Kaufmann’s group will be the prototype for a toolkit that, in time, will be made available to research teams worldwide to help them integrate and visualize data.

“This project is a good example of what RENCI is all about,” said Dan Reed, director of the institute. “We bring together people who can benefit from cross-disciplinary collaboration — in this case at RENCI, the Carolina medical school and NCSA — to solve problems that couldn’t be resolved by one group working alone. The end result, we hope, is real progress in the effort to understand and treat a serious disease.”

More information on RENCI is available at www.renci.org.

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Ernie Williamson Athletics Center:
A new era for Carolina sports

Williamson Athletics Center groundbreaking
Pictured with Wayne Williamson, far left, brother of Ernie Williamson, are, from left, current men’s basketball head coach Roy Williams and former coaches Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for the Ernie Williamson Athletics Center took place Jan. 14, following the Carolina-Miami basketball game. Chancellor James Moeser, Director of Athletics Dick Baddour, ACC Commissioner John Swofford, Rams Club Executive Director John Montgomery and Wayne Williamson spoke to a crowd of nearly 100.

Wayne is the brother of the late Ernie Williamson, former Tar Heel football player and longtime executive director of the Rams Club, for whom the building is named. The $10 million center will house athletic department offices, the Rams Club offices, ticket office and a state-of-the-art basketball historical center.

The project is scheduled to begin construction in early spring and hopes to be completed in spring 2007.

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Whitman, former EPA head and N.J. governor,
will speak Feb. 13

Christine Todd Whitman, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and former Republican governor of New Jersey, will speak about the battle for the heart of the GOP Feb. 13.

Whitman will discuss her views at 7:30 p.m. in Hill Hall auditorium in a free public lecture. She comes to UNC as the Frey Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Limited parking will be available in the Swain visitor’s lot off Cameron Avenue, some other campus lots after 5 p.m. and in pay lots on Rosemary Street.

Whitman was EPA administrator from January 2001 to June 2003 under President George W. Bush. She was New Jersey’s 50th governor and its first female governor, from 1994 to 2001.

A moderate Republican, Whitman will discuss her book, “It’s My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America,” and her concerns about the hard-right turn the party has taken in recent years.

Today, Whitman is president of The Whitman Strategy Group, a management consulting/strategic planning company. She co-chairs the National Smart Growth Council. Before becoming governor, she was president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

The Frey Foundation Professorship was established in 1989 to bring to campus distinguished leaders from a variety of fields, including government, public policy and the arts. Edward J. and Frances Frey of Grand Rapids, Mich., established the foundation in 1974. Their son, David Gardner Frey, chairs the foundation. He earned bachelor’s and law degrees at Carolina in 1964 and 1967.

For more information on the lecture, call 843-6339 or visit college.unc.edu.

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Campus police urge caution, offer safety tips in wake of recent robbery

A University housekeeper reported being robbed early Jan. 20 on Park Place, police said.

While riding his red and white Honda moped from East Franklin Street onto Park Place at around 4:40 a.m., the male victim was followed by two black males in a 1980s Chevrolet or Ford, according to a UNC police report.

The vehicle was described as a blue or gray, two-door model that may have damage to the passenger-side door. The suspects’ vehicle pulled in front of the victim, causing him to fall, police said. One suspect then exited the vehicle, pushed the victim down to the ground and took the victim’s moped, helmet and wallet.

That suspect was described as clean-shaven, wearing a white sweater and blue jeans. No descriptions were provided of the other suspect, who remained in the vehicle. The victim did not require medical treatment.

UNC police asked anyone with information concerning this case to call the department at 962-8100 or Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC CrimeStoppers at 942-7515. Callers to CrimeStoppers are neither asked to reveal their identity nor appear in court.

Public safety officials urged the University community to use caution and follow the following safety tips:

bullet Don’t walk alone at night. Use the buddy system. Walk in well-lit areas of campus.

bullet Report suspicious activity by calling 911 or by using emergency call boxes located across campus.

bullet Use UNC’s Point-to-Point Express service, free to students, operating between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. daily. Access UNC’s free Point-to-Point demand service by calling 962-7867 (962-
P-TO-P) and providing one’s UNC personal identification number. The service is available to UNC students, faculty and staff at locations not served by the P2P Express Route or after normal P2P Express service hours.

bullet Use Chapel Hill Transit, free to all passengers. The web site is www.chtransit.org.

bullet Use the free Safe Ride Program, serving parts of campus, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro from 11:15 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. For details, visit www.unc.edu/saferide.

More safety tips and updates are available at www.dps.unc.edu.

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Learn IT @ unc.edu

LearnIT workshops available for high-performance computing

Several new LearnIT workshops are now being offered for scientific computing including Introduction to Scientific Computing at UNC, Gaussian and GaussView, and Introduction to Computational Chemistry.

Have questions about technology or Information Technology Services?  

Send your question to Loretta Bohn, communications editor, at ljbohn@email.unc.edu, or Elizabeth Evans, manager for training and education, at LearnIT@unc.edu. You can always visit the ITS web site (its.unc.edu), the Help site (help.unc.edu) or the Help Desk at 962-HELP if you have a pressing need.

If you need high-performance computing, parallel programming tools, or computational chemistry tools, these workshops may help. Read the descriptions and register for them by pointing your web browser to LearnIT.unc.edu. Select the option for “Current Schedule of Workshops” on the right.  

Oracle calendar tip

Do you use the Oracle calendar? Using it makes scheduling meetings with others who also use the calendar remarkably easy. You can open everyone’s agenda at the same time to find a day and time when everyone can meet or you can ask the calendar to suggest times when everyone can meet. If you use the calendar to schedule meetings for which you have an agenda, you can use associate the agenda with the meeting in a couple of different ways. First, you can type agenda items in the “Description” box of the “Details” tab of a meeting. Second, you can create an agenda in an application like Microsoft Word and attach that document to the meeting (using the “Attach” option under the “Details” tab).

Both options associate the agenda with every occurrence of the meeting, so if you have a weekly staff meeting, you will have to replace the previous agenda with the current one. Although you can also send out agendas via e-mail, using the Oracle calendar associates the agenda with the meeting so your colleagues don't have to look through their mailbox for the correct agenda.  

Listserver tip

Do you administer a listserver for a group that also has a web site?

Do you want to remind list members of the web site location? One possibility is to configure your list so that the web site is appended to the end of every message sent to the list. Campus lists, by default, have this information appended (i.e. a footer) to messages:

bullet“You are currently subscribed to <listname> as: <your address>.

bullet To unsubscribe click here: <URL to unsubscribe> or send a blank email to <address to unsubscribe by mail.

bullet To add a line to that footer, log into your list, select the “Utilities” tab, then “List Settings,” and “Email posting settings and Moderation.” In the box labeled  “Append to end of every message,” add the text you would like included. (For example, “Task Force for Better Cycling web Site: http://url.goes.here.”) We recommend that you retain the statements about unsubscribing to the list.  

Spam tip

If your e-mail address is displayed on a web site, you almost certainly receive more spam than your friends and colleagues whose addresses are not on the Internet.

You can help reduce spam by concealing your address from automated programs that seek to harvest them. Want to know more? Point your browser to help.unc.edu/?id=5369&within=search--209792758 to read a document about obfuscating addresses on the web

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EPAWeb system developed to help manage employee information

Following more than two years of development, the University launched the new EPAWeb Personnel Action System on Jan. 9. This web-based system was designed and developed internally at UNC to incorporate EPA personnel business rules and to improve the processing and approval of personnel actions for all EPA employees, including faculty, non-faculty, students and temporary employees.

EPAWEB STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS

John Adams, Financial Planning and Budgets  

Scott Blackwood, Office of Sponsored Research  

Matthew Brody, Office of Human Resources  

Annette Crabtree, Office of the Executive
Vice Chancellor and Provost  

Myron Dunston, Office of Institutional Research
and Assessment

Maggie Ford, Office of Human Resources  

Rebecca Mabe, School of Public Health  

Barron Matherly, Office of the Provost  

Tammy McHale, College of Arts and Sciences  

Patsy Oliver, School of Medicine Administration  

Dennis Press, University Controller

Steve Seaton, ITS Enterprise Applications  

Karin Silverberg, School of Medicine
Human Resources  

Betsi Snipes,University Payroll Services  

Lynn Williford, Office of Institutional
Research and Assessment

This system will enhance EPA personnel reporting capabilities in concert with the recently introduced Human Resources Data Warehouse. Additional enhancements are under way to support the annual EPA salary increase process and to add position budgeting capabilities.

“EPAWeb is a great example of what can be done to improve administrative processes when the campuswide community comes together,” Associate Provost for Finance and Human Resources Elmira Mangum said. “The involvement and cooperation of the campus community was essential to the successful launch of this application. While not perfect yet, it promises to rank among the best and most useful applications Carolina has seen in recent years. The early feedback acknowledges its value and confirms
EPAWeb as a giant step in the right direction. We all owe a debt to the many people that spent countless hours to make this happen.”

A steering committee, including representatives from both campus administrative offices as well as several schools, oversaw the development of this new system, which was accomplished by programmers in the University’s ITS Enterprise Applications group. The committee developed business rules and system requirements, along with a full implementation plan and a system pilot lasting several months during the fall of 2005.

“The development of any major enterprise system like EPAWeb is a challenging undertaking,” noted Matt Brody, senior director for Human Resources Planning and Systems, and Annette Crabtree, Director of EPA Personnel, who co-led the steering committee. “But we are confident that the end result we achieved here would have not been possible without the dedicated effort and expertise of our steering committee members. This system was truly designed from the ground up by our customers, which was our goal from the start.”

“I think this is a great system,” said Cheryl Goodrich, human resources facilitator in the Otolaryngology Department. “Even though there have been some glitches, we have been kept very well informed about everything that’s going on, though e-mails and an online status page. The HRIS Help Desk has really been quick to respond to my questions, too.”

Human Resources Facilitator Kelly Kavit in Environmental Sciences and Engineering said, “It’s exciting when something new like this is rolled out, and stressful as well. I’ve received great support with any questions I had, and I’m looking forward to continuing to learn more.”

“The startup of a major new online system like EPAWeb always has the potential to be demanding, and I appreciate the patience and understanding that our customers have shown during this rollout,” said Laurie Charest, associate vice chancellor for Human Resources.
“EPAWeb was designed with extensive input from the campus administrative community, and I’m convinced that this will become an invaluable tool for managing EPA personnel activity on campus.”


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