Florida Atlantic University - University Communications

FAU faculty and staff offer brief notes on recent activities, accolades and honors. Send submissions to update@fau.edu.

Tenure and Promotion
A complete list of tenure and promotion is available here.

Researchers of the Year were announced last month. Profiles can be found here.

Dr. Lenore Alpert, Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions (CUES), presented a paper at the Working Waterways and Waterfronts Conference in Norfolk, Virginia. The presentation, “Dealing with the Loss of Waterfront Land in South Florida: The Monroe County Marine Management Strategic Plan,” covered a project in the Keys that CUES recently completed with the South Florida Regional Planning Council. Dr. Alpert also made a presentation on “Development in Florida: Regional and Statewide Trends” at the 6th Annual Environmental Ethics Conference in Fort Lauderdale. Dr. Alpert, Lindsay Walker and Marybeth Burton led and participated in a panel discussion on the Florida Indicators Network at the 5th International Conference of the Community Indicators Consortium in Jacksonville.

Dr. Alan L. Berger, Raddock Eminent Scholar Chair of Holocaust Studies, director, Holocaust and Judaic Studies BA, director, Center for the Study of Values and Violence after Auschwitz, wrote a chapter titled “Faith and God during the Holocaust: Teaching Night with the Later Memoirs” in Approaches to Teaching Wiesel’s Night published by the Modern Language Association of America, 2007. Dr. Berger also was a guest editor and wrote an interview with Elie Wiesel for the Literature and Belief Journal, volume 26.1.

Dr. Lakhdar Boukerrou, Center for Environmental Studies, attended a conference on The Role of Science and Knowledge in Algeria’s Economy and Society, which took place in Algiers, Algeria. Dr. Boukerrou presented a paper on “Research and Education Collaboration in Algeria: Strategy for an Organizational Structure.” He also co-chaired a session on the creation of an organization to promote collaboration between scientists in Algeria and abroad. The conference was attended by representatives from the Algerian Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Higher Education and Scientific Research, and Small and Medium Enterprises. The conference also attracted faculty and administrators from various Algerian universities and scientists from around the world. At the conclusion of the conference, Dr. Boukerrou was elected to the nine-member Coordinating Committee in charge of putting in place an organizational structure to promote collaboration between Algerian scientists and scientists abroad and for the preparation of the next conference. He also met with the governor of the State of Constantine and the chancellor of the University of Constantine to discuss collaboration opportunities between FAU and the University of Constantine. He intends to pursue opportunities in Algeria for CES and other FAU programs. While in Constantine, Dr. Boukerrou was invited by the governor to attend a one-day workshop on land and environmental management for the northeastern region of Algeria, which was organized by the Algerian Ministry of Environment.

Dr. Christopher Burns, biomedical science, will continue to have his research supported by the National Science Foundation, which recently approved transfer of his grant titled “The RNA Degradosome: Functional Consequences of Enzyme Association on RNA Metabolism” from the Medical College of Georgia. This is the first extramural grant received by the newly formed Department of Clinical Science and Medical Education in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science. Understanding biological machines has useful applications in nanotechnology and human health, but the benefits may extend to other unexpected areas. The American Academy of Microbiology’s report on Microbial Energy Conversion outlines steps that would promote application of microbes in energy generation. One area recommended for further investigation is microbial enzyme complexes, particularly their regulation and function in context within the whole cell. FAU’s work on the RNA degradosome complex and its coordination with other cellular pathways may help development of alternative sources of energy production and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

The Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions (CUES) completed a redistricting plan for the City of Pembroke Pines. Pembroke Pines commissioners agreed on one of four redistricting options presented to them by Dr. Lenore Alpert, assistant director for research. Camille O’Brien, research associate, worked with staff to prepare the proposals. CUES also completed an economic study of the Indiantown Natural Gas Storage Facility for the Floridian Natural Gas Storage Company. Dr. William Stronge, Senior Fellow at CUES and professor emeritus in economics, and Dr. Alpert both worked on the project.

Dr. Nathan W. Dean, physics, and former dean of the Charles E Schmidt College of Science, was honored at a reception at Churchill College of Cambridge University. Dr. Dean received his Ph.D. at Cambridge in 1968, after being selected in 1965 as a Churchill Scholar, one of 10 American graduate students chosen nationwide to attend Cambridge University. He has returned to Cambridge for the spring term as a visiting scholar at the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion and a visiting fellow at Churchill College, one of the constituent colleges that make up Cambridge University. He was introduced to current Churchill Scholars at a reception hosted by the Master of Churchill College, Sir David Wallace, and attended by other Fellows of the college.

The Engineering Student Council won the 2006-07 FAU Spirit Award. The award is given annually to one of the 180 student organizations on the Boca Raton campus that has gone above and beyond their mission by creating enthusiasm and pride for the organization and the FAU community. Award criteria include campus involvement, continuity of efforts and the ability to motivate and mobilize a group (or the entire campus community) for a particular project, program or event that contributes to the community spirit of the University. The Engineering Student Council was recognized for its work during FAU Engineers Week, which helped increase school and college pride and fostered a sense of cohesion throughout the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Dr. Eduardo Fernandez, computer science and engineering, gave a short course on Distributed Systems Security in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, for a new master's degree program at the Universidad Nacional del Este.

Dr. J.A. Scott Kelso, Eminent Scholar in Science, Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, gave the keynote address at the IBM Almaden Institute Symposium on “Navigating Complexity” in San Jose, California. He also was an invited speaker at the Templeton Foundation Symposium on “Top Down Causation and Volition” in Yosemite.

Dr. Ramaswamy Narayanan, associate dean for research and industrial relations in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and senior assistant vice president for science and technology in the Division of Research, spoke at the Katholic University of Leuven (KU) in Belgium. His talk was titled “Cancer Drug Discovery Using SIM2 Gene as a Rational Molecular Target.” His visit was sponsored by KU. Dr. Narayanan is on the Ph.D. dissertation committees of several students from KU and has had active research collaborations with Professor Wim Van de Ven in KU’s Department of Human Genetics over the last 20 years. While at KU, Dr. Narayanan will be working to establish a research collaborative agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding to foster faculty/student exchange and to develop access to a repository of compounds for various drug screens by faculty at the Schmidt College of Science. A joint patent application between FAU and KU is being prepared based on the assay for the SIM2 gene inhibitor for discovering cancer drugs. He will meet with senior management from major pharmaceutical industries during his visit to explore the development of a working relationship and to establish technology access. Dr. Narayanan will also visit the Pasteur Institute at Paris to explore participation by key scientists in the Florida Bioinformatics Consortium efforts at FAU.

Dr. Dennis Palkon, industry studies, earned fourth place honors in the Barron's Challenge, an annual stock-picking contest for college students and professors. Palkon's portfolio posted a gain of 27 percent in five months.

Dr. Edward J. Petuch and Dr. Charles Roberts, geosciences, have published The Geology of the Everglades and Adjacent Areas (CRC, 2007) offering the first complete overview of the historical geology of the Everglades, from the effects of the Chesapeake Bay astorid impact to the modern Everglades marshlands. The book is written as a field guide as well as a reference manual with photographs showing exposed geologic sections, collection sites and fossil beds; it also includes a CD-ROM featuring animated maps and a PowerPoint presentation.

R. Stephen Richarde, Ph.D., director, University Assessment, has been appointed by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to the 2007 Task Force on Assessment. The overarching goal of the task force is to steward a systemwide approach to assessment that is focused on improvement while also demonstrating accountability. The task force will conduct its work to produce a final report, including recommended guidelines for institutional implementation, by the end of September.

Dr. Robert Watson, political science, had his article “Vice Presidential Selection: A Model” published in the journal White House Studies and contributed a series of exercises titled “Am I a Democrat or Republican?” to the new book Road to the White House (Kendall/Hunt) and wrote the foreword for the book The Great Presidential Triumvirate at Home and Abroad: Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln (Nova). He also guest hosted a three-hour radio program for 850 AM on the early presidential debates in May and recently completed a series of “History Day” and “Civics Day” presentations at schools in Palm Beach and Broward counties.

Also Noted

For the second time in a row the Event Marketing class (MAR 4933), taught by Robert Ciraldo has won the prestigious Scholastic Achievement Award from the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Corporation. The work done by FAU students in this class in 2006 and 2007 was selected by Chevrolet to be the best among nine regional schools in the Southeast offering the same program. Both years, five members from the FAU class were flown to Atlanta to present their work to marketing executives from Chevrolet. Both years the University Foundation received a $1,500 marketing scholarship award check from General Motors.

Keith Wetzel, biomedical science, has been selected by the University of Wisconsin at Lacrosse for the 2007 Academic Achievement Award for his master’s thesis research titled “Regulation of the Staphylococcus aureus OpuD gene.” Wetzel is helping the Christopher Burns laboratory develop new areas of investigation related to biodefense against food-borne bacterial pathogens, including E. coli O157:H7.












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