Arizona bio faculty earn major honors
October was a bonanza month for Arizona bio faculty earning noteworthy honors, including an appointment as the State Department's adviser on bioterrorism issues, a $5.5 million NIH award for smallpox research, and a prestigious Selby Fellowship.
Atkinson tapped as Powell science adviser: George Atkinson, University of Arizona professor of chemistry and optical sciences, has been named science and technology adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. The three-year appointment makes him the State Department's top liaison with the scientific community.
Atkinson became the first American Institute of Physics Fellow in 2001. Both positions were established to give policy makers at the State Department more access to the "best available scientific and technological information in the world," according to a UA news release. The positions were part of recommendations of a 1999 National Resource Council report criticizing the decline in scientific literacy within the State Department.
Atkinson, whose professorship at UA stretches 20 years, has served the last year as a senior adviser to the State Department.
Jacobs receives $5.5 million bioterrorism grant: Bertram Jacobs, a virologist and microbiology professor at Arizona State University, has received a $5.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health Biodefense Department to develop and test a new smallpox vaccine.
The current vaccine can be fatal to certain populations. Jacob's vaccine will be similar but treatable for those who experience reactions.
"We think we can create a 'back door' to the virus: Make it sensitive to some very common drug so that if someone comes up with a complication, you can treat it," Jacobs told the Arizona Republic. "It's a way of putting a leash on the virus."
Arnzten named Selby Fellow: Charles Arntzen, professor of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, has been awarded a 2003 Selby Fellowship by the prestigious Australian Academy of Sciences. He toured Australia in October delivering lectures at major research universities on his pioneering work in the development of plant-based vaccines for disease prevention, as well as improvements in food quality and value.
Arntzen is the founding director of the Arizona Biodesign Institute, current director of the Institute's Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, and Florence Ely Nelson Presidential Chair.
For more Information:
"UA prof is secretary of state's science adviser," Tucson Citizen, 10/03/03
"UA prof tapped as science aide to Powell," Arizona Daily Star, 10/03/03
"Virologist at ASU gets grant to develop modified smallpox vaccine," Arizona Republic, 10/02/03
"ASU virologist makes new smallpox vaccine," ASU Web Devil, 10/02/03
"ASU honors top-notch professors with new award," Arizona Republic, 10/29/03