The 31 University of Florida Research Foundation Professors profiled here have been honored by their colleges for outstanding research in their discipline over a long period of time. They are the best of the best at an institution that is nationally recognized for its contributions to the physical, social, health and agricultural sciences. It is their work and the work of hundreds more like them that garnered UF $297 million in research funding last year.
The research professors were selected by their college deans based on recommendations from their department chairs, a personal statement and an evaluation of their recent research productivity, measured by such things as external funding, publications in books and scholarly journals, and development of intellectual property.
The three-year award includes a $5,000 annual salary supplement and a $3,000 grant. The University of Florida Research Foundation (UFRF) plans to fund a total of up to 90 active professorships at any given time. The professorships are funded from the university's share of royalty and licensing income on UF-generated products.
Since it was founded in 1986 to enhance research at the University of Florida, UFRF has become the primary vehicle for handling research and intellectual property interactions with private companies and foundations. Today, it manages more than 800 grants and some 60 licensed technologies.
Karen A. Bjorndal,
Professor of Zoology and Director of the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Karen A. Bjorndal is an internationally renowned sea turtle biologist and leading authority in nutritional ecology of herbivores. Bjorndal's research program in sea turtle biology has focused on the role of nutrition as a regulating mechanism for growth and reproduction in sea turtle populations.
For 25 years, Bjorndal has evaluated nutrition and growth in a population of immature green turtles in the southern Bahamas. The long duration of this study has allowed her to evaluate density-dependent effects on production - a previously unstudied phenomenon which is critical to an understanding of population demography and recovery. Now, she is working with colleagues in Australia on a comparative study of nutrition and growth rates in green turtles in the Bahamas and Australia. Their initial studies have demonstrated that patterns of productivity are profoundly different between the two regions. In general, Atlantic populations have levels of productivity up to five times greater than those of Pacific populations.
In the field of nutritional ecology of herbivores, Bjorndal's research on interactions among diet items as they pass through the digestive tract has resulted in a new paradigm by which diet selection and optimal foraging models can be evaluated. She is now focussing on the role of plant anatomical structure in diet selection by herbivores, which has been largely ignored. Bjorndal's initial results indicate that this new approach could dramatically alter how we study the plant-animal interface and the current model of how herbivores perceive plants and assess their potential as food.
Bjorndal has served on the editorial boards of two journals, edited six books and published more than 80 peer-reviewed papers. Bjorndal has served on two committees of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences and served as chairman of the Marine Turtle Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature for 12 years.
Mary T. Brownell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Special Education
College of Education
Mary T. Brownell's research focuses on general and special education teachers. Her first large-scale study investigated the variables contributing to attrition of special education teachers in Florida. High teacher attrition rates, combined with chronic teacher shortages, force many school districts to hire underqualified personnel to fill instructional positions in special education.
Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Brownell and her colleagues studied a random sample of 1,570 special education teachers across the state using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. They concluded that school climate, stress and appropriate certification were key predictors of teachers' career decisions, and that school districts and institutions of higher education could do much to mediate these variables.
Because inclusion of students with disabilities into general education classrooms figures prominently into the national agenda for education, Brownell believes that professionals interested in improving the quality of the teaching workforce must take a serious interest in ensuring that general and special education teachers are prepared to work together.
For the past three years, Brownell and her colleagues have studied two urban elementary schools to determine how a collaborative culture can be established and how it affects teachers' professional development, inclusion of students with disabilities and retention.
In recognition of her research, Brownell has been acknowledged by several national organizations. In 1990 and 1992 she won the American Educational Research Association's Special Education Dissertation Award and the International Council for Learning Disabilities Dissertation Award. She also won the national Outstanding Scholarship in Teacher Education Award for her work in teacher attrition.
James E.T. Channell,
Professor of Geology
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Jim Channell studies the record of
the ancient geomagnetic field in rocks and sediments. Such studies impact
a wide range
of the Earth Sciences.
"Fossil" (remnant) magnetism in rocks and sediments can be used to document the past position of rock bodies, from whole continents to continental fragments in mountain belts. In the last 25 years, Channell has used "paleomagnetic" methods to reconstruct the past position of continents and continental fragments in the Mediterranean region; based on records of the ancient geomagnetic field in rocks from throughout the Alpine mountain belts, from southern Italy to eastern Turkey.
Polarity reversals of the geomagnetic field are globally synchronous and can be recorded by rocks and sediments. For this reason, the record of geomagnetic polarity reversals in sediments and sedimentary rocks is the preferred means of global stratigraphic correlation, and is central to the construction of geologic time scales. Channell has been prominent in the correlation of fossil events to the polarity record of the geomagnetic field, particularly in the Late Mesozoic Era.
In the last few years, geomagnetic secular (short-term) variation and paleointensity data have been used for high-resolution correlation of "recent" sediments (less than about 2 million years old). Channell has been at the forefront of such studies, which have been accomplished in large part through participation in two cruises of the research vessel Joides Resolution to the high-latitude North Atlantic in 1999 and to the sub-Antarctic South Atlantic in 1997-98.
Channell was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 1998 and was Distinguished Lecturer for the Joint Oceanographic Institutions for 1998-99.
Kathleen A. Deagan,
Distinguished Research Curator
Florida Museum of Natural History
The earliest European settlement in the New World. The oldest symbol of Christianity found in the Western Hemisphere. The first refuge for free blacks in what is now the United States.
In one exciting discovery after another, Kathleen Deagan has pushed back the frontiers of traditional archaeology and generated headlines wherever she works, says David Hurst Thomas, curator of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History.
"No archaeologist represents contemporary Americanist archaeology better than does Kathleen Deagan," writes Thomas in his book Archaeology, probably the most widely used college archaeology textbook in America.
During her more than two decades of conducting excavations in the southeastern United States and the islands of the Caribbean, Deagan has made one astounding discovery after another, including: La Navidad on the northern coast of Haiti, Christopher Columbus' first settlement in the Americas; La Isabela in the Dominican Republic, Columbus' only American residence; and Fort Mose just north of St. Augustine, Fla., the first free black community in the United States.
"My archaeological research program has been designed to elucidate the mechanisms and consequences of encounter and exchange among Spaniards, American Indians and Africans in the 16th-century American colonies," Deagan says. "The specific object of this inquiry has been to trace the cultural transformations that were at the root of multicultural Latin American society as we experience it today, and to gain insights that are relevant not only to history and anthropology, but also to contemporary society."
By building multidisciplinary archaeological teams that include historians, zoologists, botanists, architects, geologists and others, Deagan has been able to produce one of the largest bodies of historical archaeological data in the country.
"This broad, comparative database is already being used to generate new theories about the consequences of encounter and exchange," Deagan says.
In addition to directing ongoing excavations at the original site of St. Augustine, Deagan has embarked on the excavation of another Columbus site in the Dominican Republic, Concepcion de la Vega. Deagan says Concepcion represents an intriguing slice of time between the Medieval and Renaissance periods.
Nancy E. Dowd, J.D.
Professor of Law
Levin College of Law
Nancy Dowd has long been interested in work and family policy, and her research over the past several years has focused on two increasingly important family issues: single-parent families and fatherhood.
Her 1997 book In Defense of Single-Parent Families examined common myths compared to the realities of single-parent families and explored the existing legal structure that impacts on these families, particularly family law, employment law and welfare law.
"I fundamentally argue that the form of the family is not what is critical, but rather the function," Dowd says.
"Single-parent families, despite efforts to stigmatize and demonize them, can and do function as well as traditional two-parent families.
"In order to better support all children," Dowd argues, "we should support all of the families children are in, and given demographic and social trends, we can expect a significant number of children to be raised all or some part of their lives in single-parent families."
Dowd's other area of current interest is fatherhood and serves as the basis for her next book, Redefining Fatherhood.
"Fathers have essentially been ignored as significant parents, other than as breadwinners," Dowd says. "I have particularly focused on fathers as nurturers, or what I call social parenting."
Dowd says the legal system's focus on biological and economic parenthood should be discarded in favor of a social model that would support substantial nurturing of children by their fathers.
"This is a controversial view since it runs counter to the largely economic focus of current recommendations to 'enforce' so-called 'responsible' fatherhood," she says.
Among Dowd's other research interests
are feminist jurisprudence, and education and discrimination, particularly
the use of existing federal mandates as a means to educate very young children
in the area of race and gender relations.
Ben M. Dunn, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
College of Medicine
Ben M. Dunn is an internationally recognized leader in the field of proteolytic enzyme structure and function. His work focuses on enzymes from organisms that cause disease, including the HIV and hepatitis C viruses, as well as the malaria parasite.
Dunn and his associates have used the tools of molecular biology to clone and express a large number of enzymes. They use a variety of techniques to quantitate the properties of the enzymes so that comparisons can be made between those of pathogenic organisms and those of the human host.
This analysis permits the discovery of subtle characteristics that make it possible to design selective inhibitors that will block the harmful enzymes while not disturbing the normal functioning of human cells.
Dunn was one of the first academic scientists to study the HIV protease. This enzyme is the target of the powerful protease inhibitor cocktail that limits the growth of the HIV virus.
He is continuing to work on this problem, since the virus is able to mutate and create new enzymes that are resistant to the first generation of inhibitors. This limits the success of the therapy.
A strong collaboration with Dr. John Sleasman of the pediatrics department and Dr. Maureen Goodenow of the pathology department has allowed UF to establish a leading position in this work.
A similar approach to drug development is being explored in the case of malaria. This is a major disease of the world, causing more than a million deaths a year, mostly in developing countries.
Dunn and his students are studying
the properties of enzymes from the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.
His work in
this area is in collaboration with Dr. John Dame, chair of the pathobiology department in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
A new target in the Dunn laboratory is the protease of the hepatitis C virus. This new virus will develop into a major public health problem in the United States over the next 10 to 15 years. Dunn and his co-workers are establishing methods for working with the enzymes from this new pathogen.
Dunn has served NIH on the Biochemistry
Study Section as a regular member. He has been appointed to a second panel
dealing with AIDS-related grants. He has organized two major conferences
on proteolytic enzymes, and plans a third in December 1999 in Gainesville.
He is the editor-in-chief of two journals devoted to protein studies, and
a co-editor of Current Protocols in Protein Science. He has edited
a book, Proteases of Infectious Agents, that deals with the topics
of drug discovery.
Robert J. Ferl, Ph.D.
Professor of Horticultural Sciences and
Assistant Director of The Biotechnology Program
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Rob Ferl is a molecular biologist who specializes in the molecular mechanisms involved in gene expression.
As a professor in horticulture, he is an expert in the genetic responses of plants to harmful environments. His research program is centered around the structure of genes and the mechanisms of gene regulation. Results from his laboratory are widely published, and he is invited to lecture around the world.
Ferl's laboratory work is funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Institutes of Health and NASA, all of which are dedicated to elucidating how genes of living organisms respond to the world around them. His molecular studies in the laboratory have led him to such interesting places as the beaches of Costa Rica, where he helped pioneer the use of DNA sequence tags in the study of marine turtles, and the mid-deck of the space shuttle, where his genetically engineered plants are used to study gene responses to microgravity and space.
He also shared a USDA Secretary's Honor Award for his work in bringing genetically engineered crops to market.
Ferl is an enthusiastic and respected teacher, having received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1984 and the Award of Excellence in Graduate Research and Education in 1994. He has written three widely regarded college textbooks for general biology audiences.
He has served in Washington as a
member of NIH, USDA and NSF review teams, and he was Panel Manager
for the USDA National Research Initiative in Genetic Mechanisms. He has also served on several editorial boards, most currently with The Plant Journal.
Gregg H. Gilbert, D.D.S.,
Professor of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery & Diagnostic Sciences
College of Dentistry
Gregg Gilbert's research involves improving our understanding of why diverse population groups seek specific dental services, and what long-term benefits are derived from that care. Gilbert's research has attracted more than $3.9 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1993, including a $1 million grant beginning in September 1999.
Gilbert is quick to emphasize that
this record of funding, and "most importantly, all that has been learned
from this research, only came about because of an extraordinarily energetic
and unselfish interdisciplinary team of faculty and staff at the colleges
of Dentistry, Health Professions, Medicine, and Liberal Arts and Sciences."
The bulk of Gilbert's research since 1993 has involved a longitudinal study called the Florida Dental Care Study. This study employs an innovative approach that directly links clinical examination data gathered by faculty on the project, measures of oral health and quality of life as reported by the 873 participants in the study, use of specific dental services, characteristics of the participants, and characteristics of the dental practices throughout Florida and Georgia that are being used to treat study participants.
"The widely publicized improvements in dental health that were documented in the 1980s led many to erroneously conclude that dental health problems were no longer common," Gilbert says. "Using a wide range of measures of dental health and dental health-related quality of life, we have documented that quite the opposite is true.
If other conditions were as common as oral disease and all the pain, suffering, embarrassment and poor quality of life associated with it, then these conditions would be considered `epidemic.'
"With the Florida Dental Care Study, we are improving our understanding of how dental problems change over time, with and without dental care," he adds. "Among other reasons, we need to understand the role that dental care plays because we spend about $50 billion each year on dental care in the United States."
Jesse F. Gregory III,
Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Jesse Gregory is an expert on the chemistry, metabolism and nutritional function of B-vitamins. Much of his work focuses on vitamins B6 and folate. Adequate intake of both of these vitamins is needed for normal metabolism, cell replication and maintenance of health. For example, adequate intake of these vitamins reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, and adequate folate intake helps reduce the risk of certain birth defects and certain forms of cancer.
Gregory and his colleagues have developed
and applied a number of innovative methods involving the use of nonradioactive
isotopic tracers, with which the absorption, metabolism and metabolic function
of these vitamins can be determined in
human subjects. Application of these methods allows direct investigations in humans without the potential hazards of traditional radioisotopic tracers.
Studies based on the use of these isotopic procedures have had direct impact on national nutrition policy. Recent changes in the Recommended Dietary Allowances for folate were based largely on results of Gregory and colleagues showing that the requirement is approximately twice that previously believed. In addition, the recently implemented fortification of cereal grain food products (bread, flour, rice, pasta, etc.) with folic acid was supported by UF studies showing that such fortification is an effective way of delivering the vitamin in highly absorbable form. Although the natural forms of folate in many foods is not efficiently absorbed, Gregory and colleagues found that orange juice is also a good source of readily absorbable folate.
Gregory’s research is now mainly
directed toward determining optimal intakes of folate and vitamin B6 to
one-carbon metabolism to control the level of the metabolite homocysteine associated with risk of cardiovascular disease.
One major goal is to determine the impact of common genetic variability among humans on their vitamin requirements.
Gregory has served as a member of the NIH Nutrition Study Section, USDA Review Panels on Human Nutrition and a number of other advisory panels. He also has served on National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine Committees that developed policy recommendations for the nutritional labeling of foods. He currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Nutrition and the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis.
Jaber F. Gubrium, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Jaber F. Gubrium, a professor of sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is one of the world's leading qualitative methodologists. Gubrium works empirically at the border of ethnography and narrative analysis. These are well-established methods of procedure in the social sciences, which are being combined in new ways to deal with the perennial problems of linking together observational data with transcripts of stories, speech, and other narrative material.
This has been applied in a long-standing program of research on the social organization of care and treatment in human service institutions. Gubrium's pioneering work on the everyday practice of caregiving in nursing homes, originally described in his now-classic research monograph Living and Dying at Murray Manor, for the first time presented the details of caregiving from the perspectives of the residents and the staff. The research showed that, while administratively the nursing home was a single organization, it was divided in practice into multiple worlds of care in the experience of the participants. This served to complicate the meaning of the quality of care so that no single metric was applicable. Since then, special attention has been paid to caregiving and the cognitively impaired, in particular how the Alzheimer's disease movement transformed the meaning of senility, which is reported in the book Oldtimers and Alzheimer's: The Descriptive Organization of Senility. With the support of the National Institute on Aging, the research has been extended to the analysis of residents' life narratives, focusing on the way these accounts both specify and ramify the meaning of care. These results have been published in Speaking of Life: Horizons of Meaning for Nursing Home Residents.
The program of research has extended to institutional practices across the life course. Ethnographies of several institutional settings have set the basis for comparison. Earlier research on interpretive practices in a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed children has been followed by ethnographic and narrative studies of clinical practices in a physical rehabilitation hospital, a psychiatric hospital, family counseling, and self-help groups for home caregivers. This has added significantly to the emerging research genre called "institutional ethnography."
Gubrium is the editor of the Journal of Aging Studies and serves on numerous editorial boards. He is a regular keynote speaker at international conferences and has been invited to lecture at several North American and European universities. The significance of his many contributions has been recognized by the American Sociological Association, whose Section on Aging named him its Distinguished Scholar in 1996.
Richard Heipp, M.F.A.
Professor of Painting
College of Fine Arts
Richard Heipp, professor of painting in the School of Art and Art History, is active as an exhibiting artist as well as a public artist. His artwork incorporates large-scale, mixed-media installation projects which frequently involve scientific and art historical references that challenge notions of vision, belief and identity systems. His work employs elements of traditional painting and computer-aided fabrication and design, as well as sculptural and lighting components.
His artwork has been featured in more than 25 solo exhibitions and more than 80 group venues nationally. He has won 24 grants and awards including three Florida Individual Artist Fellowships and the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts-sponsored Southern Arts Federations Fellowship in painting. He has also been awarded 11 public art commissions, just recently completing a major project for the lobby of Gainesville's City Hall.
A reviewer noted that Heipp's artwork
is unusually creative, original and inventive, and that with his work he
of the more dogmatic beliefs of modernism and post-modernism alike." A critic writing about Heipp's work for the Seattle Post-Intelligence, said: "Moving in close to the pieces the viewer can see the technique. Backing up the power of the image asserts itself. The work has substance to match its flashy style." Others who have written about Heipp's work frequently point not only to its social content but also to the transformative power of its manipulation and constructions.
Barbara Jo Revelle, director of the School of Art and Art History, says, "Richard Heipp is clearly making a significant contribution to the discourse surrounding art, image appropriation and the semiotics of seeing. In short, the work is seductively beautiful, and whether or not you understand his complex and exquisite pieces, you are apt to look at them long and hard for their sheer aesthetic presence in the world."
Susan K. Jacobson,
Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Susan Jacobson's research explores the human dimensions of wildlife management. Her work provides the interdisciplinary data necessary for natural resource managers to understand and measure over time the human context of their management objectives and to design effective communication strategies to involve the public and key stakeholders.
Jacobson's model for the design and evaluation of environmental education programs in developing nations has been adopted in a dozen countries. Her research has ranged from the development of natural resource communication programs in Malaysian parks to the design of a biological impact assessment and ecotourism program in Costa Rica that combined conservation education with economic and ecological variables. A book she edited, Conserving Wildlife: International Education and Communication Approaches, highlights some of this work and offers innovative solutions to many human-dimensions challenges facing resource managers, particularly in tropical countries.
In Florida, Jacobson has undertaken a five-year study of ecosystem-based approaches to public communication by public land managers. Grants totaling more than $250,000 from the U.S. Department of Defense have provided the opportunity to work with natural resource managers at the half-million-acre Eglin Air Force Base to experimentally test relationships between communication techniques and the implementation of new ecosystem management mandates. This research has involved several thousand recreationists, neighboring citizens and military leaders in an experimental design testing a variety of media, messages and approaches. She has recently expanded this work in Florida to include other military installations.
"Military lands make up the fifth-largest public land holdings in the United States, so their biological significance is considerable," Jacobson says, noting that more than 220 federally protected species have been identified on military reserves.
Jacobson also is studying the failure of conservation and development initiatives in Africa to achieve natural resource management objectives. Some of the practical findings of this recent work are published in her new book, Communication Skills for Conservation Professionals.
Satya P. Kalra, Ph.D.
Professor of Neuroscience and Physiology
College of Medicine
Within the human brain, everything is connected with everything and yet there are fundamentally distinct pathways that regulate the species' basic instinct for survival though crosstalk with physiological processes. For more than three decades, Satya P. Kalra and colleagues have undertaken the challenge of deciphering and comprehending the working of the brain networks that generate, relay and integrate information essential for reproduction and for the instinctual drive for food.
Kalra - a member of the University of Florida Brain Institute - is recognized internationally for his research in neuroendocrinology, which is the study of neurons that uniquely produce neurotransmitters and hormones to communicate with other neurons in the brain to regulate several physiological processes. He is credited with discovering the effects of neuropeptide Y, a neurotransmitter that stimulates appetite and regulates reproduction. These pioneering studies, published in 1985, have been cited as classic and republished in their entirety in the Journal of Obesity Research in 1997.
Kalra achieved eminence in neuroendocrinology by characterizing several neurotransmitter systems and how disruption in these systems adversely impacted reproduction and appetite. For this insightful and original research he has been invited several times to summarize his research in Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology and Endocrine Reviews, two cutting-edge journals.
Kalra has served as a member of the
editorial board of Neuroendocrinology, Endocrine Reviews, and Endocrinology.
He has been the North American editor of Journal of Neuroendocrinology since 1987.
It was for these scholarly accomplishments that he was awarded in 1996 the Faculty Research Prize in Basic Science for Outstanding Achievement and Productivity in Research, University of Florida College of Medicine and the Professional Excellence Program Award for Outstanding Achievements in research, teaching and service at the University of Florida.
Currently, his group is developing pharmacological and gene therapy approaches to control weight and obesity.
Tracy R. Lewis, Ph.D.
James Walter Eminent Scholar in Economics
and Associate Director of the Public Utilities Research Center
Warrington College of Business Administration
Tracy Lewis' research focuses on how economic activity and individual behavior can be made more efficient and directed to increase social welfare.
"I am principally interested in designing incentive systems inducing economic agents to act efficiently, given the information and resources at their disposal," says Lewis. "I do theoretical research on incentive regulation, contracting, and industrial organization. This research is then employed to study applied policy questions and issues. Often, the policy issues I consider, in turn, provide inspiration for my theoretical research."
In the areas of energy and environmental policy, Lewis has applied results on incentive regulation and the design of optimal auctions to study policies for energy conservation and pollution abatement. In recent years he has helped design programs to encourage electric utilities to reduce energy consumption.
"These programs work by enabling utilities to share in the energy savings they create for their customers," Lewis says. "I have assisted utilities in designing time-of-use tariffs that encourage conservation of electricity. These programs are based on theoretical research on energy pricing and marketing."
Because of his work on a theory of optimal auctions, the World Bank and the Spanish government recently sought his advice on establishing markets for trading pollution certificates to reduce greenhouse gases.
Regulation of electricity and telecommunication utilities is another area of interest for Lewis. He founded the Program on Workable Energy Regulation at the University of California and is associate director of the Public Utility Research Center at the University of Florida. His research on alternative forms of incentive regulation has been used by regulatory agencies in California, New York and Florida to design innovative regulatory programs for investor-owned utilities.
A third area of interest for Lewis is antitrust policy and enforcement. His research in industrial organization relates economic performance and social welfare to the structure of markets. He has advised the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in their analysis of the competitive effects of numerous proposed mergers and acquisitions. As an economic adviser to the FTC, he helped to write antitrust guidelines for the protection of intellectual property.
J.L. Mehta, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine and Physiology
College of Medicine
Dr. Mehta was the first researcher to describe the important role platelets play in the formation of occlusions in coronary arteries narrowed by atherosclerosis. This concept, developed more than 20 years ago, established the foundation for the use of thrombolytic therapy and use of anti-platelet drugs in patients with myocardial ischemia.
Subsequently, Dr. Mehta conducted a number of landmark studies demonstrating the phenomenon of "reperfusion injury," in which he demonstrated that modulation of leukocytes, leukocyte adhesion molecules and free radicals could significantly reduce the phenomenon of reperfusion injury.
In recent years, he has developed interest in the mechanisms leading to uptake of oxidized low-density lipoproteins (LDL) in human coronary artery endothelial cells. He has demonstrated the presence of specialized receptors on the coronary artery endothelial cells, which are involved in the uptake of oxidized LDL. In these studies he demonstrated that oxidized LDL upregulates its own receptor, which facilitates the uptake of oxidized LDL. He defined the signal transduction pathways leading to cell injury (apoptosis and neurosis) in response to ox-LDL.
In these exciting studies, he has demonstrated an important interaction with another mediator of vascular tone and cell injury, angiotensin II, and identified upregulation of LOX-1 receptors by angiotensin II. These exciting studies have shed new light on the interaction between oxidized LDL and angiotensin II and provide potential for novel therapies in the treatment of atherosclerosis.
John H. Moore, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
John H. Moore is currently chair of the Human Genome Diversity Project in North America, a research effort funded by the National Science Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation to organize a global sample of human genes collected to illuminate the history of the human species over the last 200,000 years. Special attention will be paid to determining the routes by which humans migrated and how they adapted to the climates and environments of the different continents. Combined with fossil and archaeological evidence, these global genetics data, called the World Collection of Cell Lines, will provide the means for evaluating various theories about an African homeland, about "mitochondrial Eve" and a host of other hypotheses concerning human origins that appear on a weekly basis in newspapers and magazines, as well as in scholarly journals.
Moore began his career as a field
anthropologist, investigating the health, fertility, kinship and social
structure of Native Americans on reservations in Oklahoma, Wyoming and
Montana. He has published three books on these subjects, including his
popular book, The Cheyenne. He has written 15 books and monographs
and nearly a hundred other articles, book chapters and reviews. His current
field interest is the Mvskoke Creek and Seminole Indian peoples of Oklahoma
the subject of a book to be titled The Mvskoke Tribal Towns. He publishes regularly on theories of human evolution and is the proponent of ethnogenetic hypotheses, which emphasize the extent to which human societies and cultures are derived from
many sources, rather than having a single mother society. He is an outspoken critic of racial theories and serves as a consultant
to the U.S. Bureau of the Census on the use of racial categories in census questionnaires.
Moore was recently elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Palo Alto, Calif. He has served as chair of the Anthropology Section of the AAAS, and has chaired the anthropology departments at the University of Florida and the University of Oklahoma. He lectures widely on the subject of human evolution, most recently at FERMILAB, Stanford and the University of Michigan.
Mark E. Orazem, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemical Engineering
College of Engineering
Research that Mark Orazem and his colleagues began several years ago to prevent parts of the Trans-Alaska pipeline from corroding has opened up new horizons for using electrochemical engineering principles in applications as diverse as transdermal drug delivery and concrete curing.
Orazem says theories developed decades ago to design systems to protect the bare pipe that used to carry oil and gas around the world were insufficient to design systems to protect modern pipe, which has a protective coating. Orazem's group found that use of the old theories yielded adequate protection if pipeline coatings fail uniformly, but failed to provide sufficient protection if the damage to the coating was localized. Large-sized defect areas in the coating may be created during shipment of the pipe to the installation site, lifting of the pipe into the ditch and backfill operations.
"Strategies based on the assumption that coatings fail uniformly were not even sufficient to protect the pipe from a coating failure the size of my thumbnail," Orazem says.
Using computer models developed in his group and actual experiments on damaged segments of the 4-foot-diameter Trans-Alaska pipeline, Orazem and his colleagues were able to ask "What if ." questions about how and where the coating might fail and about what kind of system would protect the pipeline at those failures. Orazem's original effort in this area was incorporated into the corrosion prevention strategy used for the Trans-Alaska pipeline. The success of that work led to current research oriented toward problems more typical of the lower 48 states such as protection of multiple pipelines in a right-of-way.
Software Orazem has developed as part of a long-term collaboration with Oscar Crisalle at the University of Florida, Luis Garcia-Rubio at the University of South Florida and Claude Deslouis and Bernard Tribollet at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris to interpret a broad class of spectroscopic measurements is being used to obtain a fundamental understanding of corrosion problems in such things as drinking water networks, copper alloys used on naval vessels and aerosol containers for personal-care products.
Orazem's group also is studying new methods for using electrical current to transport therapeutic drugs through human skin with minimum irritation.
Orazem serves on the Corrosion Research
Committee of NACE International and is an associate editor of their flagship
journal Corrosion. He also serves on the Publication Committee of
the Electrochemical Society.
Stephen J. Pearton, Ph.D.
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
College of Engineering
Steve Pearton develops new processing techniques for the next generation of semiconductor and magnetic storage devices. These devices are at the heart of the information age and form the "brain" of personal computers and microprocessors.
Pearton's group works on various plasma etching, ion implantation, ohmic contact, rapid thermal annealing and plasma deposition methods for miniaturizing electronic and magnetic components. Additionally, he is working on developing new semiconductor materials that will be capable of operating at much higher temperatures than existing silicon-based electronics.
Potential applications for these devices include electric automobiles, advanced aircraft and ships and control of electricity distribution on the power grid.
Pearton joined the University of Florida in 1994 after 10 years at Bell Labs. He has published more than 650 scientific articles in refereed journals, has 10 patents related to semiconductor process technology and is author or co-author of nine books. He is editor of the journal Solid-State Electronics, on the editorial board of two other journals and is a Fellow of the Electrochemical Society.
Carl J. Pepine, M.D.
Professor and Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine
College of Medicine
Dr. Carl Pepine is a nationally recognized leader in cardiovascular research and education programs. His interests focus on developing and evaluating new and traditional therapies for ischemic heart disease, hypertension and heart failure as well as assessing the physiology of heart disease in women.
His major focus in recent years has been the development of clinical trials to address important questions relating to optimal management of patients with coronary artery disease, the most frequent cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States.
Pepine has been at the forefront of developing large, multi-center clinical trials related to heart disease.
The pinnacle of that effort to date has been an international mega-trial Pepine developed to determine how best to treat coronary artery disease patients with hypertension.
Pepine worked with colleagues in biostatistics to develop a computer-based system to conduct such a trial electronically via the Internet and secured $35 million in funding for this ongoing project, known as INVEST. So far, doctors at more than 800 sites worldwide have submitted data on more than 3,100 patients to UF via the Internet. UF has patented the system developed for this study to conduct pharmacologic research via the Internet.
Pepine also spearheaded the establishment of the Vascular Biology Working Group, where prominent cardiovascular researchers meet regularly with practicing cardiologists to keep them up to date on evolving basic and clinical research. Funding for this project surpassed $6.7 million in 1998-99. Pepine also has developed novel techniques to disseminate new research in the field in a timely manner, including a Web site (www.vbwg.org), which provides daily downloads from a review of more than 30 cardiovascular journals, as well as CD-ROMs.
M. Ian Phillips, Ph.D.,
Professor and Chair of Physiology
College of Medicine
Millions of people with hypertension take angiotensin- converting enzyme inhibitors, such as Catapres, or angiotensin receptor blockers such as Cozaar.
M. Ian Phillips, an internationally recognized researcher in hypertension physiology and neuroscience, made several discoveries relevant to the early development of these drugs. He discovered that a small protein, angiotensin, is synthesized in the brain and other tissues. Angiotensin had previously been considered to be made in the blood only, where it constricts blood vessels. By demonstrating that the peptide was also made in the brain, kidney, blood vessels and heart, independent of the angiotensin in the blood, Phillips and colleagues opened new ways to treat and understand hypertension and cardiovascular disease. He showed where and how drugs inhibiting excess angiotensin could work. He developed sensitive chemical and behavioral assays for angiotensin.
In papers published in prestigious journals, including Nature and Science, Phillips demonstrated that angiotensin acts in specific parts of the brain to alter blood pressure and contribute to high blood pressure. He showed a role of the brain in hypertension.
Phillips was the first to propose gene therapy for hypertension. In the last five years he has developed the scientific basis for a gene therapy approach toward treating hypertension and heart attacks. He has pioneered a technique for inhibiting the production of peptides called "antisense," which use a specific DNA sequence in the reverse direction from normal. This antisense sequence works precisely by reducing the synthesis of a designated protein, such as a receptor or enzyme. Phillips showed that this approach is effective in models of hypertension and reduces blood pressure for prolonged periods with a single dose. His goal is to produce a one-shot treatment for hypertension with antisense DNA delivered by the adeno-associated virus developed at the UF Gene Therapy Center.
Phillips' research has been recognized by several awards including a MERIT Award from NIH. Phillips has two other NIH grants and a prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Resources Program grant.
Jose C. Principe, Ph.D.
BellSouth Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the Computational NeuroEngineering Laboratory
College of Engineering
Jose Principe's research is directed toward the development of new paradigms for information processing. He has been investigating ways to conquer the difficulties found in capturing information of faint signals buried in noise and in transmitting them as reliably as possible over real-world channels at high data rates.
"I have been seeking inspiration in biology," Principe says, "since animals and humans operate at very close to optimal operating points in an unpredictable noisy environment."
Principe's research has two fundamental components: theoretical work developing neural models for signal and information processing, and applications of the theory to practical situations. Two recent, important theoretical contributions are his invention of the gamma neural model and the development of an information theoretic learning criterion. These and other algorithms have been applied to speech recognition, echo cancellation, system identification and control, recognition of objects in radar imagery and biomedical applications.
Principe founded the Computational NeuroEngineering Laboratory (CNEL) to serve as a center of collaborative work with colleagues within his department, the university and other national and international universities. Between 10 and 15 graduate students work at any given time in the CNEL.
Jack E. Rechcigl, Ph.D.
Professor of Soil and Water Science
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Jack Rechcigl is recognized internationally for his research on the beneficial uses of industrial by-products as fertilizers for agricultural crops.
The primary focus of Rechcigl's research has been on evaluation of the fertilizer requirements for pasture grasses and legumes and determination of the effects of the fertilizer amendments on surface and groundwater quality. His studies have conclusively shown that there is no economic advantage from applying phosphorus and potassium fertilizer to bahiagrass. As a result of his work, fertilizer recommendations have been revised, eliminating the need for phosphorous and potassium fertilization on major pasture grasses grown in Florida. These revisions have saved Florida cattle producers millions of dollars in fertilizer costs. He is currently extending his studies to other forage grasses.
Rechcigl has also successfully assessed the potential uses of various organic wastes and industrial by-products as fertilizers. Through the support of a million-dollar grant, he has evaluated the potential of using phosphogypsum (a waste product of phosphate mining) as a source of nutrients for crops. These results have generated tremendous interest both in the agricultural and the environmental regulatory community, as well as in international agricultural circles, which has led to invitations for Rechcigl to speak about his research findings in a number of countries. Several of these countries are now using phosphogypsum as a fertilizer where, in the past, it was dumped in the ocean as a waste. He has also been invited to give keynote addresses at several prestigious symposia on the utilization of inorganic and organic wastes in agriculture.
Rechcigl's research has generated more than $3 million in grants. He has authored more than 200 publications, including contributions to books, monographs and articles in periodicals in the fields of soil fertility, environmental quality and water pollution. He has also initiated and is currently the editor-in-chief of the Agriculture and Environment monograph series and has edited six comprehensive treatises on diverse agricultural topics.
Rechcigl has received numerous awards, including the Sigma Xi Research Award and the University of the Philippines Research Award, and he was recently elected a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy.
K. Ramesh Reddy, Ph.D.
Graduate Research Professor of Soil and Water Science and Director of the Wetland Biogeochemistry Laboratory
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Ramesh Reddy and his group conduct research on biogeochemical cycles of nutrients and other contaminants in wetlands and aquatic systems as related to water quality and ecosystem productivity. Biogeochemistry is an interdisciplinary science that provides a framework to integrate physical, chemical and biological processes functioning in an ecosystem at various spatial and temporal scales.
Reddy's research on phosphorous biogeochemistry in wetlands and aquatic systems of Florida has aided in the development of management strategies for ecosystem restoration. His research group developed spatial gradient maps (based on data from 400 sampling stations) for nutrient enrichment in several Florida ecosystems including Lake Apopka, Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. Using historical dating techniques, his research for the first time has determined the long-term phosphorous storage capacity of soils in the Everglades. These data played a pivotal role in designing stormwater treatment areas to protect the Everglades.
In order to evaluate nutrient/contaminant impacts on wetlands and aquatic systems, Reddy's research has identified several biogeochemical indicators that serve as diagnostic tools to provide early warning signals of ecosystem health. Often, observable changes in plant community structures are too slow, so that by the time visual changes are observed, the ecosystem is severely damaged. Thus, it is important to identify sensitive indicators to evaluate adverse impacts of nutrient loading using easily measurable indicators. Each indicator adds a piece of information to the puzzle; in this way, biogeochemical indicators provide incremental increases in our understanding of the ecosystem. Once tested, these indicators can be used to determine nutrient impacts on ecosystems or to determine the recovery of restored ecosystems.
Mark A. Reid, Ph.D.
Professor of English
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Mark Reid's research focuses on recent French fiction films depicting two generations of African diasporic communities in France. Reid is interested in the way fiction films portray the social integration of two formerly colonized African groups - Arabs from North Africa and Blacks from West Africa - as well as the integration of Black French West Indians from Martinique and Guadeloupe who have settled in metropolitan France.
"In studying fiction films depicting these three African diasporic groups, I examine how films visually and aurally (music and other sounds) construct two generations of Africans and West Indians in metropolitan France," Reid says. "The first generation comprises Africans and West Indians who immigrated, while the second generation is made up of their French-born and/or -raised children."
Reid's survey of films includes those directed and written by West Africans, North Africans and Europeans who might reside in Africa, Europe or the Americas. His present research project is centered in French fiction films made during the 1980s and 1990s that dramatize the urban experiences of French-speaking North Africans, West Africans and West Indians.
John R. Reynolds, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
John R. Reynolds is an international leader in the field of electrically conducting and electroactive conjugated polymers. In contrast to typical insulating plastics, these organic materials exhibit optical and electrical properties that are much like those of metals and semiconductors.
Reynolds' research is focused on the development of new polymers by manipulating their fundamental organic structure in order to control their ultimate properties.
Using electron-rich monomers as building blocks, his work has led to polymers that are the most easily converted into their electrically conducting form.
Numerous applications exist for these "electrically conducting plastics" in many industries, bringing strong corporate and government interest, and funding, to the research effort. These include transparent conducting films for static-charge dissipation, which is of importance to the electronics and photographic film industry; electrode materials in flexible light-emitting diodes and charge storage capacitors; and conducting pathways on printed circuit boards. But these polymers have unique possibilities that go far beyond their static electrical properties as they can be switched between conducting and insulating forms in a controlled manner.
Reynolds' research has exploited this in a number of ways. For example, he and his research group are recognized for developing the most versatile electrochromic (color changing with electric charge) polymers which are potentially useful in switchable or "smart" windows and large area displays (e.g., signs and advertisements).
Bruce Schaffer, Ph.D.
Professor of Plant Physiology
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Bruce Schaffer, professor of plant physiology at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, is internationally recognized for his work on whole-plant physiology of subtropical and tropical horticultural crops. His research focuses on defining effects and interactions of environmental factors such as irradiance, flooding, wind stress and drought on plant physiology, growth and productivity to provide a basis for improving agricultural production and sustainability.
Schaffer takes a multidisciplinary approach in cooperation with horticulturists, soil scientists, plant pathologists and entomologists to quantify plant responses to stress and investigate methods to alleviate plant stress.
A current emphasis of his research is improving the compatibility of agriculture with adjacent natural wetlands. In cooperation with other scientists, he is developing best management practices for tropical fruit and vegetable crops to increase water- and fertilizer-use efficiency, thus decreasing the potential for leaching of agri-chemicals into the groundwater.
His studies aimed at understanding and improving flood-tolerance of subtropical and tropical fruit crops may soon lead to the availability of perennial fruit crop species that are adapted to periodic flooding. This research should be invaluable to agricultural production and sustainability in south Florida because restoration of the Everglades ecosystem will likely result in elevated water tables in the area.
Schaffer has been very active in graduate education and has hosted numerous post-doctoral associates and visiting scientists. He maintains strong, active international ties and has several ongoing research projects with colleagues in other countries. He has served as an editor or member of the editorial board of several national and international journals including the Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, HortScience, Tree Physiology, and the Journal of Plant Nutrition. He is also a member of the Technical Review Panel for the Charles A. Lindbergh Foundation and frequently reviews grant proposals for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as for organizations in other countries, including Australia, Thailand and New Zealand.
Richard Segal, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair of Health Care Administration
College of Pharmacy
Richard Segal is widely recognized for his work in explaining why clinical practice is so often inconsistent with evidence-based best practices. During the past five years, Segal has led a research team that has developed and tested evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for managed care organizations in the private and public sector. These projects have resulted in one of the most successful research streams in disease management originating in academic pharmacy. An example of this work includes the development of innovative methods for implementing “best practice” guidelines for dyspepsia to improve patient outcomes and to reduce overall health-care costs.
Segal, along with other members of
the DuBow Family Center for Research in Pharmaceutical Care, has also developed
tools for implementing pharmaceutical care. The thrust of his research
is aimed at detecting why preventable drug-related morbidity (PDRM) occurs
and developing, implementing and evaluating interventions intended to reduce
PDRMs. Their internationally recognized program, called Therapeutics Outcomes
Monitoring (TOM), provides pharmacists with a system for detecting problem
patients and guidelines for resolving the pharmaceutical problems experienced
Gary Siebein, M.Arch.
Professor of Architecture
College of Architecture
Gary Siebein's interest in acoustics was sparked during summers working as a stage and theater electrician at the American Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, Conn.
"Seeing plays, operas, musical performances and concerts night after night, and hearing all the theories about acoustics that the performers and stagehands brought with them developed my interest in acoustics," Siebein said in an interview with the National Council of Acoustical Consultants' newsletter several years ago.
Siebein has parlayed that interest into an internationally recognized career as a researcher, teacher and professional acoustical consultant.
Under his leadership, the College of Architecture's Acoustics Laboratory has pioneered the development of acoustical modeling, measuring and evaluation technologies that are now part of the mainstream of acoustical design practice.
Currently, Siebein and his students are focusing on improving the acoustics of classrooms. This involves basic scientific research on acoustical measuring and modeling technology, as well as studies on how children listen and hear in actual learning situations. Siebein is working with colleagues at UF and the University of Northern Iowa on a book about this subject to be published later this year.
Siebein and his colleagues also expect their research to form the basis for new school acoustics building codes under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Frank A. Simmen, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular Endocrinology and Molecular Genetics
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Frank A. Simmen of the Department of Dairy and Poultry Sciences has for the last 14 years pioneered the application of molecular biology to livestock models.
The major focus of this research program is the role of protein growth factors in growth and development of the domestic animal species. These investigations have focused on the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system, a fundamental regulatory component for growth of probably all vertebrate cells. As such, this system constitutes an important target for the application of biotechnology to animal production systems for feeding the growing population, as well as to human medicine.
Simmen's laboratory has achieved a number of important insights regarding the role of the uterine IGF system in early embryo development of pigs and ruminants. Simmen and his colleagues have shown that alterations in the normal timing and/or expression levels of uterine IGF system components may be a key contributing factor to embryo mortality. A second aspect of this research concerns the involvement of the IGF system in later stages of development. These efforts have primarily concentrated on the newborn calf and pig models, and results identified the IGF system as a target for the application of biotechnology to augment animal growth in tropical climates. Lastly, the high level of uterine IGF gene expression described for the domestic species supports the probable involvement of these factors in human uterine growth and differentiation. As an extension of the above, Simmen's laboratory is examining the involvement of the IGF system in human uterine carcinoma cell biology.
Nan-Yao Su, Ph.D.
Professor of Entomology
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Nan-Yao Su, professor of entomology at the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, is the world authority on the behavioral ecology and control of subterranean termites. Subterranean termites cost U.S. consumers more than $1.5 billion annually to control, and are a primary concern for homeowners in Florida.
Through a mark-recapture technique Su developed, he determined that a single colony of subterranean termites may contain several million workers that forage up to 300 feet for food. Despite applying a large quantity of insecticide, conventional soil treatment only deters termite attack, leaving the vast majority of subterranean termites unaffected.
After discovering that an insect growth regulator, hexaflumuron, caused delayed mortality of termites, Su developed a monitoring/baiting procedure to deliver hexaflumuron to field populations of subterranean termites. With this technique, he demonstrated that the entire colony of several million individuals could be eliminated using less than 1 gram of hexaflumuron. The procedure is now commercially available to the public, under the tradename Sentricon, and is expected to drastically reduce insecticide use in future termite control.
This non-invasive baiting procedure is also ideal for environmentally sensitive historic sites such as the Statue of Liberty National Monument.
For his contribution to the development of this new technology, Su received the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture's Honor Award for Individual Achievement in Research in 1996.
Thomas J. Wronski,
Professor of Physiological Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
Thomas J. Wronski is widely recognized for establishing the ovariectomized rat as a suitable animal model for postmenopausal osteoporosis, a bone disorder that afflicts millions of elderly women. Wronski and co-workers showed that surgical removal of the ovaries from rats results in estrogen deficiency and adverse bone changes that are strikingly similar to those of postmenopausal women. His validation of this animal model served as a foundation for studies by numerous investigators of the pathogenesis and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
In studies funded by NIH and pharmaceutical companies, Wronski has used the ovariectomized rat model for preclinical testing of potential new treatments for osteoporotic women. He found that a class of drugs called bisphosphonates and the hormone calcitonin can serve as an alternative to estrogen for the prevention of bone loss during estrogen deficiency. Other studies by Wronski and co-workers have focused on the ability of parathyroid hormone and basic fibroblast growth factor to stimulate bone formation and restore lost bone to normal levels in the estrogen-deficient skeleton.
Wronski has also been involved in studies of the skeletal effects of space flight. Wronski is a member of the External Advisory Council for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and is on the editorial board for the journal Bone.