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UNC School of the Arts Receives Largest Gift From Individual Donor PDF Print E-mail
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 05:12
The University of North Carolina School of the Arts has received an anonymous gift of $10 million, the largest gift the school has received from an individual donor, Chancellor Lindsay Bierman has announced.
The gift will be used to establish the Institute for Performance Innovation, which will support the creation of a groundbreaking graduate Animatronics Program in UNCSA’s School of Design and Production and advance a cutting-edge graduate program in Gaming and Virtual Reality in the School of Filmmaking.
“I am profoundly grateful for this transformative gift, and deeply moved by the donor’s guiding vision and passion for UNCSA,” Bierman said. “It allows us to develop new career pathways for our students by enhancing our facilities, investing in technology, expanding our curricula, and partnering with businesses that shape and define our culture. 
“The Institute will strengthen our position as a leading arts conservatory and creative incubator, and will directly and immediately impact the next generation of artists who will dominate the world’s screens, stages, and creative industries,” he added.
Chief Advancement Officer Edward J. Lewis said the donation will be a lead gift in UNCSA’s upcoming comprehensive campaign. “This gift will provide tremendous momentum as we build partnerships that will keep the School of the Arts at the vanguard, leading the way in how artists of the future will learn, hone and expand their craft,” he said. “I thank the anonymous donor for their generous investment in the future of UNCSA.”
Approximately half of the gift will be directed toward scholarships and faculty, with the balance providing an endowment to support infrastructure and operating expenses for the new programs.
“The Institute for Performance Innovation will optimize relationships with entertainment leaders such as Disney, Cirque du Soleil, Oculus, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Radiant Images, DreamWorks, and Universal Studios, among others,” said newly-appointed Provost David J. English. “The Institute will support efforts connecting the robust curricula with industry professionals in two exciting areas – animatronics and gaming/virtual reality. That will position UNCSA at the apex of arts and entertainment training.
    This transformative gift will enable us to offer classes in areas that are not offered in any other school in the world, to train students in the fastest-growing markets in the entertainment industry. 
“This transformative gift will enable us to offer classes in areas that are not offered in any other school in the world, to train students in the fastest-growing markets in the entertainment industry,” English added.
Michael J. Kelley, Dean of the School of Design and Production (D&P), said, “This is a groundbreaking opportunity that will keep D&P in the forefront of technological advances in the industry and solidify our current position as a global leader in the rapidly-changing world of design and production.”
Kelley said animatronics is “technology, mechanics and art blended together. By building on existing curricula in areas including stage properties, wig and makeup prosthetics, stage automation and robotics, D&P will train the next generation of artists for leadership-level positions in the fields of Creature/Animatronic Design, Sound Design, Sound Engineering and Mechanical Engineering for the broader entertainment industry.
“These opportunities include market segments beyond our traditional reach, such as theme parks, cruise ships, live destination attractions, live projection, and entertainment shows and spectaculars like the Olympics and Super Bowl,” Kelley added.
The stand-alone School of Design and Production is the only program of its kind in the nation (most universities combine design and production with drama in general theatre programs). It has long-established relationships with top companies in the industry (such as WorldStage, Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC), and TAIT Towers), where literally scores of its alumni are employed.
    The Institute for Performance Innovation will be a future-focused laboratory where designers, filmmakers, musicians, dancers, actors, and artists of all kinds can reimagine, reinvent, and reshape arts experiences for 21st Century audiences.
Film Dean Susan Ruskin said, “The School of Filmmaking is poised to build on our history of success and move toward the leading edge of new technologies in storytelling with immersive entertainment, gaming and virtual reality.”        
The new program would fully utilize the School of Filmmaking’s New Media Building, a 30,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility for digital design, gaming, animation, special effects and immersive entertainment that opened in 2015.
In ranking the School of Filmmaking among the top 20 film schools in the country for the fourth straight year in 2016, The Hollywood Reporter said the UNCSA film school “is transforming into a cutting-edge tech hub. This fall, it’s offering a new track in immersive entertainment and augmented reality as students create a VR (virtual reality) movie with help from Jacquie Barnbrook, producer of The Martian VR Experience.”
Ruskin said UNCSA is one of only 11 universities nationwide chosen for the Oculus NextGen inaugural program. “This program provides access to hardware, guest lectures, creative advisement, and exposure to the virtual reality industry as well as our colleague schools, as we all explore new ways to train the next generation of storytellers,” she said.
Bierman said the Institute for Performance Innovation will be “a future-focused laboratory where designers, filmmakers, musicians, dancers, actors, and artists of all kinds can reimagine, reinvent, and reshape arts experiences for 21st century audiences.
“I feel confident our donor will take great pride in what we accomplish through this extraordinarily generous gift,” he added. 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 January 2017 05:14
UNC-Chapel Hill Receives Grant To Fight Terrorism PDF Print E-mail
By Administrator   
Saturday, 14 January 2017 08:03
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will receive $866,687 from the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to counter violent extremism. 
UNC-Chapel is the largest recipient the first round of $10 million in grants designed to fight home-grown terrorism.  The university recieved a grant aspart of DHS's effort to "Challenging the Narrative" of extremism. 
"In this age of self-radicalization and terrorist-inspired acts of violence, domestic-based efforts to counter violent extremism have become a homeland security imperative. And, I know from visiting numerous communities across this country that very often the best efforts to counter violent extremism are local, tailored to a particular community. My hope is that Congress will continue to fund this type of grant activity in the future. Again, this is a homeland security imperative," DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said. 
Details of the UNC grant have yet to be released by the university. 
Developing Resilience
Police Foundation - $463,185 (Boston)
Ka Joog Nonprofit Organization – $499,998 (Minneapolis)
Heartland Democracy Center – $165,435 (Minneapolis)
Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities - $500,000 (Dearborn, Mich.)
Tuesday’s Children - $147,154 (Nationwide)
Music in Common - $159,000 (Nationwide)
Peace Catalyst International, INC - $95,000 (Nationwide)
Coptic Orthodox Charities - $150,000 (Nationwide)
Training and Engagement
City of Houston, Mayor’s Office of Public Safety & Homeland Security - $400,000 (Houston)
City of Arlington, Police - $47,497 (Arlington, TX)
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority - $187,877 (Illinois)
Global Peace Foundation - $150,000 (New Jersey)
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency - $300,000 (Nebraska)
City of Dearborn Police Department - $51,521 (Dearborn, Mich.)
City of Los Angeles, Mayor’s Office of Public Safety - $400,000 (Los Angeles)
Denver Police Department - $240,000 (Denver)
National Consortium for Advanced Policing - $200,000 (Nationwide)
Managing Interventions
City of Los Angeles, Mayor’s Office of Public Safety - $425,000 (Los Angeles)
Crisis Intervention of Houston, Inc. - $400,000 (Houston)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department - $425,000 (Las Vegas)
Life After Hate Inc. - $400,000 (Nationwide)
Muslim Public Affairs Council Foundation - $393,800 (Nationwide)
Challenging the Narrative
Project Help Nevada, Inc. - $150,000 (Reno, Nev.)
Unity Productions Foundation - $396,585 (Nationwide)
America Abroad Media - $647,546 (Nationwide)
Rochester Institute of Technology - $149,955 (Nationwide)
Masjid Muhammad, Inc. - $450,000 (Nationwide)
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - $866,687 (Nationwide)
Muslim American Leadership Alliance - $40,000 (Nationwide)
Building Capacity
Counter Extremism Project - $298,760 (New York)
Claremont School of Theology - $800,000 (Los Angeles)
UNC's First Nobel Prize Winner, Dr. Oliver Smithies, Dies PDF Print E-mail
By Administrator   
Saturday, 14 January 2017 07:44
Dr. Oliver Smithies, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s first full-time faculty member to win a Nobel Prize and a world-renowned giant in the field of gene targeting, passed away at UNC Hospitals after a short illness. He was 91.
Smithies, the School of Medicine’s Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2007 for his development of a technique called homologous recombination that introduced targeted genetic modifications to cells. He shared the prize with Mario Capecchi, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of Utah, and Sir Martin Evans of the United Kingdom.
Smithies is survived by his wife, Dr. Nobuyo Maeda, Robert H. Wagner Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the School of Medicine. They joined the Carolina faculty in 1988.
“Oliver Smithies was such a loving, wonderful force for all things good in this world,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “Spending time with Oliver and Nobuyo has been one of the highlights of my tenure at Carolina. Every time I saw the two of them together, I was uplifted and inspired by their relationship, joyful attitude to life and generosity of spirit.”
Smithies’ work made possible the creation and use of “knockout mice,” which have contributed significantly to scientists’ understanding of how individual genes work. Knockout mice also have been used to study and model varieties of cancer, obesity, heart diseases and other diseases. Smithies’ lab at UNC-Chapel Hill created the first animal model of cystic fibrosis in 1992.
Smithies was credited with many notable scientific achievements. Much earlier in his career, while working as a research scientist at the Connaught Medical Research Laboratory in Toronto, Canada, Smithies invented a process called starch gel electrophoresis, the immediate forerunner of polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, a method still in use today.
Carolina colleagues praised Smithies’ generous spirit, as well as his remarkable discoveries that have – and will continue to have – beneficial effects on many scientific and medical disciplines.
“Our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Smithies, was a giant and a wonderful human being. The UNC School of Medicine is much the better for his time with us,” said Dr. William L. Roper, dean and Bondurant Professor, School of Medicine, and chief executive officer of UNC Health Care.
“Oliver was a truly remarkable person with a joy for life and science. His brilliance was paired with infectious enthusiasm that inspired everyone around him,” said Dr. J. Charles Jennette, Kenneth M. Brinkhous Distinguished Professor and chair of the department of pathology and laboratory medicine.
In 2015, Smithies helped lead the Carolina community’s celebration of Dr. Aziz Sancar’s Nobel Prize in chemistry. “It was an honor to have Dr. Smithies as my colleague and to have collaborated with him at UNC,” said Sancar, Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics. “He was a true scholar and a gentleman, an inspiration to all of us here and to scientists around the world. I feel especially lucky to have gotten to spend so much time with him over the past year due to our connection as UNC Nobel Prize recipients. I will miss him greatly.”
Dr. Norman E. Sharpless, director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, said Smithies played a critical role in the University’s evolution into a world-leading scientific juggernaut. “While many people contributed to that progress, Oliver was one of the most important, by providing the example of research excellence,” Sharpless said. “His discoveries in gel electrophoresis and gene targeting inspired a generation of biologists, including me.”
Smithies and his fraternal twin brother, Roger, were born on June 23, 1925, in Halifax, England. Smithies’ childhood was happy but uneventful, except for a bout with rheumatic fever at age 7 that left him with a heart murmur. At the time, however, the condition was regarded as serious enough that he was not permitted to play sports until he was a teenager.
Smithies filled his hours by reading, a pastime encouraged by his mother, an English teacher at the local community college, and tinkering, building telescopes and radio sets, and helping his father, an insurance salesman, maintain the family car.
In 1943, he received a scholarship to Oxford University, where he briefly studied medicine before changing the concentration of his studies to physiology. He received his bachelor’s degree in physiology in 1946, and went on to earn his master’s degree and doctorate in biochemistry from Oxford in 1951.
Smithies performed postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin before joining the Connaught Medical Research Laboratory, where he worked from 1952 until 1960. It was here that Smithies developed his starch gel electrophoresis technique. The high-resolution gels that Smithies created with his new method allowed researchers to study blood proteins much more effectively. Previously, scientists thought blood plasma contained five different proteins. Smithies found 25 proteins in all and also determined that all people have very different mixtures of proteins in their blood.
Smithies returned to the University of Wisconsin in 1960, where he was one of the first scientists to physically separate a gene from the rest of the DNA of the human genome. In 1982, Smithies recorded in his notebook an experimental plan to modify specific genes. The method for targeted modifications in genes – gene engineering – that resulted from these experiments has become an indispensable part of the toolbox for experimental genetics, allowing researchers to understand the function of specific genes in physiology and pathology, and playing a key role in the development of new treatments for a variety of diseases.
When Smithies came to Chapel Hill, his research continued to use gene targeting to create animal models to study human diseases to better understand their cause and progression, and to help develop new modes of treatment. His most recent research focused on hypertension and kidney disease.
Until his passing, Smithies was still at the lab bench seven days a week, pursuing his research with the same enthusiasm that has animated his scientific career for more than 70 years. He was especially excited about a new project he planned on starting after the new year. In addition to his work, Smithies was an avid pilot and especially fond of gliding.
Last fall, the University launched the Oliver Smithies Research Archive website to make available to the world the 150-plus notebooks where Smithies meticulously recorded his notes daily. Smithies began the habit as a graduate student at Oxford, and his notebooks contain information about his research and other details of his life.
Selected Awards:
Member, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, 1971
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1978
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1986
Gardiner Foundation International Award, 1990 and 1993
Alfred P. Sloan Award, General Motors Foundations, 1994
Ciba Award for Hypertension Research, American Heart Association, 1996
The Bristol Myers Squibb Award, 1997
American Association of Medical Colleges’ Award for Distinguished Research (with Mario Capecchi), 1998
Foreign Member, Royal Society, 1998
International Okamoto Award, Japan Vascular Disease Research Foundation, 2000
Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (with Martin Evans and Mario Capecchi), 2001
Max Gardner Award, the University of North Carolina system’s highest faculty honor, 2002
Massry Prize, Meira and Shaul G. Massry Foundation (with Mario Capecchi), 2002
Member, U.S. Institute of Medicine, 2003
Wolf Prize in Medicine (with Mario Capecchi and Ralph L. Brinster), 2003
Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal, Genetics Society of America, 2007
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2007
Gold Medal, American Institute of Chemists, 2009
Honorary Degree, Doctor of Science, Oxford University, 2011
Charter Fellow, National Academy of Inventors, 2013
Faculty Service Award, UNC General Alumni Association, 2014
Last Updated on Saturday, 14 January 2017 08:07

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