February 2011


DSU Announces First-Ever Intellectual Property Transfer

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DSU President Harry L. Williams, shakes hands with Dr. Steve Buckley, co-founder and president of Photon Machines, Inc. after the Feb. 24 announcement. Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, DSU vice president of research, looks on. 

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    DSU has announced the transfer of an intellectual property created by its optics scientists to a technology company for the development of a device for use in hospitals and laboratories. Dr. Noureddine Melikechi said Dr. Yuri Markushin, DSU senior research scientist, has been instrumental in the work that has led to the intellectual property transfer from DSU to Photon Machines.   DSU has reached an agreement with Photon Machines, Inc., in which a Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy-Tag Method (LIB-Tag) developed from the University’s optics research work will used in the creation of laser technology that can be used in hospitals and labs for diagnostic work.   DSU President Harry L. Williams made the announcement during a Feb. 23 media event held in the Hardcastle/Selby Conference Room in the Administration Building on campus.   This breakthrough is an innovative development in the evolving area of proteomic – the large-scale study of proteins, their structure and functions. The DSU optics-method addresses the need in proteomics to be able to rapidly identify proteins and enzymes.   This development represents the first-ever transfer of intellectual property by DSU in the institution’s history.   “This is reflective of not only the great strides we have made in our diverse research endeavors at this University, but of the purposeful direction that DSU’s scientific agenda is moving toward,” said DSU President Harry L. Williams.   Through the DSU LIB-Tag Method, individual proteins and molecules can be detected and analyzed, and this can be instrumental in the diagnosis of medical conditions. The spectroscopy-based method is faster, more advanced and efficient than the biotechnology method currently used, said Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, DSU vice president of research and dean of the University’s College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology.   “This is a significant major step in our scientific and technological pursuits,” Dr. Melikechi said. “It is a strong indication that with a little help and support, DSU can play a major role in enhancing knowledge-based economic growth locally, regionally and nationally.”   Dr. Melikechi said he is particularly proud of the contribution of students in the research work of the Optics Program. “Our students are part of the future, and they have to be a part of designing it,” he said.   The research in the DSU Optics Program allows graduate students like Franz Delima to contribute work toward the science accomplishment like the one announced on Feb. 24. Photon Machines has the exclusive worldwide license from DSU to develop the LIBS-Tag technology. The University is in the process of getting a patent finalized for this intellectual property.   “Photon Machines is excited to be licensing this innovative technology from DSU which both plays to one of our core technologies, and also promises to be an important innovation in biomedical diagnostics,” said Dr. Steve Buckley, co-founder and president of Photon Machine.   Dr. Buckley this new advancement has the potential to make a tremendous change in the lives of people through this advance method of analyzing individual proteins. “Protein in your blood has a lot of information about one’s health,” Dr. Buckley said. “This can be a game changer in health care.”   The Redmond, Washington-based Photon Machines specializes in the development of advanced, laser-based instrumentation. Its series of Analyte™ laser ablation systems are used worldwide in chemistry and geochemistry laboratories, and its new Insight™ LIBS systems allow rapid elemental analysis. The company specializes in the rapid integration of unique laser-based technologies and spectroscopies into new instruments, and software that facilitates method development and data reduction.   Dr. Melikechi, who founded the University’s first Applied Optics Center in 1997, credits then-Gov. Thomas R. Carper (now U.S. Senator from Delaware) for “planting the seed” with his support of that first optics facility.   Under Dr. Melikechi leadership, the DSU Optics Program has been awarded two separate $5 million research grants – in 2006 from the National Science Foundation and in 2009 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, commonly known as NASA.   Several state legislators were in attendance for the announcement. "DSU is enhancing our youth, because they are getting a world-class education," said state Rep. William Carson.    

DSU Announces New Appointments

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    DSU has recently made new appointments to its Department of Public Safety and Office of Development. Interim Police Chief Willie Bell, Jr.   DSU has named Willie Bell, Jr., a retired 34-year enforcement officer and public safety administrator, as the interim University Police Chief. More than 28 of those years were spent in higher education at three different universities, including 17 years as director of public safety and chief of police for two HBCUs (North Fayetteville State University and Winston Salem State University).    Interim Chief Bell holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Fayetteville State University, a master’s degree in criminal justice from North Carolina Central University and is also a graduate of the Law Enforcement Executive Program of the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.    He is now the principal of Bell Consulting Group, which specializes in law enforcement and parking and transportation consulting services for higher education.                     Al Lavan   Interim Chief Bell takes over for former DSU Police Chief James T. Overton, who has left the University to become the police chief at the University of Massachusetts, Boston campus. Chief Overton’s last day was Feb. 2.     DSU has also further strengthened its development staff with the naming of Al Lavan and Bryan T.T. Bell as it newest development officers.   Al Lavan moves into the development field after more than 35 years as a collegiate and professional football coach. Mr. Lavan served as the DSU head coach from 2004-2010, and prior to that his football career included 18 years as an assistant coach with several NFL football teams. He is a graduate of Colorado State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology.             Bryant T.T. Bell   Bryant T.T. Bell will join the development officer team as an alumnus of DSU from the classes of 1975 and 1994. Mr. Bell, who earned a BS in Business Administration and a MBA with DSU, previously worked as a senior brokerage officer and senior client advisor for Wilmington Trust and as an assistant to the director of Continuing Education for Delaware Technical and Community College.    

BEEP Professionals Show Students Perseverance Roadmap to Success

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DSU Alumni BEEP professionals (l-r): Alfonso Jones, Ronald Pinkett, LaCresha Millner, John Ridgeway, DSU President Harry L. Williams, Jonas Acquah, Melissa Carpenter, Kevin Washington and Malachi Allen. The eight alums returned to their alma mater to participate in the Feb. 24 BEEP event.

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    The DSU College of Business held its annual Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP) and Alumni Open House on Feb. 22 under the theme “Perseverance – A Roadmap to Success. DSU alumnus Kevin Washington, regional vice president of Primerica Financial Service, gives DSU student his thoughts during a BEEP forum  panel discussion on the "Challenges in Today's Economy".   Nineteen BEEP professionals – recognize during this event as “visiting professors” – participated in the daylong event that feature workshops, roundtable and forum discussions, mock interviews and a wealth of interaction between DSU College of Business students and the visiting professionals.   The group included eight DSU alumni (listed below with an asterisk*).   The event culminated with a case study competition between four teams of DSU students. The teams each presented their case study on Starbucks and Conservation International, with the winning group being Team 3 whose members were Stephen Bowe, Erika Grant, Kiara Watts and Victoria Williams. Each winning member was awarded a $300 book scholarship.   The visiting professors were:   Jonas Acquah* – financial control analyst, J.P. Morgan Malachi Allen* – senior accountant, BNY Mellon Asset Servicing Roxanne Allen – human resource manager, UPS Sheldon Allen – director of sales, UPS Kevin Bankett – division manager, UPS Melissa Carpenter* special agent, UPS Larry Chamberlain – division manager, UPS Anthony Heath, UPS Valerie James, assistant vice president, CIGNA HealthCare Jimmie Jennings, division manager, UPS Alfonso Jones* youth aid officer, Delaware State Police LaCresha Milner* senior audit associate, KPMG LLP Ronald Pinkett* chief financial officer, Brandywine Counseling & Community Services John Ridgeway* corporate manager, Toyota Damond Thorington, area safety manager, Supervalu Kevin Washington* regional vice president, Primerica Financial Services Thomas White, UPS Myron Williams, UPS Charles Wright III, vice president of Institutional Advancement, Peirce College.  

DSU Student Selected to be NASA Ambassador

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  A Delaware State University undergraduate student has been selected to be among a nationwide group of top interns that will serve as ambassadors for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). DSU senior Harry N. Burton III will serve as a NASA ambassador.   Harry N. Burton III, a senior physics/pre-engineering major at DSU, has been selected for the NASA ambassadorship, which he hopes will pay future professional dividends.   “I applied to get connected with NASA and possibly get a job with them,” said Mr. Burton, who is a resident of Dover and a 2007 graduate of Dover High School. “I think their mission is significant in science.”   As one of the 105 NASA ambassadors selected nationwide, Mr. Burton will give presentations in the Delmarva region, work at job fairs and conduct other outreach endeavors on behalf of the space agency.   Mr. Burton is the second DSU student to be selected for the NASA ambassadorship. In 2010 Bryan E. Greenly, currently senior physics major, was the first-ever DSU student selected for the honor.  

DSU's Dr. Kevina Vulinec Named as Fulbright Scholar

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Dr. Kevina Vulinec and graduate student Megan Wallrichs take data from a red bat in a DSU lab. Dr. Vulinec will continue her bat research as a Fulbright scholar in the rainforests of Brazil.

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    Dr. Kevina Vulinec, a DSU associate professors in natural resources, has been awarded a competitive Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture and do research in the South American country of Brazil as part of her ongoing work on bat species.   Specifically Dr. Vulinec will work with Dr. Paulo Estefano Dineli Bobrowiec from the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas de Amazonia in Brazil. She will teach and conduct research on seed-dispersing bats in Brazil’s fragmented tropical rainforest.   A large amount of Brazil’s rainforests have been lost to human activities such as logging, reducing it to one-eighth of the size it was 1½ centuries ago. Because it is home to an impressive number of endangered plants and animal species, the rainforest is considered to be a threatened biodiversity area.   Dr. Vulinec’s research will focus on the impact of rainforest fragmentation on the seed-dispersing bats – a species that disperse the seeds from fruits it eats, and thereby replenishing the rainforest with seeds that grow into new plants and fruits.   In addition, Dr. Vulinec will conduct a workshop for the Instituto Nacional’s students on nocturnal wildlife audio-video technology.   Dr. Vulinec will arrive in Brazil to begin her work on Feb. 21. The Fulbright research and teaching experience will continue until late May.   “It is an incredible opportunity,” Dr. Vulinec said. “It is the best award for getting people out for scholarship purposes.”   Dr. Vulinec’s findings will be accessed by the Biological Fragmentation Project, the world largest-scale and longest-running study of habitat fragmentation, operated cooperatively by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Brazil’s National Institute for Amazonian Research.   The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.    

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