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DSU Awarded a School-Record $10.5M Grant for Neuroscience Research

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Gathering to celebrate the grant: U.S. Rep. John Carney; Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, DSU dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology; Dr. Sidney McNairy, of the National Institutes of Health; U.S. Sen. Chris Coons; DSU President Harry L. Williams; Dr. Melissa Harrington, DSU professor of neuroscience and grant principal investigator; U.S. Sen. Tom Carper; and Dr. Jeff Rosen, UD professor of psychology and grant co-principal investigator.

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Dr. Melissa Harrington, professor of neuroscience and the principal investigator of the NIH grant. Delaware State University announced on Nov. 26 a five-year $10.5 million research grant that will fund the establishment on campus of the Delaware Center for Neuroscience Research, a joint endeavor by DSU – the lead institution -- and the University of Delaware.   The Center for Biomedical Research Excellence grant has been awarded by the National Institutes of Health. Of the $10.5 million, DSU will get $7.3 million and UD will get almost $3.2 million, barring any unexpected budget cuts over the five-year period.   The announcement was made during a Nov. 26 media event in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center, where DSU President Harry L. Williams, along with Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, and Dr. Melissa Harrington, the principal investigator of the research grant, were joined by the entire Delaware congressional delegation – U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, U.S. Chris Coons, and U.S. Representative John Carney – as well as by other state legislators and DSU supporters and University officials.   The resulting Neuroscience Center will support cutting-edge scientific research on brain development and the neurobiology of learning. It will provide support for the established research projects of five investigators at the University of Delaware and DSU, and four other faculty members will also be supported with smaller pilot grants that will allow them to start up new research projects or take their current research in a new direction.   Dr. Williams said he is excited about the contributions this center will make toward producing the next generations of neuroscientists.   “This is an outstanding development for the state of Delaware, in that its two state universities have joined research forces to attract this grant to the First State,” the DSU president said. “And in addition to being an inter-institutional center, we are also excited that it will also be interdisciplinary – not only involving faculty researchers in biology, psychology, and mechanical engineering.”   The Neuroscience Center also supports affiliated faculty with an integrated mentoring and professional development program aimed at helping them progress to senior levels of the profession.   Each member of the Congressional delegation viewed the grant as an outstanding accomplishment for DSU.   “This grant award to Delaware State University will jump-start neuroscience research in Delaware, creating opportunities for leaders in this field to come to the state to further their research in this specialized area,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “I am excited about the possibilities to come out of this project – from new discoveries to job creation – that will happen here in the First State.”   “Investments in scientific research are investments in America’s economic security, and in order to get the best and the brightest into the lab, we have to cultivate the next generation of researchers from all kinds of backgrounds,” U.S. Sen. Chris Coons said. “This grant will help ensure that Delaware plays a leading role in scientific research and in mentoring bright young scientists. The future of our state – including our economy and the health of our citizens – will be powered forward by investments like this one. I congratulate DSU and UD on earning this exciting and competitive grant.”    “This investment will attract top talent in the field to our state, and most importantly, will provide students at DSU and UD with learning opportunities that simply weren’t possible until now,” said Congressman Carney.  I’d like to thank the faculty at UD and DSU, in particular the director of the Delaware Center for Neuroscience Research, Dr. Melissa Harrington, for bringing this opportunity to Delaware.  These are the investments that we must continue to make as a nation to remain competitive in a 21st century economy.” DSU and UD researchers that will benefit from the grant: Leonard Davis, chair of the DSU Dept. of Biology; Dr. Harbinder Dhillon, DSU asst. professor of biology; Dr. Cynthia VanGolen, asst. professor biology; Dr. Rachel Pulverman, DSU asst. professor of psychology; Dr. Melissa Harrington, grant principal investigator and DSU professor of neuroscience; Dr. Jeff Rosen, UD professor of psychology and grant co-principal investigator; Dr. Amy Griffin, UD asst. professor  of psychology; Dr. Tania Roth, UD asst. professor of psychology; DR. Anna Klintsova, UD associate professor of psychology; and Dr. Sunil K. Agrawal, UD professor of mechanical engineering.   Dr. Harrington said the new Center just makes formal something that has been developing for many years, as a core group of neuroscience faculty members have been meeting and collaborating across departmental and institutional boundaries for the last five years.   “There is a big benefit to bringing researchers together to share scientific information, in that we learn from each other, share equipment and knowledge, and work together in ways that we would otherwise not be able,” she said. “One example of this collaboration is a course exchange program what allows neuroscience graduate students at each university to take classes at the other institution tuition-free.”   She also noted that the DSU Neuroscience Ph.D. program has a biological focus, while the neuroscience Ph.D. program at University of Delaware is in the Psychology Department and focuses on behavioral neuroscience. “It benefits students of both universities to be able to draw on the specialized expertise available at each institution,” Dr. Harrington said. “We don’t compete, we complement.”   Dr. Jeff Rosen, professor of psychology at the University of Delaware, said the NIH grant comes at a particularly opportune time as the neuroscience curriculum at UD is expanding and a health science complex on the new Science, Technology and Advanced Research Campus at UD is becoming a reality.    “It will also help promote neuroscience research through COBRE-sponsored symposia and seminars where Delaware neuroscientists can learn first-hand about the latest breakthroughs,” Dr. Rosen said. “The COBRE award will help the UD and DSU neuroscience communities play a prominent, cooperative role in the expansion of basic and health-related neuroscience across the state of Delaware.”                         The Neuroscience Center will support the following five investigators and their established research programs: Dr. Harb Dhillon, DSU associate professor of biology – Understanding the molecular basis of learning and memory using C. elegans. Dr. Amy Griffin, UD assistant professor of psychology – Role of the rodent medial prefrontal cortex in behavioral plasticity. Dr. Anna Klintsova, associate professor of psychology, UD – Fetal Alcohol Syndrome model: therapeutic interventions. Dr. Tania Roth, UD assistant professor of psychology – Lasting epigenetic influence of early-life adversity on the BDNF gene. Dr. Cindy van Golen, DSU associate professor of biology – CXCR4 controls neurite extension through direct regulation of actin dynamics.   In addition, the Neuroscience Center will support following investigators who are moving into new research areas through pilot project. The Center will assist them in collecting preliminary data that will enable them to apply for external funding: Dr. Sunil K. Agrawal, UD professor of mechanical engineering – Robotic navigation inspired by neuromechanics of C. elegans. Dr. Rachel Pulverman, DSU assistant professor of psychology – Infant verb learning:  from attention to comprehension Dr. Theresa Szabo-Maas, DSU assistant professor of biology -- DSU  influence of environmental and hormonal changes on mechanisms of motor learning. Dr. Georgianna Gould will join DSU as an assistant professor of biology in January 2013. Her research focuses on the development of social behavior in a mouse model of autism.

DSU Breaks Enrollment Record -- 4,425 Students -- for 3rd Straight Year

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DSU established new records in fall semester 2012 in total enrollment, undergraduate enrollment, and graduate students.

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For the third consecutive year, Delaware State University has broken its enrollment record with a fall semester 2012 total enrollment of 4,425 students – which marks the first time the institution has gone over the 4,400 threshold.   The record 4,425 enrollment surpasses the previous record of 4,178 set in in the fall of 2011. The 2012 enrollment figures include a record 3,955 undergraduates and a record 470 graduate students (master and doctoral students).   The University enrolled 1,041 new freshmen this fall, fall short of last year’s record of 1,085.   “While the number of students is going up, the quality of the students entering DSU as indicated by their high school grade point average and their SAT reading and mathematics scores, are also higher than ever before,” said DSU President Harry L. Williams.   Last month it was announced that DSU has moved up from 15th to 13th in the U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country.  

Nov. 18-19 Performance of the Play "Stick Fly" Postponed

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The Nov. 18-19 performance of the student production of "Stick Fly" has been postponed for unforeseen reasons. The play will be reschedule sometime during the upcoming spring semester.

DSU to Present Neuroscience Guest Speaker Dr. Emery N. Brown

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                        Dr. Emery N. Brown Delaware State University will present Dr. Emery N. Brown as a guest speaker on the neuroscience topic of “Neural Signal Processing Algorithms” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 in room 223 of the Mishoe Science Center (south side) on campus.   The guest lecture is free and open to the public.   Dr; Brown is a Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a professor of computational neuroscience and health sciences and technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an anesthesiologist at MGH.   Dr. Brown received his B.A. (magna cum laude) in Applied Mathematics in 1978 from Harvard College, his M.A. in statistics from Harvard University in 1984, his M.D. (magna cum laude) from Harvard Medical School in 1987 and a Ph.D. in statistics from Harvard University in 1988.   He is an anesthesiologist-statistician whose methodology research develops signal processing algorithms to characterize how the brain represents and transmits information. His experimental research uses a systems neuroscience approach to study how anesthetic drugs act in the brain to create the state of general anesthesia.   Dr. Brown is currently a member of the Burrough-Welcome Fund Board of Directors, National Science Foundation’s Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee, and the Board of Directors of the International Anesthesia Research Society.   Dr. Brown is the recipient of a 2007 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, the 2011 Sacks Award from the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, and a 2012 NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award.  

Dr. Randal Pinkett, Winner of "The Apprentice" to Speak at DSU Nov. 13

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Entrepreneur, speaker, author and community servant Dr. Randal Pinkett will give his strategies for success during a guest speaking engagement at DSU at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13

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Dr. Randal Pinkett (r), with Donald Trump. Dr. Randal Pinkett, winner of the Donald Trump show “The Apprentice” will speak at Delaware State University at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13 in the Education and Humanities Theatre on campus.   The event is free and open to the public.   Mr. Pinkett is the chairman and CEO of national consulting BCT Partners, a firm that recently landed two separate billion-dollar contracts. He is the co-author of Black Faces in White Places. He is also the author of The Campus CEO and NO Money Down CEO.   He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Oxford University, holds five degrees, and was a Rhodes scholar.   As the winner of the fourth season of The Apprentice, Dr. Pinkett is the only African American to win that prime time reality show.  

Thomas Chatterton Williams, author at DSU -- Photo Slideshow

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Author Thomas Chatterton Williams chats with a student about his book Losing My Cool during a reception held in his honor on the afternoon of Nov. 8. He later spoke to about 400 students in the Education and Humanities Theatre later that night.

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Thomas Chatterton Williams, author of the book Losing My Cool, attended a reception in his honor at DSU on Nov. 8 and then spoke to about 400 students later that evening during a presentation in the Education and Humanities Building. Losing My Cool was the selected book for DSU’s “One Book, One Campus” program during the 2012-2013 academic year. For images from the reception and the evening event, click on the below photo slideshow:  

Dr. A. Richard Barros Tribute Reception -- Photo Slideshow

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Dr. A. Richard Barros was honored for his 35 years of dedicated service on the DSU Board of Trustees, his innovations and outstanding reputation as an attorney, as well as his passion as a bicyclist, which he parlayed into community service and fundraising for the MS Society (for which over the years he raised more than $60,000 during its Bike to the Bay annual event).

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DSU took a special moment in time on Nov. 7 to honor Dr. A. Richard Barros, University Board of Trustees emeritus, who recently stepped down after service 35 years as a board member. In a reception entitled “The Bar, The Bike & The Barros,” held in the Martin Luther King Student Center, Dr. Barros was celebrated for not only his board service, but also for his stellar career as an attorney as well as his passion and community service in connection with his bicycle riding hobby. For images of the event, click on the below photo slide show, followed by more info concerning the event. Joined by his wife Andrea and other family members, Dr. Barros was honored by tributes from, DSU President Harry L. Williams Dr. Claibourne Smith, board chair; board members David Turner, Wesley Perkins; Dr. Charlie Wilson, Faculty Senate chair; Michael Malkiewicz, Esq., director of Barros, McNamara, Malkiewicz & Taylor, P.A.; Carolyn Curry, DSU vice president of Institutional Advancement (conveying expressions from the National MS Society); state Sen. Brian Bushweller; and state Rep. Darryl Scott. Dr. Smith also honored Dr. Barros by announcing the renaming of the Administration Building’s fourth floor multipurpose meeting room as the Dr. A. Richard Barros Conference Room. Dr. Williams presented Dr. Barros with the Key of the University. Brenda F. Farmer, DSU director of Ceremonies & Events, served as the mistress of ceremonies, and produced the reception along with DSU Institutional Advancement.

DSU Presents the Broadway Play "Stick Fly" Nov. 18-19

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(L-r) The cast of Stick Fly -- Serenity Goodrich, DeShawn Robbins, Tony Arce (director), Tenai Banks and Brandon Boyd -- will portray an upper class father and sons along with their girlfriends that spends a revealing weekend retreat at Martha's Vineyard.

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(L-r)Serenity Goodrich and DeShawn Robbins -- as Taylor and Kent -- have a thing for each other in Stick Fly DSU’s Department of English and Foreign Languages will present the Lydia Diamond stage play Stick Fly during three performances – at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18; and at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19 – with all the shows to take place in the Education and Humanities Theatre on campus.   The play is free and open to the public.   Stick Fly, originally produced on Broadway by the Grammy Award-winning artist Alicia Keys, is a play about the conflicting dynamics within and around the LaVay family who has come to their Martha’s Vineyard summer home for a weekend retreat. It is vacation filled with conversations on money, politics, and class, race and family systems. (L-r) Tenai Banks and Brandon Boyd -- Cheryl and Flip -- also star in the play.   The “fly on the wall” conversations ignite a firestorm of secrets. The family of five –  a father, two sons, their girlfriends and the maid’s daughter are not the Cosbys; but they could be anyone’s neighbor.   The play features a student cast that includes: Serenity Goodridge as “Taylor”, Deshawn Robbins as “Kent”, Brandon Boyd as “Flip”, and Tenai Banks as “Cheryl”.  Making his directing debut is Tony Arce, a senior English major who is also pursuing a minor in theatre.   Mr. Arce also portrays the role of “Dr. Levay” in the play.  

Author Thomas Chatterton Williams to Speak at DSU

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Losing My Cool is DSU's selection this academic year for its "One Book, One Campus". This speaker program is a collaboration between the Division of Student Affairs and the Division of Academic Affairs.
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Thomas Chatterton Williams' book Losing My Cool is DSU's selection this academic year for its "One Book, One Campus" program, in which the University community -- students, faculty and staff -- are encouraged read and discuss. It is required reading for first-year students in their University Seminar course.

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Delaware State University will present an author who is connecting in a big way with this year’s DSU community when it hosts Thomas Chatterton Williams in a guest lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8 in the Education & Humanities Theatre on campus.   The event is free and open to the public.   Thomas Chatterton Williams is the author of Losing My Cool, a memoir in which he describes his life growing up as a mixed race youth who always considered – and still does – himself to be black. The book also deals with the lure of the hip-hop culture, Mr. William’s struggle for identity, and the love of family.   Mr. Williams’ book takes an extraordinary look at a subset of culture through his personal experience as well as through anthropological and philosophical discussions. Within the book, the author shares his pointed perspective on hip-hop culture and the obstacles it can be to serious engagement with the world.   Losing My Cool is DSU’s choice this academic year for its annual “One Book, One Campus” program, which selects a book each year for the campus community – students, faculty, staff – to read and discuss. The book is also used as part of DSU’s University Seminar Course for first-year students.   Thomas Chatterton Williams notes in his bio that he “was educated in his father’s study.” He holds a BA in philosophy from Georgetown University and a master’s degree from the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program at New York University. His writings have appeared in the Washington Post and n+1, among other places. He lives in New York City.   At the end of his presentation, Mr. Williams will engage the audience in a question and answer period.  

Ultrafast Optics Expert Dr. Anthony Johnson to Speak at DSU Nov. 8

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       Dr. Anthony M. Johnson Delaware State University will present Dr. Anthony M. Johnson in guest lecture on “Ultrafast Optics and Optoelectronics” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8 in Room 223 of the Mishoe Center (south bldg.).   The guest lecture, which is part of the Dean’s Distinguished Lecturer Series of the DSU College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, is free and open to the public.   Dr. Anthony M. Johnson is a professor of physics, a professor of Computer Science & Electrical Engineering, and is the director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County, Md.   His research pursuits include the general area of ultrafast photophysics nonlinear optical properties of bulk, nanoclustered and quantum well semiconductor structures, ultra-short pulse propagation in fibers, as well as high-speed lightwave systems.   Dr. Johnson has four United States patents, and has authored two book chapters and articles in 70 refereed publications

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