Life Sciences South Florida - February 2016 Newsletter

Palm Beach State College Advances STEM Initiatives

Palm Beach State College President Ava L. Parker, J.D., who took the helm last summer, is advancing the college’s initiatives to help boost the number of professionals skilled in science, technology, engineering and math.

“These fields are critical to the future of our state and country,’’ she said. “They are the keys to finding cures for devastating diseases and solving complex problems. They will allow our country to remain competitive in a global economy and fast-changing world.”

To read more about Parker and to watch a video of her, click here.

Scripps Research Institute Names Peter Schultz as CEO, Steve Kay as President

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) announced the appointment of chemist Peter G. Schultz as CEO and biologist Steve A. Kay as President.

Schultz is currently a member of the TSRI faculty, as well as Director of the California Institute for Biomedical Research. He is also a successful entrepreneur and has led major drug discovery efforts in both the commercial and nonprofit sectors.

Kay, a former TSRI faculty member, is currently dean of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California (USC). His work has been highlighted in Science magazine’s “Breakthroughs of the Year” on three separate occasions.

"I am delighted that Pete and Steve will assume leadership roles at TSRI," said Dick Gephardt, Chair of the TSRI Board of Trustees and President/CEO of Gephardt Government Affairs. "Their shared vision of creating a unique position for the Institute at the forefront of basic and translational research is tremendously exciting. I expect great things to come.”

"After 16 years on the faculty, I am delighted with the opportunity to give back to the Institute in a leadership role," said Schultz. "I have a tremendous respect for TSRI’s commitment to scientific excellence, and the collegiality and entrepreneurial spirit of the faculty. These qualities are key as we move forward into a new era of biomedical research in which TSRI will play a leadership role. There is a lot to be done, and I look forward to working with Steve, the Board, faculty and staff as a team to further expand the footprint of Scripps in science and medicine."

“I welcome the opportunity to return to Scripps,” said Kay, “and to realize a vision of combining the Institute’s world-class reputation in basic biological and chemical sciences with the ability to advance novel therapeutics for major unmet medical needs. I look forward to working together with Pete and TSRI’s board, faculty, staff, administration, postdocs, students, friends and donors to enhance the Institute’s contributions to biomedical research, graduate education and human health.”

Schultz assumes his role immediately, while Kay will begin as president-elect as he transitions from USC.

Gephardt expressed his gratitude to James Paulson, who has been acting president and CEO since August 2014. “Jim has served the institute admirably during this transition, and I would like to extend my deepest thanks for his meaningful leadership during this critical transition.”

Peter G. Schultz

Peter Schultz graduated from Caltech with a B.S. in Chemistry and continued there for his doctoral degree in 1984. After a postdoctoral year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he moved to the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Professor of Chemistry, a Principal Investigator at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He moved to TSRI in 1999, where he is currently the Scripps Family Chair Professor of Chemistry.

Schultz has received numerous awards including the Alan T. Waterman Award, National Science Foundation (1988), the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Pure Chemistry (1990), the Wolf Prize in Chemistry (1994), the Paul Erhlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Award (2002), the ACS Arthur C. Cope Award (2006), and the Solvay Prize (2013). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (1993) and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (1998).

Steve A. Kay

Steve A. Kay, a graduate of the University of Bristol, United Kingdom (BSc, 1981; PhD, 1984; DSc, 2014), conducted postdoctoral work at The Rockefeller University with Professor Nam-Hai Chua. He was subsequently appointed a member of the faculty at Rockefeller and then joined the University of Virginia in 1992. In 1996, he moved to TSRI, where he rose to become professor in the Department of Cell Biology, chairman of the Department of Biochemistry, director of the Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases and chairman of the Scripps Florida Steering Committee. During this time (1999-2004), he was also director of discovery research at GNF, where he helped build research programs applying human genome science to biomedical research and drug discovery.

In 2007, Kay joined the University of California (UC), San Diego, where he was dean of biological sciences and Richard C. Atkinson Chair in Biological Sciences. In 2012, he joined USC as dean of Dornsife College, also holding the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair. An internationally renowned expert on genes and circadian rhythms, Kay has published more than 250 papers and was recently named by Thomson Reuters as a Highly Cited Researcher.

Broward College Awarded NSF Grant

Broward College was recently awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop and implement an Innovative Science Teaching Institute (ISTI). The NSF is the nation’s premier federal funding agency for research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), including STEM education research. The $418,000 award is the first NSF grant awarded to the college in the last 15 years.

ISTI will conduct intensive summer and winter break training sessions for faculty on innovative teaching approaches, such as active learning. Research indicates that those forms of instruction can increase student learning and success. Because many students struggle in science courses, the project will help address the college’s strategic goal of improving student retention and completion. The first ISTI workshop will be launched in Summer 2016 and include science faculty from all academic disciplines, including biology and health sciences courses.

For more information on the project, please contact Dr. Michael Pullin at mpullin@broward.edu or (954) 201-8099.

Indian River State College “Team Lagoon” Excels in National Science Competition

A team of four Indian River State College students excelled as top ten winners in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC) and attended the NSF Innovation Boot Camp in Washington D.C. The competition challenges college students to propose creative science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) solutions to complex problems. IRSC members of “Team Lagoon” are developing a system to use highly-sophisticated camera sensors to scan the Indian River Lagoon for pollution along Florida’s Treasure Coast.

Team members Nichole Brewer, Emily Walker, William Hutchison and Willie Harris attended the NSF Boot Camp for immersion in the thinking and skills that transform innovation into entrepreneurship. They presented their projects to legislators on Capitol Hill and each received a $500 award.

Further supporting the relevance of the project, the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program Advisory Board recommended that $105,000 be allocated for the IRSC lagoon project. The Board recommends how the Indian River Lagoon Estuary Program spends federal money from the Clean Water Act and from Lagoon license plate sales.

The students are in the first stage of the project, “Optical Characteristics of Lagoon Pollutants,” developing optical techniques in a lab environment to measure water quality. Upon deployment, the cameras will capture images in specific wavelengths to identify the location of pollutants and record the extent of sea grass and algae blooms to develop a water-quality map providing real-time data. The multi-disciplinary project advances three STEM fields: unmanned aerial systems, optical imaging and the software integration of digital images with geo-tagging.

“This is a challenging project engaging students in sophisticated real-world research. The data they collect on water quality of the Lagoon will provide important information for commercial and recreational purposes,” said Dr. Kevin Cooper, IRSC Director of Applied Research and Entrepreneurship, who is guiding the project. “We are very excited about this recognition as a top ten winner in the National Science Foundation competition and the opportunity for our students to present in Washington D.C.,” Dr. Cooper added.

Team Lagoon is funded at IRSC through a $100,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation as part of the Wells Fargo Technology and Innovation program supporting technology advancements for a clean energy future. The funding includes paid internships for the students.

FAU Receives $1.3 Million Grant for New Alzheimer's and Dementia Project

Florida Atlantic University’s Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center operated by FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing has received a three-year, $1.3 million grant from the Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for a project titled “Bridging the Gap: Providing Specialized Dementia Care & Supportive Services through Community Partnerships.” FAU’s Green Memory and Wellness Center also received an additional $100,000 from Louis and Anne Green in support of the work on this special project.

The objective of this new project is to expand and adapt existing evidence-based services and supportive programs of a university-based, dementia capable system to meet identified gaps in services to targeted populations. FAU’s Green Memory and Wellness Center will work in partnership with the Palm Beach County Department of Community Services, Division of Senior Services, Artis Senior Living in Boca Raton and Santa Ana Circle also in Boca Raton.

“Our faculty are at the forefront of research and best practices in care for individuals who have Alzheimer’s disease and other related disorders,” said Marlaine Smith, Ph.D., R.N., dean and professor and Helen K. Persson Eminent Scholar in FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. “We are so proud of their many contributions and accomplishments. This grant and matching gift from Mr. and Mrs. Green is a testament to their groundbreaking work in this field, and we are most grateful for the support we have received for this project.”

María de los Ángeles Ordóñez, DNP, ARNP/GNP-BC, director of FAU’s Green Memory and Wellness Center, is the principal investigator of the grant and will work alongside Debra Hain, Ph.D., ARNP/GNP-BC, co- investigator and associate professor in FAU’s College of Nursing.

“We are so thankful to receive this important grant from the Administration on Aging and the matching gift from Mr. and Mrs. Green who have been longtime supporters of their namesake,” said Ordóñez. “This important award and matching gift will enable us to take our dementia-specific, nurse-managed model of care into medically underserved communities who are in great need of these services.”

The overall project goal is to expand access to dementia-specific, person/family-centered programs with the aim of transforming existing models of care, support, education and community outreach. Program objectives include providing and facilitating dementia-specific care coordination services for community-residing older adults with moderate to severe AD and related dementias (ADRD) living alone or with a caregiver; facilitating healthcare services that address physical, cognitive and mental health needs of homebound aging individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with or at risk of ADRD; and establishing, cultivating, and sustaining trusting relationships that encourage disclosure of caregiver needs.

The project team also will develop and implement dementia-specific care “Train-the-Trainer” programs for healthcare professionals and direct care staff of individuals with ADRD and their caregivers.

“We expect to develop and distribute products to enhance program marketing, outreach, and sustainability of the programs and services we will be providing,” said Hain. “The success of this program is intended to meet the critical care needs of our growing vulnerable, culturally diverse aging ADRD population.”

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States affecting 5.3 million people, and the fifth leading cause of death for those age 65 and older. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of Americans with AD and other dementias will grow each year as the size and proportion of the U.S. population age 65 and older continue to increase. In 2015, AD and other dementias cost the nation an estimated $226 billion and by 2050, these costs could rise as high as $1.1 trillion.

FAU’s College of Nursing is internationally known for its commitment to nursing as a discipline focused on nurturing the wholeness of persons and the environment through caring. The College advances caring knowledge through education, practice, research and scholarship to transform care locally, nationally and globally. Currently, the College of Nursing offers bachelor’s, master’s, DNP and Ph.D. degree programs with approximately 1,600 nursing students enrolled in its programs. For more information, visit www.nursing.fau.edu.

Medical Biotechnology Master’s Degree at Barry University: A Professional Science Master’s

More science than an MBA, more business than a Ph.D.

The Master’s Degree in Medical Biotechnology, offered jointly by Barry University’s College of Nursing & Health Sciences and the Andreas School of Business, provides students the unique opportunity to combine science and business courses in an interdisciplinary degree that offers more career options than traditional master’s or doctoral degree programs.

The movement toward professional science master’s degrees began in the mid-1990s as a possible answer to industry’s need for “well-rounded” scientists, i.e., scientists that are as capable of innovation as they are of collaboration and communication. Early programs were developed with support from the Sloan Foundation and implemented at Michigan State, Georgia Tech, and the University of Southern California.

In 2011 the Barry University Master’s Degree in Medical Biotechnology met strict criteria and qualified for the Professional Science Master’s (PSM) designation from the Council of Graduate Schools and is now one of less than 50 such programs in the United States in the field of biotechnology. Barry’s PSM program in medical biotechnology is a highly flexible 32-credit program that provides graduates with knowledge of business principles, entrepreneurship, ethics, marketing, communication, leadership, and biotechnology. Classes are held in the morning, afternoon and evening using a small-group student-centered model. Personal advising allows students to select from weekend workshops and a variety of capstone internship opportunities that provide critical industry experience. Crucial to the success of any PSM program is an active advisory board that contributes to curriculum development, provides internship opportunities, and networking opportunities to its graduates. The Barry University Medical Biotechnology program is well served by advisory board members from local biotechnology companies such as Sancilio Inc, Ocean Ridge Biosciences and Goodwin Biotechnology Inc.

The Medical Biotechnology Master’s Degree at Barry University is a non-thesis, terminal degree that crosses disciplinary boundaries and is ideal for preparing graduates for professional careers in the biotechnology/healthcare industry. It is well suited for those entrepreneurial individuals seeking employment after graduation. Our graduates possess a strong technical background and a comprehensive knowledge of business practices that will equip them to be successful in the real world -- prepared to assume leadership roles in business and in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries.

For more information, contact the program director, Dr. Graham Shaw, by email at gshaw@barry.edu; by phone at 305 899 3264; or review the program website at www.barry.edu/medical-biotechnology

FIU President to Lead National STEM Expert Committee

FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg has been named chair of a National Academies’ committee to develop benchmark and tracking tools for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Recognizing the need for indicators to document the current state of undergraduate STEM education at the national level and track improvements over time, the National Academy of Sciences has requested support for a national study. The initiative will be conducted by the Board on Science Education (BOSE) in collaboration with the Board on Higher Education and the Workforce (BHEW) and the Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA).

“It’s a special privilege to be asked to lead some of the nation’s top experts who will identify national indicators for science, technology, engineering and math education at the university level,” said Rosenberg who oversaw the creation of the STEM Transformation Institute and Mastery Math Lab in 2012. Both have had a dramatic impact on STEM education success at FIU. “This opportunity recognizes the leading national role being played by FIU faculty in STEM education for urban communities, and is an unprecedented opportunity to impact national STEM education in decades to come.”

The study, which will take approximately 2.5 years to complete, will focus on the first two years of undergraduate education and will be comprised of experts in the areas of higher education; STEM education; workforce and industry; and data analytics including Heather Belmont, dean of the School of Science at Miami Dade College. The goal is to guide the National Science Foundation (NSF), other federal agencies, private foundations and professional organizations on which measures they can track to gauge the status and quality of postsecondary STEM education.

The project is expected to catalyze a national conversation about appropriate outcomes for postsecondary STEM education and how best to reach them at scale. It will be of interest to a broad range of stakeholders including higher education institutions, state and national policy makers, government agencies, private foundations and industry.

Research Park at Florida Atlantic University Honors South Florida Leaders at 30th Anniversary Gala

Awards recognize entrepreneurs who made significant contributions to South Florida’s economic development

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University honored three individuals and a non-profit who have made significant contributions toward the economic development of South Florida in 2015. The ceremony was held aboard the yacht Biscayne Lady on October 2, 2015.

Dr. Joseph G. Ouslander was awarded the Distinguished Researcher of the Year Award.

Bud Osborne was presented the Distinguished Leader Award, recognizing a leader who supports the Research Park’s mission with an investment of time and wisdom.

Simon Kay was honored with the Distinguished Entrepreneur Award, presented to a leader who is living innovation and invention and creating substantial economic impact.

The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research was presented with the Economic Development Organization Award.

“The Research Park has always served as the nexus between private enterprise and public research in South Florida,” said Andrew Duffell, president and CEO of the Research Park. “For our 30th anniversary, we wanted to honor those who are at the forefront of public and private economic development in our region.”

The honorees:

Dr. Joseph G. Ouslander is a professor and senior associate dean for geriatric programs and chair of the Department of Integrated Medical Science at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine of Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton. He has had an enormous impact on his field, and has created a quality improvement program that assists long-term care facilities in improving care, and reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and their related complications and costs. This has resulted in the creation of a new company that was assisted by the Technology Business Incubator, and is working with healthcare facilities around the country. Dr. Ouslander has been endorsed by noted clinicians and researchers from FAU and institutions such as Northeastern University and Emory University.

A.E. Bud Osborne is a founding member of the Research Park and was a member of the Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority for 22 years.

Simon Kay, president and CEO of Aerospace Technologies Group, located in the Research Park, employs more than a dozen Florida Atlantic University (FAU) graduates among its more than 130 employees. Under Kay’s leadership, Aerospace Technologies Group has positioned itself as the largest tier one supplier of electromechanical aircraft window shade systems. The company works with the major airlines and aircraft manufacturers, making it a premier developer and supplier.

Describing itself as a “one-stop-shop for investors and entrepreneurs who are seeking new opportunities,” the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research works collaboratively with Florida’s universities and research institutions, delivering both company building and company funding programs to create tomorrow’s leading products and companies. Formed in 2007 by the Florida Legislature to help commercialize more than $2 billion in publicly funded research conducted annually in Florida universities and research institutes, the Institute works collaboratively with 28 research partners across the state to support new company creation, capital attraction and job growth in innovation industries that are driving the global economy, including life sciences, information technology, clean tech, aviation and aerospace, homeland security and defense and other emerging sectors.

Upcoming Events:


  • 18th Annual Biomedical and Comparative Immunology (BCI) Symposium
    FIU Biomedical and Comparative Immunology Club Thursday, March 3, 2016 at 8:00 AM - Friday, March 4, 2016 at 6:00 PM (EST) Miami, FL

  • 8th Annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Research Symposium
    This Spring, Barry University will be hosting its 8th Annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Research Symposium. This research symposium is aimed at engaging the Barry community to learn about ongoing discoveries within S.T.E.M. disciplines (biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, mathematics, computer science and health science). This year, for the first time, the STEM Symposium will include a “STEAM” Photo Contest (STEAM stands for Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics). We anticipate that this addition of the Arts to our symposium will encourage students to look at and approach STEM through different perspectives and to develop their artistic side. The symposium will be held just before Easter break on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 from 9 am to 2 pm at Barry University in Andreas 111 and 112.








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