Category Archives: RESEARCH

Memorial Service Planned for Noted Medical Pioneer and TSU Alumnus, Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A memorial service for Dr. Levi Watkins, noted medical pioneer and TSU alum, will be held in Baltimore on Tuesday, April 21. Dr. Watkins died Friday after a massive heart attack and stroke. He was 70.

The service will be held at 1 p.m., at Union Baptist, 1219 Druid Hill Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21217. The phone number to the church is (410) 523-6880. Arrangements are being entrusted to the Redd Funeral Home, 1721 N. Monroe Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21217. (Tel: 410-523-1600).

A behind-the-scenes political figure and civil rights activist who broke many racial barriers, Dr. Watkins was the first black chief resident of cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was known as much for fighting the injustice faced by African-Americans as for his groundbreaking medical work, such as the creation and implantation of the Automatic Implantable Defibrillator (AID). The device detects irregular heart rhythms and shocks the heart back to life.

“Dr. Levi Watkins changed the world with his passion for medicine,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “The University family extends sincerest condolences to the Watkins family during this difficult time. Dr. Watkins not only impacted the field of medicine, but he also inspired African-Americans to become doctors as he broke down the color barrier at two of the nation’s leading medical institutions. TSU will always remember his service to others, professional achievements, and dedication to his alma mater. He leaves a tremendous legacy that will surely inspire our students and others that follow in his footsteps.”

According to the Baltimore Sun, Dr. Watkins was outspoken yet humble. He never took his success for granted and worked tirelessly to help create the next generation of African-American doctors and activists.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.56.58 AM
Levi Watkins Class Photo 1965-1966 (Courtesy Photo)

Dr. Watkins was born in Kansas, the third of six children, but grew up in Alabama, where he got his first taste of the civil rights movement. He met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the age of 8 when he and his family attended Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, where Dr. King was the pastor.

He attended Tennessee State University as an undergraduate, studying biology. He then made history at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where he became the first African-American to study and graduate from the school with a medical degree. It was an experience he described over the years as isolating and lonely, but would be the first of many milestones.

After graduating from Vanderbilt, Dr. Watkins started a general surgery residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1971, where he became the first black chief resident of cardiac surgery. He left Baltimore for two years to conduct cardiac research at Harvard Medical School before returning to Johns Hopkins.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331
About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Mourns the Death of Medical Pioneer, Alumnus Levi Watkins, Jr.

Levi Watkins
Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr.


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
 (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is deeply saddened over the death of Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., a 1966 graduate of the University.   He was 70. The TSU alumnus revolutionized the medial world with the creation and implantation of the Automatic Implantable Defibrillator (AID). The device detects irregular heart rhythms and shocks the heart back to life.

“Dr. Levi Watkins changed the world with his passion for medicine,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “The University family extends sincerest condolences to the Watkins family during this difficult time. Dr. Watkins not only impacted the field of medicine, but he also inspired African-Americans to become doctors as he broke down the color barrier at two of the nation’s leading medical institutions. TSU will always remember his service to others, professional achievements, and dedication to his alma mater. He leaves a tremendous legacy that will surely inspire our students and others that follow in his footsteps.”

Dr. Watkins enrolled at Tennessee State in 1962, majoring in biology and graduating with honors.   He was also elected student body president at the TSU. In 1966, following graduation, he became the first African-American to be admitted to and to graduate from Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine. Dr. Watkins went onto become the first black chief resident in cardiac surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital after medical school. Watkins fought for equal opportunities in education throughout his career, increasing minority enrollment at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine by 400 percent in four years.

In February 1980, Dr. Watkins performed the world’s first human implantation of the automatic implantable defibrillator and would go on to develop several different techniques for the implantation of the device. Watkins also helped to develop the cardiac arrhythmia service at Johns Hopkins where various new open-heart techniques are now being performed to treat patients at risk of sudden cardiac death.

In 2013, Dr. Watkins retired from John Hopkins after four decades. He received the Thurgood Marshall College Fund award for excellence in medicine in 2010.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331
About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

2015 Ag Week to Commemorate 125th Anniversary of 1890 Land-Grant System

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – This year’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences Week will culminate with a Health Walk commemorating the 125th Anniversary of the Morrill Act of 1890, which created the land-grant system for universities and colleges including Tennessee State University.

Gilmore
State Representative Brenda Gilmore, a TSU alum and strong supporter, will make the opening statement at this year’s Ag Week in front of the new Agricultural and Biotechnology Building, at 8 a.m., Saturday, April 11.

On Saturday, April 11 at 8 a.m., the ceremony will kickoff in front of the Agricultural and Biotechnology Building on the main campus, with an opening statement by State Representative Brenda Gilmore, followed by the Health walk.

The 1890 land-grant system came into being with the signing of the Second Morrill Act for residents in primarily southern and border states who, because of their race, were denied admission to the publically-funded land-grant institutions that were founded in 1862. TSU, which was founded in 1912 as the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial Normal School, became the designated recipient of Tennessee’s portion of 1890 land-grant funds in 1913.

The 125th anniversary observance event is part of a yearlong celebration among the 19 Black Land-Grant Colleges and Universities in the United States. The event will also include a national celebration in Washington, D.C. in July.

“The 1890 land-grant universities are a major education resource for the nation, and continue to be a key source for African-American leaders who render valuable service to their communities, the nation, and the world,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences.

For more information on the 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities, visit www.1890universities.org.

Below is schedule of other events marking this year’s CAHNS Week:

  • Monday, April 6: Student Day
    • 9:30 – 10 — Refreshments
    • 10 – 2 — 1890 Land-Grant Celebration Agriculture Career Fair
    • 12 – 2 — Student Cookout
  • Tuesday, April 7: Ag & Env Sciences Day
    • 8 – 9:30 — Continental Breakfast (Lawson)
    • 9:30 – 10:30 — Guest Speakers (Farrell-Westbrook)
    • 11 – 12 — Demonstrations
    • 1:30 – 3 Lab Tours
    • 3 – 5 — Student Professional Development Workshop (AITC)
  • Wednesday, April 8: Biological Sciences Day
    • 8:30 – 9:25 — Registration
    • 9:30 – 10:30 — Guest Speakers (McCord 206)
    • 10:30 – 12 — Tours and Poster Exhibit
    • 1 – 2:30 — Program (Floyd Payne Forum 210)
    • 2:30 – 3:30 – Reception
  • Thursday, April 9: Chemistry Day
    • 8:30 – 9:30 — Registration & Refreshments (Boswell 106)
    • 9 – 12 — Chemistry Career Fair (Boswell 122)
    • 9:15 – 10 — Tours
    • 11:15 – 12:15 — Chemistry Challenge (Boswell 12)
    • 12 – 2 — Poster Presentations
    • 2:20 – 3:45 — Guest Speaker (Boswell 12)
  • Friday, April 10: College Recognition Day
    • 12 – 2 — Awards Luncheon (Farrell-Westbrook 118)
    • Saturday: 1890 Land-Grant 125th Anniversary Healthwalk
    • 7 -8 — Registration and set-up
    • 8 – 10 — 5k and Health Walk
    • 10 -11 — Fellowship and Awareness Campaign
  • Wednesday, April 15: Family and Consumer Sciences Week of the Young Child
  • 9 – 11 — North Nashville Childcare Centers Community Event (Ag Complex Circle)Department of Media Relations
    Tennessee State University
    3500 John Merritt Boulevard
    Nashville, Tennessee 37209
    615.963.5331
    About Tennessee State UniversityWith more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

37th Annual University-Wide Research Symposium set for March 30 – April 3

Noted molecular geneticist Dr. Georgia M. Dunston to deliver Symposium keynote address

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Every year, Tennessee State University students present their best works of exploration, research and invention to fellow students, faculty and the community at the Annual University-Wide Research Symposium. Now in its 37th year, the symposium will take place at the University March 30 – April 3.

Since 1979, TSU has held an annual research symposium – a University forum to recognize and commemorate excellence in student and faculty research, largely science, engineering, business and humanities disciplines, and a platform for students to present findings from ongoing and developed research to gain exposure and experience as either oral or poster presenters in an evaluative setting. The symposium serves as a foundation to provide students with authentic experiences in presenting their research before advancing to regional, national and international research symposia, and before beginning early years as professionals in life-long careers and disciplines.

The symposium is comprised of a week of interdisciplinary presentations by students and faculty members with students seeking competitive awards for their deliberative innovation that showcases the research process from laboratory to solution.

Continually themed “Research: Celebrating Excellence,” the symposium will be divided into oral presentations and poster presentations. This year, 143 graduate and undergraduate oral and poster presentations are expected to take place, along with 23 faculty oral and poster presentations.

Oral presentations will take place throughout the week in the Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 161,163 and 209. Poster presentations will take place in the Jane Elliot Hall Auditorium, Tuesday, March 31 through Thursday, April 2. Judging for poster presentations is scheduled to take place Thursday, April 2 from 9 until 11 a.m. for graduate posters, and 1until 3 p.m. for undergraduate posters.

Dr. Georgia M. Dunston, noted molecular geneticist, will be the featured keynote speaker officially opening the Symposium Monday, March 30 beginning at 2 p.m. in the E.T. Goins Recital Hall, located in the Performing Arts Center on the main campus. The keynote address is free and open to the public.

Dunston
Dr. Georgia M. Dunston

Dr. Dunston is the founding director of the National Human Genome Center (NHGC) at Howard University, and the director of the Molecular Genetics in the NHGC. The National Human Genome Center is a comprehensive resource for genomic research on African Americans and other African Diaspora populations, distinguished by a diverse social context for framing biology as well as the ethical, legal, and social implications of knowledge gained from the human genome project and research on genome variation.

Other events taking place during the week include:

Monday, March 31

Division of Nursing Research Day

7:30 am – 1 pm
James E. Farrell – Fred E. Westbrook Building, room 118
Poster Sessions, Luncheon Speaker and Awards Ceremony

Oral Presentations:
9 am – 12:15 pm         Graduate Engineering I, RSP 163
9 am – 12:15 pm         Graduate Sciences I (Human, Life, Natural and Physical), RSP 209
2 pm                            Opening Ceremony and Plenary Session
E.T. Goins Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center                                    Symposium Keynote Address by Georgia M. Dunston, Ph.D.

Tuesday, March 31

Oral Presentations:
9 am – 12:15 pm         Graduate Engineering II, RSP 209
9 am – 12:15 pm         Graduate Sciences II (Human, Life, Natural and Physical), RSP 163
1 pm – 4 pm                Graduate Sciences III (Human, Life, Natural and Physical), RSP 163
1 pm – 4 pm                Graduate Sciences IV (Human, Life, Natural and Physical), RSP 161

Psychology Research Day

2:30 pm
James E. Farrell – Fred E. Westbrook Building, 118
Oral and Poster presentations, Speaker and Awards

Wednesday, April 1

Oral Presentations:
9 am – Noon                Graduate Sciences V (Human, Life, Natural and Physical), RSP 163
9 am – 12:15 pm         Undergraduate Engineering, RSP 161
9 am – 11:45 am          Undergraduate Sciences (Human, Life, Natural and Physical), RSP 209

Thursday, April 2

Poster Presentations:
Posters will be displayed in the Jane Elliott Hall Auditorium – March 31 – April 2 

9 am – 11 am               Faculty Poster Session, Jane Elliott Hall Auditorium
9 am – 11 am               Graduate Poster Session and Judging, Jane Elliott Hall Auditorium
1 pm – 3 pm                Undergraduate Poster Session and Judging, Jane Elliott Hall Auditorium

Friday, April 3

Oral Presentations:
9 am – 11:30 am          Faculty, RSP 163

Noon – 2 pm               Awards Luncheon and Closing Ceremony
                                           James E. Farrell-Fred E. Westbrook Building, 118
Luncheon, Student and Research Mentor Awards, $1million Research Club Award
Speaker: Amos L. Otis, Founder, President and CEO, SoBran Inc.

For more information on the Research Symposium, visit www.tnstate.edu/research or contact Nannette Carter Martin, co-chair at 615.963.5827, or Tamara Rogers, co-chair at 615.963.1520.

RELATED

Georgia Dunston Featured Symposium Keynote Speaker

Sobran CEO Amos L. Otis Featured Speaker to Close Out Research Symposium April 3

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

SoBran CEO Amos L. Otis Featured Speaker to Close Out Research Symposium April 3

Cropped_Otis_Amos
Amos L. Otis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Amos L. Otis, founder, president and CEO of SoBran Inc., will be the featured speaker for the Awards Luncheon and official Closing Ceremony of the University-Wide Research Symposium Friday, April 3. The event begins at noon and takes place in the Farrell-Westbrook Auditorium, located on the main campus.

Every year, the Research Symposium serves as a foundation to provide students with authentic experiences in presenting their research before advancing to regional, national and international research symposia, and prior to professional careers. Now in its 37th year, the weeklong symposium will officially close April 3 as students are presented with awards for their scholarly presentations.

The 2015 Research Mentorship Award will also be presented to an honored faculty member for serving as a mentor and/or advisor to the greatest number of winning student research entries, while a new member is inducted into the Million Dollar Research Club.

Amos Otis founded SoBran Inc., in 1987 after a distinguished 21-year career as an Air Force officer. He has led SoBran from a lean start-up in the basement of his Fairfax County, Virginia, home to a $63 million dollar company with three divisions. The divisions include BioScience, Engineering and Logistics, and SafeMail® and Security. SoBran consistently appears on the Inc. Magazine “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and the Black Enterprise “Top 100 Industrial Service List.”

Throughout its growth, Otis has guided SoBran based on the foundation of the Air Force values Integrity, Service and Excellence.

Otis has been recognized for his management and entrepreneurial skills as well as his civic leadership. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Cincinnati Branch in 2012. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Dayton Development Coalition, and a life member of the NAACP. He has also been profiled in Black Enterprise magazine as an innovator in workforce readiness.

One of his passions is educational opportunity for deserving youths. Otis has established a number of scholarships and endowments including the SoBran/Scoman Educational Scholarship Endowment at Tennessee State University at Nashville. In Montgomery, Alabama, he established the Brenda Faye Otis-Lee Educational Scholarship at the St. Jude Educational Institute.

Otis has consulted for the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences for Post-Doctoral Programs and The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. He is Treasurer of the Tennessee State University Education Foundation Board, and chairs its Finance Committee.

In addition, Otis chairs the Beta Nu Boule’ Education Foundation of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and he is a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

While in the Air Force, Otis served as a Titan II ICBM combat crew commander; USAF Plant representative at Hughes Aircraft Corporation, a cost analyst for the Aeronautical Systems Division (General Officer’s staff), and comptroller for the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing (Kunsan, South Korea). He has also served as a professor of Air Science for the District of Columbia’s AFROTC Detachment at Howard University, and as program manager at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research’s Special Programs.

Otis holds a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University, an MBA from The California State University System, and a master’s of Military Art and Science from Air University.

For more information on the Research Symposium, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/research/or contact Nannette Carter Martin, co-chair at 615.963.5827, or Tamara Rogers, co-chair at 615.963.1520.

 

RELATED

37th Annual University-Wide Research Symposium set for March 30 – April 3

Noted Molecular Geneticist Georgia M. Dunston Featured Symposium Keynote Speaker March 30

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Noted Molecular Geneticist Georgia M. Dunston Featured Symposium Keynote Speaker March 30

Address officially Kicks off 37h Annual University-Wide Research Symposium

DunstonNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Georgia M. Dunston, the founding director of the National Human Genome Center (NHGC) at Howard University (HU), and Director of Molecular Genetics in the NHGC, will be the featured keynote speaker officially opening the University-Wide Research Symposium Monday, March 30.

The keynote address is free and open to the public, and will take place in the E.T. Goins Recital Hall, located in the Performing Arts Center on the main campus, beginning at 2 p.m.

Now in its 37th year, the symposium will take place at the University March 30-April 3. The Research Symposium serves as a foundation to provide students with authentic experiences in presenting their research before advancing to regional, national and international research symposia, and prior to professional careers.

Georgia M. Dunston, Ph.D., is professor and former chair of the Department of Microbiology, Howard University College of Medicine; the founding director of the National Human Genome Center (NHGC) at Howard University (HU), and director of Molecular Genetics in the NHGC.

Dunston received a Bachelor of Science degree degree in biology from Norfolk State University, a Master of Science degree in Biology from Tuskegee University, and Ph.D. in Human Genetics from the University of Michigan. She performed post-doctoral work in Tumor Immunology at the National Institutes of Health in the Laboratory of Immunodiagnosis, National Cancer Institute.

Dunston is an established investigator, nationally and internationally known for genetic research on human leukocyte antigen (HLA) polymorphisms in African Americans.  Her research on human genome variation in disease susceptibility has been the vanguard of current efforts at Howard University to build national and international research collaborations focusing on the genetics of diseases common in African Americans and other African Diaspora populations.

She served on the National Advisory Council for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; the Genetic Basis of Disease Review Committee for the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences Review Committee on Human Genome Diversity Project. Under Dunston’s leadership, the NHGC has been instrumental in bringing multicultural perspectives and resources to an understanding of knowledge gained from the Human Genome Project and research on human genome variation.

Dunston currently co-leads a newly formed biophysics research and development group at Howard University that is exploring functional aspects of common variation and population genetics from first principles of thermodynamics and statistical physics (i.e., “genodynamics”). Her passion is building community-academic partnerships that connect the African Diaspora to the global genome revolution in knowledge on health and human identity. Her research addresses the power of genome variation and population diversity in decoding the Genome Story: From human origins, migrations, adaptation, and transformation to liberation.

For more information on the Research Symposium, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/research/or contact Nannette Carter Martin, co-chair at 615.963.5827, or Tamara Rogers, co-chair at 615.963.1520.


RELATED

37th Annual University-Wide Research Symposium set for March 30 – April 3

Sobran CEO Amos L. Otis Featured Speaker to Close Out Research Symposium April 3

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Switching to Four-Day Class Schedule in Spring Semester 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) -Tennessee State University is moving to a four-day class schedule when school resumes for the spring 2015 semester, the University administration has announced.

Classes will be held Monday –Thursday but administrative offices and staff will still have a five-day workweek.

Officials said the change is intended to allow more time for student advising, faculty office hours, as well as free up more time for faculty and students to engage in research and grant writing.

They emphasized that the switch is to a four-day class schedule and not a four-day workweek, adding that employees are expected to be at work on Fridays.

Calling the switch a “pilot,” the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Mark Hardy, said all previous “contact hours” for courses would be maintained.

“This is an experiment for the spring semester,” he said. “If we find that it has no adverse impact on student performance and progression, we will continue it.”

He said Friday should not be misconstrued as a day-off for students.

“Once they see the benefit of having extra time to meet with faculty without interfering with class, being able to focus more time on research, and have more interactions with Student Affairs, they will embrace the idea,” the Vice President noted.

The switch, however, means longer class hours on Mondays and Wednesdays, with some classes starting earlier in the morning and some others ending much later in the evening. For instance, 50-minute classes will be extended to one hour and 20 minutes each.

The change does not affect evening and weekend classes, and it does not mean professors will be working less either. Fridays will only help them to focus more time on advising students and projects, said Hardy.

Although TSU is not the first institution in the nation to make the switch, it is the first university in the Tennessee Board of Regents system to condense classes to four days. Institutions that have adopted the change include Southern University in Baton Rouge, and Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville, Mississippi.

At TSU, students already think the switch is a great idea.

Student Government Association President Markeil Lewis has no doubt about widespread student support once they return and have been adequately informed about the switch.

“I love the new initiative of a four-day class schedule for students,” said Lewis, a senior from Stone Mountain, Georgia. “I personally found it hard through my matriculation to find the passion to actually attend class on Fridays, let alone be aware and attentive to actually learn. I do understand that we will have to be in classes slightly longer but this is something that students will accept once they understand the benefits.”

Tyrell Jones, a junior Math major from Brooklyn, New York, also “loves” the idea of the four-day class schedule, especially the benefit of an extended class hour.

“Now that means it gives teachers more time to teach and students enough time to take in the material for better understanding,” said Jones, a work-study student, who also serves as a tutor. “In many instances teachers are in a haste to cover all of their materials in 55 minutes, which does not allow enough time for questions and interaction with students. The extra time should be very helpful.”

Dr. Kimberly King-Jupiter, dean of the College of Education, said the four-day class schedule structures students’ academic experience because it offers fewer course meetings but more course time to engage students in meaningful discussion about course content.

“I am excited about the four-day class schedule,” King-Jupiter said. “Friday (or the fifth day of the week) gives faculty the opportunity to engage in discussions about or to conduct the research that enhances the quality of the instruction that they deliver in the classroom. It also helps them to engage in the type of assessment activities that are a hallmark of the University.”

Tennessee State University has continually remained on the cutting-edge of ideas and innovations that enhance student learning and success in unique ways. Last semester, the University established a digital book bundle initiative, the first in the TBR system that allows freshman students to buy “e-books” for general education classes, at savings of up to $735 per semester. The program is aimed at lowering the costs of traditional paper textbooks while ensuring freshmen have the required books the first day of class.

“We have a president who is innovative and always looking for new ways to help our students succeed,” said Hardy. “The four-day class schedule and our book bundle effort, which started last semester, are just some of the ways that demonstrate this administration’s commitment to providing an academic environment that promotes student success.”

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Alum and NASA Engineer Receives Director’s Commendation Award for Outstanding Contribution

NASA Johnson Space Center Director, Dr. Ellen Ochoa, right; and Deputy Director Kirk Shireman, left, congratulate Ron Cobbs after presenting him with the NASA-JSC Director’s Commendation Award, during a ceremony recently in the Teague Auditorium at the center.
NASA Johnson Space Center Director, Dr. Ellen Ochoa, right; and Deputy Director Kirk Shireman, left, congratulate Ron Cobbs after presenting him with the NASA-JSC Director’s Commendation Award, during a ceremony recently in the Teague Auditorium at the center. (Courtesy photo)


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
(TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University alumnus and NASA engineer has been recognized for outstanding contribution to the agency.

Ron Cobbs, a 1989 TSU graduate with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and avionics chief engineer assigned to the International Space Station operations, recently received the NASA Johnson Space Center Director’s Commendation Award.

The award, the highest honor given by the NASA-JSC administrator, recognizes the center’s civil servants with “significant” contribution toward the mission and operations of the JSC.

Last year, Cobbs’ input was helpful in identifying the cause of a space suit malfunction during a spacewalk in July. Although Cobbs was not part of the official Extravehicular Mobility Unit (space suit) investigating team, he was asked to “look into” the situation because the problem “appeared to be electrical.”

Ron Cobbs, International Space Station Avionics Chief Engineer and TSU graduate, helped NASA engineers identify the cause of a serial interface issue with a spacesuit that malfunctioned during a spacewalk on July 16. (courtesy photo)
Ron Cobbs, International Space Station Avionics Chief Engineer and TSU graduate, helped NASA engineers identify the cause of a serial interface issue with a spacesuit that malfunctioned during a spacewalk on July 16, 2013. (courtesy photo)

“I discovered that the problem was a systems problem relative to operational use of the serial port on the laptop side of the suit,” said Cobbs, after investigating the problem. As a result of his findings and recommendation, the procedures for the astronauts were rewritten and retested, subsequently leading to identifying the problem.

Saying that he is “deeply honored” to receive the Administrator’s Award from NASA-JSC, Cobbs, who has been with NASA for nearly 30 years, credits his parents and his TSU preparation for his career success.

“My parents always taught me to work hard and always do the right thing,” said Cobbs, who also holds a master’s degree in Space Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology. “They taught me to believe in myself, have faith and shoot for the moon.”

Shooting for the moon is what Cobbs has been doing since. As avionics chief engineer, his role is to ensure that engineers in the NASA Directorate adhere to the “right processes.” He also supports project managers during the design, development, test and evaluation of projects that require electronics and/or software for operational use.

“I also support Failure Investigation Teams whenever their failures or anomalies on the Space Station need to be resolved. I also sit on several Space Station program boards to provide concurrence representing engineering on all proposed forward plans and action that will be implemented,” Cobbs noted.

“Ronald Cobbs is a true example of an electrical engineering graduate with passion for life-long learning and professional growth,” Dr. Satinderpaul Singh Devgan, professor and head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said of his former student, when information came out about Cobbs’ spacesuit malfunction intervention.

Cobbs joined NASA at the Johnson Space Center immediately after graduating TSU. He has moved through the ranks from design engineer, systems engineer to now ISS avionics chief engineer.

“I think Ron Cobbs’ achievement at NASA is a great story,” added Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Breast Cancer Vaccine Developed by Tennessee State University Researcher and Colleagues Shows Promise in Preliminary Trial

Dr. Venkataswarup Tiriveedhi, a cancer and immunology specialist and assistant professor of Biological Sciences, works on cancer mechanism in his lab in Harned Hall at Tenessee State University. Tiriveedhi and a group of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis have come up with an experimental vaccine for breast cancer that appears to be safe in preliminary trials.
Dr. Venkataswarup Tiriveedhi, a cancer and immunology specialist and assistant professor of Biological Sciences, works on cancer mechanism in his lab in Harned Hall at Tennessee State University. Tiriveedhi and a group of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis have come up with an experimental vaccine for breast cancer that appears to be safe in preliminary trials. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University scientist and a group of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis have come up with an experimental vaccine for breast cancer that appears to be safe in a preliminary trial.

According to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, Dr. Venkataswarup Tiriveedhi, assistant professor of Biological Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, and his colleagues found that the experimental vaccine, Mammaglobin-A, was “overexpressed” in 40 to 80 percent of primary breast cancers.

Also known as MAM-A, the vaccine prompted CD8 T-cells to track and eliminate the MAM-A protein, noted Tiriveedhi. To determine the efficacy and safety of the experimental drug, he said they conducted a phase I trial involving 14 patients diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.

“The side effects from the vaccine after one year were minimal, and included rashes, tenderness, and mild flu-like symptoms,” added Tiriveedhi, who specializes in cancer and immunology.

By the one-year mark, the study revealed, roughly 50 percent of the patients showed no sign of disease progression. By comparison, only 20 percent of a similar group of 12 patients showed no signs of disease progression one year out.

The researchers, however, stressed the need for a larger and longer study, to prove the current preliminary evidence prior to its use in all breast cancer patients. They theorized that “these promising results” from initial studies could be applied not only to prevent cancer progression but also to prevent the development of breast cancer in women.

“The current one (study) is a small Phase-I trial mainly aimed at testing the safety (does no harm). But we have also found this vaccine to be highly effective against the disease. The next step is to go for larger Phase II/III studies with a higher cohort of breast cancer patients and rigorously test for efficiency, dosing, clinical outcomes, cancer stage specificity, etc.,” noted Tiriveedhi, who holds MD and Ph.D. degrees.

He called the study a “promising move forward” that is not just restricted to breast cancer, but one that can be employed in “similar strategies” to treat other cancers such as lung and colon cancers.

“The MAM-A DNA vaccine is safe, capable of eliciting MAM-A–specific CD8 T-cell responses, and preliminary evidence suggests improved PF,” the researchers concluded.

Dr. Tiriveedhi, who came to Tennessee State University about a year and half ago, started the study, “Safety and Preliminary Evidence of Biologic Efficacy of a Mammaglobin-A DNA Vaccine in Patients with Stable Metastatic Breast Cancer,” with his colleagues at Washington University before leaving to join the faculty at TSU.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University, Neighborhood Groups Sign Collaborative Agreement to Provide Help for Aging Population

President Glover makes remarks minutes before the signing of the MOU in Jane Elliott Hall. Joining the president are Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs, left; Jim Shulman, Executive Director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability; President Glover; State Representative Harold Love Jr.; and Van Pinnock, of the Footprint Collaborative. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)
President Glover makes remarks minutes before the signing of the MOU in Jane Elliott Hall. Joining the president are Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs, left; Jim Shulman, Executive Director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability; President Glover; State Representative Harold Love Jr.; and Van Pinnock, of the Footprint Collaborative. (photos by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In a partnership that addresses the needs of the aging population, Tennessee State University and a group of neighborhood organizations have formed a collaborative initiative that combines teaching and learning, research and service aimed to enhance the lives of seniors.

Called the TSU Footprint Collaborative, the initiative’s goal is to help seniors and organizations connect to the University’s many resources by matching their needs with the institution’s expertise and service.

In an agreement signed Thursday between TSU and the neighborhood groups, the University, through its Center on Aging Research and Education Services in the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs, will develop lifelong learning programs that include classes on civic education and duties, oral history, technology and community gardening.

According to the agreement, these services and programs, which are a result of several months of studies of seniors’ care and needs in the neighborhoods, and meetings, will begin in January 2015.

Calling the agreement a “holistic approach in addressing the needs of the growing baby boomer population,” TSU President Glenda Glover, said meeting the needs of the aging population is a local, regional and national challenge that requires immediate attention.

The president’s concern and the need for TSU to play a leading role is backed by a recent NIH report, The 2030 Problem: Caring for Aging Baby Boomers, that calls on healthcare providers, institutions and universities to ensure accessible care for the nearly 61 million projected seniors by 2030.

“This agreement puts the University in the forefront – where it should be – to help eliminate issues facing our aging population,” Dr. Glover said, pointing to TSU’s more than 25-year experience, through CARES, in addressing “elder abuse.”

She commended the effort of the late State Rep. Harold Love Sr., whose vision on the issue of elder abuse was helpful in bringing the community and the University together to develop “a more comprehensive and strategic agenda” that not only addresses the various needs of the aging population, but also helps to find “practical solutions.”

President Glenda Glover and Van Pinnock, of the Footprint Collaborative, signed the Memorandum of Understanding at a ceremony in Jane Elliott Hall on the main campus Thursday, as University, state and local officials, as well as representatives of the various neighborhood groups watch.
President Glenda Glover and Van Pinnock, of the Footprint Collaborative, signed the Memorandum of Understanding at a ceremony in Jane Elliott Hall on the main campus Thursday, as University, state and local officials, as well as representatives of the various neighborhood groups watch.

“Tennessee State University’s efforts over the past year with our Footprint Collaborative members helped us to develop a framework for today’s announcement and memorandum of understanding,” the president said.

Neighborhood groups joining TSU in the Footprint Collaborative are College Hill, Hadley Park and Tomorrow’s Hope, all within close proximity of the University.

Van Pinnock, who signed the agreement on behalf the Collaborative, along with Dr. Glover, called the event an “exciting day for the community,” noting TSU’s history as an “HBCU in the forefront of initiatives” that enhance the lives of seniors in the community.

“I am just excited to be a part of this endeavor,” Pinnock said. “We are thankful to Dr. Glover and Tennessee State University for this initiative.”

State Rep. Harold Love Jr., himself an advocate for senior care, who was among many federal, state and local officials to witness the signing, also stressed the growing need for better and improved care for the aging population, as advocated by his late father.

“More of our seniors need assistance more than ever before, and I am glad Tennessee State University is leading the way in this endeavor,” Love added.

Also making comment at the ceremony was Jim Shulman, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, who pointed to the state’s dismal rankings in the arrears of smoking cessation, physical inactivity, food insecurity, and many other ailments that affect the national population, especially seniors.

“We need to improve in these areas to ensure a better quality of life for our aging population,” Shulman said. “Anything we can do for our seniors that improves their living standard is important.”

Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs, acknowledged the work and individuals in making the Collaborative a reality.

“Dr. Glover should be commended for her vision that made this all possible,” Harris said. “It was a team effort involving CARES, the Department of Sociology and Social Work, and many others in our college including students. Our goal is to find ways to connect academic knowledge with community needs through programs that improve the quality of life for the aging population in Tennessee.”

Students, faculty, staff joined many seniors from the community for the signing in Elliott Hall.

Other officials present were: Devin Stone, assistant director of communications in the Department of Human Services; Norma Powell, deputy executive director on aging programs in the Area Agency on Aging and Disability; and Dr. Consuelo Wilkins, executive director of MeHarry-Vanderbilt Alliance.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.