UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Dr. Olav Rueppell

Photo of Dr. Olav Rueppell. Dr. Olav Rueppell (Biology) received a nearly $1 million grant from the USDA NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative for the project “Identification Of Brood Signals That Induce Hygienic Behavior In Honey Bees To Develop And Implement Novel Strategies For Varroa Control And Sustainable Apiculture.”

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are important pollinators, critical for sustainable agriculture and food security. Declining health has lead to unprecedented honey bee colony losses. The ectoparasitic Varroa destructor mite plays a central role in the health decline and novel control solutions are needed. Hygienic behavior that honey bee workers exhibit toward mite-infected brood is a natural defense mechanism that provides Varroa resistance when sufficiently enhanced. Thus, in response to the program area priority “New Frontiers in Pollinator Health: From Research to Application”, the researchers propose to investigate the stimuli that stimulate hygienic behavior, specifically its initial stage the uncapping of brood  cells, and combine our research with extension activities to promote selective breeding for hygienic behavior as a sustainable apicultural practice. Using bioassay-guided fractionation, they will systematically study the Varroa-induced changes in surface chemicals of honey bee brood that trigger hygienic uncapping behavior.

For information transfer on a broader scale, they will develop education materials for beekeepers and queen breeders, and train existing extension specialists in the use of our newly developed tools and strategies to complement ongoing programs to help the honey bee industry in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Preston Lane

Photo of Preston Lane. Preston Lane (Theatre) wrote and directed the play “Actions and Objectives,” currently running at Triad Stage. Many members of the cast of “Actions and Objectives” are UNCG Theatre students or faculty. The production at Triad Stage will run through April 22.

Lane will speak about playwriting and this play Thursday, April 20, 5 p.m., at Scuppernong Books on Elm Street.

The News and Record reported that Lane has received a literary arts fellowship from the Sally and Don Lucas Arts Program at the Montalvo Arts Center in California. Lane is one of four playwrights in the world selected for the fellowship. (See the report here.)

Preston Lane is an adjunct faculty member in the UNCG Theatre Department. He is co-founder and artistic director at Triad Stage.

Dr. Elizabeth (“Jody”) Natalle

Photo of Dr. Elizabeth (“Jody”) Natalle . Dr. Elizabeth (“Jody”) Natalle (Communication Studies) visited Linnaeus University in Växjö, Sweden, on a Kohler Institutional Linkage Grant to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the bilateral exchange between UNCG and Linnaeus. While there she worked with graduate students writing theses in Informatics to develop claims and arguments. She also gave an invited lecture to gender and media communication majors entitled “First Ladies and Political Influence.”

In addition, Natalle has been appointed the UNCG Global Engagement Faculty Fellow for 2017-18. Among several projects, she will work with faculty and graduate teaching assistants to develop pedagogical techniques for the classroom that enhance global competencies.

Dr. Martin Tsui

Photo of Dr. Martin Tsui . Dr. Martin Tsui (Biology) received new funding from the National Science Foundation for the project “RAPID: Flooding-mediated alteration of microbial mercury methylation in coastal wetlands.” The goal of this RAPID research is to study the consequences of extreme flooding occurred on Oct, 2016 on mercury (Hg) and carbon (C) cycles and associated biogeochemical processes in coastal blackwater rivers in South Carolina. Specifically, the work will integrate field investigations and controlled experiments to examine Hg and C exports, and their sources and temporal trends along the hydrograph of the extreme flooding event. This research is partly motivated by the fact that very intensive precipitation (>24 inches in 3 days) and a significant level of natural organic matter were exported from Waccamaw River into Winyah Bay, South Carolina. This field observation suggests extreme flooding could mobilize substantial amounts of natural organic matter from forested wetlands, altering the budget of natural organic matter and Hg in coastal ecosystems. However, very little is known of Hg and C cycles in coastal ecosystems under extreme weather events and their impacts on global Hg and C cycles, as coastal wetlands are considered to be important Hg and C sinks.

Holt Wilson

Photo of Holt Wilson. Holt Wilson (Teacher Education and Higher Education) received new funding from UNC General Administration NC Quest Program for the project “CMaPSS II:  Sustaining Core Mathematics Instructional Practices in Secondary Schools.” This project is also supported by funds from the U.S. Department of  Education.

CMaPSS II co-designs professional development with secondary mathematics teachers and instructional coaches to deepen understandings of the newly adopted North Carolina High School Mathematics Standards. In a partnership with Rockingham County Schools, UNCG faculty and coaches will co-develop and implement a two-week Summer Institute in 2017 to study the standards, investigate core practices and enact these practices with secondary mathematics students in a summer enrichment program. During the during the 2017-2018 school year, project leaders and coaches will provide individualized instructional support to teachers in their classrooms and develop structures to continue and extend the work of continuous instructional improvement.

Dr. Roy Schwartzman

Photo of Dr. Roy Schwartzman. Dr. Roy Schwartzman (Communication Studies) received a grant from the Alfred & Anita Schnog Family Foundation to support Holocaust education and outreach, including activities of the UNCG Holocaust & Genocide Studies Research & Teaching Network founded by Schwartzman.

Dr. Chris Rhea

Photo of Dr. Chris Rhea.Dr. Chris Rhea (Kinesiology) will be a featured speaker at TEDxGreensboro 2017 on April 20, at the Van Dyke Performance Space in the Greensboro Cultural Arts Center. His research program focuses on re-purposing virtual reality (VR) systems designed for the entertainment industry to address human health challenges. As the TEDx Greensboro materials note, VR provides a unique opportunity to overcome real-world constraints in order to individualize a rehabilitation program to a patient’s current ability.

John Sopper

Photo of John Sopper. John Sopper, program chair for Grogan Residential College in the University Teaching and Learning Commons (UTLC), has been accepted to join a cohort of researchers who will spend the next two years investigating the impact of Residential Colleges on student outcomes, faculty experiences, staff experiences and institutional cultures. This multi-institutional project is sponsored by the Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University. Researchers from across the nation will meet June 25-30, 2017, on Elon’s campus to collaboratively develop and plan several multi-institutional research projects to be conducted throughout the following year at the participants’ own institutions. In June 2018 and again in June 2019, participants will reconvene to share their results, to plan continuations of their work and to host a conference. Sopper’s research will build on work begun at the 2016 Institute on Project-Based Learning held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute June 22-26, 2016.

Emily Britton

Photo of Emily Britton. Emily Britton (Chemistry and Biochemistry – Faculty Advisor: Dr. Nadja Cech) received  continued funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the project “Inhibition of spreading factors with natural products: A new anti-virulence approach against pathogenic bacteria.”  The abstract notes that Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of skin and soft tissue infections, and the use of antibiotics to treat these infections has led to drug resistance. According to the CDC, methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) caused an estimated 80,000 infections and over 11,000 deaths in the US in 2011. Additionally, treating MRSA infections costs twice as much as infections that are susceptible to antibiotics.  Since 2009, the FDA has approved only two new antibiotics, which is due in part to the drug pipeline being depleted of potential treatments as pharmaceutical companies shift their focus to more profitable research areas.  New therapeutic strategies against MRSA and other resistant bacteria are greatly needed.  In developing of these strategies, it is critically important to consider ways to break the cycle of resistance development.

One promising therapeutic approach against drug resistant pathogens is to target bacterial virulence.  The concept behind anti-virulence approaches is to inhibit non-essential pathways that contribute to pathogenicity, thereby facilitating clearance of the infection without pressuring the pathogen to become resistant.  With this project, the research team plans to develop an anti-virulence strategy against MRSA that targets hyaluronidase. Hyaluronidase is an enzyme secreted by numerous bacterial pathogens, and is referred to as a “spreading factor” because of its critical role in the bacterial growth and penetration. Currently, there are no known inhibitors of the Staphylococcus aureus hyaluronidase enzyme. The UNCG laboratory has recently identified several natural product extracts with promising anti-hyaluronidase activity, the abstract notes.

Dr. Nadja Cech

Photo of Dr. Nadja Cech. Dr. Nadja Cech (Chemistry and Biochemistry) received continued funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the project “Predoctoral Training: Innovative Technologies for Natural Products and CAM Research.” The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, in collaboration with investigators in Biology and Nutrition, is working on a multi-disciplinary research proposal to the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) to support predoctoral research training in the biological sciences. Funds from this proposal will support stipends, benefits and 60 percent of tuition for five predoctoral students pursuing PhD degrees at UNCG. The theme of the proposal is “Predoctoral Training: Innovative Technologies for Research in Natural Products and CAM.”

Dr. Lisa Levenstein

Photo of Dr. Lisa Levenstein. Dr. Lisa Levenstein (History) has been named a 2017 ACLS Fellow by The American Council of Learned Societies. She is one of 71 fellow selected through ACLS’s multi-stage peer-review process from a pool of nearly 1,200 applicants. Levenstein will use the 12 month fellowship to work on the book “When Feminism Went Viral: The American Women’s Movement in the 1990s and Beyond.”

Additionally, Levenstein was interviewed on WUNC radio’s “The State of Things” March 22 about the history of women’s health care in the U.S. and the potential implications of the American Health Care Act , which was under consideration by members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dr. Patricia H. Reggio

Photo of Dr. Patricia H. Reggio. Dr. Patricia H. Reggio (Chemistry and Biochemistry) was honored at the 2017 Excellence Awards at Triad BioNight, a biennial celebration of the region’s life science sector organized by the Piedmont Triad Office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

She received the Academic Development Excellence Award, given to those who make exceptional contributions to educational program development or enhancement of workforce skill development. Reggio, who has headed UNCG’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry for 11 years, established a new Ph.D. program in medicinal biochemistry, established industry fellowships for students, recruited and retained top faculty, and attracted top students who have gone on to scientific careers with prominent universities, companies and government agencies, the organizers noted in award materials.

She is the Marie Foscue Rourk Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Roberta “Robin” Maxwell

Photo of Roberta "Robin" MaxwellRoberta “Robin” Maxwell (Biology) was elected to the position of secretary of the Health Profession Advisors of North Carolina (HPANC). This is a two-year appointment, which automatically advances to the position of vice-president for the following two years, and then to president for the two years after that. In these roles, she will be helping advisors across North Carolina serve students preparing for competitive applications to health related professional schools, such as medical, dental, physician assistant, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, pharmacy, etc.

She is senior lecturer, Biology Department, and chair of the UNCG Health Careers Advisory Committee.

Dr. James Ryan

Photo of Dr. James Ryan .Dr. James Ryan (Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering) received funding for the NC Science Festival event “Gateway to Science” at JSNN. The open-house event on Thursday, April 20, 2017,  makes nanotechnology more understandable and is supported by the JSNN faculty, staff and students from NC A&T State and UNCG. The JSNN Gateway to Science event is free of charge. Most of the demonstrations are targeted at school-age children. Information is here.

Ryan is dean of JSNN.

Michael Frierson

Photo of Michael Frierson. Michael Frierson (Media Studies) recently screened his documentary “Clarence John Laughlin: Artist with a Camera” (2009), a one-hour documentary on the life and times of New Orleans photographer Clarence John Laughlin, in the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art at the Historic New Orleans Collection.  A Louisiana native, Clarence John Laughlin (1905–85) began his career as photographer in the 1930s, eventually emerging as one of America’s pioneers in surrealist and experimental photography. Laughlin’s best-known book, “Ghosts Along the Mississippi,” was first published in 1948. The film was shown in conjunction with an exhibition, Clarence John Laughlin and His Contemporaries: A Picture and a Thousand Words.

Dr. Ramji Bhandari

Photo of Dr. Ramji Bhandari . Dr. Ramji Bhandari (Biology) received new funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the project “Germline transmission of epigenetic alterations to offspring induced by bisphenol A exposure.”

Dr. Jeffrey Soles

Photo of Dr. Jeffrey Soles. Dr. Jeffrey Soles (Classical Studies) received new funding from the Institute for Aegean Prehistory for “Mochlos 2017: Publication and Conservation of Late Minoan Ceremonial Complex.” This grant will support research, publication and conservation of archaeological material his teams excavated at Mochlos, Crete, from 1989 to 2016.

Kim M. Cuny

Photo of Kim M. Cuny Kim M. Cuny (Communication Studies, Multiliteracy Centers, Theatre) has co-authored an article with one of her former UNCG Speaking Center graduate assistants, Evan Zakia-O’Donnel. The article, “Music as an Effective Anxiolytic Intervention in Communication Centers,” appears in the current edition of the peer reviewed scholarly publication, Communication Centers Journal.

Dr. Kenneth Gruber

Dr. Kenneth Gruber (Center for Youth, Family and Community Partnerships) received new funding from The Foundation for a Healthy High Point for the project “Determination of the Prevalence, Incidence and Impact of Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Issues in Greater High Point.” The research team consists of Dr. Kenneth Gruber, Dr. Stephen Sills, and Dr. Erika Payton. They will help the Foundation for Healthy High Point identify the most impactful behavioral health issues affecting Greater High Point. Individuals suffering from behavioral issues such as depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol abuse, are often overwhelmed by the stresses and strains of daily life, the abstract states. “As part of the identification process we will seek from local and county sources patient count data and other information to develop a current count report of the prevalence (the proportion of cases in the population that have the condition) and the incidence (the number of new cases with the condition) that can be used as a baseline for directing interventions to reduce the prevalence, incidence, and impact of these issues. The final step of the project will be presentation of a findings report and recommendations to the Foundation for its review.”

Dr. Ramiro Lagos

Photo of Dr. Ramiro Lagos.UNCG emeritus professor and renowned poet Dr. Ramiro Lagos has been honored with the Ramiro Lagos Poetry Prize, a new poetry award for Spanish students that has been established to recognize his longstanding work in the field. The award is sponsored by the Department of World Languages at Worcester State University, along with the College of the Holy Cross, Trinity College, Clark University, Quinsigamond Community College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. It aims to encourage, support, promote and publicize the creation of high-quality poetic works by Spanish students of these six institutions.

Lagos joined the faculty of the former Department of Romance Languages in 1966. He retired after 28 years of service as a faculty member and 13 additional years directing or teaching in the UNCG Summer Program in Spain. A scholar and a poet, he has published 27 books of his poetry and essays and four anthologies of poetry from Latin America and Spain.

Matt Barr

Photo of Matt Barr.Matt Barr (Media Studies) presented his feature-length documentary  “Union Time: Fighting for Workers’ Rights” at the national headquarters of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, D.C. “Union Time” tells the story of the 16-year struggle to organize the pork slaughterhouse in Tar Heel, N.C., which resulted in a successful vote to unionize in 2008. The screening was followed by an in-depth Q & A session between NLRB staff attorneys and Barr and Jasper Brown, an NLRB attorney who prosecuted Smithfield Foods for labor abuses, which resulted in a $1.1m fine for the company.

Barr commented during the Q & A that a key component of the distribution of the film (in tandem with film festivals and broadcast venues) lies in grassroots dissemination to nonprofits, churches and academic venues.

In addition to the D.C. screening, the NLRB has acquired 30 DVDs of the film, Barr notes, which will be distributed to all 30 field offices of the NLRB across the country, utilized by the training divisions at each office.

Dr. Olav Rueppell

Photo of Dr. Olav Rueppell. Dr. Olav Rueppell (Biology) received funding from Project Apis m. for the project “Understanding Semiochemicals as Tools for Natural Varroa Control.” The continuing honey bee health crisis demands research that facilitates sustainable beekeeping solutions. In a two-pronged approach, he and his team propose to study semiochemical signals that may be used in biocontrol of the Varroa mite, an ectoparasitic mite that is considered the most severe threat to honey bee health. They will study stimuli that attract mites and could thus be developed into an active trap for mites. And they will continue their studies of cuticular hydrocarbons that elicit hygienic removal of Varroa-infected brood, a key natural defense of honey bees that interrupts the Varroa reproductive cycle.

Additionally, Rueppell received funding from Project Apis m. for the project “Comparative Characterization of Virus Content and Resistance in Genetic Lines of US Honey Bees.” Honey bees are threatened, primarily by the Varroa mite and associated viruses, the abstract notes. However, little is known about honey bee virus interactions and current breeding efforts to improve honey bee health neglect virus resistance. His team will test the viral content and virus resistance of different US honey bee genetic lines to inform the apicultural practices of queen breeding and requeening colonies from different stocks.

Dr. Laurie Gold

Photo of Dr. Laurie Gold.Dr. Laurie Gold (Kinesiology) received additional funding from the National Institutes of Health for the project “Pathways from Childhood Self-Regulation to Cardiovascular Risk in Adolescence.” Cardiovascular risk factors (CVR)—including obesity, elevated lipids, altered glucose metabolism, hypertension, and elevated low-grade inflammation—are detectable, common, and increasing during adolescence. However, the developmental origins of adolescent CVR and its increases are poorly understood. The project will test whether childhood self-regulation and adolescent cardiovascular risk factor pathways are mediated by health behaviors (e.g., substance use, exercise, nutrition, and sleep). By testing these linkages, the proposed research will be the first to conduct a fine-grained developmental analysis of childhood self-regulation health behaviors and CVR pathways spanning 16 years.

Dr. Zhenquan Jia

Photo of Dr. Zhenquan JiaDr. Zhenquan Jia (Biology) received new funding from the United Soybean Board for the
“United Soybean Board Soy Health Research Program incentive award.”

Vascular inflammation and its subsequent endothelial dysfunction play a fundamental role in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. Accumulating evidence shows that various pro-inflammatory cytokines including tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-a, interleukin 1 beta (IL-1ß) and interferon (INF)-? are critically involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. An elevated blood level of these pro-inflammatory mediators is validated markers of vascular inflammation, which can subsequently lead to the development of atherosclerosis. The overall objective of this project is to evaluate the cellular mechanism(s) of action of genistein in its protective effect against cytokine-induced vascular dysfunction.

Dr. Erick Byrd

Photo of Dr. Erick ByrdDr. Erick Byrd  (Marketing) received continued funding from  the City of Greensboro Area Convention and for the project “Greensboro Tourism Leisure and Conversion Market Segment Study.”

Tourism is a major contributor to the overall economy in Greensboro with an estimated economic impact of $1.2 billion in 2013. The tourism industry is directly accountable for 12,450 jobs in Guilford County.

The purpose of the project is to gain a better understanding of two vital markets to the Greensboro tourism industry: the Leisure market and the Conference market, with the Conference market being made up of two groups – conference planners and conference delegates (attendees).

Dr. Laurie Gold

Dr. Laurie Gold (Kinesiology) received additional funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the project “Pathways from Childhood Self-Regulation to Cardiovascular Risk in Adolescence. Cardiovascular risk factors (CVR)—including obesity, elevated lipids, altered glucose metabolism, hypertension, and elevated low-grade inflammation—are detectable, common, and increasing during adolescence. However, the developmental origins of adolescent CVR and its increases are poorly understood. This funding will expand and enhance the ongoing longitudinal study through the examination of past and current measures plus additional metabolic (e.g., blood lipids, fasting glucose, insulin) and for building a larger program of research on early self-regulation and its implications for disease risk during the early life course.


Dr. Gideon Wasserberg

Dr. Gideon Wasserberg (Biology) received a continuation of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the project “Oviposition attractants for surveillance and control of sand flies, vectors of Leishmania.”

Dr. Maryanne Perrin

Dr. Maryanne Perrin (Nutrition) received new funding from East Carolina University (ECU) for the project “Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group Research Grant Award.” Individuals consuming a vegetarian or vegan diet are at risk of having inadequate intake of B-12, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) due to dietary restriction. These in turn may lead to low levels of Brain Derived Neutotrophic Factor (BDNF), a protein that promotes the growth and development of nerve cells. Evidence suggests that the breast milk from women consuming a vegetarian diet is lower in the essential vitamin, B-12, than the breast milk of women consuming an omnivorous diet. This project will assess B-12, EPA, DHA, and BDNF in the breast milk of women consuming a vegan (n=25), vegetarians (n=25), and unrestricted diet (n=25) to help inform dietary advice given to lactating women.

Dr. Dianne Welsh

Dr. Dianne Welsh, Hayes Distinguished Professor in Entrepreneurship, was inducted as a Fellow in the Small Business Institute (SBI) at the annual meeting February 16.

In an additional piece of news from the meeting, Randy Roof, Kristoffer Holm, Guadalupe Rodriguez, Joe Rotondi and Amani Duke, students in the ENT/BUS 300 Feasibility Analysis class at UNCG, won First place nationally for their feasibility analysis plan of Oden Brothers Brewery. Dianne Welsh is the Project Director and SBI Director for the project.

Dr. Harriette Bailey

Dr. Harriette Bailey (Human Development & Family Studies) received continued funding from Guilford County Partnership for Children for the project “UNCG Partnership.” The Education, Quality Improvement, and Professional Development (EQuIPD) The Project addresses a critical need in Guilford County – the improvement of quality in community child care settings. EQuIPD includes five interconnected activities. The proposal addresses activities for family child care homes and centers including professional development, program enhancement through individual consultation, community learning sessions, workforce retention strategies including compensation. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro through the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (where the Birth through Kindergarten Teaching Licensure program is housed) will provide project leadership through advising and consultation. The project will be conducted in Guilford County early care and education programs.

Dr. Marianne LeGreco

Photo of Dr. Marianne LeGreco.Dr. Marianne LeGreco (Communication Studies) has co-authored an article with community partner Dr. Niesha Douglas: “Everybody Eats: Carrying and Disrupting Narratives of Food (In) Security,” in the peer-reviewed scholarly journal Management Communication Quarterly.

Dr. Rosemery Gray

Photo of Dr. Rosemery Gray. Dr. Rosemery Gray (Psychology) has received new funding from Guilford County Schools for the project “Psychological Services at Newcomers School.”

Dr. Karen Laparo

Photo of Dr. Karen Laparo.Dr. Karen Laparo (Human Development and Family Studies) received continued funding from the NCDHHS Division of Child Development for the project “The Measurement Development Project.”

The Measurement Development Project aims to develop a family of measures to evaluate early childhood program quality within a Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (TQRIS).  Following a preliminary pilot of the entire measure in a small number of centers, the large-scale pilot will test the whole measure and process of evaluation in 300 classrooms, including 75 family child care homes.  The plans include developing a measure reflecting program and classroom quality intended to promote positive learning and developmental outcomes for children ages 0-5.

Dr. Peter Villella

Photo of Dr. Peter Villella. Dr. Peter Villella (History) received additional funding from the University of Iowa for the project “History of the Chichimec Nation: Translation of Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl’s Seventeenth-Century History of Mexico.”

Dr. Nancy Green

Photo of Dr. Nancy Green. Dr. Nancy Green (Computer Science) received new funding from North Carolina State University for the project “Using Argument Schemes in Anticipatory Thinking.”