Archive for the ‘Staff’ Category
Students were not the only ones packing their bags and moving out at the end of the spring semester. The Department of Allied Health Sciences (AHS) temporarily relocated from their home in Benjamin Franklin Koons Hall to facilitate a renovation to the building over the summer. The project redesigned classroom spaces, expanded teaching and research labs, refurbished offices, centralized the advising center, remodeled the student lounge and replaced the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the building. The renovation also added space for new faculty hires, one of whom will lead a new graduate program in the department. AHS is now settling back into a space better equipped to support their commitment to health education and research.
“There were many improvements done during the renovation that will help us better serve our mission of undergraduate and graduate education, advising and research,” says Department Head and Professor Justin Nash. “The improved space allows us to be more productive and effective in everything that we do. It also expands our research enterprise. The renovation helped make it possible to welcome additional faculty and introduce a new degree program. It is a very exciting time as we continue to grow as a department.”
AHS plans to launch the Genetic and Genomic Counseling Master’s Degree Program in fall 2019. Maria Gyure was appointed as a lecturer and director of the program. An AHS alumna, Gyure received her bachelor’s degree in diagnostic genetic sciences in 2001 and received her master’s degree in genetic counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2007. She has worked in a variety of instructional, research and counseling roles in cytogenetics and molecular genetics. Gyure and Associate Professor in Residence Judy Brown are currently working on the program’s accreditation. (more…)
Vitamins and minerals are well known for their essential role in maintaining health and wellness. Still, there are other, often less recognized, food components that can also make important contributions. These other components, known as dietary bioactive compounds, are present in food in small quantities, but may be making a big impact. Christopher Blesso, assistant professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, is studying the effects of these previously overlooked substances on low-grade inflammation in certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
In his studies of lipid metabolism, Blesso examines the body’s processing of fats, cholesterol, phospholipids and other molecules. He is interested in the impact the compounds can have on lipid metabolism and the low-grade inflammation that is characteristic of these disease states. The hope is that, one day, these compounds could be used therapeutically to reduce inflammation and improve the quality of life in patients suffering from low-grade inflammatory states. Blesso focuses on high-density lipoprotein (HDL) metabolism and cholesterol, as well as dietary phospholipids, which are molecules that provide animal and plant cell membranes with structure. (more…)