ATLANTA — Georgia State University has awarded six new proposed research clusters with new faculty hires in the third round of a university initiative aiming to bolster a higher level of research and academic excellence through interdisciplinary partnerships.
The Second Century Initiative (2CI) calls for the recruitment of 100 additional faculty members to GSU over a five-year period, with the intention to build internationally recognized scholarly research strengths in themes with national significance to enhance the university’s quality, competitiveness and richness.
“The 2CI initiative propels research at Georgia State University into the ranks of the most innovative and exciting fields of study,” said GSU Provost Risa Palm. “The new faculty will add to the collaborative teams investigating complex and significant problems, and advancing our achievement of goals of the University’s Strategic Plan.”
The six new clusters include:
• Microbial Pathogenesis: This cluster will focus on studying the complex interactions between host cells and medically important pathogens, like viruses, or microbial toxins, with an impact on preventing and treating diseases. The university will preface the launch of this cluster with a search for a senior faculty member. This search will be followed by the hiring of two to three collaborating faculty who demonstrate the ability to do high quality research on microbial pathogens or toxins. Faculty in this cluster will also collaborate with the existing Molecular Basis of Disease focus, the Center for Inflammation, Immunity and Infection, and the Center for Diagnostics and Therapeutics.
• Therapeutics: Following up on an earlier cluster hiring proposal in diagnostics, this new proposal will focus on hiring three faculty who will hone in on drug discovery based on biomarkers or interventions on the cellular or molecular level for human diseases. These diseases include cancer, infection and immune diseases. Participating departments include the Department of Chemistry, the Neuroscience Institute, and the Department of biology, and the hires will also aid in the success of the current Center for Diagnostics and Therapeutics.
• Neuroethics: There will be three hires – one who focuses on emerging ethical and legal issues raised by neuroscience; one who studies the neuropsychological processes involved in moral cognition and behavior; and one who examines the implications of neuroscientific discoveries for moral theory. The faculty will administer a neuroethics concentration within the university’s existing neuroscience Ph.D. Participating departments include the Department of Philosophy, the Neuroscience Institute, the Department of Psychology and the College of Law.
• Shaping the Future of Cities: The focus of this proposal is the design of cities, which includes both their physical footprint and social infrastructure, which is shaped by housing policy, transportation policy, and urban amenities such as green space. The cluster will include the hiring of an urban economist in the Department of Economics at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYSPS), an economic development and planning faculty member in the Department of Public Management and Policy in AYSPS, an expert in social structure in the Department of Sociology of the College of Arts and Sciences, and a faculty member in the area of environmental law at the College of Law.
• Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Achievement for Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing: Under this proposal, the university will hire two associate and one assistant professor to focus on malleable factors leading to improvements in the linguistic and literary skills of deaf and hard of hearing children, as they learn to read and read to learn. The effort is a collaboration of the Educational Psychology and Special Education Departments in the College of Education and the Psychology Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, with support from College of Computing at Georgia Tech.
• Portfolios of the Atlanta Poor: This cluster is a collaboration of the Department of Risk Management and Insurance in the Robinson College of Business, and the Department of Economics of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. The proposal seeks to advance understanding of how the urban poor make savings decisions, how they manage financial and non-financial risks, and how their investment and consumption decisions change over their lifetimes.
The 2CI initiative was announced in 2009. During the first round in 2010, Georgia State awarded eight proposals, including diagnostics, neuroimaging, evidence-based policy, law, media and ethics, new media, Chinese language and culture, bioinformatics and health justice.
During the second round, announced in 2011, the awarded proposals included the Atlanta Census Research Data Center; eliminating health disparities for individuals with developmental disabilities from diverse backgrounds; Exploring and Testing Strategies for Obesity Reversal (EATSFOR), health information technology; neurogenomics; primate social cognition, evolution and behavior; stellar astrophysics and astroinformatics; and trans-cultural conflict and violence. For more information about 2CI, please visit http://www.gsu.edu/secondcentury.
Feb. 27, 2012