Georgia State University will fund eight faculty proposals as part of its Next Generation faculty program, a successor to the Second Century Initiative, which has brought 61 new faculty positions to the university over the last five years. Funding for the proposals is expected to be about $2 million in the next year.
The School of Public Health will provide key leadership and research in three areas: the Global Research Against Non-Communicable Disease (GRAND) Initiative, Integrative Understanding of Infectious Diseases, and the Future of Cities Research Institute.
The Next Generation program aims to build broadly recognized strength around core and emerging research and scholarly themes that have strategic importance to the university. The program will build new faculty strength in innovative scholarly and research areas to maintain our growing scholarly trajectory and recruit in these strategic areas a diverse cadre of faculty who can engage our diverse community of students.
Seventeen proposals were submitted in January. A university-wide faculty committee appointed by the provost reviewed the proposals and made funding recommendations.
Global Research Against Non-Communicable Disease (GRAND) Initiative
Michael Eriksen (Dean of the School of Public Health), the Andrew Young School, the Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions, and the College of Arts and Sciences
The GRAND Initiative will address the growing global threat of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, and mental illness. NCDs, also referred to as chronic diseases, are the leading cause of mortality around the globe, according to the World Health Organization. These health problems have long been the major cause of death and disease in high-income countries and are growing at alarming rates in low- and middle-income countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that NCD deaths now exceed all communicable, maternal and perinatal nutrition-related deaths combined. By 2020, NCDs are expected to account for seven of every 10 deaths worldwide.
This initiative will extend Georgia State’s interdisciplinary expertise in the risk factors of tobacco use, obesity, asthma, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, mental health and alcohol, as well as cross-cutting intervention methods of epidemiology, disease modeling, behavior change, health economics and health policy. The GRAND Initiative will hire new faculty who will collaborate with current faculty to develop strategies to reduce the global burden of these diseases, help more people enjoy longer, healthier, more productive lives and reduce overall healthcare costs.
Integrative Understanding of Infectious Diseases
Yi Jiang (Mathematics and Statistics) Jian-Dong Li (Institute of Biomedical Sciences), Ming Luo, (Chemistry), and Gerardo Chowell (School of Public Health), Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
Infectious diseases are posing ever-increasing threat to human health and economy, in particular in this ever more connected and warming world, where new viral, bacterial and fungal pathogens can find novel hosts and ecologic niches. Georgia State has a critical mass of core capabilities for the study of infectious diseases, especially in infection, inflammation, immune response, antimicrobial drug design and epidemiology, but is less developed in its integrated mathematical modeling and data analysis capabilities. This proposal will hire new faculty in microbiome, host-pathogen interactions and antibiotic resistance to fill the identified gaps with emphasis on mathematical modeling and big data analysis.
Future of Cities Research Institute
Mary Beth Walker, (Dean, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies), Ann-Margaret Esnard (Public Management and Policy and the Council for the Progress of Cities), David Sjoquist (Economics), Sally Wallace (Economics and the Fiscal Research Center), Elizabeth Beck (School of Social Work), Volkan Topalli (Criminal Justice and Criminology), Joseph Hacker (Public Management and Policy), Stuart Shalat (School of Public Health)
Georgia State’s strategic plan commits to becoming a leader in understanding and solving the complex challenges of cities and urbanization. With urbanization comes a host of issues and complex challenges that span housing, economy, health, infrastructure, education and governance. Population composition and density, the economic base, technology, global warming, transportation, the transmission of communicable diseases, public finances and the provision of education and other social services (among other issues) will continue to change in predictable and unpredictable ways. This proposal calls for the creation of the Future of Cities Research Institute (specific name to be determined) that will leverage strengths in multidisciplinary collaboration across the university with a focus on challenges and solutions for cities, and promote engagement among various units in the university and cities represented by government and organizations that address the challenges cities face.
To read about the University’s other approved projects, go to: