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Georgia Southern professor brings national attention to dangerous new drug trend

A Georgia Southern professor is bringing national media attention to a dangerous new drug trend called “dabbing.”

Bryan Miller, Ph.D., associate professor of criminal justice and criminology, is the co-author of the recent article, “Assessing the Dangers of ‘Dabbing’: Mere Marijuana or Harmful New Trend?” which was recently featured in the magazine Pediatrics. He says the article is not only a way to educate the public about this disturbing trend, but also calls for extensive research since so little is known about its short-term and long-term effects.

“We’ve seen a lot of headlines calling it the ‘crack’ of marijuana,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s necessarily a fair characteristic. I think there are inherent dangers associated with it that need to be assessed more so than flower cannabis, but we need to better understand who’s using it, how they’re using it and how to reduce those kinds of harms with both manufacturing and consuming this new form of marijuana.”

According to the article, dabbing is essentially the inhalation of a concentrated form of tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. This concentrated substance is called butane hash oil (BHO), a gooey, amber-colored, highly potent substance that can reach THC concentrations of almost 80 percent.

In order to inhale one of these “dabs” of BHO, users procure a special kind of “male” water bong called an “oil rig” with a titanium rod called a “nail.” Using a blowtorch, they heat the nail to temperatures greater than 700 degrees, drop the dab on the nail and then inhale the dab as it instantly vaporizes. Miller says users have compared dabbing to smoking several marijuana cigarettes in one breath, and it’s almost impossible to say how much THC a user will inhale with each dab, depending on size, purity and concentration.

“Although there haven’t been cases of overdosing, people can faint, people can fall — all kinds of negative consequences associated with consuming that much THC that rapidly,” Miller said. “Plus, we don’t know about the short-term/long-term effects.”

In addition to the high THC levels consumed in dabbing, Miller says an even greater cause for concern is the home manufacturing of BHO, known as “blasting.” The process involves taking dried marijuana plants and placing them in a tube with butane to extract the THC.

Because butane is such a volatile substance, however, several states have reported blasting-related fires and explosions comparable to those of a meth lab. Initially, the states reporting these kinds of accidents were confined to medical and retail marijuana states like Washington, Colorado and California, where BHO fires killed more than 30 people in 2014. Now, however, similar fires are being reported in prohibition states such as North Carolina and most recently in Florida.

Miller also says he has anecdotal evidence to suggest that the trend has already made its way into Statesboro as well.

Since the article ran in the July issue, local media outlets throughout the nation as well as national media outlets such as NBC News have brought attention to dabbing and its dangers. And while the Georgia Southern professor feels some of the media attention has been sensational, he hopes it will garner the attention of the research community.

“There’s a lot of research to do on this,” he said. “We’ve started collecting some of the data available, but there’s a lot of research that needs to be done.”


Georgia Southern Announces Partnership

Georgia Southern University and the Ocean Exchange will hold a signing ceremony to commemorate forming a partnership for the new BIG Pitch Competition. The signing ceremony will take place on Tuesday, June 23 at 10:30 a.m. at City Campus located at 58 East Main Street in downtown Statesboro. Georgia Southern University President Brooks A. Keel, Ph.D. and Ocean Exchange CEO Millicent Pitts will be signing the partnership agreement for the event. With students from around the world competing for the $10,000 prize, the BIG Pitch Competition is already positioned to be among the largest in the southeastern United States.

“Since its founding, the Ocean Exchange has done a remarkable job in supporting global entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Dominique Halaby, DPA, director of the Business Innovation Group (BIG). “Georgia Southern University is excited to partner with such a well-respected and wide-reaching organization.”

BIG already includes the Area Small Business Development Center, Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership, and Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development. With the recent additions of the Digital Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) and Innovation Incubator and the BIG Pitch Competition, Georgia Southern University continues to elevate its entrepreneurship profile.

The BIG Pitch Competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students with faculty advisors from around the world. The contest focuses on solutions in sciences, engineering and technology to help sustainability.

Ocean Exchange, founded in 2010, advocates for collaboration across industries, while protecting the intellectual property of the innovator. Ocean Exchange’s worldwide network uses its influences to elevate awareness, motivate and accelerate the adoption of the solutions around the globe. This year’s theme is “Translating Sustainability into Value.” Judges will be looking for ideas that focus on energy; ocean, land, and air resources; supply chains; and technologies that support sustainability.

The Ocean Exchange also partners with Gulfstream Aerospace and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) which offer $100,000 each in prize money for the competition. The Gulfstream Navigator Award is given to the solution that best fits the theme with applicability across multiple industries generating positive impact on the environment, economies or health. The WWL Orcelle Award is given to the solution that makes shipping and logistics more sustainable by advancing zero-emission, marine and/or land-based technologies that are commercially viable.

Georgia Southern is now partnering with the Ocean Exchange and seeking a sponsor to name the University Innovator Award for the winners of the BIG Pitch Competition. The University Innovators Award will go to a team that shows excellence in teamwork, underlying business acumen and a possibility to have the team turned into a start-up company in the future. Finalists will be invited to present at Ocean Exchange in Savannah at the World Trade Center on Oct. 11–13, 2015.

For more information on the BIG Pitch Competition, the Ocean Exchange or Georgia Southern University entrepreneurship programs, please contact Millicent Pitts, CEO of Ocean Exchange at(912) 257-0209 or millicent.pitts@oceanexchange.org or Halaby at (912) 478-2733 ordhalaby@georgiasouthern.edu.

The Business Innovation Group is the business outreach arm of the Georgia Southern University College of Business. The focus of BIG is to provide students and entrepreneurs with the skills and training necessary to understand business principles, to experience how businesses operate and to successfully launch new business enterprises.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125-degree programs serving more than 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education.


Georgia Southern named one of 25 Best Online Master in Sport Management

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Georgia Southern University offers a Master of Science in Sport Management online degree program through its College of Health and Human Services. The MS in Sport Management degree program prepares graduates for careers with professional sports teams, sport marketing or advertising, state sports commissions, or sport facilities and event management.

 

The 36-credit-hour online Master in Sport Management degree program includes the following courses:

  • Social & Ethical Issues of Sport & Leisure
  • Sport Marketing
  • Management of Personnel in Sport
  • Sport Sponsorship
  • Revenue Generation in Sport
  • Current Trends in Sport Administration
  • Research and Analysis in Sport

Students can earn their degree in two years.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools provides accreditation to Georgia Southern University.


Georgia Southern Students Receive Emmy® Award

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Students associated with the award from left to right: Evan Lebish, Katy Burrell, James Braswell, Allen Lincoln and Christopher Dunn. Braswell and Lincoln were the producers of the winning video.

Georgia Southern University’s Multimedia Development Center (MDC) won a Student Emmy®Award for its “Wounded Eagle” video production at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Southeast region awards ceremony on June 6 in Atlanta. The “Wounded Eagle” video was recorded, produced and edited by MDC students Allen Lincoln and James Braswell in cooperation with Georgia Southern University Marketing and Communications.

“We are very proud of the accomplishments of our students,” said Art Berger, director of the MDC. “The MDC draws students from many disciplines from all over the university: communication arts, psychology and information technology, just to name a few. The Emmy® Award competition provides our students with an opportunity to compete for one of the top industry awards and carry that nomination with them throughout their career.”

Projects like “Wounded Eagle” give students at the MDC a great opportunity to learn and apply their craft. “It is an honor to be nominated for a Student Emmy® Award. I have to thank the military for teaching me the basics of videography, but Georgia Southern and Mr. Berger have given me the opportunity to better enhance my editing and videography techniques,” said Braswell.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, NATAS, is a professional organization for individuals in the television and broadcasting industry.  NATAS is the standard-bearer for excellence in the television broadcasting industry and the gatekeepers of the prestigious regional Emmy® Awards.  The Southeast Chapter represents the most experienced and talented television professionals from all disciplines of the industry and from each of our television markets (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Asheville, N.C.).

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers 125 degree programs serving more than 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement.  Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit:www.GeorgiaSouthern.edu.


Georgia Southern graduate student wins fellowship to study renewable energy

 

Martin Muinos (left) works with Val Soloiu, Ph.D. (right), on a high speed data acquisition system able to detect minute amounts of soot in engine exhaust -- part of  Muinos' Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition research project for the National Science Foundation.

Martin Muinos (left) works with Val Soloiu, Ph.D., on a high speed data acquisition system able to detect minute amounts of soot in engine exhaust — part of Muinos’ Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition research project for the National Science Foundation.

He’s published four peer-reviewed papers, three of which were presented at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress. He’s done research which hasn’t been tried anywhere else in the world and he won two different research grants to do them. He’s part of a laboratory attempting to steer the automotive industry closer to renewable energy sources.

And he did it all as an undergraduate student at Georgia Southern University.

Martin Muinos is currently finishing his first semester in the Master of Science in Applied Engineering program with a concentration in Energy Science. Even though he’s only begun his graduate studies, for the last two-and-a-half years he’s been a researcher in Georgia Southern’sRenewable Energy and Engines Laboratory (REEL), the most advanced of its kind in the Southeast, and the only one of its kind in the nation with undergraduate researchers. He says he can’t imagine getting to do the work he’s done anywhere else.

“If we were to visit a research facility conducting similar research anywhere in the United States, we would be surrounded by post-docs, Ph.D.’s, and grad students,” said Muinos. “In the Engine Combustion and Emissions lab at Georgia Southern, I am one of three graduate students working under the supervision of one professor and working alongside 15-20 undergraduate students.”

At the laboratory, Muinos has been conducting experiments in Low Temperature Combustion through Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI) with renewable fuels such as biodiesel, and butanol: fuels made from biomass. The process of combining RCCI with these fuels delays combustion in the fuel-efficient diesel engine, which reduces its soot and smoke emissions and cleans up its dirty reputation.

“We’re currently working on another paper, testing RCCI with synthetic kerosene, and that’s never been attempted with the fuels that we’re testing,” said Muinos. “Every couple of months I’m in the test cell, running the engine, thinking, ‘Wow, nobody’s ever done this before.’ It’s really novel fuels that we work with. It’s a great opportunity.”

Muinos’ research recently led to his selection as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship recipient. He was one of 2,000 graduate students in the nation to receive the $136,000 fellowship out of 16,500 applicants. He joined recipients from such institutions as Georgia Tech, MIT, Stanford, Princeton and Cornell.

The award will allow him to focus all of his attention and efforts on his research and thesis, and continue to learn under his mentor, Valentin Soloiu, Ph.D., the Allen E. Paulson Distinguished Chair of Renewable Energy, an influence Muinos says goes far beyond the classroom.

“A couple of weeks ago, we were at the SAE World Congress in Detroit, and it’s amazing  how many people know Dr. Soloiu  up there,” he said. “I think we talked to three or four presidents of different companies or vice-presidents of different companies that he knows personally and they appreciate him. Previous master’s students have gotten jobs in Detroit just from being in this lab. One research company — I think they currently have five of his former students now.”

Soloiu said the awards and accolades weren’t just the result of his mentorship, however. Muinos entered the University as a transfer from Southern Polytechnic State University as a sophomore, and within just six months of being introduced to the lab, he was promoted to a full student researcher — “one of the fastest student promotions in years,” Soloiu said.

Muinos says the professor’s influence has been invaluable, and is a testament to Georgia Southern’s reputation as a “large scale, small feel” research University.

“I can go talk to any of my professors at any time,” said Muinos. “They’re always available — especially Dr. Soloiu. If I have a question, I just email him and he’ll email me right back. I’ll go to his office or labs and he’s there for me.”

In the future, Muinos hopes to continue his work in engineering, eventually pursuing a Ph.D. and working in a national lab. Dr. Soloiu said the student has already received an offer from the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, which houses some of the brightest minds in the world and boasts $760 million in funding. Muinos politely declined.

The fellowship gives him more time — time with his research and time to continue learning under his mentor.

“It’s not every day I’m told I can get paid to be a student,” he said.


Office of Vice President for Research and Economic Development • P.O. Box 8140, Statesboro, GA 30458 • (912) 478-8641 • research@georgiasouthern.edu