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Biology Professor Receives Grant


John Schenk, Ph.D.

John Schenk, Ph.D., curator of the Georgia Southern Herbarium in the Georgia Southern University Department of Biology, received notification that his National Science Foundation (NSF) Biological Research Collections grant has been funded in the amount of $280,798 to integrate uncatalogued plants into the Herbarium.

Schenk’s proposal is titled “Making a large impact on a small herbarium: Integration of un-accessioned and orphaned specimens to secure and promote wider use of the collection.”

A Herbarium houses libraries of botanical diversity that catalog plant species’ occurrences in the past and present, and they consequently serve as the foundation for biological science and science policy.

The Georgia Southern Herbarium is located in the Biological Sciences building, and houses 21,000 cataloged specimen representing 236 families, 1,511 genera and 5,258 species of plants. In addition to the cataloged specimen, the herbarium houses 26,000 uncatalogued specimen, which represents local plant diversity – including many endangered species.

By funding the proposal, the NSF recognizes the value of natural history collections, a goal that strongly overlaps with the University’s Department of Biology. The funded project will allow the Georgia Southern Herbarium to double its holdings over the next two years, a feat that is rarely accomplished in natural history collections. As the collections become cataloged, they will be accessible to students and researchers throughout the world.


This article was originally posted on September 21, 2016 and can be found here.

Nursing Faculty Awarded Grant Through NAPNAP Foundation

NAPNAP-grant-pic-2016-550x183The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) Foundation has awarded three faculty members in the Georgia Southern School of Nursing with a 2016 NAPNAP Foundation research grant in the amount of $5,000.

Recipients of the grant are instructor Valerie Martinez, DNP, APRN, CPNP, assistant professor Sheri K. Carey, DNP, APRN, PCNS-BC, CCRN, and assistant professor Crystal Edds-McAfee, DNP, RN, MS, CPNP.

With the mission to support the improvement of the quality of life for children and their families, NAPNAP awards funds to advance pediatric nursing education, research, clinical projects and special initiatives.

The grant will be used to help fund the faculty members’ joint study, “An Examination of Factors Affecting Quality of Life for Children with Asthma and their Caregivers in Southeast Georgia.”

During the study, faculty will assess the quality of life (QOL) issues facing urban and rural school children, ages 7-17, with asthma and their parents/caregivers who reside in Bulloch County and Chatham County.

According to the faculty, the long-term research goal is to improve the QOL in children with asthma in urban and rural settings by developing and evaluating an intervention that positively impacts factors that affect QOL for children and their parents/caregivers.

 This article was originally posted on September 20, 2016 and it can be found here.

Keith Landry named ASCE Fellow

Dr. Keith Landry

Dr. Keith Landry

Keith Landry, assistant professor of CECM and interim assistant dean for research, has been elected to the rank of ASCE Fellow.  ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) Fellows have made celebrated contributions and developed creative solutions that change lives around the world.  It is a prestigious honor held by fewer than 3.5% of ASCE members.  Fellow status must be attained by professional accomplishments and election by the Membership Application Review Committee.

In addition to serving as interim assistant dean for research in the CEIT, Dr. Landry serves as the interim director of CITEMS and teaches in the CECM department.  His current funded research projects include expedient steel repair methods, and highway bridge deterioration & maintenance.  His research interests include critical infrastructure resilience / protection, highway bridge maintenance, and engineering education.

Dr. Landry served for 26 years in the US Army Corps of Engineers, attaining the rank of Colonel.  His command assignments included the C/12th Engineer Battalion, the 92nd Engineer Battalion, and the Louisville District of the US Army Corps of Engineers.  He serves as faculty advisor for the GS student chapter of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) and is the program chair of the Military & Veteran Constituent Committee of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE).


This article was originally posted on Spetember 20, 2016 and can be found here.

GSU offers Ogeechee River study update


In this photo from July 2011, then Ogeechee Riverkeeper Dianna Weddincamp investigates discharge from King America Finishing plant pipe on the Ogeechee River.

About halfway through a three-year project studying the Ogeechee River, Georgia Southern University researchers and their partners offered an update on their progress during a public forum Tuesday evening at the university.

The project still has a lot of work to be done, and researchers did not divulge any information about current river conditions except that the drought is over, with more than 45 inches of rainfall in the area since January.

“At this point, we don’t have a lot of concrete conclusions or trending information,” said Dr. Jeffrey Underwood, chairman of GSU’s Department of Geology and Geography.

The project is a Supplemental Environmental Program and was mandated as part of an enforcement action taken by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division in response to violations of the Georgia Water Quality Control Act by King America Finishing, a textiles plant located on the river near Dover and Cooperville, communities in Screven County.

The program is overseen by Georgia’s EPD and funded by Milliken, a textiles company that bought King America. King was targeted following a massive fish kill in 2011 that killed about 38,000 fish. Investigations determined that columnaris, a bacterial disease caused by stress, was the cause — and many charged that the stress was caused by pollutants in the river that came from King. The fish kill began just downstream from the King America plant and spread for miles.

The project involves the lower Ogeechee River and the flood plain near Oliver.

According to the project’s website,  “Over the next 2.5 years, Georgia’s Ogeechee River will be closely monitored. Georgia Southern University’s Department of Geology and Geography will study atmospheric and terrestrial observations and research focused on processes in the watershed and the Department of Biology, in conjunction with the Phinizy Center for Water Sciences, will focus on in-stream processes and conduct biological sampling of the Ogeechee River. This research will ensure a long-term, holistic approach to understanding Ogeechee River Basin.”

The project is meant to provide more than short-term monitoring of biogeochemical components in the river basin and to ensure a long-term approach for research conducted on the Ogeechee River, according to the site.

Two teams and partners are involved in the study. A group from GSU’s Department of Geology and Geography focuses on atmospheric and terrestrial processes in the watershed, while the other, from GSU’s Department of Biology in conjunction with the Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy, targets the in-stream processes and biological communities of the river.

The study examines every aspect of the river and its environmental impact, Underwood said.

“We trace the water from the sky as it makes its way to the stream channel,” he said.

Several GSU professors spoke about the project, explaining steps taken by the teams to study the river and monitor its condition.

Dr. John Van Stan explained how rainfall travels through the tree canopy and down the trunks and either evaporates, is absorbed or travels to the ground, where it is filtered through litter (leaves and plant matter) before it enters the ground and eventually seeps into the stream flow.

There are three international scholars collaborating at the site, and the project has been awarded a national science grant.

“This has been a lot of work and a lot of fun, too,” Van Stan said.

Dr. James Reichard spoke about aquifers and how they work and said groundwater moves a foot a day at its fastest.

Dr. Jaque Kelly shared how her team is using radon to track groundwater. She said radon occurs naturally through the breakdown of uranium and that the river levels are “way below” the level accepted by the EPD.

Dr. Oscar Flite shared how chemistry samples are taken at various testing sites along the river to monitor things such as dissolved oxygen and bacterial activity.

A type of bacteria that emits light is used to test the water samples, said Dr. Risa Cohen. If the bacteria stops emitting light, this indicates toxicity, she said.

Others spoke about various aspects of the project, including the collection of fish, some of which are released back into the river and some that are used to study tissue samples.


This article was originally written by Hollie Saxon Deal of the Statesboro Herald on September 22, 2016. The original article can be found here.

Georgia Southern Examines the Impact of State HAI Reporting Laws


Dr. Julie Reagan

Robust evidence regarding the effect of mandatory health care–associated infection (HAI) reporting is increasingly important to policy makers. The objective of the study was to examine the effect of mandated state HAI reporting laws on central line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) rates in adult intensive care units (ICUs).

We analyzed 2006–2012 adult ICU CLABSI and hospital annual survey data from the National Healthcare Safety Network. The final analytic sample included 244 hospitals, 947 hospital years, 475 ICUs, 1,902 ICU years, and 16,996 ICU months. We used a quasi-experimental study design to identify the effect of state mandatory reporting laws. Several secondary models were conducted to explore potential explanations for the plausible effects of HAI laws.

Our results provide valuable evidence that state reporting requirements for HAIs improved care. Additional studies are needed to further explore why and how mandatory HAI reporting laws decreased CLABSI rates.

Impact of State Reporting Laws on Central Line–Associated Bloodstream Infection Rates in U.S. Adult Intensive Care Units,” was published in Health Services Research July 24, 2016.

Dr. Julie Reagan, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health Georgia Southern University was one of the co-authors of the study.


This article was orignally posted on September 14, 2016 and can be found here.

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