January 12, 2012

University of Texas at Austin

Andy Ellington

A researcher has won a major grant to develop a simple paper-based test for drug-resistant tuberculosis. Andy Ellington, who is Wilson and Kathryn Fraser research professor in biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin, has received a $1.6 million (£1 million) grant as part of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is hoped that the test will aid communities currently lacking the resources to diagnose the disease. "It is critical to have a point-of-care, real-time test that fits the technology climate of the place where it is used," said Professor Ellington. "Tests need to be portable, cheap and disposable, like a home pregnancy test is." Professor Ellington studied for his undergraduate degree at Michigan State University and his PhD at Harvard University. He completed his postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School and taught at Indiana University before joining UT Austin. In addition to his work on tuberculosis, Professor Ellington is an expert in the field of evolution, and has testified several times before the Texas State Board of Education in opposing motions to remove the teaching of evolution from school curricula.

University of Leeds

Barry Clarke

The new president of the Institution of Civil Engineers has said that he feels "very humbled" to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors. Barry Clarke, professor of civil engineering geotechnics at the University of Leeds, said that it was a great honour to be elected to a post previously held by noted engineers including Robert Stephenson and Thomas Telford. He added that the role had changed a great deal since their time. "It is now very much about the presidential team focusing on the benefits that civil engineers provide to society through the development of the infrastructure that underpins the economy and the contribution to our heath and well-being," he said. "It is these themes that I will develop in the presidential year with a particular focus on education and research." Professor Clarke spent time as a research student in the soil mechanics group at the University of Cambridge, and left to become a director of a spin-off company from research he did there. He returned to academia in 1984 as lecturer in civil engineering at Newcastle University, later rising to senior lecturer, professor of geotechnical engineering, head of the department of civil engineering and finally dean of business development in the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering. He joined Leeds in his current role in 2008.

Institute of Classical Studies

John North

An emeritus professor of history at University College London has been named acting director of the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London. John North studied for his first degree at Queen's College, Oxford, going on to complete a doctorate on the relationship between politics and religion in republican Rome. He taught for 40 years at UCL and was head of the department of history from 1992 to 1997 and again from 2000 to 2002. In 2003 he was made an honorary fellow of UCL and elected emeritus professor. He is currently joint director of the Festus Lexicon Project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which will produce a new text, translation and commentary on the preserved parts of the work of Roman grammarian Sextus Pompeius Festus. Professor North hailed the Institute of Classical Studies' "vital contribution" to the study of Classics and to the promotion of international contacts for the university. "I look forward enthusiastically to maintaining and developing that contribution," he said.

University of Toronto

Luis Seco

A mathematician who has used his expertise to forecast economic cycles has been honoured by the King of Spain. Luis Seco, professor of mathematics and director of the RiskLab at the University of Toronto, was named Caballero de la Orden del Merito Civil, an honour given to both Spaniards and citizens of other nations in recognition of accomplishments of great civil merit. Professor Seco said the honour was "recognition of what we're all made of...all the things that contribute to make you who you are". He added: "To me that's the best part of this award; it's the recognition of all the different pieces that came together to make something good." Professor Seco studied for his undergraduate degree at the Autonomous University of Madrid and his doctorate at Princeton University, and later held the post of Bateman instructor of mathematics at the California Institute of Technology. He has been a visiting professor at Princeton, the University of Texas at Austin, the Universite de Paris-IX, the Erwin Schrodinger International Institute for Mathematical Physics, the Autonomous University of Madrid and the Institut Mittag-Leffler of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Sweden. In addition to his roles at Toronto, he is head of Sigma Analysis and Management, and is associate editor of The Canadian Applied Mathematics Quarterly and the Journal of Risk Management in Financial Institutions.

Other changes

The University of Ulster has named Girijesh Prasad professor of intelligent systems. Professor Prasad is leader of the Brain Computer Interface and Assistive Technology research team at the Intelligent Systems Research Centre in the university's Faculty of Computing and Engineering.

Bahram Ghiassee, senior lecturer in the School of Surveying and Planning at Kingston University, has been honoured with the Pinkerton Prize. The award was given by the Nuclear Institute for a paper published in Nuclear Future detailing Dr Ghiassee's investigation into proposed UK sites for nuclear power stations.

Kei Cho, chair of neuroscience at the University of Bath, has received a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award for work on synaptic plasticity and pathology in the brain. Given to "individuals of proven outstanding ability", the award funds up to five years of research.

Adam Hawkey, senior lecturer in biomechanics at the University of Wolverhampton, has been elected chair of the Biomechanics Interest Group of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences.

Konstantinos Sergakis, senior lecturer in law at the University of Bedfordshire, has received the Prix Andre Isore from the Chancellerie des Universites de Paris for his doctoral work on the transparency of listed companies in European Union law.

Kevin Rooney, professor of care improvement at the University of the West of Scotland, has been appointed national clinical lead for knowledge into action by NHS Education for Scotland.

Julia Buckingham has been named the next vice-chancellor of Brunel University. The professor of pharmacology, who is currently pro rector for education and academic affairs at Imperial College London, will join Brunel on 1 October.

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