Sparks Retires

first_imgAfter leading the organization for seven years, director of University of Georgia Extension Beverly Sparks will retire June 30. Sparks leaves after 32 years working in Extension, first as an entomologist in Texas and Georgia, conducting research, publishing papers and educating Extension agents before taking leadership roles with UGA Extension. She is happy to be retiring at a time when Georgia Extension is in, what she calls, “a fast trajectory.” “I’m proud to know we are just as important now as we were in the past. There are always going to be new problems and our relevance is still there. We have new agents that learn in different ways and they will teach in different ways,” Sparks said. As the first female to lead UGA Extension, Sparks is often viewed as a trailblazer. She doesn’t agree with that label. “I was the first female ag specialist at Texas A&M, but Georgia already had some female specialists on staff and other states have had female Extension leaders,” she said. “I had already been working with some amazing female Extension leaders like Ilene Dailey and Susan Harrell.”Plus, Sparks said she wasn’t raised to see gender differences. “I grew up in a household where my brother made the best cheesecake in the world and he did his own laundry. We never had gender specific limitations,” she said. Sparks earned an agriculture degree at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College before heading to Athens where she earned a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and a master’s degree in entomology. She earned a Ph.D. in entomology at Louisiana State University and began her career at Texas A&M as an Extension entomologist. She returned to Georgia in 1989 as the UGA Extension entomologist. Her work focused on fire ants and other ornamental and turf pests. She worked closely with the structural pest control industry and trained UGA county agents, her favorite aspect of the job. In 2000, Sparks became director of the Northeast District of Extension. In 2005, Sparks took another step up the administrative ladder and became interim director of Extension before officially assuming the post in 2007. “Dr. Beverly Sparks has led Cooperative Extension through periods of growth and decline. Through both, she has shown determination and skill to make Extension the best it can be as it serves the citizens of Georgia,” said Scott Angle, dean and director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Most importantly, her grace and tact have held the organization together during some very difficult times; as the economy improves Extension is once again poised to assume its position as one of the very best. The university, college and agriculture all owe Dr. Sparks our thanks.” CAES Assistant Dean for Extension Steve Brown will serve as acting associate dean for Georgia Extension until Sparks’ replacement is selected through a national search.last_img read more

Epidermal DNA flu vaccine shows promise in phase 1 trial

first_imgJun 2, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – An experimental DNA-based flu vaccine that is propelled into the skin on tiny particles instead of injected showed promise in a phase 1 trial involving 36 adults, according to a report published in the May 22 issue of Vaccine.All volunteers who received a 4-microgram (mcg) dose of the vaccine had a sufficient immune response at 21 days, according to the study. The DNA vaccine, developed by the biotech firm PowderMed of Oxford, UK, contains the hemagglutinin gene from a 1999 Panama strain of influenza A(H3N2).”This study is the first successful demonstration of immunogenicity of an influenza DNA vaccine in humans,” said senior author Hansi J. Dean, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in a May 31 PowderMed press release.Researchers divided the study participants (aged 19 to 50; mean, 31) into three groups of 12, with each group receiving one dose of either 1, 2, or 4 mcg of the vaccine. Vaccines were administered using a PowderJect XR-1 device, which employs pressurized helium to propel gold particles coated with plasmid DNA into the epidermis, according to the PowderMed Web site.At 21 days, only the 4-mcg group met one of the criteria for immune response used for vaccine licensure by the Committee for Proprietary Medical Products (CPMP) in the European Union. By day 56, the 4-mcg group met all three immune-response criteria, even though only one criterion is required to meet CPMP standards.By day 56, 64% (7/11) of patients in the 4-mcg group seroconverted, and 100% (11/11) achieved seroprotection, defined as an antibody titer of 40 or greater.Neither of the lower-dose groups met CPMP standards for antibody response by day 21, but both groups had by day 56. The 2-mcg group met all three criteria by day 56, while the 1-mcg group met one criterion.In addition, no volunteer reported serious side effects. Twenty-seven of the 36 participants reported mild to moderate local adverse events, and 23 reported mild to moderate systemic adverse events.The study authors concluded, “While the results of this study are promising, further development will be required for a commercially feasible DNA vaccine for influenza.””DNA vaccines have the potential to significantly limit the burden of disease,” said PowerMed CEO Clive Dix, PhD, in the press release. “The advantage of a DNA-based approach is that the vaccines can be manufactured very rapidly and in large quantities, while yielding an efficacious immune response at low doses.”In addition, according to a Reuters story published yesterday, the vaccine is stable and does not need to be refrigerated, or even administered by a healthcare professional.PowerMed will begin phase 2 trials later this year using both avian flu and annual flu strains, according to the Reuters article. A marketable vaccine is years away, according to Reuters.Drape RJ, Macklin MD, Barr LJ, et al. Epidermal DNA vaccine for influenza is immunogenic in humans. Vaccine 2006;24(21):4475-4481 [Abstract]last_img read more

Colton T releases “Everything & More” video.

first_img Tweet EntertainmentLocalNews Colton T releases “Everything & More” video. by: – March 28, 2012 142 Views   one comment Share Sharecenter_img Sharing is caring! Share Photo compliments: 365 MMPFans of Colton are being given a sneak peek into what could be deemed as the beginning of bigger and better things for their local Reggae/Dancehall artists.This Creative Photo Story Project which was put together by Colton T was photographed on Sunday at the Princess Margaret Hospital by 365, MMP.It was created to depict a scene which involves the artiste who was just released from the hospital and being taken care of by someone who means “Everything & More” to him.That role was played by Dominica’s Carnival Queen Miss Nadira Lando.Special thanks to the management of PMH, the Carnival Development Committee, 365 MMP, Promotions Manager Shermain Bique and everyone who made this release possible.The song was recorded in Gwallas Nation Studios & Mixed by Tige “Triggah” Magloire.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkkTbSwz7NE[/youtube]Press Releaselast_img read more

Juventus edge Monaco with Vidal penalty

first_imgJuventus midfielder Arturo Vidal smashed home a second-half penalty to earn a 1-0 win at home to Monaco in an absorbing Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Tuesday, leaving the tie on a knife-edge.Vidal, who has missed two penalties this season, held his nerve and fired into the roof of the net in the 57th minute after Ricardo Carvalho bundled over Alvaro Morata, who had been sent clear by Andrea Pirlo’s lofted through ball.Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri, whose side faced a Monaco team that had conceded only four goals in eight previous games in the competition, had predicted that the match could be boring but it was completely the opposite.Although Italian champions Juve dominated possession, Monaco were always a threat on the break and forced Gianluigi Buffon into three top-class saves to deny them an away goal ahead of the second leg on April 22.Carlos Tevez and Vidal missed excellent openings for a jittery Juventus in the first half and the hosts were lucky to reach the break without conceding a goal.Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco should have given Monaco the lead when he shot weakly at Buffon and the Belgian had another effort turned away by the veteran keeper shortly afterwards. Juve playmaker Andrea Pirlo was thrown into the fray for his first match after a seven-week injurylayoff and the risk paid off as he set up the winning goal by lofting a pinpoint ball over the defence for Morata.Carvalho clipped the striker right on the edge of the area and Czech referee Pavel Kralovechesitated slightly, possibly consulting the goal line assistant, before pointing to the spot and booking the Portuguese defender before Vidal fired home.Juventus still had another escape to come when Buffon tipped over a rasping Geoffrey Kondogbia drive after the hosts lost possession in midfield and will be mnore than happy to travel to the French principality with a clean sheet from the first leg.–last_img read more