GU Research News

Urban physics network, co-led by GU physics professor, launched in Marseille, France

Professor Emanuela Del Gado, co-lead of USERS.

In July 2019, a newly established international network called Urban Science and Engineering for (quantitative) Resilience and Sustainability, or USERS, was launched at an event in Marseille, France.  Funded by the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, it is jointly-led by Georgetown physics professor Emanuela Del Gado and Dr. Roland Pellenq, director of the joint MIT-CNRS-Aix Marseille Université lab.  Representing the Provost with Professor Del Gado was Vice Provost for Research, Billy Jack.

USERS includes 15 international academic partners, 7 laboratories in France and 5 industrial partners. Beyond MIT and Georgetown, other US partners include Princeton, Berkeley, NYU and the Santa Fe Institute. The network brings together a diverse and interdisciplinary community of scientists, engineers, and industrial researchers. The focus is in promoting fundamental research in areas such as construction materials, urban planning, resilience and sustainability of cities under evolving climates.

Officials from Georgetown, Aix-Marseille, CNRS, MIT, and Bordeaux sign letters of support for the USERS network.

USERS partners are physicists, material scientists and engineers that aim to bring physics, material science concepts, and research tools into monitoring, understanding and predicting the evolution of cities. The societal implications of the network’s research encompass behavioral and sociological changes, policy innovation and development, and the translation of new technologies into sustainable industrial processes.

Serious Declines in Butterflies Revealed in Extensive North America Study

July 9, 2019 – One of the longest-running systematic insect-monitoring programs in North America shows that common butterfly species in a Midwestern state have declined by one-third over more than two decades.

The study, published today in PLoS ONE, was limited to butterflies and one geographic area (Ohio), but the findings provide an important baseline for broader trends in insect populations amid climate change and other human-caused disturbances, and mirror butterfly monitoring studies in European countries.

Please follow the hyperlink for the full story.

Alumna Who Discovered Evidence of Dark Matter Inspires Global Symposium

Vera Rubin (G'54)

June 28, 2019 – A symposium honoring Vera Rubin (G’54), one of the most important American astrophysicists of the 20th century, took place this week at Georgetown, where she received a Ph.D. and began her career as a researcher and professor.

Rubin, who passed away in 2016, pioneered the study of galaxy rotation rates that provided definitive evidence for the existence of dark matter and was also a strong advocate for women in science.

She was one of the first women to receive a doctoral degree at the university.

Please follow the hyperlink to read the full story.

Sarah McNamer Chosen for Distinguished Achievement in Research Award

Sarah McNamer

The recipient of this year’s Distinguished Achievement in Research Award, which recognizes a single distinguished achievement in scholarship or research, is Sarah McNamer, an Associate Professor of English and Medieval Studies.  Sarah’s book, Meditations on the Life of Christ: The Short Italian Text, was praised by one reviewer as “an outstanding contribution to research in a wide range of disciplinary areas – Medieval Italian and Latin Literature, Religious Studies, and Textual and Linguistic Studies, among others,” and was the recipient of the 2018 Scaglione Publication Award of the Modern Language Association of America.

Sandra Calvert Honored With Career Research Achievement Award

The University’s Career Research Achievement Award honors the contributions to a field of study over the course of a scholar’s whole career.  This year’s awardee is Sandra Calvert, a Professor in the Psychology Department and Director of the Children’s Digital Media Center.  Sandy was described by one reviewer as “among the top two or three scholars in the world who has most influenced knowledge about the impact of media on children’s development,” and her work was described as innovative, insightful, ground-breaking, and ahead of its time.

Georgetown’s Fall Faculty Convocation Includes an Address from U.S. Librarian of Congress

October 23, 2018 – U.S. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden asked Georgetown faculty to help expand information literacy during this year’s Fall Faculty Convocation, which also celebrated the promotions of more than 30 professors across the Main Campus, Law Center, and Medical Center.

“The first thing that comes up in a computer search might not be the most accurate and authoritative source,” Hayden said during the Oct. 16 ceremony. “Information literacy is something that needs to start as soon as a young person can connect with a device.”   

Hayden, the first woman and African American to hold the post, delivered the Aims of Education address at the convocation.

Please follow the hyperlink for the full story, including a list of the awarded faculty members.

Georgetown Professor Miklos Kertesz Receives DoE Funding

August 2018– Georgetown Chemistry professor Miklos Kertesz has received funding from the Department of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences for his collaborative proposal “Exploration of Radical Conjugation Pathways in Pi-ElectronMaterials”.  This proposal was funded at nearly $1.1M for 3 years, with $269K going to Georgetown.

This award will support a collaboration between experimentalists Prof. J.D. Tovar at Johns Hopkins and Prof. Ramesh Jasti at U. Oregon along with theorist Prof. Kertesz to examine new classes of organic materials for electronic applications. Specifically, the team will explore concepts that allow them to engineer extreme degrees of pi-electron delocalization into molecular and polymeric materials for efficient energy transport. 

Georgetown Graduate Student Published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)

August 2018– In an inspiring example of mentor-mentee collaboration, Professor Rodrigo Maillard of Georgetown’s Chemistry Department teamed up with PhD candidates Jenny England, Yuxin Hao, and Lihui Bai, and undergraduate Virginia Glick, to publish a new paper in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences*.

Chemical bonds: From left to right: 6th year PhD student, Yuxin Hao,  Assistant Professor Rodrigo Maillard, and 6th and 3rd year PhD students Jenny England and Lihui Bai (not pictured, Virginia Glick)

The study documents the activation and regulation of Protein Kinase A, and how genetic mutations associated with human disease affect its normal behavior. The work has important implications in identifying new targets for drugs or inhibitors development.

Jenny and Yuxin are entering their 6th year as Georgetown PhD students, and Lihui is about to begin her 3rd year. Jenny was awarded the Clare Booth Luce Graduate Fellowship in 2016, has presented her research work in several national conferences, and hopes to do a post-doc at NIH or Janelia Farms. Virginia graduated in 2018 and is heading to veterinary school.

* “Switching of the folding-energy landscape governs the allosteric activation of protein kinase A,” Jeneffer P. England, Yuxin Hao, Lihui Bai, Virginia Glick, H. Courtney Hodges, Susan S. Taylor, and Rodrigo A. Maillard, PNAS August 7, 2018. 115 (32) E7478-E7485; published ahead of print July 23, 2018.