Luncheon Celebrates Faculty Success in Research,  Innovation, Scholarship, and Creativity

Jim Mortenson | November 12, 2010
Luncheon Celebrates Faculty Success in Research,  Innovation, Scholarship, and Creativity

The University of Massachusetts Boston received more than $50 million in sponsored awards in fiscal year 2010 — a new record for the university.

This was the great news Dr. Zong-Guo Xia, vice provost for research and strategic initiatives, had the chance to share at the 4th Annual Luncheon to Thank Faculty and Research Staff for Their Contributions to Research, Innovation, Scholarship, and Creativity, known by the acronym RISC, on November 9.

More than 200 faculty, researchers, staff, and students attended the lunch. Other speakers included Chancellor J. Keith Motley, Provost Winston Langley, Senior Research Fellow John Butterworth of the Institute for Community Inclusion, and Associate Professor of Biology Adán Colón-Carmona.

“We have much to be grateful for at the University of Massachusetts Boston. While we exist because of the generosity of the people of Massachusetts and our many other benefactors and supporters, our students succeed because of your vision, dedication, sacrifice, and abiding faith in public higher education,” Chancellor Motley said. “You the faculty, and those who join you in your pursuit of excellence and service through research, innovation, scholarship, and creativity are why we are as a university moving closer to our goal of becoming a premier student-centered urban public research university.”

Both Motley and Langley recognized and praised the critical role of faculty as research advisors to undergraduate and graduate students. Examples of their success focused on the following three programs for undergraduate students: the UMass Boston-Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (UMB-DF/HCC) comprehensive cancer partnership program; the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity in the Biological Sciences program; and the Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Integrative and Evolutionary Biology program.

UMass Boston faculty members who serve as research advisers and were able to attend the luncheon included Colón-Carmona, College of Nursing and Health Sciences Associate Dean of Research Laura Hayman, Associate Professor of Biology Alan Christian, Professor of Biology Rick Kesseli, Associate Professor of Biology Alexey Veraksa, and Associate Professor of Biology Rachel Skvirsky.

One of the largest topics of discussion at the luncheon was the U56 grant from the National Cancer Institute that allowed UMass Boston and the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center to form a unique public-private comprehensive cancer partnership in 2005. The partnership addresses health disparities in minority populations, and improves research, training, and outreach opportunities for minority students, nurses, and scientists in the areas of collaborative cancer research, shared cancer training efforts, and cancer outreach.

“Thanks to the outstanding leadership of co-principal investigators Dr. Adán Colón-Carmona of UMass Boston and Dr. Karen Emmons of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the National Cancer Institute’s Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities has awarded our partnership a new $13.7 million U54 grant to continue strengthening the national cancer research program,” said Motley. “These funds ensure that our university and our students will be on the front lines of waging the war on cancer, in all of its insidious and heart-breaking forms.”

During his remarks, Colón-Carmona emphasized the transdisciplinary and multi-institutional focus of the UMB-DF/HCC partnership. Each project funded by the partnership must include at least one principal investigator from UMass Boston and one from the DF/HCC. To date, UMass Boston faculty and research staff who have received funding to conduct pilot studies have come from the following departments across campus: anthropology, biology, chemistry, economics, exercise and health science, gerontology, nursing, psychology, and sociology, as well as the William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture.

For more information on research, innovation, scholarship, and creativity at UMass Boston, visit the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Strategic Initiatives website.

Tags: biology , boston , chancellor , diversity , health , leadership , research , science , teaching , the point

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