Thursday, January 10, 2008

UNLV's College of Sciences Chosen for Nevada Biotechnology Award

Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium (NevBio) has chosen UNLV's College of Sciences to receive its first annual Nevada Biotechnology Award for an organization in recognition of the achievements they have made in contributing to the advancement of biotechnology and life sciences in Nevada. The award will be given at the NevBio and Regenerative Medicine Organization joint luncheon on February 18, 2008 at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. Senator Harry Reid is the honoree for the individual award. See for registration information.

John Laub, President of NevBio, said “Most of the advancements in biotechnology have occurred at universities which become the basis of new treatments for disease, economic diversification and improvements in the quality of life. The Board of NevBio is pleased to honor UNLV's College of Sciences in recognition of their impressive accomplishments they have made in the last few years.”

Some of UNLV Colleges of Sciences’ notable achievements:

1. Increase in research grants
UNLV’s College of Sciences brought in over $20 million in research grants in 2007 with the vast majority being in peer–reviewed grants. It is an increase in funding of over 267% since 2001. The amount is more than their state-supported funding. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, 2007 has proven to be the UNLV College of Sciences' most successful year for receiving competitive federal grants.

In addition, the College has recently been awarded a National Institute of Health postdoctoral fellowship for Dr. Jason Williams, a very prestigious and difficult award to obtain. Also, the College has received a National Science Foundation post-doctoral fellowship for Dr. Jennifer Utz, another prestigious fellowship.

2. Increase in published papers
The College of Sciences has increased its published articles by nearly 60%. In 2000 the College had Peer-Reviewed Publications of 200. In 2006 the number of articles increased to 317. In the August 3, 2007 issue of Science magazine, UNLV was listed as the 4th largest growing research university in the quantity of scientific and engineering publications since the 1990's.

3. Increase in programs – new and improved
In 2004 the Forensics and Biotechnology Center was opened, the School of Public Health was established and the School of Nursing began a Doctorate program to train badly needed nursing professors.

In 2007 the College of Sciences has began graduating students with a Doctorate of Chemistry.

Two of the units of The School of Life Sciences –Integrative Physiology and Microbiology have obtained national recognition for their recent success in obtaining National Science Foundation (NSF) grant support.

Students participating in the pre-medical program designed by Dr. Joseph Nika are now being admitted into Medical Schools at a rate of 84% of the time (almost double the national average) and into Dental School at 90% of the time.

In 2007 the College of Sciences started offering an MCAT preparatory course (Medical College Admissions Test). The course provides a significant tuition reduction over the commercial products that are available to UNLV students and UNLV is the only school in Nevada, and one of the few in the West that offers such a course.

The College of Sciences in conjunction with the School of Dental Medicine offers a course to prospective dental students to prepare them for the application process as well as inform them on what is expected from dental students and practicing dentists. UNLV is the only school in the West offering such a course.

Many of the departments and programs at the college are offering Tutoring Clinics (first pioneered by the Department of Mathematical Sciences) and Learning Centers (Physics and Astronomy) to help their students succeed. These programs are unique to UNLV’s College of Sciences.

4. Reaching out to the Community
The College of Sciences has set up educational/research centers in all of its departments that are available to the community that can support the growth of diversity in Nevada’s economic base.

The college has actively partnered with the Nevada Development Authority (NDA) and similar organizations to help attract new businesses to Nevada. The College is working to provide the trained work force necessary for these new businesses to prosper.

The Center for Math and Science Education is working in partnership with the Clark County School District (CCSD) to enhance math and science education as well as to provide support for the teachers. The College is working with CCSD in offering college-level courses in the high schools.

The college and its students participate in various community activities:

The Beal Savings Bank Southern Nevada Regional Science and Engineering Fair is open to students in the Clark County School District.

Southern Nevada Regional Science Bowl is a competition for high schools and gives students a chance to meet UNLV professors and graduate students and attend scientific presentations.

Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), the pre-health honor society for undergrads, has initiated at UNLV an organ donor program, a bone marrow donor program and blood drives that take place each semester. The bone marrow donor registration drives are a coordinated effort with the College of Sciences’ Undergraduate Council. AED participated in several projects with Habitat for Humanity, the Community Food Bank and the Candle Lighters Organization.

5. Building for the Future

In 2005 construction was started on the Science and Engineering and Technology Building which will have 207,000 square feet of teaching space, laboratories and hi-tech conference rooms scheduled for completion in December 2008.

The College has built a genomics laboratory and is partnering with the University of Nevada in Reno to conduct Biomedical Research. In addition UNLV and University of Nevada are working together on Bioinfomatics.

In 2006 the College of Science reached closed to 1,700 undergraduate students, a growth of nearly double from 900 in 2000. UNLV has its first student accepted as a Harvard Postdoctoral fellow.

The College continues to retain and attract professors and researchers to UNLV.
Some of the new additions:

• Enesto V. Abel-Santos, – Ph.D., Washington School of Medicine
• Dentaro Nagamine – Ph.D., Princeton & Tokyo Universities
• Dennis Bazylinski – Ph.D., Univ. of New Hampshire
• Monika Neda – Ph.D., Univ. Pittsburgh
• Anton Westveld – Ph.D., Univ. Washington
• Kaushik Ghosh – Ph.D., Univ. Calif. Santa Barbara
• Amei Amei – Ph.D., Washington Univ., St. Louis
• Pamela Burnley, Ph.D., University of California, Davis
• David Vincent Lee, Ph.D., University of Utah
• Pengtao Sun, Ph.D., Institute of Mathematics (Academia Sinica, Beijing, China)
• Hongtao Yang, Ph.D., University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada)

Two Life Sciences Professors received CAREER Awards from the National Science Foundation of $840,000 and $745,000.

In addition the college continues to strengthen its research infrastructure by improving its research laboratories, information technology and core equipment laboratories.

UNLV’s College of Sciences has been building its programs on the dedicated work of many committed individuals. They have laid the groundwork for the future in which Nevada can become a center of biotechnology, research and top medical care.

NevBio's annual Nevada Biotechnology Awards Luncheon will be Monday, February 18th at the Wynn Hotel in conjunction with the Regenerative Medicine Conference. Check-in/Networking is at 11:30, 12 PM lunch. The tickets are $75 for general seating and $125 for VIP seats. RSVPs must be received by February 14th. Pay online at or call Judith Rebholz at 839-7222 or email her at Tables and sponsorships are available.

UNLV’s College of Sciences plans to have a number of poster presentations on their current research projects at the luncheon.

List of references:

1. College of Sciences: UNLV Gets National Attention. Lawrence Mower. The Las Vegas Review Journal. August 13, 2007.

2. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. August 2006.
3. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. January 2006.
4. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. March 2007.
5. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. April 2007.
6. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. May 2007.
7. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. June 2007.
8. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. September 2007.
9. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. November 2007.
10. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. January 2008.

11. "High Pressure Research at UNLV. Melissa L. Denzler. The Rebel Yell.
September 5, 2002.

12.“Star Trek Science Meets UNLV. Work in Tiny Nanotechnology Can Pay Huge Dividends." Christina Littlefield. The Las Vegas Sun. May 28, 2006.

13. "Henderson Woman is First in Her Class. Chemistry Student Earns Doctorate From New UNLV Program." Amanda Llewellyn. Anthem View. July 31, 2007

14. “UNLV Seeks To Wield Economic Clout: New Direction Seen for Valley University.” Jennifer Robison. The Las Vegas Review Journal. July 13, 2007.

15. "UNLV College of Sciences: Research and Teaching for Nevada." 2007 PowerPoint.

16. “Vying for Research Grants. New Lab Brings High Hopes: UNLV Facility to Widen Testing for Poisons.” Lawrence Mower. The Las Vegas Review Journal. April 5, 2007.

17. Nevada IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (Nevada INBRE).


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