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ODU FACULTY MEMBER AMONG 'VIRGINIA'S OUTSTANDING SCIENTISTS'

Cynthia Jones, professor of biological sciences at Old Dominion University, has been named among the Virginia's Outstanding Scientists and Industrialists of 2003 by Gov. Mark Warner.

Jones, known internationally as a pioneer in fisheries ecology, has developed important laboratory techniques using layers in fish ear bones, which grow in tree-like rings, to accurately determine the age of a fish. Another technique, which analyses the chemical make up of fish bone, accurately predicts locations in which the fish developed.

Because of her work, scientists can now identify essential fish habitats and determine which ones provide better living conditions. Jones is now working on the importance of Chesapeake Bay sea grass beds to fish survival.

Jones and the other honorees will be introduced to the General Assembly on Tuesday, Feb. 18. They receive their awards at a banquet at the Science Museum of Virginia on Tuesday, April 1.

"These recipients are at the cutting edge of their fields, from cancer cures to the protecting the Chesapeake Bay, and from transportation safety to particle physics," said Gov. Warner. "Their creativity, contributions, and dedication are aimed at making life - in Virginia and beyond - better for us all."

Others receiving 2003 Virginia's Outstanding Scientist awards:

Massey Cancer Center Director Dr. Gordon Ginder. Ginder's major research centers on understanding mechanisms involved in regulating genes. Ginder is credited with discovering that a tagging of specific base pairs of DNA by methylation is associated with gene inactivation. Tagging of tumor suppressor genes by DNA methylation is now thought to be a common mechanism causing human cancer. Ginder's laboratory has also provided the first evidence that the naturally occurring molecule butyrate could activate a silenced gene in normal blood cells. Clinical trials have demonstrated that butyrate can be effective in treating sickle cell anemia and beta-thalassemia. Ginder joined Virginia Commonwealth University's Massey Cancer Center in 1997.

Virginia's Life Achievement in Science 2003:

Virginia Commonwealth University Pharmacology Professor and Pharmacology Department Vice Chairman Dr. William Dewey. Dr. Dewey's research concentrates on how brain chemicals are involved in the actions of drugs that are abused and that are used to treat pain and respiratory disease. His work on the role of endorphins, the body's pain killers, increased our knowledge of how morphine works and led to the discovery that blocking the effects of these natural substances was an excellent treatment for sudden infant death syndrome - SIDS. He also contributed significantly to our understanding of the actions of the active constituents of marijuana.

University of Virginia Commonwealth Professor of Biology Dr. Michael Menaker. Dr. Menaker's research focuses on biological clocks - the timers that regulate behaviors. His laboratory has provided the best evidence that a single portion of the brain is the source of timing signals that regulate the activity-rest cycle. He has proved that mammals have a group of special light sensing cells in their eyes not used for vision. These cells synchronize the clock in the brain to the day-night cycle. Menaker has also shown that other organs, such as the lung and liver, also contain local biological clocks. His work promises to aid in treatment of people who do shift work as well as those with jet lag, psychiatric disorders such as seasonal affective disorder, hypertension, cancer and insomnia.

College of William and Mary Emeritus Professor of Marine Science and former Virginia Institute of Marine Science Director Dr. William Hargis Jr. Hargis has been involved in oyster research, Virginia river processes and pollution-related studies most recently. With the backing of the research staff and support of the Virginia General Assembly, Hargis turned the old Virginia Fisheries Laboratory into the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, School of Marine Science of the College of William and Mary, an internationally respected research institution. He has been active in bridging the gap between science and public policy at state, federal and international levels. Hargis is an environmentalist known for promoting marine science and good stewardship of Chesapeake Bay resources. He continues to be active in research and education.

College of William and Mary Physics Professor Dr. Dirk Walecka. Walecka is one of the world's leaders in nuclear theory. His supporters say he is able to grasp his field in its totality, bring order to it, synthesize contributions of other experts and train the next generation. He has made fundamental contributions to understanding the structure of the nucleus from the general principles of quantum mechanics and special relativity. His work with electron beam analysis led to creation of the Continuous Electron-Beam Accelerator Facility in Newport News, now called the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, where he has served as scientific director.

Virginia's 2003 Outstanding Industrialist:

Norfolk Southern Corporation Chairman, President and CEO David R. Goode. Under his leadership, the company has developed industry-leading technologies that promote safe and reliable railroad service for customers and communities. Goode led the company's efforts to develop technology and infrastructure that help divert freight traffic from crowded highways and onto rails. He championed the company's development of information systems to dramatically streamline railroad operations and improve transit times, including the development of the country's largest client-server application to manage the movement of railcars on the Norfolk Southern system. Goode also promoted the use of technology in the company's environmental efforts, ensuring the safety of the millions of carloads of freight the railroad carries each year.

Virginia Life Achievement in Industry 2003:

WEST*GROUP President and CEO Gerald T. Halpin. Halpin is the leading Northern Virginia real estate developer of office and industrial parks. His business interests also include developing defense and air cargo facilities, recycling waste into precious metals, ocean farming to produce more fish and carbon dioxide sequestration which may lead to a reduction in global warming. Under his direction, WEST*GROUP has developed, built, leased and/or managed more than 13 million square feet of prime office, industrial, retail, resort and residential space. Halpin is a founder of World Resources Company, which provides world-wide recycling of sludge. He co-founded Ocean Farming Inc. to enhance the growth and harvesting of ocean-raised fish in depleted water. Halpin also co-founded GreenSea Ventures Inc. to explore the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which may provide a solution to global warming. As a conservationist and cultural historian, he chairs the boards of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation and the Washington Monument Visitors Education Fund.

This article was posted on: February 11, 2003

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