Historic PNC-Riggs Bank Archives Move to GW | Vice President’s $2.7 Million Gift Creates New Cardiovascular Institute | Pulitzer Prize-Winning Biographer Martin Sherwin Joins GW as Visiting Scholar | ‘Nanoshuttles’ Might Be Used to Fight Cancer | School of Business Establishes Center for International Business Education and Research | Zara Receives Research Grant to Study Optical Imaging Techniques | Clark Discovery Yields Evolutionary Connection | Rolls-Royce Donates Engine for Jet Engine Failure Prevention Research | Florea Awarded Sloan Fellowship | Dickson Will Explore Attitudes Toward Democracy in China with NSF Grant

Historic PNC-Riggs Bank Archives Move to GW

Gift Includes Records Documenting Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, and Susan B. Anthony.

President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg joins PNC Bank Regional President Michael N. Harreld to announce PNC-Riggs Bank’s donation of historical archives to GW.

Jessica McConnell

Sonia McCormick

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., has selected GW’s Gelman Library as the recipient of a unique collection of historical records from the Riggs Bank archives valued at $5.2 million. The collection, which includes ledgers documenting the accounts of Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, and Susan B. Anthony, traces the development of the nation and its capital through the lens of Riggs Bank and its predecessors. The records date from the early 1800s to the 1940s. The donation is the largest single gift ever received by GW’s Gelman Library System.

“There are few institutions in this great city that have influenced the development of the District of Columbia as much as Riggs Bank,” says GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. “The George Washington University shares this long legacy in, and commitment to, Washington, D.C. This generous gift of the Riggs archives by PNC will ensure that these significant historical records will be well cared for and accessible to future generations.”

The PNC-Riggs Bank archives will augment the University’s existing collections highlighting the history of Washington, D.C., which are housed in the Special Collections Department of the Gelman Library. Of particular relevance is the library’s Washingtonia Collection, which documents the city’s political, economic, social, and cultural history.

“The research potential provided by these records will be invaluable to any scholar interested in Washington, D.C.’s commercial history,” says PNC Bank Regional President Michael N. Harreld. “We are delighted to complement the Gelman Library’s rich Washingtonia Collection and are confident that GW has the expertise to protect and preserve these extraordinary Washington treasures for generations of scholars to access.”

The collection—which includes records from Riggs Bank, National Bank of Washington, Farmers and Mechanics Bank, Lincoln National Bank, and Washington Loan & Trust—documents the day-to-day operation of the institutions and their influence on the economic life of Washington, D.C. Riggs Bank customers included many members of Congress and 23 presidents of the United States. The archives include the financial records of numerous 19th-century presidents. Additionally, they underscore the large role Riggs Bank played in financing local and federal construction and development projects, including the construction of the Capitol dome and the development of Georgetown, as well as documenting the accounts for each of the District’s wards.

The PNC-Riggs Bank archives collection is scheduled to open to researchers within approximately 18 months of its arrival at the Gelman Library at the end of January. In the interim, GW’s Special Collections Department is working to inventory, process, and create special storage space for the collection. The PNC Foundation will provide the Gelman Library with a $125,000 gift to assist in the transfer, preparation, and installation of the gift. 

“These archives greatly expand upon what is already a substantial collection of Washington history at Gelman Library,” says Jack Siggins, GW university librarian. “Many social and economic historians, genealogists, and countless other researchers will be enthralled by the remarkable times and achievements encapsulated in this collection.”

Vice President’s $2.7 Million Gift Creates New Cardiovascular Institute

Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney have donated $2.7 million to create the Richard B. and Lynne V. Cheney Cardiovascular Institute at GW.

David R. Boher

Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney have donated $2.7 million to create the Richard B. and Lynne V. Cheney Cardiovascular Institute at GW.

“Lynne and I have been grateful for the first-rate care provided by the doctors at The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, and we are pleased to support their efforts to advance the treatment of cardiac disease,” says Vice President Cheney.

The new multidisciplinary institute will advance research, education, and the clinical care of patients at GW with cardiovascular diseases. It will comprise clinicians and scientists in the departments of cardiology, radiology, cardiovascular surgery, biochemistry, molecular biology, and pharmacology, among others.

“We are deeply appreciative of this generous gift from the vice president and Mrs. Cheney, as their charitable contribution will enable us to do advanced research in cardiovascular disease,” says Alan G. Wasserman, chair, Department of Medicine, and president of the Medical Faculty Associates.

The institute is developing two featured programs. The first involves a partnership with GW’s Institute for Genomic Research and seeks to identify the genetic markers for heart disease. The second featured program involves creating a home blood pressure monitoring pilot program to be conducted in the District of Columbia, focused on underserved urban patients.

Additionally, the institute is accepting applications for faculty and fellow cardiovascular research grants, which will afford opportunities for interdisciplinary research throughout GW.

“It is rewarding to see the institute move forward with significant research initiatives. Our goal is to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, reduce mortality, and improve the quality of life of people with cardiovascular disease,” says Richard Katz, director of the institute and the division of cardiology at GW’s Medical Center.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Biographer Martin Sherwin Joins GW as Visiting Scholar

In January 2007, Martin J. Sherwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and Walter S. Dickson Professor of English and American History at Tufts University, joined GW as a visiting scholar of history and international affairs in GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs and Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. Sherwin, an expert on the nuclear age, is conducting research and teaching a graduate course on the origins and consequences of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“The Cold War has shaped American culture and foreign policy, and a proper understanding of the seminal events and consequences of this period is crucial as our nation moves forward,” says GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. “The GW community is honored to have such an esteemed scholar teaching our future policy-makers and global citizens.” 

A highly regarded biographer and historian, Sherwin is an expert in Cold War history. He and co-author Kai Bird won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for their biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. The biography about the man known as the father of the atomic bomb has been lauded for its vast contributions to the study of the nuclear age. The biography also was awarded the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Award. Sherwin has written extensively on the nuclear age and has been an adviser for several films on the topic, including A History of Nuclear Strategy, The Day After Trinity: J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Atomic Bomb, and the 13-part series War and Peace in the Nuclear Age. He was the National Endowment for the Humanities project director and co-executive producer of Stalin’s Bomb Maker: Citizen Kurchatov. At Tufts University, Sherwin teaches courses on 20th-century history.

‘Nanoshuttles’ Might Be Used to Fight Cancer

This graphic despicts a section of a virus to scale next to a gold nanoparticle.

J. Houston Miller

Using cutting-edge nanotechnology, GW Professor of Chemistry J. Houston Miller and researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center are exploring how submicroscopic gold particles can help fight cancer. The team has announced the invention of a “nanoshuttle,” which has the ability to locate and possibly kill cancer cells.

A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter; in the “nano” world, particles are typically bigger than a single molecule but too small to be viewed with optical microscopes. These nanoparticles also exhibit unique properties that occur only at that size—gold nanoparticles, for example, are red.

These properties have applications in an assortment of fields; in the medical world, researchers are exploring ways to use nanoparticles to treat diseases. The self-assembling and self-piloting nanoshuttles are a promising innovation on this front. They’re made of biologically compatible materials—viruses and gold nanoparticles—that assemble into a device 1,000 times smaller than a human hair. In nature, the viral particles, called bacteriophages, infect a specific bacteria. The team at M.D. Anderson changes their genetic code so that they will target a specific organ and detect the presence of the disease. The gold particles emit signals that relay the information. An important characteristic of gold is that the human body does not reject it.

Gold nanoparticles also might potentially be used to kill cancer cells. At the nanoparticle size, some metals, like gold, exhibit a “surface plasmon,” the ability to absorb the loose electrons on the surface of the particle. This phenomenon gives the gold particles a red color, and it also gives them the potential to heat up and destroy cancer cells when exposed to infrared light.

“There are some really unique things that happen to small particles, and they only happen at the nano level,” says Miller, who joined GW in 1982. “There’s some hope that this might be a therapy that can be taken right to the cancerous cells.”

The M.D. Anderson team published its findings in the online edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January 2006. Based in Houston, the team is made up of a number of researchers, including Glauco Souza, MS ’97, PhD ’04, now a postdoctoral fellow at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. During his time at GW, Souza studied under Miller.

If the nanoshuttle becomes a practical apparatus to treat malignancy, it could be preferred over existing cancer treatments since it might avoid some of the painful side effects. The applications of this treatment also could extend to other ailments, such as heart disease.

Miller says there is a significant amount of research to be done before the nanoshuttle is ready for widespread use. It has to be tested, and it also has to become accepted by the medical community. “This isn’t just around the corner,” Miller says.

The results of the team’s work offer exciting possibilities. The ultra-small nanoshuttle could end up being a giant breakthrough for the medical community.

Dan Williams

School of Business Establishes Center for International Business Education and Research

Hildy Teegen

Julie Woodford

Thanks to a $1.37 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, GW has established a Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) in the University’s School of Business.

GW was one of 31 universities to receive the prestigious CIBER grant, which provides funding for curriculum development, research, and training on issues of importance to United States trade and competitiveness.

“Our academic mission is to deliver an outstanding education, advance knowledge, and provide practical experience in diverse organizational settings, while leveraging the unique advantages of our Washington, D.C., location in order to enhance the capacities of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the business community to be productive and principled members of society,” says Susan M. Phillips, dean of GW’s School of Business. “The CIBER grant proposal, and the work that will follow, is the school’s mission in action.”

Under the unified theme “Institutions and Development,” the GW-CIBER is focusing its work in six substantive areas: global governance; diasporas in development; international security and crisis management; trade, investment, and labor issues; business and society in critical countries; and business languages.

The GW-CIBER will include an interdisciplinary summer doctoral program, initiatives to promote international careers, and faculty development programs for teaching international business negotiation and for research and teaching related to the theme of institutions and development.

“The CIBER grant is a great testament to the strength of not only GW’s international business and international affairs programs but also of the outstanding teaching, research, and community activities of the entire University,” says Hildy Teegen, professor of international business and director of GW-CIBER. “The CIBER grant is a truly pan-University initiative with faculty from every school at GW.”

The GW-CIBER is led by the following faculty members:

GW-CIBER Director: Professor of International Business Hildy Teegen, School of Business

Diasporas in Development: Associate Professor Jennifer Brinkerhoff, School of Public Policy and Public Administration

Global Governance: Professor Stephen Smith, Columbian College of Arts and SciencesTrade, Investment, and Labor in Developing Countries: Professor Michael Moore, Elliott School of International Affairs

Business and Society in Critical Countries: Assistant Professor Liesl Riddle, School of Business

International Security and Crisis Management: Professor Robert Weiner, School of Business

Summer Doctoral Program: Associate Professor Jennifer Spencer, School of Business

Business Languages: Associate Professor Margaret Gonglewski, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Zara Receives Research Grant to Study Optical Imaging Techniques

Jason Zara, assistant professor of engineering and applied science in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been selected to receive the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation’s Early Career Translational Research Award in Biomedical Engineering. He is one of this year’s 23 researchers chosen from a nationwide pool of applicants.

“We are honored to have Professor Zara’s cutting-edge research housed here at GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Science,” says Timothy W. Tong, dean of the school. “Professor Zara is one of our many talented faculty, and we are proud to have his work recognized by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.”

The thrust of Zara’s project is to design, fabricate, and test microfabricated imaging probes for endoscopic optical coherence tomography, an optical imaging technique similar to an ultrasound. Zara is using microelectrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) and microfabrication techniques to develop new imaging probes that can be produced inexpensively and with dimensions small enough for endoscopic imaging applications.

“I am pleased to be a recipient of this prestigious award,” Zara says. “This important funding will assist my efforts to develop new technologies for optical imaging that can be used in the clinic to improve the diagnosis of life-threatening diseases and ensure timely treatment.”

The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to improving human health care by supporting translational research in biomedical engineering. It funds research directed at the transfer of promising technologies within the university research laboratory to commercial development and clinical practice.

Clark Discovery Yields Evolutionary Connection

Professor James Clark led a research team in China that unearthed Yinlong downsi, the oldest known remains of ceratopsian dinosaurs.

In the Xinjiang province in northwestern China, Professor James Clark, Ronald B. Weintraub Associate Professor of Biology, led an excavation team that unearthed a unique and revealing fossil, the oldest known remains of a ceratopsian dinosaur. The remains of this creature—Yinlong downsi—share features with a different type of dinosaur, pachycephalosaur, confirming an evolutionary connection previously theorized.

Yinlong lived during the Late Jurassic period, about 160 million years ago, making it 20 million years older than any other known ceratopsian. Of the later ceratopsians, one of the most recognized is Triceratops, which was about the size of a car and had three horns on its face and a large bony frill. Yinlong is much smaller than later ceratopsians—just over four feet fully grown—and doesn’t have all of the same pronounced characteristics. But it does have a triangular-shaped skull and rostral bone, a distinct beak-like bone at the end of its snout, common to all ceratopsians.

Clark’s discovery also shares traits with pachycephalosaurs, such as the placement of low knobs on the back of the skull. Dinosaurs of this classification, such as Stygimoloch, had dome-shaped skulls with thickened bones and high foreheads. Pachycephalosaurs and ceratopsians are two of the most specialized groups of dinosaurs, and Yinlong is a primitive transitional form with features that span the two groups.

Yinlong provides concrete evidence that the evolutionary relationship is indeed real,” Clark says. “It shows that the common ancestor of the two groups had pachycephalosaur features that were then lost with ceratopsians.”

The actual excavation took place in 2004. Clark worked alongside Xu Xing of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing. This year, Clark and Xing, along with two other colleagues, published the discovery in the May 17 online edition of the British science journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Yinlong’s name comes from two unrelated sources. The first half is rooted in popular film. In Chinese, “yin” and “long” mean “hiding” and “dragon,” respectively. The 2000 Taiwanese martial arts movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was filmed in the same area where the fossil discovery was made. The second part of the name is a tribute to a deceased colleague, Will Downs, who worked with Clark and Xing on a number of expeditions.

This is not the first breakthrough for Clark and company during their efforts in China. In earlier work, they unearthed the most complete skeleton of a land-based crocodilian from the Middle Jurassic period, and they also discovered the oldest tyrannosaur, a distant ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex. Clark has conducted digs in Xinjiang since 2001.

Dan Williams

Rolls-Royce Donates Engine for Jet Engine Failure Prevention Research

Rolls-Royce has donated a 501-K5A industrial turbine to GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Science for jet engine failure prevention research.

Julie Woodford

Rolls-Royce, world-leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea, and in the air, has donated a 501-K5A industrial turbine to GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. GW engineering students will use the gas turbine to develop a finite element computer model and conduct analysis in jet engine failure prevention, as well as a range of other topics. They also will use digitized data from the 501-K5A to help create a generic engine model. The engine will be housed on GW’s Virginia Campus in Ashburn, Va., at the National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC), a collaborative effort among the Federal Highway Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and GW.

“We view this donation as an investment in future engineers and in the future of engineering,” says Pat Marolda, MEA ’86, president, Rolls-Royce Naval Marine. “The 501-K5A is a great engine with a wonderful history, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science has an outstanding program with a bright future. Together, they’re a perfect fit.”

The process began nearly two years ago when Rolls-Royce learned the school was looking for a gas turbine engine to enhance the learning experience for its students. Marolda worked with the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust in Indianapolis to identify and refurbish the 501-K5A. Earlier this year, the engine was shipped to the NCAC and formally unveiled during a dedication ceremony on June 28 at GW’s Virginia Campus.

Marolda currently is a member of the School of Engineering and Applied Science National Advisory Council and recently participated in a panel discussion at the school titled “A Day in the Life of an Engineer.” He has arranged several internships for GW students at Rolls-Royce Naval Marine and has hired a number of graduates to work at the company’s locations around the world.

“We thank Rolls-Royce and GW alumnus Pat Marolda for their generous gift to GW,” says Timothy Tong, dean of GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. “This donation will provide the opportunity for our students to engage in hands-on research with a gas turbine engine produced by an industry leader and to conduct research to improve engine safety for future generations.”

James M. Guyette, president and CEO, Rolls-Royce North America, says, “This donation to GW is one more way we’re working to improve education—particularly science education—here in the U.S.”

Rolls-Royce is an active supporter of education around the world, especially in those communities where it has facilities. The company’s regional corporate headquarters is located in Chantilly, Va., near GW’s Virginia Campus and the NCAC.

Florea Awarded Sloan Fellowship

Liliana Florea

Julie Woodford

Liliana Florea, assistant professor of computer science in GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been awarded the 2006 Sloan Research Fellowship. She is one of 12 researchers selected from a nationwide pool of applicants to receive a fellowship in computational and evolutionary molecular biology.

“The School of Engineering and Applied Science is very proud of Professor Florea,” says Timothy W. Tong, dean of the school. “She is a talented young researcher, and we are thrilled that her accomplishments are being recognized with a Sloan Research Fellowship. GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is home to a significant number of female faculty members and students, and Professor Florea’s accomplishment serves as an inspiration to them and to other female engineers and computer scientists throughout the country.”

The Sloan Research Fellowships were established in 1955 by the Sloan Foundation to provide support and recognition to early-career scientists and scholars, often in their first appointments to university faculties. The fellowships are awarded in seven fields: chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, and physics. The Sloan Research Fellowship Program Committee reviews more than 500 nominations each year to arrive at a final selection of 116 fellows.

“It is quite an honor to be selected for the Sloan fellowship,” Florea says. “This grant will help me greatly in putting some key pieces into place in my computational biology research efforts.”

Florea, who came to GW in January 2005, applies computational techniques to solve problems related to biology and medicine. Her Sloan fellowship will allow her to stay on GW’s campus and support several activities related to this research, including the development of tools and methods to analyze the human hepatitis C virus and bacterial genomes such as E. coli; efforts to design new, large-scale computational tools to compare genomes and genes across species; and studies of gene variations in different tissues or at different stages of development or disease.


Dickson Will Explore Attitudes Toward Democracy in China with NSF Grant

Bruce J. Dickson, GW professor of political science and international affairs, received a grant of approximately $200,000 from the National Science Foundation to evaluate Chinese entrepreneurs as potential agents of political change. The project, “Turning Wealth into Power: The Evolving Political Influence of China’s ‘Red Capitalists,’” will gauge the attitudinal and behavioral support of Chinese entrepreneurs for democracy and democratization.

“By examining the socioeconomic and contextual determinants of support for democratization by Chinese entrepreneurs, policymakers will have a better understanding of the goals and preferences of these economic drivers, be able to evaluate the prospects for political change, and devise proper policies to promote it,” Dickson says. The study will run through Jan. 2008.

Dickson joined GW in 1993. He teaches courses on China, comparative politics, and democratization, and currently is examining the political consequences of economic reform in China. A frequent commentator for CNN, NPR, BBC, and Voice of America, Dickson is the author of numerous books including Red Capitalists in China: The Party, Private Entrepreneurs and Prospects for Political Change and Democratization in China and Taiwan: The Adaptability of Leninist Parties.

“The prospects for democracy in China will be one of the most important issues in the international arena over the next decade,” said Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Michael E. Brown. “Bruce Dickson is one of the leading scholars in the world on the driving forces behind democratization in China, and his new project will help us understand this critical issue.”

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