It is our pleasure to introduce this year’s GW Research magazine. This magazine celebrates the achievements of our faculty members and scientists, as well as the efforts of numerous administrative and support staff who help our researchers carry out their important work.

Donald R. Lehman
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Elliot Hirshman
Chief Research Officer

Jessica McConnell

There is much to celebrate! Our sponsored research expenditures have reached $132 million. This record-high total caps a decade in which such expenditures have nearly tripled. Moreover, in the past year our researchers received prestigious Fulbright, Coulter, and Sloan fellowships; our School of Business was designated a Center for International Business Education and Research by the Department of Education; and James Clark of the Department of Biology discovered the oldest known remains of a ceratopsian dinosaur.

This issue highlights the centrality of interdisciplinary research to our research enterprise. The national trend toward interdisciplinary study is driven by practical imperatives. The problems of economic competitiveness, energy, environmental sustainability, health promotion/disease prevention, and homeland security challenge researchers to form interdisciplinary teams. We are meeting this challenge and, in the process, changing the ways in which we conduct our work.

Most importantly, synergies between the introduction of new technology for scientific measurement and the development of complex simulation models are speeding the pace of scientific discovery. The work of Brian Richmond, featured in our cover story, exemplifies this trend. Richmond uses CT imaging technology to measure bone structures in fossils and living tissue. He then incorporates these data into finite element simulation models that describe the mechanical and biological functions of the bone structures.The models provide descriptions of the differences between fossils and living tissues, illuminating human evolution and opening new scientific vistas.

In this context, many of the interdisciplinary faculty members described here are national leaders in the development of new technologies for scientific measurement. Our protein microscope team is pioneering methods for the identification of protein structures in extant tissue, and our cancer biosensor group is combining microelectrical sensors with protein detection techniques to create a biosensor that will facilitate the early detection of breast cancer. Our researchers also are leading the way in creating complex simulation models. Our biological networks team is creating models of the neural circuits that are utilized in plants under conditions of drought, while our motion capture laboratory is devising models of motion that facilitate the creation of biomimetic instrumentation.

Through these interdisciplinary initiatives and other efforts described here, The George Washington University is moving into a national leadership role in research. We hope you enjoy this issue of our GW Research magazine and that you will contact us to learn more about our research enterprise.

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