News Briefs

George Washington University President Granberg, PhD

Ellen Granberg Installed as GW’s 19th President

Ellen M. Granberg, PhD, was officially installed as the 19th president of the George Washington University (GW) during an investiture ceremony on Nov. 3, 2023.

A sociologist whose work centers on matters of self, identity, and mental health, Granberg previously served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Rochester Institute of Technology before her appointment as GW’s first woman president.

Machine Learning

GW Joins Study to Develop AI Tools for Health Disparity Research

Researchers at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) are teaming up with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to help frontline health care workers serving under-resourced populations.

The project, led at GW SMHS by Qing Zeng, PhD, professor of clinical research and leadership, director of GW’s Biomedical Informatics Center, is titled “Trustworthy AI to Address Health Disparities in Under-resourced Communities,” or AI-FOR-U. It is part of a larger $1.9 million grant to design a theory-based, participatory development approach for creating trustworthy AI tools for health disparities research.

The partnership will look to address concerns in the biomedical research community about the ability of AI tools to address diversity challenges in health care.

Rong Li, PhD

Rong Li Named GW Inventor of the Year

Rong Li, PhD, chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine and Ross Professor of Basic Science Research at GW SMHS, was named the 2024 GW Inventor of the Year.

Li received this year’s award based on his work applying discoveries about the underlying mechanisms found in certain kinds of breast cancers that prevents immune cells from entering tumors and killing the cancer cells inside.

With colleagues in the GW Cancer Center as well as the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Li identified DDR1 as the molecule that orchestrates construction of that barrier. Together they created a humanized antibody that they demonstrate can neutralize the molecule’s ability to organize that defense.

A Protein called Snail

Study Reveals a Protein Called Snail May Play a Role in Healing Brain Injury

A new study led Robert Miller, PhD, the Vivian Gill Distinguished Research Professor and vice dean of the GW SMHS, identified a protein called Snail that plays a key role in coordinating the repair response of brain cells after an injury.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Nexus, revealed that after an injury to the central nervous system, a group of localized cells start to produce the protein Snail, which appears to be a key player in coordinating these responses, opening up promising possibilities for treatments that can minimize damage and enhance recovery from neurological injuries.

Female medical professional relaxing on a couch

Women in Health Care Face Higher Burnout Rates

A new study finds women in health care occupations endure significantly more stress and burnout compared to their male counterparts. The analysis by researchers at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences also found that job satisfaction and better work-life balance can protect women health care professionals from harmful stress.

“Human beings are not equipped to handle the combined, intense pressures in health care in part due to the pressure to not take time to care for yourself,” said Leigh A. Frame, PhD, executive director of the Office of Integrative Medicine and Health, and associate director of the GW Resiliency & Well-being Center.

The study is the first comprehensive analysis to examine the relationship between work-related stress and the well-being of women in health care professions, not just in the United States, but also worldwide.

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