December 10, 2019
Dear Mizzou community,
Over the recent Thanksgiving break, I thought a lot about what I am grateful for, like the hard work of our faculty, staff and students the past semester here at MU. From the opening of a new research facility and a flurry of campus events to student volunteers reaching out across the state, Missouri’s flagship university is firing on all cylinders.
I think each of the stories below showcase an element of Mizzou’s community at its finest. These are great examples of why I am thankful for the people who make our great institution shine day after day.
MIZZOU ALUMNUS AND CEO CHAMPIONS PRECISION HEALTH
Jim Fitterling, a Mizzou alumnus and the CEO of Dow, recently contributed $6 million toward the NextGen Precision Health Institute, a life-saving research effort that will bring together scholarship and innovation from throughout campus. The Institute will serve as an anchor for the UM System’s NextGen Precision Health Initiative.
Jim shares our vision for transforming health care in Missouri and beyond, and his generous gift will help make that vision a reality. Through interdisciplinary research from experts in human and veterinary medicine, engineering, animal sciences, and humanities — to name a few — the institute will accelerate medical breakthroughs with global impacts.
I want to thank Jim and others, including our elected officials, who support our precision health goals. Thanks to the hard work of our community, we truly are making a difference.
PIONEER IN MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY WINS HONOR
Dongsheng Duan, the School of Medicine’s Margaret Proctor Mulligan Professor in Medical Research, was named to the National Academy of Inventors’ 2019 Fellows Program. This distinguished honor reflects Duan’s pioneering work battling Duchenne muscular dystrophy through gene therapy, work that he continues to advance at MU every day.
As the most common muscle disease in boys, Duchenne muscular dystrophy affects a quarter of a million people in the U.S. Duan’s research has led to gene therapy technology licensed by Solid GT, LLC, a company dedicated to ending muscular dystrophy, and his work shows promise for potential treatments in humans. I’m so proud of Dr. Duan and the researchers across campus battling life-threatening diseases and making a difference in their areas of research.
MU PROFESSORS NAMED AAAS FELLOWS
MU professors Zhiqiang Hu, David Schulz and Peter Sutovsky have earned the distinction of 2019 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Bestowed by the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society, this honor highlights the incredible research accomplishments of the professors.
Hu in the College of Engineering is being recognized for distinguished contributions to the field of microbial processes and toxicology, particularly in water, wastewater and waste treatment.
Within the College of Arts and Science, Schulz has worked on neural networks and how they respond to injuries. He is being honored for his “contributions to molecular neuroscience and neural network dynamics.”
Sutovsky is researching reproductive biology in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and AAAS is recognizing him for the insights his work has produced into human and animal fertility.
Congratulations to each of these professors; I look forward to seeing where their work takes them next!
NEW PLANT RESEARCH CENTER
Mizzou is now home to a state-of-the-art plant research facility that will allow our researchers and students to go further than ever before in addressing issues of global hunger and drought. I was thrilled to see so many of you come celebrate the facility’s grand opening a few weeks ago with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The new East Campus Plant Growth Facility’s growth chambers, which are some of the tallest in the world, enable researchers to simulate climate conditions from all over the world while accommodating plants as high as 12 feet tall. With a number of greenhouses and seed processing rooms, the facility’s space will be invaluable for researchers from the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, the College of Arts and Science, and the College of Engineering.
A MARINE VETERAN FINDS HER PLACE
One of the things I love most about Mizzou is the variety in backgrounds and experiences that our students bring to our community. To name just one example: Marine veteran Marissa Price came to Mizzou to get a law degree from a university that is supportive of military veterans and their families.
Price, who has served in Africa, Jordan, Spain and several other countries, was drawn to the MU School of Law to make a difference in people’s lives as a future prosecutor. Having spoken with other veterans on campus, she knew Mizzou was the right choice — as a law student and a veteran. You can read more about her story here.
This is only a sampling of what our university has accomplished in the last couple of months, but I hope it has you excited about the future. Please join me in continuing to make Mizzou the University FOR Missouri!
Until next time — M-I-Z!
Alexander N. Cartwright, PhD