“Never in my wildest dreams did I envision myself with a couple thousand spiders in my lab,” said senior lecturer Dr. Linda Rayor, entomology. As a behavioral ecologist, Rayor focuses on the interactions of group-living animals — currently spiders — and teaches an array of classes ranging from insect behavior to scientific outreach. Rayor said she decided to become a scientist at a very young age, but never foresaw a future working with insects and arachnids. As a child, Rayor said she remembers frequenting the Denver Zoo in Colorado, which she said helped kindle her interest in science, natural investigation and animals. Despite this, she said she chose to pursue molecular biology as an undergraduate at University of Colorado Boulder.
As a part of this program, four of the University’s undergraduate colleges — the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Science, Arts and Sciences, Human Ecology and Hotel Administration — accepted first-year students into the Class of 2019, who began school at Cornell this semester.
Dr. Luis M. Schang will be the next Director of both the Baker Institute for Animal Health and the Cornell Feline Health Center in the College of Veterinary Science, effective this August. Schang is currently a virologist at the University of Alberta, whose area of study focuses on the role of various cellular compounds on impeding viral spread. “[The College of Veterinary Medicine is] a most exciting place to be for any scientist and professor, and even more so for anybody interested in animal and human health,” Schang said. “This is a most unique opportunity, which of course also brings [the] most exciting challenges.”
At the University of Alberta, Schang teaches in both the Department of Biochemistry and the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. Schang said that currently one of the main goals of his research is to find antivirals that would be effective against multiple types of viruses at once — what he calls “broad-spectrum” antivirals.
James Mingle, University counsel and secretary of the Cornell Board of Trustees, will retire on June 30 after more than 20 years at Cornell, the University announced Wednesday. “It has been a privilege to be surrounded by a superb group of professionals [at Cornell] … who bring dedication and competence to everything they do,” Mingle said in a University release. While working as University counsel, Mingle was responsible for directing and coordinating the University’s legal affairs in all facets of its operation, ranging from its academic programs to its research and medical efforts. One of Mingle’s recent achievements, was establishing the legal means for Cornell to acquire its Cornell Tech campus in New York City, which the University won the bid for in December 2011, according to President Emeritus David J. Skorton. Skorton said, Mingle was a “consummate counsel and colleague” who had a hand in many of Cornell’s major advancements.
Through a planned renovation of Hughes Hall, the University intends to replace the current residence hall for first-year law students with administrative and event spaces. The renovation, discussed at Tuesday’s City of Ithaca Planning and Development Board meeting, is the second part of a three-phase renovation plan for the Cornell Law School. The first phase, completed last fall, included an addition to Myron Taylor Hall that consisted of underground academic space and a new auditorium. The remodeling will focus on three new features: enclosing the open-air loggia that currently connects Hughes Hall with Myron Taylor Hall, adding a staircase to the west side of Hughes Hall and repaving the dining terrace by the Fork and Gavel Café, Gilbert Delgado, University architect, told the board. Inside Hughes Hall, administrative offices and event spaces will be located on the lower floors, while the upper floors will house new offices for the law school’s faculty.
Last Saturday, two college-aged males were hospitalized after falling off roofs and balconies. The incidents followed an earlier hospitalization in September, when another college aged male also fell off a fraternity roof on North Campus. Still, the Cornell and Ithaca Police Departments both say that these are isolated incidents not representative of a broader trend. “I can tell you that incidents like the one this weekend are a rare occurrence at Cornell,” said Cornell Police Chief Kathy Zoner. Jamie Williamson, public information officer for IPD, added that these incidents happen “once or twice a year at most” and that this year has seen an average number of roof falls.
A multi-million dollar gift from the Mong Family Foundation will fund the creation of Cornell Neurotech, a program which seeks to develop a new technological platform to better measure and provide images of the activities of the brain at the cellular level in real time. Stephen Mong ’92 MEN ’93 MBA ’02, the primary donor to Cornell Neurotech, said the initiative is meant to expedite and expand the currently ongoing neurological research in Cornell’s laboratories. “We would be developing a technological platform to enable scientists, researchers and engineers in the future to study the human brain,” Mong said. “Through our strength in imaging in engineering and our scientists in arts and sciences, we are already working towards studying the brain [within the University]. Now, we’re developing the tools to allow that to be more efficiently and effectively done.”
Cornell Neurotech will be a collaborative project primarily between the Colleges of Engineering and Arts and Sciences.
Prof. Mark Talbert ’89 MPS ’92 died this weekend at his home. Talbert, a professor in the School of Hotel Administration, specialized specifically in information systems within the realm of hotel administration. According to the University, his research interests include business computing, modeling and programming, and he has authored many educational software programs in these fields. His software has been utilized by many other universities around the world. Prof. Mark McCarthy ’86 MMH ’98, one of Talbert’s colleagues in the hotel school, said Talbert was responsible for introducing valuable job skills to the classroom.
“As scientists, we need to think about how our work impacts society. We need to be able to engage with society more,” said Prof. Avery August, immunology, chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Veterinary Sciences. A Belizean-born scientist, August immigrated to the United States and obtained a B.S. in medical technology from the California State University at Los Angeles. He then acquired his Ph.D. in immunology from Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. Outside of Cornell, August has also been a department director at Pennsylvania State University and a postdoctoral research fellow at Rockefeller University.