What’s happening at Augusta University? Week of Jan. 24-30

Kevin Faigle

Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

This week: A bestselling novelist will kick off the annual Writers Weekend, scientists target a treatment for heart disease and high-performance computing becomes reality for Augusta University researchers.

Investing in high-performance computing

Augusta University has invested $1 million in creation of the High-Performance Computing (HPC) Services Core, a joint university research initiative supported by the Division of Information Technology and the School of Computer and Cyber Sciences. This initiative can enable or accelerate research in many areas, including computer science, cybersecurity, basic sciences, health sciences and others.

“I am thrilled to see this important research cluster come to fruition with a first-class computer scientist in Dr. Gagan Agrawal leading the charge,” said Dr. Michael Diamond, senior vice president for research at Augusta University. “This new offering will be a major asset to Augusta University’s research enterprise, providing researchers leading-edge technologies and services to further their work.”

Targeting a treatment for heart disease

Scientists report a molecule of RNA called CARMN has been found in abundance in healthy smooth muscle cells which helps give our blood vessels strength and flexibility – but it’s distinctly decreased in those with vascular diseases.

“If you have a low level of CARMN, it most likely puts you to a higher susceptibility to get atherosclerosis, or angioplasty-induced restenosis,” said Dr. Jilan Zhou, vascular biologist in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Medical College of Georgia. “If CARMN is downregulated, it will induce or trigger those smooth muscle cells to become unhealthy or diseased.”

A bestseller kicks off the annual Writers Weekend

Hosted by the Creative Writing Program, bestselling novelist and essayist Alexander Chee will speak virtually at 7 p.m. Jan. 27 to kick off the 10th annual Writers Weekend. The talk is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Chee’s essays and stories have appeared in a range of publications, including the New York Times Magazine and the Yale Review. AU’s Creative Writing Program offers courses in creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry, including special topics courses.

Interview opportunities are available for these story ideas. Call 706-522-3023 to schedule an interview. Check out the Augusta University Expert Center to view our list of experts who can help with story ideas.