A tech professor receives a million-dollar grant from NASA; After . . .

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Tech professor receives $1 million grant from NASA

Julia M. Gohlke, associate professor of environmental health in the Department of Population Sciences at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, received a $1 million grant from NASA. She will work alongside co-principal investigators Ryan Calder, assistant professor of health and environmental policy at the college; Samarth Swarup of the University of Virginia; and Benjamin Zaitchik of Johns Hopkins University.

With this grant, Gohlke hopes to improve how government agencies estimate damage from extreme weather events.

Current analyzes do not fully account for health damages, which means total damages are underestimated and Americans may not be getting the support they need to fully recover from extreme weather events. Gohlke uses mold as an example: If a family becomes ill because their homes are full of mold after a flood, the government’s damage estimate will not include damage to their health. With improved estimation methods, experts can make more informed decisions about disaster relief spending and more.

These calculations are used in policy making, and agencies such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) use this data to write regulations. Better accuracy of health damages will also change the way the government calculates the cost of climate change. This information will be particularly useful for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disaster List and the EPA’s Social Cost of Carbon (SC-CO2) calculations.

In addition to calculating the overall cost, the research team will look at damage at the census tract level to see who is hardest hit by these events.

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Virginia Tech to Light Up Torgersen Bridge for Homecoming

In honor of Virginia Tech’s 150th anniversary and as part of the university’s homecoming celebration, a special screening will be shown after dark on the Alumni Mall’s Torgersen Bridge this weekend.

This representation of the 150 years of the university will explore the history with photos, videos and audio broadcast on a loop. The event is free and open to the public.

When: On the Torgersen Bridge: 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday October 14, Saturday October 15 and Sunday October 16

The public can also see the projection inside the cube at the Moss Arts Center on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Zack Williams. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

Graduate tech student receives NIH award

Virginia Tech graduate student Zach Williams received a two-year Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award grant from the National Institutes of Health.

During a trial period in the laboratory of Rob Gourdiea cardiovascular scientist who is a professor and director of the Heart and Vascular Research Center to Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, Williams discovered something new about a molecule the lab was studying. This observation could lead to new ways to treat arrhythmias and reduce sudden cardiac death. This discovery led to the grant. Now Williams has joined Gourdie’s lab full-time.

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