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The Ecodorm

Rebecca Rudicell studying simian immunodeficiency virus in chimpanzees (SIVcpz)
Photo courtesy Steve Wood-UAB Creative

August 2009

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News & Events

Young alumna at forefront of SIV research
Bryson Gym back in action!
Warren Wilson College’s ranking roundup
WWC and City of Asheville partner to offer HERS training
What does $1,000 mean to you?
Register for Homecoming and Family Weekend – October 2-4, 2009
In the media
Links

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Young alumna at forefront of SIV research

Rebecca Rudicell ’05 has what some might consider a dirty job, or at least an unappealing one. Her work, however, is proving vital in helping to advance the understanding of simian immunodeficiency virus in chimpanzees (SIVcpz).

Rudicell has spent the past three years studying SIVcpz from chimp feces collected off the forest floor in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park. Yes, that’s the place where Jane Goodall began her groundbreaking study of chimpanzee behavior half a century ago.

Using hundreds of specimens collected by trackers between 2000 and 2008, Rudicell is a co-author of the first study to show that SIVcpz – the primate form of HIV that crossed the species barrier sometime within the past 100 years – kills chimps early. Because researchers previously thought SIVcpz was harmless in chimpanzees, the study reporting that the virus appears to be pathogenic is considered to be a stunning scientific finding.

Rudicell, a graduate student in the microbiology department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, works in the lab of Beatrice Hahn, M.D., one of the pioneers of HIV research. She is funded by a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) program called Med into Grad, which encourages graduate students to work in areas that will have clinical impact.

“It’s been really exciting to be a part of such interesting work,” Rudicell wrote in an e-mail message to Warren Wilson professors Vicki Collins, Dean Kahl and John Brock, mentors when she was a student majoring in both chemistry and biology. “We hope insights into this virus will help us understand HIV better.”

Not surprisingly, the research by Rudicell and colleagues is receiving widespread attention. She is one of the co-authors of a journal article presenting the finding in Nature, the highly respected international weekly journal of science. Both Science News and Science magazines wrote about her presentation of the SIVcpz finding at 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Montreal. General-interest publications have taken note as well, including The New York Times in a lead article titled, “Study Finds Chimps Die From Simian AIDS, Dispelling Widely Held Belief”.

Although Rudicell isn’t yet sure which direction her career will take, for now she plans to continue her work on the distribution of SIVcpz in chimps. As Dr. Hahn was quoted in an HHMI article, “I handed the torch to Rebecca about a year ago, so now she is in charge of the study.” Rudicell also hopes to complete a thesis studying the virological contributions to SIVcpz pathogenicity within the next few years.

“I’m very grateful for the education I received at WWC,” Rudicell wrote in the email. And, she noted, “I think fondly of the chemistry lounge and the friendly environment.”

Bryson Gym back in action!

Renovated Bryson Gym

The Renovated Bryson Gym

The repairs and renovations to Bryson Gym are complete just in time for the beginning of the 2009-10 academic year. On May 22, 2008, as you may recall, a section of Bryson collapsed just hours before the weekly contra dance. No one was in the building at the time and no one was injured. The now-restored and improved gym is named for Holmes Bryson, an Asheville Farm School graduate and former mayor of Asheville.

Warren Wilson College’s ranking roundup

You can check out the newsweek.com slideshow “Finding the Right College for You”. WWC is found at page 19 in the slideshow. The 25 schools are not ranked.

Accolades for WWC continue to pour in from other college guides. The 2010 U.S. News "Best Colleges" identifies us as one of its “A-Plus Schools for B Students”. And Mother Jones magazine, in its MoJo Mini College Guide, named WWC as one of “10 cool schools that will blow your mind, not your budget.”

The College is among only 20 schools nationwide recognized by Sierra magazine for having an unusually strong commitment to sustainability. The College has been cited in each of the magazine's annual “Coolest Schools” rankings of “planet-preserving colleges and universities.” Schools were ranked based on their efforts in eight categories, ranging from energy to waste management.

WWC and City of Asheville partner to offer HERS training

The City of Asheville and WWC are partnering to present green job training by offering the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) for the southwestern region of North Carolina. For more information on this and other training courses, email Phillip Gibson. There are only 18 seats available for the HERS training.

What does $1,000 mean to you?

We’ve been thinking about that question a lot lately here at WWC. And we think that $1,000 is a powerful number. It’s an amount that makes a difference given individually, but also an amount that, when given collectively, can make an exponential impact on the College. This fall, we are introducing the Warren Wilson College Circle, a group whose members understand the power behind collective annual giving. To find out more, email Ally Donlan.

Register for Homecoming and Family Weekend – October 2-4, 2009

There are many new Homecoming and Family Weekend activities this year, so be sure to join us as we kick off our events on Friday, Oct. 2. If you haven’t received the schedule of events in your mailbox yet, you should very soon. You can also find all the weekend details on our website, so peruse the events, register online (or through the mail), and then finalize your travel arrangements for the trip. We're eager to see you on campus this fall!

In the media

From Prisoner to Poet - The Atlantic Monthly
Ex-Convict Writes About 'A Question of Freedom' - NPR

Asheville dog trainer (Kim Brophy ’99) wins national award for work - Asheville Citizen Times

12 of the Greenest College Cafeterias - The Daily Green

State Street by Kate Bowler ’07 - North Carolina Public Radio

What does green mean to you? - We Are Green .tv

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Links

Visit the campus bookstore online to shop for WWC T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and other college flair.

Inside Warren Wilson College

Events Calendar

Owl & Spade

Catalyst – environmental news

Physics Photo of the Week

The Story Behind



Farmcam

WWC on Flickr

WWC on Twitter

WWC on YouTube

“True Life: I'm A Warren Wilson Student”

WWC Emergency Information Line
(828) 258-4521

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