Collaboration is essential in everything the University of Arizona undertakes, whether it is educating tomorrow's workforce, conducting research, testing solutions with industry, or creating and sharing knowledge with communities across Arizona.
Our international partnerships are an important part of this effort, particularly those with Mexico and Latin America. Last month, I had the honor of giving a presentation as part of a panel on North American university collaborations at the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) on this topic. I shared news from a North America/Mexico mobility initiative that the UA is leading with the APLU. The initiative will provide fact-based assessments allowing for safe travel so that the UA and other U.S. universities can better partner with our peers in Mexico and realize the huge benefits that cross-border collaborations bring.
Closer to home, the UA participated in a grand opening last month for a $5.5 million facility, built by Pima County, that will leverage the power of collaboration around water issues. The WEST (Water & Energy Sustainable Technology) Center represents an important partnership that brings together researchers, public officials, and business leaders to help solve the issues of water and water usage.
This past month also brought recognition for UA research in space sciences. We are very proud of the work done by several UA researchers, which was led by a current UA graduate student and recent Ph.D. graduate who is now at Stanford as a postdoc. Their efforts captured the first image of a forming planet, which made international news and added to the long list of discoveries that place the UA at the forefront of astronomy and advanced optics. Another exciting development came from UA astrophotographer Adam Block. Few people capture the beauty of space in quite the way that he does, and three of his photos, along with two others from the UA, made Time magazine's annual list of "Best Space Photos of 2015."
Finally, I would like to invite you to some special events happening next month. On Jan. 9, the UA will hold the second annual Connect2STEM, a family friendly event celebrating science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix (please see more information below). Later that month, on Jan. 25, the College of Science will begin its annual lecture series. The topic will be "Earth Transformed," an examination of the impact of climate change. And for those of you who will be on the Tucson campus, I encourage you to stop at the UA Museum of Art to see the "Fires of Change" exhibit, which includes works by 11 artists who spent a week learning about fire science and wildfire management before creating their pieces.
As 2015 comes to a close, I wish you the happiest of holiday seasons. Your partnership and support have been invaluable this past year and I hope you are as excited as I am about what 2016 will bring.
With a new leader at the helm, the UA Department of American Indian Studies is expanding its curriculum to better prepare students to meet the needs of tribal communities. Keith James joined the UA as the head of the program this fall, shortly after the launch of a bachelor's degree in American Indian studies. The addition made the UA the only university in the Southwest to offer a bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree in the discipline as well as a joint M.A./J.D. degree.
As a critical care nurse, Elizabeth Knight loved guiding patients through recovery and helping them improve their health – but she didn't like having only a short window of time to do her work. So she enrolled at the UA, where she completed a Doctor of Nursing Practice and a Ph.D. Today the nurse practitioner works out of a clinic on wheels, providing ongoing care for patients in rural and low-income communities across Southern Arizona.
UA researchers have invented a device that for the first time allows neurosurgeons to see blood flowing inside vessels. The new technology – called augmented microscopy – consists of a small box fitted inside a surgical microscope and works by combining electronic circuitry and optical technologies to superimpose a fluorescence image on the real one. Associate professor Marek Romanowski likens it to a Google map for brain surgery.