College of Science Moves Forward in First Year

Posted: October 18, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Daniel Walsch

Even though it has not yet shed its feeling of “newness,” George Mason’s College of Science is already growing and initiating changes.

The principal changes are the enhancement of 10 research centers and 10 academic departments to advance the college’s various academic priorities.

“We are very pleased with the centers as they are already beginning to establish the reputation of our college as an entity of high quality,” says Co-Dean Menas Kafatos.

These research centers and their directors are

  • Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, directed by Lance Liotta and Emanuel Petricoin

  • Center for Biomedical Genomics, directed by Petricoin

  • Center for Computational Fluid Dynamics, directed by Rainald Lohner

  • Center for Earth Observing and Space Research, directed by Kafatos

  • Center for Quantum Studies, directed by Jeffrey Tollaksen

  • Center for Spatial Information Science and System, directed by Liping Di

  • Center for the Study of Genomics in Liver Diseases, directed by COS Co-Dean Vikas Chandhoke

  • Computational Materials Science Center, directed by Estela Blaisten-Barojas

  • Joint Center for Intelligent Spatial Computing, directed by Chaowei Yang

  • National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, directed by Charles Bailey

The academic departments and their chairs are

  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, chaired by Saleet Jafri

  • Chemistry and Biochemistry, chaired by Greg Foster

  • Climate Dynamics, chaired by Jagadish Shukla

  • Computational and Data Sciences, chaired by Dimitrios Papaconstantopoulos

  • Earth Systems and Geoinformation Sciences, chaired by David Wong

  • Environmental Science and Policy, chaired by Robert Jonas

  • Geography, chaired by Alan Falconer

  • Mathematical Sciences, chaired by Klaus Fisher

  • Molecular and Microbiology, chaired by Petricoin

  • Physics and Astronomy, chaired by Robert Ehrlich

COS is one of the results of the university’s earlier decision to reorganize its College of Arts and Sciences and School of Computational Sciences. As Provost Peter Stearns said more than a year ago, COS allows “more coherent administration of Mason’s many interdisciplinary science degrees, presents a more coherent face for science to the outside world, facilitates coordination between science and technology research and education and encourages the introduction of additional science programs and additional faculty expertise for undergraduates.”

According to Kafatos, students are responding to the college’s offerings: The unit boasts a total enrollment of nearly 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

One notable statistic to emerge from the newly-established COS pertains to the Physics and Astronomy Department. Department chair Ehrlich reports this department has the highest percentage of female professors of any similar department in the nation. Thirty-five percent of its tenured and tenured-track faculty is female, he says.

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