In Brief: Spring/Summer 2015

Michael Doyle
Michael W. Doyle
Doyle named University Professor

Michael W. Doyle, a prominent scholar of international relations, history, and law, has been given the title University Professor, which is Columbia’s top faculty rank and highest academic honor.

Widely known for his theoretical work on the idea of “democratic peace,” which holds that democracies are less likely to wage war than countries with other forms of government, Doyle joined Columbia’s faculty in 2003 as the Harold Brown Professor of US Foreign and Security Policy, a joint appointment at Columbia Law School, the School of International and Public Affairs, and the Arts and Sciences department of political science. Previously, he held senior positions at the United Nations, working on initiatives to promote human rights and advance democracy movements around the world. Doyle is co­director of the law school’s Center on Global Governance and has written several books, including this year’s The Question of Intervention: John Stuart Mill and the Responsibility to Protect.

Columbia and Rio form tech partnership

Columbia University has established a center in Rio de Janeiro to spur technological advances in areas such as sustainability, sanitation, data science, smart cities, and precision medicine in Brazil’s second­-largest city. The center, called the Rio-­Columbia University Innovation Hub, will host collaborations between Columbia faculty and students from across the University and Brazilian industry leaders, scholars, students, and researchers.

“This is going to bring new, innovative, technology­-based solutions to critical issues facing cities to transform lives both locally and globally using truly interdisciplinary approaches,” said Columbia engineering dean Mary C. Boyce at an April 21 ceremony marking the launch of the center.

Researchers from the School of Engineering and the School of International and Public Affairs are expected to make key contributions to the Innovation Hub; many of their activities will be coordinated through the Columbia Global Center that was launched in Rio in 2013.

At the ceremony, Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes spoke enthusiastically about the newest Brazil­-Columbia partnership. “Innovation is what Columbia does best, and to promote that in Rio has been a priority for us,” said Paes. “To be a global city, Rio needs to be connected to state­-of-­the-­art scientific research done in major institutions around the world, such as Columbia.”

Men's tennis retains Ivy title

The men’s tennis team completed its second-­straight perfect Ivy League season en route to capturing its twelfth conference championship with a 7-­0 win over Penn at Columbia’s Dick Savitt Tennis Center on April 19. The Lions finished the season ranked twenty-­third in the nation.

Before the first serve, Columbia honored the collegiate careers of its five graduating seniors: Eric Jacobs, Winston Lin, Ashok Narayana, Max Schnur, and Bert Vancura. One of the most decorated graduating classes in the tennis program’s history, the five Lions, over their tenure, helped Columbia to a 69­-19 overall record, a 24-­4 record against Ivy League opponents, three appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and the program’s first trip to the National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in two decades.

CUMC and Biogen combine forces on genetics research

The global biotechnology company Biogen Idec and Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) recently formed a $30 million partnership to study the genetic underpinnings of disease and to identify new treatment strategies. As part of the agreement, a genetics sequencing and analysis facility, along with a shared postdoctoral program, will be established at Columbia to support collaborative research. The agreement will integrate basic research conducted at CUMC with Biogen Idec’s expertise in developing new medicines.

“Our understanding of human genetics is rapidly expanding, and there is growing recognition that the elucidation of the genetic causes of disease will have a transformative effect on both patient care and drug development in many different diseases,” says David Goldstein, the founding director of the University’s Institute for Genomic Medicine.

Nursing school receives $6.5M gift

Columbia’s nursing school has received a $6.5 million grant from the Helene Fuld Health Trust that will support, among other new initiatives, the creation of a simulation-learning laboratory where students will hone their skills on high­-tech mannequins prior to entering the clinical environment. The Helene Fuld Simulation Center will occupy two floors of the nursing school’s new six­-story building, which is under construction at West 168th Street and Audubon Avenue.

The gift, which is the largest in the school’s history, will also establish an institute for promoting best simulation practices in nursing education and a scholarship fund for students entering the school’s accelerated master’s and doctor of nursing practice programs.

Kennedy Prize for drama honors Father

Playwright Suzan­-Lori Parks has won the 2015 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, for her play Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3. The Kennedy Prize, which is administered by the Columbia University Libraries, was established in 2013 by Jean Kennedy Smith in honor of her late brother, the Massachusetts senator. Parks will receive $100,000 and will work with the libraries to create a website containing educational materials related to her play, which follows the life of a slave who fights in the Civil War.