News and Analysis

On-campus cable packages this year will include high-definition television and a streaming service. Hatchet file photo.

On-campus cable packages this year will include high-definition TV and a streaming service. Hatchet file photo.

High-definition television and a new streaming service will be included in the on-campus cable package, officials announced.

The cable package, run by RCN, will include high-definition picture without an additional charge, David Steinour, the chief information officer in the Division of Information Technology, said in an email this week. In the past, students could upgrade to high-definition for a fee.

On-campus residents will have access to Philo, a streaming service that offers on-demand shows and movies, HBO Go access and 20 hours of DVR storage, Steinour said.

The service, which will be available by fall move-in, will be free to students in University housing and can be accessed on laptops, tablets, smartphones and Roku media players. Students can access the service using their NetIds and passwords, Steinour said.

Philo’s streaming service is geared specifically toward college campuses, and uses a university’s private data network to give students access across campus, according to the company’s website.

Officials chose to upgrade the cable services after evaluating technologies, Steinour said.

“We constantly evaluate our service offerings while looking for areas of innovation and improvement and monitor changes in the industry that allow for updates or enhancements to be made effectively,” Steinour said.

Steinour declined to comment on the cost of the upgrades.

After hosting focus groups with students to discuss current service offerings, officials reviewed possible streaming services and considered how other universities implemented streaming options into student cable packages, he said.

Steinour added that officials gave a live demonstration of the Philo service to members of the Residence Hall Association last spring.

This is the first major change to the University’s television package since 2010 when TVs were upgraded from analog to digital.

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Monday, June 27, 2016 5:19 p.m.

Maltzman named permanent provost

Forrest Maltzman will now serve permanently as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. Hatchet file photo by Anne McBride | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Forrest Maltzman will now serve permanently as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. Hatchet file photo by Anne McBride | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Forrest Maltzman will permanently serve as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, University President Steven Knapp announced Monday.

Maltzman has served as interim provost since former Provost Steven Lerman stepped down in January. He was previously the senior vice provost for academic affairs and planning for four years.

“After consulting with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the deans and after working closely with him over the past six months, I am confident that Dr. Maltzman is ideally suited and well-positioned to lead the university’s academic programs through the presidential transition,” Knapp said in a release. Knapp announced earlier this month that he will leave the University next year.

This announcement contradicts previous statements from the University that there would be a national search for a new provost this fall. Officials are currently conducting four searches to fill positions after seven high-level administrators left GW over the past year.

“I am honored to serve as Provost, and I continue to look forward to working with President Knapp, the Deans, faculty and staff to help secure GW’s future in a changing higher education environment and to advance our teaching and research missions,” Maltzman said in the release.

Since taking over as interim provost, Maltzman has overseen a restructuring of the provost’s office, shifting GW’s online programs under the libraries, moving veterans services into the student affairs division and expanding the role of the University’s diversity chief to include community involvement.

And as the chief academic officer and No. 2 in the University, he will play an instrumental role in consulting and implementing the 3 to 5 percent budget cuts that are set to take place each year in the central administration until 2022, starting this year. The first round of cuts, which were announced last month, saw about 40 staff positions cut and shifted offices’ responsibilities, with at least two offices merged.

He also has started preparing for GW’s accreditation, which takes place every 10 years. He helped to lead accreditation in 2008.

As senior vice president for academic affairs and planning, Maltzman also played a leading role in major projects like the Science and Engineering Hall, crafting and implementing the strategic plan, and weathering GW through an admissions scandal.

Before starting his senior vice provost role, Maltzman was chair of the political science department for three years. He joined GW’s political science department in 1993. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and his doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

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The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at NIH has awarded $1.6 million to University researchers, according to a release.

The grant will fund a four-year study of ways to increase parasympathetic activity in the heart, which could aid the body during heart failure. Researchers say the study could help nearly 23 million people worldwide.

David Mendelowitz, the vice chair of the pharmacology and physiology department, said that parasympathetic activity occurs in the heart during relaxing activities like reading. It decreases during heart failure, allowing sympathetic activity, which Mendelowitz said occurs “when you’re stuck on the metro or have an exam tomorrow,” to increase.

“Heart failure is a disease that effects both neuro and cardiac function,” Mendelowitz said.

The research will focus on activating neurons in the brain that release oxytocin, a hormone that has previously shown to increase parasympathetic activity, according to the release.

“While oxytocin is often used to start or increase speed of labor, recent research has uncovered its role in feelings of generosity and bonding. It may also have beneficial effects on the heart,” the release read.

The project is a collaboration between the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Matthew Kay, an associate professor of biomedical engineering in SEAS, will combine his knowledge of cardiac function with Mendelowitz’s work on brain activity for the project, according to the release.

“While Dr. Mendelowitz’s research is focused on neuroscience and how the brain works, my work is focused on cardiac function. Heart failure is a disease that affects both, which is why it is imperative for Dr. Mendelowitz and I to use our complimentary expertise to solve this problem,” Kay said in the release.

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Responders from D.C. Fire and EMS are in the process of rescuing two GW construction workers stuck on a hydraulic lift near District House Friday. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Responders from D.C. Fire and EMS are in the process of rescuing two GW construction workers stuck on a hydraulic lift near District House Friday. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Responders rescued two construction workers stuck on a construction lift near District House Friday, a spokesman from D.C. Fire and EMS said.

The workers were stuck on the lift for about three and a half hours Friday afternoon. Responders from D.C. Fire and EMS were on the scene and had to bring a third lift to bring the workers down.

D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Vito Maggiolo said the agency’s special operations chief was on the scene to help determine the best course of action for the rescue. He said D.C. Fire cannot use a ladder truck to rescue him because the alley would not hold the weight of the truck.

“They are not in any immediate danger so we want to be really careful for how we to go about this,” Maggiolo said while the agency was considering rescue options.

He added that it took three and half hours to bring them down because the workers were uninjured on the lift and “they wanted to use the safest methods possible.”

Dan Rich contributed reporting.

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Eight faculty and staff members from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences will travel to Thailand for a science and research summit this month, according to a University release.

The International Medicine Programs are co-sponsoring a three-day scientific summit with Kohn Kaen University in Thailand that will begin June 27. The summit will connect researchers and encourage faculty members at both universities to work together on immunology, tropical medicine and cures for cancer and HIV. The summit will also include training sessions on regulated research practices.

Faculty at GW and Khon Kaen University have worked together in the past, researching a foodborne liver fluke and its relationship to cancer, Huda Ayas, the associate dean for international medicine and executive director of the Office of International Medicine Programs, said in the release. She said this conference is a chance to further build those relationships.

“Our latest collaboration, the scientific summit, will further benefit faculty and students at GW and Khon Kaen University,” Ayas said.

The SMHS faculty members attending the summit share research interests with researchers at Khon Kaen University, and some faculty have already worked with their counterparts in Thailand, she added.

“We recognize that international research partnerships take time, but are confident that this summit will be a springboard for research collaborations between GW and KKU faculty and a model for future international scientific summits in other countries,” Ayas said.

Ayas, Jeffrey Bethony, a professor of microbiology, immunology and tropical medicine at SMHS, and Pewpan Maleewong, a professor of parasitology and the associate dean for research affairs at Kohn Kaen University organized the summit.

David Diemert, an associate professor of microbiology, immunology and tropical medicine who will be attending the conference, said in an email that he hopes to establish relationships with colleagues in Thailand.

“KKU investigators are world-renowned for their research on neglected tropical diseases, my area of interest,” Diemert said. “I’m excited to hear more about their latest research and potentially enter into collaborations.”

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016 3:02 p.m.

Researchers awarded $7 million to study microbiome

Researchers at the Milken Institute School of Public Health received $7 million in grants to study the human microbiome. Hatchet file photo

Researchers at the Milken Institute School of Public Health received $7 million in grants to study the human microbiome. Hatchet file photo

Researchers in the Milken Institute School of Public Health received two grants totaling $7 million last week to study the human microbiome, which is “the collection of bacteria and other microbes that live in and on the human body,” according to a University release.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded researchers $3.3 million for a study on human penises’ “bacterial ecosystems” and how they affect men’s risks of getting HIV, according to the release. The other grant is a $3.7 million NIAID award for a study on bacteria in the human nose to find ways to protect people from staph infections.

Lance Price, the principal investigator on the projects, and Cindy Liu, the co-investigator, are a professor and assistant research professor, respectively, in the department of environmental and occupational health.

“These studies will tell us more about the colonies of microbes living in and on the human body,” Price said in the release. “In both cases, we will be looking for ways to alter the microbiome and protect people from disease that can range from sexually transmitted HIV to potentially lethal superbug infections.”

Liu, Price and other researchers found in a 2013 study that circumcision of the penis decreased anaerobic bacteria. The upcoming study will evaluate if a drop in such bacteria protects men from HIV, according to the release.

“If anaerobic bacteria play a role in transmission of HIV, we might be able to develop novel ways of preventing HIV infection,” Price said.

The other grant will fund researchers in discovering whether they can introduce bacteria that would keep staph out of the nose, according to the release.

Price and Liu identified a kind of bacteria that can push out certain nose infections, including staph infections, in a study last year.

“This study will show us whether we can introduce the good bugs to crowd out the bad,” Liu said in the release.

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The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of D.C., including Adams Morgan, until 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.

The service announced a thunderstorm watch around 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon for the broader region, including parts of six states, D.C. and “coastal waters,” according to the service’s storm prediction center. The watch for the region is in effect until 9 p.m. Tuesday, the service reported.

The report indicates that severe winds and possible hail will affect the area. Severe thunderstorms have the ability to produce tornadoes, the site warns.

“Persons in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings,” according to the National Weather Service.

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GW researchers have discovered the first example of a “wind nebula,” a cloud of high-energy particles surrounding a rare star, according to a University release.

A group of scientists led by a GW postdoctoral researcher George Younes used data from the European Space Agency’s XXM-Newton spacecraft to discover the wind nebula surrounding an ultra-magnetic neutron star, or magnetar, about 13,000 light years from Earth, according to the release. The star, J1834.9-0846, was first discovered by a NASA satellite in 2011 after an X-ray burst, the release stated.

Younes said in the release that the finding adds information on the properties and environment that created the star – facts that were previously unknown.

“Sure enough it turns out it has a very beautiful structure around it that looks very much like a wind nebula,” he said in the release. “It tells us something about [the star’s] historical activity.”

The team identified the wind nebula after finding “an unusual lopsided glow about 15 light years across,” according to the release. They then followed up with observations in March and October 2014. A paper describing their findings and co-authored by GW physics faculty members Chryssa Kouveliotou, Oleg Kargaltsev, and Alexander van der Horst will be published in The Astrophysical Journal.

Magnetars are extremely rare – only 29 out of 2,600 known neutron stars have been classified as magnetars. They are an “extreme” manifestation of a young neutron star, or the crushed core of a massive star that ran out of fuel, collapsed under its own weight and exploded as a supernova, called a pulsar, according to the release.

This is the only observed magnetar that has a wind nebula.

The densities in a magnetar’s environment cannot be recreated on Earth, and Younes said in the release that therefore magnetars act as researchers’ laboratories.

“If these sources were close to Earth, that would have been devastating for life on Earth,” Younes said in the release. “Luckily they are very far away.”

Kouveliotou, one of the researchers, said in the release that now the researchers are interested in why this particular magnetar has a wind nebula when others do not.

“We do not know why we don’t see a nebula around every magnetar,” she said. “We could hypothesize that other environments are not as rich, as we know that this particular source is in the middle of a plethora of high energy sources.”

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016 11:17 a.m.

City Hall sells for almost $80 million

City Hall, a former residence hall, sold for about $80 million. Hatchet file photo

City Hall, a former residence hall, sold for about $80 million. Hatchet file photo

Updated: June 22, 2016 at 4:26 p.m.

The owners of City Hall sold the building for more than $78 million last month, just in time for the end of GW’s 15-year lease on the former residence hall.

The owners of the building, 24th and K Street Associates LLC, sold the property to Durant Berkeley Partners LLC in May, according to Washington Business Journal.

The $78 million selling price places the value of the 197 two-person units at about $397,000 each. Nearly 380 students, mostly upperclassmen and transfer students, lived in the residence hall during the 15 years GW leased the building.

The building was previously the St. James Suites in the 1980s, a hotel for short-term corporate housing.

The end of the lease arrives in time for the opening of District House in the fall. The new residence hall will offer nearly 900 beds and include five restaurants in the fall.

This post has been updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that District House will have more than 800 rooms. The building will offer nearly 900 beds. We regret this error.

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More than 45 faculty members and researchers contributed to a new anesthesiology review book, according to a University release.

Jeffrey Berger, the associate dean for graduate medical education and an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine, co-edited and published the 2016 review book for anesthesiology residents, according to the release.

The new book, “Anesthesiology Core Review: Part Two Advanced Exam,” is for anesthesiology residents who take the board certification exam at the end of residency training. Berger co-edited the book with Brian Freeman, the program director and an associate professor in the department of anesthesiology at Georgetown University Medical Center.

“To have an organized, alphabetical, quick resource when studying for a major exam is very valuable,” Berger said in the release. “We envision this being used in conjunction with other resources, like a question bank or online learning modules.”

Most authors are from the D.C. area and work at Children’s National Health System, Georgetown University Medical Center, MedStar Washington Hospital Center and Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences.

After the board review exam changed in 2013, the editors were inspired to create a study resource tailored to the new format.

“As the program director for the anesthesiology residency program at Georgetown, I immediately knew I wanted to work with Dr. Berger, the program director for the anesthesiology residency program at the George Washington University, to see if we could put together a high-quality study material for trainees around the country,” Freeman said in the release.

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