*List of Announcements (details below):*

  * Provost Search Committee: Please Vote: 4 VSE Nominees
  * Search for VP Information Technology: Candidates?
  * Update on the ePAR system
  * Amarda Shehu and Estela Blaisten-Barojas Receive Funding from
    Jeffress Trust
  * Celso Ferreira Receives Funding from Jeffress Trust
  * Sushil Jajodia and Massimiliano Albanese Receive Funding from Sandia
    & US Army
  * Supreme Court Decision on Patents

*Provost Search Committee: Please Vote: 4 VSE Nominees*

The GMU Faculty Senate has distributed via e-mail a ballot for faculty 
representatives to the search committee for a new Provost.I encourage 
you to vote.There are four nominees from the Volgenau School of Engineering:

  * Jim Chen (Computer Science)
  * Peter Farrell (Applied Information Technology)
  * Daniel MenascÚ (Computer Science)
  * Joseph Pancrazio (Bioengineering)

This is a preferential ballot, that is, you indicate by "1" your first 
choice, "2" your second choice, etc.Votes are due on Monday, June 24, at 

*Search for VP Information Technology: Candidates?*

Ken De Jong and I are members of the search committee for the Vice 
President for Information Technology and CIO. Joy Hughes is stepping 
down from this role after having served for many years.

If you know of individuals who would be good candidates for this 
position, we would be grateful if you could either provide us with their 
names, or send them information on the position.The job description can 
be found online at

*Update on the ePAR System*

I wanted to provide some information on udpates to the ePAR system, the 
online system that has been used for some years for personnel reviews.

Personnel reviews are being conducted in connection with the raises 
being provided by the State.However, due to software updates, the ePAR 
system is not able to provide full reports for the most recent data on 
research and teaching while the updates are in progress.Reports 
corresponding to the Fall 2012 personnel reviews are available, and 
reports will be available in the future.

Mandy Richburg, a member of my staff, has been working for the past few 
months on revisions to the way data on teaching and research funding are 
uploaded to the ePAR system.That work is almost complete, but has not 
been fully tested yet.I did not anticipate that personnel reviews would 
be conducted in mid-summer.The new software should reduce the effort 
required to upload the data on teaching and research funding, and should 
improve its accuracy.

If you have recently entered information in ePAR corresponding to 
publications, presentations, etc., it will not be affected by the 
updates.You can continue to enter such information.

Over the summer I plan to work with a small subset of the faculty to 
test the new software to ensure that it is performing as designed.

There are some additional features that are being added to ePAR, but I 
will defer reporting on them until they are available.

*Amarda Shehu and Estela Blaisten-Barojas Receive Funding from Jeffress 

Amarda Shehu of the Computer Science Department and Estela 
Blaisten-Barojas of the College of Science received $100K from the 
Jeffress Memorial Trust for their project "Probabilistic Search 
Algorithms Meet Statistical Mechanisms: Powerful Novel Tools for Peptide 

*Celso Ferreira Receives Funding from Jeffress Trust*

Celso Ferreira of the Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, 
Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering received $100K from the 
Jeffress Memorial Trust for his project "Protecting Virginia from 
Hurricane Storm Surge with Wetlands Ecosystems: Can Nature Help to 
Reduce Hurricane Flood Risk?".

*Sushil Jajodia and Massimiliano Albanese Receive Funding from Sandia & 
US Army*

Sushil Jajodia and Massimiliano Albanese of the Center for Secure 
Information Systems received $25K from Sandia Research Corporation and 
the U.S. Dept. of the Army for their project "STTR: Cyber Warfare 
Simulation Environment".

*Supreme Court Decision on Patents*

From SCOTUSblog.com (an invaluable resource on the Supreme Court):

"The Supreme Court long ago ruled that an inventor who discovers a 
phenomenon in nature, or figures out a "law of nature," cannot get an 
exclusive right to use or sell that by obtaining a patent from the 
federal government. Natural phenomena are the basic tools with which 
every would-be inventor starts, so locking up the right to use them in a 
monopoly held by a specific patent owner will frustrate others who might 
want to look for new ways to interpret that phenomena, the Court has 
said. ...

"The Court said the company actually did not create anything at all, but 
simply extracted the genetic material from its location in human blood, 
and setting it apart for study.The Court, however, said that the company 
might be eligible to get a patent when it created a synthetic form of 
those genes --- in other words, a laboratory imitation of them.   Such 
imitations, according to the ruling, do not exist in nature, and so do 
not run counter to the rule against patenting nature."

This "in plain English" summary is at
A more detailed report is at
And everything you might want to know about this case is at


Stephen G. Nash
Senior Associate Dean
Volgenau School of Engineering
George Mason University
Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 2500
Mailstop 5C8
Fairfax, VA 22030

[log in to unmask]
Phone: (703) 993-1505
Fax: (703) 993-1633