Notable contributions and programs
- Wayne State University scientists and technicians played an important role in the apparent discovery of the long-sought Higgs boson by Europe’s Large Hadron Collider. A team of physicists led by Department of Physics and Astronomy Professors Paul Karchin and Robert Harr made important contributions to the experiment, which was conducted at the CERN physics research center in Geneva. The WSU team contributed to the experiment’s around-the-clock operation and data analysis and became experts in different parts of the experimental apparatus. Team members included: Caroline Milstene, adjunct professor of physics; Mark Mattson, assistant research professor; Alexandre Sakharov, research associate; Alfredo Gutierrez, research engineer; and Ph.D. students Christopher Clarke, Sowjanya Gollapinni, Chamath Kottachchi, Pramod Lamichhane and Kevin Siehl. WSU team members completed research at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, and in labs on Wayne State’s main campus.
- Wayne State broke ground on its newest research facility and largest-ever construction project, the Multidisciplinary Biomedical Research Building (MBRB). The approximately 200,000-square-foot MBRB will encourage interdisciplinary work across a range of scientific areas with the goal of translating new discoveries to improve human health and society. More than 500 researchers, staff and principal investigators will work out of the building, which will feature wet and dry laboratories, faculty and common areas, and clinical space. Estimates show that the building, scheduled to be fully operational in early 2015, will result in about $40 million in new annual earnings in Michigan. The MBRB’s development also includes the reconstruction of Cass Avenue’s Dalgleish Cadillac building, a historic Detroit structure designed by renowned architect Albert Kahn.
- Biomedical Engineering Research Professor Cynthia Bir joined an international team of researchers, pilots and aircraft safety experts to intentionally crash a full- size passenger airplane into the remote desert along the U.S.-Mexico border. The experiment, conducted as part of the Discovery Channel’s series Curiosity, studied what happens during a plane crash and the science behind passengers’ best chance for survival. Crash test dummies and sensors throughout the plane revealed what type of forces are unleashed in a crash, and video footage from inside the remote- controlled plane enabled viewers to see what happens upon impact.
- The Department of Chemistry was ranked among the top 100 in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, which studied more than 1,000 universities and published results of the best 500 at shanghairanking.com. Wayne State received high marks in highly cited researchers, papers in the Science Citation Index and percentage of papers published in the top 20 percent of journals.
- Wayne State University’s Multiple Sclerosis Center was the top-ranked U.S. academic center at the 28th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, held in October 2012 in Lyon, France. The world’s largest academic meeting of multiple sclerosis specialists welcomed more than 6,000 clinicians and scientists, who presented nearly 1,100 papers. WSU’s Multiple Sclerosis Center led U.S. academic centers with 24 papers; only four countries had centers presenting more.
- The Wayne State University Police Department’s (WSUPD) CompStat initiative, a joint effort with other public safety agencies, continues to create a safe place for people to live, work, play and volunteer. WSUPD shows double-digit decreases in crime in Detroit’s Midtown, New Center, Woodbridge and Henry Ford Hospital areas since 2009, with major crimes down 38 percent. Robberies and burglaries, larcenies, and auto theft have also decreased, with no evidence of displacement of crime to adjacent areas.
- The Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Detroit Medical Center Cardiovascular Institute began enrolling patients in a new study that could lead to dramatic breakthroughs in the battle against treatment-resistant hypertension — a chronic ailment posing a major health threat to more than six million Americans and 100 million people worldwide. The clinical trial will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a procedure called renal denervation, whichaims to deactivate overactive nerves in the renal artery leading to the kidney — a major cause of hypertension in many patients. The study could lead to important advancements for patients who may be at risk for heart attacks, strokes and other life-threatening cardiovascular disorders triggered by high blood pressure that can’t be treated by conventional blood-pressure medications.
- Wayne State was one of five Michigan universities to make Washington Monthly’s list of America’s top 100 institutions of higher learning. The rankings are based on “contribution to the public good” in social mobility, research and service. Washington Monthly studied more than 1,500 American colleges and universities for its rankings