Hot Topics Archives

Previous page
(more recent experts, Aug. 2011 -  )

July 2011

Gangs and gang violencebloss

ECU Department of Criminal Justice chair Dr. William Bloss is an expert on gangs and gang violence, which has been the focus of the Greenville Police Department since a recent crime wave in Greenville. He is available to speak on camera. View more details on Bloss, including contact information.

2012 presidential electionbaumgartner

ECU political science professor Jody Baumgartner is an expert on campaigns and elections, party politics and presidential power. He was quoted this week in a Christian Science Monitor article on President Obama's decision to keep or shelve Vice President Joe Biden as a running mate in the upcoming election. Read the article.

New Sunscreen Rules Aim to Help ConsumersDefazio_85p

New rules announced by the Food and Drug Administration should help consumers decide how to buy and use sunscreen and better protect themselves and their families from sun damage.

Beginning in 2012, sunscreens must protect proportionately against two kinds of the sun's radiation, UVA and UVB, to be labeled as offering "broad spectrum" protection. The rules will also ban sunscreen manufacturers from claiming their products are waterproof or sweatproof.

Though the rules take effect next year, consumers may begin to see changes to sunscreen labels earlier. Dr. Jennifer Defazio, pictured, a board-certified dermatologist and skin cancer expert at ECU, has more details about the new labeling regulations and how to protect yourself against sun damage.

June 2011

Air Quality, Greenhouse Emissionstkelley1

Environmental Health Sciences and Safety professor and chair Dr. Tim Kelley is an expert on air quality and greenhouse emissions. He can speak on a recent Supreme Court decision to block a federal lawsuit trying to force power plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. ECU’s environmental health sciences program is one of three nationally accredited programs in the state, offering the only nationally accredited, totally online master’s program in this field in the nation.

High School Sports ConcussionsNicler, Brock

Dr. Brock Niceler is an assistant clinical professor at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU who is board-certified in sports medicine. He’s treated numerous athletes who have suffered concussions. 

Last week, Gov. Bev Perdue signed the Gfeller-Waller Concussion Awareness Act. The bill is named after two North Carolina high school students, including Jaquan Waller of Greenville, who died on the football field in 2008 due to head injuries. The legislation takes many of the rules and guidelines from the State Board of Education and makes them law. Schools now are required to have an emergency action plan in place and a doctor or certified athletic trainer must give consent for the student to return to play.

Record-setting Triathletefutrell

ECU alumnus Charlie Futrell at 90 years of age is believed to be the oldest to finish a USA Triathlon-sanctioned race. Read the story in the Orlando Sentinel. (Photo courtesy of

Lawler-Row Quoted in Huffington PostRow-Kathleen

ECU psychology professor Kathleen Lawler-Row was quoted in a Huffington Post article, "Can forgiveness overcome cancer?" Read the article...

Queen Anne's Revenge Collaboration


An article by ECU chemistry professor Anthony Kennedy highlights the collaborative effort between ECU scientists and conservators at the Queen Anne’s Revenge Conservation Lab in identifying and conserving artifacts from the shipwreck believed to be the remains of Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge. Read more...  Read the article.

Travel Greenpledge

A new visitor care travel code developed by the ECU Center for Sustainable Tourism was featured by PR Newswire. The code highlights efforts travelers can make to protect the environment and cultures of the places they visit. Read about the code. Read PR Newswire story.

May 2011

Conserve electricitytpower

William E. Bagnell, associate vice chancellor for campus operations, notified the campus community that May 31 is the likely utility peak day for the month, which means that conservation efforts are essential. Read more...

Smoky Conditionstwo

Air quality alerts have been triggered in the Pitt County area because of the smoke and haze drifting this way from the Dare County wildfires. ECU experts on the issue include environmental manager Tom Pohlman of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, and Mustafa I. Selim, professor of environmental health sciences in the College of Health and Human Performance.

Real Pirates, Arrrgghh!

Disney's new movie set for release May 20, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," (view trailer) will highlight the exploits of the pirate Blackbeard. ECU experts on pirate lore include anthropology professor Charles Ewen, who has conducted frequent excavations at Bath, a N.C. town near Blackbeard's home; and maritime history professor Lawrence Babits, who has written extensively on pirate imagery and underwater archaeology. Related: Work continues on artifacts from the reputed Queen Anne's Revenge, believed to be Blackbeard's flagship.

Moon Mystery Solvedjohnrummel

John Rummel, ECU Institute for Coastal Science and Policy, is featured on a story, also highlighted in the news section of, on solving a mystery related to a microbe long believed to be brought back from the moon. Read the story.

Pakistan native on terrorism, bin Laden deathDar_Feb09_1

ECU pharmacology professor Dr. M. Saeed Dar, a native of Pakistan and an active member of the local Islamic Center, called Osama bin Laden's death a significant event. But he has doubts about whether it will reduce terrorist activity. Read more...

War on terror continues despite bin Laden's deathroshandel_5

Osama bin Laden is dead, but the "War on Terror" will continue, according to Dr. Jalil Roshandel, director of the security studies program at ECU and associate professor of political science.

The death of bin Laden will send a message to terrorists about American resolve and strong leadership. In short run it may cause some acts of desperate terrorism, but it will also expose terrorists and reveal their hideouts, he said.

Overall, Roshandel said, it is a good development in a longer process of the War on Terror. Such actions cannot succeed without reliable intelligence; therefore, the operation that led to the death of bin Laden shows positive signs and improvement of U.S. intelligence, he said Monday morning.

April 2011

Engaging Customersashley

An article by Christy Ashley (Marketing and Supply Chain Management), "Why customers won't relate: Obstacles to relationship marketing engagement," appeared in the Journal of Business Research. Read the article.

On Measuring Student BehaviorRiley-Tillman-Chris_1

An article by ECU psychology professor T. Chris Riley-Tillman, with co-authors, reports findings on best practices to ensure accuracy of teacher assessment of student disruptive behavior. Read the article in the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.

Scissors lifts and safetytsafety2

A graduate project by two ECU students resulted in safety recommendations for aerial lift videotaping by athletic programs that have been broadcast to universities in the Big XII, Conference USA and the University of Virginia. Read more...

Health, wealth and educationmansfieldc

ECU professor Chris Mansfield (Public Health) was quoted in a article about the effect of low income, lower education levels and reduced access to medical care in the state's unhealthiest counties.  Read more…

Last Lecturetcover

Author, business owner and record-setting long-distance hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis will share lessons learned on the Appalachian Trail at ECU on April 19 and 20. Davis has hiked more than 9,000 miles of long-distance trails on six continents. She is the owner of the Blue Ridge Hiking Company in Asheville and author of “Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail,” which chronicles her experiences on a grueling four-month hike from Georgia to Maine.  Read more...

Complexity of the Veilarmster

Charlotte Armster, professor of German and women's studies at Gettysburg College, will speak on the controversy surrounding the wearing of scarves and long coats by Turkish women in a lecture at 6 p.m. April 12 in Room C309 of the Science and Technology Building. The topic is even more timely with the implementation of a new law in France restricting the wearing of garments covering the face. Two women were arrested this morning. Read more...

BABY TALK: How communication worksramsdell

ECU assistant professor Heather Ramsdell is studying how baby sounds develop in the first year of life and the link between those sounds, first words and early language development. Since joining ECU last summer, Ramsdell has built the Infant Vocal Development Laboratory in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. A recent viral YouTube video of twin brothers babbling in a kitchen offers a glimpse at the research Ramsdell will be doing here. The video shows the brothers communicating with unrecognizable words but obvious interaction: taking turns talking, looking at and imitating each other. Ramsdell discusses the babies and their interaction at

Campus Safetysafety_security1

Campus safety will be the topic of the fifth annual N.C. Higher Education Safety E-Symposium on April 8 with a live audience at the East Carolina Heart Institute and an electronic audience through a webinar/e-symposium.  Read more…

March 2011

Disaster/Crisis Response in Japankishimoto1

Dr. Yuko Kishimoto is a licensed psychologist. Originally from Tokyo, she is an expert in disaster/crisis response and a resource for students from Japan who are worried about their families and homes. She can also provide insight for reporters writing about the psychological impact of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan and the aftermath of those disasters.  
Kishimoto has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and a doctorate in psychology from the University of Houston. She has trained with the National Organization for Victim Assistance to provide community-level crisis intervention. She works as a counselor in the academic support and counseling center at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

Kishimoto may be reached at 252-744-3189 or

Nuclear Radiation Expertsprau

ECU professor Dan Sprau, School of Health and Human Performance, is an expert on nuclear radiation. He teaches radiation safety at ECU, has worked with the International Atomic Energy Agency and has visited Chernobyl. 

Contact Sprau at 252-258-0716.

For details on his Chernobyl visit, see

For more information on Sprau, visit

Tsunami Hazard, Recovery

landryc_1Reporters seeking a local expert on tsunami hazard, preparedness, response and recovery can contact Dr. Craig Landry at ECU. Landry is an associate professor of economics and interim director of the Center for Natural Hazards Research. He is available Friday, March 11, and can be reached at 252-328-6383 or

Landry's areas of expertise include environmental and natural resource economics, experimental economics, behavioral economics, coastal resources management. His research in natural hazards includes U.S. National Flood Insurance Program; risk, uncertainty, and individual decision-making; economic valuation of risk-reduction; benefit-cost analysis; coastal erosion management; and community hazard mitigation.
His bio is available at

The U.S. 'barrier'

ECU sociologist Robert Lee Maril reports on whether the 2,000-mile barrier project along the U.S./Mexico border is working.Maril

"The Fence," (Texas Tech University), coming in March, is based on interviews Maril conducted with border residents, military members, government contractors, patrol agents, Minutemen, activists and others. Maril directs the Center for Diversity and Inequality Research at ECU.

Contact him at or 252-328-6883.

For more details on Maril's research interests, visit

February 2011

Designer drugs

A pair of East Carolina University faculty experts are available to discuss the “bath salts” designer drug. These drugs are sold in many convenience stores under brand names such as “White Horse” and have been responsible for multiple deaths by suicide nationwide. Several episodes of severe paranoia have been seen in emergency rooms of hospitals in eastern North Carolina and elsewhere.

William Meggs, M.D., Ph.D., professor of emergency medicine and medical toxicologist
Brody School of Medicine
Contact Doug Boyd, 252-744-2482

Meggs is a board-certified medical toxicologist and chief of the toxicology division at the Brody School of Medicine. He has treated patients who used these drugs and is an expert on how they affect the body and mind.
Thomas Penders, M.D., associate professor of psychiatric medicine
Brody School of Medicine
Contact Doug Boyd, 252-744-2482

Penders is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and an expert in the psychiatric consequences of using these drugs, such as severe paranoia and suicide.