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Delphine Dean Honored with Class of ’39 Award

 

Faculty have named Delphine Dean, the Ron and Jane Lindsay Family Innovation Professor of Bioengineering, one of the very best among them by awarding her the Class of ’39 Award for Excellence.

Endowed by the Class of 1939 to commemorate its 50th anniversary, the award is presented annually to a faculty member whose contributions for a five-year period have been judged by peers to represent the highest achievement of service to the student body, University, and community, state or nation. Recipients also become honorary members of the Class of 1939.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dean set up Clemson’s first high-complexity clinical diagnostics lab to run all of the University’s COVID-19 screening tests. The lab runs more than 3,000 tests a day, which includes all of Clemson’s COVID-19 surveillance testing as well as testing for the community.

“Dr. Dean is at the forefront of international scientific trends in COVID-19 saliva testing, a skill which has benefited Clemson University students, faculty and the community,” Terri Bruce, academic program director of the Light Imaging Facility, and Windsor Westbrook Sherrill, associate vice president for health research, wrote in their nomination letter.

 

“Dr. Dean is at the forefront of international scientific trends in COVID-19 saliva testing, a skill which has benefited Clemson University students, faculty and the community.”

 

Dean’s work during the pandemic is just the most recent reason she has been recognized. With a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she heads a lab that conducts studies focused on understanding mechanics and interactions of biological systems. Dean also works on several applied translational design projects primarily aimed at enabling health care in low-resource areas in the U.S., Tanzania and India.

Dean currently mentors more than 50 undergraduates in the Creative Inquiry program who work on a variety of projects, from understanding the effects of ionizing radiation on tissue to developing medical technology for the developing world.

“I am honored to be a part of the Class of ’39,” said Dean. “It’s amazing to be a part of such an illustrious group. The fact that service to the University and beyond is encouraged and celebrated at Clemson is part of the reason I’m always proud to say that I’m part of the Clemson Family.” 

 

Resilience in Challenging Times

Greetings from Clemson!

This academic year has been one like no other. But as we begin 2021, I can say that I am incredibly proud to be a part of the Clemson Family. Our faculty, staff and students have come together during extremely challenging circumstances, demonstrating flexibility, care and compassion, and resilience.

In this issue of Clemson World, you’ll read stories of alumni who also have demonstrated incredible resilience. From Bear Walker, who has built a business that reflects his passion for creativity, to Ty and Tracy Woodard, who turned a dream into a reality, and four alumni — Cheri Dunmore Phyfer, Jeff Brown, Tanya Chisolm Sanders and Kevin Purcer — who have channeled their education and life experiences to create paths to success. Their stories can offer all of us a bit of inspiration as we travel our individual and collective paths.

As I have said many times since last March, every member of the Clemson Family has a critical role to play as we move forward in a world impacted by COVID-19. It remains extremely important for each of us to do our part to mitigate the spread of this virus as we continue to do the important work of educating this generation of Tigers and making Clemson the best it can be.

Family is important, particularly in challenging times. Thank you for being a part of the Clemson Family and for helping to make it stronger and more resilient.

Go Tigers!

 

 

 

Wastewater Provides Early Warning System

As universities all over the country began scrambling to figure out what campus life would be like in a year of COVID-19, several Clemson professors got busy on parts of that puzzle that related to their own research.

One of those professors was David Freedman, chair of the University’s Department of Envionmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. In the spring of 2020, Freedman began testing coronavirus levels in wastewater on the University’s main campus and in the surrounding community to provide an early warning system that shows how fast the virus is spreading.

Freedman likened the tests to the “canary in the coal mine” that can help administrators make informed decisions about what they need to do to protect the public’s health even before COVID-19 case counts start to rise. In addition to campus, his testing covers the city of Clemson and the town of Pendleton, both home to many University students, faculty and staff.

 

Studies have shown that the virus starts showing up in wastewater as much as one to two weeks before clinical symptoms are reported.

 

Clemson City Council unanimously passed an ordinance on June 24 that mandated face coverings after Freedman found surprisingly high virus levels at the city’s Cochran Road wastewater treatment plant. The ordinance cited “elevated levels of virus in the community similar to levels in other cities in which an outbreak of the virus was about to occur or was well underway.”

Previous studies first done in Europe have shown that the virus starts showing up in wastewater as much as one to two weeks before clinical symptoms are reported, said Freedman.

“Even before people are coughing and getting a fever, they’ll start shedding the virus in their feces, and that will show up in the wastewater,” Freedman said. Once or twice a week, Freedman collects wastewater samples from one campus plant and two municipal plants and sends them to a lab in Tennessee. Results from the testing are posted on both the city and the University websites.