Glasgow hosts speakers from US strategic partner Columbia University

Published: 8 June 2012

Glasgow welcomed two academic speakers from Columbia University, New York, recently.

Glasgow welcomed two academic speakers from Columbia University, New York, recently.

Dr Sandro Galea, Gelman Professor and Chair of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, spoke at an Institute of Health and Wellbeing Seminar on 1 May about the biological and behavioural causes of disease, while his colleague Alan Brinkley, the Allan Nevins Professor of American History, delivered the 12th Annual Gordon Lecture in American Studies on 2 May.

Dr Galea’s primary research has been on the causes of mental disorders, particularly common mood-anxiety disorders and substance abuse, and on the role of traumatic events in shaping population health.

He has published more than 250 scientific journal articles, 50 chapters and commentaries, and five books. He was named as one of TIME magazine’s epidemiology innovators in 2006.

Prof Brinkley spoke on the ‘The Great Depression: Then and Now’. A world-leading expert on the Great Depression and the New Deal in US history, he is the author of such works as Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression (Knopf, 1982), which won the 1983 National Book Award; The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (Knopf, 1995); and Liberalism and Its Discontents (Harvard, 1998).

In 2009 at the start of the current economic crisis, Prof Brinkley briefed members of Congress and their staff on the relevance of the Great Depression for today's situation. He has continued to reflect on these connections, and spoke about them at the lecture, after giving an overview of the New Deal programmes devised by President Roosevelt's administration during the 1930s.

In the evening of 1 May, the Principal hosted a dinner in the Lodging for Prof Brinkley (and his wife Prof Evangeline Morphos, also a Columbia University professor) and Professor Galea.

Glasgow has a strategic partnership with Columbia University, developed over the last five years. Both universities are members of their respective groups of research-intensive universities, namely the UK Russell Group and the American Ivy League and both universities regard the development of international links as a high priority because of the benefits these bring in terms of enhanced research, learning and knowledge transfer opportunities.

Biomedicine was identified as the initial area for collaboration given the respective complementary strengths of the two universities in this area. The collaboration has support at the highest levels in each institution and there is great enthusiasm to grow the Biomedical  activity and expand collaboration to other areas where it is mutually beneficial. Links are developing in Cognitive Psychology, and recently we have become aware of links in Gravitational Waves research. In a visit to Columbia later this month, the International Dean, Prof David Fearn will explore opportunities in Economics, Engineering and History, amongst others.

A key feature of the Research Co-operation Programme over the past 5 years has been short exchange visits in both directions by, senior and younger scientists as well as at senior management level.     

For more information about the link with Columbia and how colleagues can get involved contact Professor David Fearn on or 0141 330 5417.

First published: 8 June 2012

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