Barnali Dixon, Ph.D.

Barnali Dixon’s groundbreaking research recognized at national NIH conference

Barnali Dixon, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental science, policy and geography at USF St. Petersburg, recently returned from a national conference organized by the National Institutes of Health about the impact of nitrogen on human health.

Dr. Dixon, director of the USF St. Petersburg Geo-Spatial Analytics Lab, was the only groundwater and soil scientist invited to the conference, “Impacts of Excess Nitrogen in the Environment on Human Health,” held Nov. 13 and 14 at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md.

The conference focused on the impact of excessive nitrogen on human health and brought together environmental, biomedical researchers and public health experts.

Dr. Dixon made an oral presentation on statistical regional modeling of nitrate in groundwater, based on her innovative research published in Hydrogeology Journal in 2009. The research was funded by the Florida Water Resources Research Center.

“It was an honor to be invited to the conference as the only soil and groundwater scientist,’’ Dr. Dixon said.

“Dr. Dixon’s work is an exemplar of the importance of integrating knowledge about our environment and human health,” said Norine Noonan, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “It is a tribute to Dr. Dixon and to USFSP that her work is acknowledged by her peers.”

The goal of the conference was to gather experts across disciplines to review the state of the science of the effects of excess nitrogen in the environment. Excess nitrogen can be harmful to humans, and Dr. Dixon’s research can help focus limited resources on areas of highest risk.

“Her research is a very good example of the use of statistical methods to predict the risk of nitrate contamination in rural wells,’’ said Tom Nolan of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Excess nitrogen in groundwater is a very serious problem in the U.S., Dr. Dixon said, particularly in states like Florida with a large number of septic tanks, or states where intensive agriculture and high fertilizer application rates.

Four USF St. Petersburg students in the sinus lab.

USFSP and St. Anthony’s Hospital team up for international sinus conference

USF St. Petersburg and St. Anthony’s Hospital teamed up this week to host a prestigious international gathering of university professors and innovators in sinus and nasal health to educate ear, nose, throat specialists on new technology and advanced treatment techniques.

The three-day gathering included lab work at the USF St. Petersburg Science and

Norine Noonan (left), Mayor Bill Foster and William Ulbricht, president of St. Anthony’s Hospital, at the opening meeting of the conference.

Technology Building and lectures at the Marriott Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort and Golf Club. St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster gave welcoming remarks Thursday.

It is the second time USFSP and St. Anthony’s have joined together to host the gathering, which included surgeons from Florida and more than 20 states and seven countries. Hospitals and universities represented at the symposium include Johns Hopkins University; University of Graz, Austria; Yale University; Boys Town Ear Nose and Throat Institute in Omaha, Neb.; the University of Texas, Houston; and the University of Pennsylvania.

St. Anthony's Hospital

St. Anthony’s Hospital

USFSP students participated in the lectures and observed the lab work, which involved hands-on, image-guided techniques for sinus surgery.

“We are honored to host this prestigious gathering and pleased that our pre-med students have this wonderful opportunity to learn from leaders in the field,’’ said Norine Noonan, Ph.D., USFSP regional vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Donald C. Lanza, MD, MS, board-certified otolaryngologist, was course director for the symposium. “Many of our guest speakers are internationally recognized in the development of minimally invasive (endoscopic) sinus surgery treatments, as well as in innovations in surgical technology,” said Dr. Lanza, who is co-director of St. Anthony’s Minimally Invasive Skull Base Center.

Titled Advanced Techniques in Endoscopic Management of Sinonasal Disorder, the symposium offered a special focus on nasal and sinus diseases and conditions affecting children.