Winners & Losers – 2/13/20
Dr. Scott Taylor
The assistant professor in the University of West Florida Department of Biology has secured a $400,000 grant from the National Eye Institute to study how zebrafish regenerate preceptor cells in their eyes after they’ve been damaged. The research will focus on using Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats, or CRISPR, genome-editing techniques to explore how zebrafish regenerate the retinal cells that receive light and start the visual process. The research could eventually have applications for treating blindness in humans.
Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS)
The industry leader in telemedicine solutions for diabetic retinal evaluation is a grantee for the Microsoft AI for Health Initiative. AI for Health, Microsoft’s newest initiative under their AI for Good program, will encompass a $40 million, five-year program that will leverage AI to empower organizations like IRIS in the realm of improving health. IRIS is one of six initial grantees for the AI for Health initiative. Each organization will work with Microsoft to use AI to decipher issues like discovering the cause of SIDS, eliminating leprosy and building an ecosystem that allows safe and secure sharing of biomedical data.
BJ’s Wholesale Club
The company announced a $30,000 donation to fund classroom projects currently listed by teachers in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties through crowd-funding website DonorsChoose. The funds from BJ’s Charitable Foundation provide classroom essentials and projects for the students of Pensacola and the surrounding area. The donation will fulfill 55 projects on DonorsChoose and impact over 5,000 local students.
It’s official. The educational initiative implemented under former Governor Rick Scott has been “officially eliminated” from Florida public school classrooms, according to Scott’s successor, Ron DeSantis. The new curriculum from the Florida Department of Education—Florida BEST (Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking) Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics—is expected to be formally adopted by the State Board of Education this month. Governor DeSantis said, “We’ve developed clear and concise expectations for students at every grade level and allow teachers the opportunity to do what they love most—inspire young Floridians to achieve their greatest potential.”
The White House last week announced that the U.S. had killed the leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Qassim al-Rimi, in a counterterrorism operation in Yemen. AQAP, considered the most dangerous branch of al-Qaida, was the group that claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack on NAS Pensacola that killed three people and wounded eight others. The group had released an 18-minute video that claimed it was in communication with the shooter whom the video alleged had been planning an attack for years.
Iowa Democrats showed up at more than 1,600 caucus sites on Monday, Feb. 3. The actual caucusing went pretty well, but when precinct officials went to send the results to the state party, the new app created for that purpose crashed. The results took days to tally, leaving people questioning whether too much emphasis was placed on the Iowa caucus.