The Legisgator

A newsletter for the Gator Caucus

Publication Date: December 13, 2009

Hello, and welcome to The LegisGator, the University of Florida's newsletter designed for members of the Gator Caucus. The LegisGator is a quick read featuring UF news bites you may have missed but would like to share with your fellow lawmakers or others.

Did you know?

The University of Florida’s federal research awards rose 4.3 percent to $336.5 million last year, led by the National Institutes of Health with $131.7 million and the National Science Foundation with $46.3 million. The University of Florida – Working for Florida.

This week's spotlight:

State Senator for District 35

Dan Gelber (D)

Gator connection: Received a law degree from the University of Florida.

Background: Gelber’s district covers parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties. He was elected to the Senate in 2008. He is vice chairman of the Commerce Committee and the Higher Education Appropriations Committee. Other committees he serves on are the Policy and Steering Committee on Social Responsibility; Policy and Steering Committee on Ways and Means; Communications, Energy and Public Utilities; Judiciary; Select Committee on Florida’s Economy; and Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight. Gelber previously served in the House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008 and was Democratic Leader of the House from 2006 to 2008. Gelber’s public service career began when he was appointed one of the nation’s youngest federal prosecutors at the age of 25. From 1986 to 1994 he was assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida in the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Unit. He was selected by U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn to be chief counsel and staff director of the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, where he directed U.S. Senate investigations into global terrorism and weapons of mass destruction from 1994 to 1996. His professional honors include being selected as a “Top Lawyer” by the South Florida Legal Guide in 2005 and making the Best Lawyers in America list in 2004. In addition to his law degree from UF, Gelber received a bachelor of arts degree from Tufts University. He was born and grew up in Miami Beach. At age 24, he co-founded a summer camp for children with cancer, where he continues to volunteer.

News Bites

Computer model reveals where food pathogens grow

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — An outbreak of food-related illness, such as E. coli-tainted spinach, often leaves food safety experts scratching their heads over the source of the contamination.
read more

Highest jobless rate in three decades causes drop in consumer confidence

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s consumer confidence fell three points to 69 in November amid continued concerns over the state’s high unemployment rate, according to a new University of Florida survey.
read more

Floridians plan to spend little more than last year this gift-giving season

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s retailers are in for a repeat of last year’s dismal holiday season, with consumers expecting to spend about the same amount of money on gifts, a new University of Florida survey finds.
read more

Dengue virus returns to Florida after more than 50 years, UF researchers say

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida mosquito researchers are watching with a wary eye as dengue virus returns to the state after more than 50 years.
read more

Engineer designs micro-endoscope to seek out early signs of cancer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Traditional endoscopes provide a peek inside patients’ bodies. Now, a University of Florida engineering researcher is designing ones capable of a full inspection.
read more

UF grape research aims to push wine, grape industries beyond climate and pest obstacles

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Research that could transform grape production around the world is under way in the heart of Florida.
read more

UF/IFAS research harnesses sun’s power to kill weeds

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Sunshine helps flowers grow, and it can help rid soil of harmful organisms that hurt Florida’s $9 million cut flower industry, a University of Florida expert says.
read more

‘Escaped’ proteins add to hearing loss in elderly, UF researchers found

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Age-related hearing loss is the most common sensory disorder among the elderly. But scientists are still trying to figure out what cellular processes govern or contribute to the loss.
read more

Researcher: ‘Optical biopsy’ for breast cancer increasingly accurate

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Most biopsies following mammograms reveal benign abnormalities, not cancer.
read more

Termites’ gut reactions show how to improve renewable fuel, UF researchers say

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Termite damage costs the U.S. more than $1 billion each year, but that same destructive power might help solve one of the nation’s most pressing economic quandaries: sustainable fuel production.
read more