Government Relations

The Legisgator

A newsletter for the Gator Caucus

Publication Date: August 8, 2011

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?

UF and Gainesville are among 29 leading U.S. research institutions and their local communities to form Gig.U, an effort designed to bring ultra-high-speed broadband connectivity to their campuses and communities.

Economic impact in all 67 counties

UF infuses $8.76 billion into the Florida economy each year and provides more than 106,000 jobs directly and indirectly. For a county-by-county look at UF's impact, go to this website. The University of Florida – Working for Florida.

This week's spotlight:

Representative from District 91

George Moraitis (R)

Gator connection: George Moraitis graduated from the University of Florida with a law degree in 2002. His wife, Heather Moraitis, graduated with a master’s degree in education from UF.

Background: Moraitis was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale. After graduating from Fort Lauderdale High School in 1988, he was appointed to the United States Naval Academy where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1992. After graduating from the academy, Moraitis served as a submarine officer for seven years and then continued his service in the Navy Reserve. After receiving his law degree from UF, where he graduated summa cum laude, Moraitis returned to Fort Lauderdale with his wife, Heather, and his two daughters, Alexis and Catherine. He became partner at the law firm of Moraitis Cofar Karney & Moraitis. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010. Moraitis also is a dedicated community service leader. He is a United States Naval Academy Blue and Gold Admissions Officer. He is a board member of the Westminster Academy as well as the WAFG-FM radio station in Fort Lauderdale. He volunteers at the local YMCA and Salvation Army. Moraitis has also served as a deacon at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale.

This week’s featured faculty:

Eric Ford, Astronomy

Lonnie Ingram

Eric Ford

Eric Ford is an associate professor in the department of astronomy at the University of Florida. After receiving his doctorate in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University in 2003, Ford worked at the University of California, Berkeley as a Miller Research Fellow. Next, Ford was a Hubble Fellow at the Theoretical Astrophysics Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before joining the faculty at UF in 2007. In 2011, the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society honored Ford with the Harold C. Urey prize for outstanding achievement in planetary research by a young scientist. His research focuses on studying exoplanets – planets that orbit stars other than our Sun. He collaborates with the leading planet search programs, including the California Planet Survey and NASA's Kepler mission Ford works to improve our understanding of how planetary systems form by studying the shapes and sizes of exoplanet orbits. In the long term, Ford's research aims to better understand the history of our own solar system and whether similar planetary are common or rare in the Milky Way galaxy.

News Bites

UF study finds artificial reefs are economic boon; enjoy widespread public support

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A newly released University of Florida study of artificial reef use in six southwest Florida counties shows the structures lure a lot more than fish.
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UF survey: Consumer confidence registers modest increase in July

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Increased optimism about making major purchases played a significant role in consumer confidence rising two points in July to 68, according to a new University of Florida survey.
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Geographic analysis offers new insight into coral disease spread

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — In the last 30 years, more than 90 percent of the reef-building coral responsible for maintaining major marine habitats and providing a natural barrier against hurricanes in the Caribbean has disappeared because of a disease of unknown origin.
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UF study strengthens concerns about long-term use of certain painkillers

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Painkillers such as ibuprofen, naxopren and celecoxib provide needed relief for many patients who have chronic pain. But an ongoing source of contention is whether those drugs and others in their class known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are linked to harmful health effects.
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UF astronomers start testing infrared camera at world’s largest telescope

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida astronomers are testing a new infrared camera this summer at the world’s largest telescope that will allow researchers to look for planets outside our own solar system and better explore hidden black holes at the centers of galaxies.
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Genetic analysis of costly cattle disease may aid in vaccine development

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Researchers at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine say proteins common to multiple strains of Anaplasma marginale, a tick-borne pathogen that costs the U.S. cattle industry millions of dollars annually and is even more devastating in developing countries, could hold the key to developing an effective vaccine against the disease.
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UF, FSU receive $10 million for project to digitize U.S. biology collections

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The National Science Foundation announced today its award of a $10 million grant to the University of Florida and Florida State University to coordinate 92 institutions in 45 states working to digitize the nation’s biological collections.
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UF-led team awarded more than $6.5 million for oil spill projects

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The National Institutes of Health has awarded a University of Florida-led team more than $6.5 million to study the environmental and psychological effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on communities along the Gulf coasts of Florida and Alabama.
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