Jeremy Myslowski. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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NIH grant will fund Tech graduate student’s study of human brain activity in alcohol use disorder

Jeremy Myslowski, a doctoral student in Virginia Tech’s translational biology, medicine, and health graduate program, is investigating whether people with alcohol use disorder could be trained to control their brain to improve their mental agility and even potentially reduce their cravings for things that do not serve their best health interests.

Myslowski, who works in Stephen Laconte’s, laboratory at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, will test his hypothesis with an $80,000, two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health’s Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award program. LaConte is an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics.

Myslowski’s study could point to a new kind of treatment for people with substance use disorders, said LaConte. According to the National Institutes of Health, in 2019 nearly 15 million people 12 and older in the United States had alcohol use disorder.

“It might be a kind of holistic approach to future rehabilitation and therapy approaches,” LaConte said in a statement. “A deeper understanding about how the brain works mechanistically might be unlocked through asking the questions that Jeremy is investigating.”

The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute may be the only place where Myslowski can answer to his questions, LaConte said. He will use prior alcohol use study data collected by LaConte and Warren Bickel, professor and director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute’s Addiction Recovery Research Center and the research institute’s Center for Health Behaviors Research, and a co-mentor on the fellowship.

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EarthLink CEO will be graduation speaker at UVA Wise

Glenn Goad. Courtesy of UVA Wise.

Southwest Virginia native Glenn Goad, the chief executive officer of EarthLink, will deliver the University of Virginia’s College at Wise keynote commencement speech.

The commencement ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, in the David J. Prior Convocation Center,

“While our main goal is preparing our students for success, we also work to promote economic development in the region so more of our graduates who want to stay and work here can and build vibrant, thriving lives,” UVA Wise Chancellor Donna P. Henry said in a statement. “Glenn Goad is the perfect example of someone who has found success and brought that success back home with him. I can’t imagine anyone better to inspire our UVA Wise Class of 2022,” Henry added. 

Goad learned his first business lessons growing up in Wise listening and watching his uncle hold meetings at a local restaurant.

After graduating from J.J. Kelly High School, now Central High, Goad served in the U.S. Air Force and later worked in hospitality before he found his calling working in the technology and digital marketing industry.

For several decades, Goad has been at the helm of the nation’s top tech companies including NCI Interactive, Allconnect, Qology, and Centerfield. He also holds a master’s degree in management of technology from Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).

Recently, Goad got the chance to bring his success back home by opening a new EarthLink sales and service center in Wise. 

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Virginia Tech researchers to address methods for measuring on-farm food loss and waste 

 Three faculty members at Virginia Tech received a $633,551 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to fund a four-year research project on the economics of food loss and waste.

“Reducing food loss and waste may have implications for both the environmental impact of agriculture and for food prices,” said John Bovay, an assistant professor of food and health economics and the principal investigator for the project, in a statement. “The environmental costs are mostly generated by inputs such as fertilizer, water, pesticides, and fuel to produce, market, and purchase food that eventually goes uneaten.”

In 2015, the Department of Agriculture partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set a goal to cut our nation’s food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030.

The long-term goal in the Virginia Tech project is to develop methods for measuring on-farm food loss and waste and to construct a nationwide measure for vegetables as well, which is missing from existing U.S. measures of loss and waste along the farm-to-fork food supply chain.

The team form the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will focus on vegetables for several reasons, according to Wei Zhang, a co-principal investigator and an assistant professor of environmental and natural resource economics.

“First, because produce is highly perishable, vegetables likely make up the majority of on-farm crop loss and waste. Second, vegetables are healthy but relatively expensive for consumers. Third, on-farm loss of vegetables may be particularly responsive to market forces and climate conditions,” said Zhang.

Feeding America, an organization that responds to the needs of individuals struggling with food insecurity, reported that the U.S. has more than enough food for everyone to eat. But each year, billions of pounds of food go to waste. Meanwhile, 38 million face hunger in the United States.

“This grant will allow the team to fully investigate the impact of agricultural policies on farm decision-making that will address these important and crucial issues of waste,” said Ford Ramsey, a co-principal investigator and an assistant professor in agribusiness.

The research began this year and is set to conclude in 2025.  

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Wytheville Community College band performs May 3

The Wytheville Community College Concert Band, under the direction of Frank Pugh, will present its Spring concert on Tuesday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m. at Legacy Church at 2150 West Ridge Road in Wytheville.

The performance, entitled “A Spring Concert,” will include selections from established composers like David Holsinger and Michael Sweeney. The audience will also be treated to fresh arrangements of familiar songs such as “Georgia On My Mind,” “Caravan,” and hits by Chicago. Musical medleys, pop classics, and exciting concert band selections round out the evening.  

Frank Pugh has been the Director of the WCC Concert Band since January of 2014. He is a 1987 graduate of George Wythe High School and has served as the Band Director at Fort Chiswell High School and Middle School for 26 years. The WCC Concert Band is comprised of community members from all walks of life, including music teachers from area schools, students at the community college, and local high school students.

The concert is free of charge, but donations to the “Bill Svec Endowment” are gladly accepted to help support band costs such as purchasing music.