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Immigrants Of The Day: Marina Belotserkovsky of Russia, Oliver Smithies of United Kingdom, and Mary O'Connell of Ireland

by Kevin R. Johnson

Marina Belotserkovsky (Former USSR)

Marina_belotserkovsky Marina Belotserkovsky, Director of Russian Communications and Community Outreach for Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in New York City is our Immigrant of the Day. As director of Russian Communications and Community Outreach at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Belotserkovsky is responsible for assisting over one million members of the U.S. Russian-speaking community. She produces and hosts "HIAS Answers," a radio and television program developed to provide information for new immigrants when they arrive in the United States. Together with her HIAS colleagues, Belotserkovsky has been instrumental in the success of Local Russian-speaking Émigré Organizations (LOREO) and The Civic and Voter Educational Initiative, HIAS' key national outreach programs for Russian Americans.

Belotserkovsky immigrated to the United States in 1989 as a refugee from the Former Soviet Union. In 1996, she became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Before coming to the United States, Belotserkovsky founded and ran a school for gifted children in St. Petersburg, Russia. She has a graduate degree in linguistics and teaching from the Pedagogical State University in St. Petersburg.

October 30, 2007 | Permalink

Oliver Smithies (UK)

Smithiesoliver3 Oliver Smithies (born July 23, 1925) is a geneticist and Nobel laureate, credited with the invention of gel electrophoresis in 1950, and the simultaneous discovery with Mario Capecchi of the technique of homologous recombination of transgenic DNA with genomic DNA.

Smithies was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England.  He studied Physiology for a BA First class and earned a second bachelor's degree in chemistry; he also received a MA and a DPhil in Biochemistry at Balliol College, Oxford.  Smithies dropped out of medical school to study chemistry.

From 1953 to 1960, Smithies worked in the Connaught Medical Research Laboratory, University of Toronto, Canada, due to visa problems, before he could return to his originally planned post at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he worked from 1960 to 1988.

Since 1988, Smithies has been designated an Excellence Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Smithies also works at the Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy.

Smithies' work has advanced research in cystic fibrosis and could possibly have applications in other human diseases. Along with gel electrophoresis, he developed gene targeting, a method of creating mice with more human-like characteristics for use in research. Smithies and Mario Capecchi both came to the same discoveries regarding gene targeting independently. Smithies developed the technique while at the University of Wisconsin. In 2002, Smithies worked along with his wife, Dr. Nobuyo Maeda, studying high blood pressure using genetically altered mice.  As of 1995, he still worked in his lab seven days a week.

On October 8, 2007, Smithies was announced as co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Mario Capecchi of the University of Utah (previously honored as Immigrant of the Day ) and Martin Evans of Cardiff University "for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells." Smithies is the first full professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to receive a Nobel Prize.

For a news story about how the success of Capecchi and Smithies shows why the United States must get its immigration policy right, click here.

October 31, 2007 | Permalink

Mary O'Connell (Ireland)

Sister_anthony_2 Mary O'Connell (also known as Sister Anthony) (1814-1897) was a Roman Catholic nun. Her work with the wounded during the American Civil War and health care in general caused her to be known as "the angel of the battlefield" and "the Florence Nightingale of America."

O’Connell was born in Limerick, Ireland in 1814. She immigrated to the United States, and joined the American Sisters of Charity in St. Joseph's Valley, and took the name of Sister Anthony. She was an active nurse during the Civil War, serving at Camp Dennison, and the battlefields of Winchester, Virginia, the Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, Richmond, Virginia, Nashville, Tennessee, Gallipolis, Ohio, Culpeper Court House, Virginia, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, Lynchburg, Virginia, and Stone River, Tennessee.

In recogntion of her service during the Civil War, in 1873, two citizens of Cincinnati purchased the U.S. Marine Hospital for Sister Anthony. She also received recognition for her work in the yellow fever epidemic of 1877. Sister Anthony retired from active live in 1880, and died in 1897.

November 16, 2007 | Permalink

These posts were orginally posted on the ImmigrationProf Blog here, here and here.

About The Author

Kevin R. Johnson is currently Dean, Professor of Law and Chicana/o Studies, and the Mabie-Apallas Public Interest Law Chair holder at the University of California at Davis. He is also one of the editors of ImmigrationProf Blog .

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.