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|July 25, 2002
1. Water and weight loss
2. Cultivating the world's most expensive incense
3. Toward safer, more effective cancer treatments
4. Science-related answers are a phone call away
5. Picking the right candidate
6. New fellowship will maximize the "Yudof effect"
7. U of M Happenings
U IN THE NEWS
Water and weight loss
Some people give up water when they diet, thinking they'll lose weight. But just the opposite happens. If you don't drink enough water every day, your body may be storing water and the fat that you don't want.
The University of Minnesota Water Resource Center has incorporated research from several sources into a short, concise guide on drinking water to lose weight. Here are some highlights:
- Your body needs water--it's 60 percent water. But if you don't drink enough, your body thinks it's in danger and tries to hold on to all the water it can get. The water is stored between the cells and shows up as extra weight. Your feet, legs, and hands may even swell up. When your body gets enough water, the stored water is released.
- You need water to burn fat. Without water, your kidneys can't do their job properly and your liver must pitch in to help. While it's helping the kidneys, your liver can't burn as much fat, so some of the fat that would normally be used as fuel gets stored in your body instead. Drinking more water lets the liver get back to its own job--turning fat into fuel.
- The more water you drink, the less you'll eat. Water is a natural appetite suppressant. A glass of water before eating will help you feel full and eat less. By drinking water, you'll also get rid of extra salt, which can cause the body to retain water.
- Drinking cool or cold water is best. It is absorbed faster and cold water may burn more calories. And don't drink soda, tea, coffee, or anything else with caffeine in it. Caffeine is a diuretic and will cause you to lose water.
So how do you know if you are drinking enough water? Your urine will be colorless. Eventually, your body will adjust to more water so you won't be constantly running to the restroom.
The fact sheet, "Water Will Help You Lose Weight," is available through the U of M Extension Service at www.extension.umn.edu/water/diet_fs.pdf .
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Cultivating the world's most expensive incense
When most people think of expensive natural resources, they think of gold, silver, or diamonds, not wood. People living in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Guinea, or Saudi Arabia for example, might add agarwood to that list. And a University of Minnesota professor has come up with a way to cultivate it sustainably.
Agarwood is extremely rare and is the source of the world's most expensive incense. It's found only in the nearly extinct aquilaria trees growing in Southeast Asia and in certain parts of the world, it can be worth as much as $12,000 per pound or $20,000 per liter for the perfume extract in certain parts of the world. Agarwood is formed when aquilaria trees produce a resin as a defense mechanism against infection or injury causing its normally soft, white wood to become dark and hard. This resin-soaked wood is agarwood.
Robert Blanchette with some of his graduate students.
Through research funded by the Rainforest Project Foundation, Professor Robert Blanchette developed a technique by which resin can be produced without permanently damaging a tree. This method of drilling holes in the trunks of aquilaria trees (hence, stimulating resin production around the wound) would allow countries to grow aquilaria trees as a sustainable agricultural commodity.
"We hope to help save aquilaria trees from poaching in countries where people can make several year's salary from the agarwood found in just one tree," said Blanchette. "It's hard to imagine people in worse poverty than those in Vietnam. One of the goals is to give poor people in Southeast Asia a chance to raise agarwood as a crop, make a living through this renewable resource, and reduce the number of aquilaria trees taken from the wild," added Blanchette.
Agarwood is highly valued in Asian and Middle Eastern cultures for its medicinal qualities, for its use in religious rituals, and as a perfume in countries like Japan, China, Yemen, and India. In Japan, many consider agarwood to be sacred and use it to anoint the dead. In the Buddhist religion, it is a key ingredient in many incense mixtures used to calm the spirit. Middle Eastern cultures see agarwood perfume as a status symbol.
A local villager with aquilaria tree.
Local residents and Blanchette's group are planting 17,000 aquilaria trees in Vietnam this summer, and after three to four years they plan to harvest the agarwood. In the meantime, Blanchette continues to work on optimizing the ways agarwood is produced and harvested and plans to share what is learned in Vietnam with others. "We hope to take our techniques to other countries with aquilaria trees and help set up a cultivation process to try and save these trees there as well," said Blanchette.
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Toward safer, more effective cancer treatments
University of Minnesota cancer researchers will accelerate their research on new cancer therapies for patients, thanks to a $3.5 million bequest from former Minneapolis schoolteacher Olga Hart.
Combined with gifts from other benefactors, the bequest will be used to create a new initiative in cancer therapeutics at the University's Cancer Center. The Cancer Therapeutics Initiative will convert laboratory findings into treatment to help patients. It will also support high-priority clinical trials.
This approach, sometimes referred to as an experimental cancer pipeline, will involve a collective, coordinated effort to use novel therapeutic strategies to target specific malignancies. For example, the Cancer Center recently conducted clinical trials with melanoma and renal cell carcinoma vaccines. These vaccines are experimental therapies designed to treat people who already have cancer and possibly prevent or delay a recurrence. The vaccines are designed to teach an individual's immune system how to recognize enemy cancer cells and to search out and destroy them.
"The prevention of cancer is always our goal," said John Kersey, Cancer Center director. "Unfortunately, research is showing that many cancers will not be preventable. Consequently, we need to continue to develop new, safer, and more effective cancer treatments. The Cancer Therapeutics Initiative will facilitate the testing of new cancer treatments, some of which have been and will continue to be discovered by our outstanding Cancer Center researchers."
If you have questions about cancer prevention, treatment, or support services, call 1-888-226-2376 or 612-624-2620. You can also search for answers at www.cancer.umn.edu.
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Science-related answers are a phone call away
What is Poisson's ratio for polystyrene? Or what is the best way to synthesize Tetraisocyanatosilane? The answers to such complicated scientific questions are only a phone call away. With some 5,000 volumes of technical reference books at hand, the reference desk staff at the University's Science and Engineering Library are ready to answer your science-related queries by phone (612-624-0224) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The non-circulating Science and Engineering collection, housed in the recently remodeled Walter Library on the Twin Cities campus, includes a wide range of reference tools. There are handbooks in nearly every area of physical sciences and engineering and subject-focused dictionaries as well as foreign-language dictionaries that cover the sciences or technology broadly or address more specific topics, like the Dictionary of Paint (which is peinture, anstrichfarbe, and verf--in French, German, and Dutch respectively).
Perhaps the most important component of the reference service is its staff. With years of training and experience, they can help you find factual information or give advice on how to proceed on a research project. The answer to a typical, "how can I find" question may be found in a book or journal in the collection, a Web site, or in a collection located elsewhere.
Now, to answer those nagging questions: the Poisson's ratio for polystyrene is .325 and an up-to-date synthesis for Tetraisocyanatosilane can be found in Inorganic Syntheses. And here's a freebie for the heck of it: the library does own the C. R. Acad. Sci Ser. II: Sci Terre Planet, which stands for the Comptes rendus de l'Academie des sciences. Serie II. Sciences de la terre et des planetes. In case it ever comes up in conversation.
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Picking presidential candidates
Who will be the next University of Minnesota president? Twelve people named last week to the University's Presidential Search Advisory Committee will be key to identifying the top candidates.
The advisory committee, appointed by the Board of Regents, will be responsible for sorting through numerous resumes and identifying seven qualified semifinalists to advance to the board, which will make the final decision. Tops on the regents' list of 14 characteristics for a new president are "impeccable integrity" and the ability to connect with alumni, donors, and community leaders.
In selecting the advisory committee, the board sought a broadly representative committee that included faculty, students, alumni, donors, and other key university and public constituencies. Ann Huntrods, an attorney with Briggs & Morgan, was named chair of the committee and 11 others were chosen: Wilbert Ahern, professor of history, University of Minnesota, Morris; James R. Campbell, retired chair and CEO, Wells Fargo; Joshua Colburn, president, Minnesota Student Association; Sara Evans, professor of history, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Steve Hunter, secretary-treasurer, Minnesota AFL-CIO; Reatha Clark King, chair of the board of trustees, General Mills Foundation; Peggy Leppik, retiring state representative; Marilyn Speedie, dean of the College of Pharmacy; John Sullivan, regents professor of political science, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Robin Tellor, financial adviser, American Express Financial Advisors; and Lori-Anne Williams, assistant to the dean, General College.
"This is an outstanding group of individuals whose advice will prove invaluable to the board," says Maureen Reed, chair of the Board of Regents. "We thank them for agreeing to the time commitment and work involved."
The first advisory committee meeting will be held in August. The regents hope to name a new president to replace Mark Yudof by the end of the year. Robert Bruininks, former executive vice president and provost, has been named interim president effective Aug. 1.
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New fellowship maximizes the "Yudof effect"
Hopes are that the new $500,000 Mark G. and Judy Yudof Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Science Policy and Ethics will positively impact society far beyond the University.
"Science policy and ethics are not only personal passions of Mark Yudof, but are also crucially important to our society, our economy, and quality of life," said Gerald Fischer, president and CEO of the University of Minnesota Foundation, at a recent farewell gathering for the Yudofs. "This endowment will enable the Yudof effect to continue to create excellence at this University and to change the world for the better for countless future generations."
The University of Minnesota Foundation established the fellowship to recognize the Yudofs' leadership in raising private gifts and engaging the community on behalf of the University. The fellowship will be funded by a $250,000 grant from the foundation and matched by the 21st Century Graduate Fellowship Endowment, a fund that matches fellowship gifts of $25,000 or more.
Mark and Judy Yudof at the the July 16 "Hats Off to Yudof" farewell on Northrop Mall.
The fellowship will support a top graduate student who is pursuing interdisciplinary work in science policy and ethics. These fields are also supported by strong faculty research at the University. The student receiving the fellowship will likely study with faculty from the Law School, health and biological sciences, Humphrey Institute, Institute of Technology, or related fields.
Yudof said the fellowship is "a wonderful honor" and that it "will help attract some of the nation's brightest young minds to Minnesota to help address some of the most complex and vexing ethical issues we face--maybe some that we haven't even yet conceived."
During Yudof's tenure, the University of Minnesota launched Campaign Minnesota, its largest fund-raising effort ever, with a goal of raising $1.3 billion to support faculty, students, research, libraries, and University programs. The campaign surpassed its goal in May, with one year left until the campaign closes in June 2003. Priorities for the final year of the campaign are to complete the goals for student support, libraries, and campus and collegiate needs. As of June 30, 2002, the campaign has raised $1.365 billion.
The University of Minnesota Foundation provides University-wide leadership for the campaign and is dedicated to raising and managing gifts for the University.
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U OF M HAPPENINGS
Glensheen Historical Estate's daily summer hours through October are 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. On Saturdays at 3:45 p.m., you can go beyond the ropes in this Duluth mansion and take a peek into closets and drawers with the Bedroom Slipper Tour. And through September 2, there will be a special exhibit, "A Closer Look: The Congdon's Children--Pets and Pastimes." For more information, call 218-726-8910 or 888-454-4536.
The Raptor Center on the Twin Cities campus in St. Paul will be open to visitors until 8 p.m. on Thursday evenings through August 29. Admission is free, and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and introduce you to resident eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons. For more information about educational programs and events at the center, see www.raptor.cvm.umn.edu or call 612-624-2756.
A curiosity cabinet, an art gallery, and a science lab--all at the "Exploring Nature's Histories and Mysteries" exhibit at the Bell Museum. The exhibit, which draws from rarely seen objects from the museum's art and scientific collections, will run through August 4. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Admission is free on Sundays. On all other days, admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children 3-16 and seniors 62 plus. For more information, call 612-624-7083.
Volunteers are needed for a study to evaluate the barriers and issues confronting people who are raising their grandchildren or children of other relatives. The study involves a one-to two-hour interview conducted face-to-face in homes or local community agencies. For more information, call Pricilla Gibson at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work, 612-624-3678 or 1-800-779-8636.
Rides on an old-time carousel are one highlight of the second annual Rein-in Sarcoma fundraiser to be held Monday, July 29, from 6:30-9 p.m. at Como Park in St. Paul. The event, which also includes folk music and a silent auction, benefits sarcoma research at the University of Minnesota Cancer Center. The suggested donation is $10 per person or $20 per family. For more information, see www.reininsarcoma.org.
Learn about food, weather, flowers, and animals at the 3rd annual Agriculture Open House hosted by the College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences on Saturday, July 27, from 9 a.m.-1p.m., on the Twin Cities campus in St. Paul. In addition to free tours, exhibits, and stage presentations, there will fun activities for the kids. So bring the whole family and invite your neighbors too. Free parking is available. For a complete list of events and activities, see www.coafes.umn.edu/openhouse2002.
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