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Awards and appointments, December 2008

By Adam Overland

A film based on an interpretation of the music of James Dillon was one of ten recipients to receive a 2008 "Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik" (The Annual German Record Critics' Award).

December 17

To submit U of M staff or faculty for consideration in People, contact the Brief editor .

A film based on an interpretation of the music of James Dillon was one of ten recipients to receive a 2008 "Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik" (The Annual German Record Critics' Award). The award was for the film Traumwerk, Book I for Violin Duo, directed by Johan Ramstr?m and based on an interpretation of the music of James Dillon, School of Music professor and composer. Traumwerk ("Dreamwork") won in the category of classical DVD for film and sound production. The film answers the critical question of how instrumental music can be transformed into a consistent visual language. Dillon's Traumwerk also received the Royal Philharmonic Prize in 1998. The Duo Gelland will present Traumwerk during their U.S. tour, which includes a stop in Minnesota in April 2009. They will also teach a master class at the School of Music and work with K-12 students in the Twin Cities and Duluth during that month. Dillon, with pianist and U of M professor Noriko Kawai, recently founded the Contemporary Music Workshop at the U of M School of Music. For more information, see the news release.

Sarah Buchanan, UMM associate professor of French, has been invited to join the National Screening Committee for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Scholarships. The committee is under contract to the U.S. Department of State to publicize, receive, and process Fulbright applications and recommend candidates for graduate study awards to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for Fulbright grants. The National Screening Committee is composed of distinguished members of the academic community and professions.

Paul Rosenblatt has been honored by the National Council on Family Relations as a new fellow.
Paul Rosenblatt has been honored by the National Council on Family Relations as a new fellow.

Paul Rosenblatt, professor in the Department of Family Social Science, has been honored by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) as a new fellow. NCFR is the primary academic organization in Rosenblatt's field, and he has been a member since 1970. He is the cofounder and first co-chair of the Rural Families Focus Group and founder and first chair of the Grief and Families Focus Group. Fellowship status in NCFR is an honor awarded to relatively few members of NCFR who have made outstanding and enduring contributions to the field of the family in the areas of scholarship, teaching, outreach or professional service, including service to NCFR. By definition, outstanding contributions are those that have had a broad impact on the field and are enduring over time. These contributions occur infrequently. No more than 1% of the number of members in NCFR will be awarded fellowship status in one year. Founded in 1938, NCFR provides an educational forum for family researchers, educators and practitioners to share in the development and dissemination of knowledge about families and family relationships, establishes professional standards and works to promote family well-being.

Neal Gault Jr., former dean and alumnus of the Medical School, died Dec. 11, at age 88. Dean of the Medical School from 1972 to 1984, Gault was known for his commitment to students, especially for helping them deal with the financial pressures of medical school. This commitment led Gault and his wife Sarah, a University alumna and physician who passed away in 1994, to create several funds to help medical students finance their education. Additionally, he helped establish the world's first endowed chair in sexual health at the University and served on the leadership advisory council for the Program in Human Sexuality. For more information, see Neal Gault.

Jim Rothenberger, longtime School of Public Health faculty member, died Dec. 8. Rothenberger taught close to 100,000 students at the U during his tenure, including many popular undergraduate courses and the required alcohol awareness class for freshmen. Rothenberger was a recognized expert nationally in HIV/AIDS prevention, school and college health, death and dying education and counseling, alcohol and drug abuse prevention, and community health. He was also an SPH and University pioneer in the use of Web technology for learning. More information about Jim Rothenberger is available at the School of Public Health.

Former Department of Microbiology department head Dennis Watson passed away on Nov. 30, at the age of 94. Watson joined the University of Minnesota in 1949, becoming the head of the microbiology department in the U's school of medicine. He led the department from 1964 to 1984. Following is a link to the obituary article in the Star Tribune.

U in the News A selection of U faculty in the news 

The Day The Earth Stood Science 

Equations in the new film, The Day The Earth Stood Still, include a little U knowledge. The film used actual relativity equations, provided by Marco Peloso, a physics professor at the University of Minnesota. Popular Science.

This guy wrote the book on finance 

Financing homework is critical in a credit crisis. A book by Dileep Rao of the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management offers practical tips. Star Tribune 

Survey finds decline in teen smokers 

Smoking among Minnesota teenagers has declined for eight-straight years, according to the latest statewide survey, and the state's smoking ban appears to have had a profound impact on middle schoolers' attitudes toward tobacco. Jean Forster, a University of Minnesota professor who studies youth smoking, said the lower rates among girls may also reflect their sensitivity to social norms. Star Tribune.

Scientists test gene therapy for AIDS, sickle cell cures 

Following the apparent success of a case in which German doctors cured a man of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) using a bone marrow transplant, American researchers have developed a mouse model that allows pre-clinical testing of their new gene therapy--protocol that offers real hope as cure for the deadly virus. Jakub Tolar, of the University of Minnesota and lead author of the study published in Blood said: "We have been looking into stem cells as viable treatment options for correction of conditions such as epidermolysis bullosa, because they can produce extracellular matrix proteins. In this condition, the skin, the largest organ in the body, can significantly benefit from a renewable source of healthy cells that can help improve the connection between the dermis and epidermis and strengthen the skin against everyday stresses." Nigerian Guardian News.

December 10

Department of Forest Resources associate professor Mike Kilgore has been named interim head of Minnesota's new Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council, which will recommend how money raised by the recently passed constitutional amendment should be spent on fish and wildlife habitat. Kilgore also directs the Center for Environment and Natural Resource Policy and was appointed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty to chair the Conservation Legacy Council. The 12-member legislative-citizens council met for the first time Dec. 1 at the Capitol. The council will make recommendations on how to spend about $90 million of the $270 million that will be raised yearly by the sales tax increase approved by voters in November.

David Largaespada of the U's Masonic Cancer Center and Medical School has been awarded a nearly $800,000 grant as part of a collaboration with researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio, to study NF1 syndrome, a genetic disorder that, among other problems, causes benign tumors to grow in the nerves. These benign tumors, called neurofibromas, can sometimes suddenly transform into a malignant state, called malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST). The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a unit of the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C., awarded the grant. Largaespada leads the Masonic Cancer Center's Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Research Program. For more information, see David Largaespada.

Kathryn Sedo, professor of Clinical Instruction at the U Law School, has been appointed vice chair of the American Bar Association's Committee on Low Income Taxpayers and will become chair on July 1, 2009. The Committee on Low Income Taxpayers lends an informed voice to matters that affect low-income taxpayers, both broad law and procedure issues and day-to-day tax law administration concerns. It addresses, for example, earned income and other tax credits, personal-exemption deductions, dependent qualifications, and tax collections. Sedo joined the Law School's clinical faculty in 1979. She is director of the Tax Clinic and teaches tax procedure. For more information, see Kathryn Sedo.

U in the News A selection of U faculty in the news 

Next stop: Fast St. Paul-to-Chicago train? 

Amtrak ridership in Minnesota continues at a record pace, greasing the rails for high-speed train service between St. Paul and Chicago. Bob Johns, director of the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota, comments on the possibility of Amtrak expansion. For more information, see Star Tribune.

Real-life sex addiction not so funny 

Sex addiction has come out of the closet. While academics and therapists don't agree on whether to call it a disease or a compulsive disorder, most do generally define the problem in the same way, says Anne McBean, a psychologist and therapist who coordinates treatment for compulsive sexual behavior at the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota Medical School. For more information, see Star Tribune.

Voices on the environment 

In Minnesota Public Radio's Voices on the Environment segment, the U's Dave Tilman and Deborah Swackhamer discussed climate change and other environmental issues. For more information, see MPR.

U in the Top 100 innovations 

Popular Science, a US-based magazine, has selected the 100 top innovations from items featured in its pages over the last 12 months. Researchers from the University of Minnesota (led by Doris Taylor) made the list with the innovation of a heart that could someday replace the need for transplants. For more information, see Top 100. For more about the research taking place at the U, see Researchers create a new heart.

December 3

The President's Award for Outstanding Service is now accepting nominations.

The award was established in 1997 to recognize faculty and staff who have provided exceptional service to the University. It is presented each year in the spring and honors active or retired faculty or staff members who have gone well beyond their regular duties and have demonstrated an unusual commitment to the University community. Nominations for this award are due by March 13, 2009. Nominators must be current members of the University of Minnesota faculty or staff or alumni of the University. Nomination letters should focus on the nominator's personal knowledge of the nominee's exceptional service, such as innovative service to students, the University community, individual units of the University, or outreach beyond the University.

For further information about this award or the nominating process, please call the University Senate Office at 612-625-9369 or see awards.

U in the News A selection of U faculty in the news 

The Perils and Perks of Raising Children in the White House 

As incoming President Barack Obama ponders economic-bailout plans in the Oval Office, some pretty heavy action will be taking place in the private quarters of the White House, too. "All children stumble. That's the nature of childhood," says Ann Masten, a professor of child development at the University of Minnesota. Wall Street Journal 

Holiday Advice for Shopping Addicts 

For shopping addicts, the holiday season isn't always so merry, Kimberly Palmer reports. Compulsive spenders "often feel the holiday shopping time almost gives them permission to do it, and they feel greater pressure sometimes. There are a lot of sights and sounds that trigger desires, including catalogs in the mail and shopping ads on the radio and television," says Jon Grant, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota, which houses a clinic for impulsive disorders. U.S. News and World Report 

Shades of Gray for Black Friday 

Last year, retailers were struck with "Midnight Madness." This year, the early bird can hit snooze. It has to be, according to Mark Bergen, a pricing expert and marketing professor at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. CNBC 

AIDS continues at a deadly pace 

More than 25 years into the AIDS epidemic, HIV infection continues to take a toll in the United States. Tim Schacker, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota, is familiar with the AIDS problem in Africa. Minnesota Public Radio 

Inside Track: Biz in a tight spot? 

Ino-v8 A woeful economy is no reason to discourage innovation as an expense that a company can't afford. So says a study cowritten by Rajesh Chandy, a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. Star Tribune