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Home > People > Awards and Appointments - July 2009

Awards and Appointments - July 2009

By Adam Overland

Deb Swackhamer 165
Deborah Swackhamer, codirector of the Water Resources Center, has been named president elect of the National Institutes of Water Resources

July 22

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

Deborah Swackhamer, codirector of the Water Resources Center, has been named president elect of the National Institutes of Water Resources (NIWR) based in Washington D.C. Swackhamer will assume the one-year appointment Oct. 1 in addition to her regular University duties.

A professor of environmental chemistry in the University’s School of Public Health. Swackhamer also holds the Charles M. Denny, Jr. Chair of Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. She is internationally known for her research and leadership on persistent organic compounds including PCBs, dioxins, and pesticides in the Great Lakes and the exposure of endocrine disruptors and human-induced hormones in lakes and watersheds.

As president of NIWR, Swackhamer will oversee the network of 54 water resources centers located in land grant institutions across the country, as well as the agency’s efforts to coordinate and promote the training and research activities of water quality professionals and researchers in the United States and around the world.

In her role at the U’s Water Resources Center (WRC), Swackhamer manages the research and educational programs within the center and oversees the program that provides funding to researchers studying water resource problems in Minnesota and the Midwest. The WRC leverages the federal investment into a $4 million annual budget, which is put to work to improve the water quality of Minnesota’s lake, streams, rivers, and groundwater. The WRC was ranked among the top five water institutes in the country in its last national review. For more information, see water.

UMR's Teresa Puetz, Program Director, Continuing Education and Professional Development, was recently appointed as the state conference director for the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). SHRM will hold their annual conference in Rochester in October, which is expected to attract 600 HR professionals from around the state.

The University of Minnesota's Children, Youth, and Family Consortium (CYFC) recently selected four scholars and three fellows to participate in their CYFC Scholars Program. Through the Scholars Program, CYFC aims to generate new knowledge in the emerging area of study of the intersection of educational and health disparities, create opportunities to apply that knowledge to the work of practitioners and policy makers, and provide a professional development experience enriching the participants’ work and the work of CYFC. Scholars and fellows are named below. Find out more about the faculty, research staff, and graduate students selected, and their projects, at CYFC Scholars Program.


Yingling Fan, Assistant Professor, Regional Planning and Policy

Mary Hearst, Research Associate, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health

Ross MacMillan, Associate Professor and Director, Sociology and Life Course Center

Lauren Martin, Research Associate, Center for Early Education and Development


Tasoulla Hadjiyanni, Assistant Professor, Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel

Elaine Hernandez, Graduate Student, Department of Sociology

Vienna Rothberg, Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Pediatrics

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School's Center for Lung Science and Health (CLSH) have been awarded an $8.4 million dollar five-year Program Project Grant (PPG) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF. The project's principal investigator, Craig Henke, professor of medicine within the Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine Division at the University of Minnesota Medical School and a program advisor for the CLSH's Interstitial Lung Disease Program, recently published research in the Journal of Experimental Medicine which found that a specific defect in a cell known as a fibroblast is involved in the development of IPF. Henke and an interdisciplinary team of his colleagues, which consists of researchers from several University of Minnesota departments including Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Biostatistics, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Mathematics, as well as pathology researchers working at the University of Michigan, will work to uncover the underlying molecular processes involved in the development of the fibroblasts which cause the lung tissue scarring in patients with IPF. For more information about the Center for Lung Science and Health, see the CLSH Web site.

Bobbi Daniels has been selected as the next chief executive officer for University of Minnesota Physicians. Daniels's appointment was approved at a meeting of the board of directors on June 9 following an extensive, national search process. She will begin her new role October 1, 2009. Daniels has served as chief medical officer for UMPhysicians since 2003. In this role, she oversees the clinical care delivered by more than 700 physicians within the integrated group practice for the University of Minnesota Medical School full-time faculty. Daniels is also responsible for the operation of UMPhysicians owned and managed ambulatory clinics, with over 500,000 visits per year and approximately 1,100 employees. She has served on UMPhysicians’ Board of Directors since 1996 and is the chair of the Clinical Practice Committee. She works closely with leaders at Fairview Health Services, which includes University of Minnesota Medical Center and University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital, and the Medical School on strategic, long-term planning, aligning quality and service initiatives, and developing a patient-focused care delivery strategy.

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

Fox9 News interview with Jeffrey Nurick
Fox9 News interviewed a U staff member at the Institute on Community Integration, Jeffrey Nurick, and featured him in a story on what he, as a person with a disability, has learned about doing a successful job search. It's an inspiring story, and his tips apply to anyone. Fox9 News.

And now, a few new words for the wise: New words for 2009 dictionary
English teachers Jimmy and Laura Pogue say they teach a language that is still very much alive at Cooper High School and Hardin-Simmons University. Anatoly Liberman, professor of German, Scandinavian and Dutch at the University of Minnesota, writes the “Oxford Etymologist” blog and said people have been creating words “forever and ever and ever.” Reporter News.

Cremation becomes more acceptable
At age 34, Rochester resident Phil Larsen would seem to be at an unlikely stage in life to be deciding how his body should be disposed of when he dies. "I think death had its coming out at that point," said Michael LuBrant, director of the mortuary science program at the University of Minnesota. Rochester Post Bulletin.

Old equipment gets second life at U of M's Reuse Warehouse
When the University of Minnesota decides to get rid of a desk, or a chair, or a piece of equipment, it doesn't throw those items into a landfill. Minnesota Public Radio

Survival getting tough for some organic dairy farmers
In the Midwest, organic dairy farmers are standing by while prices plunge and survival gets tough. Last year demand grew at a rate of 20 percent, but today it's nearly flat. Jim Riddle is the organic outreach coordinator at the University of Minnesota. Minnesota Public Radio.

Recycle your mattress--and rest easy
In the Minneapolis facility, a custom-built machine crams and shapes the mattresses' bare steel skeletons into a bale, which is then weighed, tagged and picked up, sold and reused. The steel and foam can be melted down, and the low-grade cotton shows promise for use in oil and storm water filtration, said Tim Hagen, research coordinator for the University of Minnesota Duluth's Natural Resources Research Institute. Star Tribune.

Meet the Meat
If you’re a loyal customer of the U of M Dairy Salesroom, you are likely already a devoted patron of its fleshy twin, the U of M Meat Laboratory Salesroom. Heavy Table.

University of Minnesota Dairy Salesroom
Tucked in the basement of the Andrew Boss Lab of Meat Science on the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota is the worst-kept gastronomic secret in St. Paul: the U of M Dairy Salesroom. Heavy Table.


July 8

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

Three professors have been named Regents Professors by the University's Board of Regents. The designation is the highest level of recognition given to faculty by the University. They are Bruce Blazar, chief, University of Minnesota Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) Program, Thomas Johnson, professor of Geological Sciences and Lawrence Que Jr., Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. The addition of the new Regents Professors increases the total number of current Regents Professorships to 30.

Bruce BlazarBruce Blazar

Blazar is considered to be one of the foremost translational physician-scientists in the world. He is the chief of the University of Minnesota Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) Program, director of the U's Center for Translational Medicine and assistant vice president, Clinical and Translational Science Programs. Blazar also holds the Andersen Chair in Transplantation Immunology. His career at the University spans more than 30 years, where he has held a variety of leadership roles and mentored 47 trainees and junior faculty in his labs. He has a long track record as both a prolific and highly cited research scientist, having published more than 400 articles, with more than 1800 citations in 2009 alone. Blazar was also instrumental in garnering the $40 million gift from the Schulze Family Foundation to establish the Schulze Diabetes Institute.



Thomas Johnson

Thomas Johnson

Johnson is a professor of geological sciences and founding director of the Large Lake Observatory, University of Minnesota Duluth. He is considered to be the world's leading scientist studying the evolution of large lakes today. In 1981, he left the Twin Cities campus to accept the position of associate professor of geology and director of limnology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. During this time, he co-founded the International Decade of East African Lakes (IDEAL), a project with results that brought great benefit to the field of paleolimnology, including significant advances in drilling/coring technology, education and training of U.S. and African scientists and students, as well as a better understanding of the physical dynamics, biogeochemistry and paleoclimate history of East African lakes. He is credited with over 100 publications, many of which are found in some of the highest standard journals in his field. In addition to the many students and postdoctoral researchers that he has educated, and the junior faculty he has mentored, he has also directly supervised or advised at least five students from Kenya who obtained their doctoral degrees through IDEAL initiatives and numerous other students who went on to obtain their masters degree.

Lawrence Que Jr.

Lawrence Que Jr.

Que, Jr. is a 3M/Alumni Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the Institute of Technology. He is considered to be an internationally acclaimed scholar who has made a tremendous impact inthe field of bioinorganic chemistry. Que has played a pioneering role in understanding the function that nonheme iron centers play in dioxygen activation in biology. Under his guidance, 33 students received their doctoral degrees and 10 students received their master's degree. In addition, he has served as a research advisor to 66 postdoctoral students. Twenty-two former members of this group hold positions at industrial institutions as research scientists and 50 have tenure-track or tenured positions in colleges or universities. He is credited with establishing the University of Minnesota as a world-renowned center of excellence in bioinorganic chemistry and also led the effort to establish the U's Center for Metals in Biocatalysis, which comprises faculty and students from multiple departments who share interests in exploring the roles of metals in biology. He is the author of over 400 publications, presented 290 invited lectures, including 22 plenary, keynotes or endowed lectureships.

The Regents Professor position was established in 1965 by the Board of Regents to recognize the national and international prominence of faculty members. It serves as the highest recognition for faculty who have made unique contributions to the quality of the University of Minnesota through exceptional accomplishments in teaching, research and scholarship or creative work, and contributions to the public good.

Mobilization, Participation, and Democracy in America, a book written by vice president for scholarly and cultural affairs Steven Rosenstone and dean John Mark Hansen has been selected to receive the American Political Science Association's section on Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior Philip E. Converse Award for an outstanding book published at least five years ago. The Philip E. Converse Book Award will be announced at the section's Business Meeting, Sept. 4, 6:15 p.m., during the 2009 APSA Annual Meeting in Toronto.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) has recognized William Angell (Housing Studies; Midwest Universities Radon Consortium) with its 2009 Excellence in Extension Award for the North Central Region. The award, for Angell's work in radon mitigation will be presented at the association's annual meeting, Nov. 15, in Washington, DC. Indoor radon kills 70 times more people annually than accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in U.S. homes. Yet most people are more aware of carbon monoxide poisoning tragedies because they make the news. Angell, who also chairs the Prevention and Mitigation Working Group of the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Radon Project, noted that a scientific review sponsored by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention released in January 2009 identified radon mitigation as a key strategy needed for healthy housing. Radon test devices are inexpensive and can be found by contacting state radon officials listed at

Ruthann Manlet has been awarded a 2009 Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA) Pacesetter Award. The Pacesetter Award is designed to encourage further participation in APPA among those who have already made significant contributions at the regional or chapter level. The organization's board recognized Manlet for changing the way the members interact by promoting top-notch conference programs, and bringing a level of fun and excitement never before seen in the organization.

Manlet has been at the University of Minnesota Facilities Management Department since 1985. She directs the custodial program, which consists of 471 custodians and 25 administrative staff. Manlet is currently a team manager in the St. Paul district, where she is responsible for managing approximately 1 million square feet of buildings. For more information, see a feature story from 2007.

Mark Teragawa was recently appointed director of University Stores. Teragawa has been an integral part of U Stores' management team for the past 13 years and replaces Ed Kimmel who retired in early June. Teragawa is an alumnus of the College of Liberal Arts, and the University of St. Thomas, and has deep roots in the University community. Under Teragawa's leadership, staff at U Stores will focus on enhancing efficiencies, products, and service delivery.

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

Three Sixty: Latinos widen their Twin Cities influence
It's hard to miss the green, white and red exterior of Don Panchos Bakery. Lisa Sass Zaragoza, outreach coordinator of the University of Minnesota's Department of Chicano Studies, said Latinos are changing the Twin Cities culture in superficial and deeper ways. Star Tribune.

The Cannabis Conundrum: friend or foe?
Just as blue eyes and stubborn spirits are genetically inherited from parents, botanical genes code for flower color, seed shape, and stem size as well as the production of molecules important for fragrance, flavor, and natural chemicals. "I can't think of another plant that is so regarded as a miracle by some and a menace by others," said George Weiblen, Professor of Plant Biology at the University of Minnesota, in a recent interview. Telluride News.

Racial/religious profiling: An encounter with U.S. Customs
Over the last year, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities have stopped some Somalis from boarding planes. Abdi I. Samatar is a professor and chair of the Department of Geography, University of Minnesota. MinnPost.

Bush DOJ Hunted for Democrats, Panel Finds
The Department of Justice under the George W. Bush administration took off the blindfold and aimed the sites of prosecution on Democratic officials, a panel of experts has concluded. During a press conference at the National Press Club, Project Save Justice Executive Director Gail Sistrunk displayed a report by professors Donald Shields and John Cragan of the University of Minnesota that shows 85 percent of the indicted locally elected officials under the Bush administration were Democrats. Courthouse News Service.

Study finds surprising number of teens think they'll die young, leading to risky behavior
A surprising number of teenagers--nearly 15 percent--think they're going to die young, leading many to drug use, suicide attempts, and other unsafe behavior, new research suggests. Instead, a sizable number of teens may take chances "because they feel hopeless and figure that not much is at stake," said study author Iris Borowsky, a researcher at the University of Minnesota. Los Angeles Times.

Jobs Travel to Liver Transplant Mecca Shows Organ System Flaws
Steve Jobs, Apple Inc.'s chief executive officer, got a liver transplant quickly because of a U.S. system that favors patients with the means to rush to geographic areas where there is less competition for organs. Such patients often have fairly good liver function, and therefore, low transplant MELD scores, said John Lake, director of liver transplantation at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Bloomberg.

Surgeons are healing broken smiles in Armenia this week
A team of medical professionals headed by Raj Sarpal, a cardiac anesthesiologist from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, is in Yerevan to perform free reconstructive surgery on 50 to 55 Armenian children and young adults with cleft lip and cleft palate birth defects. Armenian Reporter.