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Home > People > Awards and Appointments, August 2009

Awards and Appointments, August 2009

By Adam Overland

Bruce Blazar
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a five-year, $9.5 million project grant to Bruce Blazar of the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center

August 19

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

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a five-year, $9.5 million project grant to Bruce Blazar, M.D., of the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center, and Joseph Antin, M.D., and Jerome Ritz, M.D., both with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The grant will be used to further their research on Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD), a complication that can occur after a patient undergoes a stem cell transplant for treatment of hematologic malignancies including leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. GVHD occurs when the transplanted donor cells perceive the patient’s body as foreign and attack the patient’s organs and tissue.

Blazar is a Regents Professor in the Department of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation, and a leading scientist in the Masonic Cancer Center’s Transplant Biology and Therapy Research Program.

The NIH award renews grant funding the team initially received more than five years ago that resulted in more than 40 research publications. More importantly, this initial research established a new paradigm for the cause of acute of GVHD and suggested new mechanisms to treat it.

During the next five years, Blazar and his Dana-Farber colleagues will use the NIH program project grant for research that advances the scientific understanding of chronic GVHD, its prevention and treatment.

Three UMD faculty members have been recognized for their work with undergraduates. Marketing professor Stephen Castleberry, associate professor of mathematics Carmen Latterell, and associate professor of music Justin Rubin each received a 2009 Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award. The three were among eight U of M faculty who were honored at the annual Distinguished Teaching Awards ceremony, April 27. For more information, read "Duluth's distinguished teachers."

Catherine Morrison has been appointed as the Program Director, U Card Office, effective August 17. Cathy has extensive experience in management and team development, strategic planning, sales and partnership development and technology and comes to this position from the Community Outreach and Public Engagement Office at the University’s School of Nursing where she served as the director.

Cathy replaces Shirley Everson, who retired on June 5. In tandem with Shirley’s retirement, Auxiliary Services restructured to align the U Card Office with University Dining Services Contract Administration, and effective July 1, the U Card Office began reporting directly to Leslie Bowman, Executive Director, Contract Administration.

Professor Mark Bergen has been named the James D. Watkins Chair in Marketing and Associate Professor Rajesh Aggarwal is the new US Bancorp Professor in Financial Markets and Institutions at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management in Minneapolis.

Bergen is a former Chair of the Department of Marketing and Logistics Management at the Carlson School. His research focuses on pricing and channels of distribution and he serves as a consultant with companies in the medical, service, food, retail, and industrial markets. Holding a PhD in economics from the University of Minnesota, Bergen teaches MBA and executive courses in pricing strategy and marketing management, earning him numerous awards for teaching excellence.

Aggarwal is an associate professor of finance. His current research interests focus on corporate finance, especially on how organizations and top managers respond to financial incentives. He is also studying how incentives influence the performance of hedge fund managers and how corporate political contributions influence firm returns. Aggarwal received his PhD in business economics from Harvard University and has twice been named Most Outstanding Full-Time MBA Elective Faculty Member at the Carlson School.

University Council for Educational Administration's (UCEA) Roald F. Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Karen Seashore, professor at University of Minnesota. The Roald F. Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award was instituted by UCEA in 1992 for the purpose of recognizing senior professors in the field of educational administration whose professional lives have been characterized by extraordinary commitment, excellence, leadership, productivity, generosity, and service.

Seashore is the author of numerous significant publications including books, book chapters, journal articles, and conference papers. She has served as professor, chair, and associate dean at the University of Minnesota since 1987. She has also served as visiting scholar at Rijksuniversiteit van Utrecht as well as lecturer at Harvard University. Seashore received her PhD in Sociology from Columbia University in 1975 and her BA in History from Swarthmore College in 1967.

All of UCEA’s annual awards will be presented at its 23rd Annual Convention in Anaheim, CA on November 19, 2009 at its UCEA Awards Luncheon. The University Council for Educational Administration is a consortium of research universities with doctoral programs in educational leadership and policy. The dual mission of UCEA is to improve the preparation of educational leaders and promote the development of professional knowledge in school improvement and administration.

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

Researchers want public's help in studying moose
University of Minnesota, Duluth researchers have set up a new Web site to enlist the public's help in tracking the state's moose population. Minnesota Public Radio.

Blasting Neutrinos Under Wisconsin May Yield Big Payoff
Scientists are playing an exotic game of pitch and catch between Illinois and Minnesota. "These neutrinos are a type of matter that essentially form a shadow universe," said Marvin Marshak, a University of Minnesota physicist working on the new neutrino experiment, called Nova. Washington Post.

Whistleblower: Tiny error? Big problem
Greg Lee couldn't afford to shell out $428 a month for COBRA health care coverage after losing his job at LA Fitness last November, so he went without insurance for six months. One of his first concerns was a planned cell transplant at the University of Minnesota that, if successful, might end his need for six to 10 insulin shots each day. Star Tribune.

Female bosses more likely to be sexually harassed
During the study, nearly 50 percent of women supervisors, but only one-third of women who do not supervise others, reported sexual harassment in the workplace. "This study provides the strongest evidence to date supporting the theory that sexual harassment is less about sexual desire than about control and domination," said Heather McLaughlin, a sociologist at the University of Minnesota and the study''s primary investigator. Times of India.

Portlander Justin Shandor heads to Memphis to compete in the king of Elvis impersonator contests
Admit it. At least once in your life, you've done your Elvis impersonation. Gilbert Rodman, a communications professor at the University of Minnesota, was so fascinated by the phenomenon that he wrote a book, "Elvis After Elvis." Oregon Live.

Good Question: Can We Still Talk Face-To-Face?
The Internet is all atwitter with how easy it was to crack a popular message-swapping site. "That can be very efficient but its not necessarily as nurturing as you would have in the give in take of a face-to-face conversation," said University of Minnesota Director of the Institute for New Media Studies Nora Paul. WCCO–TV.

The Climate Post: If you don’t understand this you’re not alone
Key climate insights have emerged over the last few years, as neuroscientists, anthropologists, behaviorists, and legions of other -ologists, have peered under our thinking caps and traded hypotheses on what’s going on inside. Nature Reports: Climate Change puts the human element on its cover this month, positing, in the words of University of Minnesota’s Jeffrey Broadbent, that climate change’s “only solution lies in a level of global cooperation that humanity has never seen before.”

Fall for garlic
Spring is the time to plant most--but not all--vegetables. According to Carl Rosen, a garlic expert at the University of Minnesota, there are two basic types of garlic: softneck and hardneck. Star Tribune.

August 5

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

Julie Jacko 165Julie Jacko has been appointed by Minnesota Commissioner of Health, Sanne Magnan, to serve on the Minnesota e-Health Advisory Committee to represent academics and clinical research.

Professor Julie Jacko has been appointed by Minnesota Commissioner of Health, Sanne Magnan, to serve on the Minnesota e-Health Advisory Committee to represent academics and clinical research. Legislation passed during the 2009 session renewed the Minnesota e-Health Advisory Committee, extending it to 2015 and expanding responsibilities to include assisting in coordination of activities related to the HITECH Act. Two new categories of stakeholder representation were added including vendors of health information technology and clinic managers. Walter Cooney, Executive Director of the Neighborhood Health Care Network, and Jennifer Lundblad, President and CEO of Stratis Health, have been selected as co-chairs to lead the committee in 2009-2010.

Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Matt Kramer has been named director of the University of Minnesota's Academic and Corporate Relations Center.

Kramer is currently chief of staff to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a position he has held since December 2006, and served as DEED commissioner from January 2003 until April 2006. While at DEED, he oversaw the merger of two state agencies, the Department of Trade and Economic Development and the Department of Employment Services. He also led the governor's creation of the JOBZ (Job Opportunity Building Zones) initiative, which has generated almost $1 billion in capital investment in Minnesota. In addition, he led the creation of a new bioscience industry program aimed at increasing the state's competitive advantage in this highly competitive field.

Kramer is also a former vice president of marketing at Arden Hills-based Syntegra (a subsidiary of British Telecom), and Des Moines, Iowa-based CE Software. An alumnus of the University of Minnesota, Kramer received his Bachelor of Science in geography in 1984. He starts his new duties on August 17.

The Academic and Corporate Relations Center (ACRC) builds connections between the global business community and the university's vast network of expertise, technology and talent. ACRC develops and implements a wide variety of strategies to engage, collaborate, partner and support companies worldwide.

Ellen Kennedy, interim director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, has received the Anne Frank Center USA’s Outstanding Citizen Award. The Anne Frank Center held its 13th annual Spirit of Anne Frank awards on June 15 in New York City, commemorating Frank’s 80th birthday on June 12.

Kennedy is honored for her work raising awareness and enabling advocacy about recent genocides, especially in Darfur, Sudan. To that end, she has led divestment efforts at the state and local level, with Edina, Hopkins, Winona, Virginia, Minneapolis and St. Paul, along with the State of Minnesota, divesting public funds from companies complicit in funding the Darfur genocide. She is also the founder of the Genocide Intervention Network–Minnesota, dedicated to creating a permanent citizen constituency to prevent and stop genocide. The organization has won state and regional awards for its outreach, advocacy, and commitment to human rights and social justice. Kennedy has spoken to thousands of people in faith organizations, schools, colleges and universities, Rotary clubs, Leagues of Women Voters, human rights commissions, and city councils about the history of genocides and the imperative for people to commit to a better future.

At the University of Minnesota, Kennedy designs, directs, and implements educational programs and events throughout the state to raise awareness about genocide and to promote anti-genocide activism. She has expanded outreach efforts at the center to educate lawyers, social workers and others who provide direct services to people who have survived genocides, and her programs reach every part of Minnesota.

Prior to coming to the University of Minnesota, Kennedy was a professor at the University of St. Thomas and College of St. Catherine for nearly 30 years. 

The Council of Academic Professionals and Administrators is honored to announce Labor Education Service (LES) as the winner of the 2009 CAPA Outstanding Unit Award.

The CAPA Outstanding Unit Award annually recognizes a unit within the University of Minnesota that is exemplary in its support of Professional and Administrative (P&A) staff, as well as P&A staff members within the unit who have made distinguished contributions to the mission of their unit and the University. LES will receive $1,000 for a unit-centered professional development activity focusing on leadership and governance.

LES won this year’s award thanks to its outstanding support for employee career enhancement and engagement of staff in unit decision-making. Randy Croce, who nominated LES for the award, wrote: “All LES P&A staff are committed to the goals of the labor movement and strive to put them into practice in our department.” LES encourages its staff to develop their unique skills and further their education, and supports staff in attending conferences and media production. LES also engages its staff in leadership and governance issues: their unit constitution and bylaws give staff from every classification a vote in matters concerning the unit, and participation in governance is considered in performance evaluations.

Robert Washabau, chair of the Veterinary Clinical Sciences department, was the 2009 recipient of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Waltham International Award for Scientific Achievement. This award recognizes outstanding contributions by a veterinarian who has had a significant impact on the advancement of knowledge concerning the cause, detection, cure, and control of disorders of companion animals. The award was presented during the Opening Ceremonies of the WSAVA 2009 World Congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on July 21.

William Angell, professor and Extension housing specialist, was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the United Kingdom's Radon Council, the independent nonprofit regulatory body for the UK's radon industry. The council provides guidance on radon, conducts radon training and examinations, and publishes a list of approved radon measurement and remediation professionals. In this role, Angell will be building cooperative partnerships between the Radon Council, the UK's Health Protection Agency, the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST), the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Radon Project, and others who are dedicated to reducing the risk of indoor radon exposure. Angell chairs the WHO project's prevention and mitigation working group, is president of AARST, and is director of the Midwest Universities Radon Consortium at the University of Minnesota. Find out more about Angell's work to reduce radon in Minnesota homes in this 2008 story. For more information, see radon in Minnesota.

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

President Bruininks has a commentary on MPR's online opinion section regarding the need for state investment in higher education during these challenging economic times. It can be viewed by clicking here.

Getting cultured with fermented foods
Pedro Perez's food brims with bacteria, just the way he likes it. A proper balance between good and bad bacteria is crucial, said Joanne Slavin, a professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota. Star Tribune.

Are You a Good Mother? As Good as Your Mom?
What's your image of the 21st-century mom? That jibes with the findings of Martha Farrell Erickson, a professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota and coauthor of The Motherhood Study, a comprehensive survey of 2,000 American women, published in 2005. SF Gate.

Mayan Calendar Spurs End-Of-The-World Debate
For those people making long-term plans, note this: The end of the world as we know it will be on Dec. 21, 2012--at least, that's if you believe the Mayan calendar. "We don't miss big things like that," says Lawrence Rudnick, an astronomer at the University of Minnesota. Solar flares won't fry electrical grids. National Public Radio.

Spritely tasting Kiwi introduced to local growers
What's small and green and new to Minnesota?. "They're the size of a large grape, no fuzz on the skin, so you can just pop them in your mouth," said Jim Luby, a fruit-breeding specialist with the University of Minnesota. Pioneer Press.