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Home > People > Awards and appointments - October 2009

Awards and appointments - October 2009

By Adam Overland

Wendy Pradt Lougee has been elected to the board of directors of the Association of Research Libraries

October 28

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

University Librarian and McKnight Presidential Professor Wendy Pradt Lougee has been elected to a three-year term on the board of directors of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). ARL provides leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities.

ARL influences the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. For more information, see research libraries.

University of Minnesota educational psychology professors Asha Jitendra and Jennifer McComas, both Rodney Wallace Professors for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, were recently awarded a $995,929 National Institutes of Health (NIH) stimulus grant to fund a study on improving problem-solving for students who struggle with math. The two-year project will test the efficacy of schema-based instruction, as compared to the standard math-tutoring intervention, for approximately 260 third graders with chronic mathematical difficulties.

The study will take place in approximately 40 Twin Cities classrooms and will represent diverse student populations and low-income neighborhoods. Jitendra and McComas will also measure if the intervention improves attitudes about mathematics among the students.

The stimulus funds fall under NIH funding for promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. For more information, read the news release.

Pat Redig, professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and co-founder of The Raptor Center, was the recipient of the Eagle Conservation Alliance's Lifetime Achievement Award for his career accomplishments in raptor biology and medicine. Redig's achievements were recognized at the third annual conference of the Eagle Conservation Alliance in Aragon, Spain, Oct. 7-10. For more information, see Eagle Conservation Alliance.

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

Smart Grid Technologies of Tomorrow Get DOE Funding
DOE has picked an exotic mix of 37 advanced energy research projects to receive Recovery Act grants totaling $151 million. Bacteria for Producing Direct Solar Hydrocarbon Biofuels: University of Minnesota researchers have developed a bioreactor with the potential to produce a flow of gasoline directly from sunlight and CO2 using a symbiotic system of two organisms. Smart Grid News.

Energy Dept. Aid for Scientists on the Edge
The federal Energy Department will make good on a pledge for a bolder technology strategy on Monday, awarding research grants for ideas like bacteria that will make gasoline, enzymes that will capture carbon dioxide to counter global warming and batteries so cheap that they will allow the use of solar power all night long. In the initial round, the grants average $4 million. One is going to researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus who are working on developing an organism that uses sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into sugars and another that converts the sugars to gasoline and diesel. New York Times.

Barbara Kingsolver: Conscientious reflector
When Barbara Kingsolver is not writing, she may be shearing sheep, or harvesting vegetables. Julie Schumacher, who teaches fiction for the University of Minnesota's Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts program, calls Kingsolver "a highly skilled literary writer with a vibrant social and political conscience. Star Tribune.

How one town added years to residents’ lives
It began as an experiment to make a small Minnesota town healthier by encouraging exercise and healthier eating. This idea of a community approach is something a lot of people are really getting excited about," said Melissa Nelson, a food and nutrition expert from the University of Minnesota. Dr Cutler.

Will the clampdown on bonuses work?
Does this government clampdown on top Wall Street executives' pay do anything to discourage the behavior that landed us in this mess to begin with? Karen Ho is an anthropology professor at the University of Minnesota. National Public Radio.

Rising Taxes Squeeze Local Operations
When property taxes go up, homeowners can find other homeowners willing to fight for relief. "The little guys get hurt more by rate hikes because they have less bargaining power with their local city governments or taxing jurisdictions," said Myron Orfield, a University of Minnesota Law School professor and property tax specialist. New York Times.

October 21

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

Janet DubinskyJanet Dubinsky has received the Science Educator Award from the Society for Neuroscience.Janet Dubinsky has received the Science Educator Award from the Society for Neuroscience. The award recognizes efforts in public outreach and neuroscience.

Society for Neuroscience founded the Science Educator Award in 2003 to recognize an outstanding neuroscientist who has made significant contributions in promoting public education and awareness about the field. To date it has more than 40,000 members.

A professor in the Department of Neuroscience, Dubinsky actively promotes public education in the field. One of her most significant accomplishments is creating BrainU. In collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota, BrainU brings neuroscience materials and curriculum to middle school and high school teachers; the program has reached teachers in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. As a result, students become more involved in science as the cognitive climate in the classrooms improves. Since its inception, BrainU has reached 140 teachers and tens of thousands of students.

SfN is a nonprofit membership organization of scientists and physicians who study the brain and nervous system. Today, SfN is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to advancing understanding of the brain and nervous system.

Genevieve Melton-Meaux, assistant professor in the department of surgery and faculty fellow in the Institute for Health Informatics, was awarded the American Surgical Association Foundation’s $75,000 annual Fellowship. This fellowship is for a two-year period. Dr. Melton-Meaux will be researching the “Application of Biomedical Informatics Technologies to the Electronic Health Record to Assess Gastrointestial Surgical Patient Outcomes.” This fellowship is awarded to support and encourage gifted young surgeons who the American Surgical Association Foundation sees as having immense potential in investigation and academic surgery.

The highest honor given by UMC, the Torch & Shield Award, will recognize three individuals and an organization who have provided leadership and aided in the development of the U of M, Crookston, the Northwest Research and Outreach Center (NWROC) and Extension. This year’s recognition will be held Nov. 4.

Orlyn Miller, Torch & Shield Award winner, has worked for the University of Minnesota for 22 years and is currently director of planning and architecture. He plays a major role in the development and management of the capital planning and budgeting processes at the university. For the past two decades, he has provided assistance on capital planning and campus planning issues at the Crookston campus including Bergland Laboratory, Early Childhood Development Center, Kiehle Hall renovation, Student Center, and the two most recent residence halls, Evergreen and Centennial. Prior to his work at the university, Miller was a member of a landscape architectural/engineering firm, where he obtained broad experience in strategic planning, project design, project management and governmental relations.

The Torch & Shield Award presentation takes place in conjunction with the U of M, Crookston’s annual donor recognition. The Torch & Shield Award was first presented in 1966 when it was initiated by Crookston campus Founding Provost Stanley Sahlstrom. For more information, see Torch & Shield.

University of Minnesota Extension dean Bev Durgan honored faculty members who have done exemplary work to strengthen Extension’s impact in Minnesota at the organization’s annual conference, including:

Jim Linn, University of Minnesota Extension 2009 Distinguished Campus-based Faculty. Linn is an Extension animal scientist and is respected nationally and internationally for his knowledge of dairy nutrition and management, according to Extension Dean Bev Durgan. Linn has developed several successful dairy programs, including the Midwest Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) Consortium that greatly improved the consistency of NIRS forage tests across Midwest forage testing labs. Linn also worked with computer programmers to develop one of the first computerized linear ration balancing programs, “Professional Nutritionist,” which is widely accepted and utilized by dairy nutritionists throughout the Midwest.

Jeff Gunsolus, University of Minnesota Extension 2009 Distinguished Leadership. Gunsolus, an Extension agronomist, was recognized for demonstrating excellent leadership in the area of weed management and risk assessment for corn and soybean cropping systems. As program leader for the crops and soils Extension educators, Gunsolus has developed and encouraged specialization within the team, resulting in timely and relevant research-based programs and information that benefit crop producers across the state. For more information, see the news release.

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

Worth the Price? The trickle down effects of reality T.V.
Charges against the Heene family from Colorado could come as soon as Tuesday. University of Minnesota Professor of Media Ethics Jane Kirtley says the reality television craze is having an impact on our society. KARE – TV.

Bee my honey
Whenever a bee flies around, someone somewhere usually screeches and runs away. “Honey bees are usually very friendly,” explains Erin Rupp, assistant curator of education from the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum of Natural History. Farmington Independent.

MnDOT, U of M Develop New Snow Plow
A smart, new snow plow, being developed by the University of Minnesota and MnDOT, may make roads safer while reducing financial and environmental costs. The university professor working on the plow Raj Rajamani said, "You would put salt down only if you need to, only if you detect ice." KSTP–TV.

October 14

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

Susan WolfSusan Wolf was one of four U faculty elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Medical School faculty Karen Hsiao Ashe, Michelle Biros, Selwyn Vickers, and Susan Wolf have been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences.

Institute of Medicine membership is awarded to those who have contributed significantly to medical sciences, health care, and public health. It is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Founded in 1970, the institute’s mission is to serve as adviser to the nation to improve health. Over the years, the institute has become recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues.

Ashe, Biros, Vickers, and Wolf represent four of 65 newly elected members; the IOM currently has 1,610 active members. Election to the Institute of Medicine is both an honor and commitment, as members must volunteer their time to IOM committees, boards, and other activities.

Ashe, director of the N. Bud Grossman Center for Memory Research and Care, and holder of the Edmund Wallace and Anne Marie Tulloch Chairs in Neurology and Neuroscience, is internationally recognized for her Alzheimer’s disease research.

Biros, professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Emergency Medicine, is known for her contributions to and research in the field of emergency medicine. She is editor in chief of Academic Emergency Medicine.

Vickers, Jay Phillips Professor and chair of the department of surgery, is a nationally renowned leader in pancreatic cancer research.

Wolf, McKnight Presidential Professor of Law, Medicine, and Public Policy, Faegre and Benson Professor of Law, and professor in the University of Minnesota Law and Medical Schools, is the founding director of the University's Joint Degree Program in Law, Health & the Life Sciences and known for her work in bioethics.

A memorial service for Rose Blixt, a long-time U employee (Carlson School of Management, College of Continuing Education, General College, College of Design), will be held at the Weisman Art Museum, Oct. 27, 3:30 p.m. The space will be available at 3:00 p.m. The family requests memorials be directed to the University of Minnesota College of Design, Weisman Art Museum, College of Continuing Education, Department of Post Secondary Teaching and Learning, or Northrup Auditorium.

The Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment, and the Life Sciences has been awarded a $900,000 grant from the NIH as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for a two-year project on "Nanodiagnostics and Nanotherapeutics: Building Research Ethics and Oversight." For more information, see law and values.

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

Minnesota says stimulus supported 11,800 jobs
Minnesota officials released preliminary numbers on state government stimulus spending on Monday that said through September state agencies spent more than $1.5 billion, saving and creating thousands of jobs. Whether the number of jobs saved or created sounds high or low, considering all of the money that was spent, University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management Professor Alfred Marcus said consider the goal of the stimulus. Minnesota Public Radio.

Perverse consequences of Peace Prize
“When the Nobel Peace Prize rewards past accomplishments, it is to be welcomed — not because it changes the world, but because it celebrates and reaffirms liberal ideals". Ronald Krebs, associated professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, writing in the July edition of Foreign Policy magazine. Syracuse Opinion Blog.

Just How Sensitive Is Earth's Climate to Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide?
Carbon dioxide levels climbing toward a doubling of the 280 parts per million (ppm) concentration found in the preindustrial atmosphere pose the question: What impact will this increased greenhouse gas load have on the climate?. Paleoclimatologist Hai Cheng of the University of Minnesota and his colleagues then compared this record with climatic transitions, such as the shift into and out of an Ice Age. Scientific American.

It's Still Academic
While the basic idea for virtualization is as old as mainframe computers, the current enthusiasm for all things virtual owes a great deal to academia. Typical of this breed of "virtual researcher" is Abhishek Chandra, of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Forbes.

How green is your school? 3 in Minnesota rank at top
Three Minnesota schools took top marks on a national report card released today that measures colleges' sustainability efforts. The University of Minnesota, Carleton College in Northfield and Macalester College in St. Paul were three of 26 schools to score an A- on this fall's College Sustainability Report Card. Star Tribune.

October 7

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

Narayana Kocherlakota 165Narayana Kocherlakota becomes head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis on Oct. 8.
University of Minnesota economics professor Narayana Kocherlakota, who on Oct. 8 becomes head of Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, belongs to a tradition of U researchers who've helped strengthen the bank's economic, monetary, and fiscal policy. Kocherlakota previously chaired the economics department, and has been a consultant to the Minneapolis Fed. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago in 1987.

He takes over from Gary Stern, who announced his retirement in April. Stern has headed the Minneapolis Fed since 1985, and is the longest-serving of the country's 12 Federal Reserve Bank presidents.

The Minneapolis Fed serves Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, northwestern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. For more information, see the news release.

Professor of Nursing and Public Health and lead faculty for the Institute for Health Informatics Julie Jacko was awarded a Research and Research Infrastructure "Grand Opportunities” Grant from the National Institute for Nursing Research titled, “Development of a Consumer Research Network for Studying Obesity.” Professor and School of Nursing Dean Connie Delaney, School of Nursing Professors Bonnie Westra and Martha Kubik, School of Dentistry Professor Jim Fricton, and School of Dentistry Research Associate Dr. Anna Velly are Co-Investigators on the grant. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant funds were awarded in the amount of $1.6 Million for a period of two years.

Professor Stuart Speedie was awarded a three year, $1.1 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the Great Plains Telehealth Resource Assistance Center (GPTRAC). The GPTRAC strives to promote health care services that take advantage of modern telecommunications technologies such as interactive videoconferencing, the secure internet, and home health monitoring. Speedie is professor of Health Informatics and he is housed in the Institute for Health Informatics. For more information about the Institute for Health Informatics, see health.

The University of Minnesota Medical School welcomes Badrinath Konety, as professor and chair of the Department of Urologic Surgery. A native of India, Konety attended medical school at Bangalore University before coming to the United States as a research fellow in 1991 at the VA Medical Center, San Fransisco. He completed his residency training and an American Foundation for Urologic Diseases fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also earned an M.B.A. He was a clinical fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. Between 2001-2005, he was an Assistant Professor of Urology and Chief, Urology Service at the VA Medical Center in Iowa City and the University of Iowa. Most recently, he has served as Chief of Urology, VA Medical Center, San Francisco and Associate Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Urology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Konety has an extensive background in cancer and urology. His main research interests surround the screening, treatment, and management of prostate and bladder cancer. During his time in Iowa, Konety pioneered a statewide study of prostate cancer, the first of its kind in the country, which sought to develop a consensus guideline for diagnosis and management of prostate cancer in elderly men. His research in bladder and prostate cancer epidemiology and population science, has led to working with a variety of groups and large datasets. He has also been involved in research on gene therapy approaches to prostate cancer as well as developing artificial nerve grafts to correct the effects of prostate surgery. He has received several grants from sources such as the American Cancer Society, Dept. of Defense and the National Cancer Institute. Konety is the recipient of multiple honors and awards through national organizations such as the AUA and the American Geriatrics Society including the Jahnigen Career Development Award, the AUA-EAU Exchange Scholarship, and being part of the AUA Leadership Program.

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded the University of Minnesota’s Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences a grant of $911,559 for a 2-year project to develop normative consensus recommendations on managing incidental findings and individual research results in genomic research using biobanks and large archives. Professor Susan Wolf is the principal investigator. Co-Investigators are Professors Jeffrey Kahn, Frances Lawrenz, and Brian Van Ness. The project builds on the Consortium’s highly successful prior NIH-funded project on "Managing Incidental Findings in Human Subjects Research."

The new two-year project will convene a multidisciplinary working group of national experts in order to analyze and generate recommendations on managing incidental findings and individual research results in genomic research using biobanks and large archives. The project will convene leading experts on bioethics, genomics, biobanking, and law to recommend policies and practices on return of both incidental findings and individual research results that may have importance for the donor.

Professor Wolf is McKnight Presidential Professor of Law, Medicine and Public Policy; Faegre & Benson Professor of Law; Professor of Medicine; and a Faculty Member in the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota. She is Founding Chair of the University’s Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment and the Life Sciences and Founding Director of the University’s Joint Degree Program in Law, Health & the Life Sciences. For more information, see the news release.

Vice Provost Jerry Rinehart received the first IMPACT Award from Students Today, Leaders Forever, at their annual fundraising event held Sept.18. Six years ago, Rinehart was instrumental in the successful start-up of the student organization. The organization, focusing on leadership development for young people, was founded by four freshmen in a U residence hall and has become a non-profit organization with several chapters around the nation, predominately in the Midwest. Members of the University’s STLF chapter organize the annual Pay it Forward Tour, the Mr. Superblock Contest, the 5K Run for Research, as well as the annual Fill the Bus Event. Three of the founders of the organization are now its executive directors. For more information, see Students Today, Leaders Forever.

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

Mandate might be key to reform, but not all can afford insurance
One of the central questions about the health care reform plans Congress is debating is how to pay for expanding health care coverage for tens of million more Americans. University of Minnesota health policy and management professor Jean Abraham said to understand why the mandate is important, you need to look at the U.S. as one giant pool of insurance risk. Minnesota Public Radio.

Boy's death deepens H1N1 worry
It's a scenario that strikes terror in most any parent: A perfectly healthy first-grader dies of flu in the ambulance outside his home. The most common co-occurring infection that causes flu-related deaths is staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as staph, said Pat Schlievert, a microbiologist at the University of Minnesota and an expert on staph-related deaths. Star Tribune.

St. Paul Science Museum Of Minnesota / Exhibit: $4 million. Bringing Dead Sea Scrolls to Minnesota? Priceless
It took nearly two millennia to find the Dead Sea Scrolls hidden in a cave in eastern Israel. The discovery of the scrolls helped clear up what Alex Jassen, a professor of classical and Near Eastern studies at the University of Minnesota and another Science Museum adviser, called a "game of telephone" between various translations of different books. Pioneer Press.

Immigration Stories, From Shadows to Spotlight
Frail and dignified at 88, the man leaned on his cane and smiled as the story of his immigration in 1936 flashed behind him on a museum wall. The current parallels are striking, said Professor Erika Lee, who teaches history at the University of Minnesota. New York Times