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Awards and appointments, April 2010

By Adam Overland

Polasky 165
Applied economics professor Stephen Polasky has been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

April 28

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

National Academy of Sciences
University of Minnesota applied economics professor Stephen Polasky has been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

He is one of 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 14 countries who were elected today in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Polasky is the Fesler-Lampert professor of ecological/environmental economics in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the university. He is a resident fellow at the University's Institute on the Environment and is on the faculty of the ecology, evolution and behavior department in the College of Biological Sciences. He currently serves on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board, the board of directors for the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, and the board of directors and the science council of The Nature Conservancy. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009 and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007. 

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to furthering science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the Academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology. 

$5 million grant for Health Informatics
Julie Jacko, with the Institute for Health Informatics, is the principal investigator leading a consortium that has been awarded more than $5 million to train health professionals in health informatics.

As health care systems transition from paper to digital records—in the form of patients’ electronic health records, prescriptions, best treatments/therapies and more—the field of health informatics has grown exponentially, which has simultaneously boosted the demand to train quality professionals in the field.

The $5,145,705 million grant comes as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and was awarded by the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. A total of nine institutions were awarded stimulus funds for health information, but only two were awarded more than $5 million—the University of Minnesota and Texas State University. The principal investigator of the grant is the Institute for Health Informatics’ lead faculty, Julie Jacko, who is also on the faculty in the School of Nursing and School of Public Health.

Other University of Minnesota faculty with key roles in the grant include:

Co-PI and assistant professor Terrence Adam, College of Pharmacy and the Institute for Health Informatics

Co-PI and assistant professor Bonnie Westra, School of Nursing

Associate professor Sandy Potthoff, School of Public Health

Layne Johnson, Health Science Library and the Institute for Health Informatics

Assistant professor Rui Kang, Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Professor Adel Ali is the lead investigator from the University of Minnesota-Crookston; through him and his team, UP-HI will leverage the UMN-Crookston Health Informatics Minor for Software Engineers and the Health Informatics Specialist Certificate.

Carlson School appointments to professorships and chairs
The Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota recently announced eight new appointments to professorships and two new appointments to chairs in recognition of the recipients’ excellence in research, teaching and service contributions, international reputation, and evidence of impact. All but one appointment will go into effect on July 1, 2010.

Through the generous efforts of the Carlson School’s Board of Overseers, two new professorships have been created, to which the following faculty members have been appointed:

Board of Overseers Professor of Information and Decision, associate professor Ravi Bapna, Information and Decision Sciences.

Board of Overseers Professor of Human Resources and Industrial Relations, professor Michelle Duffy, Human Resources and Industrial Relations.

From other contributions:

Professor Rohini Ahluwalia, Marketing and Logistics Management, is appointed the Curtis L. Carlson Trust Professor of Marketing.

The following faculty members were newly appointed to fill existing vacant chairs and professorships:

Professor Chris Nachtsheim, Operations and Management Sciences, is appointed the Frank Donaldson Chair in Operations Management.

Professor John Boyd, Finance, is appointed the Banking Industry of Minnesota Chair.

Associate professor Gedas Adomavicius, Information and Decision Sciences, is appointed the Carolyn I. Anderson Professor in Business Education Excellence.

Associate professor Zhaoyang Gu, Accounting, is appointed the Honeywell Professor of Accounting.

Associate professor Stephen Parente, Finance, is appointed the Minnesota Insurance Industry Professor of Health Finance and Insurance.

Associate professor Pervin Shroff, Accounting, is appointed the Carl L. Nelson Professor of Accounting.

Associate professor Kathleen Vohs, Marketing and Logistics Management, will also be appointed to a professorship. This appointment will go into effect in summer 2011, after the McKnight Presidential Fellowship she holds ends. At that time, the specific named position that professor Vohs will hold will be identified. Carlson School chairs and professorships now number 35. For more information, see the news release.

Honorary Doctor of Science
Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson
will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the U. Wallberg-Henriksson has been a leading force in fostering academic collaboration between universities across the globe, and especially between the Karolinska Institute and the University of Minnesota. She is a native of Sweden; graduate of the Karolinska Institutet, M.D., 1976, Ph.D., 1987; recipient of the Swedish Medical Research Council’s Young Scientist Award, 1995; professor of integrative physiology, 1998–present, and dean of research, 1999–2001, Karolinska Institutet; member of the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education, 1999–2001; member of the Nobel Assembly, Karolinska Institutet, 2002–present; secretary general of the Swedish Medical Research Council, 2001–03; president of the Karolinska Institutet.

Jules Kerlan Outstanding Achievement Award
Lifework Consultant Janet Pelto was awarded the Minnesota Career Development Association's most prestigious award, the Jules Kerlan Outstanding Achievement Award, recognizing her lifetime achievement in the field of career development. Pelto, who holds individual consultations with clients through the College of Continuing Education, was nominated by Paul Timmins, director of CLA career services, and Vic Massaglia, career counselor with the Uof M Law School. She is a past receipient of the Minnesota Career Development Association's Marty Dockman Merit Award and has earned the designation of Master Career Counselor from the National Career Development Association.

The Jules Kerlan Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes an individual’s lifetime achievement (15 years or more) in the field of career development.

Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellowship
Nicholette Zeliadt, a Ph. D. student in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health has been awarded a 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellowship.

This highly competitive program strengthens the connections between scientists and journalists by placing advanced science, mathematics and engineering students in newsrooms across the country. The AAAS Fellows use their academic training in the sciences as they research, write and report today's headlines, sharpening their abilities to communicate complex scientific issues to non-specialists. Zeliadt will be working for Scientific American.

Retirement celebration
Forty-three years of service to the University will be celebrated as Bert Ahern, professor of history and American Indian studies, retires this spring. A gathering will be held in his honor at LaFave House on Monday, May 3, 2010, from 4 until 5:30 p.m. Wilbert Ahern, professor of history and American Indian studies, remembers the pitch Morris’s first chief administrator, Rodney A. Briggs, used to entice him to begin his career at the still-new University of Minnesota, Morris in 1967. “He told me I’d be opening up liberal education to a wide cross section of society,” recalls Bert, who continues to embraced that vision. As retirement approaches, he reflects on the many opportunities afforded at Morris—open minds, innovative teaching, collaboration, research, and sharing its mission with Janet Ahern, wife and colleague.

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

Promises the Pill Could Never Keep
Elaine Tyler May is a professor of history at the University of Minnesota and the author, most recently, of the forthcoming “America and the Pill.” The New York Times.

Chimps May Mourn Lost Ones, Study Suggests
A safari park in central Scotland may seem an unlikely place to plumb the meaning of life and death. But that's where animal behavior researchers managed to catch on videotape a rare glimpse of how chimpanzees respond to the illness and death of someone close to them… Michael Wilson, a primatologist at the University of Minnesota, agrees with Anderson and Biro that it's important not to anthropomorphize -- project human experience on any other species. National Public Radio.

Is it true that laughter really is the best medicine?
Kevin Smith in the U of M's School of Nursing teaches a class on the medical benefits of humor, an area of study that is becoming more prevalent today. Reader's Digest.

Good Question: Is The Earth Better Since Earth Day?
It's been 40 years since the first Earth Day. Today, the issues have changed and there's a federal agency focused on the environment. So, compared to 1970, is the Earth better off today? "That's a really tough question," said Jon Foley, Director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. WCCO – TV.

Clegg was at top of his class at U, professor says
Nick Clegg, the surprising rising star of British politics, laid some of the groundwork for his career in the year he spent at the University of Minnesota two decades ago. "He was very personable, smart and articulate," said Kathryn Sikkink, a political science professor who taught Clegg in a graduate seminar. "I'm not surprised he's done well, but this was not a guy you thought was going to someday be the prime minister of Great Britain." The Star Tribune.

Adoptive Parents Take On More Than A Child
The recent case of a 7-year-old Russian boy being sent back to Moscow by his American adoptive mother has drawn attention to the issues facing parents who adopt. Guest host Jacki Lyden speaks with Dr. Dana E. Johnson, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and founder of the International Adoption Clinic, and Judy Stigger, a social worker and adoption therapist at The Cradle in Evanston, Ill. National Public Radio.

April 21

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

Ron Phillips awarded ISA 2010 Medal for Science
Renowned University of Minnesota plant geneticist Ron Phillips has been awarded the ISA 2010 Medal for Science, the highest honor awarded by the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Bologna in Bologna, Italy.

The Medal for Science is the highest honor awarded by the institute and recognizes research contributions characterized by both excellence and influence. The University of Bologna is considered one of the world's oldest and most prestigious universities.

Phillips, who has been a faculty member at the University of Minnesota since 1968 and developed one of the early programs in modern plant biotechnology applied to agriculture, will retire next month. He was the first to regenerate corn plants from cells in tissue culture, a contribution that allowed for development of genetic engineering in cereal crops. His research since then has focused on the improvement of cereal crops through plant genetics and molecular biology. He was nominated for the Medal for Science by a group of scientists at the University of Bologna's department of agro-environmental science and technology.

This award is one of many in Phillips' long career; he also is a recipient of the Wolf Prize in Agriculture presented at the Knesset in Israel and has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1991. On May 24, his career at the University of Minnesota will be celebrated with an all-day research symposium. The symposium will feature Phillips' past graduate students and postdoctoral scientists, many of whom have become plant genetics experts in their own right. For more information, see the news release.

David Tilman awarded 2010 Heineken Prize
David Tilman, Regents Professor of Ecology in the University of Minnesota's College of Biological Sciences, has been awarded the 2010 Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Tilman was selected for his seminal findings, published in Science and Nature during the 1980s and 1990s, which showed that biodiversity is essential for stable and productive ecosystems and demonstrated the value of protecting endangered species. More recently, Tilman has applied his discoveries to sustainable farming practices for renewable energy, showing that biofuels made from diverse prairie grasses can offer environment benefits over those made from food crops.

Tilman is director of Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, a University of Minnesota field station, where he has conducted resource competition and biodiversity studies since the early 1980s. His grassland experiments, among the longest running in the world, provide a rich resource for ecology research.

Tilman joined the University of Minnesota faculty in 1976 after receiving his doctorate at the University of Michigan. Within a few years, he gained federal funding for his research at Cedar Creek, which became part of a national network of federally funded Long-Term Ecology Research (LTER) sites. The Institute for Scientific Information named him the most cited ecologist in the world for two decades, 1990-2000 and 1996-2006. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and holds a University McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Ecology. In 2008, Tilman received the International Prize for Biology from the Emperor of Japan.

The Heineken Prizes will be presented in September 2010 during a meeting of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Each prize carries a cash award of $150,000. For more information, see the news release.

IREE awards nine renewable energy projects
The Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE) recently awarded over $3.7 million to nine renewable energy projects at the University of Minnesota.

The multi-year projects focus on a wide-range of topics including solar energy, next generation biofuels, materials for increased energy efficiency, solar recycling of carbon dioxide to produce renewable fuels, life-cycle analysis of biofuels and more.

In addition to scientific and technical merit, considerations applied during the final selection process included the potential for major breakthroughs on national and global scales, an alignment with Minnesota's competitive advantages, a strong interdisciplinary approach and a clear business plan and exit strategy for securing future support.

Faculty members, graduate students and post-docs, undergraduates and research scientists at University of Minnesota campuses around the state will be involved with the projects.

The projects selected to receive IREE large grants include:

Engineering of a Multi-Species Fermentation Platform for Biofuel Production
Project lead: Claudia Schmidt-Dannert, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics

Solar Recycling of CO2 to Fuels
Project lead: Jane Davidson, Mechanical Engineering

New Environmentally Benign Sulfides for Sustainable Large-Scale Photovoltaics
Project lead: Eray Aydil, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Converting Sunlight into Electricity with High Efficiency Organic Solar Cells
Project lead: Daniel Frisbie, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Processing DDGS into Biofuels and Other Value-Added Products; Pilot Development and Commercialization
Project lead: Pavel Krasutsky, Natural Resources Research Institute

Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) Using Abandoned Mine Pits on the Mesabi Iron Range of Minnesota
Project lead: Donald Fosnacht, Natural Resources Research Institute

Materials Innovation to Enable Solar Home Heating in Cold Climates
Project lead: Susan Mantell, Mechanical Engineering

Next-Generation Biofuels and the Ecosystem Services They Provide: Sustainability and the Biomass Production Landscape
Project lead: Jason Hill, Institute on the Environment

Performance and Emissions of a Second Generation Biofuel - Dimethyl Ether (DME)
Project lead: David Kittelson, Mechanical Engineering

For more information on IREE and the complete project database, see IREE grants.

Honorary Doctor of Science
Professor Chandra Varma (Ph. D. Physics ‘68) of the University of California Riverside will receive an honorary doctor of science from the University on April 22, 2010. He will give the Physics and Astronomy Colloquium April 21, 3:35 p.m., 131 Physics. He will speak on “Quantum Phase Transitions or You Gotta Love Singularities.” He will also deliver the Condensed Matter Seminar April 22, 1:25 p.m., 210 Physics. The title of his seminar is “Collective modes observed and yet to be observed in the Loop Ordered Phase of High Temperature Superconductors.” For more information, see Chandra Varma.

Jane Addams Outstanding Service Award
Ellen Kennedy is the fourth recipient of the Women in the Profession Committee’s Annual Jane Addams Outstanding Service Award. The rewards and makes visible efforts by women and men to improve the status of women in society. Kennedy received the award for service to women and girls suffering under genocidal regimes, her work with the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota, and her founding and direction of World Without Genocide.

Most recently, Kennedy's work has centered on her direction of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota. Here she has developed programs, workshops, and events to engage students, teachers, and the community in education about the Holocaust and genocide. She also speaks at schools, colleges, universities, and religious and civic organizations throughout the Midwest to raise awareness about genocide.

Through World Without Genocide, Kennedy has engaged in political action to bring about divestment from companies complicit with the genocide in Darfur. She led the successful divestment of the State of Minnesota public pension plan and divestment resolutions in seven Minnesota cities. The Minnesota State Bar Association became the first professional society to divest. Kennedy has also created more than a dozen chapters of STAND, a student anti-genocide coalition, on college and university campuses throughout the country.

Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award
The 2010 staff recipient of the Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award is Jeanne Ayers, director of nursing and preventive services at Boynton Health Service, founder of Boynton’s occupational health and safety program, and nationally recognized educator and advocate for race and health equity. Through her leadership work with ISAIAH, a grass-roots faith-based community organization dedicated to social justice, she has translated public health research into concrete action and built a broad coalition to address interlocking issues of housing, transportation, immigration, employment, and health.

The award honors University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students who exemplify Dr. Josie R. Johnson’s standard of excellence in creating respectful and inclusive living, learning, and working environments.

The University of Minnesota Duluth has named a new dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Susan Naramore Maher is currently the Peter Kiewit Distinguished Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She begins at UMD on July 15. For more information, see the Duluth News Tribune.

UMM will celebrate the life of the late Jim Gremmels, professor of English, on April 29. The public is invited to special events on campus to remember the founding faculty member and the Cougar's first basketball coach, a professor who touched many lives in and out of the classroom.

Gremmels was one of the first 13 faculty hired in 1960 for the new public, liberal arts college in Morris that opened that fall. He often told the story of how he arrived a day late for his interview with Rodney Briggs, Morris's first chief administrator. Gremmels fondly remembered that day 50 years ago when Briggs invited him to embrace the new college's vision and hired him to teach American literature.

Ten years ago, on the occasion of the Morris campus's 40th birthday, Gremmels employed a quote from his favorite novel to describe his Morris career. "Ishmael, Herman Melville's narrator in the novel Moby Dick says: 'A whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.' I could easily say: 'The University of Minnesota, Morris was my Oxford College and my Cambridge,' but for me it was a 40-year voyage with a group of remarkable faculty, outstanding students, and an administration whose dead reckoning always kept us afloat and on course. This campus has meant a great deal to me."

Gremmels was born in 1927 and grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He earned a degree in English and philosophy from Augustana College, where he excelled in basketball. He received a master of arts in American studies from the University of Minnesota in 1955. He taught and coached at Glenwood High School from 1955 until 1960 when he began his Morris career. Gremmels received the Horace T. Morse Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He was inducted into the Augustana Vikings Hall of Fame, the Cougar Hall of Fame, and the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame for basketball accomplishments as a player and as a coach. He passed away in September 2009.

At 11 a.m., a special program will be held in the Physical Education Center during which the varsity basketball court will be named the James Gremmels Court.

At 1:30 p.m., a Celebration of Life will be held in Edson Auditorium in the Student Center with friends, family, alumni, and colleagues sharing memories of Jim Gremmels. For more information, see celebration.

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

Senate Battle Looms Over Appeals Court Nominee Liu
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing Friday on President Obama's most controversial judicial nominee to date, Berkeley associate dean Goodwin Liu…Indeed, University of Minnesota Law professor Richard Painter, who served as chief White House ethics officer for President Bush, said in a blog post that Liu had provided "a lot more information than many nominees do in response to these questions." National Public Radio.

3 U Of M Professors To Help Rebuild Haiti
Three University of Minnesota Architecture professors are ready to help the rebuilding in Haiti. The professors met with the president of the American Refugee Committee on Thursday. All three said they've never done anything like this before. The professors heading to Haiti are Leslie Van Duzer, Ozayr Saloojee and John Comazzi. WCCO – TV.

How far off are real ‘superhero’ powers?
In the new movie "Kick-Ass," the main character says, "You don’t need a power to become a superhero"…"We’ve known how to make very strong materials for a long time and boron carbide is very, very strong — it has the same kind of structural strength as a diamond," says James Kakalios, physics professor at the University of Minnesota and author of "The Physics of Superheroes." MSNBC.

Breath of fresh air: Compost site closes at Arb
An environmentally friendly composting site that was the focus of neighborhood odor complaints last spring and summer now sits mostly empty…Peter Moe, director of operations at the Arboretum, said last week he was sorry for the stink and explained that it came from tractors stirring up the material in the process of loading it up to export to Anoka County. Chaska Herald.

Get ready for spring
Some years, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. This year, it went out like a tropical lemur…"The problem is, we can still go through a freeze," said Jeff Gillman, associate professor of horticulture at the University of Minnesota. "If people plant early because they're all excited about the warm weather, they could lose plants. Changing your planting dates now is asking for it." The Star Tribune.

April 14

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

Institute on the Environment selects new resident fellows
George Heimpel 165Associate professor George Heimpel. The University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment is pleased to announce its second cohort of resident fellows. The fellows will begin their three-year appointments with the Institute in July 2010.

Each of the Institute's resident fellows will receive flexible funding to pursue cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research and problem solving and to create new models of teaching and training. The fellowships will also help accelerate professional and leadership development.

Following a rigorous external review and selection process, the Institute has chosen a total of 12 resident fellows from a wide range of disciplines at the University of Minnesota. The fellows will expand on the accomplishments of the 2009 resident fellows, playing a key role in the Institute's world-class research, education and outreach mission.

The 2010 resident fellows include:

Arindam Banerjee

Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Engineering
Institute of Technology  

George Heimpel     
Associate Professor, Entomology
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

Marc Hillmyer     
Professor, Chemistry
Institute of Technology

Sarah Hobbie     
Associate Professor, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
College of Biological Sciences

Tom Johnson     
Regents Professor
Large Lakes Observatory

Nicholas Jordan
Professor, Agronomy and Plant Genomics
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

Alexandra Klass     
Associate Professor  
Law School

Paige Novak  
Associate Professor, Civil Engineering
Institute of Technology  

C. Ford Runge     
Adjunct Professor, Forest Resources
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences  

Jonathan Schilling

Assistant Professor, Bioproducts & Biosystems Engineering
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

George Weiblen
Associate Professor, Plant Biology
College of Biological Sciences  

Elizabeth Wilson
Assistant Professor  
Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

UMD has selected candidates Lendley Black and Belinda McCarthy as finalists for chancellor. More information can be found at chancellor candidate finalists.

The Office of International Programs is pleased to announce the recipients of its new Global Spotlight grants for international scholarly activities. This program supports targeted research and other scholarly initiatives related to the spotlight areas for 2009-2010: Africa and Water in the World. More than $1,245,000 was awarded to University of Minnesota faculty and graduate students through four grant programs that fund innovative research and support the continued development of a global network of engagement and scholarship across the university. More information about each of the recipients and their projects can be found at Global Spotlight.

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

Regulators to Review New Drugs to Curb Appetite
A new generation of anti-obesity drugs could hit the market in coming months, the latest attempt in what has proved a difficult medicine to make safe for patients… "Obesity has many causes, and ferreting out what is going to work in individuals requires more options," said Charles Billington, a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota and medical director of the obesity program at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. Wall Street Journal.

Advance in Alzheimer's treatment announced
U.S. medical researchers say they have moved one step closer to being able to slow the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease… The study was led by University of Minnesota researcher Anika Hartz included Assistant Professor Bjorn Bauer and appears in the May issue of the journal Molecular Pharmacology. UPI.

Good Question: Why So Much Primetime Profanity?
It's been more than 30 years since George Carlin joked about the seven words you can't say on television… "That's a really good question. There is no sort of set guidelines," said Dr. Amy Kristin Sanders, a licensed attorney and University of Minnesota journalism professor. WCCO – TV.

The excerpts above are taken from Today's News, a service of the University of Minnesota News Service.

April 7

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

Julie Ross 165Julie RossMasonic Cancer Center scientist Julie Ross has been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to lead a study of adults in Minnesota with a rare cancer called myelodyplastic syndrome (MDS), which can lead to a form of leukemia.

This is the largest-of-its-kind study, aiming to identify environmental, lifestyle, and genetic factors that may predispose a person to MDS.

Only about 10,000 people per year in the United States get MDS, but for unknown reasons, Minnesota has one of the highest rates of the disease. The disease is more common in men, affects predominantly older people with the average age being 75 years, and can have a poor prognosis.

About 1,400 Minnesotans––700 between ages 20 and 85 who have MDS and 700 without the cancer¬--will be invited to participate in this five-year study. Ross’s research team includes cancer investigators at the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center, Minnesota Department of Health, and Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The investigators will work with physicians and health care providers in Minnesota and neighboring states to identify Minnesota residents who may be eligible for this study.

MDS involves a group of diseases of the blood and bone marrow. It’s similar to leukemia in that the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells. About one-third of patients with MDS go on to develop acute myeloid leukemia.

Ross is professor and director of the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Division of Pediatric Epidemiology and Clinical Research, and member of the Masonic Cancer Center Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention and Prevention and Etiology research programs. More information about the study can be found at the MDS study.

Minnesota cancer investigators working with Ross on this study include Erica Warlick, M.D., Adina Cioc, M.D., Betsy Hirsch, Ph.D., and Anne Jurek, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; James Cerhan, M.D., Ph.D., and Phuong Nguyen, M.D., at Mayo Clinic; and Sally Bushhouse, Ph.D., and John Soler, M.P.H. at Minnesota Department of Health.

Center for Transportation Studies U of M award winners:
The Center for Transportation Studies awards honor leaders in transportation research, education, and public policy. An awards ceremony will be held April 7.

Richard P. Braun Distinguished Service Award: Lee Munnich, Director of the State and Local Policy Program, Director of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety, and Research Fellow at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. The award, named in honor of founding CTS director Dick Braun for his leadership and contribution to research, and as a champion of transportation innovation. This award has been presented annually by CTS since 1995 in recognition of outstanding leadership in the areas of research and innovation.

Ray L. Lappegaard Distinguished Service Award: Ferrol Robinson, former Principal of Transportation Planning and Studies at SRF Consulting Group and currently a part-time fellow at the Humphrey Institute. The award is presented to a transportation professional who displays outstanding leadership, mentorship and support to the profession. It is named in honor of Ray L. Lappegaard, who served as chair of the CTS Executive Committee from its creation in 1989 until his death in April of 1993.

CTS Research Partnership Award: Project “Automated Friction Measurement, Data Recording and Applicator Control for Winter Road Maintenance.” This award recognizes research projects within the CTS program that have resulted in significant impacts on transportation, and rewards teams of individuals who have drawn on the strengths of their diverse partnerships to achieve those results. This joint project effort involving the University, federal and state government, and the private sector, developed a tire-road friction measurement and data recording system for snowplows. The system reduces the use of salt and deicing chemicals in winter road maintenance by using these chemicals only when the road is measured to be icy. This not only saves on material costs but also reduces pollution of lakes, streams and rivers from road salt. University of Minnesota team members included Department of Mechanical Engineering professor Rajesh Rajamani, research fellow Lee Alexander, and graduate assistant Gurkan Erdogan. Other team members were from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, SRF Consulting Group, Inc., and Hennepin County.

Matthew J. Huber Award for Excellence in Transportation Research and Education: Xinkai Wu, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Civil Engineering [advisor: Assistant Professor Henry Liu], and Adam Ragatz, a Masters candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering [advisor: Professor David Kittelson]. The award is given to University of Minnesota graduate students in engineering, science, and technology fields. It is named for the late Professor Matt Huber in recognition of his long and valuable contribution to the teaching and study of transportation at the University of Minnesota. The 2010 Huber Award winners were presented by their advisors.

John S. Adams Award for Excellence in Transportation Research and Education: Shanjiang Zhu, a Ph. D. candidate in the Department of Civil Engineering and also a Masters candidate in the Department of Applied Economics [advisor: Associate Professor David Levinson], and Zhiyi Xu, a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning candidate in the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs [advisor: Assistant Professor Xinyu (Jason) Cao]. The award is given to University of Minnesota graduate students in policy and planning fields. It is named for John Adams in recognition of his extensive research, education, and outreach contributions as a professor in the geography department and at the Humphrey Institute; and in acknowledgment of his long-time support of the Center. Adams presented the 2010 award with each recipient's faculty advisor.

Professor Roger Johnson (Curriculum and Instruction) has been named a 2010 Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. His nomination was advanced to the Fellows Committee by his peers and colleagues in the field in recognition of his exceptional scientific or scholarly contributions to education research or significant contributions to the field through the development of research opportunities and settings. He is one of 67 Fellows who will be inducted on Saturday, May 1, 2010, during AERA's 91st Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. Fellows serve as models and mentors to the next generation of scholars of educational research. Johnson's research has focused on the development and dissemination of cooperative learning techniques for the classroom.

2010 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars
Two University of Minnesota students were named 2010 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars and three students (including one from the University of Minnesota-Morris) received Honorable Mention.

The annual award is given to outstanding sophomores and juniors pursuing research-oriented careers in math, engineering and science all around the nation. The scholarship provides up to $7,500 per year for up to two years of undergraduate study.

The full scholarship recipients are:

Grant Remmen, a sophomore majoring in astrophysics, physics and mathematics in the Institute of Technology (soon to be named College of Science and Engineering).

Xiaoying Lou, a junior in the College of Biological Sciences majoring in biochemistry.

U of M-Twin Cities Honorable Mentions Scott Isaacson and Brent Keller are both juniors in the Institute of Technology. Both students are actively involved in undergraduate research at the University of Minnesota and in summer programs.

U of M-Morris Honorable Mention Rebecca Joy Lindquist is a chemistry and anthropology major and hopes to earn a doctorate in environmental chemistry, conduct research in sustainable chemistry and teach at the university level.

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,111 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. Many of the Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer disciplines.

For more information, see the news release.

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

City Endorses New Policy for Treatment of H.I.V.
In a major shift of H.I.V. treatment policy, San Francisco public health doctors have begun to advise patients to start taking antiviral medicines as soon as they are found to be infected, rather than waiting — sometimes years — for signs that their immune systems have started to fail…One panel member, James D. Neaton of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, contends that a rigorous, randomized clinical trial is needed to show whether early intervention works. The New York Times.

Parents, peers can counteract materialism
Teens who have supportive parents and peers have higher self-esteem, which decreases their need to embrace material goods, U.S. researchers suggest. Lan Nguyen Chaplin of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona and co-author Deborah Roedder John of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management studied teens ages 12-18. UPI.

Robert Bruininks: Where the U stands firm on light rail
The University of Minnesota strongly believes in the benefits of public transit in general and of the proposed Central Corridor light-rail project in particular. I mention this not because it's news--in truth, we've said as much for years -- but because these and other facts have been obscured by the Metropolitan Council's latest PR blizzard. In the meantime, the university's honest efforts at reaching an agreement have gone almost unnoticed. The Star Tribune.

YouTube video features surprise performance at Minn. Byerly's grocery store
It was an April Fools' Day stunt to remember at the Golden Valley Byerly's grocery store Thursday when a group of University of Minnesota student actors broke out in song at the checkout counter…The "Mealtime Hero" performance took place near the store's service area and was planned to entertain and motivate shoppers to get excited about "what to make for dinner." KARE – TV.

Givens, McLeod: U's light-rail vigilance protects public investment and potential
The recent attacks leveled against the University of Minnesota by the chair and spokesman of the Metropolitan Council are offensive and incendiary… The University has sought mediation now for six months in order to help keep this project on schedule, but the Met Council has refused five different times. Pioneer Press.

Grab a rake, stow the sprinkler
So your neighbor has already raked the grass, hauled out the hoses and starting watering. Do you need to keep up with the Joneses? Yes and no. It should be OK to rake now, said turfgrass expert Bob Mugaas, an extension educator with the University of Minnesota. "When you can walk across your yard and it doesn't feel soft and spongy, it's fine to rake," he said. But water? Uh, maybe not. The Star Tribune.

Bitter claim: Price of your chocolate fix is fixed
Supervalu Inc. this week joined a chorus of companies and consumers who claim that your chocolate bar --be it a Snickers or a Hershey -- has been effectively overpriced for years, courtesy of alleged collusion by the world's largest candy makers…Price collusion "is often very difficult to prove," said Tom Cotter, an antitrust expert at the University of Minnesota's School of Law. It's not uncommon for businesses to raise prices at the same time, and "conscious parallelism," isn't a violation of U.S. antitrust law, Cotter said. The Star Tribune.

U of M study: light-rail line helping job access
The Hiawatha light-rail line provides low-wage workers with improved job access, according to a University of Minnesota study…“Public transportation plays an important role in addressing poverty, unemployment and equal opportunity goals,” says Yingling Fan, the study’s principal investigator and an assistant professor at the Humphrey Institute. Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

The excerpts above are taken from Today's News, a service of the University of Minnesota News Service.