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Home > People > Awards and appointments, July 2010

Awards and appointments, July 2010

By Adam Overland

John Carmody 165
John Carmody (pictured) and Pat Huelman of the U's Cold Climate Housing Program will lead a public-private partnership chosen by the DOE to develop cost-effective, energy efficient housing.

July 28

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


U to lead DOE initiative on home energy efficiency in cold climates
A public-private partnership led by University of Minnesota researchers has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy to help develop cost-effective solutions that dramatically reduce the average energy use of housing while improving comfort and quality.

Fifteen projects nationwide will receive up to $30 million over the next 18 months as part of the department's "Building America" program. The grants were announced this week.

The Minnesota project, called the NorthernSTAR Energy Efficient Housing Research Partnership Team, will use a holistic approach to building performance, particularly as it applies to housing in cold climates. Using this approach, a new or retrofitted house must achieve multiple performance outcomes of energy efficiency, durability, indoor air quality and low environmental impact. While most energy-efficiency programs address only the house, a holistic approach involves the entire process, from construction delivery system to helping homeowners save energy.

The project will be led by Pat Huelman of the University's Cold Climate Housing Program and John Carmody of the U's Center for Sustainable Building Research. The project incorporates scientists from a broad range of disciplines and will use research facilities throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin to help develop strategies not only for energy technologies but for making those technologies available and understandable to all communities.

University of Minnesota researchers involved in the project are from the U of M's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, College of Design, College of Science and Engineering, U of M Extension, Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment and the University of Minnesota-Duluth. For more information, see the news release or see a story from IonE's momentum magazine, winter 2010.

New CBS associate dean
Two associate deans for research joined the College of Biological Sciences on July 1.

Tom Hays, professor of genetics, cell biology and development, will represent his department as well as the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics.Clarence Lehman, adjunct member in ecology, evolution, and behavior, will represent his department, the Department of Plant Biology and the Biotechnology Institute.

Hays, who joined the University of Minnesota faculty in 1989, earned his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His research focuses on the structural and regulatory mechanisms that drive intracellular transport. As associate dean, he will advocate for investment in research infrastructure and will work to foster collaborations among faculty in the biomedical sciences and the Institute of technology to strengthen existing research programs and create new ones.

Lehman, who earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, is a Resident Fellow of the Institute on the Environment and was associate director of Cedar Creek Ecosystem Reserve for six years. He uses theoretical ecology and computer modeling to address environmental issues such as climate change and decreasing biodiversity. As associate research dean, he hopes to improve CBS’s ability to identify and prepare large, interdisciplinary grant proposals. Huber Warner, former CBS Associate Dean for Research, retired at the end of June. 

Fulbright Grants for 2010-1
Fulbright Grants for 2010-11 have been awarded to 14 students--nine graduate students and five new bachelor's degree recipients--for study, research, or teaching abroad. Minnesota graduate students won three of only 10 student Fulbrights offered nationally for study in Norway. The recipients are

Alyssa Anderson (CFANS);
Moana McClellan (CBS/CFANS);
Andrew Carlson (CSE);
Woody Hanson
and Rolf Jacobson (CDes); and
Thomas Flynn
, Sara Gregg, Andrew Johnson, Emily Kippels, David Morton, Heather O'Leary, Raphi Rechitsky, Annie Rollins, and Thomas Snyder (CLA).

The Fulbright competition for students is administered at the University of Minnesota through the Graduate School and the Office for National Scholarships in the University Honors Program.

An international educational exchange program, the Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since its inception, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 300,000 participants, chosen for their leadership potential, with the opportunity to observe each others’ political, economic, and cultural institutions; exchange ideas; and embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world’s inhabitants. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement as well as on demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. For more information about each student, see the news release.


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

To Solve Our Problems on the Road: Lose the Drivers
Suppose you were polishing the hood of your car and accidentally summoned up a transportation genie from the depths of your transmission. What would your three wishes be?… The outcome: a freeway lane can hold between three and four times more cars than are currently accommodated. And those cars can move at high speeds. Xi Jou of the University of Minnesota has estimated that congestion relief will start to bite when as few as 20 percent of the cars on the road have adaptive cruise control. The New York Times.

Community rallies to help baby Elle with rare disorder
Her parents call her strong and tough, a little fighter... Elle has been accepted to a groundbreaking clinical trial of a stem cell transplant at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Sacramento News 10.

Lake Superior, a Huge Natural Climate Change Gauge, Is Running a Fever
The Great Lakes are feeling the heat from climate change... Analysis of several buoys that measure temperatures in the lake reveal that the waters are some 15 degrees warmer than they would normally be at this time of year, Jay Austin, a professor of physics at the University of Minnesota, Duluth's Large Lakes Observatory, said in a recent interview. The New York Times.

Professors Try to Shore Up Speech Protections Undermined by Courts
Most of the proposed policies are modeled after the one adopted by the University of Minnesota last year. It defines academic freedom as "the freedom to discuss all relevant matters in the classroom, to explore all avenues of scholarship, research, and creative expression, and to speak or write without institutional discipline or restraint on matters of public concern as well as on matters related to professional duties and the functioning of the university." The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Editorial: Spare research from state cuts
Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner made a notable move with a hockey puck on last Friday's "Almanac" -- and he wasn't even wearing skates...Tim Mulcahy, vice president for research at the University of Minnesota and a member of the study group, explained that random, scattershot efforts to boost research and its transfer to industry won't do. "I don't want to create impression that state hasn't made any investments. It has. But they have not been coordinated in a comprehensive program to create synergies and maximize leveraging opportunities." The Star Tribune.

Debate emerges over oil drilling in the Great Lakes
It may surprise you that one of the hot issues in the Wisconsin U.S. Senate race this year concerns drilling for oil in the Great Lakes. Putting the politics aside, this got us wondering if drilling for oil in the Great Lakes is a real possibility. MPR's Cathy Wurzer spoke with Justin Revenaugh, a professor in the department of geology and geophysics at the University of Minnesota. Minnesota Public Radio.

More Americans drinking (alcohol)
More adults in the U.S. appear to be drinking alcohol, according to a new study of the nation's drinking habits. And the trend seems to be consistent across ethnic groups and genders…"More people are drinking, but they seem to not be drinking heavily as frequently," says Rhonda Jones-Webb, an epidemiologist and alcohol expert at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, in Minneapolis. CNN.

Why pets are good for us
Watch a Lassie movie and spit into a cup. It doesn't sound like it, but this is cutting-edge research. By analyzing saliva, researcher Cheryl Krause-Parello can tell that merely watching a dog in a movie lowers people's stress… For 10 years, Adnan Qureshi, professor of neurosurgery and neurology at the University of Minnesota, followed 4,500 people and in 2008 announced his study's intriguing conclusions: Those who owned a cat were 40% less likely to die from heart attacks than those who had no feline in their lives. USA Today Weekend.

Will the BP disaster spur meaningful action to increase U.S. energy security?
"Have you cut back on driving because of the BP oil spill?" Professor Michael Osterholm asked me. I couldn't say I had… This dramatic incident should drive us to take full measure of the costs of our energy dependence, said Osterholm, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. MinnPost.

Languages Plus
Timothy A. Bennett strives toward a new vision for the foreign language department… “If we’re talking about students eventually reaching advanced-level skills, the language piece can’t be left out,” said Carol A. Klee, assistant vice president for international scholarship and a professor in the department of Spanish and Portuguese studies at the University of Minnesota. Inside Higher Ed.

Top University of Minnesota research official fires back at critical legislators
Tim Mulcahy’s eyes lit up as the thought suddenly seized him…“Here’s what we can propose,” said Mulcahy, vice president of research at the University of Minnesota. “Perhaps the university is too risk averse in our assessment” of potential startups. MedCity News.


July 14

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


New Director of the Center for Transportation Studies
LaurieMcGinnis 165 Laurie McGinnis Laurie McGinnis has been appointed as the new Director of the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS), effective July 5. The appointment is the result of a comprehensive national search process that included a review of 19 well-qualified applicants from throughout the country.

As director of CTS, McGinnis will provide leadership, direction, and vision in achieving the mission of the Center, which includes advancing innovations that put the University at the forefront of transportation research. She will facilitate the work of more than 100 contracts totaling more than $20 million, which engage faculty and other transportation experts in conducting research that addresses some of today’s most important transportation issues. McGinnis will also provide support and leadership to two federally funded programs that operate within CTS: the ITS Institute, a National University Transportation Center (UTC), and the Minnesota Local Technical Assistance Program (Mn LTAP).

McGinnis has been involved in the transportation field since 1984. Over the last 18 years, she has been a key player in the development and growth of CTS, having served as the Center’s Research Coordinator, Director of Research and Contract Management, Associate Director, and Acting Director. Through her previous leadership experiences at CTS she has created new program opportunities that have expanded the Center’s national reach, helped streamline operations, and articulated future directions in transportation research, education, and outreach.

Nationally, McGinnis is active in the Transportation Research Board, currently serving as Section Chair for the Research and Education Section, and recently completed a six-year term as chair of the Committee on the Conduct of Research. She is also a member of Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), serving on the Steering Committee for the joint WTS/DOT initiative for advancement of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). She has previously held positions on the National Board of Directors, the International Advisory Board, and the local WTS Minnesota Chapter Board.

McGinnis holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin and two Masters degrees (in Public Affairs and Business Administration) from the University of Minnesota. She is a registered engineer in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

GAO Announces Appointments to CO-OP Program Advisory Board

Jon Christianson has been appointed to the advisory board to the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) Program, newly created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Gene L. Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced the appointment of 15 members to the Advisory Board to the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) Program. The board, newly created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will make recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services on grants and loans to establish nonprofit, member-run health insurers serving the individual and small-group markets.

The Act directed the Comptroller General to appoint board members with expertise or experience related to health insurance and health care delivery but without significant interests in the insurance sector. The CO-OP program must award all grants and loans by July 1, 2013; the Advisory Board may continue its work until December 2015.

Appointments to the board include Jon B. Christianson, MS, PhD. Christianson is James A. Hamilton Chair in Health Policy and Management in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health. He has conducted a large number of research studies related to health care regulation and finance, HMOs and other health plans, and rural health. For more information see GAO CO-OP Program Advisory Board.

$3.2 million research project grant
Jayne Fulkerson, associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, has received a $3.2 million research project grant (R01) from the National Institutes of Health for “Healthy Home Offerings via the Mealtime Environment (HOME) Plus.” The study will test the effectiveness of an intervention, called HOME Plus, to prevent excess weight gain in eight- to 12-year-old children. Participating families will learn how to make their home environment more healthful. They will also learn how to create nutritious meals and snacks that all members can enjoy together. And they will be encouraged to reduce children’s screen time (television viewing, computer game playing).

Fulkerson will head up an interprofessional team of experienced researchers that includes School of Nursing faculty Martha Kubik and Ann Garwick, along with statistician Olga Gurvich. Other members of the team are School of Public Health faculty Dianne Neumark-Sztainer and Mary Story. Also participating are staff from the University Extension Service.

College of Design names two new associate deans
The College of Design (CDes) has named two new associate deans, effective July 1—for academic affairs, Lee Anderson, associate professor, School of Architecture; for research and outreach, Brad Hokanson, associate professor, Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel.

As associate dean of academic affairs, Anderson has oversight of faculty affairs and CDes’ undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, and provides strategic leadership and promotes excellence in the academic affairs of the college. Anderson has been with the School of Architecture since 1990, where he teaches a series of courses on computer-aided design (CAD) and design in the digital age. Anderson’s expertise centers on computers and the design process, particularly three-dimensional modeling. In 2004 he cofounded the Digital Design Consortium, an interdisciplinary unit that focuses on ways to make building design more efficient by using 3D models to gain knowledge early in the design process. He has developed software for architectural design and has taught virtual reality and video editing and animation summer courses in Norway.

As associate dean of research and outreach, Hokanson will shape and implement the college’s overall research and outreach agenda; promote research scholarship, outreach, and civic engagement across the college; foster integration of CDes research and outreach centers with faculty scholarship; and encourage interdisciplinary initiatives. Hokanson has been associate professor of graphic design since 2001; from 1993 to 2001 he was an instructor in the department, when he initiated an MA program in multimedia design. His areas of expertise include graphic design, cognitive tools, digital imaging, visual thinking and communication, computer graphics, and creativity.

CDes Dean Thomas Fisher said of the appointments, “Lee and Brad, with their participation in the college’s Blue Ribbon Committee, their experience with graduate education and research, and their knowledge of the digital world, will provide the leadership we need at this point in our college’s history.”

Fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research
Bernard Levinson was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research, the organization of the senior scholars of the field, the oldest professional organization of Judaica scholars in North America. His election reflects the high regard in which his peers in Jewish studies regard his research and writing. Levinson is Berman Family Chair in Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible, and a professor in Classical and Near Eastern studies.

State Award for Excellence
Linda Lindeke (School of Nursing) received the prestigious State Award for Excellence by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Lindeke, School of Nursing associate professor and director of graduate studies, will be one of many to receive the State Award for Nurse Practitioner Excellence. Founded in 1991, this award recognizes an NP in a state who demonstrates excellence in practice, research, NP education, or community affairs. In 1993, the State Award for Nurse Practitioner Advocate was added to recognize the efforts of individuals who have made a significant contribution toward increasing the awareness and acceptance of nurse practitioners. For more information, see Linda Lindeke.

Endowed Chair in Medicinal Chemistry
Carston (Rick) Wagner was recently named to the new Endowed Chair in Medicinal Chemistry. Wagner, professor and director of the Chemical Biology Initiative, is the first to hold the Endowed Chair in Medicinal Chemistry.

The chair was established to support an outstanding faculty member who conducts chemical biology or medicinal chemistry research. The endowment will provide stable funding that will allow the chair to expand into new areas and pursue innovative ideas. For more information, see Endowed Chair in Medicinal Chemistry.

In Memoriam
Laurie Brown
, Extension educator in water resource management with the onsite sewage treatment program, died June 27. Brown joined Extension in 2006 and quickly became a member of the Extension community. Her contributions were many: from sharing her expertise in soil and water resources via her work in helping small communities make informed wastewater decisions to her most recent role with the Stocking Lake project, looking at the nutrient pathways to the lake. Brown truly valued her colleagues, friends, and experience at Extension.


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

Researchers Witness Overnight Breakup, Retreat of Greenland Glacier
NASA-funded researchers monitoring Greenland's Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier report that a 7 square kilometer (2.7 square mile) section of the glacier broke up on July 6 and 7, as shown in the image above…Research teams led by Ian Howat of the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University and Paul Morin, director of the Antarctic Geospatial Information Center at the University of Minnesota have been monitoring satellite images for changes in the Greenland ice sheet and its outlet glaciers. NASA.

Mutant Leads to Jumbo-Sized Apple
When a mutant apple tree in Tennessee produced unusually enormous and extra crispy fruit, scientists took note… Size is especially important to growers, who can harvest larger fruit more efficiently and, in turn, make more money from them, said Jim Luby, an apple breeding expert at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, who helped develop the Honeycrisp, among others. Discovery News.

OIT's green networking efforts featured in 'Baseline' magazine
The U of M recently caught the attention of an editor at Baseline magazine, a guide for technology leaders about managing the deployment of leading-edge information technology, who was writing a piece on technology for educational markets. They were interested how the University uses its network equipment for green IT initiatives. In another education environment, the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus uses Entuity’s Eye of the Storm network management software to monitor network performance across multiple campuses. The software provides real-time performance data on 1,900 switches and routers and 2,900 wireless access points. It alerts network administrators to outages and enables the staff to proactively resolve network issues before they get out of hand, says Peter Bartz, a manager in the university’s Office of IT. "Textbook IT: Technologies Key to Educational Facilities." The U's coverage is found it the "Green Networking" section on the second half of page one.

Health care reform played a role in nurses talks
On Tuesday, 12,000 Twin Cities nurses will vote on a hard-fought contract deal with area hospitals and the impact of health care reform was a major, but largely hidden factor, in the negotiation talks… "It's a little bit difficult right now to know exactly how hospitals will fare," said Jean Abraham, a health economics expert at the University of Minnesota. Minnesota Public Radio

Report finds pervasive mental abuse of players in Canadian amateur sport
Amateur sport coaches routinely commit psychological abuses against young athletes that trigger a “toxic tornado” with long-lasting effects on their development, say researchers… “The kids describe it as a toxic tornado on the sidelines,” says Nicole LaVoi, a researcher at the University of Minnesota who has co-authored several studies into egregious behaviour in youth sports. Waterloo Record.

Doctor Approved Torture and Denying Medicine to Prisoners
American doctors in the Middle East routinely approved the torture of captured suspects and denied them critical medications such as insulin, sometimes with lethal consequences, according to a documented report published in the “Utne Reader."… Bioethicist Steven Miles of the University of Minnesota Medical School said the U.N. condemnation should have been “a call to arms” yet “the AMA said nothing.” Pacific Free Press.

Technology Affecting Vacation Getaways
Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, but technology can make them anything but that. A survey from Expedia.com says only 53 percent of Americans feel rested and relaxed when they return from time off… University of Minnesota Communications Professor Heather Lamarre talks about how technology has changed vacations. FOX-9.

Police Horse Retired After 14 Years On Job
A trusted police horse named Whisper is being retired due to an injury… Whisper worked for the park and city police departments until 2005, then he went to the University of Minnesota Police Department. WCCO – TV.

FDA To Limit Use of Antibiotics in Livestock
The FDA is urging farmers to stop giving antibiotics to livestock. These antibiotics increase animal growth and is creating dangerous bacteria that does not respond to medical treatment endangering human life…The question is how many deaths can be attributed to agricultural uses of antibiotics? “I don’t think anyone knows that number,” said Dr. James Johnson, a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota, “but I think it’s substantial.” Emax Health.

Discovering the Virtues of a Wandering Mind
At long last, the doodling daydreamer is getting some respect… There’s an evolutionary advantage to the brain’s system of mind wandering, says Eric Klinger, a psychologist at the University of Minnesota and one of the pioneers of the field. “While a person is occupied with one task, this system keeps the individual’s larger agenda fresher in mind,” Dr. Klinger writes in the “Handbook of Imagination and Mental Simulation.” The New York Times.

Hot electrons could double solar cell efficiency
Solar cells could one day see a boost in their theoretical maximum efficiency from 31 per cent to 66 per cent, thanks to a novel way of harnessing electrons whose energy is normally lost as heat… "So any transfer that we observe is conclusively hot electron transfer," says team member Eray Aydil of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. NewScientist.