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Home > People > Awards and appointments, August 2010

Awards and appointments, August 2010

By Adam Overland

Jeffrey McCullough 165
Jeffrey McCullough

August 25

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

Jeffrey McCullough received a letter of commendation from Ahmad Masoud Rahmani, national director of the Ministry of Public Health in Afghanistan. McCullough is being recognized for his leadership, along with SPH associate dean and professor William Riley and SPH staff Terri Konstenius, on a project that aims to restore the blood banking system in Afghanistan and highlights the leadership of international programs.

William Riley 165 William Riley William Riley and Jeffrey McCullough will lead a project to restore the blood banking system in Afghanistan. The blood bank system operated by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is currently undergoing major restructuring in order to improve quality and efficiency in service provision. The current blood transfusion system and services remain underdeveloped and inefficient. The goal of the project is to identify, develop, and deliver [training] of a comprehensive skills upgrade and educational training plan for professional and technical staff of the Main Blood Bank and associated branches of MOPH.

Kathleen Fagerlund, (School of Nursing) received the Program Director of the Year award from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) for her contributions to the profession of nurse anesthesia. For more information, see nursing award

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

U Of M Researchers May Have HIV Cure
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have identified two drugs that, when combined, may serve as an effective treatment for HIV. KSTP-TV.

What happened to losing?
Today's kids live in a world of scoreless games and trophies for everyone... Among the researchers Kohn cited were brothers David and Roger Johnson, professors at the University of Minnesota who have shown that people working cooperatively, in the classroom or on the playing field, reach a higher level of achievement than people pitted against one another or working alone. Boston Globe.

Good Question: How Much Of Our Food Is Tainted
As the tainted egg recall reaches nearly one-half billion eggs, it's pretty clear that bacteria in raw eggs can be dangerous... When you're talking chicken, "it's 60 to 70 percent," according to Dr. Ted Labuza, a professor at the University of Minnesota Department of Food Science and Nutrition. WCCO – TV.

Aging boomers will strain families, state
Lynn and Steve Halverson saved taxpayers about $175 yesterday -- the cost of a nursing home room -- and they'll do it again today as they start their third year of caring for Lynn's 80-year-old mother in their Apple Valley home... Care-giving can be "almost overwhelming," said Joe Gaugler, a researcher at the University of Minnesota. Star Tribune.

How to grow greener grass: Fescue to the rescue
By this time of year, you might be tired of mowing, fertilizing and watering your lawn... According to Eric Watkins, a turf breeder and assistant professor of horticulture science at the University of Minnesota, fescues can make for easier-care lawns. Star Tribune.

Is the Gulf Oil Gone? It Depends on How You Define 'Oil'
The largest ecological disaster in U.S. history has largely been taken care of, the government claims… "There is still considerable oil in the Gulf as residual oil -- and that 25% is still 'oil' oil," said Justin Revenaugh, a seismologist and professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Minnesota. Fox News.

August 11

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

New producing director, Dept. of Theatre Arts & Dance
Tom Proehl 165Thomas Proehl  --photo by Kevin Berne
The University of Minnesota Department of Theatre Arts & Dance announced Thomas Proehl as the new producing director. He will be joining the department in August, succeeding former managing director Sherry Wagner-Henry who left the department last November to become the director of graduate programs in the U's College of Continuing Education.

A native of Moorhead, MN, Proehl returns to the state after having served as director of administration and operations at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Prior to that position, he worked as the Minnesota State Arts Board Executive Director. During his tenure, the Arts Board received a 19 percent increase in funding supporting artists, arts organizations, and art educators. Proehl was also the managing director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. While at the Guthrie, he oversaw the construction of the new $125 million complex on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

As producing director, Proehl will be overseeing the department’s Re-imagining Community Arts Partnerships (RiCAP) initiative. RiCAP explores the relationships between the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance and the performing arts community in which it is embedded. It focuses on the importance of creation and production to the department’s educational and research mission and training of theatre and dance students—the next generation of artists and arts leaders—and how strong community partnerships could transform that mission.

IBM Faculty Award
Jiali Gao 165 Jiali GaoUniversity of Minnesota Chemistry Department and Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology professor Jiali Gao has received an IBM Faculty award for his research contributions in the development of novel quantum mechanical methods, including the explicit polarization (X-Pol) potential and multistate density functional theory (MSDFT) for chemical and biological systems ranging from a single electron to fully solvated proteins. These methods provide new opportunities in the study of proton coupled electron transfer reactions and enzymatic catalysis.

IBM Faculty Awards is a competitive worldwide program intended to foster collaboration between researchers at leading universities worldwide and those in IBM research, development and services organizations; and promote courseware and curriculum innovation.

Interim Head of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology
Cynthia Gross (College of Pharmacy) was named Interim Head of the Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, effective Aug. 1. Her appointment will continue through June 30, 2011 or until a permanent head has arrived.

Robert Ramsay honored
Adjunct professor of Ophthalmology Robert Ramsay will be the honored guest at the fourth annual Urban Cocktail Party, Nov. 6, Target Field. Ramsay is a ophthalmologist in the Twin Cities known for patient care, research, and contributions to professional organizations including the National Institute of Health, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and as a scientific reviewer for numerous journals of medicine. The event will raise funds to support initiatives of the Phillips Eye Institute Foundation. For more information regarding the event, contact Melissa Graf

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

U.S. electricity blackouts skyrocketing
New York's Staten Island was broiling under a life-threatening heat wave and borough President James Molinaro was seriously concerned about the area's Little League baseball players…During the past two decades, such blackouts have increased 124 percent -- up from 41 blackouts between 1991 and 1995, to 92 between 2001 and 2005, according to research at the University of Minnesota. CNN.

Target apologizes for giving to group backing Emmer
Unable to extinguish a firestorm of protest among some of its customers and gay rights supporters, Target Corp. on Thursday took the unusual step of apologizing for making a political donation… While the apology could put an end to what Heather LaMarre, a University of Minnesota assistant journalism professor, called "a PR nightmare," it could also signal the beginning of a combustible new era of corporate decision making. Star Tribune.

U overhauls Health Center ethics rules
After nearly three years of work, the University of Minnesota on Wednesday released new rules governing potential conflicts of interest between personnel in its medical school and business interests, including drug and medical device companies... "The feeling was that the bar needed to be higher for people who come in clinical contact with patients and others," said Dr. Frank Cerra, the U's senior vice president for health sciences. Star Tribune.

Rosemount turbine won't get much of a breeze
UMore Park, the University of Minnesota's sprawling research area in eastern Rosemount, doesn't typically get much wind. That makes it the perfect place for the university's new wind-turbine project. That's because the goal of a turbine to be built there this year is not to feed the electrical grid, but to conduct research on ways to generate wind energy even when gales aren't prevalent. "As opposed to many of the projects that people like myself are involved in, where our research is laboratory-based ... this is really a project that is going to be integrated in the community," said Mostafa Kaveh, the associate dean for research and planning in the school's College of Science and Engineering. Star Tribune.

Land of 10,000 lakes, and 1 official language?
Gov. Tim Pawlenty waded into the national debate over immigration Tuesday, saying that Minnesota should consider making English its official state language… Katherine Fennelly, a University of Minnesota professor and expert on immigration, said Pawlenty's comment "demonstrates the popularity of statements that are negative about immigrants." Star Tribune.

Xcel looks to store excess wind energy in giant batteries
Wind turbines produce most of their power at night, but utilities want electricity during the day, when factory machinery is humming, offices are lit and air conditioners are running full blast… "The grid needs those electrons when the grid needs those electrons, regardless of when the wind is blowing," said Dick Hemmingsen, director of the University of Minnesota's Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment, which assisted in the project. Pioneer Press.

Asking 'What if?' and 'Why not?' about the riverfront
Daniel Carlson looks at the Mississippi riverfront and sees a steam plant spa. A swimming channel. Terraces that lead to the water's edge…"He came back and asked, 'Why can't we do some of this stuff here?'" said Pat Nunnally, U professor and coordinator for the Institute on the Environment's River Life program. "If you unlock yourself from the traces of institutional thinking, you say, 'Hey, why not?'" Star Tribune.

Pro sports, environmentalism form uneasy bond
Chris Dickerson remembered cringing as he looked at the excess of empty, discarded plastic bottles by his Triple-A teammates in Louisville…"You can always look at things in different contexts," said John Carmody, director of the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota. "Should we have four teams sharing one stadium? Should we be building a stadium at all? But the more realistic and pragmatic approach is that various organizations, like baseball teams, have their needs. We aren't questioning whether they're having a field. We're saying that within the context of having a field, we're going to make it as sustainable as possible." MSNBC.

Media critic and women's sports advocate Mary Jo Kane is about to step into the belly of the ESPN beast
When it comes to sports and media and guy stuff, ESPN is the big, hairy monster. It's a towel-flicking electronic locker room with a big sign on the door that seems to say, "For Boys Only!"...A University of Minnesota professor and director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sports, Kane is the author of such page-turning journal articles as "Sexual stories as resistance narratives in women's sports: Reconceptualizing identity performance" and "Expanding the boundaries of sport media research: Using critical theory to explore consumer responses to representations of women's sports." MinnPost.