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Home > People > Awards and appointments, September 2010

Awards and appointments, September 2010

By Adam Overland

MarlaSpivek 165
Marla Spivak is among 23 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation genius grants.

September 29

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

Genius grant award
University of Minnesota entomologist Marla Spivak is among 23 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants."

Spivak, a nationally and internationally respected expert on honeybees' health, is developing practical applications to protect honeybee populations from decimation by disease while making fundamental contributions to our understanding of bee biology.

This is only the second time in University of Minnesota history that one of the U's faculty has won this award.

Spivak and the other fellows all were selected for their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future. As a new MacArthur Fellow for 2010, Spivak will receive a $500,000 "no strings attached" grant. MacArthur Fellowships come without stipulations and reporting requirements and offer fellows unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and explore. The unusual level of independence afforded to Fellows underscores the spirit of freedom intrinsic to creative endeavors. The work of MacArthur Fellows knows neither boundaries nor the constraints of age, place, and endeavor, according to the foundation.

Spivak, who has been a member of the U of M College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences' department of entomology faculty since 1993, has been honored numerous times for her teaching work as well. In 2009 she was named a Distinguished McKnight Professor, an honor the University of Minnesota reserves for its highest-achieving faculty who recently have attained full professor status. For more information, see the news release.

Early Career Development Award
Tamara Moore 165
Tamara Moore
Tamara Moore (assistant professor of mathematics education, curriculum and instruction, and co-director of the STEM Education Center) has received a $400,109 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), to research implementing K-12 engineering standards through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) integration.

The award is one of NSF's highest honors for early-career faculty whose research builds a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education. The grant will begin Oct. 1 and will continue for five years.

University Metropolitan Consortium
Dean Thomas Fisher and professor Edward Goetz have been named co-directors of the University Metropolitan Consortium.

The Consortium was established in 2006 to link and network University centers, programs, faculty and staff engaged in teaching, research, and outreach focused on metropolitan change and development. The Consortium engages University faculty and staff from a broad range of disciplines with public, private, and non-profit organizations to analyze, discuss, and advance important metropolitan issues, maximize cost-efficiencies, and provide greater leverage for research support and impact.

Fisher is Dean of the College of Design and Professor of Architecture. His research focuses on the redesign of public systems and service. His current book project explores the issue of “fracture-critical design” and how the financing and delivery of urban systems might be rethought in light of the growing financial and physical vulnerability of these systems.

Goetz is Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) and Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He specializes in housing and community development research, recently completing a study of the land use and community impacts of the Hiawatha Light Rail Line in Minneapolis.

Fisher and Goetz assumed leadership of the Consortium at the start of the fall 2010 semester. They succeed Professor Judith Martin and Professor Emeritus John Adams, who were the founding co-chairs of the Consortium. For more information, see the University Metropolitan Consortium

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

Minn. could still get insurance study grants that Pawlenty nixed
Minnesota may have a second chance to get some of the health care money that Gov. Tim Pawlenty passed up recently… To answer those questions, Lynn Blewett, who's also a University of Minnesota health economist and researcher, said the group needs to gather comprehensive information on the state's different insurance markets. Minnesota Public Radio

Mixed Reviews About Engineered Fish
Science may have a way to solve world hunger. A Massachusetts company created genetically-engineered salmon that they say grows twice as fast and is ready to eat… Food science and engineering professor Dr. Ted Labuza from the University of Minnesota gives his opinion on the fish. KMSP-TV.

Bounding, Rebounding: Panthers Make A Comeback
Big, meat-eating animals are in trouble. At least if they're not human… Craig Packer, an ecologist at the University of Minnesota who has worked with lions in Africa, says the project is a textbook case of how dangerous inbreeding can be, even in wild animals. National Public Radio.

Ranked Choice Voting would help rid political campaigns of negative ads
You can do something about those negative ads... Wy Spano is the director of the Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) Program at the University of Minnesota Duluth. MinnPost.

Raptor Center will round up hundreds of Galapagos hawks
The University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center is taking part in a project that would seem like “mission impossible” unless you knew the logistics and the track record of the groups involved: The St. Paul-based center is to participate in the roundup and temporary incarceration of hundreds of Galapagos hawks. MinnPost.

What Does Politics Have to Do With Food?
I get asked all the time what food has to do with politics. My answer: everything. Take food safety, for example… James Johnson, an infectious-disease expert at the University of Minnesota explains what this is about. The Atlantic.

September 22

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

National Cancer Institute research grants

Philip McGlave and Jeffrey MillerJeffrey Miller (left) and Philip McGlaveTwo of the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center’s leading physician-scientists on research and treatment of cancers of the blood and bone marrow – Philip McGlave, M.D., and Jeffrey Miller, M.D., -- have received renewed five-year program project research grants totaling almost $26 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

McGlave and Miller will use the grants to lead research teams focused on increasing the availability, safety, and effectiveness of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cell therapies to improve treatment and survival for the thousand of patients diagnosed annually with leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and other blood and bone marrow disorders.

About the physician-scientists, their research goals
McGlave, deputy director of the Masonic Cancer Center and director of the University Medical School’s Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation, received more than $12.6 million of renewed funding. He has received NCI funding to lead his stem cell research program for the past 15 years. The renewed funding will allow him to continue years 16-20 of his team’s research, focusing on improving stem cell transplant and cell-based treatments.

Miller is associate director of the Masonic Cancer Center’s Experimental Therapeutics Program and professor of medicine focusing on hematology, oncology, and transplantation. His award of more than $13.3 million will fund years 6-10 of his team’s research on characterizing “natural killer cell” or “NK cells” to reduce the rate of relapse after transplant by leukemia patients. Currently, leukemia returns in about 25 percent of patients who undergo stem cell transplants.

In addition to University of Minnesota researchers, their respective research teams will include blood and marrow stem cell experts at the National Institutes of Health and at more than a dozen cancer research centers across the United States. For more information, see the news release.

$30 Million NIH grant to study the human brain

Kamil Ugurbil 165Kamil Ugurbil U researcher Kamil Ugurbil will lead $30 Million NIH project to study connections of the human brain.

Ugurbil, director of the U's Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR), will collaborate with Dr. David Van Essen from the Washington University School of Medicine to lead the Human Connectome Project (HCP)—a $30 million study designed to map the connections of the human brain.

Researchers from Oxford University, Indiana University, University of California at Berkeley, Warwick University, University d’Annunzio, and the Ernst Strungmann Institute will also participate in this collaborative effort.

The grant is funded by multiple branches of the National Institutes of Health via its Blueprint for Neuroscience Research. A total of 33 collaborators from nine research institutions will contribute to the HCP.

The CMRR is closing in on completion of a $53.2 million, 65,000-square-foot expansion that will house one of the world’s largest and most powerful human imaging magnets—a 10.5 Tesla magnet capable of delivering the sharpest images ever seen through magnetic resonance imaging technology. The CMRR expansion is part of a larger investment in the development of the Biomedical Discovery District—a $292 million investment in 400,000 square feet of research space.

Aside from cutting-edge technology, the interdepartmental and interdisciplinary composition of the CMRR will allow University of Minnesota researchers to conduct a share of complex brain scans comprising the study’s overall database while also developing the technology needed to measure, interpret, and model HCP data.

According to Ugurbil, faculty and researchers from across the University of Minnesota campus will work through the CMRR to advance the HCP. The following University of Minnesota faculty will be contributing to Human Connectome Project:

Kamil Ugurbil, Director of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research

Mike Garwood, Associate Director, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research

Essa Yacoub, Associate Professor, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research

Noam Harel, Associate Professor, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research

Gregor Adriany, Edward Auerbach, John Strupp, and Steen Moeller, Research Associates, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research

Guillermo Saprio, University of Minnesota Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Alumni Association faculty/staff volunteer of the year

Stephen Schondelmeyer will receive the Alumni Association's Faculty/Staff Volunteer of the Year award.

The U's Alumni Association will honor its outstanding alumni volunteers, groups, and programs at an awards celebration Sept. 29, 5:30 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center. The Faculty/Staff Volunteer of the Year award goes to Stephen Schondelmeyer, professor of Pharmaceutical Economics in the College of Pharmacy. Schondelmeyer is one of the world’s leading experts on pharmaceutical economics, particularly drug pricing and prescription drug use. His credibility, integrity and independent perspective make him a highly sought-after speaker on the economics of the pharmaceutical market. He has traveled to several Alumni Association chapters across Minnesota over the past year, speaking to large groups of alumni and friends about drug pricing and the nation’s healthcare system. Within his work, research and speaking engagements, Schondelmeyer recognizes the impact that students and alumni have on the profession, and he has been a loyal and dedicated supporter of the Alumni Association for many years.

Management Innovation Award

Craig Shankwitz, director of the Intelligent Vehicles Lab at the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Institute, received the Management Innovation Award on September 13 from the Minnesota Public Transit Association for his work on the Bus 2.0 driver-assist system, which is part of a $133.3 million federally funded state project to improve traffic flow on I-35W between downtown Minneapolis and the southern suburbs. Shankwitz won the award with Michael Abegg, transit-planning manager at the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority. The award highlights a successful university-transit agency partnership that is deploying innovative technology to solve the problem of traffic congestion in the Twin Cities. The ITS Institute is part of the Center for Transportation Studies, a division of System Academic Administration.

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

Group fighting to restore voting rights to felons on probation
As the November election gets closer, there's a push underway to restore voting rights to the nearly 46,000 adults living and working in the state that are disqualified from voting because they're on probation for a felony conviction… That means the state's communities of color are losing a larger percentage of their potential votes, according to a 2009 report by University of Minnesota Sociology Professor Chris Uggen. Minnesota Public Radio.

Patients, hospitals having problems with revised GAMC program
Three months after the state implemented a scaled-back health care coverage program for its poorest residents, many patients are waiting months for basic medical services and hospitals have lost millions of dollars in uncompensated care... Administrators at the University of Minnesota Medical Center said they're working as quickly as possible to provide care to about 2,600 program enrollees... "We've totally disrupted their care," said Marge Page, the operations lead for the medical center's GAMC program. Minnesota Public Radio NewsQ.

Action-Packed Video Games May Be Good for You After
"They are making more efficient use of the information that is out there," said C. Shawn Green, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral associate at the University of Minnesota's department of psychology. Bloomberg Businessweek.

September 15

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

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

Protecting 32,000 islands of ecological purity
Across the Great Lakes, there's growing interest in the ecological importance of islands -- and the need to keep them free of invasive plants, pests and other threats… University of Minnesota wildlife Prof. Francie Cuthbert has studied colonies of waterbirds for the past three decades, including aerial surveys of hundreds of islands and field work on about 150. Star Tribune

Search Takes a Social Turn
Now, even on the Internet, it is not what you know but who you know… But that approach often does not offer much insight as to why a particular film or restaurant is being recommended, said John Riedl, a professor of computer science at the University of Minnesota. The New York Times

U of M officials pleased with latest stem cell ruling
The head of the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota says a new appeals court ruling is good news for stem cell researchers... The U of M's Jonathan Slack says the appeals ruling is the first step toward "undoing the damage" caused by the funding ban. Minnesota Public Radio

UMR reaches turning point in downtown campus planning
University of Minnesota Rochester Chancellor Stephen Lehmkuhle told a Board of Regents committee Tuesday that the school envisions a plaza that serves as a gateway to the campus… "We have a much better idea now of where we're going to be located, and what kind of facilities that we're really going to have to build on our own, so we'll start thinking about developing our own physical campus plan," he said. Post-Bulletin

Big changes coming to flex spending accounts
It is "heads up" time for thousands of Minnesota wage earners. Changes are coming for those who participate in Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA's)through their employers... "Employees can allocate a certain amount of money at the beginning of the year to pay for qualified medical expenses," explained Jean Marie Abraham, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Division of Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health in Minneapolis. KARE – TV

Monarchs: Small creatures, big moves
The monarch rode the wind through the Eastman Nature Center in Dayton, sweeping down a bike path, then through fields of tall, tangled grass that bent with each gust... Along the way, many will die from storms, starvation, fatigue and predation, but the ones that make it represent an incredible natural phenomenon that University of Minnesota monarch lab scientists and others nationwide are still trying to fully understand. Star Tribune

The vision of a dying child
Just before 13-year-old Katie Hageboeck died, she asked her parents to take the money she had saved for a 10-speed bike and donate it to a fledgling group formed to fund cancer research... Since then, Katie's $500 savings has snowballed into $75 million worth of cancer research at the University of Minnesota, thanks to the Children's Cancer Research Fund launched by her parents. Star Tribune

$7 million grant launches childhood obesity center at U
The University of Minnesota is creating a childhood obesity center with the help of a $7 million federal grant to transform the exercise and eating habits of as many as 530 families. Star Tribune.

September 8

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

Jeffrey Edleson 165   Jeffrey Edleson Professor Jeffrey Edleson has been appointed to a National Academy of Sciences Committee on Global Violence Prevention.

Professor of English Nabil Matar was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant ($170,439) for a project entitled "Crossing Cultural Spaces: Islam and the West in Arts and Sciences." The grant will support an academic forum and program development workshop "exploring continuities between cultural and intellectual traditions in the Islamic worlds and Western civilization."

Professor of English Julie Schumacher has been awarded a residency at the Bellagio Center in Italy for spring 2011. Schumacher plans to work on a collection of short stories, "Passengers."

Roberta Sonnino 165 Roberta Sonnino Roberta Sonnino, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, has received the 2010 Women in Medicine Leadership Development Award for an individual. This is the first time anyone from the University of Minnesota Medical School has received this award in its 17-year history. Sonnino is associate dean for faculty affairs and professor of surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She received the award for her career-spanning contributions to faculty affairs, specifically in the area of women faculty.

The AAMC Women in Medicine Leadership Development Awards recognize individual and organizational contributions to advancing women leaders in academic medicine. The awards will be presented during the Women in Medicine luncheon at the AAMC Annual Meeting, Nov. 9. 

University of Minnesota Physicians announced that Brent Wilde has accepted the role of senior vice president and chief financial officer. Wilde will be responsible for finance and accounting, payor and provider contracting, information technology, and patient financial services. Wilde’s background includes more than 20 years of experience in finance, payor contracting and revenue management. He has worked with a variety of health care organizations, including Fairview Health System, such as a health plan, hospital system and physician group. Most recently, he was executive vice president and COO/CFO for Emergency Physicians, PA. 

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

Minnesota farmer battles Gulf 'dead zone'
Within moments of meeting Tony Thompson, you can tell he sees the world from a different tilt… Scientists largely have figured out what farmers need to do to lessen their impact on the dead zone, said David Mulla, a founding fellow and soil scientist at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment. CNN

MinnPost gets $80,000 grant for investigative reporting partnership with U of M J-School
MinnPost has received a grant of $80,000 from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, to support a new investigative reporting partnership between MinnPost and the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. MinnPost.

Canning tips from a U of M food science educator

With the season for fresh fruits and vegetables on its way out, Hot Dish wanted to find out more about produce preservation and touched base with Suzanne Driessen, a Food Science Extension Educator with the University of Minnesota. City Pages

Tight budget means fewer new faculty at U of M
Next week the University of Minnesota will welcome 5,000 freshmen to campus... A group of new faculty members gathered in a conference room on the U of M's Minneapolis campus this week for three days of orientation. They spent a morning with U of M President Robert Bruininks, and heard from an endless supply of deans and vice provosts. Minnesota Public Radio

Learning Curves on the Career Path
“Every day we know less and less about more and more,” said Ray Caprio, vice president for continuing education at Rutgers University.... “I would go first to an institution that has these kinds of learner representatives to ask these questions, to do the drilling down that helps individuals sort out what is best for them,” said Mary Nichols, dean of the University of Minnesota’s college of continuing education. The New York Times

Somali attack tests peacemakers' resolve
So say critics of African Union (AU) peackeepers, who argue the outside world should disengage militarily from a nation whose fractious clans often close ranks against outsiders… "More danger and disaster looms," said another critic, Abdi Samatar, of the University of Minnesota. Mmegi Online

Bad bets: New study by University of Minnesota psychologist pinpoints where we go wrong
Imagine you’re playing a coin-toss game with a biased coin. It will land on heads for 70 percent of the tosses and on tails for 30 percent... “The overarching idea is that there is typically structure in the world, and it makes sense that when we make decisions, we try to understand the structure in order to exploit it,” said Shawn Green, who is a post-doctoral fellow in the College of Liberal Arts’ Department of Psychology and Center for Cognitive Sciences. MinnPost

Stem-cell-research funding injunction jeopardizes eight U of M projects
Eight research projects at the University of Minnesota are jeopardized by a judge's order this week to halt federal funding for experiments involving stem cells derived from human embryos... "It's a shock, and it's extremely disruptive," said Jonathan Slack, director of the U of M's Stem Cell Institute. MinnPost

Egg recall is a golden opportunity to whip food safety into shape
More than 500 million eggs have been recalled in recent weeks because of salmonella poisoning, an outbreak that originated at a pair of Iowa farms and has spread to at least ten states... What regulators need are, "more tools, and probably better tools, to prevent these events from happening," says Craig Hedburg, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, who thinks the legislation would provide just that. CNN – Money

Ruling could slow down stem cell research at U of M
Researchers at the University of Minnesota are scrambling to figure out if any of their embryonic stem cell projects are affected by a new court ruling. Minnesota Public Radio

Superstar building based on students
The building's windows reach toward the Mississippi River, while the bricks on its east side nod to the architecture of its neighbors. But the University of Minnesota's newest building has its sights set on students. Star Tribune.