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Awards, appointments, & other announcements

By Adam Overland

Elizabeth Bye - small 300
Elizabeth Bye

July 27

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


Bye appointed head of the Department of Design
Elizabeth "Missy" Bye has been appointed head of the Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel (DHA) in the U's College of Design. The appointment of Bye, a professor in the department, became effective June 20, following the 16-year tenure of Becky Yust. Bye becomes the department’s fifth head in DHA’s 28-year history—the second since the College of Design was founded in 2006.

As a professor in the College of Design, Bye co-directs the Wearable Product Design Center, an innovative, synergistic "think-tank" that allows researchers to explore methods and technologies that will change how we design, produce and wear clothing. She also coordinates research in the Wearable Innovation Studio—a space for collaborative development of wearable prototypes and materials testing using current and developing technologies that address issues at the intersection of formation and performance of wearable products.

Bye’s professional experience includes work with Nike, Uniforms To You and Gerber Garment Technology. She recently completed a book, "Fashion Design," to introduce undergraduates to the central concepts of fashion design with a focus on significant cultural, economic and ethical issues that designers must balance in the global apparel industry. One of her current collaborative projects, Sustainability for a Global Society: Beginning at Home, explores the role of apparel designers in developing sustainable apparel products and extends our understanding of apparel design practices.

Bye received a doctorate from the College of Human Ecology at the University of Minnesota with a focus on apparel product development. She has a bachelor of science degree in textile science and a master of science degree in apparel design from Virginia Tech. For more information, see the news release.

Gardner named 2011 Pew Scholar
Twenty-two of America’s most promising scientists have been named Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences by The Pew Charitable Trusts, among them Melissa Gardner, assistant professor of genetics, cell biology, and development. The 2011 Pew Scholars join a select community that includes MacArthur Fellows, recipients of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award, and three Nobel Prize winners. Research by the new class of Scholars is related to many human diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s to diabetes to ocular degeneration. The program encourages early-career scientists to advance research that leads to important medical breakthroughs and treatments.

Gardner received a doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 2008. She then completed postdoctoral studies at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Germany. In 2010, she returned to the U as an assistant professor of genetics, cell biology, and development. Gardner will investigate how the stiffness of chromosomes controls their separation in dividing cells. Using a combination of cutting-edge techniques, Gardner will measure the stiffness of chromosomes as a cell divides and determine how other proteins and chemotherapeutic agents affect this process. Her research may lead to novel advancements in targeted cancer therapies.

Hewitt selected as director of the Research and Training
Amy Hewitt has been selected as the new Director of the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC) in the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration. She will assume the new role effective Aug. 15, succeeding Charlie Lakin, who has been appointed Director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in the U.S. Department of Education. Hewitt has worked at the RTC for the past 20 years and has an extensive background and national reputation in the areas of services, supports, and policies impacting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For more information, see Amy Hewitt.

Researchers on autism prevalence receive grant
A new project studying the incidence of autism within the Somali community in Minneapolis has been awarded to the University's Department of Pediatrics, Institute on Community Integration (ICI), and Department of Educational Psychology, as well as the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The one-year, $400,000 study is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and awarded through the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. Principal Investigators are Michael Reiff, Department of Pediatrics; Amy Hewitt, ICI; Joe Reichle, Educational Psychology; Amy Esler, Pediatrics; and Judy Punkyo, MDH.


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

The new weekend warrior
Thousands of Minnesotans are flocking to adventure races, ready to leap over fire, climb cargo nets and slide over muddy finish lines… William Roberts, a University of Minnesota professor and former president of the American College of Sports Medicine, said the risk of injury is high, especially for the untrained athlete. Star Tribune.

Think you're hot? Try wearing a fur coat
This sweltering weather is a drag, but think how much worse it would be if you had to wear a fur coat… Sweat is a drawback for many animals because it gives off a scent that's easy for predators to track, according to Jennifer Menken, a wildlife naturalist at the University of Minnesota's Bell Museum. Pioneer Press.

The politics behind new voter ID laws
Seven states have enacted laws this year requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. Will the new rules stem voter fraud — or just keep minorities, students and the poor from casting their ballots?… Doug Chapin, an election expert with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, says one problem with the current debate is that there's little data to back up either side. Southern California Public Radio.

U of M’s Grouplens Research Lab Goes Cyclopath for Minnesota’s Burgeoning Bicycle Community
The University of Minnesota’s human computer interaction and social computing research lab known as Grouplens has been busy leveraging technology to improve the riding experiences for Twin Cities bicyclists under a project called Cyclopath… “Our understanding is limited by our time and ability to algorithmically analyze the data,” University of Minnesota Computer Science professor Loren Terveen explains. Tech.MN.

Simple Sugar May Speed Heart Attack Recovery
Ribose, a simple form of sugar, may help the heart recover faster after heart attack or heart surgery, a study suggests… According to study researcher John Foker of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, ATP levels following a major muscle stress don't just bounce back. WebMD.

Black homeownership plummets to 25 percent
The homeownership rate for black Minnesotans continues to dive, according to 2010 U.S. census data released this week… Myron Orfield, executive director of the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota, sees blacks as more disadvantaged in Minnesota. Pioneer Press.

Bee spotters join forces
To help combat dwindling bee populations, volunteer "citizen scientists" are counting the little buzzers in parks and their back yards… One out of every three bites of food a consumer takes can be traced back to bees' pollination of plants—not just fruits and vegetables, but also alfalfa and other livestock feed necessary for us to get milk and meat, said Elaine Evans, an entomologist with the University of Minnesota and dedicated bee-spotter. Star Tribune.

In Midwest, Flutters May Be Far Fewer
As recently as a decade ago, farms in the Midwest were commonly marred—at least as a farmer would view it — by unruly patches of milkweed amid the neat rows of emerging corn or soybeans… But two other researchers, Karen Oberhauser of the University of Minnesota and John Pleasants of Iowa State, cite other evidence for a decline: the number of monarch eggs in the fields of the Midwest. New York Times.

Painful park cuts ahead
Like many states, Minnesota is struggling to find new financial footing for its state parks. That means the parks will change - this time with service cuts that park users will notice… "State parks and outdoor recreation contribute to our sense of place," said Ingrid Schneider, a University of Minnesota business professor who studies tourism and state park use. Star Tribune.


July 13

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


Minnesota Futures Research Grant recipientsTerrence Adam 165Terrence Adam
The Office of the Vice President for Research is pleased to announce the 2011-2013 recipients of the Minnesota Futures Research Grant. The awardees are Terrence Adam, BioMedical Health Informatics; Lucy Fortson 165Lucy Fortsonand Lucy Fortson, School of Physics and Astronomy. The program is designed to promote research and scholarship beyond existing initiatives through fostering opportunities for researchers to cross disciplinary and professional boundaries.

The recipients were chosen based on the breadth of disciplines and communities involved, the importance of issues addressed, and the potential for future funding or scholarly impact, among other factors. The grant allots up to $250,000 over two years for research expenses.

Fulbright student scholars for 2011-12
U of M announces Fulbright student scholars for 2011-12 school year Eight University of Minnesota students (four graduate and four undergraduate) have been awarded Fulbright and Fulbright-affiliated grants for 2011-12 to pursue graduate study, research or English teaching in a foreign country beginning next year. Four of the awards were made to recent graduates. One of the recipients opted to accept a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). For full information, see the news release.

Graduate student recipients:

Nicholas Anthony Fisichelli, a doctoral student in the College of Natural Resource Sciences, received a Fulbright Grant to Germany. He will research the impact of climate change on forests, specifically whether temperate hardwood forests of maple and oak are expanding at the expense of the boreal conifer forests as the climate warms.

Kristin Elizabeth Garland, who completed her master's degree in kinesiology in the College of Education and Human Development this year, is the 2011-12 winner of the University of Minnesota Graduate School’s Fulbright Scholarship Exchange Program with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway. She will assess the differences between college-based (sports-studies programs) and club-based (performance focused) training programs on the performance and life of athletes.

Melissa Rose Heer, a doctoral student in art history in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), received a Fulbright Grant to India. For her dissertation, she will look at the use of photographic reenactment across a group of contemporary Indian artists.

Emily Claire Bruce, a doctoral student in history in CLA, will study in Germany with support of a DAAD scholarship. She will spend the 2011-12 year visiting archives related to her dissertation, which examines the influences of children’s books on children in Germany between 1770 and 1850. Bruce was awarded a Fulbright Grant but declined it to accept the DAAD scholarship.

Undergraduate student recipients:

Caroline Abadeer, a 2011 CLA summa cum laude graduate with distinction in global studies and political science, with a minor in French studies, received a Fulbright Grant to Morocco. She will study the evolution of the position of the Islamist Justice and Development Party as Morocco’s 2012 elections approach and will enroll in courses at the National Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics in Rabat.

Martin Chorzempa, a 2011 Carlson School of Management summa cum laude candidate in finance and international business majors, received a Fulbright grant to study in Germany. He will pursue a master's in international relations at Freie Universität Berlin.

Eleanor McLean-Browne, a December 2010 CLA summa cum laude graduate with high distinction in Spanish studies, with a minor in English as a second language (ESL), received the Fulbright program’s Ecuador English Teaching Assistantship. She will be placed at an Ecuadorian university, where she will assist in the training of future ESL teachers.

Peter Schmitt, a 2011 graduate with bachelor's degrees in German studies from CLA and environmental sciences, policy and management from the College of Food, Agricultural and Resource Sciences, will teach English at a secondary school in Innsbruck, Austria, with support of a U.S. Teaching Assistantship. 

Fulbright Specialist Program Award
Jean Larson, program manager, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and assistant professor, Center for Spirituality and Healing, has been selected for a Fulbright Specialists project in Norway at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) during months of Sept and Oct, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Larson will be teaching/lecturing, consulting, and development curriculum for the UMB under-graduate and graduate programs.

Larson is one of only 400 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad this year through the Fulbright Specialists Program. Larson will be in Norway for 6 weeks teaching/lecturing, developing curriculum, and consulting at the Norwegian University of Life Science in Aas, Norway, using her expertise from the field of nature-based therapy from both an academic and clinical perspective.

The Fulbright Specialists Program, created in 2000 to complement the traditional Fulbright Scholar Program, provides short-term academic opportunities (two to six weeks) to prominent U.S. faculty and professionals to support curricular and faculty development and institutional planning at post secondary, academic institutions around the world.

Jeannie Larson is the manager of nature-based therapeutic services for the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum where she oversees community-based services for people with Parkinson's disease, eating disorders, developmental disabilities, mental health and chemical additions, and more.

In addition to her work at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Larson is an assistant professor at the U's Center for Spirituality where she is the faculty lead on the nature-based therapeutics initiative. She teaches graduate courses in therapeutic horticulture, therapeutic landscape design, and animal assisted interactions.

Bush Foundation fellows
Anne Hornickel Yuska, Christine Baeumler, Pakou Hang, Lue Her, and Michelle Vigen have each been named as one of the 18 Bush Foundation fellows chosen statewide.

Lifetime Achievement Award
Jasjit Ahluwalia has been selected as the recipient of the American Public Health Association’s Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Section’s 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is bestowed upon the person who demonstrates distinguished service to the alcohol, tobacco and other drugs field, which spans the duration of their career. Ahluwalia has been invited to receive the award at the 139th APHA Annual Meeting in Washington DC on November 1st, 2011.

Ingrid Schneider appointed to state tourism council
Ingrid Schneider, director of the University of Minnesota Tourism Center, has been reappointed to the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council by Gov. Mark Dayton. The council was created by the 2004 Legislature to promote activities that support and expand the state’s domestic and international travel market. The university’s Tourism Center, which provides education and research to strengthen tourism in Minnesota, is a partnership between University of Minnesota Extension and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS). The Tourism Center’s educational programs and pioneering research meet tourism industry needs in customer service, festival and event management and tourism development.

Schneider is also a faculty member in the U of M Forest Resources Department and coordinates the university’s International Ecotourism Certificate. The Explore Minnesota Tourism Council consists of 28 members, including 23 appointed by the governor. The director of Explore Minnesota Tourism chairs the council.

Established in 1987, the Tourism Center taps the research and engagement capacity of Extension and CFANS. The center’s focus is to prepare and support the tourism industry for success and sustainability. Center staff and its affiliates research subjects that directly and indirectly enlighten decision making for individuals, communities and businesses.

Contributions to rural health care award
Therese Zink was recognized June 28 at the Minnesota Rural Health Conference in Duluth for outstanding contributions to rural health care. Zink received the Minnesota Rural Health Hero award for promoting rural health in Minnesota and across the county. Zink has also published a book about the real-life stories of country doctors, recently featured in the Star Tribune.


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

U prez tackles Week 1
New U president Eric Kaler's first full week began with a very full day of interviews, students, and of course Goldy the Gopher. Star Tribune

The Man Who Slew The U

It was cheap and easy to get into, the school with the doors wide open, the birthright of every Minnesotan. But to save the U, Bob Bruininks had to destroy it. Minnesota Monthly.

Pitching plastic for good
Cradling your heap of plastic, you approach the bins, hastily inspecting each item for the number molded on the bottom… Chemist Marc Hillmyer of the University of Minnesota says actions come with consequences. CNN

Symphony in B(eeps)
We have woven ourselves into a ubiquitous braid of tiny musics. Sweet, grating, deafening; ringtones, beeps, startup and shutdown jingles, notes of welcome, questioning, and warning… Sumanth Gopinath is an assistant professor of music at the University of Minnesota and a scholar of ringtones. Philadelphia Inquirer

Game, Sex and Match: The Perils of Female Sports Advertising
How you feel about Kim Clijsters doing a split in a frilly orange skirt probably depends on your reaction to a well-oiled Caroline Wozniacki serving a tennis ball into a wind machine… "Yes, these women are beautiful, but we see lots of cleavage and legs, and it's set to music that is reminiscent of soft-core porn," says Nicole LaVoi, associate director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sports at the University of Minnesota. TIME

Warmer, wetter climate is the new normal
New calculations of climate "normals" indicate temperatures will be milder in January and precipitation peaks will be higher… Does this mean milder winters are now normal for the Twin Cities? "Absolutely," said Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota Extension climatologist and Minnesota climate historian. Star Tribune

General Mills new food lineup focuses on foods stuffed inside other foods
Single-themed foods? That's so last year. What's coming soon to the supermarket are foods within foods… University of Minnesota food science and engineering professor Ted Labuza calls these "dual-texture foods," and he said they can be tricky to manufacture and preserve. Pioneer Press

Where MnSCU and the Univ. of Minnesota could get cozier
Incoming Chancellor Steven Rosenstone of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system tells my MPR colleague Tim Post some general ways in which MnSCU and the University of Minnesota could work more closely together… Minnesota Public Radio On Campus

High Court: Violent Video Game Bans Violate Free Speech
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states do not have the right to prevent kids from buying violent video games because a ban would violate children’s rights to free speech… “Basically, what they said was asking the court to create a new area of speech that isn’t protected by the constitution,” said Jane Kirtley, a professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota. KMSP-TV

Forget About Crunches. Here’s How to Protect Your Back
If you have not suffered a vertebral fracture, adopting an exercise routine that improves posture and strengthens back muscles can go a long way toward preventing one… In fact, according to Kristine Ensrud of the University of Minnesota, one of the recommended back-strengthening exercises involves wearing a small backpacklike device containing a two-kilogram weight. New York Times

Agriculture Colleges, Extension Get Budget Squeeze
As university budgets take a beating across the country, agricultural schools and extension programs are feeling the impact… Beverly Durgan, dean of the University of Minnesota Extension program, said cuts to agricultural colleges have far-reaching national impacts. WCCO

Imagine the BWCA without towering pines—but full of buckthorn
It is a ritual. Pull out the canoe, the paddles, the packs and the maps and plan this year's big route through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness… I am awakened by the voice of Dr. Peter Reich, Distinguished McKnight Professor and forest ecologist at the University of Minnesota. MinnPost.

MinnPost's Jay Weiner takes job as speech writer for new U of M President Eric Kaler
Jay Weiner, the award-winning journalist who wrote for the Star Tribune for years and has been a longtime MinnPost reporter, has taken a job as speechwriter for Eric Kaler, the new president of the University of Minnesota. MinnPost

Younger Women Dating Older Men May Not Foresee Consequences
"True love can be ageless," declared actor Doug Hutchison, 51, an actor who starred in the television series "Lost," when he announced his May marriage to Courtney Alexis Stodden, a 16-year-old beauty pageant queen turned aspiring country star… Ann Meier, a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, studied data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and found that compared to teen girls with a same-aged partner, girls in 7th through 12th grades who had sex with a partner more than one year older had higher levels of subsequent depression and lower levels of self-esteem. Huffington Post