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Awards, appointments, & other announcements

By Adam Overland


Sept. 28

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

Government Relations search committee named
The U recently launched a comprehensive search to fill the position of special assistant to the president for government relations (formerly titled associate vice president for Government Relations). The position is currently held by Donna Peterson, who has announced her retirement effective Jan. 11. Professor Fred Morrison and Vice President Richard Pfutzenreuter (Fitz) have agreed to co-chair the search.

This systemwide position is responsible for effectively engaging policy makers and communicating the value and impact of the University at the state capitol and in Washington, D.C., and creating more opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to engage in advancing the University's legislative agenda are key priorities for me.

Other members of the search committee were selected to provide broad internal and external representation and perspectives. They are:

Abou Amara, president, Graduate and Professional Student Association

Charles Casey, chancellor, University of Minnesota, Crookston

Steven Crouch, dean, College of Science and Engineering

Chuck Denny, Advisory Board, Humphrey School of Public Affairs; formerly chairman and chief executive officer, ADC Telecommunications

John Finnegan, dean, School of Public Health

Rich Forschler, Government Relations, Faegre & Benson

Susan Adams Loyd, Board of Directors, University of Minnesota Alumni Association; president, Clear Channel Outdoor Minneapolis

Judith Martin, professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Louis Mendoza, associate vice president, Office of Equity and Diversity; professor, Chicano Studies

Amy Phenix, chief of staff, Office of the President

Josh Preston, undergraduate student, University of Minnesota, Morris

Martin Sampson, professor, Political Science; past faculty legislative liaison

Bob Schroeder, formerly chief of staff for Governor Pawlenty

R01 award
Assistant professor of neurology M. Fareed K. Suri has received a Research Project Grant (R01) Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) titled, "The Intracranial Atherosclerotic Disease and Cognitive Impairment Study." Fewer than one in five who apply receive R01 awards, and Suri is younger than the average age of 45 years for first time MD investigators receiving their first award. He will become one of the approximately 1,200 new investigators to receive R01 awards from multiple disciplines funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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

After husband's death, promising medical device designed by his engineer wife
As a graduate student in the Twin Cities, Marie Johnson started listening closely to her husband's heart...Called CADence, the device still must be studied in a clinical trial. But research thus far has been promising, said Dr. Robert Wilson, a cardiologist at the University of Minnesota. Pioneer Press.

In Time of Scrimping, Fun Stuff Is Still Selling
With a flat job market and an economy that will not improve, Americans are once again buckling down and cutting back. At least on things they can resist… “People have a limited supply of energy to put toward controlling their urges,” Kathleen D. Vohs, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota, said in an e-mail. Ms. Vohs studies spending behavior at the university’s Carlson School of Management. New York Times.

Young adults may be bearing the brunt of a tough economy
Young adults are the recession's lost generation…University of Minnesota Economics Professor Christopher Phelan believes the term 'lost generation' may be a bit of a "hyperbole." And some University of Minnesota students agree. KARE-TV.

New U president: 'Pick up the pace'
Amid the pomp and trumpets, new University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler used his inauguration Thursday to call on faculty, staff and Minnesotans to transform the university into one of the nation's best. Star Tribune.

Cycling route site to expand statewide
The website that gives bicyclists personalized routes from one end of the Twin Cities to another—noting bike lanes, busy streets and even potholes along the way—is set to expand to the rest of the state…Cyclopath was created and maintained by computer scientists at the University of Minnesota. Star Tribune.

President offers plan to build economy and reduce debt
Economist Art Rolnick of the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs offers perspective on the condition of the state and national economy, and the key measures needed to improve the short term and long term outlook. Minnesota Public Radio.

Sept. 21

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

Honorary degree
The University of Minnesota School of Music will confer an honorary degree on internationally renowned conductor and VocalEssence Artistic Director Philip Brunelle Oct. 6, 10 a.m., during the U of M School of Music’s Fall Convocation at Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 4th Street S., Minneapolis. The Doctor of Humane Letters is the highest award conferred by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, recognizing individuals who have achieved acknowledged eminence in their field. For more information, see the news release.

Art of the picture book
Professor Karen Nelson Hoyle, curator of the Children's Literature Research Collections, will be recognized by the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art at the 2011 Carle Honors ceremony, held September 22, 2011 in New York City. Hoyle will receive the Bridge award, which recognizes individuals who have found inspired ways to bring the art of the picture book to larger audiences through work in other fields. Others to receive awards this year include Caldecott Honor winning author and illustrator Lois Ehlert. For more information, see U Libraries.

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

Dona Schwartz 165Dona SchwartzAssociate professor Dona Schwartz is a finalist for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

The School of Journalism & Mass Communication (SJMC) announced that associate professor Dona Schwartz has been named one of the five finalists for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Gallery in London.

The prize presents the very best in contemporary portrait photography, showcasing young photographers to gifted professionals. More than 2,500 photographers submitted their work for the competition.

Schwartz’s photograph focuses on Christina and Mark Bigelow standing in their son’s empty bedroom. Her series of portraits focus on moments of change in parents’ lives.

Professor Schwartz’s photograph will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London along with sixty other works selected for the exhibit, which will be on display November 10, 2011 through February 12, 2012. The winner will be announced November 8, 2011. For more information, read a feature story on Dona Schwartz.

U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Egypt
Shaden Tageldin 165Shaden TageldinShaden Tageldin, associate professor in the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, College of Liberal Arts, has been named a 2011-2012 U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Egypt, where she will hold a three-month research fellowship in Fall 2011. Her work will develop a transcontinental theory of the rise of modern comparative literature, focusing on literary-political relations between imperial Europe, Egypt, and greater Syria between 1834 and 1936. Tageldin's research will culminate in a second book. Her first book, Disarming Words: Empire and the Seductions of Translation in Egypt, was published by the University of California Press earlier this year.

Prenatal alcohol exposure NIH grant
University of Minnesota pediatric neuropsychologist Jeff Wozniak and neonatologist Michael Georgieff have earned a three-year $675,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study children affected by prenatal alcohol exposure.

Jeff Wozniak 165Jeff WozniakThe latest NIH grant will allow Wozniak, Georgieff and colleagues to continue their study of a novel treatment for brain development in two to five year-old children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Wozniak, an associate professor in the Medical School's Department of Psychiatry, says that the first-ever study of this non-drug treatment in FASD will test its efficacy in permanently enhancing learning and memory in children who have suffered brain damage as a result of prenatal alcohol exposure. The world-class resources provided by the University’s Center for Neurobehavioral Development, directed by Georgieff, and the University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, make the study possible. Co-investigators from the University include: Maria Kroupina, Judith Eckerle, Neely Miller, and Ann Brearley.

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

Kaler, er, 'Dr. K' hops on Twitter for inauguration at U
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler is on Twitter. His bio: "President, University of Minnesota. Love family, newspapers and baseball. Value research, innovation and higher ed. Caffeine enthusiast. Go Gophers!" Star Tribune.

Google's search formula faces scrutiny
There's a long-running gag about people so self-absorbed that they frequently run Google searches on themselves…"They're not obligated to reveal changes," said Tom Cotter, an antitrust and intellectual property expert at the University of Minnesota Law School. Star Tribune.

Professor Dishes on Vitamin D Use
Now that the cooler weather is here and the sun is going down a little bit earlier each day, it's important to get a good dose of vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin. That's why FOX 9 News invited Lisa Harnack, professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, about supplements and their benefits. KMSP-TV.

Good Question: Why Do Leaves Change Color?
The first frost of the season goes a long way towards closing the book on summer. So, with a new season coming, we’re already thinking about fall foliage. But, why do leaves change color? Good Question. “The shorter days and the cooler temperatures mean the chlorophyll in the leaves breaks down,” said Pete Moe, director of operations for the University of Minnesota’s Arboretum. WCCO-TV.

Cheering dying: Psychology behind ghoulish outbursts at GOP debates
Two spontaneous and enthusiastic outbursts during the most recent Republican presidential debates caught a lot of people's attention... On Thursday, I spoke about those audience outbursts with Howard Lavine, an associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. MinnPost.

FAQ: Boundary Waters fire
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a federally-designated wilderness area that spans more than one million acres across the northern third of the Superior National Forest...Forestry experts say wildfires help clear out brush and older trees, giving saplings a better chance to grow. "Old trees aren't going to live forever," said Lee Frelich, director of the Center for Forest Ecology at the University of Minnesota. Minnesota Public Radio.

Get ready, you-know-what is on its way
With cooler weather rolling in, it's starting to feel like fall, which means it's time to get your yard ready for you-know-what…"It's been on the dry side," said Jeff Gillman, horticulturist and associate professor with the University of Minnesota. Star Tribune.

Water study landed quietly, but helps shape debate
A year-and-a-half-long effort to create a way to maintain and improve Minnesota's beleaguered waters for decades to come landed without much of a splash when it was presented to the Legislature in January... "We have a rare moment in history to make the changes needed to put Minnesota on the path to water sustainability," the report, directed by the university's Deborah Swackhamer, states. Minnesota Public Radio.

Researchers: SpongeBob May Cause ADD
Most parents have told their children to sit back farther from the television to protect their eyes, but researchers at the University of Virginia say a popular children's television program may have other lingering affects, like short attention spans and learning problems in 4-year-olds…Dr. Andy Barnes counsels children with behavioral problems at Fairview and he also teaches at the University of Minnesota, and he said the findings did not surprise him. KMSP-TV.

Sept. 14

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

Search for School of Dentistry dean

University of Minnesota Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Tom Sullivan and Vice President for Health Sciences Aaron Friedman have launched a national search for the position of dean of the School of Dentistry.

Currently, Professor Judith Buchanan, serves as interim dean.

Sullivan and Friedman have appointed Trevor Ames, dean of the University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to chair the search committee. The vice chair will be Professor Bashar Bakdash of the School of Dentistry’s Department of Developmental/Surgical Sciences. For a full list of committee members, see the news release.

Institute on the Environment names 14 new resident fellows

Fourteen University of Minnesota faculty from 13 departments and eight colleges and schools have been named resident fellows of the U’s Institute on the Environment.

Representing a broad range of disciplines, the new fellows join 32 others in taking on the task of building bridges across disciplines to solve environmental challenges. They begin their three-year appointments with IonE this month.

Fellows maintain their appointment in their own departments, but receive additional funding to pursue projects that cross disciplinary boundaries. The fellowships also help accelerate professional and leadership development.

2011 resident fellows and their plans for their fellowships:
Bill Arnold, professor of civil engineering, College of Science and Engineering – explore connections between human alteration of the environment on a global scale and potentially deleterious changes in natural halogenated chemicals.

John Carmody, director, Center for Sustainable Building Research, College of Design – bring together policy experts, planners, designers, engineers and scientists to create model self-sufficient sustainable neighborhoods in the U.S. and Haiti.

James Forester, assistant professor of fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology (College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences) – connect veterinary science, ecology and statistics to address the spread of disease between farm animals and wildlife and explore the impacts of biofuel production on wildlife.

Tracy Lipke-Perry, assistant professor of music, School of Fine Arts, University of Minnesota Duluth – explore and advance the intersection of arts and sustainability by creating green fine arts studio and teaching resources and hosting events related to art and sustainability.

Dylan Millet, assistant professor of soil, water and climate, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences – develop a collaborative project bridging atmospheric chemistry with social and environmental justice; develop a new course teaching the fundamentals of freshman chemistry within an environmental context.

Ruth Okediji, professor, Law School – develop a seminar on intellectual property rights and technology transfer for climate change; host a roundtable on market-based reforms to encourage compliance with environmental standards; assess the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s new green technology fast-track program; develop a model for a private-public partnership to advance environmental technologies.

Hari Osofsky, associate professor, Law School – advance law and policy related to energy justice, geoengineering and smart grid application with a focus on helping build the University’s new environmental and energy law program and a sustainability graduate program.

R. Lee Penn, associate professor of chemistry, College of Science and Engineering ­– build collaborations with faculty in microbiology, civil engineering, and other fields and organize scientific conference presentations related to advancing understanding of the impact of nanotechnology on microorganisms and other ecologically relevant life forms.

Gurumurthy Ramachandran, professor of environmental health sciences, School of Public Health – examine the impact of rapid industrialization on exposure to hazards and occupational disease in India and identify infrastructure needs to quantify and manage health risks.

Kim Robien, associate professor of epidemiology, School of Public Health – develop a research program exploring the chronic disease risk of residual pesticides, fertilizers and other dietary contaminants in food and water.

Gillian Roehrig, director, STEM Education Center, College of Education & Human Development – develop satellite data–based visualizations and storylines for the Exploradome to help K–12 students understand Earth as a system dramatically influenced by humans.

Martin Saar, associate professor of earth sciences, College of Science and Engineering – work with the Bell Museum and other partners to develop a documentary about geothermal energy.

Shashi Shekhar, professor of computer science and engineering, College of Science and Engineering – apply spatio-temporal data analytics to problems posed by sustainability science in areas such as environmental forensics and climate modeling.

Scott St. George, assistant professor of geography, College of Liberal Arts – provide better tools for environmental decisions by broadening understanding of past trends through explorations of historic climate change and development of a comprehensive tree ring record.

Kyba receives Muscular Dystrophy Association grant
U researcher Michael Kyba has received a $375,000 grant from the Muscular Dystrophy Association supporting his work to advance therapies for Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. For more information, see Kyba grant.

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

MN artist's 9/11 memorial urn to be featured at NYC museum
While there are all sorts of ways to remember the 10th anniversary of September 11th , 2001, nothing is quite like the creation by University of Minnesota artist Tom Lane. KARE-TV.

Minnesota group to study health care in Germany
A group of Minnesotans, including Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, Linda Berglin and Skip Humphrey, heads to Germany next week to study health care policy there… The University of Minnesota’s Center for German and European Studies and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Federal Ministry of Health are sponsoring the event. MinnPost.

In the dark, cave fish follows its own rhythm
A fish that swims in limestone caverns under the Somalian desert has something to tell scientists about keeping time. Despite living in permanent darkness, with no difference between day and night, this blind cave-dweller still has its own quirky sense of rhythm… “I think one of the remarkable things is how intact the clock still is,” says Jennifer Liang, a developmental biologist at the University of Minnesota Duluth who studies circadian clocks. Science News Magazine.

Bottled water ban: coming to a campus near you?
This fall, two Minnesota colleges banned bottled water. Read Sunday's article about their reasoning here. Many students believe bottled water is costly and wasteful -- and a 2009 report by the Government Accountability Office proves them right… Troy Goodnough, the campus sustainability coordinator at the University of Minnesota, Morris, ended an email to me with this thought: We have not banned bottled water. Star Tribune.

Sept. 7

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

Poynter earns $3.5 million grant
Jenny Poynter 165Jenny PoynterUniversity of Minnesota pediatric cancer epidemiologist Jenny Poynter has earned a five-year $3.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study pediatric germ cell tumors (GCT).

The latest NIH grant will allow Poynter and colleagues to begin the largest epidemiologic study ever conducted on the genetic susceptibility of developing pediatric germ cell tumors.

Poynter, an assistant professor in the Medical School's Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Epidemiology and Clinical Research, hopes to discover how early life events may lead to long-term alterations in gene function of stem cells and increase the risk of cancer. Understanding how GCTs develop may give important insights into the fetal origins of cancer development, leading to improved treatments and prevention of both pediatric and adult tumors. Co-investigators from the U include: Julie Ross, Ph.D., Heather Nelson, Ph.D., M.P.H., Kevin Silverstein, Ph.D.

Search committee for dean of Carlson School appointed
University of Minnesota Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Thomas Sullivan has launched an international search for the position of dean of the Carlson School of Management. Currently, professor Sri Zaheer is serving as the interim dean of the Carlson School.

Sullivan has appointed Mary Nichols, dean of the U’s College of Continuing Education and professor in the Carlson School’s Department of Strategic Management & Organization, to chair the search committee. The vice chair will be William Van Dyke, former chair of the board of Donaldson Company, Inc. and past chair of the Carlson School Board of Overseers.

The search committee aims to develop as rich and diverse a candidate pool as possible and will invite both nominations and applications for the position once the position announcement is completed. The search process will take place during the fall and winter with the goal of naming the next Carlson dean in March. For more information, including a full list of search committee members, see the news release.

Ballen receives award for excellence in communicating science
At the Annual Banquet of the University of Minnesota Sigma Xi Chapter, Karen Ballen was awarded the Chapter’s Science Communication and Education Award for her numerous efforts to make science more understandable to broader audiences—from the public to school children to University undergraduates.

The award is intended as a testimonial recognition of dedication to and excellence in conveying to the public both the substance and importance of science and scientific discoveries. The award was inaugurated in 1999 and its first recipient was James Dawson, science writer for the Star Tribune.

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

U of M's Kaler talks about goals on the first day of fall classes
Today is the first day of classes for the fall semester at the University of Minnesota. It's also the start of the first full academic year for new University President Eric Kaler. Minnesota Public Radio.

Can Eric Kaler Retool the Engine?
The new U of M president faces a punishing budget, a legacy of top-down management, intense demands to grow research, and a sports and marketing machine on a Big 10 scale he's never seen before. What makes him the right catalyst to take the university out of rough idle? Twin Cities Business.

Users play chemical roulette
The ad for the powerful hallucinogenic drug emerged on a foreign website in June, billed as a "research chemical" with the strange name 4-Meo-PCP... "These are hard drugs in pretty packages that produce effects similar to LSD and methamphetamine," said David Ferguson, a professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Minnesota. Star Tribune.

Obama names new top economic adviser
President Obama on Monday nominated Alan Krueger to run his Council of Economic Advisers, moving to fill an important vacancy on an economic team that has undergone a nearly total makeover… "Given the focus of the administration on jobs and unemployment, he's the ideal choice for the position," said Morris Kleiner, a labor economist and professor at the University of Minnesota who has collaborated with Krueger. CNN.

Minnesota running out of moose
Minnesota’s beleaguered moose population could fade away within a decade, much faster than previously estimated, if the current rate of decline continues… “We’re not trying to create a controversy here. Everyone involved is working to solve this for moose,” said Ron Moen, a moose researcher at the Natural Resources Research Institute of the University of Minnesota Duluth, told the Duluth News Tribune. Fargo-Moorhead Inforum.

Living to 100 and Beyond
In Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels," Gulliver encounters a small group of immortals, the struldbrugs. "Those excellent struldbrugs," exclaims Gulliver, "who, being born exempt from that universal calamity of human nature, have their minds free and disengaged, without the weight and depression of spirits caused by the continual apprehensions of death!"… Doris Taylor announced in 2008 that her cardiovascular lab at the University of Minnesota had managed to grow a rat heart using a technique similar to Dr. Atala's, except that the structure she used was from a donor rat. Wall Street Journal.

Unpopular 'No Child’ leaving plenty of students behind
Nearly a decade after Congress enacted the No Child Left Behind Act, a sweeping mandate to ramp up standards and accountability in the nation's public schools, more than a third of black, Latino and Native American students in Minneapolis public schools don't graduate, records show… "No Child Left Behind was intended to be the cure for the achievement gap," said Kent Pekel, director of the University of Minnesota's College Readiness Consortium. Star Tribune.

Republicans Make Drive to Tighten State Voting Rules Before 2012 Elections
With Republicans taking control of most U.S. capitols this year and a presidential race looming, states have passed the most election-related laws since 2003 in a push to tighten voting rules… It's the "battle before the battle" as both parties fight for what they think are the most advantageous and fairest rules, said Doug Chapin, director of an elections-administration program at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs. San Francisco Chronicle.