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Awards, appointments, and other news

Compiled by Adam Overland

August 20

To submit U of M staff or faculty for consideration in People, contact the Brief editor. For more information, see award & appointment submission guidelines.


Faculty research fuels record 15 startups

The University of Minnesota launched a record 15 startup companies based on discoveries and inventions by U researchers during the past year. These companies, which top the previous record of 14 companies in fiscal 2013, demonstrate the U's commitment to bringing revolutionary discoveries to the market in key industries including medical technology and the environment. For more information, see the list of new startup companies and faculty.

MnDRIVE announces neuromodulation fellows

The Minnesota Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) initiative has recently awarded nine fellowships in the Discoveries and Treatments for Brain Conditions research area. Fellowship recipients are outstanding graduate students, postdoctoral trainees and resident/clinical fellows pursuing research and training in the field of neuromodulation. Their project goals range from improving therapies and patient care for deep brain stimulation to exploring new treatments to address drug addiction.

Research grants to develop pediatric medical devices

Three U of M research projects have received grants to develop pediatric medical devices via a funding program of the University of Minnesota's Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium.

Inaugural grant recipients:

David Polly and Charles Ledonio
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Medical School

Arif Somani
Department of Pediatrics, Medical School

Robert Tranquillo
Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Science & Engineering

Titans of Technology awards

Professors Art Erdman and Jian-Ping Wang have each won a Titans of Technology award from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

The Titans of Technology awards honor the region's outstanding tech professionals and their supporters.

The awards will be presented at a luncheon event in September to showcase the innovators, adopters, and executors impacting the technology industry for the greater good.

Myles Shaver Receives Irwin Outstanding Educator Award

Professor Myles Shaver was awarded the prestigious Irwin Outstanding Educator Award by the Business Policy and Strategy Division of the Academy of Management.

The award honors eminent strategy scholars who have established a longstanding commitment to, and expertise in, imparting strategic management knowledge or educating others about strategic management.

Griskevicius Earns Early Career Award

Professor Vladas Griskevicius is the 2014 recipient of the Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution from the Human Behavior & Evolution Society (HBES).

The award recognizes one excellent young scientist each year who has made distinguished theoretical and/or empirical contributions to the study of evolution and human behavior.

Griskevicius, the Board of Overseers Professor of Marketing and Psychology, has published more than 50 articles in top business and psychology journals and is author of THE RATIONAL ANIMAL: How Evolution Made Us Smarter Than We Think.

Richard Frase recognized by National Assoc. of Sentencing Commissions

Law School Professor and Co-Director of the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, Richard Frase, was recognized by the National Association of Sentencing Commissions (NASC) as the 2014 Rick P. Kern Memorial Keynote Speaker. In 2012, NASC established the Rick P. Kern Memorial Award and Keynote Address to recognize an individual who has contributed greatly to the development of sentencing policy and research.


U in the News: A selection of U faculty and staff in the news as appearing daily in Today's News.

U of M staffer's POLLYWOG premieres in Houston to rave reviews
One of the "5 Best Things to Do in Houston" last weekend was the world premiere production of POLLYWOG at Mildred's Umbrella Theater. This new play, which has received accolades from the Houston Chronicle, Broadway World, and Houston Arts Week, was written by Keian (Kathy) McKee, HR/Operations manager at the U of M's Minnesota Population Center.

Life expectancy: Mind the gap
A new study published in Health Affairs, co-authored by Richard MacLehose of the University of Minnesota, has found that the gap in life expectancy between blacks and whites in America persists, despite policies aimed at closing it. The Economist.

Ask Dr. Hallberg: Treating depression
U of M Family Medicine and Community's Jon Hallberg discusses depression and how to talk about it with people you love. MPR.

BTN LiveBIG: Minnesota's audacity of hops
Beer and higher education have always gone hand-in-hand, but the University of Minnesota and Dr. Charlie Rohwer may have taken the relationship to a whole new level. The school's Southern Research & Outreach Center (SROC) started researching the crop, a key ingredient in beer, in 2010. Big Ten Network.

U of M research helps solve cancer mystery
Imagine if we had a way to stop cancer before it even started. A new discovery found at the University of Minnesota could someday make this a reality. U of M College of Biological Sciences' Eric Hendrickson comments. KARE 11.

How much driving really costs per minute
A transportation expert calculates that each trip costs six times what we assume it does. U of M Center for Transportation Services' David Levinson's research is cited. The Boston Globe.

How Becky Hammon became N.B.A.'s first full-time female assistant coach
U of M Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport director Mary Jo Kane comments on Becky Hammon being named the first full-time female assistant coach in the N.B.A. The New York Times.

Healing 'butterfly children': Treatment offers new hope
U of M Stem Cell Institute's Jakub Tolar is leading a ground-breaking clinical trial to help children born with the rare, debilitating skin disease epidermolysis bullosa. TODAY.

Ethical issue: Who gets experimental Ebola drug?
The use of an experimental drug to treat two Americans diagnosed with Ebola is raising ethical questions about who gets first access to unproven new therapies for the deadly disease. U of M Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy director Michael Osterholm comments. Associated Press.

How difficult is it to memorize an NFL playbook? A neuroscientist explains
Just how difficult is it to gain a mastery of this language? According to Dr. David Redish, a professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota, very. Sports Illustrated.

U joins pressure campaign to drop Washington football team's name
The university wants no public display or mention of the team's moniker, which they describe as offensive. A letter from President Eric Kaler is referenced, and U of M Vice President for Equity and Diversity Katrice Albert and spokesperson Chuck Tombarge comment. Washington Post.

U of M flushes toilets with rainwater
New student housing at the University of Minnesota includes a system for collecting stormwater from the roof and using it to flush the toilets for 600 students. U of M facilities management's Cathy Abene comments. MPR.


August 6

To submit U of M staff or faculty for consideration in People, contact the Brief editor. For more information, see award & appointment submission guidelines.


CSP receives $20 million grant

The University of Minnesota's Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP) has been awarded a Phase II Center for Chemical Innovation (CCI) grant from the National Science Foundation, totaling $20 million over five years. This new award will result in significant expansion and enhancement of CSP activities centered on the mission of transforming how plastics are made and unmade through innovative research, engaging education, and diverse partnerships that together foster environmental stewardship.

Under the direction of Marc Hillmyer, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the U's Department of Chemistry, the multi-disciplinary and collaborative CSP was initiated in 2009 with start-up funding from the U. In 2011, the CSP was awarded a Phase I CCI grant, totaling $1.5 million over three years. The Phase II award makes the Center for Sustainable Polymers, the newest of eight Centers for Chemical Innovation in the United States.

The CSP draws together a remarkable group of scientists that include researchers at the University of Minnesota, Cornell University, and the University of California, Berkeley, along with more than 30 companies from across the nation.

The center integrates experts in polymer, organic, biosynthetic, inorganic, computational, and materials chemistry. CSP researchers from the U College of Science and Engineering's departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering & Materials Science include Professors Frank Bates, Christopher Cramer, Marc Hillmyer, Thomas Hoye, Chris Macosko, Theresa Reineke, William Tolman, Jane Wissinger, and Kechun Zhang.

Elison receives prestigious "BRAINS" award

Jed Elison, assistant professor in the Institute of Child Development, has received the prestigious Biobehavioral Research Award for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS) from the National Institute of Mental Health for his work on early childhood brain development. The five-year award supports the research and career development of exceptionally productive scientists who are in the early, formative stages of their careers.

Bouchard receives Lifetime Achievement Award

The American Psychological Foundation has named Professor Emeritus Thomas Bouchard, Jr. (psychology) its 2014 recipient of the Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the Science of Psychology. The award will be presented on August 8 during the American Psychological Association's annual convention.

The citation reads, in part, "His signature work, the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart (MISTRA), was groundbreaking and inventive, exciting and controversial. It demonstrated that genetic influence is pervasive, affecting virtually all measured traits.... The MISTRA shaped the efforts of countless colleagues and graduate students, furthering and launching many careers and accomplishments."


U in the News: A selection of U faculty and staff in the news as appearing daily in Today's News.

What we need to fight Ebola
U of M Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy director Michael Osterholm comments on the necessary steps to fight the Ebola outbreak in Africa. Washington Post. Read more news coverage of Osterholm at Ebola making international headlines.

Got milk? New U of M technology could better detect when it spoils
State lawmakers allocated $3 million toward Minnesota's Discovery, Research and Innovation Economy - known as MnDRIVE. KSTP got a close-up look at one of projects that's making big milestones this week at the University of Minnesota and scientists say it will help stop food illness, and, save you some money. U of M nanotechnology research Abdennour Abbas, and marketing and economics researcher Marin Bozic comment. KSTP TV.

Greenspace: Award-winning app can tell you where the sun shines
If you've thought about solar energy, you've probably wondered just how much power you can get from those big cells on your rooftop. Thanks to the University of Minnesota, there's an award-winning app for that. U of M College of Liberal Arts' Len Kne comments. Post Bulletin.

Good question: Why are we waiting longer to buy homes?
Studies show that more Americans are waiting longer to get married, have kids and buy homes. U of M sociology professor Doug Hartmann comments. WCCO TV.

Ridership projections reveal tricky calculus for transit planners
How many people will board the five proposed Southwest light rail stops outside of downtown in Minneapolis? Depends on how optimistic you are about transit-oriented development. U of M Center for Transportation Studies' David Levinson comments. Star Tribune.

Marriage markets' looks at pressures on families
In a new book, U of M Law School professor June Carbone looks at the pressures on families and America's failure to invest in its children. The New York Times.

The wrong approach to breast cancer
A double mastectomy will not significantly extend life. U of M chief of surgical oncology Todd Tuttle comments on his study. The New York Times.

University combats food supply issues with MnDRIVE
With government dollars and partnerships with industry in tow, the University of Minnesota's research powerhouse is turning its gaze to addressing global food security, safety and sustainability. U of M College of Veterinary Medicine professor Nicholas Phelps and College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences comment. The Minnesota Daily.

Rising stars: 10 top colleges to watch
The University of Minnesota topped Forbes' list of most improved schools since 2009 in its America's Best Colleges rankings, moving up 435 positions. Forbes.

The science of child's play
University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development's Stephanie Carlson comments on the changing habits of childhood development. Minnesota Monthly.

Win-Win Way pinpointed to aid food security and climate
Scientists believe they have identified a way to feed billions more people, while reducing the stresses on the environment. U of M Institute on the Environment's Paul West comments on his findings. Climate Change.

East Bank purchase expands University
Some of the unused land behind TCF Bank Stadium could sprout more research buildings as the University of Minnesota continues a slow expansion beyond the eastern confines of its Minneapolis campus. U of M director of planning, space and architecture Monique MacKenzie comments. Minnesota Daily.

University celebrates completion of world-class NOvA detector
A newly unveiled 14,000-ton neutrino detector built in part by hundreds of University of Minnesota students and staff is searching a kilometers-wide beam of particles for clues about the beginning of the universe. In northern Minnesota, the University celebrated on Thursday the completion of its NOvA Far Detector, one of the world's largest plastic structures. U of M physics professor and Ash River Laboratory director Marvin Marshak comments. Minnesota Daily.

No longer a 'safety school'
More applications from prospective University of Minnesota students are rolling in than ever before, which has helped push the University to become a more selective institution. Record numbers of applicants to the University have poured in nearly every year for the past decade. U of M President Eric Kaler and Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Bob McMaster comment. Minnesota Daily.

Getting lean in education - by getting out of the classroom
U of M Department of Civil, Environmental and Geo-engineering's Karl Smith's work with STEM educators and the I-Corps for Learning program is highlighted. Huffington Post.