Oakes named associate vice president for research

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Professor Michael Oakes of the School of Public Health (SPH) has been appointed as associate vice president for research. Oakes will join the rest of the OVPR executive leadership team on Jan. 2, 2019 as part of the restructuring of the Academic Health Center. Oakes is a past director of the SPH’s graduate program in epidemiology, served as a longtime member and leader of the U of M’s Institutional Review Board, and was co-chair of and legislative liaison for the Faculty Consultative Committee. He is the recipient of awards for teaching and advising students, and was a McKnight Presidential Fellow from 2007-10. His research focuses on the social determinants of health, and he has been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator on several long-term grants from the National Institutes of Health. He currently directs the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL), a nationwide program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, led by the U of M.

U in the News

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Paul Iaizzo is featured in a National Geographic story about how ancient remedies are changing modern medicine; Joanne Slavin is quoted in Quartz about the scientific case for eating bread; Tom Gable and Joseph Bump are quoted in a New York Times (PDF) story about the first video evidence showing wolves hunting fish in Voyageurs National Park; Daniel Cariveau is quoted in a National Geographic story about the 660 species of bees that live in the newly shrunk Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument; Timothy Wilt is quoted in a Wall Street Journal (PDF) story about the positive outcomes of prostate cancer surgery; Kyla Wahlstrom is quoted in the Washington Post (PDF) about the positive outcomes of later school start times in Seattle; Kathleen Vohs writes about the science of giving gifts your loved ones won’t want to return in the Washington Post (PDF); Yibin Deng and Gail Dennison are quoted an Austin Daily Herald report on a $2 million prostate cancer research grant for the Hormel Institute; Kirsten Delegard, William Lindeke, and others are quoted in a MN Daily story about how U of M faculty research guided the Minneapolis 2040 plan; Lucy Dunne is quoted in a CBS Minnesota story about the search for the perfect winter coat.

Bates named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has named Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Regents Professor Frank Bates an NAI Fellow. Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Bates is a world-renown polymer scientist who is known best for his contributions to the fundamental understanding of the phase behavior of polymer blends and to the physics of microphase-separated block copolymers.

Two faculty named AAAS fellows

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) named two researchers from the University of Minnesota as AAAS Fellows. Election as a fellow is bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. Among the 416 members honored this year by AAAS because of their distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications are:

Carol Ishimaru, a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology within CFANS. Ishimaru has been named an AAAS Fellow for her distinguished contributions to the field of plant bacteriology, particularly in characterization and genomics of coryneform pathogens and developing a biological control for fire-blight disease.

Natalia Tretyakova, a Distinguished McKnight professor with the Department of Medicinal Chemistry within the College of Pharmacy. She has been named an AAAS Fellow for her significant contributions to the areas of chemical carcinogenesis, epigenetics, systems toxicology and analytical chemistry to identify DNA damage and modifications.

Ecolab commits $5 million to support sustainability research and education

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ecolab has committed a $5 million gift from the Ecolab Foundation to the University-wide Driven campaign, in support of environmental sustainability research and education. A cornerstone of the Ecolab Foundation gift is $2 million to establish an endowed chair for the Institute on the Environment. The Ecolab Foundation will also invest more than $1 million in undergraduate scholarships in science, engineering and related environmental and sustainability-focused majors and minors, providing renewable awards of $7,500 for diverse and talented students beginning in their sophomore year. Through the Institute on the Environment, the gift also will support immersive student experiences with global and local partners focused on energy, water quality and supply, sustainable development and public health.

U of M to lead $2.25 million grant for developing next-generation quantum computer

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The University of Minnesota will lead a $2.25 million grant over the next three years from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science for developing materials and device knowledge necessary for creating the next-generation of computing—the quantum computer. Vlad Pribiag, an assistant professor in the University of Minnesota School of Physics and Astronomy, is the lead researcher on the new grant. Quantum computing is based on the fact that, in the microscopic world, things don't have to be as clear-cut as we'd expect from our macroscopic experience. In fact, tiny particles, such as electrons or photons, can simultaneously take on states that we would normally deem mutually exclusive. This creates endless possibilities for solutions, especially in the area of information processing.

Swackhamer named finalist for MIT's Disobedience Award

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

U of M professor emerita and former director of the Water Resources Center Deb Swackhamer was named a finalist for Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Disobedience Award for her support of scientific integrity and its use in decision making. In May of 2017, prior to testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee Subcommittee on Environment, Swackhamer was pressured by the EPA chief of staff to alter her comments. She refused. Later that year, she was dismissed from her role as chair of the EPA's Board of Scientific Counselors.

U in the News

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Clark Chen, Charles Dietz, and Alexander McKinney, are interviewed in a KARE 11 feature on the first-in-the-world cancer surgical suite, being built at the U of M; Ed Usset is quoted in AgriNews about the U.S. soybean market entering crisis mode in the tariff dispute; Jean Abraham comments on the Star Tribune dramatic rise in telemedicine in Minnesota; Steven Ruggles is quoted in the New York Times (PDF) about census data becoming less accurate in order to reduce privacy risks; Sheilagh Maguiness is interviewed by WCCO about whether a person can overuse lip balm; Carrie Henning-Smith is quoted in a Wall Street Journal (PDF) story about elder care in rural areas; Emily Wilmes is quoted in The Bemidji Pioneer about Minnesota farmers learning to detect depression and embrace self-care; Heather Zierhut is interviewed in the St. Cloud Times about the fun—and risks—of at-home DNA kits; Hye-Young Kim is quoted in a Pioneer Press (PDF) story about Hy-Vee grocery stores rescuing downtrodden retail sites; Paula Pentel is cited in the Slate story, “Minneapolis Just Passed the Most Important Housing Reform in America.”

$1 million gift to support graduate students

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

An anonymous faculty member and spouse have committed $1 million to support graduate students at the College of Design. The donation, a future commitment, is one of the largest received through the Driven by Design campaign and will support graphic design and apparel design graduate students who work closely with faculty through an assistantship in one of those areas. Wishing to remain anonymous, the donors hope that this gesture will encourage the habit of charitable giving among alumni, staff, and fellow faculty.

21 U of M researchers named in 2018 Highly Cited Researchers list

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A number of University of Minnesota faculty are among the most influential researchers across the globe. Twenty-one current U of M researchers are named in the 2018 Highly Cited Researchers list, published by insight and analytics firm Clarivate Analytics. The international list, now in its fifth year, recognizes researchers whose citation records place them in the top 1 percent of citation counts for their field over the course of a decade. Citations are one way to measure how published research helps to inform further research in a field and inspires new lines of scientific inquiry.

U of M startup Vascudyne to commercialize biologic engineered tissue

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

University of Minnesota Technology Commercialization announced the formal launch of Vascudyne Inc., a startup company based in Stillwater, MN, focused on the development of biologically engineered tissue for medical device and therapeutics applications. The technology offers a regenerative capacity unavailable until now in materials and devices used for medical treatment. Vascudyne’s technology is based on discoveries by University researcher Robert Tranquillo, professor in the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering & Materials Science in the College of Science and Engineering, and researchers in his lab, Zeeshan Syedain, senior research associate, and Lee Meier, staff scientist and present MD/Ph.D. student.

U in the News

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Traci LaLiberte is quoted in the Star Tribune about how the opioid epidemic is driving thousands of Minnesota children into foster care; James Gerber is quoted in the Minnesota Daily about the recent U.S. climate report and the environmental problems facing the Midwest; Alan Benson comments at CBS Minnesota about whether you should discuss salaries with coworkers; Joanne Slavin is quoted in Outside Online about probiotics and why fiber might be a better choice; Dianne Neumark-Sztainer talks with CBS Minnesota about her recent study showing that unhealthy weight control efforts start in childhood and persist into adulthood; Alexander Khoruts is quoted in MPR News about Minnesota’s challenges in halting a deadly colon infection's spread; Amy Krentzman spoke with WTIP North Shore Community Radio about how practicing gratitude may improve your wellbeing; Anatoly Liberman is quoted in an MPR News story about people’s ideas for the 2018 word of the year; Tom Fisher is quoted in a CBS Minnesota story on the origin of why so many malls in Minnesota are called (Blank)-dale.

Autonomous weed control research

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The West Central Research and Outreach Center is leading a new collaboration with the University’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering (BBE), and The Toro Company (Toro) to develop autonomous vehicles for controlling weeds in pastures and row crops. The project has been recently funded through a $750,000 grant from the Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Page receives Medal of Freedom

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

U of M alumnus Alan Page was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a special ceremony at the White House. Page is one of just a few Minnesotans to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor, a short list that includes former Vice President Walter Mondale, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger, and legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.

U in the News

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Srinath Chinnakotla is featured in a Kare 11 story about a teen who was once near death returning to thank him; Michelle Phelps is quoted in a Star Tribune story about lower crime in most parts of Minneapolis; Akshay Rao was quoted in a CBS Minnesota story about why gas prices vary so much; Jiao Luo is quoted in Pacific Standard about why the decline of newspapers is bad for the environment; Kate Adamala is quoted in Science story about the creation of the most lifelike artificial cells to-date; Michael McAlpine is featured in the Wired story, “3D-Printed Organs From Living Cells Could Help Boost Senses”; Joseph Konstan, Eric Kaler, and Mark Coyle are mentioned in a Minnesota Daily story about U of M presidential finalists; Heidi Kitrosser is quoted in a US News & World Report story about the surprising court ruling regarding female genital mutilation.

Two nursing faculty named to inaugural class of AMIA Fellows

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Two University of Minnesota School of Nursing faculty were named to the inaugural class of fellows of the American Medical Informatics Association. Associate Professor Karen Monsen and Clinical Associate Professor Sripriya Rajamani were among the 130 fellows included in the inaugural class. The new program recognizes AMIA members who apply informatics skills and knowledge within their professional setting, who have demonstrated professional achievement and leadership, and who have contributed to the betterment of the organization.

Announcing new IonE Affiliates

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Institute on the Environment has named 41 new members to its affiliate ranks: 25 Fellows, established in their careers, having demonstrated excellence in one or more subject areas related to the environment and sustainability; 11 Associates, early- and mid-career researchers and instructors at the University of Minnesota who are building interdisciplinary careers; and five Educators, who have a special interest in pedagogy and curriculum development.

U in the News

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Akshay Rao is quoted in an MPR News story about increased holiday spending and “frugality fatigue”; Ryan Allen is quoted in a Saint Cloud Times story about immigrants and Minnesota's future workforce; Dan Voytas is quoted in a Washington Post (PDF) story about gene-edited food and whether shoppers will buy it; Mary Jo Kreitzer is quoted in a Star Tribune story about how an 'an attitude of gratitude' can improve your life; Barry Kudrowitz is quoted in a Wall Street Journal (PDF) story about toys; Ragui Assaad is quoted in The New Yorker about Egyptian women and the fight for the right to work; Mike Howell is interviewed at CBS Minnesota about tips to improve your sleep; Abdi Warfa and Gillian Roehrig are quoted in a Minnesota Daily story about new research showing that students learn better when interacting with classmates; Katharine Nelson is interviewed about selfies and narcissism at KARE 11; Lee Munnich, Gabe Chan, and Jerry Zhao are referenced or quoted in a CBS Minnesota story comparing Minnesota’s gas tax with other states; Michael Osterholm is quoted in the FiveThirtyEight  story, “Can You Stave Off A Cold With Willpower Alone?

U of M to lead new Center for Spintronic Materials

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The College of Science and Engineering will lead and house a new $10.3 million Center for Spintronic Materials in Advanced Information Technologies (SMART) focused on novel materials for advanced computing systems over next four years. The center is supported through the Nanoelectronic Computing Research (nCORE) consortium. Jian-Ping Wang will serve as director of the new center. Spintronics focuses on the magnetic “spin” properties of electrons, as opposed to their charges, which is the focus of electronics. Spintronics offers advantages over electronics such as higher speeds, lower energy needs, and non-volatility of the data. Advances in the materials needed for spintronics devices could enable new computational systems, including systems inspired by the human brain that promise to dramatically improve the efficiency of important computational tasks.

U receives federal grant to study disorder in quantum systems

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The University of Minnesota has received $1 million over the next four years from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for fundamental quantum research that will help develop materials that could someday be used in quantum computing. The team, consisting of mathematician Svitlana Mayboroda at the University of Minnesota and materials scientists Jim Speck and Claude Weisbuch at the University of California – Santa Barbara, is one of only 25 nationwide to receive a grant under NSF’s Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering-Transformational Advances in Quantum Systems (RAISE-TAQS) effort that will help enable the United States to lead a new quantum technology revolution.

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