April 24, 2019

Vol. XLIX No. 16

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • Features: Can we turn back the clock on aging?; Advances in health; Still pushing the limits; Rural revitalization through theater? You bet.
  • People: Paul Vaaler has received a Fulbright award; and more.

Top News

Can we turn back the clock on aging?aging clock graphic

Living longer certainly sounds appealing, unless it simply means more years of dealing with the ills and ailments of old age. At the University of Minnesota Medical School, researchers are working toward a better option: a prolonged period of healthy life before the onset of diseases commonly associated with aging. Medical School scientists are discovering senolytic drugs that may keep people healthy and vibrant longer by disrupting the aging process.

Advances in healthDivah Yap

For Divah Yap, giving to support medical research through the U of M’s Driven campaign was a vote of confidence in University of Minnesota doctors who treated her daughter, who was diagnosed with a chronic disease in 2005. Learn why the U of M Foundation employee says she has eight “engagement points” with the University.

Still pushing the limitsKamil Ugurbil

Kamil Ugurbil, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research director, reflects on four decades of advancements in magnetic resonance research. In May, Ugurbil will receive the 2019 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology for his groundbreaking imaging research.

Rural revitalization through theater? You bet.Ashley Hanson

A recent graduate is using theater to spur creative thinking and economic development in rural communities. Read about this life-changing experience.


Paul Vaaler has received a Fulbright award; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Administrative policy update

The new administrative policy, Using the University Travel Card, covers the requirements and benefits of this latest travel tool, which will replace the current corporate travel card. Another new policy, Hiring Faculty and Staff, is designed to enable recruiting and hiring of the most taleninted and diverse employees in compliance with University policy and state and federal laws and regulations. The policies are now available for review and comment.

Learn with Lynda.com

Lynda.umn.edu offers a library of online training videos at no cost for U of M faculty and staff. Learn how to use popular software like Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, or Word; Adobe Creative Suite, including Photoshop or Illustrator; or learn about topics such as SEO, cybersecurity, project management, and more.

Give the gift of learning with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Keep your brain healthy by joining the U of M’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). OLLI offers over 300 noncredit courses, interest groups, and national and international travel opportunities--many taught or led by former U of M professors and administrators. Some offices have purchased this gift-of-learning for a colleague's retirement. Cost: $240/year for unlimited courses; new membership discounts are available for certain groups. The summer course request period is open until May 6.

Early Learning Labs acquired

An educational assessment startup launched by the University of Minnesota has been acquired by Wisconsin-based Renaissance, a global leader in education technology for pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. Early Learning Labs, based on research conducted at the U’s College of Education and Human Development, offers progress monitoring, assessments, and reporting tools to track early literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional learning in 3- and 4-year-olds.

May 2 - Webinar: Course Design Challenge: Using group work

During this hour-long webinar, those who use Canvas to teach can learn the basics of group work, why it's worth it, how to make it inclusive, and what students have to say about Canvas Group Space. 11 a.m.-noon. Enroll in the webinar.

Due May 3 - U-Spatial Mapping Prize applications

Instructors and staff supervising students creating maps in any discipline are asked to encourage students to apply for the U-Spatial Mapping Prize, which incentivizes University of Minnesota students to make innovative maps in multiple categories.

Research Brief: Cancer rates in young children are increasing worldwide

Rates of pediatric cancer have been rising since the 1980s; however, this increase varies by age group and cancer type. University of Minnesota researchers studied children under 5 years of age to understand cancer trends that occur in this age group around the world. Their findings were recently published in the journal JNCI Cancer Spectrum. Additional recent Research Briefs include “Risk of congenital Zika syndrome greater than previously thought” and “Appetite-regulating hormone levels in breast milk vary by mother’s weight.”


Student feature: Michael LarsonMichael larson

Michael Larson, a senior graduating with a marketing major and minor in management, is aiming for his goal at 35,000 feet. With a long a history in agriculture, Larson knew that he wanted his career to include both business and travel.

Apr. 26 - Health management webinar

Crookston will host a Health Management Webinar. Participants will learn how to advance a career in management within various health care settings while learning from experts in the field. Noon-1 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Susan Klassen.


People-inspired technologyPepper the robot

Arshia Khan, associate professor in computer science, understands that caregivers can’t be there 24/7, but a robot can. In this video, Khan discusses how a robot could work with someone who has recently been diagnosed with dementia. She and her team of graduate students are programming a robot to learn a person’s habits and alert medical staff if those habits change.

Apr. 30 - ‘Intersections’ discussionSteve Premo

Artists Dyani White Hawk, Steve Premo, and Karen Savage will discuss the Tweed’s current exhibit, “Intersections.” The exhibit features a selection of contemporary artworks by 19 Minnesota-based Native artists. The panel discussion will be moderated by Jill Doerfler, professor and department head of American Indian Studies. No charge but registration is required. 6 p.m., Main Gallery, Tweed Museum.

Apr. 30 - UMD Shark Tankshark tank logo

Students will pitch their ideas for products or services to a panel of judges at the annual UMD Shark Tank event. Prior to the competition, each contestant was paired with a mentor from the local business community to develop his or her concept. The winner will receive a $3,000 cash prize. 6:30 p.m., Marshall Performing Arts Center.

May 2 - Patricia Dennis retrospectivepatricia dennis artwork

A retrospective exhibit entitled “Designs, Drawings, & Doodles" showcases work by retiring Associate Professor Patricia Dennis. She taught costume design and stage makeup during a career spanning four decades at UMD. A reception in her honor will be held at 4 p.m., Marshall Performing Arts Center lobby.


Students celebrate campus historybarn quilt

First-year students in Professor Julia Dabbs's intellectual community course have crafted a new way to celebrate campus history. The students have created a set of three barn quilts to display on campus, each one representing an era of the school's history.

Getting personal with addiction at MorrisDenise Riffey

Student Denise Riffey is helping Assistant Professor Kerry Michael analyze and collect data for Minnesota’s Eighth Judicial District treatment court (sometimes called drug court), consisting of 13 counties in western Minnesota. For Riffey, the work is personal.


May 8 - Physics Force in Rochesterman smashing cinder block on another man's chest

See a physicist break a cement block on the chest of his colleague lying on a bed of nails or watch as a barrel is crushed by only the force of air pressure at this year's U of M Physics Force Public Show in Rochester. The show combines large-scale physics demonstrations and slapstick humor that is fun for adults and children of all ages. 7 p.m., Mayo Civic Center. No charge, but registration is required and tickets may sell out.

Capstone presentations

2019 graduates of UMR's Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (BSHS) program will present their capstones this week. A capstone is a combined set of learning experiences focused on an individualized theme that aligns with each student's personal and professional goals. BSHS students have the unique opportunity to personalize their education with a capstone experience.

Twin Cities

Office or home art rental from WAMWam artwork

Put a little art in your life with the Weisman’s art rental program, which offers faculty, staff, students, and departments the opportunity to display pieces of art from the museum’s collection in homes or offices. More than 300 framed, ready-to-hang, original artworks are available for rent at the WAM Shop during regular museum hours.

U of M Golf Club seeks new golfers

The University of Minnesota Golf Club season opened Apr. 20 and the group is currently looking for new golfers. The club has conducted tournaments at Les Bolstad Golf Course since 1968, and last year had over 200 members from the University community. The club holds 13 Saturday events and season-long match play and four-ball competition each year, awarding prizes for gross and net scores based on USGA handicaps.

May 3 - 50th annual University of Minnesota Iron PourIron pour

The 50th U of M iron pour will feature three international visiting artists, the U of M foundry class, and students from regional art programs. Events will include pouring community molds and performances. 2-6 p.m., Foundry, Regis Center for Art. See this and other events scheduled to celebrate the 50th iron pour.

May 3 - Encore Transitions series begins

Encore Transitions, the University's annual series of retirement-preparation courses, begins May 3. Hosted by LearningLife, the four-course series is designed to help University employees create pathways and prepare for a successful post-career life. Courses include Pathways to Post-Career Life (May 3), Financial Planning for Retirement (May 10), Aging Well, Being Well (May 17), and Launching Your Future (May 31). University employees who meet the eligibility requirements may also request financial support and paid time off to participate.

May 8 - Why addiction is a learning disorder and why it matters

Maia Szalavitz is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction, which is widely recognized as an important advance in thinking about the nature of addiction and how to cope with it. Her talk (RSVP to attend) will be followed by a moderated Q&A with MPR’s Stephanie Curtis. 10-11:30 a.m., Coffman Union Theater.

May 9 - The Contributions of Immigrants to Minnesota and its Communities

Assumptions, myths, and misinformation about immigrants are routinely cited in political debates, news stories, and our daily conversations and interactions with one another. Focusing on the economic and many other contributions of immigrants to Minnesota and its communities, the interdisciplinary collaborative workshop series “Migration and Migrants in Terrifying Times” will explore and reflect on these issues. No charge and open to the public, but registration is required. 6:30-8 p.m., Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School.

May 18 - Join your coworkers in the Twin Cities Heart Walk

University employees and their families will be walking in the Twin Cities Heart Walk starting at Target Field. There is no charge to join, but participants are welcome to raise donations towards the cause of heart health. Join the U of M team.

July 27 - Food & Mood Workshop

Join licensed nutritionist Carolyn Denton for an interactive workshop (register to attend) that will explore how the food you eat feeds your body and influences your mind. Topics will include identifying nutrients needed to make hormones, how to escape cravings, and understanding the impact of stress and strategies to blunt its effects as it relates to eating. 9 a.m.-noon, Mayo Meditation Space, Mayo Memorial Building.

UMTC Featured EventsTwins cap

Apr. 25 - Hunger Relief Benefit 2019
Apr. 26 - Programming & Pizza April - Research Consultations Served with a Slice
Apr. 27 - Mindfulness Meditation Retreat
Apr. 28 - University Gospel Choir Concert
May 1 - Mini Bioethics Academy | Unproven "Stem Cell" Interventions in the U.S.
May 2 - Challenging Classism
May 2 - North Star, Gold, and Maroon Bands Concert
May 10 - U of M Day: Minnesota Twins

Events Calendar >