February 19, 2020

Vol. L No. 7

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • Board of Regents February meeting highlights.
  • Features: What a lifetime of giving can do; The science life; Better beginnings.
  • People: The Bentson Foundation is giving a $15 million gift to support scholarships to the University of Minnesota; and more.

Top News

Board of Regents February meeting highlights

During its February meeting, the Board of Regents reviewed the results of an analysis of the U of M’s administrative costs, which compared University data to that of more than 30 peers in the Big Ten and across the country. Regents also approved the merger of the College of Liberal Arts and School of Fine Arts on the Duluth campus, reviewed draft recommendations on Board policy related to building namings, and discussed data from a systemwide scan of student mental health resources. See the news release for more details.

What a lifetime of giving can doCindy Li

Late last year, Leo Breitman did something he’s done every year for more than half a century: He mailed a check to the Carlson School of Management. Breitman’s relationship with the U of M began in 1943, when he enrolled as a pre-med student. After serving in World War II, he came back and majored in what he calls his “lifetime love”—accounting. His gifts to the Carlson School are helping people like first-generation student Cindy Li.

The science lifeplant artwork

U of M alum Hope Jahren made a literary splash in 2016 with her memoir Lab Girl—the story of how a small-town Minnesota girl grew into a renowned geobiologist. The book—written partly in the U of M’s Walter Library—received glowing reviews and won a National Book Critics Circle Award. Read a short interview with Jahren.

Better beginningsmother and baby

African American and American Indian women have a three- to four-times’ higher risk of pregnancy-related death than white women, and women of color are more likely to have adverse outcomes regardless of income, access to care, education, or health insurance status. U of M researcher Rachel Hardeman is working to improve health care for women of color and their babies.


The Bentson Foundation is giving a $15 million gift to support scholarships at the University of Minnesota; a new collaborative initiative aimed at treating cardiac arrest as quickly as possible in Minnesota has been made possible by an $18.6 million grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust; five research projects have been selected to receive grants through the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics; the U of M School of Nursing has ranked 10th in NIH funding to schools of nursing; Colleen McDonald Diouf, CEO of Community-University Health Care Center, has been elected board chair of the Federally Qualified Urban Healthcare Network; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Now open: Retirement Early Choice Window

The Early Choice Window for investments in the Faculty Retirement Plan, Optional Retirement Plan, and 457 Deferred Compensation Plan is now open as part of the transition to Fidelity. During this time, you can choose or change where your investments transfer and update your beneficiaries before retirement plans begin blackout periods after March 17. Not all current balances will transfer automatically to Fidelity during the transition. Visit the Retirement Transition Resources page for more information, and watch for further resources in the mail.

Multi-million-dollar prostate cancer research effort

The American Cancer Society estimates about 191,930 new cases of prostate cancer will emerge in the United States during 2020. With the support of three active R01 grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), totaling approximately $4 million, Department of Pharmacology assistant professor Aaron LeBeau is researching non-invasive nuclear imaging and radioimmunotherapy.

March 17 - Promoting Your Research to Industry Audiences

In this lunchtime workshop (register), researchers will learn to listen and respond to industry needs, talk about their research in an “industry friendly” way, create a compelling elevator pitch, and hear tips for networking with industry partners. A box lunch will be provided. 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center and online via Zoom.

Apply for the Internationalizing Teaching and Learning Faculty Cohort Program

Faculty systemwide are encouraged to apply for the 2020-21 Internationalizing Teaching and Learning Faculty Cohort Program by March 31. The program is offered by the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance in partnership with the Center for Educational Innovation and OIT-Academic Technology Support Services.

Apr. 6-10 - IEM Innovation Week

Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) Innovation Week boasts eight events highlighting advances and new directions in medical engineering. Topics include engineering to fight cancer, neurological disorders, failing organs, and many other ailments.

Talking back pain with U of M

Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and an estimated 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives. Roni Evans and Gert Bronfort with the University of Minnesota talk about the causes, symptoms, and preventative measures people can take to reduce back pain. Additional “Talking...” features include "Talking wolves’ diets with U of M” and “Talking cancer prevention with U of M.”


Connections and opportunities from baseball to medical schoolNate Albrecht

The combination of a desire to play college baseball and a drive to make an impact in his community allowed Nate Albrecht to not only succeed at the University of Minnesota Crookston, but to begin his path toward attending medical school.

Crookston hosts Giving Hearts Daystudents paint messages on snow

Members of the University of Minnesota Crookston community, including faculty, staff, and students, recently participated in Giving Hearts Day. The event includes performing random acts of kindness or services throughout the campus and community.


Studying lake levels for insights on changing climatepeople on rafts

McKnight Land-Grant Professor Byron Steinman, associate professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences and member of the Large Lakes Observatory, along with a team of graduate students, traveled to Washington last summer. They measured water depth and took water and sediment core samples from lakes in the state’s Okanogan River basin to both reconstruct a history of changes in water levels and predict how future climate change could affect the lakes.

Combating the opioid crisispharmacy students

The U of M Medical School and College of Pharmacy on the Duluth campus have created a Naloxone first aid response training and distribution workshop to educate students about the opioid crisis so that they, in turn, can educate community members and other medical professionals. Students also had the opportunity to obtain a Naloxone kit through a grant with the College of Pharmacy, supported by the Rural AIDS Action Network.

Feb. 25 - Visual Culture Lecture Series: Michael BarnesMichael Barnes working on art

Michael Barnes will present as part of the Visual Culture Lecture Series. A professor of printmaking at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Barnes' primary medium as an artist is lithography. He earned a BFA from Alma College in Michigan and an MFA from the University of Iowa. 6-7 p.m., 70 Montague Hall.


Immunotherapy treatments for cancerRachael Johnson

A recent study published in the journal Nature Immunology provides information that can be used to develop new immunotherapies with the potential to treat all cancer patients. Rachel Johnson, an assistant professor of biology, comments on what it could mean for cancer patients and U of M research to fight cancer in Minnesota.


Patient care career pathwaysZach Domeier

Zach Domeier ’13 shares how his capstone experience and education at UMR helped prepare him for his career path. Today, Domeier works as a physician assistant in correctional medicine at an inpatient unit in a federal prison. Read more stories about UMR alumni.

UMR’s first class: Where are they now?

A decade ago, the University of Minnesota Rochester accepted its first class. The Rochester Post-Bulletin recently interviewed several students from UMR's inaugural class to see how their time at the University has impacted their careers and lives.

Twin Cities

The punditLarry Jacobs

Larry Jacobs grew up in a New York family that loved to talk politics. Even children were expected to share opinions at the dinner table. But shoot-from-the-hip perspectives always garnered a swift response from Jacobs’ father: “Why?” “It was a terrifying question,” says Jacobs, a professor at the Humphrey School. “It’s easy to give an opinion but much harder to marshal a justification for it.” In this interview, Jacobs talks about politics, elections, and teaching alongside Walter Mondale.

Faculty and staff days at U of M Recreation and Wellness facilities

U of M faculty and staff can use any Recreation and Wellness facility at no charge on the third Thursday of every month this spring (Feb. 20, March 19, Apr. 16, and May 21). Access includes open climbing (Minneapolis only) and group fitness classes. Visit the Member Services Desk when checking in.

Feb. 20 - The Future of Mobility - Transportation as a Servicetoaster innovation hub front door

The launch of the new Toaster Innovation Hub at Walter Library will include a discussion of trends and technological advances surrounding autonomous vehicles, sustainability, and electrification infrastructure. Speakers from Kaptyn, Tesla, and Mortenson will share their perspectives and provide an update on their national partnership to transform shared mobility and deploy autonomous capabilities. 4:30-6:30 p.m., Toaster Innovation Hub, Walter Library. See additional events at the new Toaster Innovation Hub.

Feb. 20 - Grant funding for new researchers

In this workshop, learn more about how to find funding opportunities available to researchers and graduate students, as well as how to use Pivot (from Community of Science) and the Foundation Directory. 11 a.m.-noon, 81 Magrath Library, St. Paul.

Feb. 21 - Workshop: Collaborative writing in teaching, learning, and scholarship

Some view collaborative writing and scholarship as being told to eat their vegetables. But what if the process were nourishing and gratifying? Faculty and staff are invited to register for the first spring 2020 session of the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshop on collaborative writing in teaching, learning, and scholarship. 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 110 Anderson Hall. Lunch is provided.

Les Bolstad PGA Jr. League sign-up now opengolf ball on green

Registration is open for PGA Jr. League, an opportunity for boys and girls ages 7-13. PGA Jr. League is a fun and welcoming way for kids of all skill levels to play golf. The league includes team matches and practices with instruction from the professionals at the University of Minnesota Les Bolstad Golf Course.

March 5 - U of M Women in STEAMM Wikithon

Mark International Women’s History Month by improving Wikipedia profiles of U of M women faculty in the STEAMM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, and Medicine) at this Women in STEAMM wikithon (Wikipedia edit-a-thon). No background in the sciences, arts, or Wikipedia editing is necessary. Just show up with your curiosity and a laptop. 5-8 p.m., Toaster Innovation Hub, Walter Library.

Apr. 6-7 - IEM BioSciTech Symposium

The Institute for Engineering in Medicine’s (IEM) BioSciTech Symposium will explore the frontiers of engineering, biological science, and biotechnology through academic talks and collaborative activities. Attendees will hear from leaders in immune engineering, cancer bioengineering, species cryopreservation, regenerative medicine, and genome engineering, and build new relationships through activities and social events. Beacon Room, University Recreation and Wellness Center.

UMTC Featured EventsLesley Lokko

Feb. 20 - TWW Panel: Writing and Spatial Thinking
Feb. 21 - Programming & Pizza February - Research Consultations Served with a Slice
Feb. 24 - INTERFACES: Lesley Lokko
Feb. 27 - Next Generation of Parks Lecture Series: Importance of urban green space for pollinators
Feb. 28 - Sustainability Education Summit
March 2 - Launching a Science/Tech Startup

Events Calendar >