February 26, 2020

Vol. L No. 8

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • Features: Another reason to eat ginger; Increasing inclusivity; Chasing the next challenge; Research and creative excellence.
  • People: Announcing the recipients of the 2019-20 Distinguished Teaching Awards; and more.

Top News

Another reason to eat gingerginger root

Could ginger root prevent colorectal cancer? The U of M Medical School’s Anna Prizment is looking into whether ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties have an impact on gut bacteria in a way that reduces the risk of developing the disease. Prizment, whose research focuses on the role of inflammation in cancer, is basing her work on a critical discovery made at the U of M’s Hormel Institute—that gingerol, a compound in ginger root, suppresses colorectal tumor growth in mice.

Increasing inclusivityKania Johnson and Josie Johnson

Read the description of the type of student sought for the Josie Robinson Johnson Fellowship, and Kania Johnson is the perfect fit. The fellowship, named in honor of a longtime civil rights activist and the University of Minnesota’s first African American Regent, supports students who are addressing racial inequalities and injustice. Johnson says receiving the fellowship has given her the opportunity to work toward inclusive education for all students.

Chasing the next challengeThu Mai

From emigrating from Vietnam to joining the U.S. military, Thu Mai is driven to create positive change. Opportunities and challenges in the field of health care have inspired her to pursue a major in health services management through the U of M’s College of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Research and creative excellencevideo feature cover image

Twin Cities College of Liberal Arts faculty are driven to follow their passion for creating new knowledge, and in the process bring depth and meaning to the lives of others. This video feature explores ways to look at the world and appreciate solutions for today’s challenges, through disciplines ranging from dance to statistics.


Announcing the recipients of the 2019-20 Distinguished Teaching Awards; announcing the recipients of the 2019-20 John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising; 2020 BOLD Ideas grant program recipients; the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs Faculty Research Development Grant Program has selected grant recipients with projects totaling $200,000; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

CIDRAP launches novel Coronavirus Resource Centercoronavirus graphic

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota has launched an online resource center providing a wealth of information for public health experts, business preparedness leaders, government officials, and the public regarding the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19.

Finding the root to treat aging through dieting

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School believe they have discovered a new way in which diet influences aging-related diseases. Doug Mashek, professor in the Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, leads a team of researchers who discovered that olive oil in the Mediterranean diet may hold the key to improving lifespan and mitigating aging-related diseases.

Fair Use Week at U of M Libraries

Fair Use Week at U of M Libraries continues through Feb. 28. All faculty, staff, and students rely on fair use on a daily basis, and under certain circumstances it allows instructors to share copyrighted information in class without asking for permission. University Libraries has information on fair use in teaching and provides instruction and consultations to help you make fair use decisions. Email copyinfo@umn.edu for more information.

Feb. 27 - Discussion on Recent Findings in Teaching and Learning

What is happening in science courses that cause high-performing women to leave the pre-med track? This online discussion will focus on the practical implications of a study that found that the number of women taking medical school qualifying exams is lower than predicted based on their interest at the beginning of college. 1-2 p.m., online via Zoom.

March 3 - Introduction to Open Educational Resources

This webinar will cover what open educational resources (OER) are, why they are needed, and where to find them. In addition, examples of OER projects and initiatives at the University of Minnesota will be shared. 1-1:30 p.m. Learn more and enroll in the OER webinar.

March 4 - Student Well-Being & Course-Related Stress: Student Perspectives

Based on results from a U of M student survey, this webinar will identify potential areas of course-related student stress, discuss what instructors can do to reduce unnecessary student stress, and apply ways to maintain/increase student well-being. 10-11 a.m., online via Zoom.

New Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy to host listening sessions

The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare has partnered with the Department of Human Services to create the Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy, which will begin offering training to Minnesota child protection professionals this summer at a new training facility in Roseville. Listening sessions for both child welfare professionals and the general public will take place across the state throughout March and April.

Apr. 9-10 - Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium

The Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium brings together basic scientists, engineers, clinicians, industrial practitioners, and entrepreneurs to discuss challenges and opportunities in neuromodulation. The symposium will include presentations by leaders in academia, industry, and government, as well as a poster session. Poster abstract submissions are currently being accepted. Graduate Hotel, Minneapolis.

Research Brief: Training the future healthcare workforce of Afghanistan

In 2017, the U of M partnered with Kabul University Medical Sciences to improve clinical, educational, professional, and leadership skills for health sciences faculty in Kabul, Afghanistan. The multidisciplinary project team recently detailed the partnership’s successes and opportunities. Additional recent Research Briefs include “Child participation in organized activities interferes with family meals” and “Increasing access to and affordability of robot-assisted surgeries.”


Feb. 28 - Sustainability Education Summit

The third annual Sustainability Education Summit is an online and in-person event that shares tools and stories on teaching sustainability. Participants will develop an understanding of common struggles, tools, and successes in teaching sustainability topics. 8:30 a.m.-noon, Bede Ballroom.

March 2 - International Dinner Series: Taiwantaiwan scenes

During this event, a Crookston student will present on the art of food, pop culture, tourism, and animation of Taiwan. 6 p.m., Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center.


Savage receives NSF Career AwardJessica Savage

Assistant Professor of Biology Jessica Savage has received a National Science Foundation Career Award. Her research focuses on plant life cycles and the factors that control and limit the timing of plant growth. With the monetary portion of the award, Savage plans to offer funded positions for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, as well as paid research opportunities for undergraduate students.

Wetland index upgradedWetlands

UMD’s Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) has released an updated online tool that helps agencies and organizations identify wetland areas that have the best chance of being restored. Working closely with the Minnesota DNR, NRRI produced the first statewide Restorable Wetland Inventory about a decade ago. An upgraded Restorable Wetland Index now offers finer resolution and predicts wetland status with 85 percent accuracy.

At the theatreMachinal poster

UMD Theatre Professor William Payne directs Machinal, written by playwright and journalist Sophie Treadwell. The play combines poetry and image to create a 21st century #MeToo moment, as it follows the life of a young woman stifled by rigid societal norms. March 5-7 and 17-21, 7:30 p.m.; March 22, 2 p.m.; Dudley Experimental Theatre.


U of M Morris students serve Minnesota through Center for Small TownsCenter small towns building

This spring 19 U of M Morris students are working on 14 community projects through the Center for Small Towns (CST). Acting as a doorway to the University, CST gives small towns access to U of M talent and resources while providing students opportunities to apply the skills they're learning in the classroom, strengthen their bonds to Greater Minnesota, and develop as professionals.


Health Care Research and Discovery PathwayMohamed Adani

Mohamed Adani will be studying clinical and translational sciences in Mayo Clinic’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences PhD program, starting this summer. His capstone experience at UMR involved using a multicultural lens in his research to propel him to where he is today.

Sen. Tina Smith visits Rochester

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith recently visited Rochester and One Discovery Square, where she had the opportunity to tour UMR's research labs and speak with students about the collaborative environment that the latest addition to campus offers.

Twin Cities

Humor and creativity as tools of innovationBarry Kudrowitz

Barry Kudrowitz, director of product design in the College of Design, is a firm believer that humor and creativity can fuel innovation. He has years of experience working with the toy industry and has taught toy design for over a decade. The strong medical community drew him to Minnesota, where he saw opportunities to grow the design field in the medical and healthcare industry. This story is the first in an Office of Academic Clinical Affairs series called “Reimagine Health.”

March 5 - Gene editing and 21st century foods: Why you WILL want to eat them

One of the first places gene editing will affect our lives is through the food we eat. At this event in "The Leading Edge" series, Dan Voytas will tell the story of a gene editing technology he developed and the company he founded that created the world's first gene edited food ingredient. Perry Hackett will describe how gene editing will be used in farm animals to improve animal welfare, nutrition, and the environment. 6:30 p.m., Campus Club, Coffman Union.

March 5 - Headliners: A Candid Conversation with Neel Kashkari

Whether regarding immigration, early childhood development, postsecondary education, retirement, or economic inequality and opportunity, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has a tremendous effect on the way we live and thrive in our communities. Join Fed President Neel Kashkari as he speaks about the institution and takes questions in a town hall-style forum. His talk is hosted by LearningLife in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. 7 p.m., Continuing Education and Conference Center, St. Paul.

March 6 - First Fridays: Roaring Good Tales: Animals in the Archives

The First Fridays Series of archival talks features two presentations: "Animals, Vegetables, or Minerals? High-Tech Organisms," presented by the Charles Babbage Institute Archives; and "Where Animals and Humans Meet," presented by the Northwest Architectural Archives. Noon-1 p.m., 120 Elmer L. Andersen Library.

March 17 - Human Rights Initiative Research Symposium

The Human Rights Initiative is a joint effort of the College of Liberal Arts and the Humphrey School to support interdisciplinary engaged research in human rights. This symposium will showcase the work of grantees and will include an in-depth discussion of research design, methodology, and implementation. Registration is requested. 2:30-4:30 p.m., 50B Humphrey School.

Apr. 8 - Design of Medical Devices Conference IEM career mixer

The Design of Medical Devices Conference, in cooperation with the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) and MinnesotaWorks.net, will host a unique opportunity for those seeking employment or internships to network with medical device industry professionals and companies. Registration is required. 5:30 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center.

UMTC Featured EventsJohn Marshall 3

Feb. 27 - University Band and North Star Campus Band
Feb. 28 - Rare Disease Day
Feb. 28 - Circle of Indigenous Nations Special Speaker Series: Joseph Marshall III
March 3 - From Seeds to Movements: Feminist Leadership in Climate Justice
March 4 - Clearing the air around Cannabis: A Petri Dish Conversation
March 5 - Partnering with Minnesota: Connecting the University with Urban, Suburban, and Rural Communities through Public Engagement
March 7 - LearningLife Sampler

Events Calendar >