January 22, 2020

Vol. L No. 3

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • Features: Defending science; A powerful journey; Safety on wheels.
  • People: The U of M and Windgap Medical have received a $3.2 million NIH grant to develop a cyanide antidote autoinjector; and more.

Top News

Defending scienceperson in court drawing

Ellad Tadmor couldn’t stand it anymore. For years, Tadmor, a professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, watched the erosion of public debates and scientific discourse in the United States. Being an engineer, he set out to solve the problem. The result is an undergraduate class called Science Court—an investigative and decision-making process that draws on scientific research to incorporate diverse views, establish a reliable body of facts, and dispassionately deliver fair conclusions.

A powerful journeyu of m energy use diagram

As a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Paul Imbertson teaches a class that tracks how humans generate, transmit, and use energy. Students arrive knowing little more than how to flip a light switch. They trace energy flow backwards from the Gopher campus substation to the coal-burning power plant to the mines of Powder River Basin in Wyoming.

Safety on wheelspeople with bicycle

The popularity of autonomous vehicles is on the rise. But how about taking the sensor technology that allows these machines to detect oncoming objects and applying it to bicycles? That’s exactly what mechanical engineering professor Rajesh Rajamani is doing, except on a shoestring budget of $500.


The U of M and Windgap Medical have received a $3.2 million NIH grant to develop a cyanide antidote autoinjector; the U of M has received a $1.5 million grant to improve the efficiency of electric delivery trucks; the American Public Health Association awarded its 2019 Junior Investigator Award to Melissa Horning; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Learn about important changes to University retirement plans

The University is moving the Faculty Retirement Plan (FRP), Optional Retirement Plan (ORP), and the 457 Deferred Compensation Plan (457 Plan) to Fidelity Investments on Apr. 1. To understand what these changes mean for you, and to talk directly with Fidelity and University representatives, attend upcoming webinars and special events happening on each campus.

Announcing the Minnesota Futures grant competition

Letters of intent are now being accepted for the Minnesota Futures grant program, administered by the Office of the VP for Research. The program promotes new research and scholarship that address societal challenges. Letters of intent are due Feb. 17; proposals are due March 17. All applicants who submit an LOI are invited to submit a full proposal, unless notified otherwise. Two grants will be awarded in June. Note: PIs holding an AHC Faculty Research Development Grant, or who have applied within the past year, are not eligible to apply as a PI.

Researchers discover novel potential target for drug addiction treatmentbrain imaging graphic

New University of Minnesota Medical School research has uncovered a novel potential target for treating drug addiction through “the hidden stars of the brain.” The study suggests that targeting astrocyte calcium signaling could decrease the behavioral effects of amphetamine.

Top 10 OACA stories of 2019

The Office of Academic Clinical Affairs (OACA) has wrapped up its first year as a new office. Learn more about OACA through its top 10 most-read stories from 2019. The stories highlight projects and collaborations that helped advance OACA’s mission to reimagine health for Minnesota by driving innovation and discovery through interprofessional care and training and by being a strong partner to the state, industry, and community.

Dealing with and preventing ice damsice dam graphic

Ice dams are ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof and prevent melting snow from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas. U of M Extension has tips for prevention and treatment of ice dam damage.

Disrupting bacteria’s communication pathways may thwart harbor infrastructure decay

Visitors who marvel at the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge are unaware of a real drama unfolding below the surface. Bacteria, algae, and other organisms settle on steel structures and their growth alters the steel’s surface and can turn docks into Swiss cheese. The drama takes place in every harbor worldwide. Twin Cities and Duluth researchers have discovered an approach that could stop bacteria from grouping up on steel structures without negatively impacting aquatic life.

Jan. 29 - Should I provide my notes ahead of class?

Join colleagues via Zoom to discuss a study on the optimal format for instructor-provided notes, including ways to apply its findings to your teaching. Register for the session to receive meeting reminders.

Feb. 6 - Webinar: A Guide to Mindful Communication

This webinar will explore a model for mindful communication that supports meaningful connections and civil conversations at work, at home, and in our larger communities. Practical tips will be shared for enhancing your skills and your confidence in putting mindful communication into daily practice. 12:30-1:15 p.m.

Feb. 10 - Deadline to apply for Consortium on Law and Values Research Awards

Proposals should relate to the societal implications of problems in health, the environment, and the life sciences. Grants will be awarded in spring 2020 to University of Minnesota graduate and professional students for work during summer 2020 and academic year 2020-21. Student organizations may also apply. A total of $35,000 is available, with a maximum individual award of $7,000. Learn more and apply.

Research Brief: Workforce turnover contributes to health care physician trend towards working in larger practices

Physicians are increasingly working in large group practices, many of which are owned by hospital systems, as opposed to owning their own small practice. A study by School of Public Health and Harvard researchers examines the causes of this shift. Additional Research Briefs include “Glimpse into ancient hunting strategies of dragonflies and damselflies.”


Pine Lake Wild Rice After School - Ag in the Classroom

The University of Minnesota Crookston Office of Outreach and Engagement, in conjunction with a financial gift from Pine Lake Wild Rice, will host a series of after school events for children in surrounding school districts about agriculture and career pathways in agriculture and the food industry.

Cleary named to top-100 basketball listStudent Harrison Cleary

Harrison Cleary has been named a member of the top-100 watch list for the 2020 Bevo Francis Award. The Clarence "Bevo" Francis Award is presented annually to the player who has had the finest overall season within small-college basketball. Cleary has been named to the Bevo Francis Top-100 watch list in each of the past two seasons.


Technology innovatorArshia Khan

Arshia Khan, associate professor of computer science, recently took part in a keynote panel at the 3M Leadership Conference. The “Next-Generation Leadership” panel featured six technological innovators. Khan, whose expertise is in biomedical engineering, is developing robotic assistive technologies for individuals who have been diagnosed with dementia, bipolar disorders, or autism.

Celebrating 125 years125 year logo

In April 1895, the Minnesota State Legislature approved the creation of the State Normal School at Duluth. Eight years later, in 1903, the first graduating class consisted of seven women. Since then, UMD has graduated over 79,000 people. Throughout 2020, UMD will be celebrating its accomplishments and looking ahead to its future work.

At the theatreThe Little Prince poster

Theatre Professor Ann Bergeron directs The Little Prince, by Rick Cummins and John Scoullar, based on the classic book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The show runs Feb. 6-8 and 12-15, 7:30 p.m., and Feb. 9, 2 p.m., MPAC. Pre-show crafts for kids (no charge with ticket) will be offered Feb. 9 beginning at 1 p.m. in the MPAC lobby.


Aanerud participates in National Student Exchange programEvan Annerud

Through the National Student Exchange program, Evan Aanerud '20, Fergus Falls, will study in the arts management program at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. He’ll also complete a performing arts internship at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art—an opportunity he says is only possible because of his individualized U of M Morris experience.


Discovering identity through a Living Learning CommunitySam Kreps

When she started at UMR, the two things Sam Kreps identified with was that she was Jewish and Cuban. Through her education and time at UMR in a Living Learning Community and the trip of a lifetime to the Holy Land, she discovered more about her passions, identity, and career path.

Ambassadors present at CIVSA conferenceHunter Olson and Alynn Kruse at CIVSA conference

Hunter Olson and Alynn Kruse recently presented at the Collegiate Information and Visitor Services Association (CIVSA) conference in Albuquerque, NM. The conference brought together more than 300 student ambassadors from over 80 institutions. Olson and Kruse’s presentation focused on enhancing the prospective-student experience using personalized video production.

Twin Cities

Crash risk for pedestrians, cyclists higher in less affluent neighborhoods

The crash risk for pedestrians and bicyclists is higher in Minneapolis neighborhoods that have lower household incomes and higher populations of minorities, according to U of M research. The study aimed to illustrate how information about crash risk and equity can help transportation managers prioritize investments in street networks.

Medical students help build home for St. Paul family

Two dozen University of Minnesota Medical School students traded in their stethoscopes for screwdrivers to help build a new home for a St. Paul family in need. The project brought the Medical School community together for a day of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.

Ruth Boynton: A pioneer for student health

In 1918, the University Student Health Service was founded to “protect the health of students and prevent disease.” Ruth Boynton served as the director for 25 years. She was the first woman in the country to direct a co-educational health service. In 1975, the University honored her career and contributions by renaming the Student Health Service to Boynton Health Service.

ISSS spring Intercultural Workshop Series

Faculty and staff interested in working effectively with international students and colleagues can now register for the Intercultural Workshop Series, organized by International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). The series combines intercultural competency and skills development sessions with "Culture In-Depth" workshops.

Jan. 30 - A Feast of Words: Dancing for the Constitution

Ananya Chatterjea, professor in the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance, will present "Dancing for the Constitution." The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Libraries and the Campus Club. 5 p.m., Campus Club, Coffman Union. Get tickets and more information.

Feb. 13 - Meet your genes - The ins and outs of consumer DNA tests

Consumer DNA tests are surging in popularity, driven by an interest in genealogy and a desire to understand the risks of certain diseases. Heather Zierhut and Bonnie LeRoy will explore the risks and rewards of embarking on this personal journey with an eye toward helping consumers make informed choices. The talk (RSVP) is part of "The Leading Edge" public conversation series, hosted by the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology & Development. 7 p.m., Coffman Union.

Feb. 19 - End of Life: Live and Unscripted!

End-of-life care planning: It’s something we all know we should consider, but few of us do, at least in a proactive way. After all, the topic can be discomforting, even scary. But what if you paired end-of-life planning discussions with two of the most powerful forces in the universe: knowledge and humor? This unique live show (register) will help you dive into one of life’s most crucial conversations. 7-9 p.m., Continuing Education and Conference Center, Saint Paul.

Feb. 27 - Planting Seeds of Innovation conference

Nurses are consumers, providers, and designers of emerging health care technologies. This conference will increase awareness, understanding, insight, and actions nurses can take to deepen their knowledge, skills, and abilities related to innovation and transformation of health care. Register and learn more.

UMTC Featured EventsWAM exhibit artwork

Jan. 24 - Evolving Plant Populations and the Contingency of Genetic Effects - Ruth Shaw
Jan. 26 - High School Honor Band Concert
Jan. 27 - Web GIS 101: Introduction to Mapping with ArcGIS Online
Jan. 27 - "Who Will Write Our History" (2018) Film Screening
Jan. 29 - My Role in Equity & Diversity Work
Jan. 31 - Exhibition Preview Party | Abracadabra and Other Forms of Protection
Feb. 7 - Embattled Battlefield Instruction: Contestation in Wartime Legal Training

Events Calendar >