November 28, 2018

Vol. XLVIII No. 38

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

  • Features: Retail Transformation by Design: collaborating to build rural business; Keeping aging brains healthy: lessons from genes; Researchers stop ‘sneaky’ cancer cells in their tracks; Brown rot, green energy.
  • People: U of M alumnus Alan Page was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom; and more.

Top News

Retail Transformation by Design: collaborating to build rural businessHye Young Kim and a student

Hye-Young Kim lights up when she talks about the community-engaged work she’s been able to facilitate for students in retail merchandising. And her most recent project was likely her most ambitious. She and colleagues have created the Joint Retail Assistance Program, which uses the expertise of U of M students to help Minnesota merchants address retail challenges.

Keeping aging brains healthy: lessons from geneselder woman

Do any genes protect against Alzheimer’s disease? And do any predispose a person to its ravages? The answer is yes to both, according to work led by U of M researcher Lisa James. Along with colleagues at the U of M and the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, James is laying the basis for developing drugs or other treatments to mimic the functions of protective genes.

Researchers stop ‘sneaky’ cancer cells in their tracksa sneaky dendrite

A new study by University of Minnesota biomedical engineers sheds light on how cancer cells change their movements. The researchers were able to stop cancer cells from moving and spreading, even when the cells changed their movements. The discovery could have a major impact on millions of people undergoing therapies to prevent the spread of cancer within the body.

Brown rot, green energyU researchers

Over the course of evolutionary history, a small group of fungi decided to go their own way. These rebels cast off the standard wood-eating method of their peers in favor of a better trick--and researchers at the College of Biological Sciences want to know how it’s done. The researchers are tracking down the genetic roots of the process, known as “brown rot,” which could lead to more efficient production of biomass fuels.


U of M alumnus Alan Page was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom; the West Central Research and Outreach Center is leading a new collaboration, supported by a $750,000 grant, to develop autonomous vehicles for controlling weeds; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Rising number of college students report mental health condition

The number of students coming to college with a mental health condition continues to increase, with nearly half of all female students reporting a diagnosis in their lifetime. The 2018 College Student Health Survey of University of Minnesota Twin Cities (UMTC) students found a 29 percent increase in mental health conditions among students since 2015. The survey, directed by Boynton Health, is intended to identify health issues affecting UMTC students so University officials can be responsive to their needs and create a healthier campus environment.

CLA launches Civitas Awards

The College of Liberal Arts' new Civitas Awards honor people and organizations who are strong partners of the college and who make a difference in the community that aligns with CLA’s purpose. One award, The Dean's Liberal Arts Champion, can be a community member who, through their work, words, or deeds, demonstrates the value of the liberal arts to society. Only CLA alumni, faculty, and staff may nominate people for this award. All award nominations are due Jan. 18.


Johnson stands out at a collegiate meetAmber Johnson

University of Minnesota Crookston senior Amber Johnson, Sebeka, MN, earned runner-up honors in the Minnesota Farm Bureau State Collegiate Discussion Meet.

A Year with Frog and Toad

The University of Minnesota Crookston’s department of music and theatre presents the musical A Year with Frog and Toad, with performances on Nov. 29 and 30 and Dec. 1.

Dec. 1 - Santaland

University of Minnesota Crookston student clubs and organizations will host activities, crafts, and prizes for all Crookston elementary students during the annual Santaland. Noon-3 p.m., Sargeant Student Center.


A focus on Native physiciansMary Owen

Mary Owen is the director of the Center of American Indian and Minority Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth campus. One of her focuses is on helping Native students get into medicine. She points out that the United States graduates just 40 Native physicians out of 20,000 each year. Owen administers several programs that support American Indian and Alaska Native students, and works as a physician for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

The impact of micro-businessesmain street building in small town

A study by Gibson Nene and Melaku Abegaz, both assistant professors of economics in the Labovitz School of Business and Economics, looked at how small business entrepreneurship affects poverty levels in rural communities. Their research found that “micro-enterprises” with fewer than 20 workers are associated with lower poverty rates across rural counties.

Glensheen sparklesGlensheen interior with tree

“A Glensheen Christmas” runs through Jan. 6. Over 25 Christmas trees are decorated for the holidays and 25 elves are hidden throughout the house. The Candlelight Christmas Tour is given on Fridays, 7-9 p.m., as well as the entire week of Christmas. The estate is closed Dec. 24-25. Tickets are available online.

At the Weberperson on stage

The Opera Studio and the Department of Music will present Susannah by Carlisle Floyd Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 7, 3 p.m., Weber Music Hall. Alice Pierce directs this American opera, which is loosely based on the story of Susannah and the Elders.


Lawrence elected to national boardMontana Lawrence in a pasture

Montana Lawrence '20, Princeton, MN, has been elected to the National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) board of directors. As an NJHA board member, Lawrence will combine her U of M Morris education and family business experience to get involved in the political process.


UMR student presents at Biomedical Research Conference for Minority StudentsChristine Chukwuocha presenting poster

UMR sophomore Christine Chukwuocha’s research is centered around the gene that causes hearing loss. Her research observes the differences of inner ear hair cells of Zebrafish to better understand the gene. She recently had the opportunity to present her poster at the annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students.

Twin Cities

TRIO program faculty mentors sought

The TRIO McNair Scholars program is recruiting faculty mentors for its summer 2019 cohort. The program gives undergraduate students who meet certain eligibility requirements the opportunity to conduct research and prepare for graduate school. Complete a brief questionnaire for more information.

Dec. 4 - Where We Stand: The University of Minnesota and Dakota Treaty Lands

Department of American Indian Studies senior Dakota language specialist Neil Cantemaza McKay and assistant director of the Center of Community-Engaged Learning Monica Siems McKay will lead a discussion focusing on decolonization and community-engaged scholarship. The session will explore the history of treaties that include campus lands and of federal land grants to the University. No charge, but registration is requested. 3-4:30 p.m., 125 Nolte Center for Continuing Education.

Dec. 6 - ‘The Ecological Civilization: Opening Pathways to Green, Inclusive Growth’

The 2018 Jon Goldstein Memorial Lecture “The Ecological Civilization: Opening Pathways to Green, Inclusive Growth” will be given by Stanford University professor Gretchen Daily, who has pioneered the concept of natural capital to integrate the values of nature into development plans. 5:30 p.m. lecture, 6:30 p.m. reception, Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School. No charge, but registration is required.

UMTC Featured Eventsa stell drum and sticks

Nov. 28 - Conversations about Choreography and Healthcare
Nov. 29 - Forum on Immigrant Families and Proposed Public Charge Changes
Nov. 29 - Powered by WIT: Women in IT@UMN
Nov. 30 - CSE Winter Light Show Premiere
Dec. 1 - Choral Concert: Sounds of the Season
Dec. 2 - Fall West African Music Ensemble Concert
Dec. 3 - Dr. Michael Porter and Katherine Gehl: The Impact of the U.S. Political System on U.S. Growth
Dec. 3 - Refugee Health 101 Webinar
Dec. 5 - Steel Band Ensemble Recital

Events Calendar >