November 6, 2019

Vol. XLIX No. 35

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

  • Features: Earthworm study opens new dimension in climate science; The right to home: An interview with Tasoulla Hadjiyanni; Body knowledge.
  • People: Michael-Paul Schallmo recently received a $740,000 grant to begin using vision as a tool in studying schizophrenia; and more.

Top News

Earthworm study opens new dimension in climate scienceearthworm on mud

Earthworms exert major controls over how soils function; along with other soil fauna, they regulate water and nutrient flows at the base of ecosystems. Conservation efforts that neglect them and focus solely on aboveground species could backfire and harm aboveground species dependent on soils for food and shelter. A new global study of earthworm diversity suggests prioritizing soil conservation, as climate change could seriously affect earthworms and the functions they provide.

The right to home: An interview with Tasoulla HadjiyanniTasoulla Hadjiyanni

Interior design professor Tasoulla Hadjiyanni’s latest release, The Right to Home: Exploring How Space, Culture, and Identity Intersect with Disparities, studies interior design’s role in addressing health, income, and educational inequities. Through interviews with members of Minnesota’s Hmong, Somali, Mexican, Ojibwe, and African American communities, Hadjiyanni’s work demonstrates the importance of critically examining home environments and reinforces the idea that social inequalities are, in part, spatially constructed.

Body knowledgedrawing of hands measuring boy's waist

Aaron Kelly and Claudia Fox knew they were failing. The faculty members in the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Pediatrics were frustrated they couldn’t do more to help kids who have severe obesity, a condition that affects 80,000 children and adolescents in Minnesota and four to five million nationally. Now, they’re taking a new approach in the fight against childhood obesity.


Michael-Paul Schallmo recently received a $740,000 grant to begin using vision as a tool in studying schizophrenia; Sonya Wang recently received an $800,000 NIH grant to research the effects of music-based intervention on neurodevelopment and pain response in preterm infants; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

MnDRIVE at 5: Celebrating a Unique Research Collaboration to Support Minnesotagraphic of Minnesota state borders

For more than five years, the MnDRIVE collaboration between the state of Minnesota and the U of M has fueled research into some of the greatest challenges now facing Minnesotans. MnDRIVE—short for Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy—began in 2013 as a way to align key U of M research strengths with vital and emerging state industries to lead Minnesota toward a more prosperous and equitable future. The program focuses on five research areas: Robotics, Global Food, Environment, Brain Conditions, and Cancer Clinical Trials.

Farm at the Arbpeople inside the farm at the arb red barn building

At the new Farm at the Arb, agriculture takes center stage. The University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has long been a leader in horticultural research, outreach, and education, but this is its first large-scale initiative focused on farming. In the Red Barn, built in 1920 and recently renovated, the public will learn how food is grown, processed, and sold. Outdoors, work continues on demonstration areas.

New learning healthcare network will connect rural Minnesota

The health disparity between rural and urban Minnesotans continues to grow. To bridge this gap, University researchers from the Medical School Duluth campus, College of Pharmacy, School of Public Health, School of Nursing, and Clinical and Translational Science Institute are working to develop a learning healthcare network to address the lack of access to research and education in greater Minnesota.

Nov. 7 - Meetings of the University/Faculty Senates

All members of the University community are invited to attend concurrent meetings of the University and Faculty Senates. The docket includes a discussion on proposed changes to the Twin Cities liberal education requirements. 2:30-5 p.m. at locations on each campus.

Nov. 8-11 - Bell Museum hosts Minnesota’s first ‘Statewide Star Party’young person looking through telescope

The Bell Museum invites stargazers across the state to participate in Minnesota’s first Statewide Star Party. Explore the Moon and beyond with free outdoor telescope observing, hands on astronomy activities, and more at 30 partner sites throughout the state. Learn more and see locations.

Nov. 19 - Webinar: Cultivating Gratitude

Join the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing in a webinar (register) that will explore ways to cultivate gratitude and learn simple techniques for practicing gratitude in your everyday life—at work and at home. 12:30-1:15 p.m.

Research Brief: Invention of shape-changing textiles powered only by body heat

A breakthrough invention in wearable technology has the potential to change how we interact with the clothes we wear every day. Led by researchers at the U of M’s Design of Active Materials and Structures Lab and Wearable Technology Lab, the study details the development of a temperature-responsive textile that can be used to create self-fitting garments powered only by body heat. Additional Research Briefs include “Customer service is frustrating by design” and “How exposure to influenza affects birth and infant health outcomes.”


NASA internship reflections with student Christopher Lang

From a young age, senior Christopher Lang was intrigued by the work and research of NASA. At Crookston, Lang immersed himself with projects and initiatives to build the perfect resume. He recently completed a computer systems internship at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center.

Roots of the Red River Valley: Photographs from the 1937 sugar beet harvest

Some 80 images, the work of photographer Russell Lee from the U.S. Farm Security Administration, tell the story of a sugar beet harvest in 1937 and the first sugar beet processing plant in the Red River Valley. Images include perspectives from farmers, migrant workers, and the factory in East Grand Forks, MN.


Where all are welcomeMitchell Moe

Mitchell Moe, a second-year student at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus, has a clear vision of the not-too-distant future. If things go according to plan, he will be a family doctor practicing somewhere in rural Minnesota. Colorful art and photos of ethnically diverse families or same-sex couples will adorn the walls in the clinic where he works. And his patients will feel comfortable talking to him about whatever is on their mind. Moe knows what he wants because it’s what he did not have as an LGBTQ individual growing up.

Nov. 8 - Freedom at Last: How our Peaceful Revolution Brought Down the Berlin Wallpeople standing on berlin wall

Michael Furchert will present “Reflections on the Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.” Furchert, a pianist and ceramic artist, grew up in East Berlin and witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall. This presentation is part of a series of programming through Nov. 10, sponsored by UMD’s German Studies program, commemorating the 30th anniversary of this historic event. Noon, Kathryn A. Martin Library.

Nov. 11 - Works by John CageUMD drum ensemble

The UMD Percussion Ensemble will present a John Cage “Musicircus”—a collage of nearly every percussion work composed by one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. Audience members are encouraged to wander through the performance space to experience “Musicircus” from different perspectives. The pieces were chosen by percussion professor Gene Koshinski and will be performed by the ensemble, music faculty, and SFA dean Robert Kase. 7:30 p.m., Tweed Museum of Art.


Center For Small Towns fall projectsCenter for small towns building

The Center for Small Towns (CST) has announced its fall 2019 project portfolio. Each semester CST works with communities around Minnesota to find local solutions to challenges affecting Minnesotans. This fall CST is working with 22 students on 16 projects around the state.

Theatre season opens with Julius Caesartheater seating

The University of Minnesota Morris Theatre Arts Discipline opens its 2019-20 season with William Shakespeare's political thriller Julius Caesar. The classic story of conspiracy and bloodshed will take place Nov. 14-16, Raymond J. Lammers Proscenium Theatre.


UMR and the ‘Innovation Imperative’

Recently, The Chronicle of Higher Education published a special edition entitled “The Innovation Imperative,” which examined the importance of innovative ideas in higher education. The University of Minnesota Rochester was prominently featured in the edition, with an article highlighting UMR's success in retention and graduation of students. The article also notes UMR faculty's primary research in student success and learning innovation.

Twin Cities

Outfitting the Prideold marching band uniform

From mismatched military-inspired garb to the more traditional maroon and gold attire of today, the University of Minnesota Marching Band has donned an eclectic mix of uniforms over its 128-year history. The current ones—which come in three variations—were introduced in 2016 and made possible through philanthropic support. Here’s a look back at some of the Pride of Minnesota’s attire.

First-Generation College Student Week

Twenty-five percent of U of M Twin Cities undergraduate students are the first in their families to attend college. Throughout the week of Nov. 4, join in events across campus in celebration of the presence and experience of first-generation college students, faculty, and staff on campus. If you are/were a first-generation college student, share your own story at

Nov. 8 – Three-minute theses competition

Join the Graduate School for the fourth annual University-wide 3MT® competition, featuring finalists from collegiate- and campus-level competitions. Register now for this fast-paced and entertaining event. Light refreshments will be provided. 10-11:30 a.m., Coffman Theater.

Nov. 9 - The Great Lakes Cycle Community Day

Visit the Weisman for an afternoon of water-themed activities: Build a diorama alongside Bell Museum guides, adopt a drain, try your hand at cyanotype printmaking, and meet student groups working toward more sustainable futures. At 11:30 a.m., artist Alexis Rockman will be in conversation with Melissa Kenney from the Institute on the Environment. Events begin at 11 a.m.

Nov. 13 - Spatial Forum and Borchert Lecture

The 2019 Spatial Forum is a yearly event highlighting spatial research, teaching, and outreach. Shaowen Wang, founding director of the CyberGIS Center for Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies, will deliver the accompanying Borchert Lecture. Noon-5:30 p.m., Wilson Research Collaboration Studio, Wilson Library. No charge and open to the public.

Nov. 13 - On Being Sane in Insane Places: An Investigation and Insider’s View into the Study that Changed the Course of Modern Medicine

Join in this conversation between New York Times bestselling author Susannah Cahalan and School of Public Health professor Harry Lando about Cahalan’s newly released book, The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness—an investigation of a landmark 1970s psychiatric experiment—and Lando’s surprising connection to the study. 3-5 p.m., Mayo Memorial Auditorium.

Nov. 14 - Covestro Lecture in Sustainability: Developing alternatives to oil

Join the Center for Sustainable Polymers for the lecture "Developing Alternatives to Oil as Feedstocks for our Chemical and Liquid Fuels." The event will highlight the history of our current energy landscape, projections on where we are going, and an overview of some of the strategies that scientists are pursuing to allow us to use natural gas and carbon dioxide to prepare our chemicals and fuels in the future. 7 p.m., 100 Smith Hall. No charge, but register to attend.

Nov. 18 - Quie & Peterson Global Health Lecture

The Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility’s annual Quie & Peterson Global Health Lecture, “The future is coming! Are we prepared? Six mega-trends and their implications for global health in the 21st century,” will be given by Dennis Carroll, a leading global health expert. 4:30 p.m. social hour; 5:30 program and keynote, Weisman Art Museum.

Nov. 21 - ‘Transforming Energy Systems to Address Climate Change’

This College of Science and Engineering Public Lecture (register) will feature Lynn Orr, former U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary for Science and Energy and University of Minnesota alumnus. Orr will examine options for meeting the challenges of climate change, outline the need for additional energy innovation, and explore research and development pathways that offer important opportunities for continued progress. 6:30-7:30 p.m., Mayo Auditorium.

Dec. 9 - The Secret Life of Libraries

Enjoy an evening of radio antics with “A Prairie Home Companion” veterans Sue Scott, Tim Russell, and Richard Dworsky. 5:30 p.m. dinner, Campus Club; 7 p.m. show, Coffman Union Theater. Dinner registration required by Dec. 2.

UMTC Featured EventsMary West solo winners

Nov. 7 - TIME'S UP Healthcare with Dr. Esther Choo
Nov. 7 - Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership
Nov. 9 - Yo Mama's House with Amoke Kubat
Nov. 10 - MNSOTA Mary West Solo Competition Winners Recital
Nov. 11 - IonE Second Monday: On the Front Lines: Environmental Justice in the Classroom
Nov. 13 - Making Your Research Accessible to Community Partners
Nov. 14 - Steps Forward, A Campus Conversation | Our University History: Understand, Acknowledge, Engage

Events Calendar >