October 18, 2017

Vol. XLVII No. 33

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • Driven to Discover: Neil Henderson.
  • Board of Regents October meeting highlights.
  • Features: A quest to drill below the earth’s oldest ice; U scientists engineer species-like barriers to reproduction; Map of micronutrients shows importance of small and medium farms.
  • People: The NSF has awarded a $2.5 million grant to a team of researchers led by the U of M for a project to improve the quality of life in cities; and more

Top News

Driven to Discover: Neil HendersonNeil Henderson

Neil Henderson is moving away from looking at diseases in isolation. He and his Memory Keepers Medical Discovery Team study “disease clusters,” and specifically the interaction between diabetes and dementia.

Learn more about Henderson’s work >

Board of Regents October meeting highlights

The Board of Regents approved the University’s 2018 capital request to the Minnesota Legislature at its October meeting. The University’s request will maintain, repair, or renovate existing University facilities across Minnesota. Regents also discussed interdisciplinary efforts in the University research enterprise and began a conversation on the University’s fiscal year 2019 operating budget, which included the president’s recommendation for non-resident, non-reciprocity undergraduate tuition rates on the Twin Cities campus.

See the news release for more >

A quest to drill below the earth’s oldest iceUMD drill and equipment in Antartica

It's almost like a Jules Verne story, but researchers at UMD really are heading toward the center of the earth. UMD's John Goodge is co-leading a project to drill 11,000 feet into the Antarctic ice sheet, digging so deep, in fact, that the custom drill will sample the billion-year-old bedrock below it. Their efforts will give researchers access to never-before-studied ice and rock samples.

U scientists engineer species-like barriers to reproductionhyper-closeup of cells

A major obstacle to applying genetic engineering to benefit humans and the environment is the risk that organisms whose genes have been altered might produce offspring with their natural counterparts, releasing the novel genes into the wild. Now, researchers from the U’s BioTechnology Institute have developed a promising way to prevent such interbreeding. The approach, called “synthetic incompatibility,” effectively makes engineered organisms a separate species unable to produce viable offspring with their wild or domesticated relatives.

Map of micronutrients shows importance of small and medium farmsa typical farm

A new study is the first to map production of micronutrients worldwide on farms of different sizes. The study is important because it’s estimated that by 2050 there will need to be a 70 percent increase in food availability and increasing food quantity alone is not a solution. The information can be used to assess food and nutrition security, as well as to develop and target incentives for supporting farmers and linking farming to improving human health.


The NSF has awarded a $2.5 million grant to a team of researchers led by the U of M for a project to improve the quality of life in cities; the Water Resources Center and Extension have received a $2.5 million NSF grant to fund research on innovations for sustainable food, energy, and water supplies; the College of Design has received a $3 million anonymous gift--the largest in its history; Michael Rodriguez has been appointed chair of the Department of Defense’s Advisory Committee for Military Personnel Testing; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

New collaborative Discovery Nexus spaceDiscovery Nexus interior

A new collaborative center at the University of Minnesota aims to expand the impact of University research and innovation. The Discovery Nexus, which opened in McNamara Alumni Center in the Twin Cities, will bring University faculty, staff, and students together with businesses, entrepreneurs, and economic development leaders to form new collaborations, advance University innovations, and promote economic development. Its focus on forming connections will help ensure University innovations reach society and make a positive impact.

Employee Engagement Survey feedback is confidential

Individual faculty and staff responses to the 2017 Employee Engagement Survey, which was sent on Oct. 16, are confidential and will not be shared with anyone at the University. Responses to the survey go to Korn Ferry Hay Group, an external vendor. Learn more about how the anonymity and confidentiality of responses are protected and how to troubleshoot common survey issues.

MyU Portal refresh

MyU will be unavailable Oct. 22 from 6 a.m. to noon while design updates are made to the site. During this time, you can access Moodle at moodle.umn.edu, Canvas at canvas.umn.edu, and email at mail.umn.edu. Although the look of the site will change, the way you do things in MyU (submitting time, registering for classes, viewing class rosters) will stay the same. Email myurefresh@umn.edu with any questions.

Oct. 23-25 - Cyber Security Summit

The Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota is a founding partner of this multi-stakeholder consortium. The event draws industry, government, and academic experts in an effort to improve the state of cyber security at both a domestic and international level. Sessions will cover topics including cyber security for the c-suite, phishing trends, ransomware, and more. 7 a.m., Minneapolis Convention Center.

Register and learn more >

Oct. 31 - Maximizing student learning while minimizing cognitive load

TeachingSupport@UMN is offering a series of workshops for faculty and instructors throughout the year focused on how the research on learning can inform teaching. In this online workshop, attendees will learn about some known cognitive limitations and discuss concrete strategies for enhancing class sessions and course materials without overloading students' cognitive abilities.

Nov. 9 - World Usability Day

Each year, along with usability enthusiasts around the globe, the University hosts a daylong event in celebration of user-friendly practices, services, and products. This year’s theme is “Inclusion through User Experience.” Learn more about the day’s scheduled workshops, talks, panels, and discussions. RSVP if you are able to attend. No charge and open to the public. Humphrey School.

Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives request for proposals

The Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute invites letters of interest and proposals for two fall funding opportunities: the Community-University Partnership Grant Program and the Faculty Planning Grant Program. The submission deadline is Dec. 1.


Oct. 18 - Faculty development workshop

A faculty development workshop, Games, Simulation, and Role-Play, is available to all faculty. 3:30-5 p.m., Prairie Room.

Oct. 18 – Former NFL quarterback Leaf to speakRyan Leaf

Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf will be the featured speaker for National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week. 7 p.m., Kiehle Auditorium.

Dairy Cattle Judging Team Places at World Dairy Expo

The Dairy Cattle Judging team competed at the World Dairy Expo in the 29th International Post-secondary Dairy Cattle Judging Contest in early October.

Retired and Senior Volunteer Program award

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of the Red River Valley, with offices located at the U of M Crookston, has been awarded a Corporation for National and Community Service Augmentation grant through March 2020. The $13,326 grant supports evidence-based programming promotion.


New minor at LSBELSBE building

The Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) launched a new minor in Sustainable Business and Organization this fall. It is the only one of its kind in Minnesota. Increasingly, businesses and organizations are looking for employees who not only possess traditional business skills but also understand complex social, environmental, and governance issues.

Chance at the Tweedchance poster for tweed event

The installation Chance, by multimedia artist Kathy McTavish, opens with a reception on Oct. 19, 6 p.m., Tweed Museum of Art. This site-specific work is composed of eight networked machine quartets that combine code, image, and sound to create a cross-sensory experience. The exhibit runs through Oct. 28, 2018.

Oct. 24 - Visual Culture Lecture SeriesJonell Logan

Jonell Logan will present as part of the Visual Culture Lecture Series. She is the founder of 300 Arts Project, a management and consulting company that works with museums, colleges, and collectors to expand and document their exhibitions, collections, and scholarship. 6-7 p.m., 70 Montague Hall.


CST seeks proposals for community service projectswind turbine in field

The Center for Small Towns (CST) seeks proposals through Nov. 10 for community-based service projects. Projects employ the skills of University faculty, staff, and students to provide comprehensive services to small communities, connecting community partners to resources within the University of Minnesota and throughout the state.


UMR enhances commitment to student wellness and successRichard Kotovich

Continuing to maintain a high level of individualized care, attention, and guidance is core to the UMR vision. This fall, Richard Kotovich Jr. joined the UMR community to offer counseling services to students. “Counseling can play a big part in student wellness. I am grateful to be a part of a collaborative and cohesive community where faculty and staff are truly taking a personal approach to helping students succeed in wellness and in building their future," says Kotovich.

Oct. 24 - Resources to help be the best caregiver you can becaregiver support poster

Are you one of the estimated 679,000 Minnesotans caring for a parent, family member, or older friend? At the next UMR Connects, learn about resources to help you be the best caregiver you can be. 7 p.m., 417 University Square.

Nov. 7 - State of the UMR Campus AddressLori Carrell

The 2017 State of the UMR Campus Address with Interim Chancellor Lori Carrell will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Rochester.

RSVP by Nov. 1 >

Twin Cities

Give to the Community Fund DriveCommunity fund drive poster

Did you know that just $10 per pay period can provide warm winter clothing and gym shoes for five homeless youth? For more than 85 years, University of Minnesota faculty and staff have helped the community by donating through the annual Community Fund Drive. We are fortunate to live in a community with an extraordinary passion for helping those in need. Please consider the power of your gift and donate today to one of the campaign’s federation partners or write in your favorite nonprofit.

‘UofM Secure’ WiFi network to be retired

The WiFi network “UofM Secure” will be retired at the end of December. eduroam is now the preferred secure WiFi network for the University of Minnesota. To connect, choose “eduroam” from your WiFi settings or network preferences and login using your full University email address and password. eduroam is fast, secure, and available at all University of Minnesota campuses and partner institutions around the world.

Oct. 25 - Edwidge Danticat: The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story

How do you make sense of dying and death? The novelist and memoirist Edwidge Danticat will discuss her new book, a reckoning with both the loss of her mother and the ways that other authors have written about death. 7:30 p.m., Coffman Union Theater.

Oct. 26 - Ecology, Evolution and Behavior 50th anniversary lightning talks

The Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior will host an evening of lightning talks that explore the influence of classic research by noted U of M researchers. Current faculty will trace lines among research greats Raymond Lindeman, Margaret Davis, Eville Gorham, and others that have since led to exciting or unanticipated applications, policies, and insights. 7 p.m., Coffman Union Theater.

RSVP to attend and learn more >

Nov. 7 - Data Science: Foundations, Challenges, and Opportunities

The Institute for Research on Statistics and its Applications will host Data Science: Foundations and Applications, a daylong workshop with featured speaker Deepak Agarwal, VP of artificial intelligence at LinkedIn. Additionally, presenters from across the data science field, both from academia and industry, will discuss their datasets, challenges and constraints, and new opportunities in this domain. These researchers are working on the frontiers of data science to find solutions that address the methodology, theory, algorithms, and software development needs that encompass the field. 9 a.m., 3-180 Keller Hall.

Nov. 16 - Richard A. Brustad Lecture: The Family Options Experiment

Professor Beth Shinn will discuss the findings of her recently completed Family Options study. In the study, 2,300 families experiencing homelessness in 12 cities were assigned one of four possible housing and service solutions. The study looked at the success of each of these solutions in helping the families remain in their homes, and found that subsidized housing, most often in the form of housing choice vouchers, not only ended homelessness but also produced radiating benefits for other aspects of family well-being. 5:30-7 p.m. Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School.

Register and learn more >

Nov. 29 - The Singular Case of Sherlock Holmes in Minnesota

Sherlock Holmes made quite a mark in Minnesota during his career as the world's foremost detective. Learn how Holmes first came to the state in 1894 and returned for six more adventures. 7 p.m., Elmer L. Andersen Library.

Reservations and more >

UMTC Featured EventsUMTC homecoming logo

All Homecoming events
Oct. 19 - Leadership Round Table with Deana Haggag
Oct. 20 - A Conversation with Matthew Desmond
Oct. 20 - Contemporary African Dance: A Public Conversation with Germaine Acogny
Oct. 23 - Lawyers in the War Room: Legal Expertise & the Weaponization of Law in US Combat Operations
Oct. 24 - Minnesota Symposium on Civic Renewal
Oct. 24 - Teach Us All

Events Calendar >