October 24, 2018

Vol. XLVIII No. 33

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • Features: Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Giant: a breakthrough treatment in the fight against cancer; Boosting biodiversity… and a local economy; Getting to the root of wild rice.
  • People: The School of Public Health and Minnesota partners have been awarded a $4 million grant to improve patient care; and more

Top News

Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Giant: a breakthrough treatment in the fight against cancerfish in water

University of Minnesota professor of genetics and cell biology Perry Hackett resurrected an element originally found in salmon to become a breakthrough treatment in the fight against cancer. In the process, the discovery has made Minnesota the destination for genome engineering and opened an entirely new window of therapy that has the potential to improve the health of millions.

Boosting biodiversity… and a local economytwo loons and a baby loon

A partnership between the University of Minnesota and the National Loon Foundation is laying the groundwork for a new center that will celebrate the biodiversity of Crosslake, MN, while honoring some of its most recognizable natural residents: loons. Scheduled for completion in 2021, the National Loon Center aims to improve the cohabitation of humans and loons while creating opportunities for community gathering, education, and ecotourism in Crosslake.

Getting to the root of wild ricestudent taking wild rice sample in lake

In northern Minnesota’s Big Rice Lake, the pickerel weed is choking out wild rice, relegating it to thin, scattered stands. This bodes poorly for efforts to restore the lake’s rice beds. Yet in other lakes, restoration efforts go beautifully. Why the difference? Plant ecologist Carol Reschke and environmental engineer Chanlan Chun, both researchers at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute, want to find out. Read more about wild rice research.


The School of Public Health and Minnesota partners have been awarded a $4 million grant to improve patient care; the School of Nursing has been recognized with the Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award; the Institute on Community Integration’s Research and Training Center on Community Living began a new five-year, $4.3 million grant; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

New U of M photo/video libraryM logo made of flowers on campus scene

A new photo and video library is now available to all faculty and staff. Content includes photos and video clips of campus scenes, student life, classes and labs, buildings, and people. The goal is to provide a good selection of photo and video content from all of the University of Minnesota campuses. Learn more about the library.

Canvas transition update

The U of M has completed the first year of its transition from Moodle to the centrally supported Learning Management System, Canvas. Learn about the transition progress, how to get help transitioning a course, what students and instructors like, and what improvements are under way.

Create a secure and memorable passphrase

The University will soon require less-complex password rules that enable more secure and easier-to-remember passphrases. Beginning Nov. 1, as the U of M prepares to adopt Duo Security (two-factor authentication) over the next 12 months, you will be asked to reset your password to a passphrase. Learn more about creating a passphrase.

Technology commercialization for early detection of Alzheimer’s diseaseupclose of eye

The University of Minnesota and medical imaging company RetiSpec have announced an agreement that will allow the company to further develop and bring to market a University technology for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. The collaboration is based off an imaging system developed by Center for Drug Design researchers Robert Vince, Swati More, and James Beach.

Oct. 31 - Supervisors: Take employee engagement action planning to the next level

Register for the Employee Engagement in Action Webinar to take employee engagement action planning (informed by the 2017 U of M engagement survey) to the next level. Attendees will learn about the consequences of ignoring engagement and the benefits of taking action, tools available to support engagement work, and how other leaders at the University have successfully engaged employees. Noon-1 p.m.

New social inequality and environmental outcomes fund

The Institute on the Environment has established a pilot fund of $30,000 to accelerate three to six projects that help people and the environment prosper together more equitably. U of M faculty, staff, and students (with appropriate faculty/staff oversight) are welcome to apply for up to $10,000 of funding. All projects must have a clear connection to issues of equity and the environment. Application deadline: Nov. 26. View the RFP and apply.


Oct. 26 - Professional Development Day

The theme for Professional Development Day will be “Growth in Learning.” Keynote speaker Kris Gorman will lead the sessions “How Learning Works: Implications for Teaching” and “Learning More by Teaching Less.” Tim Denney will lead another session called “Growth Mindset.” 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Sargeant Student Center.

Student profile: Callie SchapekahmCallie Schapekahm

She is the lone senior on the Golden Eagle volleyball team, but health management major Callie Schapekahm is well prepared to lead.


Entrepreneur boot campcreative startups logo

UMD’s Cultural Entrepreneurship Program and five Duluth nonprofits have partnered with Creative Startups, an accelerator for creative companies, to launch Creative Startups LABS, a four-week boot camp to help entrepreneurs take their ideas from concept to market. Apply by Nov. 4. The boot camp takes place (online and in person) Nov. 19-Dec. 19.

Elevated researchworkers on lift examine bridge

Two civil engineering students and Swenson College of Science and Engineering assistant professor Ben Dymond ramped up their research (about 100 feet up) to evaluate the Blatnik Bridge, which links Duluth and Superior, WI. Partnering with a private engineering firm, the team placed sensors on the bridge to gather information about load capacity and long-term fatigue. Watch the video.

Oct. 30 - UMD hosts first ‘Boo M D’jack o lantern

UMD Housing & Residence Life invites kids and their grown-ups to the first-ever “Boo M D.” UMD students will staff booths featuring games, activities, and face painting. Donations of gently used winter clothing for UMD students and the Damiano Center will be accepted. 4:30-6 p.m., Kirby Student Center Ballroom.

At the theatreSignificant Other poster

Written by Joshua Harmon and directed by Professor Ann Bergeron, Significant Other is a funny and sensitive look at the search for love and the pain of watching as your friends find it first. The show runs Nov. 8-10 and 13-17, 7:30 p.m.; and Nov. 11, 2 p.m., Dudley Experimental Theatre, Marshall Performing Arts Center.


Barta named Fulbright studentAlexa Barta

Alexa Barta ’18 earned a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award for 2018-19. A statistics and Spanish alumna, Barta will spend nine months teaching English in Brazil. Having worked with west central Minnesota's Latino community for four years, she's eager to learn more about her students' cultures during her Fulbright year.

Native life and history at Morris

A recent Minnesota Daily story on Native student life and history at U of M Morris has earned statewide and national media attention. The piece was picked up US News, Voice of Alexandria, and others.


Orakwue sisters contribute to UMR sibling legacyOrakwue sisters hugging

Moving to the United States from their home country of Nigeria many years ago, sisters Amarachi and Chidiogo Orakwue are both attending UMR in pursuit of a health sciences degree. “People often say, ‘the sky is the limit,’” Chidiogo says. “As immigrants into this country, my parents told us the sky is not the limit, it is the stepping stone. They have worked hard to give us the best education opportunities, and my sister and I have the drive to succeed.”

Twin Cities

2018 Community Fund Drive update

The U of M Community Fund Drive will end on Oct. 31. U of M faculty and staff have so far given $950,848 (as of Oct. 19) with 13 percent participation (the goal is $1.5 million/30 percent). Faculty and staff can choose to donate to a federation or charity of their choice using payroll deduction or by making a one-time gift. You can also give to your favorite U of M cause. Pledge today at cfd.umn.edu.

Oct. 26 - Halloween: The Dead Zoo3D animal skull rendering

Spend a slightly creepy evening in the darkened galleries of the new Bell Museum featuring live cockroaches, tarantulas, and snakes who are eager to greet you, as well as special surprises around every corner. 6 p.m., Bell Museum. Find tickets and more information.

History: The U's Westward Expansionwest bank buildings in 1960s

The West Bank we know today on the Twin Cities campus looked quite different five decades ago. Why, in the 1960s, did the University expand to the West Bank of the Mississippi River? The story begins in the 1940s. Read the U Libraries feature “The West Bank rises.”

Oct. 29 - Workshop: English pronunciation for teaching

The Center for Educational Innovation offers a series of workshops for non-native English-speaking instructors and teaching assistants. Experienced consultants will explore the nuances of English pronunciation to aid in teaching. Register and learn more.

Oct. 30 - 70 Years After ‘Bright Sunshine’

The speech that Hubert Humphrey delivered at the 1948 Democratic National Convention persuaded the party to endorse civil rights for the first time, drove Southern segregationists to walk out, and led to Harry Truman's upset victory in the presidential race. Award-winning author, Columbia University professor, and former New York Times columnist Samuel G. Freedman will share some of his findings after spending more than three years working on a book about the path that led Humphrey to give the "Bright Sunshine" speech. 5:30 p.m., Humphrey School. Register and learn more.

Nov. 5 - Tribal Justice film screening

Join University Libraries for a screening of Tribal Justice, an award-winning documentary about tribal judges who create compassionate and effective justice systems. A panel discussion with Justice Anne McKeig, Judge Laurie Vilas, and the film's director Anne Makepeace follows the screening. 6 p.m., Elmer L. Andersen Library. Reservations and more information.

Nov. 7 - James Ford Bell Lecture

University of Minnesota professor Ann Waltner will discuss festivals in early modern China at the 55th James Ford Bell Lecture. 7 p.m., Elmer L. Andersen Library. Register and learn more.

Nov. 13 - Human Rights Initiative Research Symposium

The Human Rights Initiative Research Symposium is a joint effort of the College of Liberal Arts and the Humphrey School to support interdisciplinary engaged research and teaching in the field of human rights with a goal of strengthening practice and the profession overall. The symposium will showcase a selection of work from the first two years of this initiative. RSVP and learn more.

UMTC Featured Eventsfrankenstein artwork

Oct. 28 - Choral Concert: "The Call"
Oct. 30 - Meeting of U of M Mental Health, Well-Being & Resilience Learning Community
Oct. 31 - Frankenstein at 200! Ghost Stories
Nov. 1 - Restorative Justice On Campus
Nov. 1 - Screenagers: Film Viewing and Panel Discussion
Nov. 2 - Gretchen Jones Workshop: Altruism by Design
Nov. 3 - Beyond Gender: An Evening with Alok Vaid-Menon
Nov. 4 - Begin with Pieces | Workshop with Yuko Taniguchi and Kathryn Cullen

Events Calendar >