October 5, 2016

Vol. XLVI No. 31

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • Driven to Discover: Closing the Opportunity Gap with Megan Gunnar.
  • Features: Artificial blood vessels developed in lab grow with recipient; MAST Lab tests structural strength against earthquakes; Genetic map reveals networks of cellular life. 
  • People: Twenty-nine Grand Challenges Research Grants have been awarded; and more.

Top News

Driven to Discover: Closing the Opportunity Gap with Megan GunnarMegan Gunnar

In order to close the opportunity gap for healthy child development in Minnesota and across the nation, U of M researchers are changing the conversation from one of achievement to one of opportunity. Professor Megan Gunnar is one of more than 140 U of M researchers working to close the opportunity gap.

Read about how Gunnar is promoting healthy child development >

Artificial blood vessels developed in lab grow with recipientblood vessel

In a groundbreaking study led by U of M biomedical engineers, artificial blood vessels bioengineered in the lab and implanted in young lambs are capable of growth within the recipient. If confirmed in humans, these new vessel grafts would prevent the need for repeated surgeries in some children with congenital heart defects.

MAST Lab tests structural strength against earthquakesbuilding devastated by a quake

When it comes to earthquakes and other natural disasters, designing structures to be resilient can help limit the damage. Researchers at the U’s Multi-Axial Subassemblage Testing (MAST) Lab test how structures and building components hold up against the strain of enormous natural forces, from simulated earthquakes to tornadoes to soil pressure. The lab’s capability for testing large-scale structures and applying great force (1.3 million pounds) to them with extreme precision make it an unparalleled resource.

Genetic map reveals networks of cellular lifegenetic cell map

A genetic interaction map is revolutionizing how genes are studied. The study, involving U of M researchers, is no longer looking at genes as loners, but instead as a social network of the body, interacting in groups. The new approach may ultimately change our understanding of the genetic roots of diseases.


Twenty-nine Grand Challenges Research Grants have been awarded to advance the research goals of Driving Tomorrow, the Twin Cities Campus Strategic Plan; Diane Tedick has received a $2.7 million grant to improve educational outcomes for English learners; Srilata Zaheer has been elected to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Board of Directors; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Oct. 12 - Minnesota Policy Conference

The Minnesota Policy Conference brings together people involved in informing, designing, and developing policy impacting Minnesotans, including individuals in government, education, business or nonprofit organizations, students, and others interested in Minnesota’s future. This year, keynote speakers Emily Larson (Duluth mayor) and former Duluth mayor Don Ness will start the discussion with their first-hand experiences. There will then be 12 sessions throughout the day to choose from. The conference will close with a discussion with Thomas Fisher, director of the Metropolitan Design Center.

Learn more and register >

Administrative policy update

The new administrative policy “Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones)” specifies when and if drones can be used on campus, identifies the physical locations where flight, if allowed, is permitted, and tells when such use is subject to insurance restrictions. The focus of the newly revised policy “University State of Emergency: Human Resources Implications” has been expanded to cover natural or human-caused disasters, the outbreak of pandemic illnesses, inclement weather, or other instances requiring suspension of service and/or closure of operations such as an emergency closing.

Review and comment on the policies >

John Tate Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising

Nominations are open for the 2016-17 John Tate Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising. The Tate Awards serve to recognize and reward high-quality academic and career advising. Winners receive a $3,000 award paid to them as salary. The awards will be presented at a public ceremony during the Tate Advising Conference, March 9. The submission deadline is Jan. 10.

Retirement security webinars

We all know we need to prepare for retirement, but bills, debt, or uncertainty about how to invest can hold us back. Participate in webinars during National Retirement Security Week (Oct. 17-21) and learn about retirement security from experts from Fidelity, Securian, and Vanguard.


Oct. 5 - Employee Engagement Strategic Initiative Meeting

As part of Opening Week events in August, the campus presented an information session on the Employee Engagement Strategic Initiative. To accommodate staff members who were not able to attend, a repeat Employee Engagement Strategic Initiative session for staff will be offered from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Bede Ballroom.

Oct. 6 - Fall Semester Convocation

Fall Semester Convocation will be held during the next Thursday Commons, with special guest speaker Chancellor Emeritus Don Sargeant. 12:30-1:30 p.m., Kiehle Auditorium.

Undergraduate degree collaboration with WETCC

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents has granted UMC approval to deliver its existing Bachelor of Science degrees in Early Childhood Education and in Elementary Education on the campus of the White Earth Tribal Community College (WETCC), effective fall semester 2016.

National Public Lands Day at Itasca

Volunteers placed paper “bud caps” on white, red, and jack pines in the park to protect them from deer browse over winter during National Public Lands Day on Sept. 24. The 58 volunteers were from several different groups, including 38 UMC students, principally from the Natural Resources program.


Lisa Johnson honoredLisa Johnson

KUMD’s Lisa Johnson has received SAVE’s Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Suicide in the state of Minnesota for two series that she created and produced about mental illness. In addition to the two series, KUMD partnered with local organizations to air public service announcements throughout the year, educating listeners about depression, suicide, and other issues related to mental illness.

Oct. 10 - Distinguished Lecture SeriesJohn Adams

Advertising legend John Adams will present "Four Turbulent Decades: Lessons Learned" at the next Labovitz School of Business and Economics’ Distinguished Lecture. Adams is chairman emeritus of The Martin Agency, whose clients include Oreo, Walmart, Geico, Chevrolet, Discover Card, and Land O'Lakes. 7-8 p.m., Weber Music Hall.

Oct. 13 - The sound of the CaribbeanMurray Mast playing drums

Guest artist Murray Mast, a steel drum performer, will join the UMD Jazz Faculty and Percussion Ensemble in the concert “Weber in the Caribbean,” featuring music from the soca, calypso, reggae, and jazz standard repertoire. 7:30 p.m., Weber Music Hall. Tickets are available online.


Schmitz ’91 brings mindfulness to K-12 schoolsMary Schmitz

Mary Brual Schmitz ’91 is making waves through her efforts to introduce K-12 students to mindfulness. Schmitz, who has served Elk River Area Schools for more than 21 years as a school social worker, now works as a mindfulness education specialist. Her efforts have been rewarded with reports of increased positive behavior, classroom focus, and academic success among students.

Presentation by author and photographer Tim PalmerTim Palmer

Tim Palmer is the fall 2016 environmental studies visiting professional. Palmer, an award-winning author and photographer, has one of the most complete collections of photos of rivers in the United States. He will be on campus Oct. 5-6 to discuss "Rivers of America" and to take part in a public Q&A.

Minnesota Sparks event photosArne Kildegaard

Arne Kildegaard, professor of economics and management and chair of the Division of Social Science, delivered the lecture “Technological Change, Competition, and Death Spirals: How the Renewable Energy Revolution Threatens Your Electric Utility” at a Minnesota Sparks event on Sept. 27. Minnesota Sparks brings U of M researchers into conversation with communities across Greater Minnesota. See photos from the event.


National Rehabilitation Awareness Week art exhibitcardinal in bird house artwork

Explore over 60 unique pieces of art encompassing multiple mediums during this National Rehabilitation Awareness Week art exhibit. Artwork will be on display Oct. 5, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Hage Atrium, Mayo Clinic Siebens Building.

Faculty/staff vs. students trivia night

A faculty/staff vs. students trivia night hosted by Trivia Mafia will take pace Oct. 12, 5 p.m., 417 University Square.

Class tour to Federal Medical Center

In late July, UMR's SOC 4721 Special Topics in Sociology: Criminology class toured the Federal Medical Center in Rochester. During the tour, the students learned about the general operation of the facility and the rehabilitation and educational opportunities offered to inmates, and met with a variety of staff to learn about the roles they serve within the institution.

Twin Cities

Community Fund Drive - Together, Making a Differencebaby receiving treatment

Each year the faculty and staff on the Twin Cities campus come together to help others through the Community Fund Drive, the University’s charitable giving campaign. The Community Fund Drive is under way through Oct. 31. Faculty and staff can choose to donate to a federation or charity using payroll deduction or make a one-time gift. Together, we can make a difference in our community.

Give to your community >

School of Public Health landmark heart health study turns 30

Three decades ago, the U of M School of Public Health (SPH) helped initiate one of the world’s largest and longest-running studies about heart health: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, a key contributor to the American Heart Association’s recommendations on avoiding heart disease and stroke. With funding from the NIH in 1987, SPH recruited 4,000 participants aged 45-64 in the northwestern suburbs of Minneapolis. The same people recruited in the 1980s are participating today.

Oct. 9 - Telling Queer History

Andrea Jenkins, who leads the Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies’ Transgender Oral History Project, will be the featured speaker at the next Telling Queer History event. 2-4 p.m., 120 Elmer L. Andersen Library.

Oct. 13 - Canvas faculty experience presentation

The U of M is beginning the second year of the Canvas learning management system pilot. Learn more about Canvas from a faculty perspective ‎in a presentation by Irene Duranczyk, Post Secondary Teaching and Learning. Duranczyk will share her Canvas experience and highlight some of its teaching features that she has found useful, including quizzing, grading, and utilizing the "student view." 11 a.m.-noon, 146 McNeal Hall or live online.

Oct. 13 - Discovery Across Disciplines

Connect with people and ideas at Discovery Across Disciplines, a destination for students, researchers, faculty, and industry leaders who are interested in crossing disciplinary lines to answer tough questions and advance breakthrough research. Sixty of the U of M’s interdisciplinary research centers and institutes will be on hand to network and share their discoveries through displays, demonstrations, presentations, and conversation. Noon-2 p.m., Great Hall, Coffman Union.

Oct. 13 - Observing the Universe with Gravitational Wavesgravitational wave rendering

Advanced LIGO gravitational-wave detectors recently recorded the first signals coming from mergers of black hole systems, marking the beginning of gravitational-wave astronomy and astrophysics. U of M professor Vuk Mandic will describe the LIGO detectors and the events they recorded, and discuss the implications of these observations as well as expectations for future observations. A Q&A session will follow. No charge, but registration is required. 7 p.m., Bell Museum.

Oct. 13 - Reading and discussion with author Valeria LusielliValeria Luiselli

Acclaimed novelist Valeria Luiselli will read excerpts from her award-winning novel, The Story of My Teeth, written in collaboration with the workers at a Jumex juice factory in Mexico City. 7 p.m., Weisman Art Museum. Register to attend the reading.

Oct. 20 - James Ford Bell Lecture

The James Ford Bell Lecture will feature Kathryn Reyerson, professor, U of M Department of History. Reyerson will present “The Fifteenth-Century Mediterranean: Trade in a Transitional Time.” 7-9 p.m., James Ford Bell Library, 4th Floor, Wilson Library.

TRIO educational opportunity program anniversaries

U of M TRIO programs Upward Bound, Student Support Services, and McNair Scholars are celebrating anniversaries this year, at 50, 40, and 25 years, respectively. The federally funded programs ensure equal opportunity and equitable access to higher education for underrepresented students. Watch a video highlighting the programs.

Nov. 11 - Women Impacting Healthcare conference

Register for the Women Impacting Healthcare: Interprofessional Leadership Conference, designed for professionals in health care and featuring unique lessons and learning opportunities for high-performing leaders. Sessions will focus on interprofessional care and provide critical knowledge and insights designed to improve leadership potential, enhance skills, and inform decision-making. 8 a.m.-4 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center.

UMTC Featured Eventsart house work

Oct. 5 - Simone Muench Poetry Reading

Oct. 7 - The Black Saints Chronicles

Oct. 8 - Big WAM Bash

Oct. 10 - Wilhemina's War: Documentary Film Screening with June Cross

Oct. 11 - Plastic Debris in the Ocean - Covestro Lecture in Sustainability

Oct. 12 - Reframing the Dialogue: Racism and Police Violence

Oct. 13 - The Somali Diaspora in Norway and Minnesota: A Conversation with Two Ambassadors

Events Calendar >