May 3, 2023

Inside This Issue
  • Researchers develop rapid detection technique for neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Inclusive authorship reduces barriers to participation.
  • Awards and Recognition: A U of M-led team has received a $2 million NSF grant to study human-centered AI for news recommender systems; and more.
Top News

Researchers develop technique for rapid detection of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and CWD

an illustration of a neuro disease

U of M researchers have developed a groundbreaking new diagnostic technique that will allow for faster and more accurate detection of neurodegenerative diseases. The method will likely open a door for earlier treatment and mitigation of various diseases that affect humans, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and similar diseases that affect animals, such as chronic wasting disease (CWD).


Inclusive authorship reduces barriers to participation

Person walking in field of tall grass

The Nutrient Network (NutNet) is among the largest and most successful ecological research collaborations in the world, with experiments replicated at more than 170 sites in nearly 30 countries. Its approach has become standard practice for scientist-driven collaboration in ecology. The NutNet group continues to innovate with a new framework for collaboration that reduces participation barriers, especially for students, early career faculty, scientists from underrepresented groups, and researchers from countries with limited institutional support. 

Awards and Recognition

A U of M-led team has received a $2 million NSF award aimed at developing a system to help researchers better study AI-powered news recommender systems; Aks Zaheer will receive the Irwin Outstanding Educator Award from the Strategic Management Division of the Academy of Management; the Carlson School’s undergraduate curriculum redesign has been recognized by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business as a 2023 Innovations That Inspire award winner; U in the News features highlights of University faculty and staff cited in the media.

Awards and Recognition

U-Wide News

Medical benefits while traveling

Planning a summer trip? Resources are available for U of M benefits-eligible employees who need care while traveling. Learn more about the network of care available anywhere in the U.S. For emergencies outside of your service area, you can use Redpoint.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

The Wellbeing Program and the Employee Assistance Program will offer a webinar for all employees on ways to manage burnout and job-related stress and advocate for your mental health. Register for the event and earn 200 Wellbeing Points for attending. May 10, noon-1 p.m.  

Get the dirt on your soil

Man testing dirt in a lab

The Soil Testing and Research Analytical Laboratory provides quality analyses to U of M researchers, state and federal agencies, private companies, and the general public. As spring arrives in Minnesota, the labs are ready for a surge in soil samples from gardeners, farmers, and landscapers across the Midwest. Soil testing is available to the public year round via the Soil Testing Laboratory.


Returning disease-resistant native elm species back to the Minnesota landscape

Dutch elm disease has decimated the American elm tree in urban parts of Minnesota and is one of the most critical invasive pathogen threats in the state. As cities also contend with the widespread loss of ash trees to emerald ash borer, there is a need for new trees to fill the gap. Researchers at the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center aim to return disease-resistant native elm species back to the Minnesota landscape

Helping automated vehicles ‘see’ through fog and snow

While fully automated vehicles have not yet reached the roads, the work to get them market-ready is moving forward. One of the technologies these vehicles rely on is lidar, but it’s less accurate in bad weather. University researchers recently evaluated lidar’s midwestern-weather capabilities and recommended solutions to improve it.

Season Watch opens doors to the wonders of phenology

A graphic of a frog, a branch, and a magnifying glass

A new educational website focused on Minnesota phenology—the study of seasonal changes in plants and animals, and how those changes relate to climate—has been created in collaboration with the U of M’s Department of Forest Resources. The website, named Season Watch, aims to connect users with Minnesota’s cycles of nature and is designed for exploring.


Research Brief: The Trumpet biocomputing platform heralds a new path for medicine

From early detection and internal treatment of diseases to futuristic applications like augmenting human memory, biological computing (biocomputing) has the potential to revolutionize medicine and computers. A team of researchers at the University of Minnesota has developed a platform for a third method of biocomputing: Trumpet, or Transcriptional RNA Universal Multi-Purpose GatE PlaTform. See additional recent Research Briefs.

Talking screen time with U of M

According to a survey from Pew Research Center, 54 percent of teens say it would be hard to give up social media. Professor Jodi Dworkin discusses advice for parents to help manage children’s screen time. See more editions of "Talking with U of M."


Students bring home NACTA sweepstakes trophy

Nacta students pose with trophy in front of American flag

U of M Crookston agriculture and natural resources students who attended the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) conference in Modesto, CA, have a lot to be proud of after their competitions. The students won the four-year division sweepstakes and brought back first-place team wins in horticulture and livestock management. Learn more and read about individual student successes.


2023 Student Awards Ceremony

U of M Crookston recently held its 2023 Student Awards Ceremony honoring students at the formal event for their work over the school year. Among those recognized were Students of the Year Bren Fox, Laney Swiers, and Ben Olander.


May 6 - 2023 commencement

students wearing graduation caps and gowns

UMD’s 2023 commencement ceremonies will be held at AMSOIL Arena in downtown Duluth at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The morning speaker is Gavrielle Gunther, a student in the College of Education and Human Service Professions. The afternoon speaker is Amanda Fowler, a student in the Swenson College of Science and Engineering.


Where does the stormwater go?

a storm drain

Spring in Minnesota often brings stormwater issues. Minnesota Sea Grant is collaborating with organizations across Minnesota to develop and implement educational programs on water resources. Maggie Karschnia, a Minnesota Sea Grant and Water Resources Center stormwater Extension educator, reminds the public that stormwater runoff in Minnesota drains into rivers, streams, and lakes, including Lake Superior.


Improving reality

a student strikes a pose while wearing motion tracking clothing

UMD’s Motion and Media Across Disciplines Lab offers the use of emerging technologies to students and faculty. A motion capture project called “How to Fly” was recently produced by Brendan Rood, a computer science and German studies major. His video captures the motion and improvisational dialogue of UMD theatre students and applies them to animated characters in virtual environments.


Schrunk Ericksen named U of M Morris chancellor

Janet Schrunk Erickson

Janet Schrunk Ericksen has been named as the next chancellor of the University of Minnesota Morris. Since July 2021, Schrunk Ericksen has served as acting chancellor of the Morris campus, collaborating with members of the community to advance a number of initiatives. She brings deep experience and impressive accomplishments across her career to this role, including a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and an unparalleled commitment to, and passion for, U of M Morris and the Morris community.

How a student leader found his voice

Dylan Young

For U of Morris student association president Dylan Young, the road to becoming a student leader with an eye on a future political career was long and somewhat unexpected. An interview with Young highlights his path to UMM, what he learned from the Steve Sviggum controversy, and his post-graduation plans. 


A leader in green ammonia

An illustration of a wind tower over a hilly landscape

The U of M Morris and the U of M West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) have been working to advance clean energy solutions in west-central Minnesota. WCROC has been a forerunner in the development and use of “green ammonia” since 2013, when the first-in-the-world renewable hydrogen and ammonia pilot plant was commissioned. In 2021, WCROC received $10 million from the legislature to conduct research and development of the use of anhydrous ammonia as a fuel for power generation. 

May 3 - Cupcake & Cushion concert

The U of M Morris Chamber Orchestra and Wind Quintet will present a free performance made especially for children of all ages. Bring your own cushion and your favorite teddy bear. Cupcakes will be available at the end of the performance. 6:30 p.m., Morris Public Library.

May 4 - Ten-Minute Scenes

The Fundamentals of Acting class will present four 10-minute scenes from contemporary plays for free from 10-10:30 a.m. in the Raymond J. Lammers Proscenium Theatre.


Beaker Awards

UMR students pose on stairs at Beaker awards event

U of M Rochester celebrated individual students and student groups at the annual Beaker Awards student recognition event, which honors those who have upheld Student Learning and Development Outcomes. Over 80 students, nominated by faculty, staff, and peers, were celebrated at the event.



Beyond the Nest: Reimagining Higher Education

Graphic reading Beyond the Nest

In the latest episode of the alumni podcast Beyond the Nest, U of M Rochester’s founding generation of academic leaders, innovators, advisors, and strategists share their stories and perspectives as UMR reimagined higher education. Their stories showcase the unique way in which UMR structured faculty research, curriculum, and student development.


2023 commencement speakers

The University of Minnesota Rochester will hold commencement on May 13 at the Mayo Civic Center. The following individuals were selected to speak at the ceremony: Jennifer Wacek, UMR Center for Learning Innovation faculty; Chloe Bunke, Bachelor of Science in Health Professions graduate; and Pal Koak, a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences graduate.

Twin Cities

An interview with Truman Scholar Carter Yost

Carter Yost

Truman Scholar Carter Yost’s interest in public service dates back to preschool (it’s true). Today, he is an organizer, speechwriter, political strategist, and triple-major in the College of Liberal Arts. Read about how Yost is committed to using storytelling skills to make the world a better place.



An interview with Truman Scholar Joleece Pecore

Joleece Pecore

Truman Scholar Joleece Pecore is studying the past to understand the present, and she is also using her art to challenge inaccurate, harmful narratives surrounding Native identity and experiences. Read about how Pecore is using her voice—and art—to advocate for Indian Country.



How John Stavig transformed the Holmes Center

John Stavig

Starting a successful business takes more than a great idea, and it’s never the work of one person but a network that supports you when inevitable challenges arise. John Stavig has played an integral role in creating this environment at the University of Minnesota, where he has been the director of the Carlson School’s Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship for 18 years. The center offers numerous courses for students, but also programming open to any entrepreneurial Minnesotan, mentorship opportunities, startup internships, and more. 

Building a better walker

Morgan Kerfield sits on a Telo designed walker

Morgan Kerfeld ’21 wants to reinvent the wheeled devices many people use to help maintain stability while walking and at the same time revolutionize an industry that hasn’t changed much in more than 40 years. To do this, Kerfeld and three of her classmates in the Carlson School of Management’s Entrepreneurship in Action class founded the health tech firm Telo. Telo’s new walker is designed to allow users to sit or stand, mitigating the risk of falling. 


Capturing history, making history

Ralph Crowder sits on the steps outside Northrop

Ralph Crowder has been capturing history his whole life. Now, at the University of Minnesota, he’s preparing to make some history of his own. On May 4-6, Crowder will host Before the Mayflowers Landed, a three-day showcase of hip-hop-inspired films, media, and discussions exploring themes of arrival for present-day issues affecting Black people in America. 


Rent outdoor gear

It's spring and the U of M’s Center for Outdoor Adventure rents to everyone including the general public and the University of Minnesota community. Rent camping gear, canoes, paddle boards, mountain bikes, climbing equipment, and more. Learn more and venture out.

Featured events

A red barn with plants for sale in the foreground

May Markets - Minnesota Landscape Arboretum 

May 4 - Conversation with Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman

May 5 - First Fridays: Jewish Country Clubs, Maps and Leisure

May 6 - Community Celebration: The World Inside You/Creativity Camp

May 9 - Canvas Coffee Time

May 10 - Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship Founders Day 

May 12 - 2023 Emerging Practices in Co-occurring Care Conference

May 13-14 - Arboretum Plant Sale

May 16 - Standards for Surrogate Decision-Making

See the full Events Calendar