October 13, 2021

Inside This Issue
  • Board of Regents October meeting highlights.
  • Features: The truth about clinical trials; Frozen in time.
  • Awards and Recognition: The U of M has received $26 million in NIH grants to study early childhood brain development; and more.
Top News

Board of Regents October meeting highlights

At its October meeting, the U of M Board of Regents was presented with recommendations for food service operations on the Twin Cities campus, including taking the next step in the request for proposal process. The Board also approved the president’s recommended six-year capital plan and 2022 state capital request, received an update on the system strategic enrollment plan, discussed key takeaways from course delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, began a series of discussions on diversity, equity, and inclusion work on each of the University’s five campuses, and more. See the news release for details.

The truth about clinical trials

a petri dish sample

Over decades, tens of thousands of clinical research studies, also called clinical trials, have helped physician-scientists bring new treatments and even cures forward to help patients. Bradley Benson, chief academic officer for M Health Fairview and Medical School professor, offers up the facts about clinical research, dispelling some common misconceptions and explaining why participation matters.


Frozen in time

person at work in cryopreservation lab

If you could have any superpower, which would you choose? John Bischof, director of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, and Erik Finger, an associate professor in the Medical School’s Department of Surgery, know their answer: freezing time. With any luck, their superpower aspirations will become a reality—biologically speaking—at the U of M’s new Organ and Tissue Preservation Center, which the duo co-leads. The center is harnessing the power of cryopreservation to help solve the organ shortage.


Awards and Recognition

The U of M has received grants totaling $26 million from the NIH for research on the impact of substance exposure during pregnancy on child brain and behavioral development; Mary (Fong) Hermes has been awarded a Large Research Grant on Education from The Spencer Foundation; the Association of American Medical Colleges recognized two Medical School leaders and a student for their efforts as part of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; John Hallberg was awarded an Emmy at the Upper Midwest Emmy Awards for his work on Hippocrates Café; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

Awards and Recognition

U-Wide News

Make your voice heard through the Employee Engagement Survey

On Oct. 11, benefits-eligible faculty and staff received an email from [email protected] with a unique link to the Employee Engagement Survey. Responses from the survey provide valuable feedback to help University leaders understand how the pandemic has affected faculty, staff, and their work environment. Survey data will be vital to make meaningful changes, maximize productivity, and recruit and retain talented faculty and staff. Be sure to click submit at the end of the survey or responses will not be recorded. 

Drive to vaccinate

Person loading U of M vaccination van

Minnesota communities have faced unprecedented challenges in the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated inequities in health care and health outcomes. With philanthropic support, a new van is helping M Health Fairview’s Minnesota Immunization Networking Initiative (MINI) team deliver health services to Minnesota’s underserved communities. Since January, MINI has administered more than 27,000 COVID-19 vaccines at 230-plus community clinics. Along the way, these mobile clinics provide rich learning opportunities for students studying social work, medicine, dentistry, dental hygiene, and nursing.

Calling a code lavender

lavender stones laid out in circle shape

Throughout the pandemic, frontline caregivers have faced long hours and witnessed tragedy—day after day—an experience bound to take a toll on even the most tireless among them. So the M Health Fairview Integrative Health and Wellbeing team called a “Code Lavender.” A nod to other hospital emergency codes, Code Lavender programs provide staff with small breaks in the day to show appreciation for their dedication and to promote resilience.


Study: More memory B cells exist in those fully vaccinated with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection

A new study by University of Minnesota Medical School researchers is revealing that some people who received an mRNA vaccination for COVID-19 have greater immune responses compared to others. While the vaccine induces strong immune responses against the virus in almost everyone, data shows those who were previously infected with the virus have even greater immune responses after vaccination compared to fully vaccinated people who never had COVID-19.

Study establishes the value of cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging for suspected cardiac tumors

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers from the U of M Medical School led a large, multicenter investigation on whether cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is the best approach in evaluating patients with suspected cardiac tumors. Their results prove that CMR provides high accuracy and prognostic value for this purpose

UMN Headlines: October 2021

Graphic reading Discovery never stops

The October installment of the "UMN Headlines" video series shares highlights from around the University of Minnesota System, including advancements in renewable energy, invasive species research grants, alumni successes at the Paralympics, work in our rural communities, a welcome to the Class of 2025, and more. See past episodes here

Applications open: Minnesota Neuroimaging Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

This two-year neuroimaging fellowship aims to provide multidisciplinary skills in neuroimaging technology development and advanced biomedical applications, guidance in career development, and social/networking support. Each fellow's primary research will be conducted on a multidisciplinary project that combines their background with another field, with the express goal of developing new neuroimaging technologies. The deadline to apply is Nov. 29.

Research Brief: Induced flaws in quantum materials could enhance superconducting properties

In a surprising discovery, an international team of researchers, led by scientists in the University of Minnesota Center for Quantum Materials, has found that induced flaws in quantum materials could enhance their superconducting properties. The groundbreaking findings could provide new insight for developing the next generation of quantum-based computing and electronic devices. Additional recent Research Briefs include “Bonds between new hires lead to early success,” “Schizophrenia diagnosis rises among Black nursing home residents following start of Medicare initiative,” and “Spotify is Powerful. Is it Biased?

Oct. 18 - Hotbeds: Insurgent Design for Collaborative Transformation

The U of M will present a virtual workshop with National Book Award-winning poet and activist Nikky Finney, 5-6:30 p.m. Hosted by poet and Professor Douglas Kearney and artist and Associate Vice Provost for Equity and Diversity Virajita Singh, Hotbeds: Insurgent Design for Collaborative Transformation (register), welcomes an audience into a literary activism workshop with University and community members. 

Oct. 18-22 - National Transfer Student Week

National Transfer Student Week celebrates all that transfer students bring to the University of Minnesota and raises awareness about who our transfer students are. Current transfer students and faculty and staff who were transfer students are invited to share their transfer student story, which may then be shared on social media and on the Twin Cities Transfer Student Week website

Oct. 25 - Systemwide resources for faculty, researchers, and grad students

Presenters from seven University offices and the University Libraries will talk about sources of internal funding and other programs available within the U of M System to support research and teaching. They will also share opportunities to support collaboration across disciplines. Faculty, staff, and graduate students working with advisors who can support their work are invited; programs discussed are open to each of these groups. Registration is required. 1 p.m. 

U of M featured virtual events

Soldiers in uniform on steps

Oct. 13 - COVID-19 and Human Rights: Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

Ongoing - Mindfulness at Work

Oct. 14 - The Military and the Role of Citizen Soldier, featuring Brigadier General David Hamlar 

Oct. 19 - Polymers can do wonders: From vaccine delivery to cancer therapy

Oct. 19 - Book Week 80th anniversary: A celebration of children's literature

Oct. 20 - Growing Black and Latino Power in Congress

Oct. 28 - The Arctic Meltdown: Why It Matters to Us All

Oct. 29 - Minnesota’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Landscape

See the full Events Calendar


Student profile video wins W3 Silver Award

Roseline Kanssole

The University of Minnesota Crookston’s student profile on Roseline Kanssole, created in partnership with Mud Mile Communications, has been announced as winning a 2021 W3 Silver Award for Branded Entertainment – Short Form. Receiving over 3,000 entries from across the globe, the W3 Awards honor outstanding websites, marketing, video, mobile, social, and podcasts created by digital content creators across the industry. Watch the video on Roseline Kanssole.


Oct. 10-16 - UMD homecoming

UMD students outside on campus

After a gap year due to the pandemic, UMD is resuming its homecoming celebration. Homecoming kicks off on Oct. 10 with Service Sunday, and includes a country fair, tailgating, and a beer and cider sampler. Homecoming week culminates with the homecoming game between UMD and Concordia St. Paul on Oct. 16, 12:05 p.m. For more details, visit the UMD homecoming website.


Alumnus donates to support equity, diversity, and inclusion in SCSE

A young Howard Highholt

A major gift from alumnus Howard Higholt ’59 will support equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Swenson College of Science and Engineering (SCSE). The Howard Higholt Endowed Chair and Howard Higholt Professorships will be used to recruit and hire SCSE faculty who are incorporating justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in their teaching, research, and service programs.


Oct. 19 - Visual Culture Lecture Series: SHENEQUA


SHENEQUA will present as part of the Visual Culture Lecture Series. SHENEQUA is an “Artpreneur” and multidisciplinary textile artist. In a new work, she writes, “Braiding, Bantu knotting and plaiting represent the hairstyles I grew up with, and celebrate ideas of sisterhood, womanhood, sacred space, intimacy, identity and beauty.” 6 p.m., 120 Solon Campus Center and online via Zoom.


Rentz family legacy spans four generations 

The Rentz family pose for a photo with the most recent graduate

Connor Rentz graduated this spring, representing the fourth generation of the Rentz family to graduate from the University of Minnesota Morris. Connor's father, Mike; grandfather, Steve; and great-grandfather, Delmar "Bud" Rentz all graduated from U of M Morris. 


Oct. 14 - Flu shot clinic

U of M Morris Health Service will offer a free flu shot clinic for faculty, staff, and students at Oyate Hall, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary. 


UMR Career Pathways: Patient Care

Kyle Cochran

UMR's innovative degree programs and integrated curriculum provide students with a foundational undergraduate education. Discover how Kyle Cochran navigated UMR’s many health career pathway opportunities while working as an ECG technician. This experience allowed him to work in different areas of medicine and prepared him for a career as a physician assistant at Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Sioux Falls, SD. Learn more about UMR's Pathways.

Twin Cities

Is $15 an hour the answer?

word cloud of words associated with wages

Jeremy Lise, Carter-Schwab Professor of Economics and a research consultant and senior scholar with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, is studying whether raising the minimum wage is the best way to lift low-wage workers. Learn more in this interview with Lise.


Research on purpose: New model combines philosophy and science

Red butterfly in center of many blue butterflies

Alan Love, professor of philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts and director of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, will lead a new global cohort program that seeks to articulate more precise concepts, develop innovative formal models and accurate measurement methods, and foster new scientific research related to purposiveness in living systems. The work will be supported through nearly $15 million in funding from a Templeton Foundation Science of Purpose grant

Learn more about UPerks

UPerks provides University of Minnesota faculty and staff with access to entertainment, education, and money-saving perks through the University, as well as discounts outside of the University. 

Oct. 15 - Seams of Cedar Creek

Come out for an afternoon of Cedar Creek-inspired quilts, food, and tours with former Cedar Creek artist-in-residence Cheri Stockinger. She will present a program displaying her Cedar Creek-inspired quilts, which capture some of the long-term research taking place on site. Visitors can also eat at Mansetti’s Food Truck, tour the Icon Solar House, and go on a guided hike of Cedar Bog Lake. A star party begins directly following the event. See the full schedule.

Nov. 1 - Outstanding Achievement Award lecture and ceremony honoring Robert Litterman

Join the Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute for its fall lecture (register), a special gathering to honor Robert Litterman. Litterman is a founding partner of Kepos Capital and an alumnus of the University of Minnesota, where he earned a doctorate in economics. 4 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center.