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UT-Salford Exchange Program celebrates 30th anniversary

Since 1984, more than 200 students from The University of Toledo have spent an entire academic year studying at the University of Salford in northwest England near Manchester.

UT students studying at the University of Salford posed for a photo on the wall at the Dale Fort Field Center on the Irish Sea, Pembrokeshire Coast, Wales. They are, from left, Rose Henry, Rebekka Henck, Susan Salari, Maria Paulett, Nathan Wagner, Rebekah Skerl, Courtney Rusch, Tayler Fisher-Grabowsky and Ashley Teow.

UT students studying at the University of Salford posed for a photo on the wall at the Dale Fort Field Center on the Irish Sea, Pembrokeshire Coast, Wales. They are, from left, Rose Henry, Rebekka Henck, Susan Salari, Maria Paulett, Nathan Wagner, Rebekah Skerl, Courtney Rusch, Tayler Fisher-Grabowsky and Ashley Teow.

These students were part of the UT-Salford Exchange Program — an opportunity for students at both institutions to spend a year studying abroad in advanced science curriculum. Students who apply and meet the criteria then get to study abroad while paying tuition to their home institution.

“This long-standing exchange program has enjoyed a rich history of student and faculty exchanges in the biological sciences and, to a lesser extent, students in chemistry and physics,” said Dr. Patricia Komuniecki, UT vice provost for graduate affairs and dean of the College of Graduate Studies, who directed the program for 20 years.

For the 2013-14 academic year, eight biology/pre-med students and one biology student from UT are studying at the University of Salford. Fifteen Salford students in biochemistry, biology and physics are studying here at UT.

“We tend to send some of our best students over there,” said Dr. Brian Ashburner, associate dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and UT associate professor of biological sciences, and director of the program. “One of the things we pride ourselves on is the success of the students who have come through this program.”

“Many alums of this exchange program have become physicians in diverse specialties, and other alums are now professors, research scientists, veterinarians, dentists, nurses and other health-care specialists, as well as attorneys and business entrepreneurs,” Komuniecki said.

This Saturday, April 26, program alumni are gathering to celebrate its 30th anniversary in Toledo. UT alumni will be joined by University of Salford alumni who studied at UT through the program, and some Salford exchange students who came back and earned doctorates in biology and chemistry from UT.

“We are delighted to welcome back UT and Salford alums of this exchange program to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this special educational, cross-cultural learning experience,” Komuniecki said.

The celebration will begin with breakfast at 8:30 a.m., followed by a UT-Salford Alumni Research Symposium on Molecular Medicine in Memorial Field House Room 2100. Presentations will include:

• Dr. Mark Cookson, 1989-90 exchange at UT, “Pathways to Parkinsonism.”

• Dr. Jonathan Schisler, 1995-96 exchange at Salford, “Fish and CHIPS: Identifying a Causal Mutation for Gordon Holmes Syndrome in the Ubiquitin Ligase CHIP.”

• Dr. Mark Schroeder, 1997-98 exchange at Salford, “Overcoming Graft-Host Disease After Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant Through Novel Immunologic and Epigenetic Approaches.”

• Dr. Robert Hobson, 1998-99 exchange at UT, “Unc and Stoned: Dissecting the Role of Synaptotagmin at the Synapse.”

• Holly Mills, 2006-07 exchange at UT, “Endogenous Opioid Signaling Modulates Nociception in C. elegans.”

• Dr. Laura Halpin, 2006-07 exchange at Salford, “The Contribution of Ammonia to Methamphetamine Neurotoxicity.”

The symposium is followed by a box lunch and a forum for program alumni to reflect on their experiences with the exchange program. At 4 p.m. there will be a reception for faculty, staff, students and guests in Libbey Hall, and at 6 p.m. there will be a banquet for alumni in Student Union Room 2592.

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