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Archive for January, 2011

Religious studies professor to speak at Catholic studies lecture

The current state of American Catholicism will be the focus of the annual Murray/Bacik Lecture on Catholic Studies at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, in The University of Toledo Law Center Auditorium.

Dr. Richard Gaillardetz, the Margaret and Thomas Murray and James J. Bacik Endowed Chair in Catholic Studies at UT, will give the lecture titled “The State of the Church 2011: Reflections on Contemporary American Catholicism.”


A scholar in Catholic studies, Gaillardetz said he hopes to offer a broad perspective on the state of the Catholic faith in his lecture. He will pay particular attention to some significant shifts and well-known controversies that have taken place in the Catholic Church in recent decades.


Gaillardetz, who has been chair of Catholic studies at UT since 2001, has accepted a position at Boston College as the Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology, an endowed chair.


“I have had a wonderful experience here at UT,” he said. “I am fortunate to have had such wonderful colleagues in the Philosophy Department, and I have benefited much from relationships forged with representatives of other religious traditions with whom I have worked in the larger Toledo community.”

Rocket Wireless evaluating services, not accepting new customers

Rocket Wireless is undergoing a thorough evaluation of its services.

Those customers whose contracts expire during this evaluation process will have the option to continue their existing plan on a month-to-month basis. If they prefer and are current on their bills, they will be assisted with transferring their services to the carrier of their choice.

“We are taking this opportunity to evaluate the services we offer,” said Joy Gramling, director of auxiliary services. “Like all departments at the University, we are exploring the most efficient ways to provide our services to the University community.”

Existing Rocket Wireless customers will continue to receive the high-quality service they are accustomed to, Gramling said.

UT installs electric car charging stations on campus

Three electric vehicle charging stations, including this one on the Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation, have been installed at the University.

Three electric vehicle charging stations, including this one on the Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation, have been installed at the University.

The University of Toledo is again on the cutting edge of the latest in alterative energy trends with the installation of electric vehicle charging stations on campuses.

A total of three intelligent plug-in electric vehicle charging devices have been installed at the University: one on the UT Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation and one at each of the facilities buildings on Main and Health Science campuses.

An unveiling and demonstration of the charger on the Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation will take place at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 24. The charger, which looks similar to a small gas pump, is located in the first row of parking area 22 near the wind turbine.

“The University of Toledo continues to be on the forefront of emerging alternative energy technology demonstrated by the wind turbine and solar panels at Scott Park, the research under way in our laboratories, and our partnerships with businesses in this arena,” said Chuck Lehnert, vice president for facilities and construction. “In anticipation of members of our University community buying the Chevy Volt and future electric vehicles, we wanted to have this technology available. I’m proud to say we are on the cutting edge of doing so.”

The chargers integrate GE’s smart meters with Juice Technologies’ Plug Smart engine that allow for intelligent charging during low-demand, lower cost time periods. And as electric vehicles become more commonplace, these charging stations also will allow those vehicles to store energy to put back into the grid.

GE and Juice Technologies announced the intelligent plug-in electric vehicle charging devices last year, and the University is among the early adopters of the technology installing them on campuses.

UTMC doctor, community provide life-changing surgery to Algerian girl

Ryma is crawling up stairs and even standing before taking a few steps with assistance. Prior to a life-changing surgery in Toledo for the 5-year-old girl from Algeria, those activities were thought impossible.

Dr. Azedine Medhkour, right, posed for a photo with his patient, Ryma Djoudad, 5, and her father, Abdenour Djoudad, at The LightHouse in Perrysburg. Medhkour and area physicians corrected Ryma’s spinal cord defect last fall.

Dr. Azedine Medhkour, right, posed for a photo with his patient, Ryma Djoudad, 5, and her father, Abdenour Djoudad, at The LightHouse in Perrysburg. Medhkour and area physicians corrected Ryma’s spinal cord defect last fall.

Ryma has lipomyelomeningocele, a form of spina bifida that resulted in a mass the size of a softball connected to the spinal cord located under the skin of her back. The condition puts pressure on the nerves and affects motor function.

“It is an extremely complicated procedure to remove the mass without injuring the nerves and spinal cord attached to it. If you simply were to remove all the fatty tissue, it would lead to paralysis,” said Dr. Azedine Medhkour, associate professor of surgery and a UTMC neurosurgeon.

“We needed to remove as much of the tumor as we could, and leave only a thin layer of fat tissue attached to the spinal cord, and meticulously replace the spinal cord in its natural spinal canal. It is an extremely delicate procedure, performed under sophisticated monitoring and high magnification using the microscope.”

Medhkour coordinated with UT Medical Center’s pediatric services, Mercy Children’s Hospital and the pediatric ICU team to perform the surgery in Toledo, where there was the needed technology and expertise. The 15-hour surgery was performed Oct. 29. Ryma spent 40 days in the hospital with follow-up procedures to ensure that the neural canal was closed.

“She’s performing some physical tasks that she has never done before,” Medhkour said. “We are hoping she can most likely be walking prior to returning home. That was not expected before we started seeing her amazing recovery.”

The LightHouse, a ministry of ISOH/IMPACT (International Services of Hope and Impact With God Crusades Inc.), was instrumental in helping the family settle in Toledo for her treatment and recovery. Ryma now has returned to The LightHouse, where she is expected to stay for a few more months as she undergoes physical and occupational therapy and evaluation by the pediatric orthopedic team for possible treatment of her lower extremities. Her parents, Abdenour and Lila Djoudad, accompany her. Her father is staying at the Ronald McDonald House.

Linda Greene, president of ISOH/IMPACT, said Ryma fills The LightHouse with singing and laughter and she is determined and tough in her recovery.

“She is nothing short of a miracle,” Greene said. “Ryma has a very strong will and is wise beyond her years. We love watching her progress and are impressed with the amazing person she is.”

Medhkour was first contacted to help Ryma about a year ago after her family learned he had provided a similar surgery free of charge to Ayoub Hamdi, who then was a 14-month-old boy from Algeria.

Medhkour said this couldn’t have happened without the extensive medical community support from UT Medical Center, Mercy Children’s Hospital (in particular the pediatric ICU team), the neurosurgical network team at Mercy St. Vincent’s (in particular Dr. Michael Healy and Dr. Malini Narayanan for their follow-up care), UTMC pediatric services, ISOH/IMPACT, the Ronald McDonald House, and the health-care team donating their time and talents to Ryma’s treatment and recovery.

First UT participant taking classes through National Student Exchange

Kenneth Evans is starting the new year by taking classes at a new school, thanks to the the National Student Exchange program.

Evans is the first UT student to participate in the program, which allows students to study at other institutions around the country for the same tuition they pay at UT.

In order to participate, the student must hold a 2.5 GPA, have completed 24 credit hours, must be full-time and in good academic standing, have no outstanding financial obligations to the University, and must not be in trouble with the law.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for students to explore their world, not just internationally, but domestically as well,” said Dr. Sammy Spann, director of academic engagement.

Evans is studying geography at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh.

“At the start of my final semester at UT, last year I decided that I wanted more than just a political science degree,” Evans said. “After speaking with some faculty members, I found that geography was a good fit for me and it would only add an extra year to my curriculum.”

Any travel while studying provides a great opportunity for students because it gives them education context; however, many students cannot afford to travel, but this program provides reasonable means for students to do so, Evans said.

Both Spann and Evans agree that the program is an incredible new opportunity for students.

“The U.S is a vast and diverse nation; there is real benefit in having our future leaders venturing out of Ohio to see what the rest of the country is like,” Evans said. “Because of this program, the next big idea for Ohio could come from a student studying in Florida or British Columbia, for example.”

For more information on the National Student Exchange program, contact Spann at 419.530.5868.

Geography student places at national science competition

A University of Toledo geography student recently competed against some of the nation’s most intelligent young scientists and engineers from top U.S. colleges, including Harvard, Stanford and MIT.

Jeff Kodysh, left, posed for a photo with the $1,000 prize he received for placing third in the energy division of the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2010 Science and Energy Challenge. His adviser, Dr. David Nemeth, professor of geography and planning, also attended the competition in Chicago.

Jeff Kodysh, left, posed for a photo with the $1,000 prize he received for placing third in the energy division of the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2010 Science and Energy Challenge. His adviser, Dr. David Nemeth, professor of geography and planning, also attended the competition in Chicago.

Jeff Kodysh, a senior at UT, placed third in the energy division of the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2010 Science and Energy Challenge.

The competition took place in November at the Argonne National Laboratory facilities in Chicago, where 95 students participated in five categories: energy, physical sciences, life science, energy and computational science, and environmental science.

Kodysh competed in the energy category and received third place with his research project titled “A GIS-Based Methodology for Assessing Rooftop Solar Energy Potential.” He was awarded a $1,000 scholarship.

During his time as an intern at Oak Ridge National Laboratory last summer, Kodysh developed a new methodology to determine photovoltaic energy potential in urban areas using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and a Geographic Information Systems-based approach.

That work at the prestigious U.S. Department of Energy internship program was the basis for his research project, which took about 11 weeks to develop.

“I felt so much pride for Kodysh when he received his award,” said Dr. David Nemeth, professor of geography and planning, and adviser to Kodysh. “I was enthused that a geographer could place among so many scientists and thrilled that the field of geography could contribute to the energy science. UT has built a great learning foundation in solar energy.”

Uncommon in the competition, Kodysh was one of only two geography students. Most participants were majoring in chemistry, engineering or physics.

“As a geography and planning major, I have quite a unique academic background as far as the Science and Energy Challenge and the Department of Energy are concerned,” Kodysh said. “The production and distribution of energy have unique spatial characteristics, so I am able to use my academic background as a geographer to help solve questions that perhaps a physicist or a chemist might not completely understand.”

Kodysh plans to graduate in May and intends to take some time off to hike the Appalachian Trail before attending graduate school.

“I really enjoy working with energy and energy-related research, so I think that I will continue to research those topics as I continue with my graduate education,” Kodysh said. “Energy and energy innovation are vital components for our nation’s long-term well-being, and I would like to use my training as a geographer to help create a brighter future for the U.S.”

Computer error delays credit card payment processing at UT

A computer software error at The University of Toledo has resulted in a three-month backlog of food service credit card payments made on Main and Health Science campuses, with all payments made since late September processing simultaneously Jan. 18.

UT officials sent a letter to the campus community Thursday explaining that an error had occurred and that some may be confused as to why a series of charges made months ago would appear all at once.

“As a result of the error, batches of daily credit card transactions were stored rather than sent to the corresponding financial company to deduct from individuals’ accounts and credit. Charges from September through Tuesday were processed Jan. 18,” wrote Joy Gramling, UT director for auxiliary services.

“As UT recorded these transactions, they would be stored in a queue for a time while trying to connect to the corresponding financial institution,” she wrote. “As a result of the error, payments would be dropped from the connection queue after a given time and new charges would populate the queue, making it seem like connections were being made properly. Clearly, they were not.”

Gramling said UT has set up an e-mail address for those with questions or concerns: auxillaryservices@utoledo.edu.

The computer error has been corrected, and food service credit card payments now should process normally, she said.

“We’re deeply sorry this has happened,” Gramling wrote.

Direct deposit changes now made through myUT portal

University employees now are able to update their direct deposit payroll information online through the myUT portal.

The new feature allows current employees to change their information quickly online, and new employees can set up their own direct deposit the same way once they receive their UTAD and password.

To change your direct deposit information, log into the myUT portal and select the direct deposit information selection in the employee tab.

An online instruction manual has been created and is available here.

Training sessions also have been scheduled from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays, Jan. 25 and Feb. 1, and from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays, Jan. 20, 27 and Feb. 3, in the Learning Resources Center Room 2050 on the Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation. To RSVP for a training session, contact Alyson Walker at 419.530.8799 or alyson.walker@utoledo.edu.

The University Payroll Office will discontinue processing any new setups or adjustments related to direct deposits after Jan. 31.

Confirm address for W2 documents


Please confirm your permanent address is correct through the myUT portal to ensure the correct delivery of W2 documents. All address changes must be submitted in the myUT portal by Friday, Jan. 21. Documents will be delivered to the most recent permanent address listed. 

 





 


Professor honored with lifetime achievement award in peptide chemistry

One of the first faculty members at the Medical College of Ohio has been honored for his career in peptide chemistry that has spanned more than 40 years.

Dr. Maurice Manning showed off the 2010 Meienhofer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Peptide Chemistry at the recent Roche Colorado Corporation Peptide Symposium.

Dr. Maurice Manning showed off the 2010 Meienhofer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Peptide Chemistry at the recent Roche Colorado Corporation Peptide Symposium.

Dr. Maurice Manning, UT Distinguished University Professor of Biochemistry and Cancer Biology, was given the 2010 Meienhofer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Peptide Chemistry at the recent Roche Colorado Corporation Peptide Symposium in Boulder. The award is named in honor of Dr. Johannes Meienhofer, one of the leading peptide scientists of the 20th century and a pioneer of the modern chemical biology field.

“I am honored to receive an award named after Hans Meienhofer, who was really a giant in the peptide field and really a great friend of mine. I’m deeply flattered to receive this prestigious recognition,” Manning said.

The 2010 Meienhofer Award was presented to Manning in recognition of his legacy as a champion of peptides as interesting potential therapeutic agents.

“We are very pleased to honor Dr. Manning for his seminal contribution to the understanding of Oxytocin and Vasopressin, helping to support the vision of peptides as an important therapeutic modality,” said Ralph Di Libero, business development director for Roche Colorado. “This vision is key to developing better medicines for patients.”

Peptides are links of amino acids that affect protein receptors in the body. Manning most recently has made a name for himself by challenging the misconception that therapies developed with peptides are not as effective as non-peptide therapies.

While the non-peptide variety has been favored in the past because those made from small molecules can be taken orally and therefore are popular for pharmaceutical companies, more studies are showing with very rare exceptions that those therapies are not effective in the clinic, Manning said.

By contrast, peptide therapies, those that would be used with an IV, intranasal or through an injection, have proven effective in clinical trials, Manning said. He cites a 2010 report by the Peptide Therapeutic Foundation stating that 60 synthetic peptides have been approved for clinical use worldwide. Insulin is the most popular example of a peptide drug therapy.

Manning’s lab at UT has been a leader in the field of designing peptide ligands, agonists and antagonists for the four different receptors for the peptide hormones Oxytocin and Vasopressin. He has supplied these compounds to scientists around the world as research tools in their own independent studies.

Professor receives science education association’s highest award

Czerniak

Czerniak

Dr. Charlene Czerniak, professor of curriculum and instruction at The University of Toledo, got a head start in her science education growing up in the country. The initial exposure to animals and nature captured Czerniak’s attention, and science has been her passion ever since.

“From my parents and childhood, I developed an appreciation of science. Science is everywhere, and I want to instill that love of teaching science to other teachers,” Czerniak said.

For the past 32 years, Czerniak has worked in education, first as an elementary teacher and then at the collegiate level. Her achievement in the field recently was recognized by the School Science and Mathematics Association’s George G. Mallinson Distinguished Service Award.

The George G. Mallinson Award is the highest of the School Science and Mathematics Association and is presented to an educator in recognition of a lifetime level of teaching, service and research in science or mathematics.

“I am honored to receive the award and to be recognized nationally,” Czerniak said. “UT has supported my career for 22 years, so the award also recognizes The University of Toledo as a national leader in science and mathematics teacher education.”

Czerniak’s success goes beyond the classroom: authoring more than 50 articles and several books; serving as a national journal editor; being elected president of several national and international organizations, including the School Science and Mathematics Association and the National Association for Research in Science Teaching; and serving as the director of numerous large-scale federal grants, including a recent $5 million award from the National Science Foundation.

“Dr. Czerniak is perhaps the most successful grant writer at the University,” said Dr. Tom Brady, dean of the Judith Herb College of Education. “She has secured grants totaling $21 million during the past 10 years that have allowed UT to become a leader in educating science teachers. And she teaches a highly successful grant-writing class that helps educate other faculty and students to successfully compete for federal and state grants.”

Czerniak currently has two National Science Foundation grants, including a $5 million grant focusing on teaching educators about project-based science centered on renewable energy topics and a $1 million grant to recruit, prepare, and retain science and mathematics teachers for urban schools.