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Archive for February, 2012

‘Anatomical Art’ to accompany ‘Medicine on the Maumee’ exhibit

To accompany its “Medicine on the Maumee” exhibition, the UT Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections will feature an exhibition of anatomical specimens and medical illustrations prepared by members of UT’s Health Science Campus.

“Anatomical Art: The Internal Beauty of the Human Body” will be on display in the art gallery area on the fifth floor of Carlson Library adjacent to the Canaday Center.

The exhibit will feature specimens preserved through the process of plastination by Dr. Carlos Baptista, associate professor in the Department of Neurosciences. The specimens are produced as models used in teaching.

Last summer, the University hosted the 10th International Interim Conference on Plastination, organized by Baptista.

Also on display will be illustrations by Roy Schneider, manager of medical and biological illustration in the Center for Creative Instruction. Schneider, who has worked as an illustrator for more than 35 years, has extensive experience developing visualization concepts as they apply to the advancement of medical education.

He is an active member of the Association of Medical Illustrators, and received the International Dr. Frank Netter Award for the original concept and design of his work titled Anatomy Revealed.

Schneider is working to design and create surgical simulation training models and produce educational software for primary and secondary education.

“Together, the specimens and illustrations will allow visitors to literally see inside the human body,” Floyd said. “Hopefully, they will leave with a greater sense of the beauty within.”

The free, public exhibit will be on display through Dec. 28.

UT to host discussion on apartheid in South Africa, Israel

The University of Toledo will host a panel discussion that will explore the parallels between apartheid in South Africa and apartheid in Israel Monday, Feb. 27.

“Confronting Apartheid: From South Africa to Israel” will take place at 6 p.m. in the Law Center Auditorium.

“Events like these are essential in a university environment to promote students’ awareness and engagement in public affairs, especially international relations,” said Butheina Hamdah, a senior majoring in political science, who is president of Students for Justice in Palestine. “We anticipate a large turnout and fruitful discussion on a situation very relevant to students in the United States.”

The panel will feature Dr. Carter Wilson, UT professor of political science; Dr. Morris Jenkins, UT professor and chair of criminal justice and social work; Dr. Dwight Haase, UT assistant professor of sociology; and Hamdah.

In addition to comparing apartheid in the two countries, the panel will discuss lessons learned from social movements in South Africa that can be applied to Palestine.

The free, public discussion is sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine, African People’s Association, Black Student Union and Student African-American Brotherhood.

Researcher gains national exposure for his work linking musical taste to handedness

Dr. Stephen Christman played a little bluegrass on the banjo. His research on handedness and music found that those who use their nondominant hand for a few daily activities are more open to listening to different genres of music like bluegrass.

Whether or not you like a new song may have less to do with how the melody strikes your ears and more to do with what’s between them.

According to Dr. Stephen Christman, UT professor of psychology, the size of the corpus callosum — the bundle of nerve fibers in the brain that serves as the primary connection between the left and right cerebral hemispheres — influences not only how individuals use their hands, but also how open a person is to unfamiliar musical genres.

Christman’s study linking handedness and musical taste was published in the journal Psychology of Music and garnered national attention from news organizations MSNBC and The Huffington Post.

The bigger the corpus callosum, according to Christman, the greater the interaction possible between the left and right sides of the brain — which leads to greater access to right hemisphere processing.

“The right hemisphere plays a key role in the updating of beliefs, and increased access makes a person more open to persuasion and new experiences — such as listening to a new musical genre,” Christman said.

“The left hemisphere, conversely, is in charge of maintaining our current beliefs and strives to interpret information in terms of those beliefs,” he continued. “If enough contradictory evidence accumulates, the right hemisphere can force an updating of the left hemisphere-based beliefs — which may include an appreciation for a newly discovered musical style.”

People with large corpus callosums also are disposed to be mixed-handed; roughly half of all people are mixed-handed. According to Christman, this refers to the use of the nondominant hand for at least one common manual activity such as writing, drawing, throwing, opening jars, combing hair, brushing teeth, striking a match and using eating utensils. It does not, however, refer to ambidexterity.

Strong-handed individuals will use their dominant right or left hands regularly for all such activities while mixed-handed individuals use their nondominant hand regularly for at least one such activity.

Christman’s hypothesized link between handedness and musical preferences was corroborated by a study he performed on 92 UT students. The strong-handed students cited R&B, modern pop and alternative rock as their top three musical choices while the mixed-handed students were more favorable to less familiar genres such as bluegrass and reggae.

Christman is planning a follow-up study to see if similar effects can be found with popular versus obscure films as well as with popular versus obscure authors and books.

PhD student awarded grant to continue yellow perch research

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission has awarded a $15,000 grant to a UT doctoral student researching yellow perch.

Doctoral student Nate Manning conducts research on yellow perch at the UT Lake Erie Center.

Nate Manning, who is in the process of completing his PhD dissertation work at the UT Lake Erie Center, was one of five people who received a grant in the state in the most recent award cycle.

The funding will go toward Manning’s ongoing research analyzing the relationship between recent land-use alterations in the Maumee River watershed and fluctuations in the growth and abundance of yellow perch in the western basin of Lake Erie.

“My research does not just impact the local fisherman in the area, but also impacts the entire region and changes in agriculture,” Manning said. “The UT Lake Erie Center has had great success in the past with this grant, and I hope my ongoing research will provide insight into how changes on land can affect changes in the lake.”

Manning’s research utilizes both historical records and current satellite imagery to create computer models that link these data to the differences in Lake Erie and the perch population.

He works closely with his supervisors, Dr. Christine Mayer and Dr. Jon Bossenbroek, both UT associate professors of environmental sciences.

“His dissertation is quite the undertaking in regard to time and effort,” said Bossenbroek, who was assigned the principal investigator on the project. “He has worked very hard to earn his PhD, and all of his work has been completed in an admirable way.”

Higher Learning Commission team to visit campus Feb. 27, 28

The University community will welcome some important guests this week, as representatives from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools arrive for a much-anticipated site visit.

If the Monday, Feb. 27, and Tuesday, Feb. 28, visit is UT’s test of whether it exemplifies its mission of improving the human condition on a path to excellence in education, Dr. Dorothea Sawicki is confident the University will make the grade.

“We’ve worked extremely hard for nearly four years to prepare,” said Sawicki, professor of microbiology-immunology, associate dean and vice chancellor of graduate health science, and co-chair of UT’s HLC self-study steering committee. “The process has identified some solid accomplishments faculty, staff and students can feel really good about, as well as areas that need additional focus. This has provided UT with an invaluable opportunity for continuous improvement.”

The HLC team will review UT’s success at meeting five key criteria, as documented in its self-study report available at utoledo.edu/accreditation/pdf/selfstudy.pdf.
The criteria are:

• Criterion I: Mission and Integrity;

• Criterion II: Planning for the Future;

• Criterion III: Student Learning and Effective Teaching;

• Criterion IV: Acquisition, Discovery and Application of Knowledge; and

• Criterion V: Engagement and Service.

Meeting the criteria is essential for UT’s continued accreditation from the HLC, which affects faculty, staff and students in the following ways:

• Quality education: Accredited colleges and universities deliver quality educational programs.

• Financial aid: Accredited schools receive federal student financial aid funds.

• Transfer: Most colleges and universities accept transfer credits only from accredited schools.

• Graduate school: Most graduate programs accept only students with degrees from accredited schools.

• Tuition assistance: Employers are more likely to endorse and reimburse tuition for courses taken at an accredited school.

During the site visit, a series of forums on Health Science and Main campuses will be offered as opportunities for faculty, staff and students to participate.

Dr. Thomas Sharkey, associate professor of marketing and co-chair of the HLC self-study steering committee, said the events planned for the two-day site visit would be directed by the commission visit team as it seeks to gain further details about information in the self-study report.

“The evaluation team has a mountain of detailed information from the self-study report,” Sharkey said. “The team’s interest during the forums will, essentially, be to verify that information.”

Since they may be asked to expand on the self-study report, Sharkey said those who attend the forums should be familiar with it. Browsing UT’s HLC website at utoledo.edu/accreditation may be helpful, as well.

The HLC team will meet briefly with members of UT’s senior leadership Feb. 29 to offer preliminary comments.

More detailed and final conclusions will arrive within the next few months and into the summer.

Rockets raise more than $18,000 for Komen for the Cure

Senior Courtney Ingersoll's uniform brought in $3,000 in the auction after the game.

The University of Toledo women’s basketball team raised $18,010 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Northwest Ohio at its fourth annual “Rockets for the Cure” game vs. Western Michigan Feb. 18.

This year’s donation surpassed last year’s then-record total of $14,366.

“We are so grateful for the outstanding contributions of the Toledo community,” Head Coach Tricia Cullop said. “This annual event continues to grow because of our tremendous fans.”

The pink Nike jerseys that the team wore were made especially for the game. Five of the jerseys that were auctioned off after the contest went for more than $1,000; this included a high of $3,000 for senior Courtney Ingersoll’s uniform.

WTOL news anchor Chrys Peterson, the guest emcee for the fourth consecutive year, announced raffle winners during timeouts and also told the crowd of 5,045 more about Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Many in the crowd wore pink, including some who donned “Rockets for the Cause” T-shirts.

UT recognized for number of new inventions from federally funded research

The University of Toledo has earned recognition as one of the best schools for innovation transfer in fiscal year 2011.

Innovation Excellence, a website focused on inventions within industry and academia around the world, ranked UT as one of the top 20 universities in the country for new inventions per $1 million in grant funding.

“Without the diligent, high-quality work that our faculty members perform and direct, the University would not have received this acknowledgement,” said Dr. Dan Kory, UT senior director of technology transfer.

Faculty, staff and students pursuing disciplines, including engineering, chemistry, biology, pharmaceuticals and orthopedics, made important contributions that led to the recognition, Kory said.

The Innovation Excellence website measured the most new inventions per federal dollar because that formula indicates the efficiency and inventiveness of universities and measures how effectively schools translate federal research funding into new knowledge and technologies.

The article states that schools receiving less in grant funding can and often do translate those funds into more “inventive bang for the buck, and turn their research into inventions at a brisk rate.” UT’s research expenditures were $70 million — with $38 million from the federal government — in 2010 compared to schools such as Johns Hopkins, which spent more than $1.4 billion in 2010.

“We would like to thank all those who have submitted invention disclosures for their cooperation and assistance as patent protection is secured,” said Stephen Snider, UT director of technology licensing and contracts. “We are fortunate to have such innovative faculty at UT with whom we work to provide an efficient and effective conduit for the licensing of promising technologies to industry.”

To read the complete article from Innovation Excellence, visit www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2011/12/14/best-us-universities-for-innovation-transfer.

To learn more about technology transfer at the University, view the 2011 annual report on technology transfer at www.utoledo.edu/research/TechTransfer/PDFs/2011annual.pdf.

Astronomer’s discovery of cool ‘stars’ among top 100 scientific stories of 2011

A discovery by a University of Toledo researcher is among the top scientific findings of the year, according to Discover Magazine.

Dr. Michael Cushing in Brooks Observatory

The detection of cool star-like orbs called Y dwarfs made by a team of scientists that included Dr. Michael Cushing, UT assistant professor of astronomy and director of Ritter Planetarium, was listed as No. 66 on Discover Magazine’s top 100 list of discoveries for 2011.

“It’s exciting because there is so much great science being done all over the world,” said Cushing, who was a member of the NASA team that discovered the cooler stars and the lead author of a paper describing them. “It is a real honor for our work to be selected as one of the top 100 discoveries of 2011.”

Y dwarfs are actually the coolest class of brown dwarfs. Unlike most stars, brown dwarfs are not hot enough to sustain nuclear fusion deep in their interiors. Without this internal energy source that keeps stars like our sun shining for billions of years, brown dwarfs simply cool off as they age, Cushing said.

“Astronomers classify stars based on their temperature, using an odd collection of letters beginning with the hottest ‘O’ stars and, until recently, ending with the cool ‘M’ stars,” Cushing said. “During the last 15 years, we’ve been finding cooler and cooler brown dwarfs, and ‘Y’ represents the latest addition to this system.”

The Y dwarfs originally were identified with information from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, which took a survey of the entire sky in infrared. Subsequently, the team did follow-up research using ground-based telescopes, including one in Hawaii, as well as the Hubble Space Telescope.

Y dwarfs can be as cool as room temperature. One Y dwarf called WISE 1828+2650 is about 300 degrees Kelvin. In comparison, the sun’s temperature is about 6,500 degrees Kelvin.

Cushing, who joined UT in August 2011, will conduct additional research at the University to learn more about these colder stars.

“I’m looking forward to continuing my study of these elusive objects,’’ he said. “We’ve just begun our study of the Y dwarfs, and there are still many questions to be answered about their properties.”

To read the Discover Magazine article, “Found: Stars Cool Enough to Touch,” click here.

UT hosts first educational forum on state construction reform

The University of Toledo’s Scott Park Campus for Energy and Innovation was the site of the state’s first educational forum on construction reform as hundreds of attorneys, architects, engineers and government organization representatives gathered to learn about a process designed to save time and money.

Craig Weise, state construction reform program director, left, and Chuck Lehnert, UT vice president of administration, talked on the way back to the forum on Ohio construction reform on the Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation. Weise, a former architect for the state of Ohio, led the first educational forum on the new construction laws designed to save public organizations time and money during building.

The new rules are timely as just last week a higher education capital budget proposal was received favorably by Ohio Gov. John Kasich. UT President Lloyd Jacobs was one of the seven people on the proposal’s leadership committee.

Chuck Lehnert, UT vice president of administration, pointed out that UT already was home to one of the two construction reform pilot projects and said the University was pleased to host the forum.

“The new construction rules create a better process, and the efficiencies that result will save UT, government organizations and the taxpayers money and reduce construction delays,” Lehnert said.

Under the new law, UT now is able to award a bid to a single prime contractor who then coordinates the various subcontractors for plumbing, electrical work, steel work, etc. In the past, UT had to have direct contracts with each specialty, but now it can rely on the single prime contactor to handle that coordination.

“We can hold one contractor responsible for costs and timelines, and that contractor can exercise leadership over the various subcontractors,” Lehnert said.

The new laws also permit architects and contractors to work together to design a project, rather than having a contractor bid on a project he or she knows in advance will have to be revised structurally, often at greater cost.

The pilot project to renovate space in Wolfe Hall and Bowman-Oddy Laboratories is being conducted under the “construction manager at risk” model, where UT establishes a set fee and timeline and it’s up to the construction manager to meet that budget and timeline or risk financial penalties.

“All of these new rules are fairly common in the private sector, and by moving them into the public sector, we’ll save money, we’ll save time, and more people will benefit from capital improvements faster,” Lehnert said.

Student named annual Jefferson Award ‘Champion’

Shannon Longenecker was named the 2011 annual Jefferson Awards for Public Service “Champion” winner. She held her award and posed for a photo last week with UT President Lloyd Jacobs, left, and Lawrence J. Burns, UT vice president for external affairs and chair of the University’s Jefferson Awards “Champion” Program.

UT senior Shannon Longenecker was named the recipient of UT’s fourth annual Jefferson Award for Public Service during a recent event celebrating volunteerism.

Longenecker, who is slated to graduate in May with a bachelor of science degree in biology, was lauded for her local and global community service.

She has led a campaign to raise funds for victims of human trafficking and has been an active volunteer for Nature’s Nursery, UT’s Perceptual Motor Development Program, the Cherry Street Mission and various sports programs. In addition, she has participated in three service missions to Haiti since 2010.

The announcement of Longenecker as UT’s annual Jefferson Award honoree came as a surprise during a celebratory luncheon in Libbey Hall last week. Eleven of the 12 monthly Jefferson Awards “Champion” honorees were on hand for the event, which recognized their volunteer efforts on behalf of the University and the local, national and global communities that benefit.

“Shannon exemplifies the people we celebrate through our Jefferson Awards ‘Champion’ Program,” said Lawrence J. Burns, vice president for external affairs and chair of UT’s Jefferson Awards “Champion” Program. “We gathered 12 incredibly giving people in one room to say ‘thank you’ for their community service, and each one could have been our annual honoree. It’s a shame we can choose only one to represent us at the national conference.”

UT’s Jefferson Awards Selection Committee names a “Champion” honoree each month based on nominations submitted to the Jefferson Awards website and Facebook page. Of the 12 monthly honorees, Longenecker was selected to represent the University during the national Jefferson Awards program’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.

The University’s 2011 “Champions” were students Jacob Brokaw, Jordan Maddocks, Drew Mathews, Nancy Ngo, James Nolan, Sarah Ritenour, Stephen Urbanski and Cameron Streb; faculty members Dr. Tavis Glassman and Dr. Michele Knox; and alumna Amanda Geletka.

Watch a video of UT’s honorees and their community service achievements at utoledo.edu/jeffersonaward and fb.com/utjeffersonawards.