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Archive for November, 2013

Grad students win ethical competition, publish article in American Counseling Association online journal

A group of graduate students had their ethical dilemma article published in the American Counseling Association’s VISTAS 2013 online journal after taking first place in an ethics competition last summer.

Robin Dufresne, Jill Haar, Andrew Intagliata and Nicole Rybarczyk, all master’s degree students in the Department of School Psychology, Higher Education and Counselor Education last year, used an ethical decision-making model to break down a situation and wrote what they thought were the most important parts to focus on and how to resolve them ethically.

The group was given the scenario in October 2012 and had until the first week of December last year to complete its work.

“Our scenario was about a counselor who was seeing two young boys whose parents were divorcing. The parents had joint custody, but the mother had physical custody,” Dufresne said.

“The children reported that their father was locking them in a closet and had hit them. They did not want the counselor to tell their parents. The counselor chose not to report the incident; a few weeks later, the father requested the records, and the mother asked the counselor to testify in the custody hearing.”

The team determined three central issues: reporting suspected child abuse, a request to testify in a custody hearing, and the release of records to parents.

After addressing these concerns, the group used an ethical decision-making model to frame their arguments.

They argued that the male counselor should have reported the suspected abuse when the children told him about it. Additionally, the students argued that the counselor should have explained to the mother that he cannot serve as a witness in the custody hearing as he has no information to provide regarding who would be the better parent.

Out of 48 submissions and teams competing from across the country, the UT group was victorious. The students were sponsored by Dr. Nick Piazza, UT professor of school psychology, higher education and counselor education.

“We are extremely grateful to Dr. Piazza for all the support he gave throughout the whole process,” Dufresne said.

“The faculty of the UT Counselor Education Program is immensely proud of these four students,” said Dr. Nick Piazza. “They are serious scholars and professionals who deserve every accolade for what they have accomplished. It was a privilege to be their sponsor.”

“I feel very proud. I’ve never been published before, so it’s very surreal,” Intagliata said. “At first I didn’t know how to feel, but now I realize how much of an honor it is. And it’s great for the University that we were the first master’s team to enter and ended up winning. I think that reflects well on us and our program. And it’s great for us to be able to say we’re all published authors.”

UT doctoral students have competed before and in 2008 took first place, but this was the first time University master’s degree students argued and won.

Intagliata, who graduated in May, is a first-year doctoral student at UT, as is Dufresne, who graduated in December.

Rybarczyk graduated in May and is employed at Unison Behavioral Health Group, and Haar works at Harbor Behavioral Healthcare after graduating in May.

“I feel a little more prepared being out there and being a counselor,” Haar said. “Knowledge of ethical practice increases my confidence.”

Dinner recognizes science teachers receiving master’s degrees in biology

The University of Toledo recently celebrated the end of a four-year grant that helped 20 local science teachers become scientists.

In 2008, the University received a $940,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education that was matched by UT to provide scholarships for two cohorts of science teachers to gain additional science expertise through UT’s Inquiry Master’s Program Advancing Content for Teachers, known as IMPACT.

“You don’t learn science by reading about science, you learn science by doing science,” said Dr. Daryl Moorhead, UT professor of ecology and co-principal investigator for the grant. “The idea behind this program was to give them that extra bit of training to look at the world as a scientist and not only as a teacher.”

IMPACT gave these teachers the opportunity to receive a master’s degree in biology in two years, with all costs of the program covered by the grant. Most of the first cohort has graduated, with one student continuing her studies, and the second cohort group is set to graduate in December.

Most of the teachers who participated in IMPACT came from Toledo Public Schools — Scott High School, Waite High School, Toledo Early College High School, Start High School, Phoenix Academy, Bowsher High School and Rogers High School. There also were teachers from seven schools outside the Toledo district.

“The IMPACT program helped science teachers increase both their science content knowledge as well as their ability to teach that knowledge to students,” said Dr. Charlene Czerniak, Distinguished University Professor of Science Education and co-principal investigator of the grant.

Participants in the IMPACT program were recognized for their hard work and dedication to teaching with a reception dinner in September.

Student gears up for fundraising

UT student Alejandro Vera will take a two-week bike tour next year to change the way Americans view people with disabilities.

Alejandro Vera posed for a photo with a friend at a fundraising event for Gear Up Florida.

Alejandro Vera posed for a photo with a friend at a fundraising event for Gear Up Florida.

Vera, a junior majoring in marketing and international business, will participate in the 16th annual Gear Up Florida fundraising cycling event hosted by Push America, a nonprofit organization, in May. All cyclists must raise money that will be donated to organizations that work with people with disabilities.

“I want to spread awareness to look at people beyond their disabilities,” Vera said, adding that growing up in Venezuela, he was unaware of his own childhood disabilities.

“I told my mom about my wanting to bike in Gear Up, and she was so proud of me,” he said. “She told me something I never knew — that I had a walking disability and had to wear braces as a toddler.”

Gear Up Florida is an 830-mile trek through the Sunshine State, beginning in Miami and ending in Tallahassee.

The organization hopes to raise a total of $110,000 among the cyclists. So far, the 38 participants have raised just more than $7,000. Gear Up Florida was created by Pi Kappa Phi’s Push America nonprofit organization.

Vera is fundraising to reach his goal of $2,500. Individuals can donate here. All donations are tax-deductible.

Affordable solar power is focus of new research

Dr. Brandon Cohen, UT associate lecturer of management who specializes in business law and entrepreneurship, has been awarded a $1 million grant to research and develop a new low-cost solar panel that can be used on residential homes.

Dr. Brandon Cohen showed the model roof used to test the installation of residential photovoltaic systems in an effort to make solar power more affordable.

Dr. Brandon Cohen showed the model roof used to test the installation of residential photovoltaic systems in an effort to make solar power more affordable.

During the next five years, Cohen and his team will develop a “plug-and-play” photovoltaic (PV) system that will be more efficient and cost-effective in generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity.

This proposed system operates like any other solar panel; however, it is smaller in size, has a less-invasive installation process, and uses less-expensive materials.

“Aluminum, for example, is heavy and it’s expensive, but it survives bad weather and is durable,” Cohen said. “We might be able to use composite materials that are lighter, stronger and cheaper.”

Cohen and his team of students plan to take what exists and develop a system that anyone can assemble and install on their homes, simplifying the current process that includes getting a permit and hiring professional installers.

“Our goal is to bring a new product to the market that will become a standard for the industry,” Cohen said. “I worked with solar before and I saw an opportunity here to make a better product, so I jumped on it.”

UT has partnered with North Carolina State University, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Quanta Technologies, Isofoton North America and ABB in an effort to develop this technology.

This collaboration was given a five-year, $9.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, of which UT was awarded $1 million to reduce the cost of installing residential PV systems to $1.50 per watt.

In 2012, the median price range to have a residential PV system installed ranged from $5.30 per watt for small systems, to $4.60 per watt for systems larger than 100 kilowatts.

“We want to reduce the cost of the overall system so we get it to a price where everyone in America would want one, get it so affordable that you’d be dumb not to do it,” Cohen said.

Undergraduate students working with Cohen on the project have constructed a model roof and installed solar panels to see how long the process would to take. They also have helped with the design of the panels.

“Academia is great; it helps you train your mind, but at the end of the day, you won’t understand what you learn until you get out there. This is giving [students] a real opportunity to understand the innovation process and how to actually be involved in it,” Cohen said.

Postdoctoral fellow receives Young Investigator Award

Dr. Mithun Khattar, a postdoctoral researcher at The University of Toledo, has identified a molecule that could improve the lives of patients with Type I diabetes and organ transplants.

Dr. Mithun Khattar received The Journal of Immunology Young Investigator Award from Dr. Kaylene Kenyon, publication director at the editorial office of the American Association of Immunology.

Dr. Mithun Khattar received The Journal of Immunology Young Investigator Award from Dr. Kaylene Kenyon, publication director at the editorial office of the American Association of Immunology.

His work led to his selection as a winner of The Journal of Immunology Young Investigator Award for the 15th International Congress of Immunology. Khattar was one of four people chosen for the award out of more than 4,000 abstracts submitted to the congress from all over the world.

Khattar, who received his PhD from UT in 2012, has been doing postdoctoral work in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology since graduation. It was there he discovered that inhibiting a particular molecule caused significant improvements in immune responses to Type I diabetes and organ transplants.

He said immune responses occur in two ways — an acute response occurs spontaneously against a foreign body until it is cleared, while a chronic response is ongoing. Chronic responses occur in diseases such as HIV or Type I diabetes, and also when the body has a transplanted organ, which is what his lab focuses on.

“During transplantation, a foreign body is always there and the immune cells are constantly exposed to this foreign body,” Khattar said. “At least half of transplant recipients lose their transplants because of the persistent immune attack, also known as chronic rejection.”

Khattar’s work in the lab of Dr. Stanislaw Stepkowski, professor of medical microbiology and immunology, has identified different molecules that are associated with each immune response. They have since discovered that removing or inhibiting the molecule associated with chronic immune responses can cause significant improvements in Type I diabetes and organ transplants.

Moving forward, Khattar hopes to use this knowledge to create new therapies to replace insulin injections in patients with Type I diabetes. He also hopes to create therapies for transplant patients in the hopes of reducing the failure of transplanted organs.

The Journal of Immunology Young Investigator Award recognition for his work paid for Khattar’s travel expenses to go to the Congress of Immunology held in August in Milan, Italy, where he had the opportunity to present his work.

“To me, this means much more than just traveling,” Khattar said. “This lets people know what we do here and gives us assurance from the scientific community that we are on the right path and what we are doing is important.”

Rockets to auction off ‘power in pink’ jerseys for charity

power in pink jerseyThe University of Toledo will hold an online auction of 100 special “Power in Pink” game jerseys that the players will wear in tonight’s big football game vs. No. 16 Northern Illinois.

The Under Armour jerseys will feature pink highlights to show support for breast cancer research and awareness. The auction will take place online at UTRockets.com beginning today at noon and run until Sunday, Dec. 1.

The minimum bid will be $125 for each jersey.

All jerseys will be sent out through UPS after the auction the first week of December.

Proceeds from the jersey auction will go to The University of Toledo Eleanor N.
Dana Cancer Center designated for breast cancer research and awareness.

Consul general of Canada to return to UT to give talk

Dr. Roy B. Norton, consul general of Canada in Detroit, will speak on “237 Years of Canada-U.S. Relations in an Hour” Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 11 a.m. in Snyder Memorial Building Room 2110.



As the consul general of Canada based in Detroit, Norton represents the country in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. He heads the Canadian Consulate General, which promotes Canadian interests — trade, investment, the environment, and cultural and academic relations.

In addition to two different postings at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, Norton has worked for the Government of Ontario and the Canadian Parliament, and as a consultant to both government and business interests.

Born in Ottawa, Norton graduated from Carleton University with a master of arts degree in Canadian history. He also holds masters degrees from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, as well as a PhD in international relations from Johns Hopkins.

For more information on the free, public talk, contact Dr. R. Bruce Way, UT associate lecturer in history and French, at bruce.way@utoledo.edu.

UT Opera Ensemble, UT Symphony Orchestra to present Copland’s ‘The Tender Land’

The University of Toledo Opera Ensemble, in a collaborative performance with the UT Symphony Orchestra, will present Aaron Copland’s opera, “The Tender Land,” Friday through Sunday, Nov. 22-24, in Doermann Theater.

Aaron Copland was inspired by photos by Walker Evans, like this one titled “House, Hale County (1935 or 1936),” to compose the opera, “The Tender Land.”

Aaron Copland was inspired by photos by Walker Evans, like this one titled “House, Hale County (1935 or 1936),” to compose the opera, “The Tender Land.”

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Copland composed the music for “The Tender Land,” with libretto by Horace Everett. His score was inspired by the photography of Walker Evans, who captured the bittersweet experience of the Depression-era farm family, as well as by the book titled Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee, which featured Evans’ photos.

The story of “The Tender Land” centers on Laurie, an ambitious young woman who comes of age during the Depression. Transformed from girl to woman by her first experience of love, Laurie discovers something she prizes more than love: freedom.

“Part of the reason we choose [this opera] is because of its Midwest setting and its accessibility for young singers,” said Dr. Denise Ritter Bernardini, assistant professor of music, director of the UT Opera Ensemble and producer of the production. “Since the work itself is fairly short in comparison to other operas, it is a good choice for a growing university opera and orchestra program.”

In reviewing the work for his website, USOpera.com, a site dedicated to American operas and their composers, Christopher Hapka wrote, “‘The Tender Land’ was commissioned from Copland by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Copland’s second opera is a much more mature work than the earlier ‘The Second Hurricane.’ Written for young singers, the work contains some of the best music of Copland’s mature years and deserves a greater place in the repertory. A number of recent recordings will hopefully help to raise its status among 20th century opera. The closing chorus of Act 1, ‘The Promise of Living,’ is often excerpted and sung by choruses.”

Copland revised the opera extensively, changing it from two acts to three. This version was released in 1955 and is the version The University of Toledo Opera Ensemble will perform.

Tickets are $10 and $8 for students and seniors. They can be purchased online at utoledo.edu/boxoffice, by calling 419.530.2375, or by visiting the Center for Performing Arts Box Office.

Mayor proclaims Wednesday as ‘Toledo Rocket Football Day’ [video]

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell made an official proclamation Monday at the Downtown Coaches Association Luncheon at Savage Arena, declaring that Wednesday, Nov. 20, will be “Rocket Football Day” in the city of Toledo.

The Rockets (7-3, 5-1 Mid-American Conference) will host No. 16 Northern Illinois (10-0, 6-0 MAC) at the Glass Bowl at 8 p.m.

The outcome of this game likely will determine the team from the West Division of the conference goes to the MAC Championship Game Friday, Dec. 6, at Ford Field in Detroit.

Bell called upon the citizens of Toledo to come out to the Glass Bowl and support their hometown team for this big game.

Bell, a UT alumnus, played on the Rocket football team from 1973 to 1976.

For tickets, go to utrockets.com or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).


Results released for UT-led international clinical cardiovascular outcomes in renal atherosclerotic lesions trial

Opening narrowed arteries to the kidney didn’t help patients any more than taking medicine alone, according to a late-breaking clinical trial presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013.



The clinical trial was led by Dr. Christopher J. Cooper, professor and chair of the UT Department of Medicine.

In the cardiovascular outcomes in renal atherosclerotic lesions trial, 947 patients with renal artery stenosis, in the setting of chronic kidney diseases or high blood pressure, were randomly assigned to receive standard combination medical therapy for blood pressure, cholesterol and drugs to prevent blood clotting alone, or these medications combined with a vessel-opening procedure.

The rate of death and other serious complications, including heart attack, stroke or hospitalization for heart or kidney disease, was comparable between treatment methods. Complications occurred in 35.8 percent of the medication-only group and in 35.1 percent of the combined-treatment group, not a significant difference.

Renal artery stenosis, which affects nearly three million people in the United States, can cause high blood pressure and kidney failure, and is associated with heart and blood-vessel disease and death.

Standard treatment includes medication to decrease high blood pressure and cholesterol, combined with a procedure in which a small balloon is inserted into the clogged blood vessel and inflated to open it. A small, wire-mesh tube (stent) often is inserted to help keep the vessel open.

“Stenting of atherosclerotic renal stenosis has been reasonable, despite several negative studies, because other studies suggested it might lower blood pressure and stabilize kidney function,” Cooper, the study’s lead author, said.

“But in our study, opening narrowed kidney arteries with stents provided no additional benefit when added to medications that lower blood pressure, control cholesterol levels and block substances involved in blood clotting.”