2019 June | UToledo News







Archive for June, 2019

President elected chair of Inter-University Council

The University of Toledo President Sharon L. Gaber has been elected chair of the Inter-University Council of Ohio.

“Dr. Gaber is uniquely qualified to bring strong leadership to the public university community during this critically important time in our state’s history,” IUC President Bruce Johnson said. “Her commitment to ensuring a high-quality, high-value education for all UToledo students is reflected by the level of excellence her institution has achieved under her leadership. President Gaber’s dedication of her personal time and energy, her ability to facilitate collaboration, and her passion for higher education, in general, will benefit all of Ohio’s public universities as she takes on this new role.”


The IUC was established in 1939 as a voluntary educational association of Ohio’s public universities. Today the association represents Ohio’s 14 public universities. Together, these institutions offer a broad range of associate, baccalaureate, graduate and professional programs. Gaber will begin her term as chair July 1.

“I am honored to be selected to chair the Inter-University Council of Ohio. This group works to promote collaboration among public universities and to enhance the quality of public higher education throughout the state,” Gaber said.

Joining Gaber on IUC’s Executive Committee will be University of Cincinnati President Neville Pinto, Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis and Miami University President Greg Crawford.

LED message board to be added to Glass Bowl this fall

The University of Toledo, through its partnership with Learfield IMG College, announced the addition of a new LED message board that will debut in the Glass Bowl this fall.

The electronic board will be 180 feet long and will replace the current wooden sponsor boards on the east side of the stadium.

This artistic rendering shows what the new LED message board may look like when it debuts this fall in the Glass Bowl.

The new message board will enhance the game atmosphere at Toledo football games, providing more fan interaction, sponsorship opportunities, and other information, including score updates and stats.

“Our goal is to create an in-game environment that can only be experienced in person,” said Toledo Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “The new LED message board, combined with the video boards we currently have located in both end zones, will make the game-day atmosphere in the Glass Bowl more informative and exciting for our fans.”

The message board will make its debut in the Rockets’ home opener vs. Murray State Saturday, Sept. 14.

Toledo will open the 2019 season at Kentucky Saturday, Aug. 31.

Full-time UToledo employees and retirees may purchase up to two season tickets at half-price. Additional season tickets may be purchased at the full price. UToledo students are admitted to home games free with ID.

For season ticket information, go to the Toledo Rockets’ website or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Sophomore to compete in Basketball World Cup

University of Toledo sophomore AJ Edu will play for the Philippines for a second straight summer in the 2019 Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) Under-19 Basketball World Cup in Greece from Saturday, June 29, through Sunday, July 7.

Edu helped the Philippines qualify for this event last year with a fourth-place finish in the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asia Championships in Thailand.

AJ Edu will suit up for the Philippines and play in the 2019 Fédération Internationale de Basketball Under-19 Basketball World Cup in Greece from Saturday, June 29, through Sunday, July 7.

“I don’t think there is a greater honor in athletics than representing your country in international competition,” Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “He’s awfully excited to play in an unbelievable tournament against some really good players.”

Edu earned a spot on the Mid-American Conference’s All-Freshman Team last season after pacing the league with 1.9 blocks per game in league play and ranking second in overall games with 1.7 blocks per game. Edu appeared in all 33 games and was a key producer off the bench with 3.6 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game in 14.3 minutes per game. He ranked third on UT’s season blocked shot list with 57 and swatted away four or more shots on five occasions, including a season-high six vs. Western Michigan.

“Playing last year in Thailand really helped AJ in his freshman year, and the competition he will be facing in Greece is going to be even better,” Kowalczyk said. “I think anytime you have a chance to be in a training camp for two or three weeks it is really beneficial. The skill level of the games is going to be really high, and watching him play in these games intrigues me because that’s how we play.”

Edu played six games during the competition in Thailand, averaging 14.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocked shots. He shot 47.7 percent from the field (31 of 65) and 46.2 percent from three-point range (6 of 13). Edu finished second in the tournament in rebounding and blocked shots, as well as third in three-point shooting.

Sixteen teams will compete for the U19 World title; they have been divided into four groups for preliminary, round-robin games. The Philippines were drawn into Group C and will open preliminary play against Greece Saturday, June 29, then face Argentina Sunday, June 30, and Russia Tuesday, July 2.

Following the preliminary round, all teams will advance to the Round of 16 Wednesday, July 3. The winners of the Round of 16 will advance to the medal quarterfinals Friday, July 5, and the losers will play out for ninth-16th places. The semifinals will be played Saturday, July 6, and the gold and bronze medal games Sunday, July 7.

All games will be available on the FIBA YouTube page.

Athletics announces partnership with Paciolan

The University of Toledo Athletic Department is entering a relationship with Paciolan July 1 that will enhance the ticket purchasing experience for Rocket fans.

Paciolan is the leading provider of ticketing, fundraising, marketing and analytic solutions for college athletics.

“We are proud to partner with Paciolan,” Deputy Director of Athletics Dave Nottke said. “Paciolan’s platform allows us to enhance our Rocket fan experience by improving the overall purchasing and managing of tickets. It also gives us the opportunity to send more personalized communications, connecting with our fans in a more meaningful way and growing our relationships.”

Current Toledo ticket account holders will receive an introductory email to the new platform in early July.

Highlights of the platform include a more streamlined experience for purchasing tickets and attending events, and a customized mobile experience. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase mobile tickets, scan upon entry with their phone, manage their accounts directly from their mobile devices, and seamlessly transfer or exchange tickets for events they cannot attend. Ticketing will be integrated into the Toledo Athletics website, which is powered by SIDEARM Sports Inc.

“The Paciolan team is excited to work with The University of Toledo to reach a new standard of excellence,” said Paciolan CEO and President Kim Damron. “We look forward to partnering with Toledo to elevate their customer experience through a variety of technologies and services.”

Paciolan, a Learfield IMG College Solution, has nearly 40 years of experience serving more than 500 live entertainment organizations. Paciolan enables the sale of more than 120 million tickets per year by powering more than 120 college athletic programs, more than 100 professional sports and arena organizations, 75 performing arts venues, and several regional ticketing partners that serve hundreds of venues.

For more information or questions, contact the Athletic Ticket Office at 419.530.GOLD (4653).

UToledo breakthrough in how cells link together has implications in proliferation of cancer

For cancer to be successful — from its point of view, anyway — the disease has to find a way to break out beyond its initial foothold and spread throughout the body. Newly published research from The University of Toledo could bring fresh insight into one of the first ways cancers proliferate.

Dr. Rafael Garcia-Mata, associate professor of biological sciences, recently identified a protein complex that regulates how epithelial cells bond together in such tight connections.

Dr. Rafael Garcia-Mata identified a protein complex that regulates how epithelial cells bond together, a breakthrough that could advance cancer research.

There are more than 150 different types of epithelial cells that carry out essential functions in a wide variety of tissues. Those jobs include making our skin resilient, producing the mucus that lines and guards our airways, and helping with the absorption of nutrients in our digestive system.

The discovery, which builds on Garcia-Mata’s research focus of how cancer cells spread throughout the body, is intriguing because it explains the behavior of cells that are by far the most common starting place for cancer.

“Eighty percent of cancers originate from epithelial cells, and most cancers will have to disassemble the adhesion system to grow and spread,” Garcia-Mata said. “If we understand how these adhesive structures are built, we can also try to understand what happens when cancer cells disassemble them.”

His research was published June 27 in the Journal of Cell Biology.

Epithelial tissues line the outer surfaces of organs and blood vessels throughout the body, as well as the inner surfaces of cavities in many internal organs. Their ability to form nearly impermeable junctions enables them to establish boundaries that separate the inside of organs and other tissues from the outside environment.

The way epithelial cells link together is unique in biology and involves a large number of components that work in synchrony to control their assembly. However, the science behind how they manage to form such perfect bonds has up to now been elusive.

“The way these cells organize is very important. What we’ve identified is a new molecular mechanism that controls a lot of the properties that make the ‘right’ epithelial tissues,” Garcia-Mata said. “Understanding how they normally function allows you to understand what happens when things go wrong.”

The implications of these findings go well beyond cancer. Garcia-Mata’s research also helps explain how cells coordinate to generate organ cavities, which may broaden the knowledge of early development and organ formation. It could add significant new pathways for explaining conditions such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease.

“A lot of diseases are essentially leaky epithelia. Understanding how these structures are modulated may help us learn why we get some of these diseases,” he said.

Garcia-Mata’s research into epithelial cells grew out of prior National Institutes of Health grant-funded work investigating how cancer cells spread away from the primary tumor.

“My lab studies basic, hardcore cell biology. This is where we make discoveries that lead to our ability to understand and target particular diseases, and the initial event in most cancers is the disassembly of these epithelial structures,” he said.

Leadership team named to prepare for next campaign

A leadership team has been selected to advance The University of Toledo’s fundraising efforts as it prepares for its next campaign.

Cheryl Zwyer, senior associate vice president for development, will be joined by Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien and Deputy Athletic Director Dave Nottke to collaborate as co-directors of the campaign.

O’Brien and Nottke will continue in their leadership roles in Athletics while supporting the institution’s comprehensive campaign. A steering committee of dedicated supporters of UToledo also has been established to assist the effort.

“The addition of these longtime campus leaders with strong ties to our regional community will provide support to Cheryl as she continues to make strong advances in building relationships with donors and friends across the entire University, state, nation and globe for a successful comprehensive fundraising campaign,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said.

Under Zwyer’s leadership, UToledo exceeded its annual fundraising goals for the 2018-19 academic year. That follows the largest gift in University history the previous year.

“Philanthropy is key to achieving our strategic goals,” Gaber said. “We look forward to building on our positive momentum as we ensure continued success for years to come.”

Interim leaders named to permanent posts

Two longtime campus leaders who were asked this year to take on additional responsibilities on an interim basis have been permanently appointed to those roles.

Matt Schroeder will serve as executive vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer effective Monday, July 1. He had served in that position on an interim basis since January.

Diane Miller will serve as chief of staff and associate vice president for government relations also effective July 1. The interim chief of staff role had been added to her responsibilities in January.


“Matt and Diane have demonstrated strong leadership in these roles, and it is clear they are the best individuals for these positions to ensure our continued success,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We are fortunate to have their talent and dedication, in addition to their vast institutional knowledge. The stability and continuity that they provide will help us continue to make progress on our strategic priorities.”

In his role, Schroeder oversees UToledo’s offices of Finance; Budget and Planning; Facilities and Construction; Auxiliaries; Human Resources; Public Safety; and Internal Audit and Compliance.

Schroeder joined the University in 2015 as chief of staff from the UToledo Foundation, where he was chief operating officer. He served nine years with the UToledo Foundation and eight years with the former Medical University of Ohio.


As chief of staff, Miller is responsible for managing the operational functions of the Office of the President and advising the senior leadership team. In leading the Office of Government Relations, Miller oversees UToledo’s federal relations, state relations, local relations and community engagement activities.

Miller has been a member of the UToledo team since 2007 and before that had served as staff to U.S. Senator Mike DeWine.

Both are UToledo alumni. Schroeder has an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan and a B.B.A. in management from UToledo. Miller received her J.D. from UToledo and a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Grove City College.

Open forums slated for senior director of admissions

The campus community is invited to meet three candidates who are interviewing for the senior director of admissions position at The University of Toledo.

Open forums will take place from 11:30 a.m. to noon in the Libbey Hall Dining Room.

Listed by date, open forums and candidates are:

• Thursday, June 27 —Collin P. Palmer, interim director of undergraduate recruitment at The University of Toledo.

• Monday, July 1 — Dr. Anthony L. Bourne, assistant vice president for student affairs at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio.

• Friday, July 12 — Amy L. Mergen, director of enrollment management at Mercy College of Ohio in Toledo.

Each candidate will give a short presentation and then field questions.

The senior director of admissions is responsible for building an applicant pool through strategic territory management; shaping UToledo’s freshman and transfer student population; and enhancing diverse student population aligned with strategic enrollment management integration.

More information on the position is available on the Enrollment Management website, where the candidates’ resumés will be posted approximately 24 hours before their interviews.

UToledo professors invent safer way to treat prostate cancer

Two innovative professors at The University of Toledo from different fields of expertise teamed up to create a clever, common-sense way to solve a problem in treating prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer in men.

Recognizing the potential, the Ohio Third Frontier Commission awarded $150,000 to the startup company founded by the mechanical engineer and medical physicist to develop and commercialize the new technology they invented that allows a higher level of radiation to safely be delivered at each session, decreasing significantly the number of treatment sessions needed to eradicate the cancer, while reducing damage to nearby, healthy tissue.

Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, left, and Dr. Ishmael Parsai developed the rectal retractor, which could help treat prostate cancer. The Ohio Third Frontier Commission awarded $150,000 to their startup company to commercialize the new technology.

Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, professor and chair of the UToledo Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, and Dr. Ishmael Parsai, professor and chief medical physicist in the UToledo Radiation Oncology Department and director of the Graduate Medical Physics Program, created the company called Retractor with the support of UToledo Launchpad Incubation, Rocket Innovations and the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program.

The new, patent-pending technology, which is being tested on cadavers, is a minimally invasive device that moves the rectum away from the vicinity of the radiation fields targeting the prostate cancer. This allows for the delivery of higher doses of more focused radiation beams, resulting in shorter treatment days while reducing damage to healthy rectal tissue.

the rectal retractor

“The rectal retractor provides a safer, more efficient way to treat prostate cancer,” Elahinia said. “The medical device is inserted into the body and set in motion by passing a small electrical current in a reliable, clean, silent process known as nitinol actuation, solving the persistent challenge in radiation therapy of prostate tumors.”

“Instead of a patient undergoing daily radiation treatment sessions for nearly two months in a conventional method of radiotherapy, he can come in and have five sessions,” Parsai said.

Through his work with patients at the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center at The University of Toledo Medical Center, Parsai came up with the idea for the rectal retractor and approached Elahinia to engineer a prototype.

“Normally during radiation therapy for prostate cancer, we work to reduce as much as possible the impact of the radiation dose on any healthy organs, such as the bladder and rectum, but often some damage to healthy, nearby tissue is unavoidable,” Parsai said. “This new device, however, allows us to move the rectum out of the field of radiation so we can eliminate the risk of sacrificing healthy tissue while safely delivering a higher dose for more effective treatment of the tumor. This especially is promising when implementing what is called high-dose rate brachytherapy, as well as newer techniques such as stereotactic body radiotherapy for treatment of prostate cancer.”

While the retractor will mainly serve prostate cancer patients, it also can be applied during radiation therapy for all pelvic tumors, such as cervical, uterine, vaginal and endometrial cancers.

The award to Retractor is part of $2.25 million given by the Ohio Third Frontier Commission to develop new technologies and move them out of the lab and into the marketplace.

“Ohio’s world-class research and medical institutions are developing breakthrough technologies,” said Lydia L. Mihalik, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency and chair of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission. “We are helping get these products to market where they can make a difference.”

The Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-Up Fund provides grants to Ohio institutions of higher education and other nonprofit research institutions. The funding is to demonstrate that a technology is commercially viable through activities such as testing and prototyping. The ultimate goal is to commercialize the technologies.

Retractor is a success story for UToledo’s Launchpad Incubation program and Rocket Fuel Fund. LaunchPad Incubation provides entrepreneurial assistance, state-of-the-art facilities and valuable resources to early-stage, technology-based concepts and startup companies. The Rocket Fuel Fund is a program in the UToledo Office of Research funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration to support early-stage technology development.

“We serve the community, faculty, staff and students,” Brian Genide, director of incubation and venture development at Launchpad, said. “Our team helps with the advancement of early-stage technology concepts, providing funding support for feasibility testing, proof-of-concept validation and prototyping. Our team also has proven to increase the success of grant applications.”

Launchpad Incubation is located in the Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex. Go to the LaunchPad Incubation website for more information on how the program helps launch new businesses.

Pharmacy camp introduces potential students to industry, UToledo

About 50 high school students from across the country who are considering a career in pharmacy or pharmaceutical sciences will take up residence at The University of Toledo this week for a pair of summer camps that provide an inside perspective of the industry.

The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has hosted a summer camp for those interested in pharmacy practice since 2001. More recently, a second camp was added for those interested in pharmaceutical science and research.

Dr. Gabriella Baki, UToledo assistant professor of pharmaceutics and director of the Cosmetic Science and Formulation Design Program, worked with campers last summer.

The Pharmacy Camp is sponsored by Walgreens. The Pharmaceutical Science Camp is sponsored by Shimazu, a manufacturer of laboratory equipment, and supported by Amway. All three companies also have contributed funding to provide need-based financial assistance to campers.

Both camps offer plenty of hands-on learning opportunities.

“We want students to learn and grow,” said José Treviño, director of transfer services and recruitment in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “There’s a lot of lab experience. There’s also a shadowing day where students will either be paired with faculty who are doing research or practicing pharmacists so they get real-world experience in the area they’re interested in.”

Programming at both camps includes faculty presentations, research lab tours, a crime scene chemistry demonstration and professional speakers. Students also get a look at UToledo’s high-tech Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center.

In some years, as many as half of all participants in the Pharmaceutical Science Camp have ultimately enrolled at UToledo, and roughly 20 percent of students in the Doctor of Pharmacy Program are summer camp alumni, according to Treviño.

“It’s a good pipeline for us, and it gives students an opportunity to take us for a test drive,” Treviño said. “We want them to experience The University of Toledo, to get familiar with our people, our program and our campus.”

The students are on campus through Wednesday evening.