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News in Brief

AROUND CAMPUS

DISCOVERIES

TRANSITIONS

 

AROUND CAMPUS

Four Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty members named Collegiate Fellows

Four UI professors have been named Collegiate Fellows in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in recognition of their years of distinguished teaching, research, and service to the college.

The 2007 Collegiate Fellows are William Davies, professor of linguistics; Vicki Grassian, professor of chemistry; Usha Mallik, professor of physics and astronomy; and Lauren Rabinovitz, professor of American studies and of cinema and comparative literature.

Collegiate Fellows receive a salary increase as well as a discretionary fund to support their teaching and research.

William Davies is a major theoretical linguist specializing in syntax. He is also the leading expert on two Indonesian languages, Javanese and Madurese, and he incorporates data and analysis of these languages into more general theories about the structure and organization of human languages.

Vicki Grassian leads a pioneering research program to investigate how particles in the atmosphere affect its chemical composition.

Usha Mallik runs a highly visible research program in experimental particle physics that has made important contributions to understanding the types of heavy quarks and their ability to transition from one type to another.

Lauren Rabinovitz is a groundbreaking and versatile scholar of American material culture and social history. Her books include a social history of women in American film, For the Love of Pleasure: Women, Movies, and Culture in Turn-of-the Century Chicago (Rutgers University Press, 1998), and a critical study of feminist film-makers, Points of Resistance: Women, Power, and Politics in the New York Avant-Garde Cinema, 1943-1971 (University of Illinois Press, 2003).

For more information, see the University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2007/february/022207clas-fellows.html.

 

Iowa is tops, postdoctoral students say

A new survey of postdoctoral students by The Scientist magazine ranks The University of Iowa as the top research university for postdocs in North America and the fifth-best research institution overall.

Postdocs who took the survey laud The University of Iowa's networking opportunities and remuneration. The magazine notes the "growing recognition of the importance of postdocs on campus and a tight support network among several solid research cores."

The fifth place ranking is up from 32nd place in the magazine's 2006 survey. The survey covers 11 categories in which respondents judged their respective institutions. Categories include mentoring, communication, and opportunities for networking and career development.

In the magazine, UI postdocs praise the University's highly collaborative research environment, and also Iowa City's mix of big-city luxury and small-town charm.

The Scientist's March issue is available online at www.the-scientist.com and features detailed survey results and rankings of the top 40 North American institutions.

 

DISCOVERIES

Virtual Soldier Research receives real money

The Virtual Soldier Research program housed in the UI College of Engineering's Center for Computer Aided Design recently received a $370,000 Battelle Platform Technology grant from the state of Iowa, and a $2.3 million contract from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center of Warren, Mich. For more information, see the University News Services releases at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2007/february/022307vsr-grant.html and http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2007/february/022807virtual-soldier-grant.html.

 

Autism researchers report key genetic finding

A team of international researchers, including a psychiatrist in University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, recently announced the publication of preliminary results from the largest genome scan ever conducted in autism research.

The research consortium discovered a previously unidentified region of chromosome 11, and neurexin 1, a member of a family of genes believed to be important in neuronal contact and communication. The neurexin finding highlights a special group of neurons, called glutamate neurons, and the genes affecting their development and function, suggesting they play a critical role in autism spectrum disorders. The research article appears in the journal Nature Genetics, one of the world's most prestigious scientific publications.

The research was done by more than 120 scientists from more than 50 institutions representing 19 nations who formed a first-of-its-kind autism genetics consortium, the Autism Genome Project. Two researchers in the UI Carver College of Medicine participated: Thomas Wassink, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and Val Sheffield, professor in the Department of Pediatrics. For more about the finding, see the University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2007/february/022107autism-finding.html.

 

UI study shows hearing loss puts farmers in harm’s way  

Hearing loss puts farmers at higher risk for an injury at work, according to a new University of Iowa study.

A team led by Nancy Sprince, professor of occupational and environmental health in the College of Public Health, assessed correlation between hearing loss in farmers and occupational injury.

Researchers asked farmers whether they had difficulty hearing normal conversation even with a hearing aid. According the findings, farmers who have difficulty hearing normal conversation are 80 percent more likely to have an injury related to a fall on the farm. The findings also showed a high correlation between wearing a hearing aid and having a work-related injury. For more on the study, see the University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2007/february/021907farmers-hearing.html.

 

UI researchers find positive market reaction to Sarbanes-Oxley Act

While corporate executives say their businesses are groaning under the weight of complying with Sarbanes-Oxley regulations, most investors cheered the law in its early days, according to findings by two University of Iowa researchers.

Sonja Rego and Haidan Li, assistant professors of accounting in the Tippie College of Business, have learned that stock market values increased significantly as a result of reforms imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in July 2002.

In their study, the business professors say that the law may impose burdens on businesses but nonetheless restores investor confidence in a market battered by a string of corporate scandals from Enron, WorldCom, and others. For more information, see the University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2007/february/022007sox-reaction.html.

 

 

TRANSITIONS

Deaths

  • Anna Kabela, 98, retired food worker, Jan. 25 in Iowa City. (obituary)
  • Margaret Wirth, 84, professor emeritus, Jan. 31 in Iowa City. (obituary)
  • Vearl Brumwell, 83, retired accountant, Feb. 1 in Dade City, Fla. (obituary)
  • Joshua Reynolds, 35, information technology manager, Feb. 2 in Grinnell. (obituary)
  • Patricia Hoback, 73, retired secretary III, Feb. 3 in Conesville, Iowa.
  • Earl Doehrmann, 75, retired custodian, Feb. 7 in Iowa City. (obituary)
  • Carole Stockton, 69, retired secretary II, Feb. 7 in Iowa City. (obituary)
  • Elaine Matt, 83, retired storekeeper, Feb. 8 in Iowa City. (obituary)
  • Kristina Barber, 45, Iowa Consortium Substance Abuse associate director, Feb. 17 in Iowa City. (obituary)
Office of University Relations. Copyright The University of Iowa 2006. All rights reserved.