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News in Brief

AROUND CAMPUS

DISCOVERIES

TRANSITIONS

 

AROUND CAMPUS

Obermann Center announces grant opportunities for faculty

The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and the Office of the Vice President for Research have announced two grant opportunities with April deadlines.
 
UI tenured faculty members in all fields are invited to organize the Cmiel Semester in fall 2009 or spring 2010. Cmiel Semesters encourage interaction among four to six UI scholars working on independent research, scholarship, or creative projects related to the semester's topic. One grant of up to $75,000 will be awarded. Tuesday, April 8 is the deadline for proposals. For proposal guidelines, visit www.uiowa.edu/obermann/cmiel_semester/2008/index.html.

UI tenure-track and tenured faculty members in all fields are invited to design and direct the Summer 2009 Research Seminar. One grant of $45,000 will be awarded. This seminar brings together eight to 12 UI visiting scholars and researchers for one to three weeks for sustained interaction at the Obermann Center, leading to a published volume. Tuesday, April 15 is the deadline for proposals. For proposal guidelines, visit www.uiowa.edu/obermann/grants/summer/index.html.

 

College of Dentistry proceeding with building renovation plans

University of Iowa College Dentistry leaders are moving forward with plans to renovate the 35-year-old Dental Science Building.

At its meeting Feb. 7 in Ames, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved the college's request to select an architectural firm and proceed with planning for the project.

College of Dentistry officials want to transform the building by renovating and expanding clinical areas, increasing classroom and student space, and upgrading dental research facilities.

Read the full University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2008/february/022008dentistry_renovation.html.

 

Staff Council accepting nominations for excellence awards

The Staff Council is accepting nominations for annual awards recognizing excellence among UI staff. Faculty, staff, and students may submit nominations.

Nomination instructions and forms are available on the Staff Council's web site, www.uiowa.edu/~staff.

The awards are as follows:

  • The UI Outstanding Staff Award, which recognizes staff members who have made outstanding contributions to The University of Iowa.
  • The Board of Regents Staff Excellence Award, which recognizes staff members who have made outstanding contributions to The University of Iowa and to the State of Iowa.
  • The David J. Skorton Award for Staff Excellence in Service, which recognizes individuals who perform exceptional service to the University community.

Completed nominations, which must include a nominating letter, two supporting letters, and the nominee's resume or curriculum vitae, can be returned via campus mail to the Staff Council Office at 606 JB. For more information, contact Martha Greer, chair of the Staff Council Awards Committee, at 335-1436 or martha-greer@uiowa.edu.

Nominees will be recognized at a reception in July before the announcement of award recipients. Deadline for receipt of completed nominations is April 15.

 

Nominations sought for top faculty honors

Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) and Mortar Board Honor Societies are accepting nominations for the Marion L. Huit and the James N. Murray Faculty Awards.

Each award recognizes a faculty member for his or her dedication and service to students. The Huit Award goes to a tenured faculty member, while the Murray Award goes to an untenured faculty member.

Nominations may be submitted by anyone in the University of Iowa community—collaboration by students and faculty is encouraged in the nomination process. The awards will be presented at the annual Finkbine Dinner for Representative Student Leaders on April 22.

Nomination forms are available on the Honors Program web site, www.uiowa.edu/~honors. Nominations are due at the University of Iowa Honors Program, 420 Blank Honors Center, on Friday, March 7.

For more information, contact ODK representative Kevin Courtois at kevin-courtois@uiowa.edu or Mortar Board representative Ashlee Swinton at ashlee.swinton@gmail.com.

 

UI Libraries compiles digital campus map collection

The University of Iowa Libraries has compiled the Campus Maps Digital Collection, documenting nearly 150 years of UI campus building development.

This digital collection, at http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/campusmaps, documents the growth of the University, with 97 items dated from 1892 to 2004. The collection—drawn from University Archives—includes maps from course catalogs, an 1893 survey map of what is now the Pentacrest, and a 1946 (post-World War II) guide featuring temporary buildings. The collection also includes bird's-eye drawings of campus development plans that were never carried out.

Read the full University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2008/february/022508digitalmaps.html.

 

Department name change reflects teaching and research focus

The recent renaming of the Department of Biological Sciences in the
University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to the Department of
Biology reflects the focus of the curriculum as well as changes in the
nature and breadth of research conducted by departmental faculty. The name
change was approved at the February meeting of the Board of Regents, State
of Iowa.

For more information about the UI Department of Biology, visit
www.biology.uiowa.edu/aboutus.php.

 

Heed the call for Improving Our Workplace Award nominations

Do you know a staff member or a team whose efforts have made a lasting difference at the University? Here is an opportunity to recognize the exceptional value they have provided in your area. Nominate them for the Improving Our Workplace Award (IOWA), a campus-wide recognition program. For nomination forms, visit www.uiowa.edu/hr/iowa/index.html. The deadline for submissions is March 15.

 

Looking for spring break activity? Register kids for day camp

The Division of Recreational Services and Family Services are teaming up to offer an all-day youth camp over spring break, March 17–21.

Hawkeye Kids Camp will take place each day from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the UI Field House. The camp is open to youth in kindergarten through sixth grade. The child’s legal guardian must be associated with the University as a student, faculty, or staff member.

The camp fee is $150 and includes supervision, materials for activities, snacks, and lunch on Friday. Registration is due Monday, March 10. To register, visit www.recserv.uiowa.edu/events/KidsCamp.htm.

Camp drop-off begins at 7 a.m. and pickup ends at 5:30 p.m. in the Field House South Gym. Morning and afternoon snacks will be provided—campers will need to bring their own lunch Monday through Thursday.

Campers will need to wear clothes that will allow them to be active throughout the day. Camp activities may include but are not limited to, board games, arts and crafts, basketball, soccer, badminton, scavenger hunts, obstacle courses, and talent shows.

 

See what Learning and Development courses are right for you

UI Learning and Development, a unit of Organizational Effectiveness, provides professional development services to faculty and staff. There are many learning opportunities that will support your professional development and growth. Look for classroom instruction on leadership issues for managers, frontline supervisors, human resource professionals, and office professionals.

Check out the following links:

  • To see the latest online newsletter, with listings of current courses and seminars, visit www.uiowa.edu/learn/current.pdf.
  • For registration information, log in at the UI Human Resources Self Service site at https://hris.uiowa.edu/portal/index.php and click the “My Training” link to register for any available session. This tool will let you see the status and location of a class, get e-mail confirmations, withdraw from a class, check your course registration history, and even do online evaluations. Courses with a fee (Special Events, 7 Habits, Reframing Your Work) will still use the printable registration form.
  • To visit Learning and Development's home page, go to www.uiowa.edu/~fusstfdv.

 

DISCOVERIES

UI biologist helps discover novel organism adding to "tree of life"

What can a tiny marine alga that resembles a little brown ball tell scientists about how different types of organisms are related on the family tree of all life on Earth?
Quite a bit, it turns out, when it stands at a critical junction where one form of life can provide a clear evolutionary connection between otherwise distant cousins, according to John Logsdon, associate professor of biology in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

In the Feb. 21 issue of the journal Nature, Logsdon and his colleagues announced the discovery of a new type of eukaryotic algae that provides just such a bridge between two previously thought-to-be separate branches on the tree of life. Called Chromera velia, the organism is now the closest-known photosynthetic relative to apicomplexan parasites (like the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum)—much closer than their distant algal relatives called dinoflagellates (some of which cause harmful "red-tides"). Together, these unicellular organisms, along with ciliates (like Paramecium), are called "alveolates."

Logsdon said the find sheds light on a formerly dark corner of the evolution of photosynthesis and indicates that further, similar discoveries lie ahead. Also, this new organism will be a powerful model for studying parasitism and disease in Apicomplexa.

Read the full University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2008/february/022508eukaryoticalgae.html.

 

UI study: Low-income women more likely to suffer from postpartum depression

Poor women in Iowa are much more likely to suffer from postpartum depression than their wealthier counterparts, a new University of Iowa study shows.

In the study of 4,332 new mothers from four Iowa counties, UI psychologist Lisa Segre found that 40 percent of Iowa mothers with a household income less than $20,000 suffered from clinically significant postpartum depression. In contrast, only 13 percent of new mothers with a household income of $80,000 or more were considered clinically depressed.

The study was recently published in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. The mothers completed the Inventory to Diagnose Depression and sociodemographic interviews in the late 1990s; on average, participants had given birth 4.6 months prior to the survey.

"Forty percent of Iowa's lowest-income mothers are facing the double burden of being depressed and being poor," said Segre, adjunct assistant professor and research scientist in psychology, a department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Read the full University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2008/february/021908postpartum_depression.html.

 

Role identified for glaucoma gene, related signaling pathway

Researchers have found that a gene and a related signaling pathway play a role in the development of glaucoma, which is a common cause of visual impairment and blindness worldwide. The team was led by Alcon Research and included investigators from The University of Iowa and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The study, which revealed that overexpression of the gene, sFRP1, elevates pressure in the eye, could help improve glaucoma diagnosis and lead to the development of sight-saving treatments. The study results appear online Feb. 14 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"The cause of glaucoma and the resulting elevation of intraocular pressure has been poorly understood," said Abe Clark, Alcon's vice president of discovery research and head of glaucoma research. "This new discovery may allow researchers to develop therapies to treat the underlying cause of the disease."

Read the full University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2008/february/021508glaucoma_gene.html.

 

Study: Highly involved patients don't always see better health outcomes

Patients who prefer to be highly involved in their treatment don't necessarily have better luck managing chronic health conditions, a new study suggests.

A research team based at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Iowa City Health Care System and The University of Iowa surveyed 189 veterans with high blood pressure to determine the patients' preferences for involvement in their health care. They discovered those who wanted an active role in their treatment had higher blood pressure and cholesterol over a 12-month span than those who wanted a less active role.

The study, published this week in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, was led by Austin Baldwin, a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Research in the Implementation of Innovative Strategies in Practice at the VA Iowa City Health Care System and an adjunct assistant professor of psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

"The intuitive assumption is that the more involved people are with their health, the better they'll be at managing chronic conditions. We found evidence to the contrary," Baldwin said. "Those who preferred a more 'patient-centered' or active role actually had higher blood pressure and lipid levels. Those who preferred a 'provider-centered' approach, in which the doctor is more authoritative, did better at managing their blood pressure and lipid levels."

Read the full University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2008/february/022208involvedpatients.html.


Immune deficiency and balance disorder result from single gene defect

A genetic defect that causes a severe immune deficiency in humans may also produce balance disorders, according to a new study by researchers at The University of Iowa, The Jackson Laboratory, and East Carolina University.

The study, published online Feb. 21 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, examined a specialized strain of Jackson Laboratory mice with a mutation that eliminates the production a protein called p22phox. Disruption of this protein causes a form of chronic granulomatous disease (CGD)—a severe immune deficiency—in humans.

The researchers found that mice without p22phox develop an immune deficiency that mimics human CGD. They also discovered that the gene defect produces a severe balance disorder in the mice caused by loss of gravity-sensing crystals in the inner ear.

"The implication is that human patients with CGD caused by defects in this gene may also have balance disorders," said Botond Banfi, UI assistant professor of anatomy and cell biology and senior author of the study. "If that is the case, this would be the first patient population where we could study the consequences of losing the sensation of gravity.

"We hope that clinicians will test the balance capacity of those patients with this rare form of CGD" Banfi added. "Although it is hard to say what the consequences might be of not sensing gravity, these patients may be more prone to accidents like falling."

Read the full University News Services Release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2008/february/022208immune_balance.html.

 

TRANSITIONS

Cohen to serve as interim UI vice president for research

Jordan Cohen, emeritus dean and professor in the UI College of Pharmacy, will serve as interim vice president for research while a nationwide search is conducted for the position, UI president Sally Mason announced last week.

Cohen's appointment is effective April 1. He succeeds Meredith Hay, who was named provost and executive vice president of the University of Arizona on Feb. 22. Hay has served as UI vice president for research since 2005.

A committee to lead the search for a permanent vice president for research will be appointed later this year, following the completion of the current search to fill the position of executive vice president and provost, Mason said.

Read the full University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2008/february/022608cohen_interim.html.

 

Deaths

  • Jane Henderson, 91, retired social worker, Jan. 30 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Harold Schedl, 87, professor emeritus, Jan. 31 in Iowa City.
  • Juanita Fox, 91, retired baker, Feb. 1 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Irene Keating, 95, retired secretary IV, Feb. 1 in Solon, Iowa. (obit)
  • Pamela Pettit-Noel, 43, assistant professor, Feb. 2 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Norine Zamastil, 58, associate director of governmental relations, Feb. 3 in Fairfax, Iowa.
  • M. Paul Strottman, 78, clinical professor emeritus, Feb. 3 in Coralville. (obit)
  • Ruth Lane, 87, retired food worker II, Feb. 4 in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
  • Dorothy Koehler, 80, retired secretary II, Feb. 6 in Coralville. (obit)
  • Nancy Knebel, 69, retired secretary II, Feb. 11 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Juergen Knoop, 75, retired supervisor–service II, Feb. 12 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Paul Peterson, 77, retired vending machine supplier, Feb. 19 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • James Grifhorst, 60, database analyst, Feb. 21 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Charlotte Swartz, 96, retired LPN, Feb. 17.
  • Naomi Bane, 98, retired clerk I, Feb. 21 in Iowa City. (obit)
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