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News in Brief

AROUND CAMPUS

DISCOVERIES

TRANSITIONS

 

AROUND CAMPUS

UI to celebrate homecoming this week

The University of Iowa will celebrate Homecoming 2007, whose theme is “Our Heroes are Hawkeyes,” with a week of events building up to the Saturday, Sept. 29, football game against Indiana University.

The annual homecoming parade through downtown Iowa City will begin at 5:45 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28. Brandon Routh, former UI student and star of Superman Returns, is this year’s honored guest; Hawkeye football alumnus Jim Keane is the grand marshal.

On Monday, Sept. 24, the Campus Activities Board and the Homecoming Council will host a new event, Comedy Night. Comedian J. Chris Newberg will begin his show at 9 p.m. in The Hawkeye (formerly the Wheelroom) on the ground floor of the Iowa Memorial Union.

The Friday free concert, which will feature Three Dog Night and Ben Kweller, will begin around 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28, on the Pentacrest, following the parade and pep rally. SCOPE Productions and the Homecoming Council are cosponsors of the concert.

For more information and the complete schedule of events, see the UI Homecoming web site at www.uiowa.edu/~hmcoming.

 

University awarded $33.8 million for clinical and translational research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced The University of Iowa as one of 12 academic health centers nationwide to receive a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). The five-year, $33.8 million award is the second-largest research award in UI history.

The CTSA will support the University’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, formally approved by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, in December 2006, to expand and enhance “bench-to-bedside” research—laboratory discoveries that lead to patient-based studies in clinical settings.

The UI Institute for Clinical and Translational Science aims to organize research efforts across the UI campus, bringing together researchers from multiple disciplines to share knowledge and ideas that may lead to new or better treatments; create a cohesive infrastructure for new training programs specifically designed to prepare students and junior faculty for careers in clinical and translational science; and engage the State of Iowa as a partner in clinical and translational research.

The UI is among 24 institutions nationwide to receive CTSAs so far—12 institutions first received CTSAs in October 2006. When fully implemented by 2012, the NIH’s “Roadmap for Medical Research” initiative will support 60 academic medical centers that are part of the consortium.

More than 150 UI researchers, administrators, and staff members, along with collaborators from around the state, were involved in preparing the CTSA proposal to the NIH, beginning in 2005.

For more information on the University of Iowa Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, see http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2007/september/UICTS_backround.html

 

University of Iowa again makes Buildings' top 10

For the third year in a row, University of Iowa Facilities Management has been listed among the Top 10 industry leaders in building management in the United States.

The September issue of Buildings magazine puts the UI at eighth place in the annual “Who’s Who in the Buildings Market: The A List.” The University appears among the “top 25 organizations to watch” among major building management organizations, including the Boeing Company, Kaiser Permanente, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

According to the article, “the A list is characterized by their entrepreneurial approach to the business of building.” The article praises Facilities Management’s quest for best practices in campus appearance and function, project delivery, energy management, superior service, and workplace of choice.

“We are extremely proud of this distinction,” says Don Guckert, UI associate vice president and director of Facilities Management. “This year, we were recognized for our plan to adopt, adapt, or create the best practices for facilities at The University of Iowa. This reflects our efforts to serve and support the changing needs of our campus.”

Facilities Management oversees the management of some 16 million square feet in 268 buildings. For more information, visit www.facilities.uiowa.edu. For more information on the ranking, see the Buildings magazine article at www.buildings.com/articles/detail.aspx?contentID=5125.

 

WRAC invites public to participate in Diversity Dialogue Circles

The University of Iowa Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC) has created Diversity Dialogue Circles, a new program to encourage discussions of diversity issues.

“The idea for Diversity Dialogue Circles developed from a conference WRAC sponsored several months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans,” says Linda Kroon, WRAC operations coordinator. “Participants at that conference expressed the need for opportunities for individuals to talk about issues of race, privilege, and difference.”

The circles, each led by a trained facilitator, will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Iowa Memorial Union beginning Sept. 25, 26, and 27. The program will continue for the following eight weeks. Participants must preregister—registrants can choose which day they will attend the weekly circles. Six to ten people will be in each Diversity Dialogue Circle.

This program is free and open to the public. An online form to register is available at www.uiowa.edu/~wrac/DiversityDialogues.htm.

 

Recreational Services hosts Steve Goff Memorial 5K Run/Walk

The Division of Recreational Services at The University of Iowa is sponsoring the Steve Goff Memorial Cross-Country 5K Run/Walk Sunday, Sept. 30, to benefit a scholarship fund established in his name.

The race will take place at the University of Iowa Ashton Cross-Country Course, located west of the Hawkeye Recreation Fields and just North of Melrose Avenue. Race-day registration will begin at 8:15 a.m. The race will begin at 9 a.m. for walkers and 9:30 a.m. for runners. Entry fee is $12 before Friday, Sept. 28, or $15 on race day. 

The race has two divisions, intramural and open. The intramural division is for all University of Iowa students, faculty, and staff. All intramural division participants will need to bring their University ID at the time of race check-in. The open division is for anyone who is not affiliated with the University. The winners in each division will receive an intramural champion T-shirt. Registration forms are available online at www.recserv.uiowa.edu/events/SteveGoff.htm or outside E216 Field House.

For more information, call the Division of Recreational Services at (33)5-9293.

Goff was a professor in the UI Department of Health and Sport Studies from 1994 to 1998. He was an outstanding educator and athlete who died of cancer at 43. All proceeds from the run/walk will be donated to the Steve Goff Scholarship Fund, which awards a scholarship each year to an undergraduate student in leisure studies at the University.

 

Early registration ends Oct. 1 for NonfictioNow Conference

Discounted early registrations are now being accepted for the Bedell NonfictioNow Conference, to be hosted by the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program Nov. 1 to 3 at the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI campus.

Conference registration is $200 ($75 for students) through Oct. 1. Registration can be accomplished at http://english.uiowa.edu/nonfiction/nonfictionow07/index.html. The site also includes a full schedule of conference events in the Iowa Memorial Union, as well as information on travel, lodging, and parking.

After Oct. 1 the nonstudent registration fee will rise to $225.

The Bedell NonfictionNow Conference is a biennial gathering of 400 nonfiction writers, teachers, and students from around the world. Panels and readings highlight the myriad forms of nonfiction—from the video essay, documentary, and radio essay to the memoir, lyric essay, and literary journalism. This year’s keynote speakers are Patricia Hampl, Ross McElwee, and Richard Rodriguez.

General inquires about the conference should be directed to nonfiction-now@uiowa.edu.

 

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 team identifies genes that improve survival in mice with ALS

University of Iowa researchers investigating the basic biology of cell signaling have made a discovery that may have therapeutic implications for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The UI team, led by John Engelhardt, professor and head of anatomy and cell biology in the Carver College of Medicine, discovered that two cell-signaling proteins called Nox1 and Nox2 appear to play an important role in disease progression of an inherited form of ALS. This work was published in the Sept. 13 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Deleting either Nox1 or Nox2 genes from mice with the inherited type of ALS significantly increased the lifespan of the mice. Nox2 deletion produces the most dramatic effect, nearly doubling the lifespan of the mice. In addition, Nox2 deletion dramatically increased the survival index -- the time from disease onset to death. This is the first report of a single gene that affects the survival index in ALS models.

“The findings provide encouraging data that there are new potential therapeutic targets in ALS,” says Engelhardt, who also is the Roy J. Carver Chair in Molecular Medicine. “Whether our findings will bear out in humans still has to be evaluated, but our results suggest that inhibiting Nox proteins might significantly enhance survival in ALS.”

For more information, read the University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2007/september/091407als_genes.html.

 

Linchpin gene may be useful target for new breast cancer therapies

University of Iowa researchers have discovered a gene that plays a linchpin role in the ability of breast cancer cells to respond to estrogen—a finding that may lead to improved therapies for hormone-responsive breast cancers and may explain differences in the effectiveness of current treatments.

Estrogen causes hormone-responsive breast cancer cells to grow and divide by interacting with estrogen receptors made by cancer cells. Interfering with estrogen signaling is the basis of two common breast cancer therapies: tamoxifen, which blocks estrogen’s interaction with a primary estrogen receptor called ER-alpha, and aromatase inhibitors that reduce the amount of estrogen the body makes and therefore affect any pathway that uses estrogen.

The study, led by Ronald Weigel, professor and head of surgery at the Carver College of Medicine, reveals a central role for transcription factor AP2C (TFAP2C) in controlling multiple pathways of estrogen signaling. The findings are published in the Sept. 15 issue of Cancer Research.

The researchers found that silencing expression of TFAP2C in hormone-responsive breast cancer cells significantly decreased the amount of ER-alpha made by the cancer cell. This reduction in ER-alpha (down to 16 percent of the level normally made by breast cancer cells) also affected production of other “downstream” genes involved in cancer growth. The treated cancer cells did not grow in response to estrogen, and establishment of tumors in mice was delayed.

The finding suggests that there are many pathways that allow cells to respond to estrogen, and that TFAP2C is a central player in controlling hormone response. “Targeting this gene may be a better way to develop drugs to treat hormone-responsive breast cancers because it targets multiple pathways,” Weigel says.

 

TRANSITIONS

Lopes to serve as UI interim provost

Lola Lopes, University of Iowa emeritus professor of management and organizations, will serve as interim executive vice president and provost while a nationwide search is conducted for that position, UI President Sally Mason announced earlier this month.

Lopes, whose appointment was effective immediately, served as associate provost for undergraduate education for six years before her retirement in 2006.

Lopes, who retired in 2006, had served from 2000 to 2006 as associate provost for undergraduate education. In the fall of 2005, her title was changed to include dean of the University College. As associate provost, Lopes had responsibility for admissions, student financial aid, the registrar’s office, advising, evaluation and exam services, the Council on Teaching, and the Center for Teaching.

For more information, read the University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2007/september/091107lopes_provost.html.

 

Modestou named director of Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity

Jennifer Modestou has been named director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (EOD) at The University of Iowa.

As director, Modestou will ensure that the University’s employment policies and programs comply with all local, state, and federal regulations and laws through monitoring and educating the University community and reviewing search processes. She will oversee the University’s Affirmative Action Plan, along with reports to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, and other federal and state civil rights agencies.

Modestou will provide support in the areas of compliance, educational outreach, diversity, and inclusion. Under the guidance of Modestou, the EOD office plans to strengthen its ability to monitor faculty and staff searches for equity, collect data for various reports, investigate complaints of discrimination or harassment, comply with disability laws, and expand outreach and education.

For more information, read the University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2007/september/090707modestou_EOD.html.

 

Office of University Relations. Copyright The University of Iowa 2006. All rights reserved.