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Emerald ash borer concerns grow with larva discovery in northeast Iowa

  Emerald Ash Borer Insect
The emerald ash borer. Photo by Rob Meinders, USDA APHIS PPQ.

An invasive beetle that feeds on and eventually kills ash trees has Iowa officials scouring northeastern Iowa after an emerald ash borer larva was found in a tree at the Osborne Welcome and Nature Center in Clayton County, according to state officials.

Infestation has not been confirmed but could cause substantial damage on the University of Iowa campus, with notable areas of ash trees including the east side of the main library and the north and south sides of the Pentacrest, according to UI campus arborist Andy Dahl, who works in UI Facilities Management.

“Unfortunately, there is no preventative at this time,” Dahl says. “There are injectable and basal insecticides that are effective but are costly, and have to be applied every year or two.”

The UI campus has between 700 and 800 ash trees on maintained areas of the campus, roughly 10 percent of the population. Ash trees also make up about 10 percent of Iowa City’s public tree population. The state of Iowa has an estimated 88 million ash trees, about 20 percent.

The beetle is emerald green, half an inch long and about one-eighth-inch wide. It kills all ash (Fraxinus) species by larval burrowing under the bark and eating the actively growing (cambium) layers of the trees.

The most recent confirmed emerald ash borer infestation was in Victory, Wis., a town just across the Mississippi River from the northeast Iowa border, in April.

Mark Vitosh, district forester at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the problem is that officials can’t identify an infected tree until it begins to show symptoms of infestation.

“We don’t have a system to find this critter until it begins attacking trees,” he says, noting setting traps has had limited success.

Vitosh said Iowa residents need to call the DNR when they suspect a tree may be infested. He also emphasized the importance of buying firewood locally.

Dahl said depending on how severe the initial outbreak is, all control strategies are still on the table.

“We need to continue to diversify tree species in our urban forests and have better inspection at points of entry so we aren’t dealing with problems similar to Emerald Ash Borer in the future,” Dahl says.

For more information contact Dahl at 319-335-5107 or visit

—Tessa McLean


New episode of Iowa Insights podcast available

  Iowa Insights logo

The University of Iowa Office of University Relations has released the June episode of Iowa Insights, a monthly podcast featuring interviews with some of the world's leading thinkers, researchers, and teachers.

The June 2009 edition features interviews with campus planning director Rod Lehnertz discussing how the University plans to protect the campus from future flooding by the Iowa River; English professor Stephen Kuusisto, blind since birth, talking about new disability studies courses he’s teaching; and engineering professor Craig Just talking about a handheld device invented at The University of Iowa that costs less than $10 and turns unpotable water into safe drinking water.

The podcast may be heard online, downloaded to an mp3 player, or subscribed to via iTunes and RSS (Real Simple Syndication) readers. To listen, or for more information, visit


Big Ten Network to present 24 hours of UI programming beginning June 10

On Wednesday, June 10, the Big Ten Network will provide fans with 24 consecutive hours of Iowa programming.

The day will include some of Iowa's best performances of the 2008–09 season, highlighted by the football team's exciting last-second, one-point victory over then-undefeated Penn State at 9 p.m. In addition, the network will air the field hockey team's Big Ten Tournament Championship win in overtime against Ohio State University at 9 a.m., while the wrestling team's victory at the Big Ten Championships will air at 4 p.m.

Six episodes of The Big Ten's Greatest Games, featuring some of the more memorable victories in Hawkeye history, will air throughout the day, highlighted by the 2009 men's basketball game vs. Wisconsin at noon and the 1987 NCAA Sweet Sixteen matchup with Oklahoma University at 7 p.m. Both games were won in overtime.

Three original Iowa campus programming episodes also are in the lineup, and an episode of the Big Ten Network's original series Friday Night Tailgate airs at 11 p.m.

Visit for the entire schedule.


Two receive Brody Award for Faculty Excellence

The University of Iowa has named two faculty members as this year’s recipients of the Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service to the University and the state of Iowa.

The recipients, who will be formally honored during the faculty and staff awards banquet in October, are Laurence Fuortes, professor of occupational and environmental health, and Tom Walz, professor emeritus of social work.

Fuortes, professor of occupational and environmental health in the College of Public Health, has served since 2001 as director of two programs—the Burlington Atomic Energy Commission Plant Former Worker Program and the Ames Laboratory Former Worker Program—aimed at helping Iowans who were exposed to toxic substances while researching and manufacturing atomic weaponry for the U.S. government during World War II and beyond. The programs provide medical screenings for these former munitions workers and also help them file claims for assistance.

Walz, professor emeritus in the UI School of Social Work, founded or cofounded UI’s gerontology program and the geriatrics program within the department of family practice; the Regional Child Abuse Center; and a program that developed into the National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice, which trains professionals to help families avoid the institutionalization of children. Walz’s best-known project began with his hiring of a mentally challenged man, Bill Sackter, to operate a coffee shop in North Hall on the UI campus. Bill’s Coffee Shop celebrated its 35th anniversary this year and continues to provide an employment opportunity for disabled adults in the community and a training opportunity for students interested in disability studies.

The Brody Award is named in honor of the late Michael J. Brody, president of
the UI Faculty Senate (1986–87). It recognizes outstanding faculty who have
made exceptional contributions to the University and the community.


Graduate College announces 2009 SROP/McNair Scholars

The University of Iowa Graduate College has announced the 2009 SROP/McNair Scholars. The combined program strives to prepare young investigators to achieve their goals of pursuing graduate work and of becoming tomorrow's academic leaders.

This year's scholars are: Diana Adebambo, Ashley Akubuiro, Myrissa Alston, Chasity Bell, Sheila Berrios Nazario, Veronica Bonilla Pacheco, Latiche Bush-Lane, Cameron Carter, Jennifer Claudio-Malave, Jose Claudio-Malave, Quinnetta Claytor, Jarrett David, Pauline Dixon, Omer Elgaali, Kwesi Ewoodzie, Jasmine Freeman, Miriam Garcia, Katia Gonzalez Lorenzo, Rekesha Greenwood, Sharniece Holland, Mayra Ibarra, Esther Jean-Gilles, Bianca Jimenez Torres, Amber Johnson, Ryessia Jones, Maritza Loaiza, Kevin Lucas, Laura Miranda Acevedo, Keyon Mitchell, Elizabeth Musz, Angelina Nortey, Maria Quinones Cardero, Latisha Ramsey, Dorian Richardson, Javier Rodriguez Cardona, Ta'janette Sconyers, Angelica Serrano Ortiz, Ashley Sheriff, Crystal Stoll, Yesenia Torres Olmeda, Nghia Tran, Jaleisa Turner, Indira Turney, Whitney Williams, and Jasmine Wilson.

The CIC/Iowa Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) is an award-winning program designed to provide promising underrepresented undergraduate students with in-depth research experiences. Each student plays an active role in identifying the area of study and a faculty mentor to work with, while exploring research opportunities that will lead to doctoral degrees in education, humanities, or the social sciences.  

The UI McNair Scholars Program is a federally funded program that is committed to providing talented undergraduates from disadvantaged backgrounds with opportunities to pursue research projects. These experiences are designed to promote a successful transition into doctoral degree programs in the biomedical/life sciences, engineering, or physical sciences.

Elevenses Hour opens the Iowa Summer Writing Festival to the public

The Elevenses Literary Hour opens the Iowa Summer Writing Festival to the public, with free presentations of interest to writers by festival faculty at 11 a.m. every weekday that the festival is in session, in Room 101 of the University of Iowa Biology Building East.

Weeklong sessions of the Iowa Summer Writing Festival began June 7, with weekly sessions every week through July 20–24, with the exception of Independence Day week.

Elevenses presentations might include aspects of craft, of process, of the writing life or of publishing. There will be a different presenter each day. Fridays in the Elevenses series are reserved for a faculty reading.

For more information call 319-335-4160 or e-mail


Holden Cancer Center to host cancer survivors event June 13

Cancer survivors and their families are invited to attend the Cancer Survivors Day celebration hosted by caregivers from Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 13, in Kinnick Stadium.

Highlights of the free event, titled “A Celebration of Life: The Spirit of Teamwork,” include appearances by UI football coach Kirk Ferentz, UI volleyball coach Sharon Dingman, UI women’s gymnastics coach Larissa Libby, and Herky.

Guests will have their photographs taken for display on the stadium’s Jumbotron screen during the event and will receive a souvenir copy of their photographs. Other event features include face painting, craft activities, and games.

For more information or to register, contact the Cancer Information Service at 319-356-3000 or 800-237-1225.


Obermann Center brings in experts to discuss medical debt June 9

A public presentation on medical debt and how it affects families will take place from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 9, in the Bean Room, SE301 General Hospital.

The speakers are Stephie Woolhandler, cofounder of Physicians for a National Health Program, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and author of Bleeding the Patient: The Consequences of Corporate Health Care”; and sociologist Deborah Thorne of Ohio University.

Woolhandler and Thorne surveyed 1,771 Americans who filed for bankruptcy and found that half of the financial catastrophes were related to medical expenses.

They are participating in a research seminar at the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. “Borrowing to the Brink: Consumer Debt in America” brings together a think tank of nationally known experts who research households in financial distress. For details, visit


College of Pharmacy faculty members earn teaching awards

Four faculty members from the Department of Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy in the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy have been recognized for outstanding teaching in 2008-09.

“Teacher of the Year” awards are based on student recommendations and reviewed by the previous year’s award recipients. This year’s winners are:

  • Michelle Fravel, clinical assistant professor, selected by third-year students.
  • Michael Ernst, clinical associate professor, selected by second-year students.
  • Jeffrey Reist, clinical assistant professor, selected by first-year students.

In addition, one faculty member received the highest honor a University of Iowa college can bestow on faculty for excellence in teaching. John Swegle, clinical associate professor, is the college’s recipient of the UI Collegiate Teaching Award.

The winners will be formally recognized at the college’s scholarship reception in November.


Hausler receives Hygienic Laboratory's career achievement award

William Hausler, director emeritus of the University Hygienic Laboratory, received the laboratory's inaugural Hausler Career Achievement Award on May 22 during the annual Reward and Recognition Ceremony at the Ankeny Laboratory.

The new award is named for Hausler, who served as laboratory director from 1965 to 1995. He joined the Hygienic Laboratory in 1958 as an associate bacteriologist. The following year he was appointed assistant director and principal bacteriologist, positions he held until he was named director.

Hausler also taught as an assistant and associate professor in the UI Department of Preventative Medicine and as an associate professor in the UI Department of Oral Pathology. He remains a professor emeritus in both departments.


State Fair booth needs volunteers

University Relations is inviting faculty and staff members to volunteer for the University's exhibit at the Iowa State Fair Aug. 13–23 in Des Moines.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks: answering general questions, distributing posters and other items, and applying temporary Hawkeye tattoos to visitors. The UI booth is located in the air-conditioned Varied Industries Building at the fairgrounds.

Shifts are four hours each: 9 a.m.–1 p.m., 1–5 p.m., and 5–9 p.m. Fair admission, parking passes, and a “Be Remarkable” T-shirt will be provided.

For more information or to sign up for a shift, see the UI State Fair web site at or contact George McCrory at 319-384-0012 or


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
  • For registration information, log in at the UI Human Resources Self Service site at 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 use the printable registration form.
  • To visit Learning and Development's home page, go to



UI-led team develops DNA compounds that could help treat lupus

A research team led by a University of Iowa investigator has generated DNA-like compounds that effectively inhibit the cells responsible for systemic lupus erythematosus—the most common and serious form of lupus.

There currently is no cure for this chronic autoimmune condition that damages the skin, joints, and internal organs, and affects an estimated one million Americans.

The team, which included researchers at Boston University School of Medicine, demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of class R–inhibitory oligonucleotides in laboratory experiments. The findings, which could eventually lead to new treatments, appear May 28 in BioMed Central’s open access journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.

During periodic flare-ups in people with lupus, the immune system overreacts and mistakenly attacks cells and tissues throughout the body, resulting in a range of symptoms including inflammation, pain and a characteristic “butterfly rash” across the cheeks.

Using human cell lines and isolated mouse cells, Petar Lenert, assistant professor of internal medicine in the UI Carver College of Medicine, and his colleagues showed that the DNA-like compounds were able to selectively reduce the activity of two types of immune cells called autoreactive B cells and dendritic cells. When given to mice with lupus, the compounds delayed death and reduced kidney damage, proving their effectiveness.

Read the full University News Services release at


UI-led NIH study shows drug aids hemodialysis treatment

A new study, led by Brad Dixon, associate professor of internal medicine at the UI Carver College of Medicine, shows for the first time that the anticlotting drug dipyridamole combined with aspirin delays the initial failure of arteriovenous vascular access grafts used in hemodialysis for patients with end-stage kidney disease.

The findings appeared in the May 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

A functioning vascular access allows blood to be removed for cleansing. Grafts typically fail due to blood vessel narrowing (stenosis) at the graft site, leading to clotting, which in turn blocks blood flow. A blocked graft cannot be used and is a major cause of worsening health for patients on dialysis.

More than 300,000 Americans with end-stage kidney disease receive hemodialysis several times a week. Each year, approximately one in three patients has a vascular access problem that requires hospitalization. Costs associated with vascular access maintenance are estimated to exceed $1 billion annually in the United States.

Read the full University News Services release at


Hospitalized patients need better understanding of CPR and outcomes, UI study shows

Many hospitalized patients overestimate their chance of surviving an in-hospital cardiac arrest and do not know what CPR really involves, a University of Iowa study has shown.

The study further showed that this lack of understanding of cardiopulmonary resuscitation might affect a patient’s choice about whether to have orders in place to be resuscitated if they are dying.

The study, which also involved researchers in the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, appeared in the June 1 issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics.

“The investigation indicates that doctors need to do more to help patients understand CPR procedures and ‘do not resuscitate,’ or DNR, orders to avoid gaps between treatments used and patients’ actual preferences,” says Lauris Kaldjian, the study’s lead author and associate professor of internal medicine at the UI Carver College of Medicine.

“Our study showed that after people were asked about their goals of care and then informed about the chances of survival and good brain function after CPR, nearly one in five said their preferences about CPR had changed,” Kaldjian says.

Read the full University News Services release at


Study: Veterinarians at high risk for viral, bacterial infections from animals

The recent H1N1 influenza epidemic has raised many questions about how animal viruses move to human populations. One potential route is through veterinarians, who, according to a new report by University of Iowa College of Public Health researchers, are at markedly increased risk of infection with zoonotic pathogens, the viruses and bacteria that can infect both animals and humans.

While there is no evidence that veterinarians played a direct role in the current H1N1 epidemic, the review found that veterinarians could serve as a “bridging population,” spreading pathogens to their families, their communities, and the various groups of animals for which they provide care. The paper appears in the May 15 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

While conducting previous occupational research studies, the study’s authors—Whitney Baker, a doctoral student in epidemiology at the UI College of Public Health; and Gregory Gray, professor of epidemiology and director of the UI Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases—observed that veterinarians often have evidence of zoonotic influenza virus infection. To better understand this finding, Baker and Gray conducted a review of medical literature published between 1966 and 2007 and identified 66 journal articles that specifically addressed veterinarians and zoonotic infections.

The review found veterinarians had an increased risk for various pathogens, including swine influenza, avian influenza, and swine hepatitis E viruses; methicillin-resistant Staphlococcus aureus; and Bartonella bacteria. Additionally, the review provided evidence that veterinarians could be infected with animal pathogens that are not widely recognized as zoonotic.

Read the full University News Services release at


Porter study shows how high homeownership costs harm bankrupt families

Few Americans who struggle with high housing costs will be able to save their homes by filing for bankruptcy because of limitations in federal bankruptcy law, new research by University of Iowa law professor and bankruptcy researcher Katie Porter suggests.

Porter said the fate of many homeowners is “grim” because most don’t earn enough income to make the monthly payment on their mortgages.

More than 70 percent of homeowners who filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Porter’s study live in unaffordable homes—even if they stave off foreclosure for now, most still won’t be able to afford their monthly payment in the future.

“Chapter 13 is a powerful tool for helping families get caught up on missed payments of their home loan, but does nothing to address the future affordability of their mortgage,” Porter says. “As a result, without a significant increase in income, many of these homeowners will have a difficult time finding the dollars to pay their mortgages. This jeopardizes their chances of completing their bankruptcy and exposes them to a high likelihood of foreclosure.”

Read the full University News Services release at



Recent deaths

  • Linda Williams, 64, retired custodian, May 15 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Genevieve Rohret, 89, retired food worker III, May 17 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Wallace Johnson, 82, retired professor, May 17 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Irene Groff, 93, retired custodian, May 23 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Harry Baker, 90, retired storekeeper II, June 1 in Lone Tree, Iowa. (obit)
Office of University Relations. Copyright The University of Iowa 2006. All rights reserved.