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University names three recipients of Brody Award for Faculty Excellence

The University of Iowa has named three 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 Samir Bishara, Bernard Sorofman, and Katherine Tachau.

Samir Bishara

Bishara, professor of orthodontics in the College of Dentistry, has earned an international reputation for excellence in his specialty. He is known as an outstanding clinician-scholar and a highly effective teacher and mentor for students and junior faculty members alike. A national leader in the profession, he has participated in the governance of the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics since 1985, and has served with distinction as that organization’s president. He has served three terms on the Faculty Senate, two on the Faculty Council, and three on the Judicial Commission. For more than 20 years, Professor Bishara has served on Committee A of the American Association of University Professors, advising faculty and staff in matters related to governance and tenure.

Bernard Sorofman

Sorofman, professor and chair of pharmacy practice and science and executive associate dean in the College of Pharmacy, has held many leadership roles in college, University, and professional committees and organizations. He has directed a graduate program, served as University Ombudsperson, been a Faculty Senator and Faculty Council member, and sat on the executive committees for both the Center for International Rural and Environmental Health and the Center on Aging. His work on patient self-care and medication has informed providers and policy makers in the state. In various roles Sorofman has significantly influenced positive changes in the delivery of graduate pharmacy education, delivery of pharmaceutical care, rural and environmental health, and affordable health care in Iowa.


Tachau, professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), has served three terms on the Faculty Senate and has held each of its leadership roles: vice president, president-elect, and president. As a Faculty Senator she has been instrumental in forging stronger relationships between faculty members in the health sciences and in CLAS. She has earned a reputation as a tireless advocate for faculty priorities, junior colleagues, academic principles, and purposeful engagement of faculty in the life of the University. Tachau’s service on department, college, and University committees is extensive. She received the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence in 2009.

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.

Those who nominated the winners noted their many contributions to teaching, research, and outreach.


Carver College of Medicine receives award from American Academy of Family Physicians

The Carver College of Medicine received a Top 10 Award from the American Academy of Family Physicians for its contribution to providing family physicians for the nation.

The annual award recognized the 10 allopathic medical schools that, during a three-year period, graduate the greatest percentage of students who choose family medicine. The Carver College ranked 10th with 14.6 percent of graduates entering family medicine.

"We're very proud that our college is being recognized for this important accomplishment," says Paul James, professor and head of family medicine. "Family physicians are vital to a vibrant health care system and essential if we are to improve access and quality while reducing the rising costs of health care in America."

Family medicine clinical education for UI medical students is a statewide endeavor by family physicians affiliated with the Department of Family Medicine.


UI Juneteenth celebration, June 19, observes the end of slavery

Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, will be observed from 1:30 to 3 p.m., Saturday, June 19, in room 2520D of University Capitol Centre.

A speaker, music performances, and a cake reception are featured in this second annual celebration sponsored by the University of Iowa African American Council and Bethel A.M.E. Church of Iowa City.

The dreams, actions, and spirit leading up to this defining moment in history are the focus of the event, celebrating the emancipation of African Americans from slavery.

While the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Lincoln in 1863, is deemed as the end of slavery in this nation, official notice was delivered two and a half years later to the last slave state, Texas, thus ending slavery. The date of that last proclamation of freedom was June 19, 1865, thus the Juneteenth celebration.

For more information, contact Billie Townsend at 319-354-5995 or


University to host creative writing seminar for professionals in human services

This summer, the UI School of Social Work will host a creative writing seminar for professionals in human services who want to explore using the written word for growth and healing. Offered for elective or continuing education credit, the course will take place July 23–26 in North Hall.

Founded in 1991 by Tom Walz, professor emeritus of social work, the workshop is designed for people of all writing abilities who are interested in using creative writing as a professional tool. The four-day workshop includes lectures, writing time, and critique sessions in a supportive, noncompetitive environment. Sessions will focus on creative writing techniques and the intersection of creative writing and human service practice.

Presentations will focus on creative writing with people with dementia, the effects of therapeutic writing on the stress levels of caregivers, and how narrative therapy affects the therapist-client relationship. Sessions will also be offered on facilitating writing classes in correctional facilities, connecting people with chronic disease with a writing coach, increasing social participation through sharing life stories, and slam poetry.

The cost of the workshop is $250 if paid by Sunday, June 20, and $300 thereafter. To register, contact Jefri Palermo at 319-335-3750 or

For more information, visit


State Fair exhibit needs volunteers

The Office of University Relations is inviting faculty and staff members to volunteer for the University's exhibit at the Iowa State Fair Aug. 12–22 in Des Moines.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks, from answering general questions and distributing posters and other items to applying temporary Hawkeye tattoos to visitors. The UI booth is located in the 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 Hawkeye 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 which 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:

  • 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 researchers find teen driver study improves driving safety

Using on-board, event-triggered video recorders to document the driving activities of new teenage drivers and sharing the videos with teen drivers and their parents can greatly reduce the number of potentially dangerous driving events.

That is the finding of a study by Daniel McGehee, director of the Human Factors and Vehicle Safety Research Program at the University of Iowa Public Policy Center, and his colleagues. The results of the study are published in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

McGehee, coauthor and project principal investigator, said the study data suggest that an event-triggered video recording device and weekly report card can reduce teenagers' exposure to risky behavior during the critical first months of driving—when there is high risk for vehicle crashes.

The study, conducted with students from Eagan High School of Eagan, Minn., near Minneapolis, involved 36 16-year-old drivers (19 males and 17 females), all of whom were newly licensed drivers with less than five months of unsupervised driving experience. The results showed the number of "coachable events"—behaviors that can be modified through further driver training—declined by 61 percent during the study.

"Another important outcome was that user acceptance is extremely high—over 90 percent of the teen participants recommend this type of technology and feedback to other teens," McGehee says.

The palm-sized recorders collect a 12-second clip of video (8 seconds before the event and 4 seconds after the event) only after they have been triggered by an abrupt steering, braking, or acceleration event.

The Eagan study is the suburban companion to a UI rural teen driving study completed two years ago at Clear Creek Amana High School in Tiffin, Iowa. Taken together, the two studies represent over 500,000 miles of testing using this technology.


Insight into structure of HIV protein could aid drug design

Researchers in the UI Carver College of Medicine and University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) have created a three-dimensional picture of an important protein that is involved in how HIV—the virus responsible for AIDS—is produced inside human cells. The picture may help researchers design drugs that can prevent HIV from reproducing.

The research team, led by David Price, UI professor of biochemistry, and Tahir Tahirov, professor of structural biology at the Eppley Institute at UNMC, combined expertise in protein chemistry and X-ray crystallography—a technique for observing protein structures—to produce the first crystal structure of the HIV protein called Tat. The structure shows Tat attached to the human protein (P-TEFb) that the virus hijacks during infection.

The structure shows how Tat latches on to this particular human protein and how the interaction alters the shape of the human protein. The study is published in the June 10 issue of the journal Nature.

"We have solved the long sought-after structure of an important HIV protein," Price says. "Now that we know the details of the interaction between Tat and P-TEFb, it may be possible to design inhibitors that target P-TEFb only when it is interacting with Tat."

This distinction is important because although inhibiting P-TEFb blocks replication of the HIV virus, P-TEFb is a vital protein in human cells and inhibiting it kills cells. If an inhibitor could be designed that distinguishes between the P-TEFb attached to Tat and the form that is normal in human cells, that drug might target HIV replication without harming normal cell function.

Such compounds could be useful in combination with existing anti-HIV drugs to further reduce viral levels in HIV-infected individuals.

In addition, drugs that target P-TEFb may also be useful in treating drug-resistant HIV, which is a growing problem. The HIV virus mutates very easily and can develop resistance to current drugs that target viral proteins.


UI team designs award-winning model to spot unknown drug side effects

A research project at The University of Iowa could help health care professionals protect lives by spotting previously unknown harmful side effects of prescription drugs.

Nick Street, an associate professor of management sciences in the Tippie College of Business, says the project team designed a prediction model that suggests harmful drug effects and helps clinicians design further tests to determine if the effect is real.

“Our model doesn’t prove the side effects because that can only come from a clinical trial, but we can find correlations that help set up those trials,” says Street.

Street was part of the development team with Lian Duan and Mohammad Khoshneshin, Tippie doctoral students, and Si-Chi Chin, a doctoral student in information science. The team’s model recently won first prize in a challenge in the Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership (OMOP) Cup, a competition in which participants develop a groundbreaking approach to ensure the safety of prescription drugs.

The contest was a simulation in which the team was given a database of drugs and patient conditions that resembled information taken from medical records, insurance claims and other health care documents. The team members then had to find as many potential negative side affects as they could before the April 1 competition deadline. (Although the competition lasted for six months, the UI team had only two months because they didn’t learn about it until January.) The contest also gave credit for finding the true correlations sooner, which involved spotting the side effects more efficiently by reviewing fewer records.

The team won $5,000 for winning the challenge by finding the potentially dangerous drug/condition pairs from 22 million such pairs in the database. The UI researchers found the interactions using what is known as data mining to arrange and analyze the information in the database to find patterns.

Street says the team’s design could be the basis for developing a tool that would look for real-life drug side effects in the future.



Thorne named head of occupational and environmental health

Peter S. Thorne, has been named head of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health in the UI College of Public Health. The appointment was effective June 1.

"Dr. Thorne brings great enthusiasm and vision to this key leadership role and balances this with excellent administrative leadership skills," says Sue Curry, College of Public Health dean.

Thorne joined the UI faculty in 1988 and was promoted to professor in 1996. His research interests include toxicology, nanotoxicology, air pollution, and inflammatory diseases. He is recognized internationally for his work on the adverse effects of inhaled bioaerosols and their relationship to asthma and occupational lung diseases.

Thorne, who holds a secondary appointment in the UI College of Engineering, also serves as director of the UI Pulmonary Toxicology Facility and director of the UI Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center of Excellence. He also is the associate director of the UI Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Human Toxicology.

Thorne succeeds Craig Zwerling, who is stepping down after serving as department head from 1999 to 2009. Zwerling will remain on the faculty.

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