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New chemistry lab to be dedicated in honor of water quality leader, UToledo alum Sept. 19

The University of Toledo is honoring a successful alumna who inspired generations of students to pursue careers in chemistry and focused her life’s work on improving water quality and the preservation of safe drinking water around the globe.

A dedication ceremony for the new Dr. Nina McClelland Laboratory for Water Chemistry and Environmental Analysis in The University of Toledo College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics is 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19 in Bowman-Oddy Laboratories Room 2059.

Dr. Nina McClelland

The namesake of the new chemistry lab will attend the event.

“We are proud to recognize Dr. McClelland’s important contributions to science and to The University of Toledo,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Water quality is a critical area of research at our University, and this new lab will benefit our scientists and students in their search for solutions to protect public health and the environment.”

The lab features state-of-the-art equipment, including novel extraction and microextraction technology and high-resolution mass spectrometry, tandem mass spectrometry and an advanced imaging system.

McClelland, UToledo dean emerita, retired from the University in 2011 after serving as dean of the UToledo College of Arts and Sciences, as well as working in the Provost’s Office. She began at UToledo in 2003 as an adjunct professor in the Department of Chemistry.

McClelland served as chair of the Board of Directors for the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific organization. She also served as chairman, president and chief executive officer during her more than 30 years with NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to certifying products and writing standards for food, water and consumer goods.

She has served on several major committees, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce, the National Drinking Water Advisory Council in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Committee on Water Treatment Chemicals in the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council.

McClelland earned bachelor and master of science degrees from UToledo in 1951 and 1963, respectively. She received her doctoral degree in environmental chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1968. UToledo awarded her an honorary doctorate in science in 2003.


Naturalization Ceremony to Take Place Sept. 17 at UToledo

More than 70 people will become U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17 in the Law Center McQuade Auditorium on The University of Toledo’s Main Campus.

Judge Mary Ann Whipple of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio will preside over the ceremony, which will celebrate Constitution Day at the University.

UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber will give welcome remarks at the event, which will feature alumna Grisoranyel Barrios as this year’s guest speaker.

Barrios moved from Venezuela to Toledo when she was 7 years old. She attended Springfield Local Schools before coming to The University of Toledo, where she received a bachelor of arts degree in political science and a bachelor of social work degree in 2018.

She is pursuing a master’s degree in social work specializing in policy at Washington University in St. Louis and plans to graduate in December.

Barrios attended the 2017 naturalization ceremony, where she opened the court, and became a U.S. citizen in March 2019.

“I look forward to participating in the ceremony yet again, but this time as a UToledo alumna and a U.S. citizen,” Barrios said.

“Hosting this naturalization ceremony on campus is a wonderful way to celebrate Constitution Day and to honor our country’s history,” Diane Miller, chief of staff and associate vice president for government relations, said. “It is so moving to watch individuals achieve their dreams of becoming U.S. citizens.”

Constitution Day is annually observed in America to commemorate the formation and signing of the Constitution of the United States on Sept. 17, 1787.

The free, public event is sponsored by the Office of Government Relations and the Center for International Studies and Programs.


NSF invests nearly $1 million in new UToledo program to increase access to engineering degree

The National Science Foundation awarded $999,984 to The University of Toledo to operate an innovative program that supports academically talented and low-income students who want to pursue an engineering degree.

The program known as GEARSET – which stands for Greater Equity, Access and Readiness for Success in Engineering and Technology – creates an alternative pathway to a bachelor’s degree in engineering for first-year students who did not meet the College of Engineering’s requirements and were admitted into University College’s Department of Exploratory Studies.

“This population is generally more diverse in terms of both ethnicity and socioeconomic status than the demographic trends for engineering colleges across the country,” said program leader Dr. Lesley Berhan, associate professor in the UToledo Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering and associate dean for diversity, inclusion and community engagement.

“GEARSET will ultimately increase diversity in the College of Engineering – a priority for both the University and employers who hire our graduates,” said Dr. Mike Toole, dean of the UToledo College of Engineering.

“Our pursuit of inclusive excellence is a key part of our strategic plan, our core values and what we do on a daily basis. This grant will enable us to provide a new pathway to a degree in engineering for deserving students, further enabling us to provide a diverse pipeline of talented engineers to the region.”

Students who meet the program’s admission criteria, which include testing into trigonometry and a minimum high school grade point average of 3.0, will meet regularly with engineering advisors and enroll in courses designed to introduce engineering principles, applications of mathematics and professional development, in addition to other courses needed to meet the College of Engineering’s transfer requirements.

“By building a sense of belonging, developing the students’ engineering identity, and shortening the time to transfer colleges, we will foster a more inclusive environment in the College of Engineering that is more reflective of the community we serve and the University as a whole,” Berhan said.

As part of the five-year grant, two cohorts of low-income students also will receive a scholarship for up to seven semesters once they transfer into the College of Engineering. The scholarships, based on need, would average $6,400 a year.

Berhan said GEARSET, which debuted as a pilot program with a total of 32 students at the start of the 2019-20 academic year, is designed to help students who may have had limited access to college- and career-counseling in high school.

“Some students may have an interest in being an engineer but may not have had the exposure or opportunities that others have in high school,” Berhan said. “Those students can still be great engineers. We have to rethink how we define potential and recognize that talent comes in all forms.”

The NSF grant starts Jan. 1 and can support scholarships for approximately 40 students, as well as curriculum, advising and programming for an estimated 150 additional students. The program is accepting all students, but only low-income students will be eligible for scholarships.

“This award represents an important step forward in the effort to foster STEM education in our community,” said U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur. “By creating a pipeline for more socio-economic and ethnically diverse engineering students in our region, this funding provides a pathway for future minds to break into these important fields. The award is a model to ensure our students are at the table for the economic future of our community.”

Berhan leads many diversity initiatives aimed at encouraging more students to pursue engineering careers, such as the annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.

“The long-term benefits to the college and the community are incredible,” Berhan said. “We are working on several different fronts to improve math and science preparedness, access, and student success.”


Update: September Board of Trustees Meetings

UPDATE: BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETINGS
Monday, Sept. 16, 2019

Libbey Hall, Second Floor Main Dining Room
11 a.m. Clinical Affairs Committee Meeting
1 p.m. Academic and Student Affairs Committee Meeting
1:15 p.m. Finance and Audit Committee Meeting
1:30 p.m. Trusteeship and Governance Committee Meeting
1:45 p.m. Board of Trustees Meeting

Libbey Hall, Third Floor Conference Room
12:30 p.m. Special Board of Trustees Meeting and Luncheon
The Board of Trustees will enter Executive Session immediately upon convening the meeting to discuss the employment of a public employee. Trustees also will appoint a Secretary to the Board.

Any questions may be directed to the Office of University Marketing and Communications by calling 419.530.2410 or via email to meghan.cunningham@utoledo.edu.


Update: September Board of Trustees Meetings

UPDATE: BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETINGS
Monday, Sept. 16, 2019

Libbey Hall, Second Floor Main Dining Room
11 a.m. Clinical Affairs Committee Meeting
1 p.m. Academic and Student Affairs Committee Meeting
1:15 p.m. Finance and Audit Committee Meeting
1:30 p.m. Trusteeship and Governance Committee Meeting
1:45 p.m. Board of Trustees Meeting

Libbey Hall, Third Floor Conference Room
12:30 p.m. Special Board of Trustees Meeting and Luncheon
The Board of Trustees will enter Executive Session immediately upon convening the meeting to discuss the employment of a public employee.

Any questions may be directed to the Office of University Marketing and Communications by calling 419.530.2410 or via email to meghan.cunningham@utoledo.edu.


International Conference at UToledo Targeting Human Trafficking Grows to Record Level

In the wake of high-profile sex trafficking charges against financier Jeffrey Epstein and singer R. Kelly, this dark world of modern-day slavery is under an intense spotlight and garnering global attention.

Survivors, researchers and advocates around the world are coming together next week for the 16th Annual International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference at The University of Toledo.

This year marks the largest event since the conference began at UToledo in 2004 and for the first time features an art exhibit in collaboration with the UToledo Department of Art to raise critical consciousness for social justice.

“We are proud so many people want to learn about human trafficking,” said Dr. Celia Williamson, Distinguished University Professor and director of the UToledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute. “Our conference brings sex and labor trafficking out of the shadows and helps end abuse. More than ever before, we have the opportunity to educate, collaborate and save lives.”

The conference, which – to date – has welcomed presenters from 42 states and 30 countries, is Thursday and Friday, Sept. 19 and 20 in the Thompson Student Union on Main Campus.

UToledo’s Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute and the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition host the conference.

Williamson recently published a new book titled “A Seat at the Table: The Courage to Care About Trafficking Victims,” which tells her life story and transition from at-risk for trafficking to a world-renown social worker and researcher, working directly with victims and revolutionizing global anti-trafficking efforts.

At this year’s conference, Williamson will unveil her new, free human trafficking risk assessment tool (HTRISK) that she developed with support from the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund, as well as release the findings from her study of 400 Ohio youth. That presentation is 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20 in the Thompson Student Union Ingman Room. Watch the livestream at toledoalumni.org/membership/affiliates/2019-human-trafficking.html.

“With limited time, money and resources, advocates need to know which youth are at the highest risk for sex trafficking and then do their best to prevent it,” Williamson said.

Media also are invited from 9 to 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18 when 475 high school students from the area will gather in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium for Human Trafficking 101, where they also will learn about dating violence and participate in a poetry slam.

For a full schedule of presentations, visit traffickingconference.com.

New this year, the UToledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute and the College of Arts and Letters partnered together for an art exhibit titled “Faces of Trafficking,” which features people from the greater Toledo community who are leading the fight to end trafficking.

“It is an opportunity to bring to life the people impacted by human trafficking and to provide a path for the community to join the fight,” Barbara Miner, professor and chair of the UToledo Department of Art, said.

The tall black-and-white photography installation called “The Pillars” features people on the front lines in the war against trafficking.

“These are warriors holding up the ceiling of hope,” Miner said. “Using an arresting, striking style, we’re showcasing people like Celia Williamson as well as medical and law enforcement professionals among others who work under the radar and often go unnoticed, but who are working tirelessly to protect people suffering through contemporary slavery.”

Artwork created by current and former art students in response to trafficking stories and the global issue also will be on display.

The exhibit is free and open to the public from Thursday, Sept. 19 through Friday, Dec. 6 at the UToledo Center for the Visual Arts, 620 Art Museum Drive. The hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The UToledo Center for the Visual Arts also is featuring a special project, “A Thousand Hands, A Million Stars,” a collaboration uniting visual art, poetry, music and dance produced by former UToledo faculty member Denise Ritter Bernardini.

 


UToledo to commemorate 18th anniversary of Sept. 11 terror attacks

The University of Toledo is commemorating the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with the second annual Run to Remember, a 22 push-up challenge and a memorial stair climb.

The UToledo Army ROTC Program is inviting the community to participate in its second annual Run to Remember Wednesday, Sept. 11.

Registration and T-shirt pickup will begin at 7 a.m. at the UToledo track by the Health Education Center on Main Campus. An opening ceremony will follow at 7:30 a.m., and the run and walk will begin at 7:40 a.m.

University Hall’s bell tower will chime at 8:46 a.m., the time when the attacks began in 2001, and the event will conclude with a moment of silence.

“We’re running to honor and commemorate the men and women who showed selfless service as they descended to Ground Zero to help in the search and rescue efforts of those who were either injured or killed during the 9/11 attacks,” Maj. Colby Pepon, professor and chair of the Military Science and Leadership Department, said.

The 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb begins at 12:30 p.m. in the Glass Bowl. Participants will climb the equivalent to the 110 stories of the World Trade Center in honor of those lost in the 2001 attacks.

The UToledo Military Service Center will host the 22 Push-Up Challenge from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of Memorial Field House.

Campus and community members can stop by and do 22 push-ups — and learn more about the veteran suicide epidemic in the United States.

“We were looking for a way to raise awareness of veteran suicide on campus, and the 22 Push-Up Challenge model has seen great success in raising awareness across the country,” said Eric Buetikofer, UToledo director of military and veteran affairs.

Representatives from the UToledo Military Service Center, University Counseling Center, UToledo ROTC, the Army National Guard, the Lucas County Veterans Service Commission and the Toledo Vet Center will be at the event to provide information.

The 22 Push-Up Challenge started in 2013 when Veterans Affairs announced an average of 22 veterans committed suicide every day. The campaign was started to promote awareness of veteran suicide prevention.


UToledo study identifies first potential biomarker for POTS, a rare condition that causes rapid heartbeat and potential fainting

New research from The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences strongly suggests postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, is an autoimmune disorder and may help pave the way for a simple blood test that could help physicians diagnose the condition.

POTS is characterized by large increases in heart rate and sometimes decreases in blood pressure when standing up. That can cause lightheadedness, heart palpitations and even loss of consciousness. In addition to fainting, POTS patients also regularly suffer from a litany of additional symptoms, including fatigue, pain, gastrointestinal issues, bleeding disorders, anxiety and brain fog.

About 3 million Americans are believed to be affected, but because of its wide-ranging and seemingly unrelated symptoms, POTS is notoriously difficult to identify.

“The trouble with diagnosing POTS is that it’s currently principally a clinical diagnosis. It’s based on history, the absence of other illness as well as the finding of increase in heart rate when standing. There is no blood test right now to aid in the diagnosis. It can be an incredibly frustrating process for patients,” said Dr. Blair Grubb, Distinguished University Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics in the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences and director of electrophysiology services at The University of Toledo Medical Center.

In the largest study of POTS patients to date, published Monday, Sept. 9, in the Journal of the American Heart Association, Grubb and UToledo research collaborators found 89 percent of patients they examined had elevated levels of autoantibodies against the adrenergic alpha 1 receptor.

“People have suspected an autoimmune connection for years, and other small-scale studies have suggested it,” said Grubb, one of the world’s foremost experts in syncope and disorders of the autonomic nervous system. “We did a much larger cross-section of patients than has ever been done before, and found that almost all of them tested positive for autoimmune antibodies. That’s a significant finding.”

None of the 55 patients who participated in the study had another recognized autoimmune disorder. Fifty-two were female, with an average age of 30.

Researchers screened the patients’ blood for autoantibodies against nine receptors. A handful of patients showed elevated levels against all nine. But it was the prevalence of adrenergic A1 subtype receptor autoantibodies that make their findings so intriguing.

“I think that we have identified a biomarker. We now might have the ability to diagnosis this, or at least have an inkling. Like other autoimmune disease, we can take a blood sample and detect if there are increased levels of autoantibodies present. According to our results, autoantibodies against this particular receptor should be present in about 90 percent of patients with POTS,” said Dr. William Gunning, a professor of pathology in the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and the paper’s lead author.

Gunning and Grubb say much more research is needed. However, this study adds significantly to the evidence that POTS is an autoimmune disorder — and it shows it may be possible to give physicians unfamiliar with the condition an easy way to test for it.

“What this does is prove the concept,” Grubb said. “Other studies had used very expensive research tests. What we used are the same kind of testing methods that would be used by regular hospitals. We wanted to do something that would potentially be a test applicable to the general population, not just a research test.”

While Gunning and Grubb caution they’re still investigating the precise methods by which POTS is established, their study does raise the possibility that existing immune modulating medications could be a viable therapeutic method for some patients.

The study was supported by funding from the Dysautonomia Advocacy Foundation, the Life as a Zebra Foundation, and the Virginia Lounsbury Foundation.


UToledo supports ‘Ohio IP Promise’ to fuel innovation, strengthen economy

The University of Toledo is one of 14 public universities in the state to unite in Columbus today in support of the “Ohio Intellectual Property (IP) Promise,” an initiative led by Lt. Governor Jon Husted.

The event hosted by the Inter-University Council of Ohio showcased how universities are working to strengthen Ohio’s innovation economy, attract researchers, and serve as a magnet for investors and entrepreneurs.

“The University of Toledo is proud to participate in the ‘Ohio IP Promise’ in support of our researchers and intellectual property as a powerful tool for economic development,” said UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber, who serves as chair of the Inter-University Council of Ohio. “As we make discoveries and invent new technologies on campus, we work to provide a clear path for our researchers to navigate the journey from the lab to the commercial marketplace.”

The guiding principles of the Ohio IP Promise are:

  • Flexible: Provide industry choices for accessing intellectual property developed through sponsored research;
  • Transparent: Publish template sponsored research and license agreements;
  • Simple: Deliver fair and streamlined guidelines for faculty creator startups;
  • Clear: Communicate licensing processes on university websites in a clear, prominent way;
  • Easy: Provide well-defined university entry points for industry, investors and entrepreneurs; and
  • Fast: Reduce impediments that hinder the pace of transactions.

“Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted challenged our public universities to bring to life their vision for a stronger economy and IP leadership in Ohio,” IUC President Bruce Johnson said. “Our universities have stepped up in a big way with enthusiasm, creativity and imagination. The residents of Ohio will be the short-term and long-term beneficiaries of this program.”

The Office of Technology Transfer at UToledo helps protect intellectual property and provides professional patenting and licensing services to UToledo’s faculty, staff and students.


September Board of Trustees Meetings

BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETINGS
Monday, Sept. 9, 2019
Libbey Hall, Third Floor Conference Room
5:30 p.m. Board of Trustees Dinner

Monday, Sept. 16, 2019
Libbey Hall, Second Floor Main Dining Room
11 a.m. Clinical Affairs Committee Meeting
1 p.m. Academic and Student Affairs Committee Meeting
1:15 p.m. Finance and Audit Committee Meeting
1:30 p.m. Trusteeship and Governance Committee Meeting
1:45 p.m. Board of Trustees Meeting

A luncheon for the trustees will be held at 12:30 p.m.
in Libbey Hall, Third Floor Conference Room.

Any questions may be directed to the Office of Marketing and Communications
by calling 419.530.2410 or via email to meghan.cunningham@utoledo.edu.