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Archive for July, 2010

Professor of radiation oncology selected president-elect of society

The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society recently selected a University of Toledo professor its new president-elect.

Feldmeier

Feldmeier

Dr. John Feldmeier, UT professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, was tapped by the members of the organization for the leadership position at the annual meeting in June.

“The election represents the culmination of many years of effort by me in this profession in defining the role for hyperbaric oxygen as a treatment for radiation injuries,” Feldmeier said. “I am especially pleased to be elected to this office because it was achieved by a vote of my professional peers.”

Feldmeier has been a member of the society since 1980, has served as chair of the society’s Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Committee, and is the current chair of the society’s Research Committee. He is also the only physician in the nation to be board-certified in both hyperbaric medicine and radiation oncology.

“The election to a national professional medical society is a rare and humbling honor,” he added. “My goal is to live up to the confidence that my colleagues in hyperbaric oxygen have entrusted in me.”

The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society is the premier professional group for those who practice or pursue research in hyperbaric medicine. The society has a professional membership of about 3,000 physicians and PhDs. These professionals from many different backgrounds share a common interest in diving and/or clinical hyperbaric medicine.

Feldmeier has served as chair of the UT Department of Radiation Oncology for 12 years, and is the former chief of radiation oncology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, as well as at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and Grace-Sinai Hospital in Detroit.

The appointment of Feldmeier is an eight-year term. He will be president-elect for two years, then president of the society for two years. Subsequently, he will serve on the Board of Directors as immediate past president for two years, then as past president for a final two-year period.

As president of the society, Feldmeier said his duties will be scientific, political and administrative. One of his primary goals, he said, is to move his presidency “toward a collaborative multi-institutional research group for hyperbaric oxygen comparable to the cancer research groups sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.”

“My highest goal as a clinician involved in hyperbaric oxygen therapy is to ensure the best quality of care to our patients,” he added.

“Dr. Feldmeier excels as an educator and as a physician, and has shown a genuine commitment to advancing science and medicine,” said Raj Patel, a third-year medical student who worked with Feldmeier on a research project last summer. “He has made many contributions to the field of hyperbaric medicine during his years as a physician.”

New Living Learning Communities offer environmental sustainability, scholastic options

Two new Living Learning Communities this fall will add opportunities for students living in Dowd, Nash and White halls.

The Environmental Sustainability Living Learning Community will be in White and Nash halls, and Dowd Hall will host the Scholastically Enriched Environment.

“Dowd, Nash, White is our oldest building, and we wanted a culture change there and to give students something that would attract them to those residence halls,” Director of Residence Life Jo Campbell said.

The Environmental Sustainability Living Learning Community will house students in all areas of study who have an interest in being “green,” Campbell said.

Plans are under way to have a First-Year Experience course related to environmental sustainability taught at the residence hall, as well as a film series, community garden plot and more. Students who live there also could get involved with events for Earth Day or RecycleMania.

Scholastically Enriched Environment will be a 24-hour quiet study community, Campbell said.

There will be tutoring, peer mentors, supplemental instruction and more offered in Dowd to help students with their academic success. It is open to students of all majors.

The Living Learning Communities enrich the college experience for first-year students, and UT is continuing to add those options for students, Campbell said.

Last year, the College of Engineering Living Learning Community and the Politics, Law and Society Living Learning Floor were added to Parks Tower and the Health Professions Living Learning Community in Carter East.

“I would love to have all our first-year students in a living learning community,” Campbell said. “Students who live in a residence hall do better overall, and those in a living learning community do even better. It is really about the support and connection those students get to their school, and there are far more opportunities to do that when they have these experiences.”

Noted novelist shares lifetime of revelations

The University extended sanctuary to some shady characters — Jazz Age bootleggers, sexual obsessives and high-rolling grifters among them — when acclaimed writer Craig Holden donated his personal papers to the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections in Carlson Library.

Author and UT alumnus Craig Holden and Barbara Floyd, director of the Canaday Center for Special Collections, looked through some of his papers he recently donated to the University.

Author and UT alumnus Craig Holden and Barbara Floyd, director of the Canaday Center for Special Collections, looked through some of his papers he recently donated to the University.

Holden, who grew up in Toledo and took his UT bachelor’s degree in psychology, biology and philosophy in 1983, is the author of faced-paced novels that include The River Sorrow (1993), Four Corners of Night (1999), The Jazz Bird (2001), The Narcissist’s Daughter (2004) and Matala (2007).

Holden’s papers provide a remarkably complete look at his development as a writer, according to Barbara Floyd, director of the Canaday Center. “The collection includes everything from early writing from his days as a student at Rogers High School in Toledo, through his undergraduate years at UT, and from his time in graduate studies in creative writing at the University of Montana at Missoula,” she said. “The collection also includes multiple drafts of his novels, which document how his creative processes work.”

Floyd first asked about the papers some years ago when Holden was teaching writing classes at UT, said the author, who’s now on the English faculty at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. The process of moving from Michigan to New Mexico proved to be the impetus for the transfer, he explained from his new home: “I cleaned everything out that was stored in a loft over the garage, and in my office. My mom had boxes of stuff as well. I wasn’t going to move it all down here, so I talked to Barbara again and the bulk of it went down to UT last summer.”

Holden admitted that the career-spanning contents had gotten away from him: “I wasn’t in a place in my life where I could sit down and organize everything, but Barbara said they would, which is wonderful. To have it all in one place appealed to me. When I took more things down this summer, I had a look at what they had organized and filed.”

The collection should prove interesting to UT students seeking their own careers as authors, Floyd noted. “To see how someone takes a plot idea and develops it through draft after draft is fascinating,” she said. “This collection allows a researcher to get into the mind of the creator in a way that is rarely possible.”

For Holden, now deeply into the process of creating his next novel — a multi-generation family saga set partly in Europe and partly in the Michigan he knows so well — being part of a historical record is a new sensation.

“Yeah, it’s a strange thing — I’m archived,” he said, then laughed. “In a way it’s weird, but it makes me happy to think about the records sitting in a nice temperature-controlled placed where they’re not going to get lost.

“I don’t have to worry about them anymore and I can visit whenever I want.”

Book pays tribute to ‘Arab Americans in Toledo’

Abu-Absi

Abu-Absi

Hollywood hasn’t been kind to Arab Americans. From films that include “Black Sunday” and “Patriot Games” to the TV shows “24” and “Sleeper Cell,” Middle Easterners tend to be typecast as villains.

Such celluloid depiction is one reason Dr. Samir Abu-Absi edited and wrote a chapter for a new book, Arab Americans in Toledo (The University of Toledo Press).

“Unfair and gratuitous stereotypical images of Arab Americans are so prevalent in Western media and popular culture,” he said. “While I was familiar with the negative stereotype attached to Arabs and Muslims, I had faith that the American people were fair-minded enough to recognize the stereotype for what it is.”

But the Gulf War and 9-11 added fuel to vilifying anything Arab or Muslim.

“This is a tremendous problem that needs to be addressed with vigilance,” Abu-Absi said.

The UT professor emeritus of English was born in Lebanon and came to the States for graduate school. After receiving master’s and doctoral degrees in Indiana, he joined the UT faculty and moved to Toledo, where he has lived for more than 40 years.

“I wanted to help recognize the valuable contributions of Arab Americans in Toledo whose stories of struggle, success and community involvement deserve to be told,” he said. “These are decent, hard-working, intelligent people who defy the prevalent stereotype.”

The 320-page book is divided into three sections: heritage, profiles and interviews.

Danny Thomas and Jamie Farr, two celebrities who grew up in the Glass City, are included in the profile section.

“Jamie Farr encouraged me to do this project,” Abu-Absi said. “He gave me permission to reprint some chapters from his autobiography, which we did. He is a very approachable, kind person who loves Toledo.”

More than 30 people helped Abu-Absi with the book. They conducted interviews, wrote chapters and tracked down information.

“It really was a labor of love that so many people contributed to,” Abu-Absi said.

Several of these people have UT connections. Dr. Saleh Jabarin, director of the UT Polymer Institute, wrote a chapter on the University’s Imam Khattab Endowed Chair in Islamic Studies, and Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, UT trustee and professor emeritus of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, contributed a chapter on Abdul Moneim Mahmoud Khattab. Interviews featured include George Isaac, UT benefactor and namesake of UT Medical Center’s George Isaac Minimally Invasive Surgery Center; Dr. Amira Gohara, former acting MCO president and professor and dean emerita of pathology; and Dr. Sonia Najjar, UT professor of physiology and pharmacology and director of the Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Research. Dr. Gaby Semaan, UT lecturer in Arabic, and Michelle Davidson, UT associate lecturer in English, conducted interviews. And numerous University alumni wrote chapters and helped with interviews.

“As an editor and publisher, I am really proud of this book,” said Dr. Tom Barden, director of the UT Honors Program, professor of English and co-editor of the UT Press. “Dr. Abu-Absi and his co-authors have created a fascinating and delightful portrait of this great Toledo community.

“They have also given us an important and timely book. There is so much bigotry and ignorance swirling around the words ‘Arab’ and ‘Arab-American’ right now that I think everyone in the country ought to read it.”

Arab Americans in Toledo, $25, is available in the UT Bookstore and at Borders.

Global leader in alternative energy visits UT, receives honorary degree

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber addressed a crowd of close to 500 in Doermann Theater.

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber addressed a crowd of close to 500 in Doermann Theater.

The University of Toledo welcomed alternative energy expert Dr. Sultan Al Jaber to campus Thursday to lead a green energy discussion and tour UT’s efforts in that area.

Al Jaber spoke to a crowded Doermann Theater about the Masdar Initiative that is Abu Dhabi’s multifaceted program to develop and commercialize renewable energy technologies. Al Jaber is chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co., which is mandated by the government to drive the Masdar Initiative.

Since its inception in 2006, Al Jaber has been Masdar’s chief executive officer and the creative driving force behind the Masdar Initiative. The centerpiece of the initiative is the well-known Masdar City, which is a carbon-neutral, zero-waste municipality.

Al Jaber said Masdar is committed to Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification from a fossil fuel-based economy to a knowledge-led economy, expanding its position in the evolving global energy market, and positioning Abu Dhabi as a leading developer of advanced technologies and as a major contributor toward sustainable human development.

To achieve those goals will require a robust education system with strong research and development capabilities, he said.

“Academia is without a doubt one of the most crucial elements to the successful adoption of clean energy,” Al Jaber said. “It is responsible for developing and advancing technologies while cultivating the required researchers, academics and leaders that will fuel the renewable energy sector’s human capital requirements.”

Rosa Zartman, research associate at the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization (PVIC), spoke with Dr. Sultan Al Jaber as, from left, Dr. Robert Collins and Dr. Frank Calzonetti listened. During his visit, Al Jaber toured several UT locations, including the PVIC labs.

Rosa Zartman, research associate at the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization (PVIC), spoke with Dr. Sultan Al Jaber as, from left, Dr. Robert Collins and Dr. Frank Calzonetti listened. During his visit, Al Jaber toured several UT locations, including the PVIC labs.

Collaboration is another important element to support and drive innovation and development of clean energy technologies, Al Jaber said.

Al Jaber received an honorary degree from UT during the event in recognition of his achievements in the support and promotion of renewable energy in the United Arab Emirates and globally.

He said he was “deeply honored” to receive the degree and was most impressed with the significant strides the University has taken in the development of solar energy.

UT President Lloyd Jacobs said the role of a 21st century university is stewardship, which connects to sustainability, and he complimented His Excellency’s successes in this area.

“What is happening there in Abu Dhabi is truly remarkable. The limits of human capability are literally being challenged before one’s very eyes,” Jacobs said. “But what is equally striking to me is the similarity between Masdar’s audacious goals and ours here at The University of Toledo: [it] is uncanny. The congruence of their mission and goals with ours is truly striking. We are therefore deeply honored to share so much with Masdar City and Institute. We are honored to have this occasion to meet Dr. Al Jaber and by extending our hospitality to him and his colleagues, make the world a better place.”

After the morning event, Al Jaber spent the afternoon with University leaders for a campus tour that visited the College of Engineering, the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization, and the UT Scott Park Campus for Energy and Innovation.

The visit concluded with a tour of Xunlight Corp. in Toledo, which is a solar panel company that started in the UT Clean and Alternative Energy Incubator.

Administrator discusses role of universities in development at national energy forum

The University of Toledo’s role in growing an alternative energy economy in northwest Ohio was highlighted in a forum at the White House as an example of how higher education can contribute to economic development.

Calzonetti

Calzonetti

Dr. Frank Calzonetti, UT vice president for research and development, was one of five panelists invited to participate in the Clean Energy Economy Forum July 16 in Washington, D.C. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, senior government economic officials, and members of the private sector participated in the forum.

Calzonetti, the only speaker representing higher education, used the opportunity to highlight the region’s ability to evolve its “Glass City” history into one of solar energy, particularly through the partnerships between business and University experts and researchers. He described the creation and evolution of what is now First Solar as an example of those partnerships.

“We understand the important role of university research as a primary source of discoveries, talent and opportunities that can support innovation-based economies,” Calzonetti said in his remarks at the forum. “The University has focused its attention in areas where it has particular faculty strengths that supplement regional assets that are also likely to emerge as important to our global economy.”

The role of higher education to help assist in economic development was the theme of Calzonetti’s remarks.

He described the successes of public-private partnerships with universities, noting UT recently joined with Dow Corning to create the Solar Valley Research Enterprise with the financial support of the states of Ohio and Michigan. (Click here to read more.)

In addition, the UT Clean and Alternative Energy Incubator, the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization, and UT Innovation Enterprises were all described as components of the University’s efforts in economic development and community engagement.

Calzonetti said the response to the UT’s work was positive, and while in Washington he was contacted by people interested in research collaborations with the University.

UT was selected to join the forum because of its national leadership in renewable energy, technology transfer, technology incubation and cluster-based economic development, Calzonetti said.

Dow Corning, UT to collaborate on solar research

Researchers at Dow Corning and The University of Toledo announced that the organizations have signed a memorandum of understanding to engage in collaborative discussions on photovoltaic (PV) solar research and development efforts to help reduce the cost of solar energy to make it a viable and economically competitive energy option globally.

“Both Dow Corning and UT want homes and businesses throughout the world to take advantage of clean, renewable energy from the sun,” said Gregg Zank, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Dow Corning. “It is essential that businesses, academics and the government collaborate in order to accelerate the advancement of solar technologies.”

“UT’s capabilities for industrial collaboration have been greatly strengthened over the last three years through the founding of the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization (PVIC) in 2007,” said Dr. Robert Collins, the center’s principal investigator and Distinguished University Professor and the NEG Endowed Chair in Silicate and Materials. “PVIC-affiliated faculty are committed to a collaboration with Dow Corning in which UT’s expertise in photovoltaic thin-film and nanomaterials research and solar cell development complements Dow Corning’s global leadership in materials for PV manufacturing and installation. PVIC faculty are also deeply committed to our shared goals of lowering the cost and increasing the performance of the next generations of photovoltaics products.”

The proposed collaboration between Dow Corning and UT, which could include the addition of other universities or businesses in the future, offers researchers from both organizations the opportunity to share data and technology while allowing both to protect their intellectual property.

UT has a long history of scientific research and industrial collaboration in thin-film photovoltaics. Faculty members from various departments have been involved in research and development of PV materials, devices and manufacturing for more than 25 years. UT is a leadership node of the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization, a world-class science and technology platform established by the state of Ohio to further the research and applications of clean electricity generation.

Dow Corning’s silicon-based materials are used in solar cell manufacturing, solar module assembly and installation. In the past five years, Dow Corning and its joint ventures, the Hemlock Semiconductor Group, have announced investments of more than $5 billion to research and develop as well as to expand production of materials critical to the solar industry.

Dow Corning currently has two Solar Solutions Application Centers in the United States, with similar facilities under construction in Europe and Korea. These facilities enable Dow Corning engineers and scientists to work closely with solar energy leaders to research, develop, evaluate and test silicon and silicone-based materials solutions for use in solar cells and modules.

Both Dow Corning and UT have been active in engaging U.S. policymakers to support alternative energy growth in the U.S. To learn more about Dow Corning’s efforts to promote a comprehensive energy policy that will support the growth and success of the American solar energy industry, visit www.dowcorning.com/solarpolicy.

The Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization was established in 2007 with an $18.6 million award from the state of Ohio’s Third Frontier Program. PVIC, which is built on existing expertise in Ohio on photovoltaics, glass, metal forming, polymer technologies, and high-volume manufacturing is a collaborative effort including UT, Bowling Green State University, Ohio State University and more than 35 other organizations. PVIC’s mission is to research, develop and commercialize new photovoltaic solutions, and to accelerate the deployment of photovoltaic electricity solutions for Ohio, the country and the world. PVIC also is supporting the development of related academic programs to educate the next-generation work force. Read more at www.pvic.org.

Professor recognized for research on headaches, strokes

A University of Toledo researcher’s work with the impact of childhood abuse on future pain and health disorders is receiving national attention.

Tietjen

Tietjen

Dr. Gretchen Tietjen, professor and chair of neurology, director of the Headache Treatment and Research Program, and director of the Stroke Program, recently gave four oral and two poster presentations on the breadth of her research at the American Headache Society’s annual meeting in Los Angeles.

A study Tietjen led of more than 1,300 migraine patients revealed a link between the risk of stroke and heart attack and the number of forms of abuse a person suffered as a child, such as neglect or physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

“It’s fascinating,” Tietjen said. “A few years ago you didn’t see much on the links between childhood stresses and future health problems, but research in this area is really starting to grow.”

The study was noted in a number of journals and news outlets following the June conference. Building on additional work that had already shown that childhood maltreatment is linked to migraines, this study showed that early abuse also puts adults with migraines at greater risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, Tietjen said.

“Dr. Tietjen and her teams are pioneers in understanding the relationship between negative childhood experiences and migraine,” Dr. David Dodick, president of the American Headache Society, said in a news release. “Now we need to drill even deeper to understand the relationship between migraine, aura status, childhood maltreatment and [cardiovascular] disease risk.”

Because people with migraines can be predisposed to other pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia and irritable bowl syndrome, finding the best ways to treat and intervene early could really have an impact on the health of those patients, Tietjen said.

“It’s interesting to learn what course has been set in motion and work to find ways to stop it,” she said. “If you are able to treat the headaches, would that be enough to stop related future conditions? We don’t know yet.”

Tietjen’s research in this area continues. She is involved in another study with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study,” of the general population that surveys thousands about stressful childhood experiences and physical and mental illnesses, including headache, to look for links there.

A larger study, “The American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study,” also is under way to investigate if there is a link between child abuse and migraines specifically or headache pain more broadly, Tietjen said.

“I’d love to be able to take the information from these surveys and research to find ways to help people,” she said.

Tietjen’s research crosses disciplines; her work on stroke is being recognized at the same time as her migraine studies. She earned a first-place Innovation Award at the 2010 International Stroke Conference for her research on biomarkers that linked migraine and stroke in young women.

Rocket women golfers rank fifth nationally in GPA among Division I programs

thumb-rocket-color-logo1The University of Toledo’s women’s golf program ranked fifth academically among NCAA Division I women’s golf programs and 11th among all collegiate programs nationally during the 2009-10 school year.

The Rockets posted a 3.618 cumulative grade-point average for the year. The University of Indianapolis (NCAA Division II) topping all programs with a 3.752 GPA. Indiana State topped all Division I schools with a 3.692 mark.

“This in as unbelievable honor for our program,” Toledo Head Coach Nicole Hollingsworth said. “I am extremely proud of our team for getting it down both in the classroom and on the golf course.”

Earlier this summer, four Rockets were named to the 2009-10 National Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar Team. Senior Marguerite Johnson, junior Emily Hardcastle, junior Michelle Hui and sophomore Kaitlyn Van Gunten were each honored after posting a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher competing in at least 50 percent of the Rockets’ competitions.

Below is a listing of the Top 25 programs in the country:

1. University of Indianapolis 3.752
2. Drury University 3.716
3. Gustavus Adolphus College 3.714
4. Indiana State University 3.692
5. Grand Canyon University 3.655
6. Seton Hill University 3.650
7. University of Memphis 3.642
8. Missouri State University 3.636
9. Cameron University 3.620
Cleveland State University 3.620
11. The University of Toledo 3.618
12. Concordia University – St. Paul 3.613
13. University of New Mexico 3.589
Wichita State University 3.589
15. Weber State University 3.583
16. Augustana College 3.575
Arizona State University 3.575
18. Ohio University 3.571
19. University at Albany, SUNY 3.560
20. University of Arkansas 3.554
21. Ball State University 3.549
22. University of California Santa Cruz 3.548
23. Stanford University 3.535
24. Charleston Southern 3.525
Northwestern University 3.525
University of Oklahoma 3.525

Former football coach to join Rocket Sports Radio Network

Amstutz

Amstutz

Tom Amstutz, former Rocket head football coach, will join the Rocket Sports Radio Network as a color analyst for all UT football games this fall.

Amstutz, who compiled a 58-41 record as head coach from 2001 to 2008, will make his debut with veteran play-by-play announcer Mark Beier in the Rockets’ home opener vs. Arizona Friday, Sept. 3.

“This is a great opportunity for me to stay involved with a football program and university that have been a big part of my life ever since my days as a student,” said Amstutz, who is a director of special projects in the UT Alumni Office. “I’m looking forward to the upcoming football season, and also looking forward to working with Mark Beier, who is one of the best play-by-play men in the business.”

UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien said that Amstutz will be an excellent addition to the Rockets’ radio production.

“Tom’s coaching knowledge and familiarity with our program make him an excellent fit for our radio broadcasts,” O’Brien said. “I think our fans will really enjoy the broadcast team of Tom and Mark Beier.”

Except for a three-year stint as an assistant at Navy from 1987 to 1989, Amstutz has lived in the Toledo area his entire life. He attended Whitmer High School, where he lettered in football, basketball and track. He played football at UT, graduating with a degree in physical education in 1977. He served as an assistant coach at UT from 1977 to 1986 and again from 1990 to 2000 before taking the reins as head coach in 2001.

In his eight years as head coach, Amstutz won Mid-American Conference championships in 2001 and 2004, and MAC West Division crowns in 2002 and 2005. He led team to four bowl appearances, including victories in the 2001 Motor City Bowl and the 2005 GMAC Bowl.

The 2010 football season will mark the second season of the Rocket Sports Radio Network presented by University of Toledo.