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Archive for September, 2016

Physiologist receives grant to study leading cause of death in America

Atherosclerosis is the main cause of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in western societies, and costs the United States more than $200 billion in medical expenses and lost wages each year.

Also known as hardening of the arteries, atherosclerosis is an inflammatory condition in which plaque builds up inside arteries and restricts blood flow, which can lead to reduced flow of blood through coronary arteries, heart attack and stroke.

Vazquez

Vazquez

A University of Toledo researcher has received a $378,750 grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to study a new way to treat this devastating condition.

“You hear the commercials all the time for drugs that help control cholesterol and blood pressure,” said Dr. Guillermo Vazquez, associate professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and associate director of UT’s Center for Hypertension and Personalized Medicine. “These medications help manage two of the major risk factors for atherosclerosis progression and can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, but it is our goal to find new, complementary strategies that could also help reduce the plaque burden in coronary heart disease.”

He said the body has natural ways of clearing arteries of this buildup, but cells called macrophages that take part in this process can become overwhelmed as the plaque grows thicker.

“Specialized cells called macrophages should carry lipids out of the plaque, but they can get stuck, which then contributes to the buildup and further reduces blood supply to the heart,” Vazquez said.

Vazquez and his team have discovered that a protein named TRPC3, which is present in these macrophages, could be controlled in order to help reduce the size of the plaque inside the arteries. They say that removing or turning off the TRPC3 protein may allow the macrophages to leave the arteries, reducing plaque buildup.

“We have developed mouse models of atherosclerosis in which we can test our hypothesis that interrupting TRPC3 functions may lead to increased mobility of the macrophage cells,” Vazquez said. “This concept shows promise for the development of complementary pharmaceuticals that could eventually be used in conjunction with traditional cholesterol-lowering drugs to accelerate the reduction in plaque burden.”

Vazquez also was the recipient of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology’s Service Award in recognition for his excellent support and promotion of the department and the Center for Hypertension and Personalized Medicine. He was recognized at the department’s annual retreat last month.

Chinese alumni donate $25,000 for UT scholarship endowment

A group of Chinese alumni from China and the U.S. will be recognized Monday, Oct. 3, for donating $25,000 to create a scholarship at The University of Toledo.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in Student Union Room 2592. Scheduled to speak are President Sharon L. Gaber; Dr. Sammy Spann, UT assistant vice provost for international studies and programs; and Dan Saevig, UT associate vice president of alumni relations.

Business Hlogo 1c BlackThe donations will be used to start a UT Foundation endowment that will yield around $1,000 annually for a scholarship, according to Xinren Yu, international program coordinator for the UT Center for International Studies and Programs.

“The scholarship will encourage Chinese students to do better at school,” Yu said. “We believe it also will help with international recruitment as scholarships are listed to be an important criterion when students apply.”

“We enjoyed our experience here at UT, and those memories will last forever. Now we are delighted to give back to our university as an appreciation,” said Dr. JJ Dai, a director at Eaton Corp. and UT graduate who led the donation effort. “I hope what we are doing will help more students and inspire others to do the same thing in the future.”

Following the ceremony, the alumni will have lunch with Provost Andrew Hsu, and tour Main Campus as well as the College of Business, College of Engineering, and the Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center on Health Science Campus.

“We want to show the alumni the changes that happened at the University during this 20-year period,” Yu said.

Yu added that this is a great opportunity for the University to develop further collaboration opportunities with successful international alumni: “It could potentially lead to more donations, internship opportunities or even jobs.”

Center for Successful Aging offers adult fitness walking program

The University of Toledo invites adults to participate in free fitness walking classes to improve cardiovascular health, increase fitness and endurance levels, and combat the effects of aging.

RocketWalk FitTracks will be held in Metroparks of the Toledo Area weekdays now through November. The morning fitness walking classes meet at 10 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays at Wildwood Preserve Metropark in Toledo and depart from the Metz Visitor Center. Fitness walks are held Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Fridays at 10 a.m. at Pearson Metropark in Oregon and meets in Parking Lot 9.

FitTracks“FitTracks is a great partnership with the Metroparks of Toledo to improve the health and well-being of adults in northwest Ohio,” said Darci Ault, education and outreach coordinator for UT’s Center for Successful Aging. “We want people to take charge of their health before they experience a health crisis or diagnosis of disease. This is about setting healthy habits now that allow us to maintain our health as we age.”

Classes are geared to accommodate beginner, intermediate and advanced fitness levels and are available on a drop-in basis. Participants will receive a free T-shirt.

“Fall is a great time to get out to walk and explore the trails at our metroparks,” Ault said. “We have over 40 people enrolled in the RocketWalk FitTracks program. People enjoy the camaraderie of exercising in a group and the positivity it brings. We welcome people to start in the program anytime throughout this fall season.”

For more information about RocketWalk FitTracks or the Center for Successful Aging, call 419.530.5208.

Strategic planning process launched

A team representing faculty, staff, students and administrators met for the first time Tuesday, Sept. 27, to launch the University’s strategic planning process.

In her charge to the committee, UT President Sharon L. Gaber made clear that she wants members to listen to all the voices of the UT community, to move rapidly, and to stay focused.

Provost Andrew Hsu is leading the process with the assistance of Dr. Sharon McDade, a consultant with vast experience in this field. Dr. Laurie Dinnebeil, Distinguished University Professor and chair of early childhood, physical and special education, and Dr. Anthony Quinn, associate professor of biological sciences and assistant dean for diversity and inclusion in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, are serving as co-chairs of the committee.

In the initial session, the committee heard presentations from Dr. Ying Liu, director of institutional research; Dr. Brian Ashburner, vice provost for retention and undergraduate studies; and Stephanie Sanders, interim vice president of the Division of Enrollment Management. All shared historical and current data on student demographics, including enrollment, performance and retention, to ensure the team had the same information going into the planning process.

In small group discussions, the committee also began working on a SWOT analysis, identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the institution. This discussion will be continued next week when the team meets again.

As part of the process, the team agreed to conduct up to eight listening sessions with the University community during two weeks in mid- to late-October. There also will be opportunities to provide input online.

To keep up to date with the strategic planning process, visit utoledo.edu/strategicplan.

International human rights activist to speak at UT Oct. 3

A Norwegian anesthesiologist, trauma expert, humanitarian and human rights activist will share his experiences working to save lives during the Israeli attacks on Gaza at a lecture at The University of Toledo.

Dr. Mads Gilbert will speak Monday, Oct. 3, at 6 p.m. in the Lois and Norman Nitschke Auditorium on Main Campus.

Gilbert flyerA reception will be held after the lecture, and Gilbert will sign copies of his latest book, Night in Gaza, which will be available for purchase.

Gilbert heads the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University Hospital of North Norway and is a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Tromsø.

For more than 40 years, Gilbert has supported solidarity work with the Palestinian people, serving during several intense, violent periods in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon. He is renowned for his work, including his books Eyes in Gaza and Night in Gaza, which document the horrors of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, an attack that killed about 1,400 Gazans, and Operation Protective Edge, which killed more than 2,000 civilians.

Gilbert’s visit is organized by UT Students for Justice in Palestine, an advocacy group whose mission is to raise awareness of issues facing the people of Palestine and pursue social justice as global citizens.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to have Dr. Gilbert visit the UT campus,” said Shahrazad Hamdah, a UT higher education graduate student and steering committee member of the student organization. “We invite anyone interested in health care or humanitarian efforts to hear this respected physician and human rights activist speak about his experiences.”

The lecture is sponsored by Tiffin Area Pax Christi, Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition, Project Peace, Northwest Ohio Free Speech Alliance, United Muslim Americans of Toledo and Al-Madinah Community Center.

UT ranked among world’s top research universities

The University of Toledo is ranked among the world’s top research universities in the 2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings released last week.

Out of the 980 ranked institutions across 79 countries, which represents 5 percent of the world’s higher education institutions, UT is listed in the range between 501 and 600. The ranking system reviews the core missions of the universities — teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

times higher education logo“Rankings provide an important measurement tool to evaluate where UT stands among its peers in higher education, and this specific ranking provides both an international perspective and one that emphasizes research,” said Dr. Frank Calzonetti, vice president of research. “UT researchers increasingly collaborate with international colleagues as we work together to solve the issues facing our world, and this ranking reflects the positive impact of our research efforts.”

UT was invited to submit data to the Times Higher Education in 2015 in recognition of its research enterprise and was ranked for the first time in 2016 in the 501 to 600 band, but among 800 institutions at that time.

In the most recent rankings, which reflect data from 2014, UT experienced its greatest growth in the citation impact category that is calculated by an independent review of the number of times research articles by UT faculty members are cited in the scholarly work of others.

The rankings also take into account teaching and research reputation, percentage of international staff and students, and research and instructional income, among other factors.

The top university in the world, according to the 2017 Times Higher Education World Rankings, is the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. It is the first time a U.S. institution does not top the list in the 12-year history of the rankings.

UT faired well among Ohio universities: Ohio State is 72, Case Western Reserve University is 126, University of Cincinnati is in the 201 to 250 range, Kent State University is in the 401 to 500 range, and Miami University and Ohio University are in the 601 to 800 range.

Apply by Oct. 10 to compete ‘Shark Tank’-style at Pitch & Pour

Organizers of northwest Ohio’s largest entrepreneurial business pitch competition and networking event called Pitch & Pour are looking for people with ideas to compete for up to $10,000 in cash and prizes.

The application deadline for the competition modeled after “Shark Tank” is Monday, Oct. 10. Any technology-based business startup can apply.

Pitch & Pour logoPitch & Pour 5.0 will take place from Thursday, Nov. 10, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex at The University of Toledo.

“We are proud to be providing the opportunity for candidate companies and entrepreneurs to enlist in the event,” Jessica Sattler, director of economic engagement and business development programs at UT, said. “We’re looking for high-tech, high growth, technology-enabled, web-based enterprises that demonstrate innovation and business concepts with the potential to develop into successful companies.”

Selected teams have five minutes and five slides to pitch their business concepts to the region’s investors, venture capitalists, professors and business leaders. Judges determine the winner. UT LaunchPad Incubation plans to finalize teams by mid-October.

“Although the prizes we award our competitors are great, gaining exposure to influencers who can spot successful ventures can often prove more valuable,” Sattler said. “Connecting with northwest Ohio’s tech business leaders and investors creates valuable opportunity to help your business grow.”

Pitch & Pour competitors have the opportunity to be invited to join UT’s LaunchPad Incubation Program, which works to bolster innovation in northwest Ohio by providing access to capital, resources and expertise focused on enhancing community collaboration and communication for entrepreneurial development.

To apply for the Pitch & Pour event, visit pitchandpour.com.

120 companies to recruit UT business students at fall job fair

While U.S. presidential candidates regularly speak future job growth, the current job outlook for students in The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation is bright, as evidenced by 120 companies coming on campus to participate in the college’s fall job fair Friday, Sept. 30.

Approximately 500 UT business students will participate in the college’s annual autumn job fair from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Student Union.

Some 500 UT College of Business and Innovation students are expected to attend the fall job fair.

Some 500 UT College of Business and Innovation students are expected to attend the fall job fair.

Companies including the Cleveland Browns, Coca-Cola, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Dana Holding Corp., Owens-Illinois Inc., and Ernst & Young will participate.

“The issue of jobs is at the top of the minds of many Americans during this election year,” Dr. Terribeth Gordon-Moore, senior associate dean of the College of Business and Innovation, said. “That only reminds us of how excited and happy we are for our students that so many well-known companies are coming to the UT College of Business and Innovation to find the talent they need. This reflects very positively on the quality of both our programs and our students. It also demonstrates the extremely dynamic and mutually beneficial relationship enjoyed by our college and recruiters for major national companies such as La-Z-Boy, the Detroit Pistons, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Quicken Loans and Thyssenkrupp Materials.”

Employers are looking for undergraduate students to participate in business internships and their leadership development programs, as well as for seniors and graduates seeking full-time employment, she noted.

“We strongly encourage our freshman students to attend the job fair, engage these company representatives, and begin a relationship with these employers now,” Gordon-Moore said.

“This semiannual job fair is part of what we do to prepare our students for their futures,” she explained, adding that the college’s Business Career Programs office works year-round to assist students in acquiring internships and jobs upon graduation. “We strive to provide the necessary resources so our students can conduct their own tailored job searches.”

More than 85 percent of UT College of Business and Innovation students participate in internships, and the job placement rate for spring 2015 business graduates was a record 93 percent.

UT launches faculty leadership programs

A new fellowship program and leadership institute at The University of Toledo will provide opportunities for increased faculty leadership development on campus.

UT President Sharon L. Gaber and Provost Andrew Hsu are launching the two programs to present opportunities in higher education administration and improve career satisfaction among the University’s faculty.

Business Hlogo 1c Black“UT has some fantastic faculty, and we want to further develop those future academic leaders for success in higher education administration,” Gaber said.

“We are committed to providing opportunities to help prepare future academic leaders and if these opportunities are appropriate at this point in your career, we hope you will consider applying,” Hsu said.

The first UT Presidential Faculty Fellowship through the Office of the President will award two faculty members the opportunity to shadow the president and provost in a mentorship program during the upcoming spring semester. The fellows, who are to receive a one-course release, will work on projects that further the institution and receive insight into the skills needed in higher education administration.

The inaugural UT Leadership Institute through the Office of the Provost will provide up to 15 faculty members the opportunity to participate in a six-month program beginning in December that features monthly discussions of various aspects of leadership in higher education. Issues such as the administrative structure of higher education, leadership styles, critical issues facing administrators, funding, diversity and inclusion will be addressed by current UT leadership and invited speakers. It is open to all tenured faculty who aspire to be administrators, as well as current chairs and associate or assistant deans who aspire to a greater level of leadership responsibility.

Applications are being accepted for both competitive programs. Visit utoledo.edu/offices/president/faculty-fellowship to apply for the fellowship program by the Oct. 14 deadline and utoledo.edu/offices/provost/ut-leadership-institute.html to apply for the leadership institute by the Oct. 28 deadline.

Flu shots available soon for UT employees and students

In an effort to keep its employees and patients healthy this flu season, The University of Toledo will provide several opportunities to receive flu shots on campus throughout October and November.

The vaccinations will be offered free of charge to all physicians, faculty, staff, residents, students, health-care workers and volunteers during a six-week period starting Monday, Oct. 3, and ending Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Flu Shot PosterThis is the second year for the universal flu shot policy. Flu shots are required for individuals who work in the hospital and ambulatory clinics, and for those whose duties require them to enter patient care areas. Proof of vaccination is required by Thursday, Dec. 1.

While not required for faculty, staff and students on Main Campus, vaccinations are highly encouraged, and clinics will be available for those wishing to get a flu shot.

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can lead to serious complications for young children, the elderly, and those with certain medical conditions. Kip Miller, director of primary care clinics, said healthy individuals can transmit influenza even if they are not exhibiting symptoms.

“It is important that we control the spread of influenza as much as possible,” he said. “We should always be mindful of the health of the patients we come in contact with and help to reduce the spread of the flu, particularly among those whose health is already compromised due to illness or surgery.”

A full immunization schedule is available online at https://webinfluenzaapp.utoledo.edu. Individuals need to complete the vaccine administration questionnaire found on this website prior to receiving a vaccination. Those wishing to receive their flu shot outside of the flu clinics must upload proof of immunization to this website.

Individuals seeking to file an exemption due to religious or medical reasons need to have a request on file by Monday, Oct. 31. Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Those granted an exemption will be required to wear a mask during flu season, which typically runs from Dec. 1 through March 31.

“We had a good response to the requirement when implemented last year,” Miller said. “We are confident that our health-care community will continue to support this effort to keep us all healthier this flu season.”