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Football legend, technology expert to speak at UT commencement ceremonies

Chuck Ealey and Dr. Helen Sun will return to The University of Toledo to give addresses during spring commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 5, in the Glass Bowl.

Ealey, the football star and businessman, will speak at the undergraduate ceremony at 10 a.m. Sun, a technology strategist known for transforming companies, will come out for the graduate commencement at 3 p.m.

There are 3,094 candidates for degrees from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Health and Human Services; Graduate Studies; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College. There are 987 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates, and 2,107 for bachelor’s and associate’s degrees.

The public ceremonies can be viewed live at utoledo.edu/video.

Ealey

UT will award Ealey an honorary doctor of humane letters.

“It is amazing, wonderful and humbling to have the opportunity to speak to the 2018 graduates of The University of Toledo,” Ealey said. “What I want to share is what I have learned — and am still learning — after I graduated. It’s about a legacy dream that can come true.”

He made dreams a reality as the UT quarterback who became a legend leading the Rockets to 35 victories in three seasons and as a trailblazer for African-American QBs in the Canadian Football League.

After finishing 18-0 in high school in Portsmouth, Ohio, Ealey received a football scholarship to the University. While earning a business degree in economics, he earned some nicknames for his exploits on the field: Mr. Cool, The Wizard of Oohs and Aahs. With Ealey at quarterback, Toledo went 35-0 from 1969 to 1971. He racked up 5,903 yards in total offense and 54 touchdowns while leading the Rockets to final Associated Press rankings of No. 20 in 1969, No. 12 in 1970, and No. 14 in 1971, finishing eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting his senior year.

Despite the eye-popping numbers, Ealey was passed over as a quarterback in the 1972 NFL draft. Although offered other positions, he was committed to becoming a professional quarterback and elected to go to the Canadian Football League. As a rookie, he led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to the Grey Cup Championship in 1972 and was named Most Valuable Player. During his seven years in the CFL, he also played for the Toronto Argonauts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

After hanging up his helmet, Ealey was a certified financial planner with Investors Group for 30 years. He recently stepped out of his role as regional director to do more client and corporate coaching. The 1972 UT alumnus also inspires through the Chuck Ealey Foundation, which helps people discover and embrace their undefeated spirit to better themselves and their community.

Sun

Sun, chief technology officer of architecture, engineering and data management at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Chicago, received a PhD in educational technology from UT in 2001. She is an expert in revolutionizing businesses through innovative solutions, including artificial intelligence, cloud, analytics and architecture.

“I’m very excited to be coming back to campus and reflect on how my IT career took shape during the years I attended UT,” said Sun, who developed websites while in graduate school.

“I’ll wrap my speech around three personal experiences: How I started a career in technology — find where your passion lies; how my seemingly diverse career path has taken me to where I am — take risks and never let fear of failure deter you away from opportunities; and who my true hero is throughout these years — don’t let what others do to you change who you are,” she said.

Prior to joining JPMorgan Chase & Co., Sun was vice president for cloud computing, information and architecture at Motorola Solutions Inc. She has held senior leadership positions at some of the world’s most recognizable companies, including Harbor Capitol Advisors, NewEdge Group, Oracle Corp. and Salesforce.com Inc.

At Oracle, Sun became the first woman to achieve Oracle Enterprise Architect status and was honored as Oracle Enterprise Architect of the Year in 2011. In 2016, the Chicago Business Journal named her one of 50 honorees for its Women of Influence Awards.

She is the co-author of “Oracle Big Data Handbook,” “Pro Salesforce Analytics Cloud: A Guide to Wave Platform, Builder and Explorer” and “Master Competitive Analytics With Oracle Endeca Information Discovery.” Sun is a frequent speaker at major conferences and symposia; she gave the keynote address at the Open Group Big Data Conference in 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.

In addition to her passion serving as a mentor for women, Sun was a member of the UT Business Advisory Board from 2012 to 2016. She is co-chair of the Computer Science Advisory Board at Bowling Green State University.

Those planning to attend commencement are advised to use the west entrance off Secor Road and the south entrance off Dorr Street to avoid congestion on West Bancroft Street.

The College of Law will hold its commencement Sunday, May 6, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

And the College of Medicine and Life Sciences’ graduation ceremony will take place Friday, May 25, at 2 p.m. in Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. in Toledo.

Upgrading UT to Banner 9

UT’s Division of Technology is working in conjunction with academic and administrative departments to transition the University from Banner 8 to Banner 9.

Banner 9 delivers an improved user experience by offering new tools and expanded mobile capabilities.

“The University will greatly benefit from this upgrade because of Banner 9’s capacity to significantly improve functionality and user experience,” said Bill McCreary, vice president and chief information and technology officer. “Banner 9 is very intuitive and easy to use, plus this upgrade aligns with our overarching strategy to enhance daily operations with seamless communication across applications and processes, better connecting the University.”

“Among many useful features, you can use any type of modern web browser,” explained John Cavins, senior director of information technology. “Also, Banner 9 works on mobile devices, such as iPads and tablets, which may provide more convenience for many of our users.”

Over the past few months, implementation team members have been testing the administrative pages for Banner 9, primarily used by core office personnel. On March 26, the Banner 9 administrative application went live in parallel with Banner 8, and full implementation of Banner 9 — including all of the self-service functionality — will occur by the end of 2019.

What does this IT upgrade mean for the everyday user? Among myriad benefits, when fully implemented, Banner 9 will enable faculty to post grades via their smart phones; students to enroll for classes on mobile devices; and managers to quickly access information for each of their team members, such as contact information, profile pictures and leave balances, all on one landing page.

Additionally, departments that directly serve students should find Banner 9 better enables them to create and send registration reminders, financial aid notification, scholarship award letters, and other important messages. And Human Resources will have expanded functionality managing employment files, personnel actions and other operational duties.

For more information about UT’s upgrade to Banner 9, visit utoledo.edu/it/banner9. Questions may be sent to banner9@utoledo.edu.

Parking garages to close for repairs in May

Restoration work is scheduled for the Main Campus east and west parking garages, which are slated to close from May to early July.

The annual construction project is expected to start Monday, May 7, and run through Friday, July 6. 

If works stays on schedule, the garages will open the week of July 9, according to Doug Collins, director of grounds and off-site facilities. 

The project will include concrete repairs to the floor systems, as well as installation of sealants, that will require both ramps be closed during the project, according to Collins.

“The main scope of the work will be installing supplemental horizontal reinforcement,” Collins said. “Other repairs, such as floor patching and caulking replacement, will be done to address maintenance issues that arise due to the winter months.

“All of this work is part of our program to maintain the structures,” he added. “We thank everyone for their patience so we can take care of the structures.”

Kindergarteners through college seniors to present research projects at UT

More than 120 students from Ohio and Michigan ranging from kindergartners to college seniors will present science research projects at The University of Toledo from 9:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 1.

The annual SATELLITES student research conference is part of GLOBE MISSION EARTH, a $10 million project funded by NASA and led by a UT researcher that is transforming the way science is taught to students throughout the United States.

Dr. Kevin Czajkowski, UT professor of geography and planning, has been spearheading the development of new K-12 science curriculum that relies on hands-on experiments to build knowledge using the resources of NASA and education partners across the country.

“We’re using real-life research experiences to spark the imagination of the next generation of scientists, engineers and doctors,” Czajkowski said.

The presentations will take place in Thompson Student Union’s Ingman Room and Room 2582.

The keynote speaker, John Moore, director for geoscience and STEM education at Palmyra Cove Nature Center in New Jersey, will provide hands-on demonstrations of the HoloGLOBE, a 3D visualization system with virtual reality headsets that uses NASA data to explore Earth. Moore will talk with middle and high school students at 11:40 a.m. and elementary school students at 12:40 p.m.

Judges for the conference are local scientists and teachers. Students are coming from as far north as Detroit and as far south as Mansfield.

“Science is more fun when students are participating in data collection and the scientific process, as opposed to conducting preplanned experiments in a classroom or lab,” Czajkowski said. “Through these research projects, students answer their own science questions about their environment by creating hypotheses, collecting data, analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and sharing their results through their poster presentation.”

Czajkowski created the SATELLITES program, which stands for Students and Teachers Exploring Local Landscapes to Interpret the Earth from Space.

Through the SATELLITES program, students have access to GLOBE resources to help answer their research questions. GLOBE is the acronym for Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, which is an international science and education program that connects students, teachers, scientists and citizens from different parts of the world to conduct real, hands-on science about their local environment and put it in a global perspective.

Former UT quarterback selected in NFL draft by Cincinnati

Former Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft Saturday.

Woodside, the 249th overall pick of the draft, is the fourth Rocket to be drafted in the last two years. Kareem Hunt, Michael Roberts and Treyvon Hester were selected in last year’s draft.

Woodside

He is also the first Rocket QB to be drafted since Bruce Gradkowski was chosen in the sixth round of the 2006 draft.

“I’m just feeling a lot of excitement and enjoyment right now,” Woodside, a native of Frankfort, Ky., said. “I’ve always wanted to be able to play near home, and to be drafted by the Bengals is a dream come true.”

Woodside also mentioned that he’s been so anxious today that he had to walk around the neighborhood just to calm down and relax, saying that Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis called him shortly after he returned home.

Woodside finished his four-year Toledo career as the Rockets’ all-time leading passer, throwing for 10,514 yards. He also set school records for touchdown passes (93) and passing efficiency (162.9). A two-time, first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection, Woodside was 29-9 as a starting QB. As a senior, he led the Rockets to an 11-3 record and a MAC Championship, throwing for 3,882 yards and 28 scores. He was named 2017 MAC Offensive Player of the Year and was honored with the Vern Smith Leadership Award, which is given annually to the league’s top player.

As a junior, Woodside shattered nearly every Toledo single-season record, throwing for 4,129 yards and leading the nation with 45 touchdown passes on his way to first-team All-MAC honors.

NIH grant supports continued studies on how to target cilia for therapeutics

Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi and the pharmacy students in his lab continue to earn accolades for their research on cilia, the tiny hair-like structures that emanate from the surface of cells in our bodies and act as sensory antennas.

The University of Toledo assistant professor secured in January a highly competitive $400,000 National Institutes of Health grant, the fourth award his lab has earned since it opened in 2014, to further his cilia research. But the award’s true objective, he said, is to groom future researchers.

AbouAlaiwi

“We want to stimulate students’ interest in research, so they stay in the biomedical research field and become research scientists,” AbouAlaiwi said.

His students already are receiving attention for their research, which was published in the October issue of the online Nature journal Scientific Reports.

AbouAlaiwi and his students’ research in the UT Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics focuses on cilia. The motile type of cilia is important because they help move fluids throughout the body and nourish brain cells. Non-motile cilia function as sensors, triggering biochemical processes within the body.

The team of students that recently published their work studied how alcohol affects the function of cilia in the brain. The paper’s lead author was Alzahra J. Al Omran, a graduate student in pharmacology and toxicology track. She will be continuing her studies as a PhD student in the fall, studying pharmacology and experimental therapeutics in AbouAlaiwi’s laboratory. The team also included graduate students Hannah C. Saternos, Alexander Wisner and Yusuff Althobaiti.

Their research explored whether cilia in brain cells play a part in some of the first symptoms — headaches and confusion — experienced by someone who abuses alcohol.

Scientists already knew that malfunctioning cilia play a part in many genetic diseases. For instance, if cilia in the brain don’t do their job — to help circulate cerebral spinal fluid — fluid can build up in the brain in a condition known as hydrocephalus.

The UT team wondered whether malfunctioning cilia have anything to do with the symptoms of alcohol abuse. To figure this out, they needed to study the beating frequency of the cilia.

It was their method in doing this, as much as their results, that attracted the journal’s attention, AbouAlaiwi said.

In the past, scientists were not able to determine the exact effect on the beating frequency of cilia because they were looking at the organelles in cells, not in live animals.

UT researchers were able to see the cilia in action. They served up alcohol to rats and within a half hour, isolated their brains using a technique developed in their lab. They examined cilia while they were still beating in the brain and ascertained how frequently they beat.

The results didn’t surprise researchers: Alcohol significantly slows down the cilia and hampers its ability to mobilize fluids. This dysfunction could affect brain cell function and may contribute to headaches and confusion that accompany alcohol abuse.

In another first, the UT team discovered three kinds of cilia in brain ventricles. Each has a unique beating frequency and angle. Each also tends to congregate in a certain part of the brain ventricle — one kind at the ends and two others along the edges.

AbouAlaiwi said the research is still in its early stages. More research is needed on the characteristics of each kind of cilia and why they are distributed the way they are. But the more they can unearth about the cilia’s behavior in the future, the greater chance of developing drugs to repair the malfunctioning cilia and restore their beating frequency.

“We’re starting to explore cilia-based therapy,” AbouAlaiwi said. “If we can find drugs to specifically target cilia, we could one day find cures for these genetic diseases.”

The NIH grant also will support AbouAlaiwi’s ongoing research suggesting that the cardiovascular symptoms of patients with polycystic kidney disease may be caused by malfunctioning or mutated cilia.

AbouAlaiwi, in research that hasn’t been published yet, discovered a family of receptors found in primary cilia, the kind of cilia that act as sensors to transform signals into active biochemical processes in the body. It was the first proof scientists had that cilia house this family of receptors.

Receptors have been the primary focus of research on neurodegenerative disease, AbouAlaiwi said. He’s now studying whether the receptors have anything to do with polycystic kidney disease and hypertension.

Winners announced for 2018 business plan competition

The winners of the eighth annual UT College of Business and Innovation’s Business Innovation Competition were announced April 19, with the first-place $10,000 prize awarded to Narges Shayesteh Moghaddam for her QuickFlow product.

QuickFlow is a novel device that offers several advantages over percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy devices currently on the market, and it provides a higher degree of authority and maneuverability for capturing and removing clots. The prototype device uses a pair of superelastic Nitinol-capturing elements to aid in the collection of a thrombus and minimize distal embolization.

Dr. Sonny Ariss shook hands with Narges Shayesteh Moghaddam to congratulate her for winning $10,000 for her QuickFlow device, which took top honors at this year’s UT College of Business and Innovation’s Business Innovation Competition.

“The incidence of pulmonary embolism is estimated to be 650,000 cases per year, and the mortality rate is estimated at approximately 100,000 deaths per year, which makes pulmonary embolism the third most common cause of death for hospitalized patients in the U.S.,” Moghaddam said. “As current treatments specifically for acute massive and submassive pulmonary embolism patients are not effective, we have decided to develop and commercialize QuickFlow PE, a thrombectomy device that addresses the shortcomings of current therapies or surgical procedures and also provides a non-invasive procedure with lower cost solution.

“Our device design and the method of deployment distinguish it from the competition in several ways. ThermoMorph is a startup company established by inventors from The University of Toledo to develop QuickFlow; their device has a smaller profile and can capture and encircle the entire clot for retrieval, the whole clots without distal embolization. We have been working to develop this device since 2015,” Moghaddam said. “The main problem was how to optimize the baskets to maximize its authority to capture the different size of blood clots without shearing off.”

Other UT members of the QuickFlow team are Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, Dr. Hamdy Ibrahim and Reza Mehrabi. The co-inventors of the device are Elahinia, Dr. Christopher Cooper and Dr. Rajesh Gupta.

“Our goal is to help increase the number and scale up businesses in Ohio,” Dr. Sonny Ariss, professor and chair of the Department of Management, told the winners. “We are willing to support you, to provide free advice about how to spend, where to spend, and when not to spend. Your prize money is a major leap. Don’t underestimate yourself. Surround yourself with a great advisory board.”

“This year the business plan competition had 22 submissions with plan ideas ranging from bioengineering to mechanical engineering to recreation and consumer-related products,” Ariss added. “Of the 22, seven semifinalists were selected for an oral presentation in front of the judges.”

Finishing in second place was the FIERCE by Tyler Ray, Rebecca Potts, Emily Wallace, Caren Aramouni and Therese Orsagos. FIERCE — the female individual ergonomically re-designed carrying equipment — is a new rucksack intended for female soldiers in all branches of the military. It intends to reduce the weight pot onto the spine and increase the weight on the hips through multiple innovations based on the biomechanics and anatomy of the female.

Finishing in third place was Retractor by Parisa Bayatimalayeri and Ahmadreza Jahadakbar. The rectal retractor is a minimally invasive device to move the rectum away from the vicinity of the radiation field; in addition, the path of the radiation beam allows for delivery of higher doses of radiation per fraction and shorter treatment days while eliminating the undesirable damage to the rectal tissue.

The College of Business and Innovation Business Plan Competition was open to all UT faculty, staff and students. The first-place $10,000 prize is sponsored by Owens-Illinois Inc.; the second-place $5,000 prize is sponsored by Chuck and Ann Hodge Business Plan Competition Fund; and the third-place $2,000 prize is sponsored by PNC Bank.

Winners of this year’s UT College of Business and Innovation’s Business Innovation Competition were, from left, third-place winner, Retractor: Ahmadreza Jahadakbar and Parisa Bayatimalayeri; second-place winner, The FIERCE: Tyler Ray, Rebecca Potts, Emily Wallace, Caren Aramouni and Therese Orsagos; first-place winner, QuickFlow: Narges Shayesteh Moghaddam.

Women’s basketball coach, former UT star named to 2018 Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame

Toledo Head Women’s Basketball Coach Tricia Cullop and former Rocket great Dana (Drew) Shaw are among 11 members of the 2018 Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Class.

The 2018 induction class will be honored at the 17th annual women’s award banquet Saturday, April 28. The day’s events will include a free reception at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Museum that afternoon and a banquet that evening at the Primo Banquet Hall in Indianapolis. 

Cullop

Cullop set numerous records at North Knox High School, earning national recognition from USA Today, Parade Magazine and Street & Smith’s following a career that included 1,461 points and 918 rebounds. She was a 1989 Indiana All-Star and helped her team to their first two sectional and regional titles in 1988 and 1989.

From 1990 to 1993, Cullop earned four letters at Purdue University under Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Head Coach Lin Dunn. A native of Bicknell, Ind., Cullop was a member of the Boilermakers’ first Big Ten Conference Championship team in 1991, and she appeared in three NCAA Tournaments in 1990, 1991 and 1992. A team captain as a senior, Cullop garnered accolades as a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, recipient of the Red Mackey Award and Purdue’s Mortar Board Student-Athlete of the Year. 

Cullop immediately turned to coaching following her playing career and held assistant positions at Radford, Long Beach State and Xavier before becoming the head coach at the University of Evansville in 2000. She spent eight years at the helm of the Purple Aces’ program and left in 2008 as the second-winningest coach in school history with 123 victories. 

Shaw

On April 28, 2008, Cullop was named the head coach at The University of Toledo and is in her 10th season with the Rockets. During her time at UT, Cullop has hung six postseason banners, including a 2011 Postseason WNIT Championship, one Mid-American Conference Championship, and two MAC regular-season and four MAC West Division titles.

Shaw, a 1990 Indiana All-Star, Associated Press first-team all-state and Parade Magazine honorable mention All-American, graduated with 1,125 career points at Penn and Valparaiso high schools. Averaging 15.4 points and five assists per game as a senior, she helped Valpo to a 22-1 record and led them to sectional and regional titles that season.

Following high school, she recorded a then school record 1,919 career points at UT, in addition to a school record 659 career assists. Shaw was named the MAC Player of the Year on two occasions, the MAC Tournament MVP three times, and she was an Academic All-American twice on teams that advanced to the postseason on four occasions. 

Shaw played professionally in Italy. In 2012, her jersey was retired at Toledo.

She went on to earn a law degree from UT and serves as an independent legal consultant and representative for professional and college coaches in the NBA, WNBA, internationally and in high major college basketball conferences.

UT engineering students to show off senior design projects April 27

From spaceflight hardware to a solar energy array, dozens of senior design projects will be on display from noon to 3 p.m. Friday, April 27, in The University of Toledo’s Nitschke Auditorium.

Businesses, industries and federal agencies sponsor the projects required for graduating seniors in the UT College of Engineering.

Shown here with their spaceflight hardware are, from left, Nai-Ning Kuo, Steve Will, Alexander Binder, Mark Gore, and Dr. Brian Trease, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering.

A design team made up of four students in the UT Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering traveled last week to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in California to present to NASA engineers the prototype for their senior design project, a deployable “wrap-rib” space structure to be used with a space telescope for exoplanet astronomy.

“We received positive feedback, and the Jet Propulsion Lab wants to keep pushing forward with the collaboration,” said Dr. Brian Trease, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering.

Another senior design team spent the semester working with UT Facilities and Construction on conceptual planning and logistics for a possible new 400-kilowatt solar array on Health Science Campus using $192,000 worth of Series 5 modules donated from First Solar. The team estimates a $500,000 savings in electricity costs over the 25-year life of the system. The team is scheduled to present its work at First Solar next week.

“This sustainability project is a hands-on opportunity to prepare students to be practicing engineers and creative problem solvers,” Jason Toth, UT associate vice president for facilities, said. “The engineering students did a great job identifying a location, preparing construction engineering drawings, and analyzing the cost.”

The free, public exposition showcases projects created by more than 250 graduating seniors from the departments of Bioengineering; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Engineering Technology; and Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering.

Projects are the required senior design capstone project where students form business-consulting units to develop a solution for a client’s technical or business challenge.

Several projects over the last few years have gone on to become patented.

Show UT pride at summer festivals

During her annual State of the University address April 18, President Sharon L. Gaber encouraged the UT community to celebrate its Rocket pride throughout the city and the state.

Faculty, staff, alumni and retirees have two key opportunities to help spread their Rocket pride and demonstrate UT’s commitment to its diversity initiatives during summer events in June and August.

“The University of Toledo has always had a strong presence at parades and festivals with our LGBTQA+ initiatives and our student organization, Prism,” said Dr. Willie L. McKether, vice president for diversity and inclusion and vice provost. “This year, we’re inviting departments, offices and individuals to help us increase University-wide support by attending various Ohio prides. We invite everyone in the UT community to join us, regardless of self-identification.”

UT participation is requested for:

• Columbus Pride Festival. One of the largest events of its kind in the Midwest, the Columbus Pride Festival welcomes more than 500,000 attendees annually. It is scheduled June 15-17 on Scioto Mile in Columbus, with a parade Saturday, June 16. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is sponsoring UT’s participation in the parade, which steps off at 10:30 a.m. A carpool from UT to Columbus is planned; more details are upcoming.

• Toledo Pride. Northwest Ohio’s largest LGBTQA+ celebration is scheduled Aug. 17 and 18 in downtown Toledo, with a parade slated at noon Saturday, Aug. 18. Members of the UT community are invited to represent the University at the parade, volunteer at several UT-focused tables, and provide giveaways.

“The tables are open for any department or office that would like to be at Toledo Pride to connect with the community,” McKether said. “We’re encouraging people to stay for two-hour intervals any time between noon and 7 p.m. on Saturday.”

For more information about UT’s participation in the Columbus Pride Festival or Toledo Pride, email danielle.stamper@utoledo.edu by June 1.