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Screening, discussion of documentary set for Sept. 19 in honor of Constitution Day

“13th,” a documentary about the 13th Amendment and mass incarceration, will be shown Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. in Snyder Memorial Building Room 3066.

The 2016 film directed by Ava DuVernay focuses on the 13th Amendment, which freed the slaves and prohibited slavery — unless as a punishment for a crime.

Sponsored by the UT programs in Law and Social Thought and Disability Studies, the event is in recognition of Constitution Day, which is officially Sept. 17.

“We chose the documentary ‘13th’ as it shows that while our written Constitution is worthy of great praise, as citizens, we should also always regard it with a spirit of inquiry and even skepticism,” Dr. Renee Heberle, UT professor of political science, said.

“The 13th Amendment enshrines slavery, albeit for those duly convicted of crimes, in our Constitution. This documentary brings our attention to the historical trajectory in the United States with respect to racial oppression, from slavery to sharecropping and Jim Crow to the contemporary situation of mass incarceration and forced labor in correctional institutions, which can be related to the fact of the 13th Amendment, ratified just after the Civil War ended chattel slavery.”

The 100-minute film was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary feature and won an Emmy Award for outstanding documentary or nonfiction special.

Heberle and Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe, UT assistant professor of disability studies, will lead a discussion after the screening.

Heberle, who is affiliated with the UT Women’s and Gender Studies Department, is co-director of the Program in Law and Social Thought and coordinator of the Inside/Out Prison Exchange Project, which allows University students to take a course inside a prison alongside incarcerated people.

Ben-Moshe is working on a book titled “Politics of (En)Closure” that details movements to abolish prisons and deinstitutionalization of mental and intellectual health institutions.

“We hope to inspire discussion about issues of constitutional justice and how and whom we punish,” Heberle said.

Refreshments will be served at the free, public event.

For more information, contact Heberle at renee.heberle@utoledo.edu.

Humanities lectures to explore art, relics, research

The University of Toledo Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities will present three lectures during fall semester.

Listed by date, the lectures are:

Mojadidi

• Sunday, Sept. 17 — “Borderless: Art and Migration in Troubled Times” by Aman Mojadidi, an Afghan-American visual artist, 2 p.m. in the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library McMaster Center, 325 Michigan St. Mojadidi uses personal experience and cultural studies to address conflict, identity and globalization in his work. A reception will follow the talk.

Hussain

• Monday, Sept. 18 — “Story of a Tree, a River, and the Sacred Relics: Peshawar Circa 1st Century CE” by Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, UT professor emeritus of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery and former member of the University Board of Trustees, 6 p.m. in the Center for the Visual Arts Haigh Auditorium on UT’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus. Hussain will discuss the Buddhist stupa, a building once located in his native Peshawar, Pakistan, and considered the eighth wonder of the ancient world. A reception is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Bérubé

• Thursday, Oct. 19 — “The Humanities and the Advancement of Knowledge” by Dr. Michael Bérubé, the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature at Penn State University, 5:30 p.m. in the Law Center McQuade Law Auditorium. He will address the role of humanities centers and institutes in fostering interdisciplinary humanities research, and whether that research is finding a place in North American academia.

“We hope campus and community members will be excited to attend these free, public lectures that explore immigration issues, world heritage, and the future of the humanities,” Dr. Mysoon Rizk, director of the Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities and associate professor of art history in the UT Department of Art, said. “We have been fortunate to be able to collaborate with community and campus partners on these events, and there are more to come, so please stay tuned.”

For more information, contact Rizk at mysoon.rizk@utoledo.edu.

Donate banned books to support freedom of reading

Support your right to read, speak, think and create freely by donating books for The University of Toledo’s Banned Books Vigil.

Every year, certain books are banned in schools and libraries, and some of these are considered classics — “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” “The Great Gatsby” and “1984.”

The banned book vigil will return for its 20th year Thursday, Sept. 28, on the third floor of Carlson Library. Every half hour, attendees will have the opportunity to win banned books, as well as other door prizes.

“Donating books gives us a chance to show our respect for and belief in the right to write and think freely,” said Dr. Paulette D. Kilmer, UT professor of communication and founder of the vigil. “This is a way for us to express our belief in the First Amendment, in democracy, and in reading.”

Kilmer hopes to give away at least 200 books at the vigil.

“This event is a fun way to circulate these books that have been challenged or banned,” Kilmer said. “To me, one of the most important things that we can do is increase the readership of these books that someone has tried to restrict.”
A list of banned books is available on the American Library Association’s website at ala.org.

Books for the vigil may be purchased at Barnes & Noble University Bookstore, or contact Colleen Strayer at 419.530.2516 or toledo@bkstore.edu by 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18. Cash donations also are welcome.

For more information, contact Kilmer at paulette.kilmer@utoledo.edu.

UT to debut new veterans lounge named for alumnus

The University of Toledo will commemorate the opening of its new veterans lounge with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Sept. 15, at 3 p.m. on the second floor of Carlson Library.

The Lt. Col. Thomas J.

Lt. Col. Thomas Orlowski spoke after being recognized by the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes with its Hometown Hero Award and the news that the veterans lounge at his alma mater will be named in his honor. Orlowski, who graduated from UT in 1965 before his 20-year career in the U.S. Army, is being recognized with the naming of the Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski ’65 Veterans Lounge on the second floor of Carlson Library.

’65 Veterans Lounge offers student veterans a place to relax, study and enjoy the camaraderie they experienced while serving their country.

The University’s veterans lounge was previously located in Rocket Hall. The new lounge named in honor of Orlowski, a UT alumnus, was part of the recent $6 million renovation project to the library made possible by state biennium capital funds.

“Our student-veterans were interested in a more centrally located space, and in this academic setting they also will have better access to library resources for research and homework with longer hours to take advantage of the lounge,” said Navy Reserve Lt. Haraz Ghanbari, UT director of military and veteran affairs.

A $20,000 donation from the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes supported the creation of the new lounge, which is larger with a separate social area and private study section.

The coalition’s gift was made in recognition of Orlowski, as a UT alumnus and Army veteran, who is the immediate past chairman of the organization’s board.

Orlowski graduated from UT in 1965 with a degree in English literature, and he also was a middle linebacker for the football team. He joined the Army later that year, and his 20-year military career included assignments in the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), HQ U.S. Army Europe, HQ U.S. Continental Army Command and the Office of the Adjutant General of the Army.

For his service in Vietnam, Orlowski was awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Bronze Star for Valor with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and Air Medal, according to the coalition.

“The lounge will definitely help veteran students academically, but a secondary benefit that people may not realize is the camaraderie of others who have been where you’ve been and done what you’ve done,” Orlowski said.

The ceremony will be followed by an open house and refreshments from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

RSVP by Friday, Sept. 8, to tyna.derhay@utoledo.edu or by calling 419.530.4488.

Director delivers ‘Badass’ book

It was a party atmosphere at Sherry Stanfa-Stanley’s book launch Aug. 19 at Barnes & Noble at the Shops at Fallen Timbers in Maumee. The only thing missing? The author’s drink of choice: Bloody Marys.

“I was told no alcohol, sorry,” she told the standing-room-only crowd of about 150.

UT employee and alumna Sherry Stanfa-Stanley read an excerpt from her book, “Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares,” at Barnes & Noble at the Shops at Fallen Timbers in Maumee. It was the largest crowd to attend a signing event there, according to Jana Washington, store merchandise manager.

“Speaking to an empty room is awkward; this is terrifying,” she said. “I know quite a bit about terrifying and awkward.”

She was referring to the 52/52 Project, which she started in 2013. For one year, Stanfa-Stanley challenged herself with a new experience every week as she approached age 52.

“I wasn’t in a rut; I was in a crater. And I just wanted to shake things up a bit,” she said. “After traveling to Italy by myself in 2011, I realized if I could do that, there’s probably a lot of things I can do if I went outside my comfort zone.”

Her amazing, crazy and inspiring year included suiting up as Rocksy the mascot for a UT soccer game; babysitting quadruplets; going on a raid with the vice squad and SWAT team; spending 24 hours with nuns at a convent in Joliet, Ill.; performing as a mime outside a shopping center in Newport, Ky.; and crashing a wedding reception — and catching the bride’s bouquet.

“I took those weird and wonderful experiences and wove them into a book,” the director of communication and fund stewardship at the UT Foundation told the group.

“Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares” was published by She Writes Press and released Aug. 15. The 321-page book is $16.95 and available at most area bookstores and online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book retailers.

As folks flooded in and peeked around book shelves, Stanfa-Stanley read three excerpts from her debut.

She said “Catching a Flight to Nowhere” was one of her favorite adventures; she packed for an unknown destination, went to the Detroit Metro Airport, and booked the next flight out. It was winter, and, luckily, she jetted off to Fort Myers, Fla.

Conversely, “On the Ropes” was the least successful venture, she said. Stanfa-Stanley and two friends decided to skip the high-ropes course at the UT Student Recreation Center after seeing it was 35 feet above the gym floor — and watching an athletic college student slip from a beam and dangle by her safety harness.

Sherry Stanfa-Stanley suited up as Rocksy during a soccer game and exuded good cheer as part of the 52/52 Project.

“It’s obvious I can’t get away from the nude beach outing,” Stanfa-Stanley said and introduced her mother, Gloria Stanfa, a retired UT secretary, who accompanied her on the trip.

“‘Just be sure to mention we both kept our clothes on,’ my mother said,” Stanfa-Stanley read from the chapter titled “Baring it at the Beach.” “‘Um, maybe I didn’t clarify that,’ I replied. ‘I’ll be going au natural, too’ ‘Oh.’ She pondered this. ‘Well, then please don’t sit next to me. I saw you naked as a baby, and I really don’t care to anymore.’”

As laughter erupted during the readings, the author told the audience, “You’re a sadistic lot.”

Many seem to take pleasure in reading about Stanfa-Stanley’s frightfully fun escapades. Her debut has received raves from book bloggers, including dearauthor.com, bloglovin.com and abookishabode.com, as well as positive reviews from trade journals, including Kirkus Reviews, Midwest Book Review and Foreword Reviews. In addition, Buzzfeed.com named the book one of five fall reads “guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.”

In “Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares,” Sherry Stanfa-Stanley writes about the 52/52 Project adventures, which included performing as a mime in front of a Kentucky shopping center.

Even a Los Angeles-based production company headed by a well-known actor/comedian inquired about film and TV rights.

“Usually nothing comes of these requests; it’s happened to a few author friends,” Stanfa-Stanley, ever the realist, said. “But a girl can dream.”

Meanwhile, the 1983 UT alumna is scheduling book-signing events. She’ll have a booth at the Roche de Boeuf Festival in Waterville Saturday, Sept. 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. And a reading and meet-and-greet will be held Saturday, Oct. 7, at the UT Barnes & Noble Bookstore at the Gateway; the time will be announced when the Homecoming football game kickoff is determined.

For the latest on appearances, check sherrystanfa-stanley.com, which links to facebook.com/The52at52Project, where the witty writer chronicled her derring-do — and daring don’t — and has more than 5,000 readers.

“I certainly wouldn’t say I’m fearless, but I’m desensitized. I worry less,” she told the crowd.

“My first published book out in the world at age 55 tells you it’s truly never too late to change your life. Maybe my stories will inspire you — or at least give you a couple laughs.”

Disability studies assistant professor awarded fellowship for research on incarceration

Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe, assistant professor of disability studies, wants to bridge the gap between studying disability and incarceration.

“It was odd to me that there weren’t more connections between disability studies and prison studies when I first began doing this work. Now, after doing this for more than a decade, there are more people, organizations and scholarship on this topic,” she said. “First, there is the high proportion of disabled — psychiatric, cognitive, learning or other disabilities — in prison, a phenomenon not often discussed. Then there are so many sites of confinement for people with disabilities, even outside of prison settings — nursing homes, psych hospitals, institutions. We need to understand all these as sites of incarceration.”

Ben-Moshe

Ben-Moshe recently was recognized for her outstanding work with one of the American Association of University Women’s American Fellowships for the 2017-18 academic year. These fellowships support women scholars who are completing dissertations, planning research leave, or preparing research for publication.

Her forthcoming book, “Politics of (En)Closure,” focuses on movements to abolish prisons and deinstitutionalization of mental and intellectual health institutions.

“I am incredibly honored to be receiving such a prestigious and competitive fellowship, and I see it as a recognition for my work on social movements that resist incarceration. But I also see it as a recognition of the field of disability studies and specifically of UT’s role as a leader in the field of disability studies, as we have currently the only on campus bachelor of arts degree in disability studies in the U.S.,” Ben-Moshe said.

Studies have shown that more than half of inmates in local and state prisons received clinical diagnosis or treatment by a mental health professional. Ben-Moshe believes the solution to this troubling statistic lies in having a better understanding of what is called mental illness.

“When people who do prison advocacy or critical prison studies work discuss disability, it is not as an identity and a culture, but as a deficit. Those within disability advocacy and work really need to learn more about prison and prison abolition,” she explained. “The intersectional nature of oppression and its resistance here are vital.

“For example, in my new book, I discuss what prison reformers and abolitionists can learn from deinstitutionalization, which was another mass movement to close carceral settings such as psychiatric hospitals, institutions for people with intellectual disabilities. People didn’t think it will happen; it was called utopia, unrealistic. But it did happen, and we can learn from it about how to rely less on settings that segregate people, like institutions and prisons, and more about how to deal with harm and difference in the community.”

UT psychologist challenges accuracy of method to interview child witnesses

The reliability of child witness testimony is a prime factor in cases of abuse, but how they are questioned can influence a child’s answers. When faced with choices, a child will often pick one, even if the correct answer is not one of the options given.

New research by a University of Toledo psychologist supports asking open-ended questions and challenges an increasingly popular solution for forensic interviewers to add a “something else” alternative choice when questioning young children.

London Newton

“What we found in our research is that even when children may correctly choose the something else option when the other choices are not accurate, the follow-up answer also is inaccurate,” said Dr. Kamala London Newton, UT associate professor of psychology.

For example, a child is asked a question such as whether the interviewer said that her favorite fruit was an apple, a banana or something else. The interviewer never said anything about her favorite fruit, so the child does not know the correct answer. So the child responds with something else, but when prompted with “What is her favorite fruit?” the child replied, “Carrots.”

London Newton’s research titled “Does It Help, Hurt or Something Else? The Effect of a Something Else Response Alternative on Children’s Performance on Forced-Choice Questions,” is published in the August issue of the American Psychological Association journal Psychology, Public Policy and the Law. She co-authored the article with graduate students Ashley Hall and Nicole Lytle, who have since received their PhDs in developmental psychology from UT.

London Newton’s Developmental Psychology Lab studies the best practices in interviewing child witnesses, and she has provided expert testimony on the subject, with her work cited twice by the United States Supreme Court.

“Interviewing young children, particularly those preschool-aged, can be a challenge because of their limited communication skills and the fact that they do not resist answering false and unanswerable questions,” London Newton said.

“While providing children choices increases the probability that the child will answer the questions, those answers are too often inaccurate,” she said. “That is especially true if children are asked a question but none of the answer choices provided are accurate because children generally do not reply that they do not know.”

That presents a challenge because child abuse professionals argue that answers to open-ended prompts are too sparse and so forced-choice questions are needed, but it is not possible for those professionals to always be sure that one of the choices they are giving the child is true, London Newton said.

For her latest study, London Newton and her research team interviewed 94 children ages 3 to 5 years old. The children had participated in a 20-minute event in which a research assistant touched children on different public locations of their body, such as the elbow, and asked them to show on a doll or drawing where they were touched. Then after a one-week delay, the children were interviewed about that event with a series of questions in which half the participants were asked standard questions with two choices and the others were asked questions with those two choices and also given the something else option.

The researchers found that the addition of the something else option did not improve the accuracy of responses. This was the case for all three types of questions asked — true questions in which the correct answer was present, false questions in which no correct answer was provided, and unanswerable questions that require speculation, for example, is red heavier than yellow?

“Our research supports additional work in this field that shows that the most developmentally appropriate way to pose questions to young children is to avoid forced-choice options as much as possible,” London Newton said. “One of the biggest dangers of including a something else alternative is that it may incorrectly give the interviewers more confidence that the response is accurate. Our findings support that asking open-ended questions is the best approach to interviewing young children.”

Celebrating 25 years at Art on the Mall

For two local painters, it may have been a stroke of luck when Art on the Mall debuted in 1992 at their alma mater.

“I had been doing a lot of paintings of Lake Erie scenes, and then this event was announced,” Carol Connolly Pletz recalled.

This watercolor painting of University Hall by Kathy Palmer Genzman was featured in one of her Toledo calendars. “I always include my alma mater in the calendar,” she said.

“It was the year I made my first Toledo calendar,” Kathy Palmer Genzman said. “It was like it was meant to be.”

The two women were among 51 artists who displayed and sold their work at the inaugural juried fair.

“It was a beautiful sunny day. There were few tents, if any, and UT supplied wire structures to display paintings,” Connolly Pletz, a 1966 alumna with a bachelor’s degree in art, said. “It was the first show where I stood out with a few my paintings. It was a very positive experience; people loved my work.”

Palmer Genzman also felt the love.

“It was my husband, Bob, who suggested the calendar. He wrote the history, and I drew and painted scenes from around town,” she said. “When Art on the Mall was announced, he said, ‘Let’s see if they sell,’ and they did — people loved the calendar.”

“Brown Swiss Dairy,” acrylic, was painted by Carol Connolly Pletz after one of her many visits to Shipshewana, Ind.

Connolly Pletz and Palmer Genzman have returned to Art on the Mall every year. The perennial favorites will be back with more than 100 artists Sunday, July 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Centennial Mall.

“I am so grateful to UT for putting this event on every year,” Connolly Pletz said. “The community really enjoys the art, music and food. It’s great it has remained a free show with free parking. Toledo loves this show.”

“Everyone at UT is always so helpful,” Palmer Genzman, a 1980 graduate with a master’s degree in art education, said. “I’ve known Dan [Saevig, associate vice president of alumni relations] since the beginning. He and his crew do an amazing job rain or shine.”

Even fellow artists offer assistance. Connolly Pletz learned about notecards from Tom Durnford, a UT alumnus who taught a graphics class for the Communication Department and was director of publications and graphics from 1965 until his retirement from the University in 1989. The two had booths next to each for 23 years until Durnford passed away.

Carol Connolly Pletz has made 160 cards from her acrylic paintings.

“He worked in watercolor and besides his paintings, he sold notecards of his artwork,” Connolly Pletz said. “That first year at Art on the Mall, I saw he was doing a brisk business selling his cards. We talked, and he agreed to mentor me in publishing my own notecards.”

Since then, she has made 160 cards from her eye-catchingly colorful acrylic paintings, which showcase scenes from the Metroparks of the Toledo Area; the Lake Erie islands; Shipshewana, Ind.; and Ireland.

“People like to take something away that’s affordable,” Connolly Pletz said. “Not everybody has a place for a painting or can afford an original or the color is wrong. But everybody can use cards.”

“I also sell Toledo notecards, which are very popular,” Palmer Genzman said. “I sell out of calendars every year; I always have to send the kids home to get more. The calendars aren’t that expensive, and yet they’re artwork. People really enjoy having a picture of Toledo.”

That local focus is important to both artists.

Palmer Genzman’s 2018 calendar features her meticulously detailed watercolor paintings of the University, last year’s Jeep parade, the Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo, walleye fishing, the Niagara ship on the Maumee River and more. Since her husband passed away, her son, Paul, writes the history.

Kathy Palmer Genzman posed for a photo in front of some of her watercolor paintings that are included in her Toledo calendar.

“I want people to love their city and be proud of it. It’s a great city; it’s a great University — look at that campus. What more can you ask for? Good eating places, you’ve got the Mud Hens downtown, I love the renaissance of downtown,” she said. “I taught art at Toledo Public Schools and lived in the Glass City until retirement. I now live in Lambertville, Mich., but I’m a Toledo person.”

“Many local places have caught my eye — and my heart,” Connolly Pletz said. “The Toledo Botanical Garden, Wildwood Metropark Preserve, the Maumee River, to name a few. There is so much natural beauty in our part of the world. I hope my work inspires some to pause and take a closer look at what we have right here.”

Glacity Theatre Collective to present world premiere of ‘Falling Short’

It’s Feb. 1, 2003. Space Shuttle Columbia has just disintegrated upon re-entry. What kind of person would see this horrible disaster as an opportunity?

Meet Ed and Tony. On a quest for Shuttle parts — as souvenirs or possibly to sell on eBay — the two men journey through the Piney Woods of east Texas, arguing conspiracy theories, ridiculing Nazis, dissing English literature, confessing peculiar secrets, and contemplating their own failed existence.

Texas playwright Wolfgang Paetzel vividly remembers that day: “The Columbia disaster happened right over my house. I should have noticed the loud booms and rattling of windows, but I was too preoccupied chasing a screaming toddler. At that moment, in my own little universe, a poopy diaper was more pressing. ‘Falling Short’ features many folks in similar situations — but only one poopy diaper.”

In this multimedia piece, Ed and Tony will be played live by Drew Wheeler and Dr. Edmund B. Lingan, UT associate professor and chair of theatre and film, as they interact with video segments incorporating actors from both Texas and Ohio.

“East Texas has a distinct natural environment that is different from the rest of Texas,” said Lingan, who, like Paetzel, grew up in that area. “Wolfgang has done an amazing job of capturing the look and the language of the region, and he has really caught the essence of the people we grew up with.”

The production is directed by Lingan, with video segments created by Paetzel and UT alumna Megan Aherne, and set and lighting design by James S. Hill, UT professor emeritus of theatre.

The soundtrack showcases music from obscure Texas garage bands as well as Lone Star legends, including The Blanks, Texas Belairs, Ran, Homer Henderson, Sled, Culturcide, Roy Bennett, and The Peenbeets.

“Falling Short” will run Thursday through Saturday, July 20-22, in the UT Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre. All performances will be at 8 p.m. The doors will open one half hour prior to curtain.

Tickets are $15 at the door or in advance online here. Student tickets are $10 with a valid ID and are available only at the door.

For more information, go to glacity.org.

2017 report for Ohio’s Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative highlights UT water quality research

Ohio Sea Grant released today its 2017 update on the statewide Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative documenting two years of progress seeking solutions for harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.

The University of Toledo, situated on the western basin of Lake Erie, is one of the lead universities in the initiative, which consists of 10 Ohio universities and five state agencies and is funded by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and matching funds from participating universities.

The city of Toledo’s water intake is regularly monitored by UT researchers and students during the summer algal bloom season to check for toxins.

The 54-page report features a variety of important research activity underway by members of the UT Water Task Force to protect the public water supply and public health, including:

• Early warning system for toxic algae in Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay by Dr. Tom Bridgeman, professor in the UT Department of Environmental Sciences, and Dr. Ricky Becker, associate professor in the UT Department of Environmental Sciences;

• Developing methods to help water treatment plant operators make decisions on lake water pumping rates according to time of day and weather conditions in order to reduce exposure to algal toxins at the Lake Erie water intake, also by Bridgeman and Becker;

• Transport and fate of cyanotoxins in drinking water distribution systems, such as pipes and storage tanks, by Dr. Youngwoo Seo, associate professor in the UT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering;

• Investigating alternative biological filtration for algal toxin removal in water treatment through better understanding of microcystin-degrading bacteria, also by Seo;

• Examining the influence of potassium permanganate treatment on algal cell integrity and toxin degradation, also by Seo;

• Developing microcystin-detoxifying water biofilters to upgrade water treatment filters with friendly bacteria through the discovery of enzymes and pathways responsible for microcystin degradation by Dr. Jason Huntley, associate professor in the UT Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology;

• Studying the accuracy of ELISA, the standard test measuring harmful algal toxins, in comparison to a more time-consuming but reliable method, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry by Dr. Dragan Isailovic, associate professor in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry;

• Developing lab tests for detecting microcystin exposure through biological samples and measuring how much remains inside the body, also by Isailovic;

• Evaluating the ability of commercially available home purification systems to remove algal toxins from tap water by Dr. Glenn Lipscomb, professor and chair of the UT Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering;

• Reconsidering recommended healthy exposure limits by studying the impact of algal toxins in experimental models of pre-existing liver disease by Dr. David Kennedy and Dr. Steven Haller, assistant professors in the UT Division of Cardiovascular Medicine;

• Studying health effects of recreational and work exposure to harmful algal blooms through fishing, swimming or boating by Dr. April Ames and Dr. Michael Valigosky, assistant professors in the UT School of Population Health; and

• Creating an online database to help inform the public about harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie by Dr. Patrick Lawrence, UT geography professor and associate dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

Ohio Sea Grant, which manages the statewide Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative, is soliciting proposals for a third round of funding to continue the efforts underway to address toxic algae in Ohio’s Great Lake.

Participating universities include UT, Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University, Central State University, Defiance College, Heidelberg University, Kent State University, Sinclair Community College, the University of Akron and the University of Cincinnati. UT and OSU serve as leaders of the university consortium.

To view the full report, go to http://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/p/ib57m/view.

For Ohio Sea Grant’s news release, go to http://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/news/2017/gz884/habri-report-year-2.

The UT Water Task Force, which is comprised of faculty and researchers in diverse fields spanning the University, serves as a resource for government officials and the public looking for expertise on investigating the causes and effects of algal blooms, the health of Lake Erie, and the health of the communities depending on its water. The task force includes experts in economics; engineering; environmental sciences; business; pharmacy; law; chemistry and biochemistry; geography and planning; and medical microbiology and immunology.

Water quality is a major research focus at UT. With $12.5 million in active grants underway, UT experts are studying algal blooms, invasive species such as Asian carp, and pollutants. Researchers are looking for pathways to restore our greatest natural resource for future generations to ensure communities continue to have access to safe drinking water.

Researchers and students help to protect the public drinking water supply for the greater Toledo area throughout summer algal bloom season by conducting water sampling to alert water treatment plant operators of any toxins heading toward the water intake. UT’s 28-foot research vessel and early warning buoy enable UT to partner with the city of Toledo and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor the health of Lake Erie and provide real-time data.