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Faculty recognized for tenure, promotion

The University of Toledo Board of Trustees approved during its April meeting tenure for 12 faculty members and promotion of another 31 associate professors and professors.

“We continue to have high-caliber faculty advancing through our tenure and promotion process, and this year’s cohort of faculty members all have very impressive achievements,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

The provost also noted the goal in the strategic plan to increase the percentage of professors among the total number of full-time faculty. There were 22 who became fully promoted to professor with the board’s recent action.

Faculty members who received tenure and promotion to associate professor are:

College of Business and Innovation

• Dr. Xinghao Yan, Information, Operations and Technology Management

• Dr. Marcelo Alvarado-Vargas, Management

College of Engineering

• Dr. Carmen Cioc, Engineering Technology

• Dr. Luis Mata, Engineering Technology

College of Health and Human Services

• Dr. Kimberly McBride, School of Population Health

• Dr. Shipra Singh, School of Population Health

• Dr. Heather Sloane, School of Social Justice

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Nezam Altorok, Medicine

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

• Dr. Trieu Le, Mathematics and Statistics

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

• Dr. Isaac Schiefer, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

• Dr. F. Scott Hall, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

• Dr. Amit Tiwari, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Faculty members promoted to professor are:

College of Arts and Letters

• Dr. Melissa Gregory, English Language and Literature

• Dr. Bhuiyan Alam, Geography and Planning

• Dr. Charles Beatty, History

• Dr. Lee Heritage, Music

• Dr. Ovamir Anjum, Philosophy and Religious Studies

• Dr. Patricia Case, Sociology and Anthropology

• Dr. Willie McKether, Sociology and Anthropology

College of Business and Innovation

• Dr. Iryna Pentina, Marketing

College of Engineering

• Dr. Yakov Lapitsky, Chemical Engineering

• Dr. Hong Wang, Engineering Technology

• Dr. Matthew Franchetti, Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

College of Health and Human Services

• Dr. Wendy Cochrane, School of Intervention and Wellness

• Dr. Jiunn-Jye Sheu, School of Population Health

• Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail, School of Social Justice

College of Law

• Bryan Lammon

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Cletus Iwuagwu, Medicine

• Dr. Ruby Nucklos, Medicine

• Dr. Tanvir Singh, Psychiatry

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

• Dr. John Gray, Biological Sciences

• Dr. Dragan Isailovic, Chemistry and Biochemistry

• Dr. Alessandro Arsie, Mathematics and Statistics

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

• Dr. Zahoor Shah, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

Faculty members promoted to associate professor are:

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Sarah Gerken, Anesthesiology

• Dr. Anu Garg, Medicine

• Dr. Dani Zoorob, Obstetrics and Gynecology

• Dr. Jiayong Liu, Orthopaedic Surgery

• Dr. Waseem Ostwani, Pediatrics

• Dr. Eileen Quinn, Pediatrics

• Dr. Richard Baron, Psychiatry

• Dr. Kimberly Hunter, Psychiatry

• Dr. Jason Schroeder, Surgery

Faculty, staff members honored for advising, research, teaching, outreach work

University outstanding advisors, researchers and teachers, and recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement, were recognized last week.

Kupresanin

Recipients of the Outstanding Advisor Award were:

Max Kupresanin, academic advisor in University College. He received bachelor of arts and master of public administration degrees from the University and worked at his alma mater as a teaching assistant in 2009 and 2010 before joining the staff in 2014.

“Students put their trust in Max that he will be able to guide them down the path of exploratory studies and into a major that works for them,” one nominator wrote. “As a UToledo grad himself, he knows how campus life and academic life merge to create challenges for students. Max makes sure his students always know he is available with questions and concerns — whether they are about advising or not.” Another noted, “Max thoroughly enjoys working with students. Max is visibly passionate about our student population. He is frequently seen in Rocket Hall walking students to Financial Aid, Student Disability Services and the Counseling Center.”

Kissoff

Dr. Nicholas V. Kissoff, associate professor of engineering technology and undergraduate director of the Construction Engineering Technology Program in the College of Engineering. He joined the faculty in 1999. Kissoff received bachelor and master of science degrees in civil engineering and a doctorate in engineering science from the University.

“Working one on one with all students, whether they are straight out of high school or a transfer student like myself, Dr. Kissoff provides a game plan of classes that is easily laid out so the student can set forth short- and long-term goals to help attain the main goal of graduating with the construction of engineering degree,” one nominator wrote. “He provides all resources available to his students from the inception in the Construction Engineering Technology Program. He informs the students of all possibilities within the program, and steps and tips to help us long after we graduate to be successful engineers.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award were:

Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. The cardiologist joined the Medical College of Ohio in 1994. Cooper was appointed interim chair of the Department of Medicine in 2012 and was named to the permanent post in April 2013. From 2002 to 2012, he served as chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and from 2008 to 2011, he also was director of the UToledo Heart and Vascular Center. He was named medical dean in 2014. Cooper has 95 peer-reviewed publications in print.

“Dr. Cooper is a gifted and rigorous scientist whose research has truly changed the paradigm in the field of hypertension and cardiac research. His innovative work has shifted the focus from the heart to the kidneys as an important and significant and treatable contributor to illness burden in hypertension, renal failure and cardiac events,” a nominator wrote. “Many patients’ lives will be saved, and much future understanding of the complex interactions between the kidney, the heart and vascular disease has been opened up as a result of his extensive body of research.”

Dr. Youssef Sari, professor and vice chair of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics, and professor of medicinal and biological chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He joined the University in 2010. Sari has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed articles.

His research has contributed significantly to the field of drugs of abuse, including alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine and nicotine; currently, he is focusing on the neuropharmacology of opioid addiction. Sari’s research involves investigating potential therapeutic drugs for the treatment of drugs of abuse. He was the first investigator to demonstrate that two key transporters can be potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of drugs of abuse, specifically in alcohol dependence. In addition, he has tested and found several drugs that have the ability to increase the expression and functionality of these transporters in animal models. The long-term goal of Sari’s research is to find potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of patients suffering from addiction to these drugs of abuse. “In my 40-plus years [in higher education], I’ve not known anyone who works harder and is more focused on drug and alcohol research, including mechanisms of neurotoxicity, than Youssef,” one nominator wrote. “He is at the cutting edge of his field and looks to be a research leader for many years to come.”

Dr. Jami K. Taylor, professor of political science and public administration in the College of Arts and Letters. Since joining the UToledo faculty in 2009, she has become a respected scholar on transgender politics and public policy with an impressive list of accomplishments: authoring a book and editing a book that were both published by the University of Michigan Press; writing 14 peer-reviewed articles and 11 book chapters; and serving as an associate editor for an encyclopedia of LGBT politics that is being published by Oxford University Press.

“Professor Taylor’s work is path-breaking, widely cited and influential. She has established a substantial national reputation as the leading scholar of transgender rights policy in just 10 years at UToledo,” one nominator wrote. Another wrote, “Dr. Taylor is the country’s single highest regarded scholar working on transgender public policy; she is also a nationally recognized expert in the broader political science subfield of LGBT politics. A quick glance at her CV helps explain why this is the case: She is at once a prolific scholar, producing an enormous amount of peer-reviewed publications each year, and also produces work of such high quality that it is accepted for publication in highly regarded journals and presses and cited frequently by other scholars in our subfield.”

Receiving Outstanding Research and Scholarship Awards were, from left, Dr. Christopher Cooper, Dr. Jami K. Taylor and Dr. Youssef Sari.

Bellizzi

Recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement were:

Dr. John Bellizzi, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Dr. Joe Schmidt, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

They are coordinators of Saturday Morning Science, a public outreach lecture series covering diverse topics in science, medicine and engineering, ranging from the physics of baseball to the Flint water crisis to the search for extrasolar planets. The program began in 2005; Schmidt took over coordinating the series in 2008, and Bellizzi has been co-director since 2011. “Over the past six years, attendance has grown dramatically from a small grassroots following to an average audience approaching 150 attendees per presentation,” one nominator wrote, noting the series has relocated twice to accommodate the growing numbers. Speakers include UToledo faculty and other academic researchers, NASA scientists, best-selling authors, and staff members of the Toledo Zoo, Toledo Refinery, and National Museum of the Great Lakes.

Schmidt

“This kind of scientific outreach benefits all participants,” a nominator wrote. “Researchers and other presenters get the satisfaction of sharing their experience and their passion while honing a distinct set of communication skills to make their presentation understandable by a nontechnical audience. Audience members gain knowledge, insight and inspiration. It is the intention of the program to broaden public awareness, literacy and appreciation of the methods and results of science in the hopes of encouraging students to enter scientific careers and citizens to support policies that promote scientific research and discovery.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Teacher Award were:

Dr. John Bellizzi, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He joined the UToledo faculty in 2008.

“Dr. Bellizzi is the man,” one nominator wrote. “I really have a genuine respect for him. Intelligent, passionate and fair — that’s the type of professor he is. Biochemistry is a difficult course, but he really made me love it. He understands the material and breaks it down for us in ways to comprehend. Things he taught me stuck with me because he teaches in a manner that allows you to understand the material not just memorize it.” Another noted, “He is outstanding not only that he teaches well, but he is always well-prepared. I could always approach him whenever needed to solve any problems related to fields of studies. He will always try to help even though he is not teaching you in the semester. He is a gentleman and deserves to be an outstanding teacher.”

Dr. Jetsabe Cáceres, associate professor of political science and public administration, and director of the Global Studies Program in the College of Arts and Letters. She has been at the University since 2011.

“Dr. Cáceres is one of the most personable, influential faculty members at the University. I had the pleasure to attend her Principles of Comparative Politics course; it was a rather black-and-white course, but she taught it in such a colorful, lively way. She recognizes students’ strengths and weaknesses early on and determines strategies for their betterment,” one nominator wrote. Another wrote, “Jetsa has exhibited compassion and care for not only me, but many students. She has helped me become a better student by motivating me to work toward my goals.” Another wrote, “Jetsa is the professor every student wishes to have and the mentor a person needs; she is an admirable person.”

Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, professor and chair of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering. A member of the UToledo faculty since 2004, Elahnia is director of the Dynamic and Smart Systems Laboratory.

“I was told by three teachers that I would never make it in engineering,” a nominator wrote. “Then I took a class taught by Dr. Elahinia. I had never had a teacher explain complex material so thoroughly and in a way that everyone could understand. He would stop and ask those who struggled how he could change his method to help them. I have never had a more attentive professor. His belief in me gave me confidence that I belong in engineering. That confidence and belief in me shaped my career. I am a mechanical design engineer for a global company in its research and development department. I know Dr. Elahinia has helped more students than just myself; he is deserving of this award.”

Dr. Karen Green, assistant professor of accounting in the College of Business and Innovation. She has taught at the University since 2015.

“Dr. Green has been a catalyst in the Accounting Department,” one nominator wrote. “She solely developed a new Certified Public Accountant review course that allows master of accounting students to complete their CPA exams. This is a distinguishing characteristic of the program.” “With Dr. Green’s guidance, many students have the competitive advantage of simultaneously testing for the CPA and earning a master’s degree, both before diving into our careers, and we know this is a luxury not available to many young professionals in the accounting field,” another wrote. “Dr. Green is more than a professor; she has become a trusted advisor, cheerleader and reliable friend to all of us. She provides support, guidance, encouragement and direction to all students who cross her path.”

Bryan Lammon, associate professor of law. He joined the College of Law in 2013.

“I have had Professor Lammon for several classes, and I cannot say enough positive words for how he conducts his class sessions,” one nominator wrote. “He actively engages with all of his students and makes the extra effort to ensure that everyone has a complete understanding of the lectures before moving on. His classroom demeanor is always personable and professional, which makes going to his classses that much more enjoyable.” Another noted, “He has an excellent work ethic, is a great teacher, and he is very friendly, yet with a professional attitude.” “Professor Lammon is one of the most approachable professors I’ve encountered. He is so passionate about the subjects he teaches and it truly shows each class,” another wrote. “It is very clear that he truly enjoys watching his students succeed.”

Dr. Heather Sloane, assistant professor of social work in the School of Social Justice in the College of Health and Human Services. She joined the UToledo faculty in 2008.

“Dr. Sloane is a perfect example of what a social worker looks like,” one nominator wrote. “She is patient, kind and sincere in all of our encounters, and she is juggling several different projects with grace and a positive attitude.” “Dr. Sloane is such a loving, thoughtful, selfless professor,” another nominator wrote. “She goes over and beyond to ensure the needs of the students are met.” “Despite all her accomplishments, Heather never acknowledges her success and doesn’t give herself the credit she deserves,” another noted. “She is a behind-the-scenes person and the reason why so many things exist. She is the definition of humility. She deserves this award more than I can express.”

Taking home Outstanding Teacher Awards were, from left, Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, Bryan Lammon, Dr. Heather Sloane, Dr. John Bellizzi, Dr. Karen Green and Dr. Jetsabe Cáceres.

Three Distinguished University Professors named

Three scholars have been added to the rank of Distinguished University Professor in recognition of their career achievements in teaching, research and professional service.

The faculty members named Distinguished University Professor were approved and recognized by the UToledo Board of Trustees at its April meeting. They are Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and executive vice president for clinical affairs; Dr. Ashok Kumar, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Dr. Celia Williamson, professor of social work and executive director of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.

Distinguished University Professors named this month were, from left, Dr. Celia Williamson, Dr. Christopher Cooper and Dr. Ashok Kumar.

“It is our privilege to recognize these individuals with The University of Toledo’s highest permanent honor bestowed upon a faculty member,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Each of these professors is recognized as an outstanding teacher, researcher and professional who has made a great impact on the students who they have mentored and in advancing their fields of study.”

Cooper is an internationally recognized researcher in reno-vascular hypertension and ischemic renal disease. He was the principal investigator on a $20 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in which the team found that stents provided no additional benefits to patients with kidney-related high blood pressure than medication alone, which could lead to fewer surgeries and lower treatment costs. The results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Cooper joined the faculty of the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, then the Medical College of Ohio, in 1994. Throughout his career, he has secured more than $25 million in external research funding and authored or co-authored 96 peer-reviewed articles and nine book chapters.

“As a University of Toledo faculty member, I have been blessed with a number of fantastic mentors, collaborators and trainees, and together we’ve done some exciting things,” Cooper said. “Now my major focus is to create an environment where others can do that, too.”

Cooper is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, Fellow of the American Heart Association and Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Kumar is recognized internationally for the development of innovative software and paradigm-shifting methodologies related to air quality and risk assessment to solve complex environmental problems. With a focus on air pollution, Kumar has advanced the understanding of the air quality impact due to public transportation buses running on biodiesel and issues with radon mitigation systems in Ohio.

Kumar, who has been a member of the UToledo College of Engineering faculty since 1980, has received more than $5.5 million in external funding, and authored or co-authored more than 200 articles and eight books.

“I am proud to be recognized as a Distinguished Professor of the finest university in the area,” Kumar said. “Very few things in life are entirely the work of one individual. This recognition is no exception. This achievement is thanks to a lot of other people’s hard work. Everyone, from the graduate students to funding agencies to fellow professionals and publishers, deserves credit for recognizing my efforts in the field of air pollution.”

Kumar also has received UToledo’s President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to University Scholarship and Creative Activity. He is an honorary member of the Air & Waste Management Association.

Williamson’s pioneering research on human sex trafficking, the prostitution of women and children globally, and mental health and substance abuse counseling needs for vulnerable populations is recognized internationally.

She founded the International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference, which has welcomed to campus thousands of academics and activists from around the world for the past 15 years to end abuse through education, research and advocacy.

Williamson also is the founder of the Second Chance Program, now called RISE, which is the first anti-trafficking program in Ohio, as well as the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition, the National Research Consortium on Commercial Sexual Exploitation, and the Global Association of Human Trafficking Scholars.

“I am both thankful and grateful for this recognition, and I will continue the important anti-trafficking work that needs to be done in our community and around the world,” Williamson said.

She has been a faculty member in the UToledo College of Health and Human Services since 2000 and has received more than $2 million in external funding, and published two co-authored books, two book chapters and 21 peer-reviewed articles.

Also an alumna of UToledo, Williamson has received the University’s Gold T Award and the Edith Rathbun Outreach and Engagement Excellence Award.

Symposium on Research in Psychiatry, Psychology and Behavioral Science this week

The 26th Annual Symposium on Research in Psychiatry, Psychology and Behavioral Science will be held Thursday, April 18, in the Mulford Library Café.

From 11 a.m. to noon, the poster session will take place. There are 37 posters this year with research topics ranging from cognitive factors that influence sexual behaviors and social factors that affect weight loss, to the impact of hearing aid use and object recognition in children.

Hyde

Dr. Luke Hyde, associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, will present a keynote address titled “The Long Reach of Early Parenting: A Neurogenetics Approach to the Development of Antisocial Behavior” at noon.

Along with The University of Toledo departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, the symposium is sponsored by the Bowling Green State University Department of Psychology and the University of Michigan- Dearborn Department of Behavioral Sciences.

The principal goal of the symposium is to showcase the basic and applied behavioral research being conducted by faculty members and students in the region, according to Dr. Michele Knox, professor of psychiatry at the University.

For more information on the free event, contact Carol Brikmanis at carol.brikmanis@utoledo.edu.

UToledo develops precise method to test for exposure to toxic algae

Researchers at The University of Toledo have developed a highly accurate method to test for microcystin in blood or urine samples, an advancement that could provide clinicians a powerful new tool in assessing a patient’s exposure to the dangerous toxin.

The discovery is a continuation of the work UToledo has done around harmful algal blooms since the 2014 Toledo water crisis that temporarily left the city without drinkable water.

Dr. David Kennedy, left, and Dr. Dragan Isailovic have developed a test for microcystin in blood or urine samples that could prove to be a powerful new tool to assess a patient’s exposure to the toxin.

“We don’t want to just be known as the people who turned off the tap, we want to be known as the people who come up with the solutions,” said Dr. David Kennedy, assistant professor of medicine in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and one of the researchers involved in the project. “We’re leading in that area, and the way we’re leading isn’t just going to help northwest Ohio — it’s going to help the world.”

Kennedy’s lab collaborated with Dr. Dragan Isailovic, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Dr. Steven Haller, assistant professor of medicine, to develop and test the method. The research was funded from grants awarded from the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative.

UToledo’s microcystin test combines a method for separating the toxic compounds out of blood or urine samples by liquid chromatography with further examination using mass spectrometry.

The test can identify various microcystins and quantify concentrations of six common microcystins, including the types most often found in Lake Erie.

“Together, we have created a reliable tool that hasn’t existed before. From a clinician’s point of view, you can’t underestimate the importance of having certitude in your diagnosis. We’re helping to provide new diagnostic methods for clinicians to rule in or rule out exposure to microcystin,” Haller said.

Most other attempts at testing blood or urine samples for microcystin have relied on the ELISA test, which is the standard method for quantifying microcystins in water but isn’t as effective in biological samples.

“Our method is very sensitive and reproducible for identification and quantification of microcystins in biological fluids,” Isailovic said. “It would be difficult to do this with the same sensitivity and specificity using any other method.”

The findings were published in the Journal of Chromatography A. Other UToledo contributors on the paper were Dr. Dilrukshika S.W. Palagama, David Baliu-Rodriguez, Apurva Lad and Dr. Bruce S. Levison. A provisional patent on the testing method has been filed.

The researchers are exploring opportunities to use the lab’s technology to offer testing of samples to outside entities.

Accreditation restored to UToledo’s Physician Assistant Program

The University of Toledo’s Physician Assistant Studies Program has been granted full accreditation in recognition of the high-quality education provided to students in a program that meets or exceeds national standards.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) notified the University in a letter sent April 11 that its accreditation has been restored. The program is now on accreditation-continued status, which is in effect until its next review in September 2027. The program had been on accreditation-probation status.

“We are proud [the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant] recognized our efforts to enhance the quality of our PA program and continually improve on our processes and procedures,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “We have remained committed to our students in the program throughout this process and are happy to share this positive outcome with them.”

“We are pleased with this outcome, and I want to thank the leadership from the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, College of Graduate Studies, and the Provost’s Office for their efforts to develop and implement an action plan focused on enriching the academic experience for the students in our Physician Assistant Studies Program,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said.

The University’s accreditation status is:

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to The University of Toledo Physician Assistant Program sponsored by The University of Toledo. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be 2027 September. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

UToledo med students biking across country before graduation to raise money for Community Care Clinics

The sun rising over Los Angeles March 20 signaled the start of a 50-day adventure for a pair of fourth-year medical students at The University of Toledo who are bicycling more than 3,200 miles across the country.

The trip is raising money for UToledo’s Community Care Clinics, a student-run organization that provides free medical care to those with limited or no health insurance.

UToledo medical students Ricky Voigt, left, and Bobby Easterling began their cross-country bike trip by dipping their rear tires in the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, Calif. They are raising funds for UToledo’s Community Care Clinic.

“This is a way to give back on our way out from Toledo,” Ricky Voigt said. “In my eyes, this is one last thank-you to the community.”

Voigt, an Eagle Scout who will soon embark on an emergency medicine residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is joined on the trip by Bobby Easterling, who matched with Ohio State University for his residency in internal medicine.

The pair set a goal of raising $3,267 — one dollar for every mile of their journey — but more than $6,000 was pledged to the Community Care Clinics before they rode their first mile.

“It’s a good cause and a lot of our classmates are really dedicated to it. We know they do good work out there,” Easterling said. “We’re thrilled that people are supporting this.”

Voigt and Easterling left Toledo just days after Match Day. They’ll need to reach the East Coast in time to return to Toledo for their May 10 graduation from the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, giving them just over a month-and-a-half to cross the country.

To do that, they’ll need to average about 70 miles a day. They’ve scheduled a handful of rest days in major cities, but they won’t have time to linger much along the route or to have the luxury of packing it in if it rains.

In spite of that, they’re both eager to complete this journey.

“I think the hardest part is going to be just being on the bike for 45 days. I think physically it’s going to be tough at first, but you kind of get used to it,” Easterling said.

Bobby Easterling, left, and Ricky Voigt took a UToledo flag on their 50-day bike ride across the country. The medical students started their trek in Santa Monica, Calif., and will pedal more than 3,200 miles to the Atlantic Ocean.

Avid runners, Easterling and Voigt came up with the idea to do a cross-country bicycle tour after they ran the Flying Pig Marathon together last spring in Cincinnati. One of Voigt’s Scouting friends had previously done a similar trip, and he helped them decide if the trek was feasible in their time frame and develop the initial plan. Easterling, the more serious cyclist of the two, also drew on his experience participating in the 100-mile Pelotonia charity bike ride in Columbus.

Since the fall, Voigt and Easterling have been sketching out the route and ramping up their indoor training on stationary cycles.

“We’ve probably been riding about four days a week. We started out an hour or two at a time. Now we’re riding 60, 70, 80 miles, which is about four or five hours on the trainer,” Voigt said. “It takes up a lot of time. We just set up Netflix in front of the bike and go.”

Starting from Los Angeles, they are following the historic U.S. Route 66 to cut across Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri into St. Louis. From there, they’ll travel east through Indianapolis, Columbus and Pittsburgh before continuing on through Washington, D.C., and on to the Atlantic Ocean.

Each is carrying about 50 pounds of gear on his bike, including camping equipment. The pair elected not to book any accommodations before the trip began to give them some flexibility in where they stop for the night.

Easterling and Voigt weren’t heavily involved in the Community Care Clinics during their time at the University, but they each have been impressed by the organization’s reach.

Nate Locke, a first-year medical student and director of administration for the Community Care Clinic, said the organization is heavily reliant on donations.

“Health care is expensive, so to have somebody who just wanted to help us out in this way was such a blessing,” he said. “Without the clinics, a lot of the people we see wouldn’t have any access to health care whatsoever. We also provide food and clothing. We try to take care of the entire person, not just the patient.”

The clinics served nearly 5,000 patients last year. Locke said the board is hoping the funds raised by the “Ricky Bobby Bike America for Community Care Clinic” campaign might be enough to cover a larger project, such as adding electronic health records.

Voigt will post updates to his Instagram, @therickyvoigt. Donations can be made on the Ricky Bobby Bike America for Community Care Clinic website.

Former NSF director, water quality expert to speak at University

A former director of the National Science Foundation who is known worldwide for her work in addressing water quality issues will visit The University of Toledo next week as part of the Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series.

Dr. Rita Colwell was the first scientist to discover cholera can enter a dormant state and lurk in water until conditions are again favorable for it to grow. Her finding opened the door to new research about the link between the natural environment, climate, and the spread of infectious diseases.

Colwell

She is working with the British government on a project to track and better respond to likely cholera outbreaks.

“Dr. Colwell is one of the most influential and well-known life scientists in the world today,” said Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College. “She is a leader not only in her academic discipline, but in pulling people together from many academic disciplines to focus on water quality and interdisciplinary approaches to solve major societal challenges.”

Colwell is scheduled to present a pair of lectures at the University:

• A public presentation of how connections between climate and oceans affect human health on Monday, March 25, at 6 p.m. in Doermann Theatre on Main Campus.

• A technical talk about how next-generation DNA sequencing has revolutionized the study of the relationship between microbial communities and how that new knowledge can be used in diagnostics, drug development, public health and water safety Tuesday, March 26, at noon in Radisson Hotel Suite C on Health Science Campus.

Both lectures are open to the public, but reservations are requested to the technical talk luncheon; go to the Distinguished Lecture Series website.

Much of Colwell’s six decades of research has been dedicated to understanding and preventing cholera outbreaks. Among her many discoveries, she demonstrated how algal blooms, spurred by high nutrient loads and warming ocean waters, increases the population of cholera-carrying zooplankton.

Though Lake Erie’s algal blooms raise concerns of microcystin — not cholera — Colwell’s innovative research methods and multidisciplinary way of developing solutions could prove a helpful roadmap to addressing the problem in northwest Ohio.

“We believe the kinds of tools she’s developed and the way of thinking about interdisciplinary research-based problem solving will be of interest and value to the people in our region who are dedicated to protecting water quality,” Appel said.

Colwell was the first woman to lead the National Science Foundation, serving as director from 1998 to 2004. She was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2006 and the Stockholm Water Prize in 2010.

She has a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology, master’s degree in genetics and doctorate in oceanography. She holds distinguished professorships at both the University of Maryland at College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Match Day brings joy, excitement as medical students learn their residency placements

Some of Christian Siebenaler’s earliest memories were of his father, a Toledo-area physician, going off to help people.

“It sounds cliché, but since I was 5 years old seeing him go to work every day in his white coat, I knew I wanted to be a doctor,” Siebenaler said.

Kevin Litzenberg showed his match to Ohio State University Medical Center to his fiancee, Shireen Desai, as his brother, Joshua, watched Friday during the Match Day ceremony. Litzenberg will specialize in internal medicine.

He got his own white coat four years ago when he entered The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences. Now, as he prepares to graduate with his medical degree, he knows he’ll begin practicing right where he wanted.

Siebenaler, who is specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation, was one of 20 UToledo students who paired with the University’s residency program at this year’s Match Day event.

The annual celebration is a seminal event for next-generation physicians. At exactly noon, an eager swarm of fourth-year medical students received envelopes that revealed where they will spend the next three to seven years in residency as they train in their chosen specialties.

“The faculty and staff really look forward to Match Day,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “It is an opportunity to see how much the students have grown intellectually and professionally over their four years of intensive training, and where that training will lead them next. Some will stay at UT for their residencies, which is an absolute delight. Others will train in Ohio or elsewhere across the country. For all of our students, we always hope the very best.”

A total of 165 UToledo medical students matched this year. Notably, there was a 33 percent increase in the number of students who matched with UToledo over last year.

Mariah Truscinski was one of them.

Truscinski, who grew up just a couple of miles from Health Science Campus and completed her undergraduate degree at UToledo, matched in emergency medicine. Already involved in community volunteer work, she was thrilled to open her envelope and see she matched with UToledo.

Archit Sahai, left, and Samuel Ivan showed off their letters during the March 15 Match Day ceremony. Sahai matched in pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hopsital, and Ivan matched in urology at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C.

“It was a pretty amazing feeling. It was a little overwhelming, and there were a lot of thoughts about what the future holds, also just pure excitement. I couldn’t be happier,” she said. “I just feel like I’m really connected to this area and wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”

In all, UToledo’s fourth-year medical students matched in 23 specialties at institutions in 28 states. Forty-four percent of UToledo’s students matched in primary care specialties.

Archit Sahai, who was born in central India, moved with his parents to Cincinnati when he was 3, and became a U.S. citizen in September, matched with the University of Cincinnati in pediatrics.

“There’s a lot of emotions,” he said of Match Day. “You’re anxious, you’re excited, scared a little bit. I probably can’t put words to describe it. As soon as I saw the letters, that’s just pure joy.”

Sahai, whose father is a neurologist at UC, had high praise for both Toledo and the College of Medicine, saying he’d like to return here eventually.

“I’ve never met a more collaborative group of people, whether it’s my classmates or the faculty,” he said. “Everyone genuinely wants everyone to do well here. It’s been an incredible four years. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Among the other institutions where UToledo students will do their residency work were the Mayo Clinic, Massachusetts General, the University of Michigan and the Cleveland Clinic. Ohio was the most popular state, followed by Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Indiana and New York.

Watch the Match Day video.

UToledo medical students to learn residency placements at Match Day event

More than 150 fourth-year medical students at The University of Toledo will learn on Friday, March 15, where they will carry out their residencies on the way to becoming attending physicians.

The annual Match Day event is a highly anticipated ceremony for graduating medical students across the country. At precisely noon, UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences students will join thousands of students from other medical schools across the country in tearing open envelopes that contain their match.

“Match Day is very exciting for our students and the faculty and staff who support them,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “It is the culmination of four years of intense training and now the graduating seniors find out where their next phase of residency training will occur.”

The 2019 Residency Match Reception will begin at 11 a.m. at the Stranahan Theater’s Great Hall. The event is by invitation-only.

Medical students spend months interviewing with hospitals and universities across the country to determine where they want to spend the next three to seven years of their medical training.

Students rank their top institutions, and academic and community-based health systems rank their top student choices. A computer algorithm administered by the National Resident Matching Program then matches students and residency programs together.

Residents are licensed physicians who care for patients under the supervision of attending physicians while they continue to train in their chosen specialties.

Last year, 157 UToledo fourth-year medical students matched into positions in 23 medical specialties.