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UT engineering professor’s invention named to prestigious R&D Top 100 list

A synthetic bone graft substitute developed at The University of Toledo has been recognized by R&D Magazine as one of the year’s most exceptional innovations in science and technology.

Created by Dr. Sarit Bhaduri, UT Distinguished University Professor of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, NovoGro is a moldable bone substitute putty used to fill gaps in bone and encourage new bone growth. It is used primarily in complicated fractures that would not otherwise heal properly on their own.

Dr. Sarit Bhaduri, center, held the R&D Magazine award he received for NovoGro, a synthetic bone graft substitute he created with Dr. Anand Agarwal, left, and Dr. Vijay K. Goel. R&D Magazine named their invention as one of the year’s most exceptional innovations in science and technology.

“Our composition is innovative and quite different from any of our well-known competitors,” Bhaduri said. “The response of bone growth is much faster than other products that are currently available. Our product also incorporates innovative processing techniques that simplify production, which further sets it apart.”

R&D Magazine has annually selected the top 100 revolutionary technologies of the past year since 1963. Among this year’s other winners were Dow Chemical, Texas Instruments, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and NASA’s Glenn Research Center.

“The R&D 100 Award is one of the most prestigious recognitions in applied science,” UT Vice President for Research Frank Calzonetti said. “This award speaks to the ability of Bhaduri and his University of Toledo colleagues in translating highest quality research into marketable products to improve the health outcomes of many.”

Bhaduri teamed up with Dr. Vijay K. Goel, UT Distinguished University Professor and Endowed Chair and McMaster-Gardner Professor of Orthopaedic Bioengineering, and Dr. Anand Agarwal, UT research professor of bioengineering, to license the technology from the University and co-found the biomedical firm OsteoNovus Inc. Agarwal also serves as the president and chief executive officer of OsteoNovus, where the product has undergone further development.

“In this category of orthobiologics — how to grow bone — there are many players, but the problem is the big guys aren’t doing much innovation,” Bhaduri said. “We wanted to disrupt that.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared NovoGro for use in two different indications — spine and the extremities.

Currently, NovoGro has a half dozen clinical users across the country and is trying to grow the client base significantly in 2019.

The company’s corporate offices and manufacturing facility are housed within The University of Toledo LaunchPad Incubation Program.

Rockets complete first bowl practice, visit beach

The Toledo Rockets completed a morning practice Tuesday, their first of three sessions in preparation for their game against Florida International University at the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl Friday, Dec. 21.

The game will start at 12:30 p.m. and be televised on ESPN.

Toledo senior Chris Green showed off his best moves in a dance-off contest at the beach bash at
the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl Tuesday.

The Rockets had a 90-minute workout at Davies Field in Nassau, a turf soccer field not far from Robinson Stadium, where UT will battle the Golden Panthers.

In the afternoon, most players spent some free time at the beach while the captain took part in an up-close dolphin experience. In the early evening, the Rockets joined their opponents from FIU for a beach party on Atlantis Beach on the Caribbean Sea. The players enjoyed a cookout, beach games and a highly spirited team dance-off competition.

Toledo will practice Wednesday morning and again Thursday.

A few players will visit the Ranfurly Homes for Children and a youth football clinic on Wednesday. On Thursday, the Toledo cheerleaders and band will lead a team pep rally.






”This is a beautiful place. The Atlantis is second to none when it comes to facilities,” UT Head Football Coach Jason Candle, said. “The hospitality has been great; everybody we’ve interacted with has taken great care of us. We’re very fortunate and very lucky to be here.”



He added, ”Obviously, the extra practice time is huge for the growth and development of our younger players. But at the same time, we want to send our senior class out the right way with a victory. When these guys go home over break and talk to their family and friends about their bowl trip, we want them to be able to talk about a positive experience, and that includes a win on Friday.”



”We’re just focused on getting better and perfecting our craft, doing whatever we can do to win this game on Friday,” senior defensive end Tuzar Skipper said. “We’re not on vacation; this is a business trip. We want to go out with a victory.”



“The first practice was hot, but it was fun being out here in the heat,” junior center Bryce Harris said. “We’ve been practicing in Fetterman for all of our bowl practices, so being able to get outside and have a practice felt good.”



UT Foundation, Development, Alumni Engagement, and Special Events moving to Dorr Street

Several University of Toledo offices are moving this winter to a new location on Dorr Street, thanks to a generous gift from Welltower Inc.

As of Thursday, Jan. 3, the UT Foundation offices will be relocated to the new Center for Alumni and Donor Engagement, 4510 Dorr St., Toledo, OH 43615 (adjacent to Welltower Inc). UT Development, Alumni Engagement, and Special Events offices also will move to the new center by the end of January.

The UT Foundation offices are scheduled to be at the new Center for Alumni and Donor Engagement, 4510 Dorr St., Jan. 3. UT Development, Alumni Engagement, and Special Events offices also are slated to move to the new center by the end of January.

Mail stop numbers will be UT Foundation MS 820, Development MS 825, Alumni Engagement MS 830, and Special Events MS 835.

All office phone numbers remain the same.

Coinciding with the move, the UT Foundation is also changing its logo, adopting a version of the shield logo used throughout the University.

“Transitioning to a new location seems a fitting time to make a brand change that more clearly identifies our organization as part of the UT family,” said Brenda S. Lee, UT Foundation president. “Our goal has always been — and continues to be — providing impactful financial support for the University and fostering a spirit of loyalty and opportunity for UT alumni and friends. We look forward to continuing our efforts and working with alumni, faculty, staff and donors from our new offices.”

Lee noted that there’s still time to make a 2018 gift in support of UT programs, projects and students. Contributions may be made on the UT Foundation website or in person at the Foundation’s current Driscoll Alumni Center location. Offices will be closed Dec. 24-26, but will be open for year-end giving from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 27, 28 and 31.

Chief of staff named to lead finance office

An administrator who has served The University of Toledo for two decades has been named interim chief financial officer.

Matt Schroeder, chief of staff and associate vice president for budget and planning, will begin his role as UT’s interim executive vice president for finance and administration beginning Monday, Jan. 7.

Schroeder

“I am committed to the success of The University of Toledo and providing a strong financial foundation necessary to achieve our strategic priorities,” Schroeder said. “I appreciate President Gaber’s confidence in me to fill this very important role.”

“Matt has dedicated his career to UT, and his experience with both the University and the UT Foundation will serve us well as we continue our positive momentum and prioritize how we allocate our resources in ways that have the greatest impact on our students and the campus community,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said.

Gaber thanked Lawrence R. Kelley, who has led the University’s financial operations since 2015, for his leadership as CFO through mid-March and his continued service to the institution part time through 2019 as a senior advisor assisting with budget planning and strategic initiatives.

As interim executive vice president for finance and administration, and chief financial officer, Schroeder will oversee the University’s offices of Finance; Budget and Planning; Facilities and Construction; Auxiliaries; Information Technology; Human Resources; Public Safety; and Internal Audit and Compliance.

Schroeder has served as the University’s chief of staff since 2015 as a member of the senior leadership team focused on leading strategic priorities and special projects, as well as overseeing government relations and the University’s response to critical issues.

Prior to joining the University, Schroeder was the UT Foundation’s chief operating officer.

A graduate of UT’s College of Business and Innovation, Schroeder also has an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Researcher awarded $2.1 million NIH grant to study fungal infection common in cancer patients

A University of Toledo scientist has been awarded a $2.1 million National Institutes of Health grant to continue her research into one of the most common and debilitating conditions experienced by patients undergoing treatment for head and neck cancers.

Dr. Heather Conti, UT assistant professor of biological sciences, studies a fungal infection called oral candidiasis. The infection is more commonly known as thrush.

Conti

In otherwise healthy individuals, the condition is minor, but for those with compromised immune systems or undergoing radiation or chemotherapy, oral candidiasis can turn into a serious and potentially dangerous illness.

“Unfortunately, many patients who develop this condition choose to forego their cancer treatment,” Conti said. “It can actually have a direct link to cancer prognosis because the symptoms are too hard to deal with.”

The five-year grant, which is distributed through the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, will fund research into the role blood platelets play in the body’s natural defense against oral candidiasis.

“Platelets are commonly thought of for their role in blood clotting. But what we’re finding more and more is that platelets also play a very important role in the immune response,” Conti said. “They can protect against various bacteria — or in our case, fungi — which is a novel thought in the field. Platelets can be a much more complicated cell than just taking part in blood clotting.”

She is collaborating with Dr. Randall Worth, UT associate professor of medical microbiology and immunology, on the project.

The reason oral candidiasis can cause such serious problems in cancer patients is the fact that chemotherapy and radiation often destroy the mucous membrane in the mouth, allowing the fungi to grow unchecked. That, Conti said, can lead to sores on the gums or tongue, difficulty swallowing, bleeding and pain. If the fungal infection reaches the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body, it can become life-threatening.

Patients with HIV are also at greater risk of serious infection from oral candidiasis.

Candidiasis can be successfully treated with antifungal medications, but Conti said there is an emerging trend of strains that have developed resistance to commonly prescribed drugs. That limits clinicians’ options, particularly in individuals who are already in poor health.

The goal of this study, Conti said, is better understanding how the body fights the infection and how researchers might be able to leverage that response to formulate new treatments.

“The immune response to oral candidiasis is quite complicated. If platelets play an important role, we need to understand that response. The hope would be to develop therapeutics that not only kill the fungus directly, but can also bolster the immune response,” she said.

UT engineers create method to save at least $120,000 per mile on road pavement projects

Before orange construction barrels dot pot-holed streets or highways, a vital part of planning a pavement project is determining how thick the next layer of asphalt needs to be, taking into consideration the layers that already lie beneath the surface.

A team of engineers at The University of Toledo created a new procedure and design software to more accurately estimate the structural capacity of existing pavement that could save the Ohio Department of Transportation millions of dollars on road improvement projects and be adopted by states across the country.

Dr. Eddie Chou is leading a team of UT engineers that designed software to estimate the structural capacity of existing pavement that could save the Ohio Department of Transportation millions of dollars on road improvement projects.

The Transportation Research Board, a unit of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, selected UT’s project for developing a revised pavement overlay thickness design procedure as one of 32 High-Value Research projects nationwide to be highlighted at its annual meeting Jan. 13-17 in Washington, D.C. The meeting attracts 13,000 transportation professionals from around the world.

The new method is specifically designed for composite pavement — concrete pavement already topped with a thick layer of asphalt — which accounts for the majority of ODOT’s four-lane and interstate highways. Previously, ODOT used a design method that was originally developed for rigid, concrete pavements that tended to produce designs often deemed too thick and wasteful for today’s roadways, as pavement becomes thicker with each additional overlay.

For an update, ODOT turned to the engineer who crafted the original design 25 years ago: Dr. Eddie Chou, UT professor of civil and environmental engineering, and director of the Transportation Systems Research Lab.

“The previous procedure did not work well with thick composite pavement. With this particular type of road, it tended to underestimate the existing structure’s worth,” said Chou, who worked on the project with Dr. Liango Hu, UT associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. “Many existing pavement sections we examined now require several inches thinner than previously demanded to withstand traffic for an additional 20 to 25 years.”

The UT research team adopted a three-layer model for back-calculating the properties of the soil subgrade and pavement layers, instead of the old two-layer model that combined cement and asphalt into one.

Chou said the new design reduces on average about five inches of overlay thickness, and the reduction of each additional inch of overlay can save approximately $120,000 per mile.

“In addition to being more environmentally friendly, the potential cost savings can be substantial considering each year ODOT rehabilitates several hundred miles of existing composite pavements by laying additional asphalt on top,” Chou said.

The revised design procedure was implemented into design software that adopts the improved back-calculation model. The software also offers an optional feature that takes into consideration the effects of temperature.

The Ohio Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration sponsored the UT research.

“This UT research developed a revised rehabilitation design procedure for composite pavement structures in Ohio and more accurately characterizes pavement layers for this analysis,” Patrick Bierl, pavement design engineer and pavement rating coordinator in ODOT’s Office of Pavement Engineering, said. “This revised procedure allows ODOT to continue to produce efficient and cost-effective rehabilitation designs to manage our composite pavements.”

Football player named Second-Team Academic All-America

Toledo senior wide receiver Cody Thompson has been named to the Google Cloud Academic All-America Second Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

He is Toledo’s first Academic All-American since Dan Molls earned First-Team honors in 2012.

Thompson, who earned Academic All-District honors in 2017, graduated last December with a 3.66 GPA in marketing. He is pursuing his master’s degree in recreation and leisure and holds a 3.83 graduate GPA.

Thompson has 43 receptions for 592 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, earning first-team All-Mid-American Conference honors for the second time in his career. He is Toledo’s all-time leader in career TD receptions (30) and ranks second all-time in receiving yards (3,257).

The native of Huron, Ohio, was a first-team All-MAC selection in 2016, catching 64 passes for a then school-record 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has been on the official watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the top receiver in the country, in each of the past two seasons.

This season, Thompson also was a candidate for the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year, the Wuerffel Trophy, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award, and the NCAA Senior CLASS Award.

Thompson will play his final game as a Rocket when Toledo takes on Florida International University in the 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl Friday, Dec. 21.

Men’s basketball team moves up in Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll

Toledo moved up three spots in this week’s Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll released Monday evening and are now ranked No. 6.

The Rockets extended their winning streak to seven games last week with a 101-57 victory over Detroit Mercy and a 75-74 overtime win at 2018 NCAA Tournament participant Marshall.



Junior Willie Jackson and the Rockets are ranked No. 6 in the Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll.

Toledo’s 9-1 start to the 2018-19 season is its best since winning its first 12 games in a record-breaking 2013-14 campaign that ended with a 27-7 record. In addition, UT’s .900 winning percentage is tied for 11th best in the nation.



The Rockets’ highest ranking ever in the Mid-Major poll is No. 2 Dec. 30, 2013.



Toledo will begin a four-game homestand Saturday, Dec. 15, against Middle Tennessee. UT will then host Cornell Wednesday, Dec. 19, and Penn Saturday, Dec. 29, before opening Mid-American Conference play in Savage Arena vs. Ball State Friday, Jan. 4.

University employees can purchase tickets at half price, and UT students are admitted free with ID. Go to the Toledo Rockets website, call 419.530.GOLD (4653), or stop by the UT Athletic Ticket Office in Savage Arena.

National science leader and Toledo native to deliver UT commencement address Dec. 15

The head of the nation’s oldest and one of its most prestigious laboratories will return home, as Toledo native Michael Witherell is set to deliver the address during The University of Toledo’s undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, Dec. 15.

Witherell, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in Berkeley, Calif., will address 1,474 candidates for degrees, including 1,437 bachelor’s and 37 associate’s candidates. The event will take place at 11:30 a.m. in Savage Arena on Main Campus.

Witherell

UT’s graduate commencement ceremony is scheduled at 8 a.m. in Savage Arena and will commemorate 641 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. Md Kamal Hossain, emerging cancer researcher and candidate for a doctoral degree at the University, will be the speaker.

Both ceremonies are open to the public and can be viewed live on the UT Views website.

Witherell, a distinguished physicist, educator and science leader, developed the foundation for his future at Toledo’s St. Francis de Sales High School. Salutatorian at age 15, he earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in experimental physics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. After a distinguished career as a university professor performing research in particle physics, he devoted himself to leading large research institutions.

In 2016, Witherell was named director of Berkeley Lab, the oldest of the 17 labs in the
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories systems. Berkeley Lab is a global leader in fundamental and applied scientific research in physical, biological, energy, computing and environmental sciences. The lab’s employees have earned 13 Nobel Prizes and played a role in the discovery of 16 elements on the periodic table, among its honors. The lab is managed for the DOE by the University of California.

“Our mission at Berkeley Lab is solving the nation’s most challenging problems through great scientific and technological discoveries. I believe that the national assets in addressing these problems include public universities and the students whom they are educating,” Witherell said.

Before joining Berkeley Lab, Witherell spent six years as director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. He was vice chancellor for research at the University of California in Santa Barbara, where he also held a presidential chair in the Physics Department.

His primary research interest is in studying the nature of dark matter. He was a contributor to the LUX experiment, which in 2016 published the most sensitive search for interactions of dark matter particles with normal matter. He is now part of an international research team that is building a successor to LUX, known as LZ, which will be three orders of magnitude more sensitive. Data collection is expected to start in 2020.

Witherell is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He chairs the Board of Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies and serves on the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy.

“As a nationally recognized, public research university, The University of Toledo is pleased to have Dr. Witherell as our fall commencement speaker. Research not only helps us to discover new knowledge that advances all areas of study, but also instills critical thinking skills that our students can use to approach problems systematically and come up with solutions that improve everyday life,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We look forward to Dr. Witherell sharing his insights with our graduates, especially since he grew up in Toledo and has since made tremendous contributions through research.”

Witherell’s personal success can be traced back to the Glass City, as well. He and his wife, Elizabeth Hall Witherell, head of the Princeton Edition of Henry Thoreau’s writings, grew up in the same west Toledo neighborhood and were high school sweethearts. They have a daughter, Lily.

“The foundation for my career and life was my extended family in Toledo,” Witherell said. “Their support and the value they put on education and public service were central to my personal and professional development.”

Hossain

Hossain, the graduate ceremony speaker, is a native of Dhaka, Bangladesh, who came to UT as an industrial pharmacist with a passion to develop innovative medicines.

“I’ve always been interested in studying health-related fields due to the suffering of people in my homeland from different types of disease,” Hossain said. “My focus is to develop a specific targeting approach for a more effective cancer vaccine. My research examined the utilization of a natural antibody already present in human serum that makes the vaccine more convenient to target tumor cells.”

He is a candidate for a doctor of philosophy degree in medicinal chemistry in UT’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

UT’s fall commencement ceremonies will recognize graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Graduate Studies; Health and Human Services; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College.

The College of Law will host its commencement ceremony Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Later that week — Friday, May 10, at
4 p.m. — the College of Medicine and Life Sciences will hold its commencement ceremony in Savage Arena.

For more information, visit the UT commencement website.

Bioengineer to receive international award for work in orthopaedic mechanics

Dr. Vijay K. Goel will be honored by the government of Dubai this month with the Hamdan International Award for Medical Research Excellence for his lifelong work in orthopaedic mechanics.

Goel, Distinguished University Professor and Endowed Chair and McMaster-Gardner Professor of Orthopaedic Bioengineering at The University of Toledo, was nominated for the award by UT President Sharon L. Gaber.

Goel

“This is a noteworthy award. Many of the previous winners are among the world’s top physicians and researchers. They really pick the cream of the cream,” Goel said. “I’m very honored, very excited, and very proud to have been selected. From my perspective, it is the cumulation of all the work I have done that helped me to get this award.”

The Hamdan International Award for Medical Research Excellence was established in 1999 by Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the United Arab Emirates vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, to recognize those behind transformative medical research that serves the interests of humanity.

This year’s conference and awards are focused on musculoskeletal disorders, rheumatology, orthopaedics and orthopaedic mechanics. Goel is set to receive the award at a ceremony Dec. 12.

“I’m helping several institutions in India to establish bioengineering programs, and I hope with this award I may be able to help Gulf countries establish programs as well,” he said.

Goel joined The University of Toledo in 2000 after 18 years at the University of Iowa. He also spent three years as a research associate in the Department of Orthopedics at Yale Medical School.

Goel holds 18 patents and has been involved in establishing several companies, including OsteoNovus Inc. and Spinal Balance Inc. He recently received an Ohio Faculty Council Technology Commercialization Award from the Ohio Department of Higher Education for his work in developing and commercializing the Libra Pedicel Screw System.