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UT researchers partner with Green Ribbon Initiative to identify invasive plant species

Three University of Toledo researchers have teamed up with the Green Ribbon Initiative to develop a strategy for partner organizations to prioritize and manage invasive plant species common in the Oak Openings Region.

Dr. Jonathan Bossenbroek, professor of ecology, Dr. Todd Crail, UT lecturer in the Department of Environmental Sciences, and Sara Guiher, a graduate student, are working with the initiative, designed to preserve the natural landscape in the region, to compile a list of what are known as terrestrial invasive plant species. Invasive plant species can be non-native to a region, though only a small percentage of non-native plants qualify as invasive.

UT graduate student Sara Guiher pointed out a black oak at the Kitty Todd Nature Preserve in Swanton. Black oak is one of the native species that the Green Ribbon Initiative is trying to protect.

UT graduate student Sara Guiher pointed out a black oak at the Kitty Todd Nature Preserve in Swanton. Black oak is one of the native species that the Green Ribbon Initiative is trying to protect.

“Plants that are able to exclude native plants, take habitats away from native animals, those are the ones we are really trying to address,” Guiher said.

The project began in May 2015 with the identification phase, during which Guiher and Bossenbroek devised an assessment for partner organizations to determine where their priorities for invasive species management should be focused. After figuring which invasive plants each partner organization is dealing with, the goal is to develop best management practices for the conservation of the area. The development of the Oak Openings Region invasive species strategy brings together organizations such as the Nature Conservancy, Metroparks of the Toledo Area, the Olander Parks System, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, among many others, to make informed decisions about how to control invasive species.

“A big part of this is communication between partners,” Guiher said. “There are all those different agencies, and they each have their own approach; we’re basically trying to bring all of them together and communicate about the spread of invasive plants and decide on consistent strategies to manage them.”

“All these organizations have their own properties and their own, sometimes different management goals — the metroparks have a different mission than the Nature Conservancy, different from the Department of Natural Resources — trying to find a framework for dealing with terrestrial invasive species is what we’ve been asked to do,” Bossenbroek said.

Bossenbroek said his experience includes similar projects geared toward aquatic invasive species, such as the zebra mussel. His work has always included examination into spread of invasive species into the environment they might take over, which translates to this project on terrestrial invasive species as well.

“You use the same tools, the same types of analyses, to predict where things are going to live and how they get around,” Bossenbroek said. “There are usually two ways they move around: They get moved around naturally — birds, wind, streams — or by people. A lot of invasive species are easily transmitted by people.”

The next phase of the partnership will include digital modeling situations, in which variables such as topography and vegetation can be manipulated to figure out ideal habitats for invasive plant species. This type of model was what Bossenbroek said he used when examining aquatic invasive species.

“The next step is the modeling using software; taking those variables and possible vectors and trying to determine where the plant species may establish in the region, which will streamline the process,” Guiher said. “We can’t necessarily cover all the partners’ land, but we can try to give them guidance as to where those plants might show up.”

To learn more about the Green Ribbon Initiative, visit the Oak Openings Region’s website at oakopenings.org/about.

UT startup company participates in government contract to develop new radiation detector

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded two Toledo area companies a contract to develop a new device that could enhance security at ports and monitor the more than 17 million land, sea and air shipping containers in transit each day.

Lucintech logoLucintech, a University of Toledo LaunchPad Incubation startup company owned by UT Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy Al Compaan, will work with Lithium Innovations Co. LLC to create a lightweight, portable, sensitive and low-cost radiation detector that can discover neutrons in industrial shipments entering the country.

Lithium Innovations, a Toledo-based company, will provide foil that is nearly 100 percent lithium-6, an isotope that captures neutrons to start the detection process.

“The neutron subatomic particles are very difficult to detect and can penetrate a meter or more through steel or concrete,” Compaan said.

This collaboration leverages each local company’s technologies recently developed for applications outside of radiation detection.

“We are following on our successful exploratory work, which demonstrates a new approach to high-efficiency neutron detection,” Compaan said. “Neutron detectors are also important for oil and gas exploration, as well as nuclear medicine.”

“Advanced screening is an important component of domestic security,” Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur said. “I am especially pleased that two northern Ohio companies are collaborating to produce a nationally significant, state-of-the-art technology that enhances our nation’s security efforts.”

Compaan has been leading a research effort for nearly 30 years in thin-film photovoltaic materials and devices that convert sunlight directly into electricity. His company Lucintech is developing and scaling up innovative processes for making solar windows and sunroofs for vehicles.

Lithium Innovations, which is led by CEO Ford Cauffiel, leads this Phase II Homeland Security Small Business Innovation Research project. The company supplies pure lithium sources for use by manufacturers of dynamic windows that darken by applying a small voltage.

UT to host International Youth Academy July 24-Aug. 6

The UT Center for International Studies and Programs, in conjunction with Toledo Sister Cities, will welcome students from around the world for the 2016 International Youth Academy, which will take place from Sunday, July 24, through Saturday, Aug. 6, on Main Campus.

This summer’s program will host 32 students:16 from Pakistan, 10 from Japan and six from China.

Business Hlogo 1c Black“The high school students have the opportunity to experience campus life by residing in one of our residence halls and engaging with The University of Toledo students,” said Sara Clark, director of global initiatives in the UT Center for International Studies and Programs. “We have two full weeks planned; program highlights include targeted English second language instruction and development of cultural awareness through outings to Toledo Mud Hens games and the Toledo Art Museum, to name a few. 

“We are pleased to continue this partnership with Toledo Sister Cities International,” Clark said. “There is no better way to showcase what our city has to offer than allowing young people to experience it firsthand.”

A cultural program for high school-aged youth from around the world, the International Youth Academy allows participants to improve their conversational English while having fun, developing new understanding of teens from different cultures, and gaining lifetime friendships.

“The University of Toledo and Toledo Sister Cities International have a long-standing relationship; this relationship has evolved into a partnership to implement the International Youth Academy program,” said Dr. Sammy Spann, UT assistant vice provost for international studies and programs. “This program provides us the opportunity to showcase the city of Toledo, as well as The University of Toledo. The city of Toledo has a great wealth of opportunities to offer the international community, and this program allows us to gain exposure in the international arena.” 

“Toledo Sister Cities International is proud of its nationally acclaimed alliance with The University of Toledo’s Center for International Studies and Programs,” said James Hartung, vice president of the Toledo Sister City Board of Trustees. “In my mind, there is no greater pride than the pride I ascribe to our UT/Sister Cities co-sponsorship of the International Youth Academy. Our shared commitment to creatively foster the development of a corps of young citizen-of-the-world diplomats through the International Youth Academy exemplifies the synergy between UT and Sister Cities.”

The International Youth Academy is a cultural two-week program that enriches high school students’ global awareness and English language. The program is designed for students to share their thoughts and experiences with teenagers from other countries. American youth diplomats work side by side with students to assist them with English, learn about the students’ traditions and culture, and share interests. English classes, language games, cultural activities, field trips and hands-on team-building events all aid in improving students’ conversational English.

For the second year, The Blade is supporting the International Youth Academy. The Blade staff will provide education on the concept of free press and teach interviewing and reporting skills. 

UT nursing program receives accreditation

The University of Toledo’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Program and post-graduate Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Certificate Program were granted accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education following an onsite review in November. The accreditation is for five years to June 2021.

college of nursing logoUT’s Post-Baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice Program is designed to take nurses with a bachelor of science in nursing to the highest level of clinical practice in order to meet the increasing complexities and challenges of the nation’s health-care environment.

“UT has the only advanced practice nursing program in our region, and this accreditation places our program at the leading edge of nurse training,” Dr. Kelly Phillips, interim dean of the College of Nursing, said. “Nurses who receive the doctor of nursing practice degree are poised to be leaders in the health-care field.”

The Post-Baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice Program offers specialization options in adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, pediatric primary care nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

“In providing a variety of training options, we are meeting the needs of patients who need specialized care,” Phillips said.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education is an autonomous accrediting agency that ensures the quality and integrity of nursing programs and supports continuing growth and improvement of collegiate professional education and nurse residency programs.

Rocket football single-game, away tickets go on sale July 20

Single-game Toledo football tickets and away-game tickets will go on sale Wednesday, July 20, at the UT Athletic Ticket Office.

Rocket football logoTickets are available for all six away games, including the Rockets’ battle vs. Northern Illinois at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago Wednesday, Nov. 9.

To purchase season tickets, single-game tickets or away-game tickets, stop by the UT Athletic Ticket Office, located in the Sullivan Athletic Complex at Savage Arena, click here, or call 419.530.GOLD (4653). Season tickets start at just $80.

football schedule for web

Law associate professor selected for Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum

Evan Zoldan, an associate professor in the UT College of Law, was selected to participate in the Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum June 28-29 at Yale Law School in New Haven, Conn.

Zoldan, who received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center and joined the UT faculty in 2012, is the first faculty member from the UT College of Law to be selected for this prestigious event.



“I am delighted that Professor Zoldan’s paper was selected for the Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum,” said UT Law Dean D. Benjamin Barros. “This is a great honor for Professor Zoldan and is a reflection of the quality of his writing and his ideas.”

According to the organizers of the forum, the goal is to “encourage the work of scholars recently appointed to a tenure-track position by providing experience in the pursuit of scholarship and the nature of the scholarly exchange.” Between 12 and 20 young scholars — all with seven or fewer years of teaching law — are selected to present their papers at this annual event. Senior scholars provide comments on the selected papers, and one of the forum’s aims is to help connect newer and more seasoned legal scholars.

Zoldan’s paper, “The Equal Protection Component of Legislative Generality,” describes an under-explored aspect of constitutional law and theory.

“Our commitment to equality is compromised by the ability of Congress and state legislatures to target named individuals for special treatment that is not applied to the population generally,” Zoldan wrote. “This article describes how the Equal Protection Clause can be read to contribute to a constitutional value of legislative generality — that is — a value that suggests that targeted legislation should be disfavored simply because of its particularized effect.” 

Philanthropy dollars and donor numbers up in FY 2016

The administration’s increased focus on fundraising to support University of Toledo initiatives has resulted in more donors and increased philanthropy this year.

At the end of fiscal year 2016, a total of 11,131 donors have given $18.4 million to the University. It is an increase in donors of nearly 17 percent over the 9,520 who gave last year and an increase of nearly 11 percent above the $16.5 million received the previous year.

President Sharon L. Gaber and Vice President for Advancement Samuel McCrimmon spoke at the annual donor recognition event in May. More than 200 University benefactors attended the event, which was held in their honor. In addition, the Frank E. Horton Presidents Club Scholarship was awarded to three students.

President Sharon L. Gaber and Vice President for Advancement Samuel McCrimmon spoke at the annual donor recognition event in May. More than 200 University benefactors attended the event, which was held in their honor. In addition, the Frank E. Horton Presidents Club Scholarship was awarded to three students.

“Philanthropy is key for ensuring a strong future for the University as we strive to increase the number of student scholarships, create endowed professorships and chairs to help recruit faculty who are leaders in their fields, and ensure campus facilities best serve our students and researchers,” said Sam McCrimmon, vice president for advancement. “With President Sharon Gaber’s support, we will continue to work diligently to increase funding to benefit our students and University community.”

The strong fundraising year coincides with the first year of leadership under Gaber, who lists an increase in fundraising among her top five goals for the institution.

It also is the first year of the new Division of Advancement. Led by McCrimmon, who joined the University in September, the division merged together UT’s Institutional Advancement Division and its External Affairs Division. The Division of Advancement includes Alumni Relations, Development, Marketing and Communications, and Special Events.

Among the strategies to increase support for the University has been a campaign to engage alumni with their alma mater. The first Giving Tuesday Campaign included a total of 156 donors giving $56,083 to UT. Giving Tuesday is the day designated across the country as an opportunity to give back following the shopping frenzies of Black Friday and Cyber Monday just after the Thanksgiving holiday.

In response to the Giving Tuesday campaign, which featured 123 alumni among the 156 donors, and other efforts, UT experienced a 1 percent increase in alumni participation this year.

Helicopter to complete steel delivery to University Hall tower Saturday morning

The helicopter delivering structural steel to reinforce the University Hall tower will complete its work Saturday morning.

Crews with UT and W.R. Meyers Co. of Napoleon, Ohio, will return to campus at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, July 16, with the helicopter crane back in the air at 7 a.m. to deliver the final steel beams.

The helicopter delivered most of the steel Friday evening, but was not able to complete the project before sunset. The remaining work should take no more than one hour.

During the delivery of steel, University Hall will again be vacant and the helicopter landing areas in front of the building and in the field south of the Memorial Field House also will need to remain clear. In addition, no traffic will be allowed on Centennial Mall.

Four tons of structural steel is being installed inside the 205-foot-tall tower of University Hall to reinforce the 85-year-old structure. Following the initial delivery, the steel will then be permanently installed to the inside tower throughout the month. The project is expected to be complete by Friday, Aug. 12.

Rockets offer $15 Community Night Tickets for football home opener

The University of Toledo is thanking area fans for their great support of the Rocket football team by offering $15 Community Night Tickets for the home opener vs. Maine Saturday, Sept. 10.

web community night tixKickoff will be at 7 p.m. in the Glass Bowl.

Tickets must be purchased prior to game day in order to receive the discount. Community Night Tickets may be purchased at the UT Athletic Ticket Office, online at UTRocketsTix.com or by phone at 419.530.4653. There is a minimum of 15 tickets per order.

The ticket office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For questions or more information, contact Kyle England at 419.530.5135 or kyle.england@utoledo.edu.

Students serve UTMC patients through new advocate assistant program

This week, University of Toledo undergraduate and graduate student volunteers joined physicians, nurses and other health professionals as a part of a patient’s care team at The University of Toledo Medical Center.

Students pursuing a health-related career such as nursing, pre-med, pharmacy, social work or health-care administration began rounds as patient advocate assistants to provide a unique service to patients during their stay at UTMC.

Allison Gerren and Mahbod Pourriahi, UT patient advocate assistants, talked with UTMC patient Louis Turley during his recent hospital stay.

Allison Gerren and Mahbod Pourriahi, UT patient advocate assistants, talked with UTMC patient Louis Turley during his recent hospital stay.

A part of the Service Excellence Department, the patient advocate assistant serves as a patient resource, answering questions, facilitating communication between patients and hospital staff, troubleshooting when challenges arise, and ensuring patients are comfortable while they are recovering in the hospital.

“Communication issues are the main criticism patients have with hospitals nationwide,” said Debra O’Connell, UTMC patient advocate. “This program will help improve two-way communication with our patients and their family members while providing a unique learning opportunity for UT students enrolled in various health-related careers.”

The field of health care is complex, and patients and their family members can find a hospital stay overwhelming.

“It’s not always easy for a patient to ask their physicians questions about their care, or they may think of something after the doctor has finished rounds,” said UT student Mahbod Pourriahi, a patient advocate assistant studying bioengineering. “That’s where we come in. We spend time visiting with the patients, understanding their concerns, and gathering any questions they may have for their health-care team.”

Patient advocate assistants also ensure patients are resting comfortably during their stay.

“We visit patients on their second day in the hospital,” said future UT medical student Allison Gerren, a patient advocate assistant. “I was expecting to meet patients who were sad or in a lot of pain, but instead I found patients smiling and laughing and happy to talk with me. It brightens my day, and I look forward to doing rounds.”

Ten students have completed the training program, and 15 additional students are entering phase two of training. The students will begin regular rounds within UTMC’s Cardiovascular Unit and Medical/Surgical Step-Down and Neurology units. There are plans to expand the program to other areas of the hospital as more students enter the program.

“The program is another way UTMC strives to provide excellent patient care while training future doctors, nurses, pharmacists and hospital administrators,” said Dustin Ballinger, nursing director in the UTMC Cardiovascular Unit. “This program provides another avenue for checking in on our patients and receiving their feedback.”

Students also benefit from the opportunity to build relationships with medical professionals, get real-world experience interacting with patients, and practice communication and customer service skills.

“We want each and every patient to know that they are our priority,” O’Connell said. “Patients and their families should feel comfortable with all decisions and plans that are made during their stay. We encourage patients to be more active during consultations with physicians. The goal of this program is to provide the best care possible for the patient.”

The students in the program said they have already learned from the training experience and are ready to begin visiting their own patient caseload.

“The training has really helped me to become more comfortable approaching and talking to people in need of care,” Pourriahi said. “I think working with patients now will make me a better and more receptive doctor in the future.”