UT News » News

UT News


Search News




Assistant professor elected to lead international neuroscience society

Dr. F. Scott Hall, assistant professor of pharmacology at The University of Toledo, recently was elected president of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society.



The society is a nonprofit organization that consists of scientists, clinicians, therapists and educators from 34 countries. It encourages research and education in the relationship between the brain and behavior.

“The goals of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society closely align with my own career aspirations and are important to the field of neuroscience,” Hall said. “I hope to continue the tradition of providing a learning environment that is focused on science and research, which also encourages interactions between students and established scientists with opportunities for mentorship and career development.”

Hall is interested in the study of neurodevelopmental and genetic rodent models of addiction and psychiatric disorders. His newest book, Negative Affective States and Cognitive Impairments in Nicotine Dependence, explores the psychiatric reasons individuals become addicted to nicotine and is scheduled to be published by Elsevier Science Publishing Co. Inc. in September.

Women & Philanthropy at UT announces 2016 grant award winners

Women & Philanthropy, a volunteer organization that promotes The University of Toledo through grants to UT initiatives, has given 2016 grants in the amount of $81,545

The first grant for $31,465 was awarded to the Instrumentation Center for the construction of an interactive display titled “Living Science: The Ever-Changing Periodic Table.”

“A University Woman,” a glass sculpture by local artist Tom McGlauchlin, serves as the logo for Women & Philanthropy at The University of Toledo. The piece is located in the Carlson Library concourse and was made possible by the group’s first grant in 2008.

“A University Woman,” a glass sculpture by local artist Tom McGlauchlin, serves as the logo for Women & Philanthropy at The University of Toledo. The piece is located in the Carlson Library concourse and was made possible by the group’s first grant in 2008.

This display will have nearly 120 individual LED-illuminated and engraved glass boxes — one for each element — demonstrating how the element relates to everyday life and current events. The display will have touch-screen technology with a kiosk that will contain apps that supplement the display with stories or short movies about each element and allow the viewer to play with elements.

The proposed location for the 3-D display is the entrance that connects Wolfe Hall and the Bowman-Oddy Laboratories. Viewers will be able to scan the display with their smartphones and be taken to a UT webpage explaining the specific exhibit.

Dr. Kristin Kirschbaum, director of the UT Instrumentation Center, believes the display will become a focal point for visitors to The University of Toledo, as well as for faculty, staff and students.

“We are honored and beyond excited to receive funding for the ‘Living Science’ project,” Kirschbaum said. “Through this generous gift, we will bring the many diverse talents at UT together creating a unique display for UT and the Toledo community for learning and exploring. The Wolfe Hall exhibit will not only show the fun in science, but will bring attention to the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and will highlight the community of The University of Toledo.”

The second grant in the amount of $50,080 went to the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the completion of an active learning classroom for use in science and math courses, as well as by other colleges and departments at the University.

The purpose of this project is to convert Wolfe Hall Room 2238 into a technology-assisted active learning classroom with space for 45 students. Funds from Women & Philanthropy will be used to cover the purchase and installation of furniture, white boards, carpeting, and other technology and non-technology needs.

Once completed, students will be able to work in groups with increased student-to-student and teacher-to-student interaction. This state-of-the-art teaching and learning space will allow the advancement of science and math teaching methods, and will incorporate best practices for collaborative student learning in these courses.

“We are really excited that Women & Philanthropy will be supporting the conversion of space in Wolfe Hall into an active learning classroom focused on science and math education,” Dr. John Plenefisch, associate dean for the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, said. “Having this space dedicated to active and collaborative learning will be a significant contribution to the quality student learning experience we have here at The University of Toledo.”

Women & Philanthropy at The University of Toledo was chartered in 2006 and made its first award to UT in 2008. Through this giving circle, members of diverse backgrounds and interests work collaboratively to make positive, meaningful and immediate impacts at the University.

Over the past nine years, Women & Philanthropy has given a total of 15 grants totaling $358,446 to The University of Toledo, according to Chris Spengler, director of advancement relations in Advancement, who is a member and administrative contact for Women & Philanthropy.

Through their generous support, members of Women & Philanthropy have created a permanent legacy at The University of Toledo.

“Our goal is to unify and collaborate with many women to make a difference at The University of Toledo,” said Marianne Ballas, chair of Women & Philanthropy at The University of Toledo. “These gifts are examples of what we can do with a membership of only 70 women. We invite all women to research our group and consider a membership.

“Collective and collaborative giving is powerful, and that’s what Women & Philanthropy is all about,” she added.

Applications for 2017 grants will be available in late fall.

Additional information about Women & Philanthropy is available at http://utole.do/womenphilanthropy.

Rocket football three-game ‘mini-plan’ on sale

The University of Toledo three-game “mini-plans” for the 2016 football season are on sale now. Mini-plans start at $81 and include a sideline seat for three games.

mini plan webFor the mini-plan, Rocket fans may choose one premium home contest on the 2016 schedule and any two other games. Sideline A seats are $93, while sideline B seats are $81.

Limited quantities are available for each game, and seat location is based on availability.

Mini-plan ticket holders may choose one premium game — either Fresno State (Sept. 17) or Bowling Green (Oct. 15). They also may choose any two games from the following: Maine (Sept. 10), Central Michigan (Oct. 22), Ohio (Oct. 27) and Ball State (Nov. 16).

To order, stop by the UT Athletic Ticket Office, located in the Sullivan Athletic Complex at Savage Arena, go online at UTRockets.com, or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Medical student receives national leadership award for rural health outreach

Third-year medical student Hallie Foster grew up in a city, but her heart belongs in the country.

“I always knew I wanted to work with patients in areas with doctor shortages and access-to-care problems,” Foster said. “Originally, I had dreams of working internationally as a physician in foreign countries that could use a few more doctors.”

UT medical student Hallie Foster received the 2016 Student Leadership Award from the National Rural Health Association from Alan Morgan, CEO of the association, and Lisa Kilawee, president of the nonprofit group.

UT medical student Hallie Foster received the 2016 Student Leadership Award from the National Rural Health Association from Alan Morgan, CEO of the association, and Lisa Kilawee, president of the nonprofit group.

A conversation with one of her cousins in her grandparents’ eastern Ohio backyard changed the course of her life.

“She told me to take a look around,” Foster said. “Good doctors are needed out here, too.”

Since then, Foster focused her attention on some of the nation’s most underserved regions.

Foster spent the summer after her first year at The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences completing a clinical preceptorship at East Tennessee State University. She worked alongside health-care professionals in eastern Tennessee to learn about improving the health and well-being of Appalachian Americans.

“I’m a latecomer to rural health care, but I’m committed to health-care equality for people who don’t live in close proximity to the dense resources available in an urban area,” Foster said. “The need is absolutely there, and the people face unique vulnerabilities not seen in other parts of the country.”

As a student constituency group board member with the National Rural Health Association, Foster is developing a student-alumni network to expand mentorship from recent graduates to current student members.

For her work on the student board, Foster won the 2016 Student Leadership Award from the National Rural Health Association.

The nonprofit organization honored Foster in Minneapolis during its 39th Annual Rural Health Conference, the largest gathering of rural health professionals in the country. Foster is one of seven people across the country who was recognized at the conference in May in Minnesota.

“Every year, rural Americans come together to gain education and raise awareness on behalf of the 62 million Americans who live in rural areas and desperately need access to affordable health care,” said Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association. “We are especially proud of this year’s winners. They have each already made tremendous strides to advance rural health care, and we’re confident they will continue to help improve the lives of rural Americans.”

The National Rural Health Association’s membership is made up of 21,000 individuals and organizations.

“This is a staggering honor,” said Foster, who plans to pursue a psychiatry-focused residency. “I hope my relationship with the National Rural Health Association will be long, and I plan to continue a focus on rural health care throughout my career.”

Football, men’s basketball play-by-play announcer hired

Veteran sports broadcaster Brent Balbinot is the new “Voice of the Rockets.” Beginning this fall, Balbinot will serve as play-by-play broadcaster for football and men’s basketball, and host the respective coaches’ radio shows.

The University of Toledo Athletic Department and its exclusive multimedia rights holder, Learfield, announced the hire last week.

Balbinot webBalbinot, who brings nearly 25 years of sports broadcasting and related experience to Toledo, spent the last 12 years at his alma mater, the University of Iowa, serving as play-by-play voice for Hawkeyes’ women’s basketball and baseball. Balbinot also filled in at play-by-play for men’s basketball, and over the years held other related roles, including host of the call-in radio shows and complete oversight of the daily sports feature for Hawkeye Radio Network.

He has been immersed in sports media in the state of Iowa since 1993, handling play-by-play duties and serving as a news/sports director for a variety of stations: KLEH AM, KMCH FM, KQWC AM/FM, KXIC AM, WMT AM and KGYM AM. Additionally, he has served as a sports writer for HawkeyeReport.com the past three years.

“We couldn’t be more excited to have Brent join the Rockets’ family,” said UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “Not only is his background impressive, he comes highly recommended from our friends at Iowa. It’s obvious the fans, coaches and administrators at Iowa embraced Brent and the quality of his work there for over a decade. We look forward to introducing him to our Rocket fans with the start of the football season.”

According to Luke Reiff, general manager for Learfield’s local Rocket Sports Properties, Balbinot was the top choice resulting from a comprehensive national search. “We set out to identify the best talent for the Rockets, and we’re really pleased about Brent coming here. He’s going to be a great fit, and we can’t wait for the first kickoff on Sept. 2.”

Balbinot replaces Mark Beier, who retired from his duties as the Rockets’ football and men’s basketball play-by-play announcer in March after 21 years behind the microphone.

“Rocket athletics has a long and rich history, not just on the field or the court, but in the broadcast booth. I am honored to be following such a respected sportscaster in Mark Beier,” Balbinot said.

Rocket Sports Properties works closely with O’Brien and his administration and has direct oversight of talent and station affiliates associated with the UT Health Rocket Sports Radio Network.

Learfield has an extensive history in the collegiate athletics landscape. In addition to Toledo, the company manages the multimedia and sponsorship rights for more than 120 collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas, in addition to supporting athletic departments at all competitive levels as title sponsor of the prestigious Learfield Directors’ Cup.

Glacity Theatre Collective to perform original musical at Toronto Fringe Festival

The Glacity Theatre Collective has been selected to perform at the Toronto Fringe Festival June 29-July 10 and will present its original musical, “House of Vinyl,” written and composed by company members Dr. Edmund B. Lingan, UT associate professor and chair of theatre and film, and Timothy Lake.

Originally developed and performed in Toledo one year ago, this tightly wound, bubble-wrapped, 55-minute psychedelic musical was developed as part of Glacity Theatre Collective’s Junkbox Theatre project. The idea is to take unfinished scripts, loosely connected scenes, current obsessions, scribbled notes and musical compositions with or without lyrics that company members have from previous inspirations and mash them together to see what sticks. The ultimate goal is a completely new story that any audience can appreciate.

Tori Zajac and Nolan Thomaswick rehearsed a scene from the Glacity Theatre Collective’s musical, “House of Vinyl.”

Tori Zajac and Nolan Thomaswick rehearsed a scene from the Glacity Theatre Collective’s musical, “House of Vinyl.”

The musical has been reworked slightly since its original production and now features a smaller cast playing multiple roles.

In the Toronto Fringe Festival format, companies have exactly 15 minutes to set up for each performance and another 15 to strike afterward, so the technical elements were streamlined to fit the festival parameters.

Directed by Lake and based on a story that Lingan has written and re-written as a play, novel and screenplay, “House of Vinyl” focuses on Horton Stephen Wilder, who has an intense fear of open spaces, or agoraphobia. When Horton is forced out of his apartment and into the street because of a gas leak, he embarks on a strange and hallucinogenic journey involving lawyer-knights, psychic stingrays, a diaper fetishist, and yards and yards of vinyl. Will he ever make it back to his apartment and safety? Or will he be trapped in the “House of Vinyl” forever?

Nolan Thomaswick is returning in the role of Horton. Other returning cast members are Jennifer Nagy-Lake, Tori Zajac, Lingan, and Holly Monsos, UT associate dean of the College of Communication and the Arts. New to the cast are Dr. Gary Insch, dean of the UT College of Business and Innovation, and Lynnette Bates and Noah York.

The Lingan-Lake score is mostly guitar-driven and is played by Lingan and Insch, augmented with triggered samples. Andrés Medina is stage manager, costumes are designed by Bates, and lighting is designed by Cory Sprinkles.

To help offset the cost of housing a company of 11 for nearly two weeks in Toronto, the collective has started a Go Fund Me campaign. To learn more or to donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/Glacity.

Before leaving for Toronto, “House of Vinyl” will play two performances Friday and Saturday, June 24 and 25, at 8 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre. The doors will open 30 minutes prior to curtain.

All tickets are $20 online or at the door and include a reception afterward. To purchase tickets in
advance, go to http://glacity.tix.org.

After the weekend shows in Toledo, the company will travel to Toronto for seven performances at the Robert Gill Theatre during the festival.

To learn more about the Toronto Fringe Festival, click here.

Go to http://glacity.org for more information about the collective or “House of Vinyl.”

Trustees approve budget, College of Arts and Letters

An operating budget that positions The University of Toledo for success for the coming year and into the future was approved Monday by the UT Board of Trustees.

The $737.8 million operating budget is conservatively based on flat enrollment for the coming academic year as part of the institution’s efforts to strengthen its financial foundation. Reflected in the budget are the stabilization efforts called for by UT President Sharon L. Gaber earlier in the year for a 1.5 percent reduction to the operating budget for fiscal year 2016 and 3 percent to the entire budget for fiscal year 2017, which reduced operating expenses by about $12 million.

Business Hlogo 1c BlackThe 2016-17 budget includes no undergraduate tuition and general fees increases and no increase in graduate tuition, with the exception of a 2 percent increase for the Doctor of Pharmacy Program. Trustees previously approved a 2 percent increase in residence halls fees, and the budget includes a 2 percent increase in meal plan fees to cover increased costs.

Professional staff will receive a 2 percent wage increase; however, senior administrators will defer 2 percent increases until January contingent on positive enrollment growth. Pay increases for union salary groups are included in the budget according to collective bargaining agreements.

Trustees also approved a Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion. The plan is the culmination of an eight-month process led by Dr. Willie McKether that engaged students, faculty, staff and members of the external community. McKether will lead the implementation of the plan as he starts his new role as vice president for diversity and inclusion July 1.

In addition, the Board of Trustees also approved the new College of Arts and Letters, which is a merger of the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences and the College of Communication and the Arts.

The college will be led by Dr. Jamie Barlowe, who is currently the dean of the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences, who said the merger provides opportunities to recognize, promote and expand cross-disciplinary relationships and opportunities to benefit students. The college will include a School of Visual and Performing Arts, and Deb Davis, currently the dean of the arts college, will serve as director.

The College of Arts and Letters will serve 1,900 students majoring in disciplines such as the humanities, economics, foreign languages, psychology, communication, theater and music, as well as the more than 14,500 students enrolled in general education classes taught by faculty in the college.

UT alum to launch new book

University of Toledo alumna Jasmine Shea Townsend will launch her new book, The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco, on Friday, June 24, at 2 p.m. in the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections on the fifth floor of Carlson Library.

The free, public event will include readings of selections from the book by Townsend.

book launch with author photoDescribed by Townsend as a comedic fantasy novel, the book follows the adventure of Prince Bastien and his manservant, Sandy, as they seek revenge for the murder of the prince’s bride-to-be on their wedding day. In the process, the prince and Sandy are kidnapped by a mysterious woman and her gang of bandits.

Townsend received her bachelor of arts degree in creative writing from UT in 2013 and her master of arts degree in literature in 2015 also from the University.

Previous works by Townsend have received Mill Magazine’s spring 2014 fiction award and a second-place award for a short story in 2015 from the Toledo Writers’ Workshop.

Refreshments will be served. Copies of the book will be available at the event for $10.

For more information, contact the Canaday Center at 419.530.2170.

UT nursing student wins national association’s Core Values Award

Advocacy, professionalism, quality education, leadership and autonomy are the core values of the National Student Nurses’ Association, which recently presented Amanda Nuckols its Core Values Award.

The Core Values Award is given nationally to one student per year. The award is designed to inspire students to embody the values most important to members of the National Student Nurses’ Association.

Amanda Nuckols received the Core Values Award from the  National Student Nurses’ Association.

Amanda Nuckols received the Core Values Award from the National Student Nurses’ Association.

To be eligible for the Core Values Award, students must be pursuing a nursing degree and be a member of the National Student Nurses’ Association, and they must be nominated by faculty.

“It’s an honor working with a student that demonstrates these core values. She’s amazing. She’s humble. I’ve never met another student like her in all my years as an advisor,” said Karen Tormoehlen, Student Nurses Association advisor and assistant professor, who nominated Nuckols for the award.

Nuckols graduated in May from the Clinical Nurse Leader Program, which allows students with a bachelor’s degree in another discipline to receive a master’s degree in nursing in two years.

In her time as a nursing student, Nuckols served as president, cohort representative and convention planner of the UT Student Nurses’ Association. She also served on the Nominations and Elections Committee of the national organization.

In addition to these roles, Nuckols helped build a playground for the local Ronald McDonald House, assisted in a community event that gave families impacted by human trafficking a day at the zoo, led the local Student Nurses Association chapter in providing a bountiful Christmas for orphans, participated in medical mission trips to developing countries, volunteered at a free clinic serving the homeless, and more.

Nuckols will return to the University this fall to continue her studies with the Family Nurse Practitioner Program. She also intends to work as a registered nurse while pursuing her third degree.

“This is a huge honor,” Nuckols said. “I have worked hard to do well as I was completing my studies, while also being involved in a variety of organizations and roles. I am so glad that my effort and dedication have paid off.”

New technology at UT Health is advancing prostate cancer screening and care

Advances in technology now available at UT Health allow physicians to reduce the risk of unnecessary prostate biopsies, more accurately diagnose cancer, and provide a clearer picture of treatment options available.

Each year in the United States, more than one million men undergo a prostate biopsy because of an elevated prostate-specific antigen known as PSA or abnormal rectal examination. Unfortunately, up to 800,000 of them will have undergone the invasive and risky procedure for no reason, as their biopsies are likely to be negative or show non-deadly, non-aggressive disease.

Dr. Samay Jain displayed an MRI that shows the anatomic detail of the bladder and the prostate.

Dr. Samay Jain displayed an MRI that shows the anatomic detail of the bladder and the prostate.

“For years, the traditional pathway for prostate cancer detection has been to perform a biopsy if a man had an abnormal PSA or rectal exam” said Dr. Samay Jain, vice chief of staff and division chief of urologic oncology at UT Health. “However, prostate biopsies have come under considerable fire as of late because of the significant risks of severe infection and death in certain cases.”

Fortunately, there is a better way, and it is available right here in northwest Ohio.

Advances in magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI technology, enable UT physicians to see inside the prostate in a safe and noninvasive manner to identify men who truly need biopsies.

“Prostate MRI allows us to see the prostate in a way that was never available before,” Jain said. “In the right hands, this information can be crucial in determining whether a man needs a risky biopsy or not.

“Not only does MRI help in deciding who needs a biopsy, but for those diagnosed with prostate cancer, the imaging we have aids in tailoring individual treatments for each individual patient.”

Should a patient need to undergo a biopsy, images from the MRI allow for more precise sampling from areas of concern and yield much higher cancer detection rates than performing prostate biopsies without the MRI technology.

June is Men’s Health Month, and Jain reminds men the key to early detection is starting the conversation with their physicians.

“It can be an uncomfortable topic. Men don’t like to talk about prostate screenings for a variety of reasons,” he said. “But it’s important to have the courage to broach the topic, even if their physicians don’t.

“Also, listen to your loved ones. I think there are many men who owe their lives to their wives and daughters for finally convincing them to schedule an appointment and get screened. By staying proactive, we are confident that we can decrease the number of men dying from prostate cancer in the near future.”

Current American Urological Association Guidelines recommend routine screening for healthy men between the ages of 55 and 69 and recommend a PSA and rectal exam every other year. Men outside of this age range should have a discussion with their doctor on whether prostate cancer screening is right for them.