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Women & Philanthropy awards two grants to College of Medicine

Women & Philanthropy, a volunteer organization that promotes The University of Toledo through grants to UT initiatives, has given 2018 grants in the amount of $69,348.44.

The first grant for $63,400 was awarded to the College of Medicine and Life Sciences to create the Women & Philanthropy Thrombosis and Hemostasis Research Center. This grant will address a significant gap in the University’s ability to assess thrombosis in human patient and rodent samples.

Scientists in the college are focusing on diseases that have significant mortality due to thrombotic complications and in projects surrounding cancer-induced thrombosis.

“The ability to find reliable diagnostic tests or markers that will accurately characterize the risk of developing a clot is vital,” Marcy McMahon, chair of Women & Philanthropy, said. “While the scientists can do certain assays associated with assessing clotting, they do not have the necessary equipment to perform platelet aggregometry and complete blood counts.”

The new equipment will have broad-ranging applications from autoimmune to metabolic disease. Investigators in multiple departments will be able to highlight the Thrombosis and Hemostasis Research Center in grant applications to organizations such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation to help secure more research funding for investigators and The University of Toledo.

The second grant for $5,948.44 also went to the College of Medicine and Life Sciences to provide for photoscreening of infants and children at well-care visits.

The Spot Vision Screener to be utilized requires minimal patient cooperation, bypassing traditional screening methods. It will allow infants and toddlers to be screened, along with older children with significant developmental disabilities.

“This screening is important in order to reduce the risk of amblyopia, a condition that causes permanent vision impairment but is preventable if vision problems are recognized early,” McMahon said.

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.

Women & Philanthropy has given a total of 19 grants totaling $493,687.44 to The University of Toledo during the past 10 years.

Applications for 2019 grants will be available in late fall.

Additional information about Women & Philanthropy is available at

UT schedules events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Several events at The University of Toledo are planned to honor Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

“Hispanic Heritage Month highlights the contributions of Hispanics/Latinx people in history and contemporary society by bringing awareness to emerging issues,” Aleiah Jones, program coordinator with the Office of Multicultural Student Success, said. “We are excited to bring more than a dozen events to campus this year.”

Listed by date, events facilitated through the Office of Multicultural Student Success and the Latino Student Union include:

Monday, Sept. 17 — Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff Luncheon, noon to 2 p.m., Thompson Student Union Room 2584. Stop by for a free taco bar courtesy of La Michoacana and learn more about Hispanic/Latino student organizations and departments.

Thursday, Sept. 20 — Diamante Awards, 6 p.m., Center for Fine and Performing Arts at Owens Community College. Awards for Latino leadership and achievements in northwest Ohio will be presented at this event, which is co-sponsored by UT, Bowling Green State University, Owens Community College and Lourdes University. Tickets are $75 for the public and $25 for students in advance at eventbrite.com/e/2018-diamante-awards-tickets-48200533092.

Thursday, Sept. 27 — Ted Talk: Latinx Initiatives, 5 p.m., Thompson Student Union Room 2584. The Office of Multicultural Student Success will host a panel discussion on Latinx identities.

Saturday, Sept. 29, through Monday, Oct. 15 — Latinx Comic Book and Graphic Novel Display, Carlson Library Information Commons. Check out the Latinx community’s impact on this literary art form. The exhibit can be viewed during regular library hours: Monday through Thursday from 7:30 to 1 a.m.; Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 to 1 a.m.

Monday, Oct. 1 — Film Screening, “Gay and Undocumented: Moises Serrano Fights for Justice,” 7:30 p.m., University Hall Room 4280. Follow the story of Serranos, an undocumented gay man living in rural North Carolina.

Wednesday, Oct. 3 — Latino Business Owners Panel, 7 p.m., Scott Park Student Center on Scott Park Campus. Local Latino business owners will share their stories.

Saturday, Oct. 6 — Latino Alumni Affiliate Homecoming Tailgate, 10 a.m., lot 10 north of the Glass Bowl. Psych up for the UT-BGSU football game! Bring a dish to share.

• Monday, Oct. 8 — Film Screening, “Crossing Arizona,” 6 p.m., Carlson Library Room 1005. A panel discussion will be held after the documentary that focuses on illegal immigration and security on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Friday, Oct. 12 — NAMI’s Latino Mental Health Forum, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thompson Student Union Auditorium. The National Association of Mental Illness of Greater Toledo will host its fourth annual forum; this year’s theme is “Emerging Issues in Behavioral Health.” Sessions will examine the impact of trauma, working with families, and the substance abuse epidemic. The event is free, but space is limited; register at eventbrite.com/e/nami-4th-annual-latino-mental-health-forum-emerging-issues-in-behavioral-health-tickets-48606797239.

Sunday, Oct. 14 — Unidos: Keeping Families Together Fundraiser, 5 to 7 p.m., Thompson Student Union Ingman Room. Immigration will be discussed. The event is free, but donations will be accepted at the door to benefit Advocates for Basic Legal Equality of Toledo.

Monday, Oct. 15 — Film Screening, “Frida,” 7:30 p.m., University Hall Room 4280. Watch the biopic drama about surrealist Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

For more information, click here.

State honors UT for Latino community leadership

The Ohio Latino Affairs Commission selected The University of Toledo for its 2018 Governor’s Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Award.

UT was chosen for the category of Nuestra Familia, or Our Family, which honors individuals or organizations that encourage the inclusion of Latinos in Ohio and are committed to making the state a welcoming place to all.

“We value and embrace our wonderfully diverse campus,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Diversity and inclusion are important to our success. In fact, it makes us stronger every day. Our investment and growth in Latino students, faculty and staff is important to who we are as a University, and we are honored to be recognized for our commitment.”

The award will be presented to Gaber Saturday, Oct. 27, at the 38th annual Governor’s Distinguished Hispanic Ohioans Gala at Lorain Community College in Elyria.

“The honor recognizes organizations within the state of Ohio who perform service of exceptional benefit to Latino Ohioans,” Dr. Gregory A. Guzman, commissioner of the Ohio Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs, wrote in a letter to Gaber. “The receiving organizations and individuals are always of good character and community standing exhibiting exceptional leadership, which The University of Toledo has certainly done.”

“The University is proud of the good work that we are doing with the Latino community,” Dr. Michele Soliz, associate vice president for student success and inclusion in the Division of Student Affairs, said. “From medical missions to Spanish-speaking countries to focusing on the success of Latino students, we are committed to the betterment of our communities. We are humbled to be recognized for this prestigious and competitive award. We look forward to working collaboratively with community members and forging new partnerships.”

University to host naturalization ceremony for Constitution Day

Nearly 70 people will become U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony Monday, Sept. 17, at 11 a.m. in the Law Center McQuade Auditorium on UT’s Main Campus.

Judge Jack Zouhary of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio will preside over the ceremony, which will celebrate Constitution Day at the University.

“Students, faculty and staff should plan to attend this very moving ceremony celebrating United States citizenship,” said Diane Miller, associate vice president for government relations. “It’s a great reminder of the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States and how that is sought after by people from all over the globe.”

Welcome remarks will be given by UT President Sharon L. Gaber and D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the UT College of Law.

Billy Jeffers, president of the Student Bar Association, will open the court, while Ariel Berger, vice president of the association, will close it.

Andrew Williams, president of Student Government, will read the Pledge of Allegiance.

Guest speakers will be Inma Zanoguera, a graduate student and 2015 UT alumna and former women’s basketball star who won the Sahara Marathon earlier this year, and Benjamin Syroka, a UT law student who clerked for Judge Zouhary.

The UT Concert Chorale will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” under the direction of Dr. Brad Pierson, assistant professor and director of choral activities in the UT Music Department.

The free, public event is sponsored by the Office of Government Relations and the Center for International Studies and Programs.

For more information on the naturalization ceremony, contact Lisa Byers, executive assistant in the Office of Government Relations, at lisa.byers@utoledo.edu.

Documentary by UT professor to air locally Sept. 16

“Crossing Water — Flint Michigan — 2017,” a documentary about the ongoing water crisis produced by Holly Hey, UT professor of film, will air on WGTE-TV 30 in Toledo Sunday, Sept. 16, at 5 p.m.

Hey, who is also head of the UT Film Program, worked with the nonprofit service organization Crossing Water to highlight the continuing needs and challenges facing the residents of Flint and the social service volunteers who help them. She co-produced the film with Lee Fearnside, a local artist, photographer and film producer.

In July, the National Educational Telecommunications Association contracted with Hey for exclusive public television distribution rights of her film. The program has already aired in a few other markets around the country. The film broadcast regionally for the first time Aug. 11 on WNED in Buffalo, N.Y.

Katherine Larsen senior director of radio/TV programming for WNED said Hey’s film is a “great program on an ongoing issue. Clean water is vital to our communities, especially in the Great Lakes region.”

Flint made national news in 2014 when the city’s emergency manager switched the source of the city’s water, plaguing residents with a host of immediate and toxic problems, including deadly bacteria, outbreaks and deaths from Legionnaires’ disease, and the widespread presence of lead in the city’s drinking water.


In the film, Hey highlights the work of Crossing Water, which brings together social workers and other volunteers to provide water, services, and access to resources to the hardest hit residents of Flint. Hey weaves together multiple stories of Crossing Water volunteers, staff and Flint residents, creating a portrait of what it is like to live within an ongoing systemic disaster.

Michael Hood, executive director of Crossing Water, called the film “a sobering story of the Flint water crisis.”

Hey believes all Americans should care about Flint because it’s a crisis that is indicative of the future for many U.S. communities. According to CNN, more than 5,300 municipalities around the country are in violation of lead rules.

“Eventually, systems will fail in any community, systems essential to human life like water and power. We can’t ignore that we are all vulnerable to such collapse, wherever we live in America,” Hey said.

UT scientists awarded nearly $1 million in federal grants to examine cell behaviors

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded nearly $1 million in federal grants to two scientists at The University of Toledo for research projects examining cell behaviors that can lead to the development of better medicines to treat cancer, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune disease.

“Once again one of our top-level Ohio universities proves that they are on the cutting edge of medical research and innovation,” said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. “Northern Ohio is a leader in medical research, and these funds build on that foundation of excellence. These researchers are pushing boundaries and working to develop treatments and therapies to help those suffering from chronic illness. The University of Toledo distinguishes itself by competing and winning competitive grant opportunities such as the one announced [Sept. 11]. I am pleased to be able to support their efforts to access federal research resources.”

Dr. Ajith Karunarathne, assistant professor in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, received $441,323 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to examine the regulation of a crucial group of signaling pathways named G-protein and GPCRs that help the body control functions, including heart rate, and are involved in pathological processes such as cancer and heart disease.

“Knowledge from our experiments will help develop tissue- and organ-specific therapeutics for a variety of diseases, including cancer, that are less harmful to bodily functions,” Karunarathne said.

Dr. James Slama, professor in the UT Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry, received $461,898 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to identify the elusive receptor for nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate, or NAADP, which could lead to the development of inhibitors that may be useful as anti-tumor drugs.

“This project is part of an effort to discover how cells in an organism control their behaviors, and how they can respond to changing outside conditions,” Slama said. “Calcium inside of the cell is an important controller, and a second chemical, named NAADP, is one of several substances that triggers internal calcium release. Our goal is to understand how NAADP causes this calcium release and to identify the individual steps in the process in both normal and in diseased states.”

Toledo to host No. 21 Miami at Glass Bowl Sept. 15

In one of the most anticipated home games in Toledo football history, the Rockets will host No. 21 Miami (Fla.) in the Glass Bowl Saturday, Sept. 15.

A capacity crowd is expected for the contest, which will air on ESPN2 at noon. Gates will open at 10:30 a.m.

The Rockets will host No. 21 Miami Saturday, Sept. 15, at noon, marking the first appearance of a Top 25 opponent in the Glass Bowl since a 2014 meeting vs. No. 22 Missouri.

Toledo (1-0) opened its season with a 66-3 romp over Virginia Military Institute Sept. 1, followed by a bye week. Miami (1-1) lost to LSU, 31-17, in its opener before crushing Savannah State, 77-0, Sept. 8.

In the VMI win, junior Mitchell Guadagni completed 11 of 16 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns in his debut at quarterback. Sophomore Shakif Seymour and redshirt freshman Bryant Koback rushed for two touchdowns apiece, while senior Cody Thompson caught one TD and recovered a blocked punt for another. The Rockets outgained VMI, 603-232, and led at halftime, 42-3. Toledo’s defense came up with several big plays, forcing three turnovers and limiting the Keydets to 61 yards rushing on 31 attempts.

Toledo’s 63-point margin of victory over VMI was its largest since 1951, when UT defeated Davis & Elkins 88-0. It is also the third-largest margin of victory in program history. UT’s 66 points marked the sixth time under Head Coach Jason Candle that the Rockets have scored at least 50 points, and the second time they have scored at least 60.

Miami, which is ranked No. 21 in the AP Poll and No. 20 in the coaches list, is led by senior quarterback Malik Rosier, who threw for 131 yards and two TDs in the win over Savannah State. He completed 27 of 36 passes for 333 yards to rally the Hurricanes from a 16-10 deficit to defeat the Rockets in Miami last year, 52-30. Mark Walton paced the running attack in that game with 204 yards on just 11 carries.

This will be the ninth time Toledo has hosted a Top 25 team and the first time since 2014 when No. 22 Missouri knocked off the Rockets, 49-24.

A limited number of tickets are still available: Click here or call 419.530.GOLD (4653). UT students are admitted free with ID, and UT employees can purchase two tickets at half off.

Fans are reminded to get to the game early and to use entrances off Douglas Road, Dorr Street and Secor Road to avoid the construction on Bancroft Street. Stadium Drive Live will start at 9 a.m.

Students, faculty to present interactive attractions at Momentum

The University of Toledo School of Visual and Performing Arts faculty and students will participate in the 2018 Momentum arts and music festival.

Momentum is a three-day festival along the riverfront at Promenade Park in downtown Toledo. The free, public events will take place Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 13-15.

UT students and faculty will present several attractions this year during the Mini Maker Faire Saturday, Sept. 14, from noon to 6 p.m.

The family-friendly faire showcases invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and is a celebration of the Maker Movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making and share what they are learning.

UT attractions during the Mini Maker Faire are:

• All Together Now by Julia Labay Darrah and Yusuf Lateef, UT students. All Together Now combines aspects of play, sculpture, and installation using interchangeable life-size forms. These lightweight sculptures will feature a conglomerate of images of the human body and will be placed on a stage, inviting participants to interact with the forms to create a “family photo.”

• Dialogue With the River by Barbara Miner, professor and chair of the UT Art Department. This group project will enable hundreds of people to participate in the creation of an aesthetically engaging, temporary work of art. Based on Tibetan prayer flags, hand silk-screened flags with environmental information about the Maumee River and Lake Erie printed on colorful fabric will be created. The flags will be available for individuals to write on and create dialogues, wishes and pledges for the health of the river and the lake. The customized flags will then be strung on the tent-like uprights, creating a moving wind-driven sculpture. “The idea is that the wind will carry the good wishes and the promises out into the world in hopes that the newly gained awareness of the river’s plight will influence the choices each of us makes,” Miner said. Informational materials from regional and national groups such as Partners for Clean Streams, the Black Swamp Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy will be available.

Dr. Mass Foss showed a mask he created for the Eco Parade.

• Eco Parade by Dr. Mass Foss, UT assistant professor of theatre. The parade will feature large-format puppets and performance, live music, and community-created objects; the public will be invited to participate in the processional. “Eco Parade will showcase our community water source biodiversity, ecological need, and health with aims at improving our collective relationship and stewardship of the system as a whole,” Foss said.

• Bubble Butt by Sam Sheffield, a Baltimore artist, and Barry Whittaker, UT associate professor of art. Players will work as a team to explore a surreal and humorous landscape as a pair of sentient pants. Players must work together by bouncing on a convoluted, two-person, human-powered interface to control each leg of the pants avatar as it journeys through a series of obstacles and distractions.

• Stem by Matthew Dansack and Sebastien Schohn, UT students. This digital interactive media project uses multiple song stems — tracks of one or two instruments used to make a song — to allow participants a chance to create new song compositions. By interacting with an installation of amps, record crates and digital technology, users can arrange the stems to create and download a song.

• UT Biodesign Challenge Projects and Biomaterial Demonstrations by Brian Carpenter and Eric Zeigler, assistant professors in the UT Art Department, along with UT students. They will present biodesign projects by student teams that will engage with the greater public in a dialogue about real-world issues and potential solutions through biotechnology. Students will exhibit their prototypes along with their research. Many of the prototypes made use of a 3D printer and computer numerical control lasers and routers. Additionally, Carpenter and Zeigler will perform simple biomaterial demonstrations, which explore low-tech methods and materials that encourage playful interactions, to stimulate creativity, enabling the end user to tinker, design and build their own devices and realize the potential of imagination.

In addition, the UT Jazz Faculty Quartet will perform Saturday, Sept. 15, at 2 p.m.

More detailed information can be found at momentumtoledo.org.

UT welcomes best academically prepared freshman class in school history

The University of Toledo welcomed the best academically prepared class of first-year students in school history for fall semester 2018.

The 3,269 new students who joined UT this year have an average ACT score of 23.02 and average GPA of 3.45. The freshman class also is 1.5 percent larger than the previous year’s class.

Total enrollment for fall semester 2018 is 20,304, according to official 15-day census numbers. UT had 20,579 students enrolled in fall semester 2017.

“In addition to the historic strength of this year’s freshman class, this is the sixth consecutive year we’ve seen an increase in the number of students who return to campus for their second year,” President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We have been increasingly focused on recruiting top students to come to campus and helping them succeed once they are here so they can graduate and achieve their goals. I am proud of the significant 5.5 percent increase we saw in our six-year graduation rate last year, and I am excited about the positive trajectory of our University.”

The fall 2018 enrollment includes 16,065 undergraduate students and 4,239 graduate and professional students. The fall 2017 enrollment included 16,194 undergraduates and 4,385 graduate students.

The University experienced a significant increase in doctoral students choosing UT to pursue their most advanced degrees. The UT College of Law also experienced a nearly 10 percent increase in student enrollment this year.

UT chemists awarded $2.1 million to develop new antibiotic to treat TB

The National Institutes of Health awarded a team of chemists at The University of Toledo a five-year, $2.1 million grant to create a new, more effective drug to treat tuberculosis, the most common cause of death from an infectious disease worldwide.

The grant renews funding through 2023 for the project that combats drug resistance to current antibiotics.

Dr. Donald Ronning, left, and Dr. Steve Sucheck are using a five-year, $2.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a better drug to treat tuberculosis.

Dr. Donald Ronning and Dr. Steve Sucheck, professors in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will build on their progress made in the fight against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which can be spread through coughing, sneezing or laughing, and kills more people each year than HIV, malaria and the flu. It takes at least six months to clear the infection with the drugs currently available.

“Antibiotics discovered 60 years ago are becoming obsolete as bacteria naturally evolve to outsmart drug therapies,” Sucheck said. “Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which kills 1.5 million people a year, is one of a number of bacteria that have become increasingly drug-resistant.”

“We’re designing an antibiotic to shorten the time it takes to clear the infection,” Ronning said. “Instead of six to 24 months, we’re aiming for a therapy of two weeks, like treating strep throat or an ear infection, as well as reducing the side effects.”

The team has published several papers about breakthroughs in their ongoing research in journals, including Nature Communications, Scientific Reports and the Journal of Biological Chemistry, as well as the American Chemical Society’s journals Biochemistry and Infectious Diseases.

“We’ve used X-rays to structurally characterize two targets and are making progress in understanding how to better hit those targets to make a molecule that is going to be much more potent against the bacterium that causes tuberculosis,” Ronning said.

The research centers around inhibiting two essential classes of enzymes found in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. One is called the antigen 85 Complex that the researchers learned changes shape as it performs its job in the cell, making the protein more vulnerable to some of the compounds the lab has been testing. The second enzyme class synthesizes long polymers of sugar. Inhibiting this enzyme promotes an accumulation of compounds toxic to the bacterium and leads to rapid killing.

“There is a tremendous need to identify new drugs and new drug targets that can be used to treat this increasingly drug-resistant bacteria,” Sucheck said. “We are creating something that has never been made. The work is urgent because many cases of TB are almost impossible to treat.”