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UT quarterback, football coach honored by MAC

Senior quarterback Logan Woodside was named Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year and the Vern Smith Leadership Award winner.

Jason Candle was named the MAC Coach of the Year after leading the Rockets to a 10-2 record in his second year as head coach. The Rockets won the MAC West Division with a 7-1 league record and will play East Division champion Akron for the MAC championship title Saturday, Dec. 2, at noon at Ford Field in Detroit.

Woodside was 225 of 345 passing for 3,451 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. His 3,451 passing yards leads the MAC and ranks 13th nationally, while his 24 touchdown passes also leads the MAC and is tied for 24th in the country.

During his Rockets career, Woodside became the first player in program history to throw for more than 10,000 yards as he set the Toledo career passing record with 10,083 career yards and 89 career touchdown passes. His 10,083 career passing yards ranks 14th in MAC history, while his 89 career passing touchdowns is tied for seventh in league history. In addition, Woodside’s career completion percentage of 65.5 percent ranks third in MAC history.

The Vern Smith Leadership Award, named for the former Toledo athletic director, has been given annually to the league’s most outstanding player since 1982. Woodside is the fourth Rocket to win the award. The others were Wasean Tait (1995), Bruce Gradkowski (2005) and Greg Mancz (2014).

Woodside was one of seven Rockets who earned first-team All-MAC honors, the most first-team honorees in the conference. This is his second consecutive season as a first-team All-MAC quarterback, the first Rocket QB to accomplish back-to-back first-team honors since Gene Swick, who was a three-time first-teamer from 1973 to 1975.

Sophomore Diontae Johnson earned all-league honors at three positions: wide receiver (first-team), punt returner (first team) and kickoff returner (second team). He is the first Rocket to make All-MAC at three positions since Eric Page in 2011.

The other Rockets on the first team were senior running back Terry Swanson, senior offensive linemen Elijah Nkansah and Brant Weiss, and junior placekicker Jameson Vest.

Junior defensive end Olasunkanmi Adeniyi earned second-team All-MAC honors.

Johnson leads the Rockets and is third in the MAC with 63 receptions this season. He is second in the conference and seventh in the nation with 11 touchdown receptions. He is averaging 6.1 yards per punt return and 23.5 yards per kickoff return, and is fifth in the nation in all-purpose yards (159.1).

Swanson has rushed for 1,139 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He leads the MAC with 103.5 yards per game and ranks fifth on Toledo’s career rushing list with 3,377 yards.

Nkansah and Weiss are part of an offensive line that has helped the Rockets to a MAC-leading 505.7 yards per game. Toledo also averages 38.7 points per game, second in the league and just off the pace set by Ohio (38.9).

Vest leads the MAC and is second in the country with 24 field goals. He also tops the MAC in field-goal percentage, having made 24 of his 28 attempts (85.7 percent).

Adeniyi leads the Rockets and is tied for third in the MAC with 16.5 tackles for loss, the most by a Toledo player since Mike Alston had 17.0 in 2006. Adeniyi leads UT with 6.5 sacks and is second on the team with 57 tackles.

University recognizes faculty for tenure and promotion

During what has become an annual tradition brought to the University by President Sharon L. Gaber, 53 faculty members were honored in a special tenure and promotion celebration Oct. 30 in Carlson Library.

Each honoree was asked to select a book that was instrumental to his or her success, and these books are now housed in the library — each marked with a bookplate commemorating the honoree’s milestone.

President Sharon L. Gaber and Provost Andrew Hsu, center standing, posed for a photo with some of the faculty members who attended the tenure and promotion celebration last month in Carlson Library.

“We’re extremely proud of each of these individuals,” Gaber said. “This tribute helps to build a culture of excellence for our faculty and staff — one of our strategic priorities. They deserve our praise, and we certainly wish them continued success with all of their academic, clinical and research endeavors here at UT.”

“Scholarly activities are fundamental to raising UT’s academic excellence and our national reputation,” noted Provost Andrew Hsu. “The achievements of these faculty members and researchers are critically important to us, as well as to the success of our students.”

Faculty members who achieved promotion to professor are: Dr. An Chung Cheng, Holly Hey, Dr. Kamala London Newton and Dr. Joni Mihura, College of Arts and Letters; Dr. Debra Johanning, Judith Herb College of Education; Dr. Defne Apul, Dr. Cyndee Gruden, Dr. Dong-Shik Kim, Dr. Matthew Liberatore and Dr. Azadeh Parvin, College of Engineering; Gregory Gilchrist, College of Law (for academic year 2017-18); Dr. Hossein Elgafy, Dr. Michael Ellis, Dr. Daniel Rapport and Dr. William Suarez, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Dr. Thomas Bridgeman, Dr. Deborah Chadee, Dr. Song-Tao Liu, Dr. John-David Smith, William Taylor and Dr. Jianglong Zhu, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; and Dr. Youssef Sari, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Individuals appointed to professor with tenure are: Dr. R. William Ayres and Charlene Gilbert, College of Arts and Letters; Beau Case, University Libraries; Dr. Linda Lewandowski, College of Nursing; and Dr. T. Michael Toole, College of Engineering. 

Faculty who received tenure and promotion to associate professor are: Dr. Ammon Allred, Dr. Denise Bernardini, Dr. Jetsabe Caceres, Dr. Olman Piedra, Dr. Pamela Stover, Tad Weed and Barry Whittaker, College of Arts and Letters; Dr. Mark Gleim and Dr. Alex Petkevich, College of Business and Innovation; Dr. Liangbo Hu, College of Engineering; Dr. Jennifer Reynolds, College of Health and Human Services; Dr. Jason Huntley, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; and Dr. Song Qian and Dr. Akaki Tikaradze, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Faculty promoted to associate professor are: Agnieszka McPeak, College of Law; and Dr. Mark Bonnell, Dr. Kathryn Eisenmann, Dr. Ehab Eltahawy, Dr. George Moukarbel, Dr. Joseph Sferra and Dr. Elizabeth Wroblewski, College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

Those recognized for earning tenure are: Dr. Matthew Tull, College of Arts and Letters; Elizabeth McCuskey and Evan Zoldan, College of Law (both for academic year 2017-18); and Dr. Annie (Tsui Sui) Kao, College of Nursing.

Dr. Mary Jean Ohns, College of Nursing, was promoted to assistant professor.

UT pharmacy student to compete in Dr Pepper Tuition Throw

Rachel Burns is ready. She will face three college students for a chance to win $100,000 in the Dr Pepper Tuition Throw.

The second-year student in the UT College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will travel to Arlington, Texas, Friday, Dec. 1. She’ll have 30 seconds to see how many footballs she can toss into a hole two feet in diameter in a ginormous soda can five yards away.

Rachel Burns practiced for the Dr Pepper Tuition Throw in the Fetterman Center.

If Burns places first or second, she’ll move to the final round Saturday, Dec. 2, and vie for big money live on national television during halftime of the Big 12 Championship game at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

“My family has been huge football fans ever since I can remember. When I was 14 or so, I remember watching these competitions where kids would throw the ball through the cans to get money,” she said.

“When it came time to get scholarships for college, I started looking at my options, and I came across [the Dr Pepper Tuition Throw] again. I thought this is really cool; this is something I want to try. It’s really a one in a million shot because thousands of people apply from all over the country.”

She took her shot — and scored.

In her one-minute application video, the Holland, Ohio, native shared her story.

“I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when I was 7 or 8 years old. When I was diagnosed with the terminal lung disease, they told me I wouldn’t live past the age of 18,” Burns said. “But because of the medical advancements since then, the life expectancy has grown; I just celebrated my 20th birthday.”

Life has been a blur since her phone rang Nov. 10 with the contest news.

Rachel Burns posed for a photo in front of the Dr Pepper replica built by her dad and brother; her mom painted the can.

“A lot of participants start practicing right when they apply. I didn’t want to jinx myself or get my hopes up — thousands of people apply,” she said. “I told my dad and my brother, once we get the call, it’ll be your job to build the exact replica.”

Thanks to a diagram and dimensions supplied by Dr Pepper, her dad, Ray, had the oversized can built in less than two hours, with assistance from her brother, Raymond. They even made the can portable.

Burns has been practicing every day since — in her garage and backyard, at Springfield High School, and in UT’s Fetterman Center.

“We’re trying to mimic the conditions I’ll see in Texas,” she said, adding AT&T Stadium has a retractable roof and likely will be closed. “Practicing in the Fetterman Center has been a huge help; it keeps the conditions as similar as possible.”

The former softball and volleyball player is experimenting with a shot-put style throw.

“You just have to go in with all your heart and trust that either way, this is still an amazing opportunity. Winning any amount of tuition money would take a huge burden off my family. This is going to be a trip of a lifetime, an experience to share with the world, and I’m proud to represent The University of Toledo.”

Twenty college students will participate in the Dr Pepper Tuition Throw, four at five championship games. All are guaranteed $2,500. Second-place finishers will receive $25,000, and winners will take home $100,000 to pay for school.

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity,” Burns said. “Every little bit helps when it comes to paying for college.”

Some say there are no coincidences. Consider these auspicious signs:

• Burns and her family are lifelong fans of the Dallas Cowboys.

• Ray Burns’ birthday is Dec. 1. And Dec. 2 is the birthday of Heather Burns, Rachel’s mom.

• After falling in love with a puppy Burns was training for Rocket Service Dogs, the UT student organization of which she is president, the family brought home an 8-week-old chocolate Labrador retriever and named him Dallas just two days before learning about the competition.

Dr Pepper will cover the cost of the trip for Burns and one person; she’s taking her dad.

“My dad has always wanted to go [to AT&T Stadium]. It’s a win-win for me and for him for his birthday. It’s pretty cool,” she said. “I’m excited; I’ve been practicing; I can’t wait.”

Alumni Office plans MAC Championship pregame party, bus trip

Make plans to join The University of Toledo Alumni Association for a bus trip to the Mid-American Conference Championship Game to cheer on the Rockets when they battle the University of Akron Saturday, Dec. 2.

Seven buses have been reserved to transport alumni, students and fans to the game and pregame party in the Comerica Gridiron Club at Ford Field. Transportation includes the cost of parking, driver tip, soft drinks and bottled water.

The menu for the pregame party is:

• Zingerman’s Bake House breakfast pastries, including lemon clouds, scones and cinnamon rolls;

• Bagels with cream cheese;

• Fresh seasonal fruits;

• Roasted vegetable egg frittata with mushrooms, onions, cauliflower, spinach, seasonal squash and goat cheese with fresh herbs;

• French toast casserole with bananas Foster filling, cream cheese and pecan pieces served with warm maple syrup on the side;

• Griddled breakfast meats, including Detroit Sausage Co. breakfast links;

• Coffee, hot tea and fresh orange juice; and

• A cash bar will be available.

Buses will depart from Rocket Hall at 7:30 a.m. with the pregame party scheduled from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., prior to the kickoff at noon. Buses are expected to return at approximately 6 p.m.

Because the Alumni Association is contractually bound for bus rental, facility rental and catering charges, There will be no refunds for cancellations.

Options available:

• Pregame party only — $35 per person for those who have their tickets and plan to travel to Detroit on their own.

• Complete package — $95 per person for game ticket, bus trip, and pregame party at Ford Field.

• Bus trip and pregame party only (no game ticket) — $75 per person for athletic donors/season ticket holders who wish to purchase their seats through the Athletic Department.

• Pregame party and game ticket only — $55 per person for those who plan to travel to Detroit on their own.

Bus space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. A total of 350 seats are available. The pregame meal is limited to the first 600 reservations, which includes the 350 bus seats. Game tickets will be $20 seats in Ford Field.

The deadline to make reservations for the bus trip is Thursday, Nov. 30, or until all seats are filled.

Complete, non-refundable payment must be received with your reservation. Pregame party reservations will be accepted until room capacity is reached.

Register here.

A special bus trip and ticket package for UT students will be available Monday, Nov. 27, at noon. A link to that website will be posted when it is available.

Tickets for the MAC Championship Game may be ordered online at utrockets.com or call the UT Athletic Ticket Office at 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Orders placed before 5 p.m. Tuesday will receive priority seating. Rocket Fund contributors and Rocket Football season ticket holders will receive priority-seating locations over the general public. Any orders placed after 5 p.m. Tuesday will receive best available seating.

MAC Championship ticket orders available online

Tickets for the 2017 Mid-American Conference Football Championship Game may be ordered online at utrockets.com.

The Rockets, champions of the MAC West Division, will face Akron, champions of the East, at Ford Field in Detroit Saturday, Dec. 2. Kickoff is set for noon on ESPN.

The Rockets celebrated after beating Western Michigan, 37-10, to win the MAC West Division and advance to the MAC Championship Game. The Rockets will play Akron Saturday, Dec. 2, at noon at Ford Field in Detroit.

Tickets may be ordered online at utrockets.com. All orders placed before 5 p.m. Tuesday will receive priority-seating assignments in the Toledo sections of Ford Field — behind the Rocket bench, sections 123-131. Rocket Fund contributors and Rocket football season ticket holders will receive priority-seating locations over the general public. Seats will be assigned based on donation and season ticket history. Any orders placed after 5 p.m. Tuesday will receive best available seating.

Orders may be placed over the phone at 419.530.GOLD (4653) or in person at the UT Athletic Ticket Office Saturday, Nov. 25, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Monday, Nov. 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., or Tuesday, Nov. 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All tickets can be picked up at the UT Ticket Office in Savage Arena beginning Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 9 a.m. until Friday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. A photo ID is required to pick up tickets.

Rocket fans attending the women’s basketball game Thursday, Nov. 30, also may pick up their tickets at the UT Ticket Office before or during the game.

Any tickets not picked up by Friday at 7 p.m. must be picked up at Ford Field at the UT Will Call area at Gate C beginning at 9 a.m. Ford Field gates will open at 10:30 a.m.

UT student tickets are available for $5 and are located in the end zone. UT Students may purchase one ticket at the student rate. Any additional tickets in the student section will be $10. Student tickets are available only at the UT Athletic Ticket Office beginning at 9 a.m. Monday until Friday at 7 p.m. (if still available). Students must show their Rocket ID at the time of purchase.

The UT Alumni Association is sponsoring bus trips to the MAC Championship Game for alumni, friends and students, as well as a pre-game reception. For more information, go to toledoalumni.org or call 1.800.235.6766 or 419.530.2586 (ALUM).

Rockets tame Broncos, 37-10, win MAC West title

Senior quarterback Logan Woodsidethrew for 300 yards and two touchdowns as Toledo cruised to a 37-10 victory over Western Michigan at the Glass Bowl Friday afternoon.

The victory clinched the Mid-American Conference West Division title for Toledo. The Rockets (10-2, 7-1 MAC) advance to the MAC Championship Game vs. East Division winner Akron (7-5, 6-2 MAC) at Detroit’s Ford Field Saturday, Dec. 2. Kickoff will be at noon, and the game will be televised by ESPN. It will be Toledo’s first appearance in the MAC Championship Game since 2004.

Senior quarterback Logan Woodside threw for more than 300 yards in the regular season finale and became the first Rocket to throw for more than 10,000 yards. He has 10,083 yards in his four years at Toledo.

Woodside and senior running back Terry Swanson both reached personal milestones. Swanson, who rushed for 94 yards and scored two touchdowns, moved into fifth place on UT’s career rushing list with 3,377 yards, passing David Fluellen (3,336 from 2010 to 2013). Woodside became the first Rocket ever to throw for more than 10,000 yards. He has 10,083 yards in his four years as a Rocket.

Toledo opened the scoring on its third drive of the game with a 33-yard field goal by Jameson Vest with 2:12 left in the first quarter. Later in the second quarter, Swanson made it 10-0 with a 13-yard TD run.

Western took advantage of a Woodside interception to set up its first score of the game, a 24-yard field goal by Josh Grant to cut the score to 10-3 with 7:02 to play in the half. But Toledo answered with a nine-play, 61-yard drive that was capped off by a one-yard run by redshirt freshman Shakif Seymour, giving Toledo a 17-3 lead with 3:20 left in the half.

Woodside kept it rolling in the second half, hitting Danzel McKinley-Lewis with a 20-yard TD strike on UT’s first possession of the third quarter. Western cut the lead to 24-10 on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Reece Goddard to Tyron Arnett with 4:02 left in the third quarter.

Woodside then added another TD pass, a 13-yarder to Diontae Johnson with 17 seconds left in the third quarter to give Toledo a comfortable 31-10 lead. Vest tacked on six more points with a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter.

Toledo will begin preparing for the Mid-American Conference Football Championship Game next Saturday. Tickets for the games may be ordered online at utrockets.com.

Jazz icon who taught at UT passes away

Jon Hendricks, a legend in the jazz world who taught at The University of Toledo 16 years, died Nov. 22 at age 96 in New York City.

The UT Distinguished Professor of Jazz struck a lasting note in the music world.


Many considered Hendricks to be the father of vocalese — the art of setting lyrics to established jazz standards. Time magazine dubbed him “the James Joyce of jive,” and music critic Leonard Feather called him “the poet laureate of modern jazz.”

In 1957, he formed the jazz vocal group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. The trio refined vocalese, whereby voices are arranged to sing the parts of instruments. Vocalists Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau and the Manhattan Transfer cite the group’s work as a major influence.

Hendricks was born in Newark, Ohio, in 1921. His family moved to Toledo when he was 4 years old. They lived on the same street as Toledo’s other jazz legend, pianist Art Tatum.

“Everything for me started right here in Toledo,” the superstar said in a 2012 interview. “When I was 12 or 13, I stood in front of the juke box at Stanley Cowell’s hamburger joint on Indiana Avenue and learned every song. And when people would come up to play it, I’d say, ‘What are you going to play?’ And they’d say, ‘What’s it to you?’ I said, ‘Give me the nickel, I’ll sing it.’ And they’d say, ‘I’d like to hear that.’ So they’d give the nickel, and I’d sing them the song they were going to play.

“As I look back on it, that’s where vocalese came from,” Hendricks said.

At age 14, he started performing at the Waiters and Bellmen’s Club on Indiana Avenue in Toledo. “I met a lot of people at 14 — Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk, Don Redman. I met just about anybody that there was because everybody came to hear Art Tatum.”

The Scott High School graduate sang in Detroit and in the Glass City — until he was drafted into the army in 1942.

Dave Lambert, left, Annie Ross and Jon Hendricks in 1961

After serving his country, Hendricks returned to Toledo. In 1946, he enrolled at The University of Toledo, where he studied literature and law. Some of his poetry was published in The Collegian, UT’s student newspaper. All the while, he worked as a singer and drummer at night. Hendricks even sat in with Charlie “Bird” Parker when he played the Civic Auditorium in Toledo in 1950. It was the saxophonist who encouraged him to go to New York City.

With $27 in his pocket, Hendricks went to the Big Apple in 1952 and found Parker playing at the Apollo Bar. “[Parker] had already told everybody about me, so I had an instant entry into the jazz world. I had sung with Dizzy [Gillespie], so I knew Dizzy and he talked about me, too. So everybody knew me,” he recalled in a 2004 interview.

Hendricks started writing and trying to sell his songs. After some success on his own, he teamed up with Dave Lambert. In 1955, they wrote “Four Brothers,” which they recorded as Jon Hendricks and the Dave Lambert Singers.

The two continued to be innovative in the studio and began recording vocalese versions of Count Basie songs. Enter British jazz singer Annie Ross. She performed the trumpet and piano parts; Lambert took trombone and middle-tone sections; and Hendricks sang saxophone sections. Thanks to multi-track recording, the result was an orchestral sensation.

“Sing a Song of Basie” by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross was released in 1958. Accolades abounded. The trio continued their success, teaming up with the Count Basie Orchestra for “Sing Along With Basie” in 1959. Buoyed by their growing reputation as masters of setting lyrics to jazz standards, the group released two more albums that same year — “The Swingers” and “The Hottest New Group in Jazz.” The title of the latter was courtesy of a critic.

The three became a force in the music world and recorded nearly 30 albums. Ross left the group in 1963, and Lambert and Hendricks went their separate ways a year later.

UT music students had the chance to learn jazz history from a man who helped shape it: Jon Hendricks.

As a solo artist, Hendricks continued to gain attention behind the microphone. His early recordings included “Bossa Man” (1963), “Salud!” (1964) and “Watermelon Man” (1965). He also sang with the Count Basie Band from 1959 to 1965 and with Duke Ellington from 1965 to 1974. Another collaboration found Hendricks recording a song with the Grateful Dead in 1966.

After living in London from 1968 to 1973, Hendricks moved back to the States and was a jazz critic at the San Francisco Chronicle for three years. He also added teaching to his resumé. He taught jazz classes at California State University at Sonoma and the University of California at Berkeley. And the records kept coming: “Cloudburst” (1972), “Tell Me the Truth” (1975), “September Songs” (1976). He also took his family into the studio. Released in 1982, “Love” featured his wife, Judith, and their children. Other albums included “Freddie Freeloader” (1990), “Boppin’ at the Bluenote” (1995) and “Live at the Bluenote” (1999).

While always in demand as a singer, he never got far away from his way with words. Over the years, he penned lyrics for music written by Ellington, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and Antonio Carlos Jobin. Thelonious Monk wouldn’t have anyone else but Hendricks write words for his songs.

The Manhattan Transfer paid tribute to Hendricks in 1979. They asked him to write lyrics for Joe Zawinul’s “Birdland” for their album titled “Extensions.” That song won a Grammy Award. He teamed up with the group again in 1985 for “Vocalese”; he provided words for the whole album. His duet with McFerrin on that record earned a Grammy Award for best jazz vocal performance. In 1997, Wynton Marsalis asked Hendricks to contribute to the libretto for the concert opera, “Blood on the Fields,” which won a Pulitzer Prize. Hendricks also narrated and sang in the show about slavery in America.

Through the years, Hendricks received numerous awards. In 1992, he was the recipient of the highest honor given to a jazz artist — the National Endowment for the Arts American Jazz Masters Fellowship. He was given a French Legion of Honor in the class of knight — France’s highest civilian commendation — in 2004. And in 2014, he took home the Satchmo Award for his lifetime commitment to jazz.

Jon Hendricks sang in the Student Union in 2009.

In 1999, Hendricks received an honorary doctorate from The University of Toledo in recognition of his iconic career. One year later, he was named Distinguished Professor of Jazz at the University. UT students had the luxury of hearing about jazz greats from the luminary who shared the spotlight with them. “It was such an honor for me to be invited back to my hometown to teach what I do,” he said in an interview for “The University of Toledo Alumni Who Have Changed the World.”

“What I would like students to learn most is that as citizens of the United States of America, they, like any other country in the world, have a cultural art form, like the Russians have ballet, the French have painting, the English have drama; well, in America, we have jazz, and it is a great cultural art form. And it stands up with any of them in its greatness.”

The legend retired from his UT teaching gig in 2016.

Earlier this year, Hendricks saw the premiere of a longtime project, “Miles Ahead.” He began writing lyrics for the Davis album arranged by Gil Evans nearly 50 years ago.

Researcher’s study of how cells move could lead to enhanced medical therapies

A University of Toledo chemistry and biochemistry faculty member and his research team of graduate students have answered a fundamental biological question about cell migration that could have implications for enhanced medical treatments.

Results from the two-year study have been published in the Oct. 20 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Dr. Ajith Karunarathne look at optically controlled cell migration using a next generation confocal imager.

“If we better understand how cells migrate, we can target some of these molecules for therapeutic purposes,” said Dr. Ajith Karunarathne, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, who led the research team.

Scientists have long been trying to better understand exactly how cells move throughout the body. If you can control a cell’s movement, you might be able to prevent cancer cell movement and secondary tumor formation in vital body organs such as the lungs or pancreas. Or you could help immune cells move to the site of an infection and accelerate healing.

In their research, the UT team targeted the cell’s G protein-coupled receptors, or GPCRs. These receptors are known as the “sniffers,” Karunarathne said, because they sense the environment and steer the cell where it’s needed in the body. They also regulate everything from heart rate to how much insulin the pancreas kicks out.

One-third of marketed drugs are used to control the GPCR pathways, according to Karunarathne. That includes everything from beta blockers to cancer and diabetes medicines.

When a cell moves, the front of the cell scoots forward, while the back of the cell retracts. You need both things to happen for the cell to move. It’s called “treadmilling.” Until now, scientists haven’t had much information on the how the retraction piece of the puzzle works, Karunarathne said.

In its study, the research team inserted GPCR receptors from the eye, which are sensitive to light, into cells from other parts of the body. They then used light to activate the receptors and target a specific area in the front of the cell. In this way, they could take a look at how the back of the cell reacted — the piece of the puzzle that’s been missing.

The use of light receptors was an important innovation in the team’s research. It is part of a fairly new field called subcellular optogenetics, Karunarathne said.

Normally, chemicals are used to activate receptors. But chemicals, which dissipate throughout the cell, are hard to control. By using light instead to stimulate the receptors, researchers could target specific, small regions on a single cell. They also could turn the light on and off, stopping and starting the activation.

As the researchers activated the GPCR in the front of the cell, the cell generated proteins. Through trial and error, and by targeting combinations of those proteins, the UT team found two pathways that affect how the back of the cell retracts and that are essential to cell migration. Stop either of those pathways and the cells can’t move.

With this discovery, scientists can now begin thinking about how to create therapies that either slow, stop or accelerate a cell’s movement. Karunarathne said one possibility is gene therapy whereby patients are injected with genes that make cells to produce light-sensitive GPCRs. Tumor cells could be “told” not to migrate, and immune cells could be “told” to attack nasty infections.

UT doctoral student receives 20 Under 40 Leadership Award

Jeremy Holloway, who is pursuing a doctorate in curriculum and instruction in the Judith Herb College of Education, recently was recognized for his contributions to the community.

He was honored as one of this year’s recipients of the 20 Under 40 Leadership Award.

Jeremy Holloway, a UT alumnus and doctoral student, smiled after receiving a 20 Under 40 Leadership Award.

The award is presented annually to 20 individuals who are 39 or younger in the Toledo community who have demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities.

“I am so proud to receive this award and so proud to represent The University of Toledo,” Holloway said.

He is a man in motion. Holloway is a mentor for undergraduate students through the University’s Brothers on the Rise, which helps UT males, especially African-American and Latino, make the transition from high school and college. He also is involved with UT’s Multicultural Emerging Scholars Program, represents the Judith Herb College of Education in the Graduate Student Association, and is a leader for the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society in Education.

In addition, he is a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“It gives back when you give back,” Holloway said. “You make deposits to your character account when you pay it forward. [Being involved] also helps me realize that we are all together, and we all really need each other to make a difference.”

The native of Toledo also is finishing his doctoral degree. He has been invited to speak on his dissertation research at conferences in Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as Austria.

“I try to take things one task at a time and believe I work better when my schedule is fairly full,” he said. “I think the key for me is to prioritize.”

He packs a lot into his days. As a graduate assistant in the Judith Herb College of Education, he coordinates professional development for the High Schools That Work and Northwest Ohio Tech Prep programs, and teaches workshops for area teachers and administrators. Holloway also tutors local students.

In 2005, he received a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish and a bachelor of education degree from UT. He taught Spanish at area schools and graduated from the University in 2014 with a master’s degree in English as a second language.

Holloway is grateful to his father, Tyrone Holloway Sr., who graduated from UT with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an administration personnel major in 1971.

“After my dad graduated from The University of Toledo, he was unable to find a job, so he returned to UT and worked as a janitor for years,” he said.

Tyrone Holloway worked as a custodian from 1985 to 1994, when he took a job in the UT Registration Office. He retired from the University in 1994.

“Later I realized my dad stayed and worked as a janitor so that I could attend the University when I grew up,” Holloway said. “I decided to take him up on that offer.

“The University of Toledo is a place of legacy for me. I am honored to be here.”

Three researchers elected Fellows of American Association for the Advancement of Science

Three University of Toledo researchers have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in recognition of their important contributions to scientific discovery.

The UT faculty members who are among the 396 AAAS Fellows elected in 2017 are Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College and professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences; Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy, and Helen Luedtke Brooks Endowed Professor of Astronomy; and Dr. Steven Federman, professor of astronomy.

AAAS is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific and engineering society. Since 1874, it has elected Fellows to recognize members for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

“I am proud three UT faculty members earned this prestigious national honor in one year,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “This recognition by AAAS is an external validation of the talented experts on our campus. UT faculty make important contributions to their fields of study and actively engage our students in research projects in the process.”


Appel, who joined UT in 2016, is being elected to the biological sciences section of the AAAS for her contributions to the field of chemical ecology. Her research on how plants can “hear” by detecting feeding vibrations from insects and responding with an enhanced chemical defense has been widely cited.

Her other research project explores how galling insects trick plants into making novel structures that they then use as protected places to feed and reproduce. Some of these insects are major agricultural pests worldwide on grapes, wheat and rice.

“Plant defenses against insects are mostly invisible to us because they are chemical. Just think about all of the herbs and spices we use — plants evolved that chemistry to defend themselves against their own diseases and insect pests,” Appel said. “I’ve been fortunate to spend my career working with great collaborators to advance our understanding of how plants detect and respond to insect pests, including a sensory modality we didn’t realize plants had.”


Bjorkman, who has been a member of UT’s faculty since 1996, is being elected into the association’s astronomy section for her leadership in the field of stellar astrophysics and spectropolarimetry to better understand the disks around massive stars.

The massive stars she studies, which are 10 to 20 times the mass of the sun, can have unpredictable gaseous disks around them that change over time for reasons as yet unknown. Bjorkman studies these disks both in individual stars and in larger samples within star clusters to better understand their physical characteristics and the mechanisms behind their formation and variability.

“Most of the atoms that make up everything around us originated in the center of stars, so it is important to advance our understanding of stars and their evolution, while at the same time applying the laws of physics. That is how we learn things, by continuously testing our understanding,” Bjorkman said. “It is an honor to have one of the largest science associations in the world acknowledge our contributions to science. When two of the seven astronomers in this year’s class of Fellows are from UT, that is nice recognition from our colleagues about the strength of our program here.”


Federman also is being elected into the astronomy section of the AAAS for his contributions in the research of interstellar matter and for advancing the field of laboratory astrophysics.

He has been a UT astronomer since 1988 and for much of his career has studied interstellar gas clouds to better understand the elements and isotopes within these clouds that form stars. He also is a leader in establishing the field of laboratory astrophysics that brings together theoretical and experimental astronomy research to combine observational and lab data to better test theories. He was the first chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Laboratory Astrophysics.

“Studying the abundances of elements and isotopes in the material between stars informs about the reactions and processes that happened in the past that led to the outcome we see today,” Federman said. “I’m proud to have been able to contribute over the years as we’ve moved from modeling to observations to lab studies as we continue to learn more and more about the chemical makeup in material that will become the next generation of stars and planets.”

Appel, Bjorkman and Federman will be recognized at the AAAS Fellows Forum at the association’s annual meeting Feb. 17 in Austin, Texas.

The 2017 AAAS Fellows join UT’s Dr. Carol Stepien, Distinguished University Professor of Ecology, who was elected last year, and Dr. Jack Schultz, who joined UT in September as senior executive director of research development and has been an AAAS Fellow since 2011 when he was elected while at the University of Missouri.