UT News » Research

UT News

Categories

Search News

Archives

Resources

Research

UToledo scholar awarded Fulbright to Sudan for next academic year

Dr. Asma Abdel Halim’s quarter century of research questioning the breach and progress of Muslim women’s human rights is personal.

Her own life experience fuels her life’s work to protect Muslim women worldwide for generations to come.

Abdel Halim

The next leg of her journey takes her back to her native Sudan, a place Abdel Halim describes as “a country that has always subjected women to a version of Islamic law that is fashioned according to the political mood of the government.”

The prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar program selected The University of Toledo faculty member focused on women’s rights under religious laws to travel to Sub-Saharan Africa for the 2019-20 academic year as a Fulbright Scholar.

Abdel Halim, associate professor in the UToledo Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, and director of the Center of the Muslim Woman, will study the history of gender effects on Sudanese law, produce ideas for reform, and teach a class on gender and the law at her alma mater, the University of Khartoum.

“As a Muslim woman joining other Muslim women in researching Islamic laws and critiquing centuries of patriarchal dominance, I find it necessary to explore women’s history, rights and developments because I am determined to address gendered laws and how to combat their effects,” Abdel Halim said.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright U.S. Scholar program within the U.S. Department of State has worked to improve intercultural relations and diplomacy through national fellowship. The program in Sudan was suspended in 1992 after the U.S. issued an embargo on relations with the country and was reinstated two years ago after President Trump lifted U.S. sanctions.

“As Dr. Asma Abdel Halim travels around the world sharing her knowledge, insight and experience, she helps raise awareness about problems and protections of women living under Muslim laws,” Dr. Sharon Barnes, associate professor and chair in the UToledo Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, said. “Her outstanding scholarship consistently brings great prestige to The University of Toledo. While we will miss her at home, we are proud the Fulbright program has recognized her forward-thinking work on international women’s issues.”

Abdel Halim, a faculty member at UToledo for 15 years, graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Khartoum with a bachelor’s degree in 1980 and a master’s degree in 1988.

“As a student there, I never encountered gender in any of the courses,” Abdel Halim said. “My experience studying and teaching in the United States proved that gender as a tool of analysis is vital in studying law.”

Abdel Halim, who earned her Ph.D. at Ohio University, said actions of extremists lead many to question the tenets of Islam and the religion’s commitment to equality.

“Religious interpretations are being misused to strengthen conservative stances regarding the curbing of human rights,” Abdel Halim said. “Old traditions of favoring men because of their participation in war lead to the subjugation of women to the authority of male guardians.”

Abdel Halim plans to write a book after accessing old Shari’a sources, such as treaties written by scholars centuries ago and still considered the main source of Islamic rules today. She also plans to delve into the era of Mahdiyya uprisings and older archives.

“The intersection of religion and gender seems to be working against women where legislation is concerned,” Abdel Halim said. “Ideological traditions find safety in regression to old traditions rather than in change. I plan to follow the historical events of the recent history of the Sudan and look closely to the history of women in the country and understand why developments in legislation go back and forth. I also will examine how the intersection of gender and religion seems to always end in the defeat of women’s rights in favor of archaic religious norms.”

Inexpensive agricultural waste product can remove microcystin from water, new UToledo research finds

Scientists at The University of Toledo have discovered that rice husks can effectively remove microcystin from water, a finding that could have far-reaching implications for communities along the Great Lakes and across the developing world.

An abundant and inexpensive agricultural byproduct, rice husks have been investigated as a water purification solution in the past. However, this is the first time they have been shown to remove microcystin, the toxin released by harmful algal blooms.

Dr. Jon Kirchhoff, right, Dr. Dragan Isailovic, center, and doctoral student David Baliu-Rodriguez have published a paper, along with UToledo graduates, Dr. Dilrukshika Palagama and Dr. Amila Devasurendra, about using rice husks to remove microcystin from water.

The results of the study were recently published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

“Delivering safe water is critical, and finding an economically viable solution to deliver safe water to people all over the world is going to be really important. The ability of this simple material to be powerful enough to address this issue is impressive,” said Dr. Jon Kirchhoff, Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.

The research, led by Kirchhoff and Dr. Dragan Isailovic, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, used organic rice husks that were treated with hydrochloric acid and heated to 250 degrees Celsius.

The rice husks were then dispersed in a series of water samples collected from Lake Erie during the 2017 harmful algal bloom to measure how much of the toxin they could absorb.

UToledo researchers say rice husks are effective at removing microcystin from water. In addition, the rice husks are economical and, after soaking up microcystin, can be heated to destroy the toxins and create silica particles that can be used for other applications.

Researchers found the rice husks removed more than 95 percent of microcystin MC-LR — the most common type found in Lake Erie — in concentrations of up to 596 parts per billion (ppb). Even in concentrations approaching 3,000 ppb, more than 70 percent of the MC-LR was removed, and other types of MCs were removed as well.

“We looked at the removal of microcystins from real environmental samples and the material has performed really well,” Isailovic said. “We are talking about extremely high concentrations of microcystins originating from cyanobacterial cells. Normally during summer, we have much, much lower concentrations in Lake Erie.”

Devasurendra

The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends a 10-day drinking water guideline that young children not drink water containing more than a total of 0.3 ppb of microcystin and school-age children and adults not drink water containing more than a total of 1.6 ppb of microcystin.

Beyond their effectiveness, rice husks have a number of other appealing attributes. They’re cheap — researchers paid $14.50 for half a cubic foot, and buying in bulk would bring that price down significantly — and they’re able to be repurposed.

Heating microcystin-laden rice husks to 560 degrees Celsius destroys the toxins and produces silica particles, which can be used in other applications.

Palagama

The researchers are hopeful their discovery could be scaled up beyond the lab to develop a more environmentally friendly method for treating water that has been contaminated by harmful algal blooms or cheap but effective filtration systems for the developing world.

“We could potentially use this readily available material to purify water before it even gets into Lake Erie,” Isailovic said. “There are engineering solutions that need to be done, but one of our dreams is to apply what we develop in our labs to provide safe drinking water.”

Other authors of the study were doctoral students Dr. Dilrukshika Palagama and Dr. Amila Devasurendra, who first proposed looking at rice husks as a way to remove microcystin and have since graduated from UToledo, and current doctoral student David Baliu-Rodriguez.

UToledo researcher using drones to measure algal blooms to speak May 23 at National Museum of the Great Lakes

Determined to protect drinking water and avert another water crisis, a scientist at The University of Toledo deploys drones to snap a quick assessment of water quality during algal bloom season, no boat or satellite required.

Dr. Richard Becker, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences, will give a presentation titled “Using Drones to Answer Questions in Environmental Science” Thursday, May 23, at 7 p.m. at the National Museum of the Great Lakes, located at 1701 Front St. in Toledo.

Dr. Richard Becker uses drones to help monitor water quality during algal bloom season.

The researcher will discuss his use of low-flying unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor the health of Lake Erie.

The free, public event is the final presentation in the 2018-19 UToledo Lake Erie Center Lecture Series.

“As remote sensing technology advances, monitoring lakes using satellites, aircraft and drones is becoming more effective,” Dr. Tom Bridgeman, professor of ecology and director of the UToledo Lake Erie Center, said. “Dr. Becker’s research in coupling remote sensing data with boat-based water monitoring has improved the accuracy of harmful algal bloom assessments. Also, his research to develop drones as inexpensive tools to measure algal blooms is helping to fill a gap left by more expensive methods.”

A shuttle will be available to transport visitors from UToledo’s Main Campus to the National Museum of the Great Lakes and back. The shuttle will depart at 6:15 p.m. from the south side of Bowman-Oddy Laboratories. Passengers must reserve a spot by Tuesday, May 21.

Email lakeeriecenter@utoledo.edu or call 419.530.8360 to make a reservation for the shuttle.

UToledo public health expert awarded Fulbright grant to Taiwan

A University of Toledo public health expert will spend six weeks in Taiwan this spring to help one of that country’s top universities internationalize its public health curriculum.

Dr. Jiunn-Jye Sheu, a professor in the College of Health and Human Services’ School of Population Health, received a Fulbright Specialist Award to advance global health initiatives.

Dr. Jiunn-Jye Sheu showed off his Fulbright Specialist Award. He leaves this week for National Taiwan Normal University, where he will help revise and refine its public health curriculum.

The trip to National Taiwan Normal University in May will be his first as part of the Fulbright program.

“To become a Fulbright Specialist or Scholar really comes with enthusiasm. We have so many qualified, outstanding faculty at The University of Toledo, and I’m very proud and pleased to have been selected,” Sheu said. “I think it’s meaningful I’m able to make such a contribution to help people in Taiwan and the United States.”

He will provide guidance to National Taiwan Normal University, which is working to revise and refine its public health curriculum to meet the same standards set by the accrediting body in the U.S.

Sheu, who earned his bachelor’s degree at National Taiwan Normal University, also will help the school toward its goal of adding more English-instructed courses.

Taiwan has a robust health-care system, but as a fully developed country, residents face many of the same chronic health threats as the United States — heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke are among the 10 leading causes of death.

“Good patient education can prevent unnecessary costs in health care,” he said. “Unfortunately, patient education has not been mandated in Taiwan or the U.S. I want to investigate in collaboration with Taiwan scholars how they work patient education into the national health insurance system and how that is effective and efficient.”

Much of Sheu’s research work is focused on quantitative analysis of public health data, particularly on youth risk behaviors and the ways in which patients and health-care providers make choices that influence care.

Recently, using path modeling, he worked with Dr. Colleen Taylor, assistant professor in the College of Nursing, to investigate the factors that go into how nurses make decisions about administering pain medication in patients recovering from operations. The study was named the 2017 best research paper of the year by the journal Orthopaedic Nursing.

Sheu also collaborated on soon-to-be-published research into how pregnant women adhere to prenatal care recommendations and the health protective behaviors of women who had gestational diabetes.

“These types of studies provide a better understanding about how people make their decisions and how people act in terms of their health-related behaviors,” he said. “We’ve always known their stated reasons, but without this technique, we don’t know how those reasons interact with each other and which are direct and indirect influences.”

Breakthrough in new material to harness solar power could transform energy

The most affordable, efficient way to harness the cleanest, most abundant renewable energy source in the world is one step closer to reality.

The University of Toledo physicist pushing the performance of solar cells to levels never before reached made a significant breakthrough in the chemical formula and process to make the new material.

Dr. Zhaoning Song holds a perovskite solar cell minimodule he developed with Dr. Yanfa Yan. The higher-efficiency, lower-cost solar cell technology could revolutionize energy generation around the globe.

Working in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab, Dr. Yanfa Yan, UToledo professor of physics, envisions the ultra-high efficiency material called a tandem perovskite solar cell will be ready to debut in full-sized solar panels in the consumer market in the near future.

Perovskites, compound materials with a special crystal structure formed through chemistry, would replace silicon, which — for now — remains the solar-cell material of choice for converting the sun’s light into electrical energy.

“We are producing higher-efficiency, lower-cost solar cells that show great promise to help solve the world energy crisis,” Yan said. “The meaningful work will help protect our planet for our children and future generations. We have a problem consuming most of the fossil energies right now, and our collaborative team is focused on refining our innovative way to clean up the mess.”

The new research paper, which is published in the journal Science, outlines how the photovoltaics team is fine-tuning a mix of lead and tin to advance the technology closer to its maximum efficiency. Efforts have currently brought the efficiency of the new solar cell to about 23 percent. In comparison, silicon solar panels on the market today have around an 18 percent efficiency rating.

Scientists used a chemical compound called guanidinium thiocyanate to dramatically improve the structural and optoelectronic properties of the lead-tin mixed perovskite films.

“Science is the top academic journal in the world, alongside Nature, which published other research by Dr. Yan only five months ago after he discovered a single material that produces white light, which could boost the efficiency and appeal of LED bulbs,” Dr. Sanjay Khare, professor and chair of the UToledo Department of Physics and Astronomy, said. “His significant sustainability work at The University of Toledo can help power the world using clean energy.”

About five years ago Yan’s team at UToledo identified the ideal properties of perovskites, and he has since focused his 20 years of experience on producing an all-perovskite tandem solar cell that brings together two different solar cells to increase the total electrical power generated by using two different parts of the sun’s spectrum.

Last month the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Yan a $1.1 million grant to continue his research in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Lab.

“This is the material we’ve been waiting for for a long time,” Yan said. “The solar industry is watching and waiting. Some have already started investing in this technology.”

Yan is an expert in theory of defect physics and electronic properties in semiconductors, materials synthesis and thin-film solar-cell fabrication.

“Our UToledo research is ongoing to make cheaper and more efficient solar cells that could rival and even outperform the prevailing silicon photovoltaic technology,” said Dr. Zhaoning Song, research assistant professor in the UToledo Department of Physics and Astronomy, and co-author on the study. “Our tandem solar cells with two layers of perovskites deliver high-power conversion efficiency and have the potential to bring down production costs of solar panels, which is an important advance in photovoltaics.”

While Yan’s team has improved the quality of the materials and the process to manufacture them at a low cost, more progress needs to be made.

“The material cost is low and the fabrication cost is low, but the lifetime of the material is still an unknown,” Song said. “We need to continue to increase efficiency and stability.”

“Also, lead is considered a toxic substance,” Yan said. “I am determined to work with the solar industry to ensure solar panels made of this material can be recycled so they don’t cause harm to the environment.”

UToledo research: When smartphones aren’t used socially, there’s a link to anxiety

If endlessly scrolling through the news on your smartphone has you feeling anxious, it might not just be distress about current events.

New research from The University of Toledo has found a link between what psychologists call intolerance of uncertainty and problematic smartphone usage — particularly when the use isn’t for social interaction with others.

A new study about problematic smartphone usage by Dr. Jon Elhai, professor of psychology, was published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

“We know from the past that anxiety is related to problematic smartphone use. We wanted to extend this line of research by examining intolerance of uncertainty,” said Dr. Jon Elhai, professor of psychology, whose research focuses on how some can develop harmful relationships with their smartphones.

Elhai and his team, which included Dmitri Rozgonjuk, a doctoral student from Estonia who was hosted at UToledo as a Fulbright Scholar, compared scores indicating problematic smartphone usage and intolerance of uncertainty, a type of anxiety where an individual worries about the future and not being able to control things that are beyond his or her control.

They found a strong correlation between that anxiety and non-social smartphone usage, which includes things such as reading news, playing games, or sorting one’s calendar — anything that involves little to no interaction with others.

No link was found between intolerance of uncertainty and using one’s smartphone for social engagement such as texting or sharing links on social media, even if they spent a lot of time using their smartphone.

“A lot of people know when to put down their devices, and the way we define problematic, excessive use of smartphones is not just based on the frequency of use. If you’re using your phone socially a lot, that tends not to be associated with the excessive use,” Elhai said. “But if you’re using your phone in a way that it’s interfering with your social life or you’re avoiding people, that’s the problem.”

The study was published recently in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

In a way, the findings suggest a feedback loop.

The more anxiety someone has, the more likely they are to dive into their smartphone looking to ease their uncertainty. That excessive use correlates with problematic non-social smartphone usage, which in turn feeds the intolerance of uncertainty.

“People who are having this anxiety can also find it spills over into social anxiety, and they may deal with that by avoiding people offline and online and instead use their phone for non-social purposes,” Elhai said. “The more you do that, the more you can excessively use your phone in ways that interfere with your social life offline.”

Elhai, who has co-authored more than a dozen papers looking at links to problematic smartphone usage including fear of missing out and anxiety and depression, said the findings are an important piece in understanding potential causes for problematic smartphone usage.

UToledo develops precise method to test for exposure to toxic algae

Researchers at The University of Toledo have developed a highly accurate method to test for microcystin in blood or urine samples, an advancement that could provide clinicians a powerful new tool in assessing a patient’s exposure to the dangerous toxin.

The discovery is a continuation of the work UToledo has done around harmful algal blooms since the 2014 Toledo water crisis that temporarily left the city without drinkable water.

Dr. David Kennedy, left, and Dr. Dragan Isailovic have developed a test for microcystin in blood or urine samples that could prove to be a powerful new tool to assess a patient’s exposure to the toxin.

“We don’t want to just be known as the people who turned off the tap, we want to be known as the people who come up with the solutions,” said Dr. David Kennedy, assistant professor of medicine in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and one of the researchers involved in the project. “We’re leading in that area, and the way we’re leading isn’t just going to help northwest Ohio — it’s going to help the world.”

Kennedy’s lab collaborated with Dr. Dragan Isailovic, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Dr. Steven Haller, assistant professor of medicine, to develop and test the method. The research was funded from grants awarded from the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative.

UToledo’s microcystin test combines a method for separating the toxic compounds out of blood or urine samples by liquid chromatography with further examination using mass spectrometry.

The test can identify various microcystins and quantify concentrations of six common microcystins, including the types most often found in Lake Erie.

“Together, we have created a reliable tool that hasn’t existed before. From a clinician’s point of view, you can’t underestimate the importance of having certitude in your diagnosis. We’re helping to provide new diagnostic methods for clinicians to rule in or rule out exposure to microcystin,” Haller said.

Most other attempts at testing blood or urine samples for microcystin have relied on the ELISA test, which is the standard method for quantifying microcystins in water but isn’t as effective in biological samples.

“Our method is very sensitive and reproducible for identification and quantification of microcystins in biological fluids,” Isailovic said. “It would be difficult to do this with the same sensitivity and specificity using any other method.”

The findings were published in the Journal of Chromatography A. Other UToledo contributors on the paper were Dr. Dilrukshika S.W. Palagama, David Baliu-Rodriguez, Apurva Lad and Dr. Bruce S. Levison. A provisional patent on the testing method has been filed.

The researchers are exploring opportunities to use the lab’s technology to offer testing of samples to outside entities.

UToledo physicist awarded $1.1 million to boost performance of solar cells

A physicist at The University of Toledo was awarded a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop ultra-high efficiency solar cells that accelerate the conversion of the sun’s energy into electricity.

Dr. Yanfa Yan, professor of physics, is teaming up with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on the photovoltaics project to create what are referred to as all-perovskite tandem solar cells that would have a higher conversion efficiency and lower cost.

Yan

While the majority of solar panels based on polycrystalline absorber materials on the market today have about a 16 percent efficiency rating, Yan’s goal is to raise the bar by creating a cell with more than 25 percent efficiency.

“We are excited about this opportunity and eager to collaborate with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to push the performance of solar cells to a higher level and make contributions to the U.S. Department of Energy’s clean energy goal,” Yan said.

Yan’s work is one of 25 projects recently awarded a total of $28 million in federal funding by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, which supports early-stage research and development to improve the affordability, reliability and performance of solar technologies on the grid.

“This $1.1 million award recognizes The University of Toledo as a national leader in photovoltaics research,” Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur said. “This is part of an effort to innovate toward a cleaner energy future. With First Solar’s footprint in northwest Ohio and the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization at The University of Toledo, Toledo is a hotbed for clean energy and photovoltaics research. This is another success story for northwest Ohio’s green energy economy.”

Yan is one of the leaders of UToledo’s area of excellence in solar energy, water quality and sustainable technologies.

“I am delighted about Dr. Yanfa Yan’s continuing success in advancing his research on perovskite solar cells,” UToledo Vice President for Research Frank Calzonetti said. “Building upon his remarkably impressive publication record in solar energy science, this award confirms the quality and importance of his research and provides him and his collaborators funding to develop techniques to increase the power conversion efficiency of these cells up to 28 percent.”

Women in silent film era topic of April 4 lecture

Dr. Jamie Barlowe will deliver the Women’s and Gender Studies Distinguished Lecture Thursday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. in the Libbey Hall Dining Room.

She will discuss “‘Back to the Future’: Retro-Active Narrative and Women in the Silent Film Industry.”

Barlowe

“This presentation is part of a larger project on women working in the silent film industry, a legacy that was buried for decades,” Barlowe said. “Recovering the story of their extraordinary success has been ongoing since the late 1970s, including efforts to explain its continuing omission from conventional film histories.

“I expand and examine this legacy as it coincided with women’s political and economic activism in the public sphere that not only provoked unprecedented social change, but also silent films, which attempted to co-opt and contain that change,” Barlowe said.

Barlowe was a professor of English and women’s and gender studies from 1990 until her retirement in January. She served as interim vice provost, as well as dean of the College of Arts and Letters, formerly the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences. During her time at the University, she also served as an associate dean, department chair, and president of Faculty Senate.

Light refreshments will be served at the lecture, which is sponsored by the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies; School of Interdisciplinary Studies; and College of Arts and Letters.

For more information on the free, public event, call the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at 419.530.2233.

Craft breweries increase residential property values

The craft brewery boom is good for home values.

Using Charlotte, N.C., as a case study, researchers at The University of Toledo and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte found that craft breweries have a positive impact on residential property values.

Reid

Condominiums in center-city neighborhoods show a nearly 3 percent increase on sales price after a brewery opened within a half mile.

Single family homes in center-city neighborhoods saw a nearly 10 percent increase after a brewery opened within a half mile.

The study, which is published in Growth and Change: A Journal of Urban and Regional Policy, found no significant impacts on commercial property values.

“Being able to walk to a craft brewery in the evening or late afternoon on the weekend is considered a positive amenity that would — for some people — be attractive when looking at a house,” said Dr. Neil Reid, professor of geography and planning at The University of Toledo, who is affectionately known as the “Beer Professor.” “There is a different attitude toward a craft brewery. It’s perceived differently than a liquor store or bar.”

In Charlotte, a relatively large and growing city with an increasing competition for land and housing, 21 breweries opened between March 2009 and October 2016.

For the study, researchers focused on properties sold between 2002 and 2017 within a half mile buffer of a brewery and found that while many areas in close proximity to a craft brewery appear to have been associated with relatively higher price premiums even before the opening of the brewery, breweries tend to add to this premium.

Nilsson

“These results are informative to policymakers considering revising zoning laws and other regulations in efforts to promote the growth of craft breweries and spur economic development in their local economies,” said Dr. Isabelle Nilsson, assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Nilsson earned a Ph.D. in spatially integrated social science at UToledo in 2015 and her master’s in economics at UToledo in 2011.

Reid’s previous research has shown that craft breweries often tend to be located in neighborhoods that have recently experienced economic distress, and craft breweries have played a key part in revitalization efforts in many urban areas by restoring old, abandoned buildings.

Craft breweries contributed $76.2 billion in economic impacts to the U.S. economy in 2017, including more than 500,000 total jobs with more than 135,000 jobs directly at breweries or brewpubs, according to the Brewers Association.

“This new research shows that craft breweries contribute to increased property tax revenues for local governments, in addition to job creation and aiding neighborhood revitalization efforts,” Reid said. “However, the effects to residential property values may not be as significant in places with higher rates of vacancies and lower population growth, as well as in more established cities such as Chicago or New York.”

In a separate study recently published in Papers in Regional Science, the researchers took a close look at craft brewery closures in Chicago, Denver and Portland from 2012 through 2016 after a decade of rapid industry growth.

In those four years, 27 craft breweries closed and 225 opened for business.

Peak growth in all three cities took place in 2013 and 2014, and since then the number of entries into the market have declined while the number of closures has increased.

“I think that the craft brewing industry is following a natural progression, with rapid growth at the onset followed by diminishing growth rates as it matures,” Nilsson said. “As it continues to mature, we will see shakeouts involving closures of less competitive breweries.”

The economic geographers found that being in a cluster does not have a significant effect on brewery survival.

“Many craft brewers who open a business choose to locate close to the competition to draw more people in for brewery hopping, though it also is partly driven by zoning restrictions, too,” Reid said. “However, clustering also creates a more competitive environment, which can make it harder for one to remain open.”

Although closures do not appear to occur in brewery districts or in areas with a high concentration of breweries, closures tend to occur in more residential areas outside of downtowns.

Closed breweries had an average of one other brewery within one mile, while those that were still open as of 2016 had around 2.5 other breweries surrounding them.

The researchers also identified other trends related to business survival:
• Being in a neighborhood where incomes are higher is positively related to brewery survival.

• As the population of white and millennials in a neighborhood increases, the probability of a brewery surviving decreases.

• Higher population density also is associated with greater likelihood of closure.

“Even though millennials are driving the industry and craft beer drinkers are predominantly white, income is more important than racial composition or age composition,” Reid said.

Dr. Oleg Smirnov, associate professor of economics at UToledo, and UToledo doctoral student Matt Lehnert, also served as co-authors on the study of closures in the craft brewing industry.

To learn more about the evolving appetite of craft beer drinkers and the experimentation of craft brewers, check out Reid’s blog about the beer industry.