UT News » Research

UT News


Search News




Stoepler Professor of Law and Values named

Dean Daniel J. Steinbock has named Professor Lee J. Strang the next John W. Stoepler Professor of Law and Values, effective July 1.



Strang follows Professor Susan Martyn, who became the John W. Stoepler Professor of Law and Values Emeritus following her retirement last month.

“Professor Strang’s outstanding national scholarly reputation and concern for values in his work put him squarely within the aims of this professorship,” Steinbock said. “He joins three other distinguished scholars on the College of Law faculty, Professors Geoffrey Rapp, Joseph Slater and Rebecca Zietlow, in holding one of our named professorships.”

Strang is the author of more than 20 law review publications, a constitutional law casebook, as well as several book chapters and book reviews. He has published in the fields of constitutional law and interpretation, property law, and religion and the First Amendment.

Among other scholarly projects, he is editing the second edition of his casebook for LexisNexis, writing a book titled Originalism’s Promise and Its Limits, and authoring a book on the history of Catholic legal education in the United States.

He frequently presents at scholarly conferences and participates in debates at law schools across the country. He also is regularly quoted in the media. Strang was named the college’s director of faculty research in 2014. This fall, he will be a visiting scholar at the Georgetown Center for the Constitution, where he will complete his book on originalism.

A graduate of the University of Iowa, where he was articles editor of the Iowa Law Review and a member of Order of the Coif, Strang also holds a master of law degree from Harvard Law School.

Before joining the UT College of Law faculty, Strang was a visiting professor at Michigan State University College of Law and an associate professor at Ave Maria School of Law.

Prior to teaching, Strang served as a judicial clerk for Chief Judge Alice Batchelder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and was an associate with Jenner & Block LLP in Chicago, where he practiced general and appellate litigation.

The professorship is named after Stoepler, the seventh dean of the College of Law. He was an alumnus and longtime faculty member before being named dean of the college in 1983. Stoepler served as interim president of the University in 1988.

The Stoepler Professorship of Law and Values is funded out of a bequest by Eugene N. Balk, a former general counsel of The Andersons Inc.

Child has asthma? Ask pediatrician to test for peanut allergy

Children with asthma should be tested for a peanut allergy or sensitivity, according to research conducted by a former resident at UT Health.



Dr. Anas Al-Yazji, who was a resident at UT Health from 2010 to 2013, co-authored a study that found children with asthma might benefit from such testing — and parents should ask for it because it isn’t routine for pediatricians to suggest it.

“Asthma is one of the most common diseases in pediatrics, while a peanut allergy or sensitivity can lead to one of the most severe allergic reactions,” he said. “It can be particularly dangerous for asthmatics if they are not prepared.”

The study, led by his mentor Dr. Robert Cohen, looked at 1,517 children who were treated for respiratory problems. Cohen, who at the time worked at Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo, presented May 17 at the American Thoracic Society’s international conference in Denver.

Al-Yazji combed through file after file to determine how prevalent peanut allergies were in asthmatics. The link became apparent.

“In general, asthmatics tend to have other allergies like food allergies and skin allergies,” he said. “Peanut allergies are usually more serious because sufferers can have an extreme anaphylactic reaction where they cannot breathe.”

Al-Yazji, who is a pediatrician at Family Care Partners in Jacksonville, Fla., said the study has changed the way he treats asthmatics.

“We recommend that doctors run a blood test called an ImmunoCap to see if their patients are sensitive or allergic to peanuts,” Al-Yazji said. “If they are, doctors should send them home with an EpiPen.”

He added, “It is good to see your hard work pay off. I spent a lot of time working on this. I went through every single chart.”

Physics professor receives fellowship honor

Dr. Jacques Amar, professor and associate chair of the UT Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, recently was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society.



The society fellowship is an honor signifying recognition by one’s professional peers for exceptional contributions to the field of physics. Election to fellowship is limited to fewer than half of 1 percent of American Physical Society members.

“I am honored to have been selected to receive this award. It is gratifying to know that my work has been recognized in this way,” Amar said.

Nominated by the American Physical Society Division of Computational Physics, Amar was cited “for the development and use of novel computational methods, which have advanced our fundamental understanding of a range of problems in condensed matter and statistical physics, including the kinetics of domain growth, surface roughening, crystal growth and thin-film deposition.”

Amar is a computational physicist whose research involves the use of theoretical calculations and simulations to study non-equilibrium processes such as thin-film growth and nanoparticle self-assembly on the atomic scale.

“Many of these processes are poorly understood, so it is important to obtain a fundamental understanding of the key relevant mechanisms and how they depend on experimental parameters,” Amar said. “Since this is often difficult to obtain directly from experiments, these types of calculations and simulations can be very useful.”

As part of his research, Amar uses a variety of methods, including quantum calculations and kinetic Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations. He also is developing methods to carry out accelerated dynamics simulations over longer time and length scales.

Management professor to receive national health-care executives’ award for best published article

Dr. Clinton O. Longenecker, Stranahan Professor of Leadership and Organizational Excellence in The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation, and his brother, Dr. Paul D. Longenecker, are the winners of the 2015 Edgar C. Hayhow Award from the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

Dr. Clinton Longenecker

Dr. Clinton Longenecker

They received the award for their research article, “Why Hospital Improvement Efforts Fail: A View From the Front Line,” published in the March/April 2014 issue of the Journal of Healthcare Management.

The award, to be presented during ACHE’s 58th Congress on Healthcare Leadership this week in Chicago, represents breakthrough work in health-care management.

“Working with my brother, Paul, was terrific, as he has more than 30 successful years of invaluable experience in a wide variety of health-care professions. This allowed us a unique opportunity to combine his talents with my background in leadership and change,” Longenecker said.

“This recognition was very rewarding given the changing nature of health care,” he continued. “It was great to be recognized for creating some discussion and practices around how to make changes in hospitals and health-care systems more effective and timely, and we have been receiving a lot of feedback on our work since it was published.”

Paul Longenecker is a senior instructor in the Department of Health and Sports Sciences in the School of Professional Studies at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, and is a graduate of both UT’s nursing and MBA programs.

In their research study, the Longeneckers sought to help health-care leaders improve their understanding of the barriers to effective organizational change and improvement from the perspective of frontline leaders. Focus groups were conducted in four community hospitals to explore why hospital change and improvement efforts struggle and are ineffective. Analysis of the focus group data was featured in the article, as well as leadership lessons and recommendations for success based on the findings.

Paul Longenecker said, “Hospitals really need to become better at practicing the fundamentals of effective change and leadership to be able to compete in the new health-care reality.”

The American College of Healthcare Executives is an international professional society of more than 40,000 health-care executives who lead hospitals, health-care systems and other health-care organizations.

UT chosen as one of four national sites for innovation program

The University of Toledo has been selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as one of the first four Innovation Corps (I-Corps) sites in the country. I-Corps sites are academic institutions that engage multiple, local teams in technology transition and strengthen local innovation.

The I-Corps program prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of select, NSF-funded basic-research projects.

Developed at Stanford University, I-Corps affords entrepreneurs the opportunity to talk to their customers much earlier in the product and business development process, enabling them to truly understand their market and determine whether or not their product is a fit.

The kickoff of the NSF I-Corps Program is Sunday, March 8, through Wednesday, March 11, in the Thomas and Elizabeth Brady Engineering Innovation Center on UT’s Main Campus. The event is part of a partnership between UT and the University of Michigan, with faculty, students and mentors from both universities participating.

“Recruiting teams for this program has been an amazing experience,” said Dr. Patricia Relue, UT professor of bioengineering. “The scientific and engineering capability at UT is diverse and rich, and the community and alumni response to our mentor recruiting efforts was very enthusiastic. The teams develop a sense of camaraderie during this training that is an important component of the program’s success.”

Eight teams with product and business ideas in the areas of bioengineering, chemistry, and manufacturing and monitoring technologies will receive education and guidance during the event.

“The main focus of this event is to educate and provide resources to these teams that enable them to talk to customers much earlier than is typical in the commercialization process, which allows them to truly understand and validate the market and their customers,” said Jessica Sattler, UT director of economic engagement and business development programs. “This can lead to a pivot in their technology or business model or complete abandonment of the idea before a lot of time and money are spent developing a technology and business for which the market has no need.”

Combining experience and guidance from established entrepreneurs with a targeted curriculum, I-Corps teaches grantees to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and it offers entrepreneurship training to student participants.

NSF will work with the private sector to bring additional resources to the table, in the form of partnerships and finance, when warranted.

University leadership and representatives from the Ohio Development Services Agency, Ohio Board of Regents, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Ohio State University and Eastern Michigan University also will be present.

For more information, contact Sattler at jessica.sattler@utoledo.edu or 419.530.6164.

Chemist to talk tunes during March 4 visit

Chart-toppers and musical hits will be discussed in a presentation this week, but it won’t be coming from the music department.



Dr. William Carroll will give a talk, “Statistics and the Shirelles: How Physical Sciences Thinking Informs Popular Music Analytics,” as part of the Frontiers in Chemistry Lecture Series Wednesday, March 4, at 7 p.m. in Memorial Field House Room 2100.

Carroll has served as chair of the board of directors and president of the American Chemical Society. In addition, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a member of the advisory board for the Tulane School of Science and Engineering, vice president of industry issues for Occidental Chemical Corp., and adjunct professor of chemistry at Indiana University.

“To have someone of his stature coming to The University of Toledo is a huge deal,” said Dr. Jim Zubricky, UT associate lecturer in chemistry.

The talk is based on Carroll’s Popular Music and Society paper “Not So Lonely at the Top: Billboard #1s and a New Methodology for Comparing Records, 1958-1975.” He has recently expanded his database through 1980 and will compare the history of Billboard chart songs that were popular in that era, and discuss the methodology for creating the charts.

“This is some unique research that I’ve always wanted to do that I’ve never had time for until the last couple years,” Carroll said. “I always felt that there were ways of analyzing a record’s chart behavior in order to find the strongest records in a given period of time.”

Carroll explained that it’s difficult to determine the “best” records because that’s a subjective term; but you can objectively determine which had the strongest chart history. However, you first need a basis on which to compare two songs from different eras, plus you must consider the evolution of the charts themselves.

The first issue was tackled with the area under the curve approach, Carroll said. This method was developed in the 1970s by assigning a point value to each chart slot. The difference in importance between one and two on the chart is much greater than the difference between 99 and 100 — higher slots are given greater value. Using this point system, researchers can make a bar graph with a point value for each week a song is on the chart.

“The bars have the same width — one week — but different heights. So you can calculate the area of each of those rectangles simply by adding the weekly scores together and get what we call the area under the curve,” he said.

Since this method was developed, at least six more methods have been created, used and written about, Carroll said.

While many similar studies have been done on this topic, Carroll said there was one new piece of the puzzle that he contributed to the discussion: all previous studies ignored the fact that the charts changed over time.

He explained that in the mid-1960s, about 750 songs would enter the charts in a year. But in the 1970s, that decreased to only 400 songs. Each year there are only so many spaces on a chart, meaning there is a fixed amount of space occupied by songs. If you divide that space by a higher number of songs, you get a lower average score for the songs in that era.

“The score of an average song in 1967 would be significantly lower than in 1977, simply because of the denominator — the number of songs entering the charts,” he said. “So if you can’t rely on an average song having the same score, then you’re going to have trouble comparing one era to another an also determining what constitutes a really above-average song.”

What Carroll concluded was that researchers have to compare songs that were on the chart contemporaneously. Those with the highest score compared to records on the chart at the same time are ranked strongest.

However, the more important thing he wants viewers to take away from his talk is that the tools taught in chemistry class can be applied to other situations.

“The moral of the story is that for people who are science students — they go to laboratories, they think chemistry professors are just teaching you this stuff so you can do labs,” he said. “But it’s not just that. We teach you methods of visualization, of graphing, of statistics, because these are ways of dealing with data. It’s not just a chemistry experiment; it can be a popular music chart. You’ll use similar tools for any kind of data.”

Zubricky said that UT tries to instill this philosophy in chemistry students. Interdepartmental research relationships are constantly being formed between students and faculty, he said.

“Even though these are ideas we teach in chemistry classes, these can be applied to everyday problems,” Zubricky said. “The stuff that we’re talking about in general chemistry, the same kind of critical thinking skills that are applied in real-life issues. That’s one of the things I really stress in my classes.”

For more information on the free, public event, contact Zubricky at james.zubricky@utoledo.edu.

Surgeon hopes to start liver, pancreas transplant programs at UT

If you haven’t met Dr. Jorge Ortiz, you probably will; he’s going to do big things at The University of Toledo.



Ortiz, an associate professor and chief of surgical transplant who joined the faculty last year, has been doing kidney transplants and teaching residents the tools of the trade. As an expert of solid organ transplantation, Ortiz hopes to do more than just kidney transplants; he wants to start a liver and pancreas transplantation program at UT in the next two years.

“Transplant surgery is like general surgery, but the risks and benefits are much higher,” he said. “You have to know your general surgery, you have to know transplant surgery, medicine, the whole deal. You have to take care of the whole patient, not just one organ.”

On top of teaching and creating new programs, Ortiz is passionate about the effect of race on transplants. He plans to join the Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program and is part of the diversity committee for the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

“I have a particular interest in helping even out disparities in health care, and also studying those disparities between ethnic and socioeconomic groups,” Ortiz said. “I want to learn and teach what are the outcome differences, if any, between groups.”

Ortiz is working with Dr. Donald White, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, to decipher data from UNOS regarding race and transplant outcomes.

“We can’t have a system or a society or a culture where there are different opportunities amongst people, different outcomes amongst people,” Ortiz said. “It should all be fair. We should embrace our differences, but correct our inequalities.”

The initiative for new organ transplantation programs and the collaboration to improve transplants for everyone are just two of Ortiz’s goals. He also said he is looking forward to improving UT’s global outreach and teaching his residents.

“When you do an activity repeatedly, it’s a task, but when you do that with someone to teach them that activity, it’s more enjoyable,” Ortiz said. “I enjoy the energy that the students have — trying to get ahead, trying to improve, not just trying to get by.”

Med student writes about mustard gas, its connection to chemotherapy

Though mustard gas was introduced as a chemical weapon during World War I, it later became the foundation of modern chemotherapy.



That’s what Sean Gallagher, a University of Toledo fourth-year medical student, wrote about in a recent publication in the World Journal of Clinical Urology.

His article, “From the Battlefield to the Bladder: The Development of thioTEPA,” takes a look at how the science behind mustard gas evolved into modern treatments of cancer. He specifically looks at thioTEPA, a molecule that was developed out of mustard gas research and is used in today’s treatment of bladder cancer.

When mustard gas first appeared in war, military physicians had seen nothing like it, so they began recording everything they could about its effects. Later researchers analyzed the information and noticed that those who were exposed to the gas had low blood cell counts. They hypothesized that because patients with cancer usually have high blood cell counts, the use of the chemical could be a beneficial treatment.

It was this discovery that led to the testing of these chemicals on cancer patients, and later the development and use of similar compounds that had different effects. Some of the compounds developed then are still used in modern chemotherapy.

“Their work really gave birth to a whole new field of research,” Gallagher said.

Though Gallagher has always had an interest in history, his article was something he didn’t expect to be able to do in medical school.

“It’s really cool that, being in the medical field, I can still pursue my interest in history,” Gallagher said. “I thought that was something I gave up, or at least that I’d be relegated to reading books.”

The door opened for Gallagher when he joined UT’s History of Medicine Club, led by Dr. Steven Selman, professor and chair of urology. Each student in the club does a research project and an informal presentation, but more often than not, that research becomes a publication — as was the case with Gallagher.

“It was a neat process because it was a bit different than more traditional health science research,” Gallagher said. “Really, you’re just trying to learn the story about how someone else made a big breakthrough.”

Gallagher said he really enjoyed reviewing the other articles, which took him two years to compile and draw conclusions from.

“It was a really fun process,” he said. “Taking that chemical weapon and seeing it turn into something useful is kind of neat.”

Gallagher is finishing his last year of medical school at UT and will be matched with a residency in March. His chosen field is pediatrics, and his wife, Mae, another fourth-year medical student at the University, plans to go into family medicine.

Business professor serves as keynote speaker at West Point conference

Dr. Clinton Longenecker, Stranahan Professor of Leadership and Organizational Excellence in The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation, was a keynote speaker at the 29th annual National State of Ethics in America Conference at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

Dr. Clinton Longenecker and his wife, Cindy, right, posed with Rachel Maddow, center, host of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” at a recent conference at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. Longenecker and Maddow were keynote speakers at the conference.

Dr. Clinton Longenecker and his wife, Cindy, right, posed with Rachel Maddow, center, host of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” at a recent conference at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. Longenecker and Maddow were keynote speakers at the conference.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Inspiring Honorable Living — Moving From Compliance to Internalization,” which addressed ways to inspire someone to live above and beyond the honor code, regulations and prohibitions. The goal was to have participants leave the conference inspired to live honorably, build trust, and influence others to do the same.

Longenecker is a frequent speaker for senior U.S. military leaders on the subject of leadership, the ethical challenges associated with success and power, and how to avoid ethical failure.

“I have three years of doing programs and projects with senior military leaders and have spoken at all of the military senior graduate schools, but to have the opportunity to speak at West Point was both humbling and remarkable,” Longenecker said. “The place is a cornerstone of U.S. history; you are surrounded by it and deeply moved by what you see.”

“I spoke about my research about the Bathsheba Syndrome — a leader’s potential inability to cope with and respond to the byproducts of success, the ethical temptations leaders face, and how not to get caught up in wrongful, unethical behavior,” he said.

Comments from evaluations completed by cadets after the conference included:

• “It was the first time I was called out to systematically think through the challenges and temptations that come along with success and power of command; it really made me think differently about success.”

• “The idea of predicting personal leadership challenges to put in place safeguards is literally life-changing.”

• “In our profession, we often discuss errors of others after we find out that they have occurred. With Dr. Longenecker’s methodology, we can learn to have the hard conversations before they become embarrassing or toxic behavior patterns.”

Longenecker said, “The cadets and military leaders are driven to success, which can be a very good thing, but I know I shook up their thinking when it comes to ethical leadership, character and competency, and the dangers of success.”

Also presenting at the conference was Rachel Maddow, host of the nationally broadcast MSNBC program “The Rachel Maddow Show,” who spoke on her book Drift, concerning politics and the use of military force.

After the conference, one cadet wrote, “I liked how the second day presentations fed into one another; it was like Rachel Maddow asked questions and Clinton Longenecker answered them.”

UT Health urologists educate community on prostate cancer screenings and treatment

Dr. Samay Jain, assistant professor and medical director of The University of Toledo Medical Center’s Urology Clinic, and Dr. Ajay Singla, professor and director of female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at UTMC, presented on prostate cancer screenings and treatment options at several lectures this fall.



Tie One On at UT offered four lectures at the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center as part of its Prostate Cancer Awareness Lecture Series. Each lecture was followed by free screenings.

Jain discussed updates related to prostate cancer screening as well as future technology in the field during the first lecture Aug. 14.

The topic of the second lecture Sept. 18 was “Prostate Cancer Treatment: From Robotics to Radiation.” At this event, Jain discussed different treatment options for prostate cancer, including robotic surgery and Edge radiosurgery. UTMC is one of five medical centers in the world that have the Edge radiosurgery system, which is extremely precise and non-invasive.

Singla joined Jain Oct. 16 for the third lecture on how to manage the effects of prostate cancer treatment. For the last lecture in the series, Jain spoke about new treatment options for advanced, recurrent and metastatic prostate cancer.

In addition, Jain gave an informative lecture Sept. 7 at the Woodlands at Sunset House in Toledo. Jain dispelled the idea that incontinence is something people have to live with and provided treatment options.

For more information about UT Health, visit uthealth.utoledo.edu.