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UT research shows cigarette smoke exposure increases scar tissue in kidney, heart

Smoking cigarettes leads to fibrosis in the kidneys and heart and accelerates kidney disease, according to research at The University of Toledo.

“Smoking is bad for the kidneys and heart together,” said Dr. Christopher Drummond, postdoctoral fellow in the Cardiovascular Division of the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “Tobacco and nicotine increase the formation of injury or scarring called fibrosis. That reduces cardiac function, so your heart isn’t operating as efficiently. It also makes it so your kidneys can’t filter toxins from your blood as effectively.”

Drummond

Drummond

His research titled “Cigarette Smoking Causes Epigenetic Changes Associated With Cardiorenal Fibrosis,” which was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health and done in collaboration with the University of California at San Diego, recently was published in the journal Physiological Genomics.

“The results of this study are a public health concern because a significant portion of the U.S. population suffers from kidney disease and heart-related side effects,” Drummond said. “When you smoke, you’re speeding up the development of kidney disease.”

An estimated 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Drummond exposed two groups of rats to cigarette smoke five days a week for four weeks. One group had chronic kidney disease. The other group had normal renal function. Drummond compared those two groups with two control groups of rats — one with chronic kidney disease and one with normal kidney function — that were kept in a room with no smoke.

“We designed and built a system to expose rats to a constant concentration of smoke from cigarettes,” Drummond said. “Those were lit and the animals inhaled around five cigarettes’ worth of combustible smoke a day.”

In the smoke groups, researchers found a decrease in the genetic material called microRNA associated with slowing or preventing fibrosis in the organ tissue.

Smoking alone drove the rats into renal dysfunction, according to Drummond. Also, blood pressure increased, the heart enlarged, and scar tissue developed in the heart muscle and kidneys.

“If you are concerned or have a pre-existing condition, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to improve your health,” Drummond said.

He is currently investigating the effects of e-cigarettes on the kidney and heart.

UT alumna leads public art project at Toledo Correctional Institution

Criminal justice reform is in the spotlight. Across partisan lines, public figures are talking about a need to reform criminal justice policy, especially sentencing and the prison population.

Standing in front of the mural painted by incarcerated participants was revealed were, from left, Matt Taylor, Emily Numbers, Yusuf Lateef and Rachel Richardson. The four, who worked together to make the project happen, spoke at a press conference when the work was revealed.

Standing in front of the mural painted by incarcerated participants was revealed were, from left, Matt Taylor, Emily Numbers, Yusuf Lateef and Rachel Richardson. The four, who worked together to make the project happen, spoke at a press conference when the work was revealed.

The United States holds 4.4 percent of the world’s population, but 22 percent of its prisoners, according to the Sentencing Project. Roughly 2.2 million people are incarcerated in prisons and jails — a 500 percent increase in the last 40 years — and the effects on children, families and neighborhoods are even farther-reaching. Poor people and people of color are disproportionately impacted. These circumstances, among others, have prompted conversations at the national level about the state of the U.S. criminal justice system.

Community artists, organizers and incarcerated people completed a public art piece inside the walls of Toledo Correctional Institution to contribute to that dialogue at the local level.

The project, a 6-foot-by-14-foot mural, was developed by community art coordinator Emily Numbers in collaboration with People for Change, Art Corner Toledo, and artists Matt Taylor and Yusuf Lateef. A public unveiling was held in November in the lobby of One Government Center.

People for Change is comprised of incarcerated individuals and UT faculty, students and alumni who organize educational initiatives inside the Toledo Correctional Institution. It is an alumni group of the national Inside/Out Prison Exchange Project, in which university students take a course inside a prison alongside incarcerated people. Other People for Change initiatives include workshops, community speakers and an academic library.

Numbers took the Inside/Out class as a UT student in 2013. Since then, she has been a part of the People for Change alumni group.

Incarcerated individuals worked on the mural at the Toledo Correctional Institution.

Incarcerated individuals worked on the mural at the Toledo Correctional Institution.

“The Inside/Out Prison Exchange Project opened my eyes to the talent, intellect and desire to make positive change that exists within prisons, and introduced me to the vast injustice that is mass incarceration in the U.S.,” she said.

Numbers, who became interested in the concept of art as a catalyst for social change as a law and social thought student at UT, designed the project to humanize the prison population and to promote civic dialogue on issues surrounding incarceration. The art was painted on a series of 21 2-foot canvasses due to limitations on materials allowed in the prison.

“I learned about the principles of community-based art in Thor Mednick’s Arts Diplomacy class at UT, in which we painted a mural with artist Dave Lowenstein and community members at the Frederick Douglass Center. The elements of dialogue, participation and collaboration were key aspects that I wanted to keep central to this project,” Numbers, communications and public relations specialist in the College of Engineering, said.

art-close-upTaylor, Lateef and Rachel Richardson, director of Art Corner Toledo, got involved when Numbers invited them to speak to the workshop group about their art in the community. After that initial meeting last spring, the three decided they wanted to continue their involvement with the project. Numbers’ vision and coordination, Taylor and Lateef’s expertise, Art Corner Toledo’s community connections, and the dedication of the incarcerated participants came together to result in this work of collaborative, community art.

Art Corner Toledo helped secure funding from the Lucas County Commissioners, who have a current focus on criminal justice. The Art Supply Depot and the UT Inside/Out Project in the College of Arts and Letters also provided support for materials and supplies.

Over several brainstorming sessions with the artists, organizers and incarcerated participants, the group arrived at the final design for the piece. The imagery was ultimately inspired by the sharing of poetry written by incarcerated individuals and represents the experience of incarceration and the aspirations of the group. Viewers’ perspectives place them at the bottom of a well, looking up toward a bright opening. Both flowers and weeds fill the bottom of the well, and one determined vine makes its way into the light. Several bees are included in the image, both coming and going from the viewer’s perspective.

“To the incarcerated participants, the well represents the physical limitations of the maximum security prison in which they reside, as well as the social barriers that may have led them to the circumstance of incarceration,” Numbers explained. “The flowers indicate the possibility for life and beauty to thrive in unexpected places, and the bees represent the exchange of ideas necessary for that hope to thrive. The bees can be interpreted as teachers, family members or volunteers, for instance, who refuse to turn a blind eye to the damages done by incarceration, and who refuse to turn their backs on individuals who will ultimately return to our community.”

The piece is accompanied by a collective poem written by the incarcerated participants, elaborating on the visual metaphor.

All of the incarcerated participants in this workshop have taken college-level courses through the UT Inside/Out Prison Exchange Project. Many of the discussions leading to the design were centered on the concept of education as the key to reaching post-incarceration aspirations.

Dr. Renee Heberle, professor of political science, brought the Inside/Out Prison Exchange Project to the University in 2010.

“Inside/Out and People for Change give UT students and incarcerated students a unique opportunity to engage and learn with individuals they might otherwise not only never meet, but would perhaps, otherwise, stigmatize and fear,” Heberle, coordinator of the program, said. “It has literally changed lives and career paths of students, on the inside and the outside. The innovative pedagogical model and ongoing opportunities for engagement beyond the classes cultivate democratic and collaborative skills as students confront issues related to social justice and create social change.

“This mural represents the underlying principles and values of Inside/Out in the collaborative process of its creation, while being a beautiful and aesthetically important work of art on its own terms.”

The art made its debut at One Government Center and is now hanging at the Lucas County Common Pleas Court. It will be installed in public spaces in Toledo. After completing its tour around the city, the work will be donated to a local organization selected by the participants.

“It is the intention of the incarcerated participants that this public art project will serve as a sign of hope for all viewers who may face barriers or confines of their own,” Numbers said.

“As the project travels around Toledo, it carries hope for the transformation of the criminal justice system, hope for incarcerated people seeking meaning and growth despite their circumstances, and hope for anyone facing conditions that confine, imprison or isolate.”

Students recruiting 800 volunteers to help feed families in hurricane-ravaged Haiti

Three months after Hurricane Matthew unleashed a path of destruction through the southern peninsula of Haiti, devastation lingers for families who lost their homes, crops and livestock.

KLAR“It’s horrible,” said Ashley Jemerson, who studied criminal justice, forensic science and Spanish at UT before graduating last month. “Seeing the ongoing effects of the natural disaster makes me grateful for everything we have here in the United States.”

Jemerson and dozens of UT students selected by their colleges to participate in the Klar Leadership Academy in the College of Business and Innovation need 800 volunteers Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28, in the Health Education Building on Main Campus to help produce 140,000 meals that will be sent to Haiti for hurricane relief.

Participants from the Klar Leadership Academy’s November community service project posed for a photo after conducting a Box Out Hunger event at the Cherry Street Mission.

Participants from the Klar Leadership Academy’s November community service project posed for a photo after conducting a Box Out Hunger event at the Cherry Street Mission.

The public is invited to participate in the two-day community service event called Feed My Starving Children, which is the culmination of a global service project organized by the Klar Leadership Academy’s 75 students to feed families in the country where food is scarce.

Volunteers may sign up for shifts here. Shifts are from 3 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, and from 9 to 11 a.m. and from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28.

The 2016-17 Klar Leadership Academy students are 75 percent of the way to raising their goal of $31,000 to make the event called “Mobile Pack” a success.

“One of the biggest things we’ve learned in the academy is the importance of giving back,” said Anthony Dimodica, a senior studying human resource management. “Leadership also is about helping others. We’re hoping our University students, faculty and staff give up a little bit of their time to make a huge difference for people who don’t have a lot.”

The Klar Leadership Academy was founded in 2015 with the support of Stephen Klar, a 1971 alumnus of the College of Business and Innovation and a New York City builder and real estate developer.

“The Klar Leadership Academy is all about creating the next generation of exceptional leaders who will carry on the College of Business and UT legacy of leaders who are changing the world,” said Dr. Clint Longenecker, Distinguished University Professor and director of the Center for Leadership and Organization Excellence in the College of Business and Innovation. “This learning experience takes our best students across all undergraduate colleges on campus and leads them through a seven-month, transformational leadership development experience to increase their career trajectory and their ability to improve the human condition through high-performance servant leadership.”

Library renovations to include new veterans lounge named for UT alumnus

The second phase of renovations underway at Carlson Library will include a new veterans lounge, a glass wall spanning several stories allowing for more natural light, and an expanded concourse when you enter the building.

The $3 million renovations funded by state capital dollars will focus on the first and second floors of the library. The renovations, which are expected to be completed prior to the start of fall semester, follow the work on the third and fourth floors finished last year that included the creation of more than 20 new group study rooms and new paint, carpet, ceilings and lighting to transform the learning space.

This rendering shows what the Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski ’65 Veterans Lounge may look like when finished on the second floor of Carlson Library this summer.

This rendering shows what the Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski ’65 Veterans Lounge may look like when finished on the second floor of Carlson Library this summer.

“The south side of the second floor will be renovated to include group study rooms and study carrels like those that have become popular on the recently completed third and fourth floors,” said Barbara Floyd, interim director of University Libraries. “We recently conducted a survey asking students if they were satisfied with the renovations done, and the comments were overwhelmingly positive, with many students crediting the renovations with their success in the classroom.”

The second floor of the library also will be the new home for the University’s Veterans Lounge, which will relocate from its current location in Rocket Hall.

“Our student veterans were interested in a more centrally located space and in this academic setting they also will have better access to library resources for research and homework with longer hours to take advantage of the lounge,” said Navy Reserve Lt. Haraz Ghanbari, UT director of military and veteran affairs.

Lt. Col. Thomas Orlowski spoke after being recognized by the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes with its Hometown Hero Award and the news that the veterans lounge at his alma mater will be named in his honor. Orlowski, who graduated from UT in 1965 before his 20-year career in the U.S. Army, is being recognized with the naming of the Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski ’65 Veterans Lounge that will be relocated to the second floor of Carlson Library.

Lt. Col. Thomas Orlowski spoke after being recognized by the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes with its Hometown Hero Award and the news that the veterans lounge at his alma mater will be named in his honor. Orlowski, who graduated from UT in 1965 before his 20-year career in the U.S. Army, is being recognized with the naming of the Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski ’65 Veterans Lounge that will be relocated to the second floor of Carlson Library.

A $20,000 donation from the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes supports the creation of the new lounge, which also will be larger with a separate social area and private study section.

The coalition’s gift was made in recognition of Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski, a UT alumnus and Army veteran who is the immediate past chairman of the organization’s board. The lounge will be named the Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski ’65 Veterans Lounge in his honor.

“It’s a fantastic idea, and I’m proud of the University for doing it. I’m just very humbled to be honored as part of the project,” Orlowski said. “The exchanges that will occur in this lounge will start with, ‘What are you studying and with what professors?’ But after that familiarity builds up, then the war stories come up. It will definitely help veteran students academically, but a secondary benefit that people may not realize is the camaraderie of others who have been where you’ve been and done what you’ve done.”

Orlowski graduated from UT in 1965 with a degree in English literature, and he also was a middle linebacker for the football team. He joined the Army later that year, and his 20-year military career included assignments in the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), HQ U.S. Army Europe, HQ U.S. Continental Army Command and the Office of the Adjutant General of the Army. For his service in Vietnam, he was awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Bronze Star for Valor with two Oak Leaf Clusters and Air Medal.

The new Veterans Lounge is expected to open in early summer.

Library renovations will continue through the summer, with the addition of a glass wall on the east side spanning the height of the building that will open up the library with more sunlight. The staircase from the first to second floors also will be redesigned with a mezzanine area on the second floor further opening up the space.

The separate hallway that you currently pass through when walking into the library will be removed so that guests will immediately be in the lobby when they walk in from outside. The redesign also will bring all of the library’s patron services — including circulation, reference and instruction — to the first floor. The information technology help desk recently moved from the back of the floor to share space with the circulation desk at the front. 

New assistant vice president named to improve student success, inclusion

Dr. Michele Soliz has been named assistant vice president for student success and inclusion within the Division of Student Affairs.

In addition to leading the Office of Multicultural Student Success, Soliz will focus on strategic retention initiatives across the division and will have a reporting relationship to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Soliz

Soliz

“This position will support the University’s goals to enhance student success with a focus on the overall student experience on campus,” said Dr. Kaye M. Patten, senior vice president for student affairs. “Dr. Soliz’s experience as a dean of students and leading academic support services on campus and her passion for student engagement make her the perfect fit to fill this new role.”

Soliz will work to ensure the University is enhancing the student experience both inside and outside the classroom, Patten said.

“I am pleased that Dr. Soliz will have a formal role with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion,” said Dr. Willie McKether, vice president for diversity and inclusion. “This not only provides a clearer path for our divisions to collaborate on multicultural initiatives, but also enables Dr. Soliz to better utilize her retention expertise. This is an excellent move for the University and, most importantly, our students.”

Soliz, who was named to the new position effective Jan. 10, pending approval by the UT Board of Trustees, most recently served as the executive director for academic support services in the Office of the Provost, where she provided leadership to the Learning Enhancement Center, Writing Center and TRIO Student Support Services. In collaboration with partners across the institution, she has increased the usage and visibility of the services that help retain students and put them on the path to graduation.

Soliz, who previously served as the University’s dean of students, has been a committee member of the Latino Youth Summit and Multicultural Emerging Scholars Program since their inceptions. She is active in the UT Latino Alumni Affiliate, serves as a mentor to African-American female students in the Talented and Aspiring Women Leaders program, and teaches the course Managing Diversity in the Workplace.

“I am excited to engage students and colleagues in inclusion and retention efforts,” Soliz said. “I look forward to collaborating across campus to have a greater impact on the overall student experience.”

She received a bachelor of arts degree in ethnic studies from Bowling Green State University and earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from UT in higher education, with a research focus on Latino student baccalaureate completion rates and student engagement.

UT calendar of events relaunching

To improve communications, the University’s calendar of events is being relaunched as a single site and more convenient online tool that will house all on- and off-campus, UT-sponsored events to better serve students, faculty, staff, trustees and the public.

calendar-utnewsIn addition to featuring student and University events, this master calendar will include research, athletic and recreation events, as well as University lectures and conferences.

“This one-site master calendar will aid in planning and promoting events, plus ensure that major events don’t overlap,” Dr. Andrew Hsu, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said. “We also want the calendar to reflect that the University is welcoming, student-centered and richly diverse in its offerings.”

Everyone has access to submit events to the calendar. Activities that should be posted on this master calendar include:

• University-sponsored events that the campus community and public may attend.

• UT-sponsored meetings that support transparency (for example, Board of Trustees and Faculty Senate meetings).

• Official academic calendar dates.

• Campus-wide student organization events and activities.

• Campus-wide alumni and UT Foundation events, such as Homecoming and pregame events, that are open to the public.

• Campus-wide athletic events and activities, including varsity athletic schedules.

• Events featured in UT News, UT NewsBreak and on the myUT portal.

Room scheduling, department meetings and events, personnel meetings, retirement announcements, and events not sponsored nor supported by the University should not be included on this calendar.

Individual areas within the University may continue posting these types of activities and meetings on their own calendars; however, the bulleted list of University-sponsored and campus-wide events above should always be mirrored on the master UT calendar of events.

Within the next couple of weeks, members of the UT calendar steering group will discuss use of the updated calendar with University deans.

To view the calendar, visit calendar.utoledo.edu, and a listing of the day’s events can be found on the myut.utoledo.edu page.

UTC3 pledges total more than $133,000

Thanks to 680 University faculty, staff and retirees, the 2016 UT Community Charitable Campaign (UTC3) exceeded its goal by raising $133,798, with additional pledges from retirees still forthcoming. 

This amount set an all-time University record for recent years, with more than 13 percent of faculty and staff participating.

utc3-newsbreak_finalEvery UTC3 donor has been emailed an invitation to attend a celebratory breakfast with President Sharon L. Gaber Tuesday, Jan. 31, from 8 to 9:30 a.m. in Savage Arena’s Grogan Room on Main Campus. Complimentary UT T-shirts will be given to each donor.

Every faculty and staff member who made a UTC3 pledge late last year should RSVP to the emailed invitation no later than Monday, Jan. 23. Those who made a contribution but cannot attend the Jan. 31 breakfast should still RSVP so their free T-shirt can be sent to them via inter-office mail. For questions, contact vicki.riddick@utoledo.edu.

“We truly want to thank every faculty member, employee and retiree who made a UTC3 pledge,” Gaber said. “Our collective UT contribution will significantly impact thousands of lives throughout our community this year.”

Formerly referred to as the United Way Campaign, UTC3 contributions assist nearly 220 charitable organizations throughout the region to help those in need.

“That we exceeded our goal is living proof that UT faculty, staff and retirees embody our mission,” added Dr. Kaye M. Patten, senior vice president for student affairs and the 2016 UTC3 chairperson. “By contributing at whatever level they could afford, they’ve made a personal commitment to improve life for others. Those selfless acts of kindness will be felt for months to come.”

In addition to Patten, special thanks go to 2016’s UTC3 Committee members: Kelly Andrews, Athletics; Donna Braswell, Biological Sciences; Elissa Falcone, Graduate Studies; Laura Nowacki, Information Technology; Michelle Peterson, Community Wellness; Vicki Riddick, Human Resources; Marcus Sneed, UT Foundation; Christine Wasserman, University Communications; and Kathy Wilson, Student Affairs.

Climate change disruption to be discussed Jan. 19

The University of Toledo is hosting an event to discuss the polarizing topic of climate change.

Jorgensen

Jorgensen

Dr. Andy Jorgensen, associate professor of chemistry and environmental sciences at UT and senior fellow for the National Council for Science and the Environment, will lead a talk titled “Climate Change Disruption: How Do We Know? What Can We Do?” as part of the Lake Erie Center Public Lecture Series.

The free event will take place Thursday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. at the UT Lake Erie Center, 6200 Bayshore Road in Oregon.

“Climate change and the cost of carbon dioxide pollution is a very intense topic in our country, which finds its way into political, business and social conversations, often with vocal disagreement,” Jorgensen said. “This presentation will give background information about the phenomenon and methods that have been used to characterize these changes. The human dimension of the problem will be emphasized in order to consider solutions.”

People who attend the event will be able to ask questions and share opinions. Participants also will be encouraged to share their views using a “clicker” or personal response device to compare their replies to those of more than 3,000 members of Jorgensen’s previous audiences.

NASA and the National Science Foundation have supported Jorgensen’s work on science education. He helped create an online program with more than 800 resources on climate change for students and teachers. The free, web-based curriculum can be found at camelclimatechange.org.

Purchase semester parking permits by Jan. 23

The start of a new semester means it’s time to purchase or renew your parking permit.

The University reminds students, faculty and staff that spring semester parking permits must be purchased by the last day to add or drop classes for the semester, which is Monday, Jan. 23. After that date, vehicles without a parking permit will be ticketed. Jan. 23 also is the deadline to cancel a permit and receive a refund.

To purchase a parking permit, visit myparking.utoledo.edu, log in with your UTAD credential, and select the “apply for a permit” option.

If you need to change the vehicle you drive to UT any time during the semester, you can update your license plate number and vehicle information for your permit on the parking system.

Guest permits for family and friends visiting on weekdays are available at guestparking.utoledo.edu.

The Office of Public Safety and Support Services also has updated its website to include a list of parking lot closings for special events, such as basketball games, so that drivers may plan ahead. Visit utoledo.edu/publicsafety/support-services.

As a reminder, parking area 11 on Main Campus near the Thompson Student Union is a metered lot, accepting credit cards and coins. Paying by credit card offers the convenience of adding time without revisiting the meter outside, with an extend-by-phone tool in the lot’s new meter technology.

Nearly 5,000 faculty, staff and students responded to the University-wide parking survey late last year. Results are being evaluated to help establish a new parking system that will provide more choices for the UT community and help to alleviate congestion in the busiest lots. The system will be operational by fall semester.

The Office of Public Safety will provide ongoing updates throughout the semester on the move to a new parking system. 

Physician warns cuddling while sleeping can get on your nerves

With winter here and the mercury dropping, you may be tempted to snuggle a little closer to your partner overnight. But one University of Toledo Medical Center physician warns your warm and snuggly sleep position could cause nerve problems.

Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, said a condition called radial nerve palsy could develop when the radial nerve is compressed near the elbow.

cuddlingThe radial nerve runs along the underside of the arm and controls the movement of the triceps muscle and is responsible for enabling extension of the wrist and fingers. It also controls sensation in part of the hand.

“Radial nerve palsy is often referred to as honeymoon palsy, due to the closer sleeping habits of newlyweds,” he said. “When your partner falls asleep while laying on your arm, the radial nerve and surrounding muscles are compressed, which can cause numbness and prolonged tingling in the fingers or even restrict movement in the hand or wrist.”

Wrist drop is a rare, but a disabling condition that causes paralysis of the muscles that normally raise the hand at the wrist and can make it difficult to move the hand or fingers.

Radial nerve palsy is treated by supporting the wrist with a brace or splint and through physical therapy that helps to maintain muscle strength and reduce contracture. The nerve usually recovers within a few weeks, but in some cases it could take four to six months. Extreme cases, including wrist drop, could require surgery.

Ebraheim said the best way to avoid developing these conditions is to re-evaluate the way you sleep.

“People should be mindful of their sleep position to reduce the risk of nerve injury,” Ebraheim said. “It’s best to avoid positions that place pressure on the upper arm either from snuggling up with a loved one or sleeping with your arm curled under your head.”